Heathrow Express E-ticketing with Aztec

The Heathrow Express train which takes you from London’s Paddington station to Heathrow Airport in 15 minutes now has e-ticketing. You can purchase a ticket on-line, receive a text message on your mobile containing a link and by following the link download your ticket which contains an Aztec 2d barcode. All you have to do is to display the barcode on your phone to the on-board customer service representative and they will scan and validate the code. The Aztec Code is also used for ticketing by the German national railway company and by Swiss Federal Railways.

Heathrow Express poster advertising e-ticketing

6 thoughts on “Heathrow Express E-ticketing with Aztec”

  1. Awesome. I love the concepts of commerce (even if it is just ticketing) via 2d codes anywhere outside of Japan. Hopefully we will see some of this technology being utilized here in the US soon:;

  2. Tony I had a response to your question from Heathrow Express: “The process requires users to register their mobile phone with us online (make, model, number etc) so the barcodes issues will only be valid for that mobile. Once scanned by staff onboard, our system will log the scan. For example if someone buys a single ticket, thats what our system will record. If they try and show the same barcode again for another journey they haven’t paid for, it will come up as a ticket thats already been used”.

  3. Great Idea – wrong code unfortunately!

    Using a proprietary code will end in necessitating expensive re programming of the system and doesn’t enable Heathrow Express to extend the functionality and applications for future consumer and business solutions. But, to their absolute credit , they’re pioneering with what will soon become a standard ticketing option amongst other things.
    But standardization needs a ‘standard’ code – not proprietary…

    Mark Hendriksen
    UpCode Mobile Solutions

  4. I am posting this comment for Tom who is unable to post comments at the moment….

    Hi Mark,

    I think your comment is slightly unhelpful – the Aztec code has been released as public domain, so it is absolutely usable for public standards and costly reengineering is not required.

    One such standard using Aztec is the RSP6 train ticket format approved for use on UK rail at the end of last year, designed by my company very specifically to only use royalty free technology (the signature and encryption used are all open standard as well).

    Aztec is being used for mobile phone ticketing because it is the easiest to successfully scan when displayed on an LCD screen, beating QR, Datamatrix etc.

    Best regards,

    Tom Godber, CTO Masabi

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