UIC launches new real-time ticket control system
The International Union of Railways (UIC) has made a significant step towards real-time control of passenger tickets. With the help of Dutch company Hit Rail, it launched the Electronic Ticket Control Database (ETCD) that allows railway operators to issue and control train tickets across the world.
The main advantage of the new service is the online exchange of ticket control information between ticket issuers and passenger carriers. These exchanges increase ticket security, prevent fraud and reinforce electronic ticketing capabilities. Since February 2020, the ETCD service is provided in a Software as a Service (SaaS) mode. Several European ticket issuers and passenger carriers are establishing connections to it.
“ETCD is a new UIC IT solution which is a major application in UIC’s Rail Distribution ecosystem. Indeed, in combination with MERITS (Timetables), PRIFIS (Prices) and Hermes (Reservations), ETCD (Control) will complete the UIC IT distribution framework to offer to all European Railways members a cost-efficient, robust and standard solution for international rail ticket business,” said Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director.
Within UIC Passenger department workgroups, railway experts have now agreed on a common specification IRS 90918-4 for the exchange of ticket control data between ticket issuers and rail carriers controlling the passenger tickets. The ETCD service now provides a central implementation of the ticket control specification, allowing UIC members to exchange information with the central system, involving less complexity and lower implementation costs on their side. The ETCD will become an important foundation for passenger travel based on the increasing adoption of e-tickets.
The ETCD service provided by Hit Rail meets the demanding scalability, performance and security objectives set by UIC. The architecture supporting the service leverages powerful cloud technologies and is designed from the start to reach a high volume of tickets and downloads and to be capable of supporting future UIC services requiring the storing or checking of ticket data.
All the technical components of the solution are fully virtualised and flexible to varying loads and future changes. “The ETCD is a major technological leap forward into using leading-edge cloud services, such as serverless applications and cloud databases, to deliver a robust and secure service potentially involving millions of railway tickets,” noted Enrique Ruiz, technical director and ETCD project manager at Hit Rail.