A leading railway industry figure has claimed that the ability to buy tickets on a mobile app dramatically increases how often people travel.

Clare Gilmartin, Chief Executive of Trainline, told The Independent: “We reckon passengers take far more trains if they are able to buy tickets on the move – just as taxi use went up with the growth of Uber and Hailo.

“The journeys they do more are leisure, shopping and family trips – it’s hard to go to work more often.”

Only half of the journeys that Trainline sells are mobile-enabled, but the Department for Transport is seeking to make all rail trips available by the end of 2018. The Rail Delivery Group is working on a pilot programme to simplify the number of tickets on offer.

Unlike aviation, the railway industry has been hesitant in moving towards electronic ticketing – with the assumption that some passengers, particularly older travellers, will still want to obtain the traditional paper tickets. But Gilmartin said: “This isn’t an age-specific thing. When people have the app, 80 per cent of the time, they use it. Behaviour has changed more in the past couple of years than it has in the past 20 or 30."

Trainline is also working on providing real-time information on crowding – appropriately through crowdsourcing. "People have a real hunger to help their fellow traveller," said Gilmartin.

The firm adds fees for most tickets, with charges dependent on the booking platform. The structure is designed to incentivise use of the Android or iPhone app, with commission of 25p for tickets costing up to £25 and lower fees for paying with a credit card.

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