There could soon be a new way to pay for the Elizabeth line

Issues around the confusing status of London’s snazziest rail route could soon be solved

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Elizabeth line station, London
Photograph: Alexey Fedorenko /

Since it opened back in May 2022, London’s glitzy Elizabeth line has carried around 270 million passengers through the city. And sure, it’s super-fast and has lovely, cool carriages, but not everything has been smooth sailing. Last year the purple line was named the UK’s worst service for cancellations, while over the next month or so it’ll be partially closed on weekends

And that isn’t the end of the Lizzie line’s woes. As technically neither part of the Underground nor a regular train, there’s been quite a lot of confusion in terms of ticketing on the service since its launch. Oyster cards can be used on journeys within the Underground zones, but ‘special’ rates apply outside of this and physical tickets can’t be printed at all the stations. 

So, as part of some wider alterations at some Lizzie line stations, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans for a pilot scheme to use barcode-scanning equipment on the line’s ticket barriers.

Khan told the London Assembly that officials are working on a plan with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to install hand-held barcode scanning equipment, so passengers can can e-tickets on their phones or from a print-out. 

But it’s important to stress that this is just a trial – and a prospective one, at that. According to EssexLive, Khan said that ‘the project is only at design stage and TfL has ongoing discussions with the RDG about the project… currently there is no funding from RDG and there is no implementation date.’

Transport in London

From news that the Blackwall Tunnel will be closing again in March to TfL’s efforts to make cycling around the capital easier (and cheaper), we keep you up to date with all London’s latest transport news. Keep an eye on our train and tube strikes page for all the most recent info about all that, too. 

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