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Commuters could start paying for train journeys with fingerprints and iris scans

Alexandra Sims

If you’ve ever tried to cross Victoria station at rush hour (or any station for that matter) you’ll be all too aware that things can get unbearably crowded. To tackle this issue, the rail network has come up with a solution worthy of a dystopian blockbuster – charging passengers for journeys by fingerprint or iris scan.

It may sound like the premise of an episode of 'Black Mirror', but Rail Delivery Group – who are behind the plans and represent the train operators and Network Rail – say the biometric technology could usher in an era of automatically charged fares, shortening the time it takes to commute.  

All the fancy hand and eye tech is described as the next step from using smartphone NFC signals to open barriers, which will be trialled in the coming months on the Chiltern Railways’ route between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway. It's part of more than 200 technology projects aiming to make our railways more efficient. This includes new seat designs that will allow 30 percent more seats in a single carriage, increase standing space on busy services and feature seats that can be folded in at peak times to pack in more passengers. There's also plans for digital signalling technology letting trains to operate closer together, cutting delays. 

With some of the new seating due to be integrated into rolling stock next year and the Treasury promising £450 million towards digital signalling in November, before you know it your commute to work could start to look a lot like your favourite sci-fi flick. 

Image: Agron Hoxha/Flickr

In other news, is this guy the greatest tube announcer on the Underground?

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