Recently I've been travelling to London frequently and thought that getting a smartcard would be easier for my commute and using the tube.
But i've found it virtually impossible to get tickets onto my smartcard, I travel from Brookwood and the ticket machines appear to have no options to buy or load tickets onto smartcards. The person running the ticket office told me that smartcards "are only really for season tickets", despite the SWT website saying:
"Single, return and weekly tickets can be purchased and Monthly Season tickets can be renewed at ticket machines and instantly loaded onto your card."
Also on the website I've found no way to explicitly buy a smartcard ticket, except later through the purchase process there being a selectable option for "smartcard sale". Using this still failed to load my ticket onto my card the next day at the reader and I needed to print out my ticket from the machine.
How do I buy tickets for the smartcard online? Can you not load tickets onto smartcards instantly at the station as your website says? Or is this system just broken/unreliable?
I've contacted customer service and they say that Smartcards at present don't work with any non-season tickets and can't be purchased at stations. The south western website needs to be updated to reflect this.
This week I ordered a SWR smartcard for the exact same reasons and the letter that comes with the smart card has similar wording "We offer Weekly, Monthly, Monthly Plus and Annual seasons tickets on South Western Railway smartcards. You can also purchase Single and Return tickets". The booking website URL " southwesternrailway.com/smart" on the letter does not work. The "tickets.southwesternrailway.com" URL does not clearly state what a "Smartcard Sale" is. I will try the machine at the station; failing that I will be back to paper tickets. SWR you are useless!
The self-service machine at my station has the smart card facility and thankfully the excellent station staff were on hand to show me how to purchase and load a travelcard onto the smart card. SWR's total lack of information on the website on how to do this is very frustrating. SWR should be embarrassed at the poor user experience its customers suffer due to the lack of clear & correct information on the website. It really is not difficult to create and publish a few 'how to' videos on YouTube? Also, why do you print paper receipts for smart card sales? You know the email address my card is registered against, so please just email me the receipt. It would save some paper and would be far more convenient for me.
How do you actually load a ticket onto the card? I know I have to go the station (Farnborough Main is my local) and use a machine, but I don't see any options, and end up with a paper ticket every time.My phone seems to de-magnetise the paper tickets most days and I have to find a guard at each ticket machine, so I really want to use the Smartcard!
Hi Dreamer, you can load ticket onto your Touch Smartcard by touching it on a Smartcard reader at a ticket gate or platform at your chosen station.
I’ve been having the exact same questions and problems, and it’s another 3 months on!
If I buy the tickets online, and then touch my smart card on the reader, how do I know the tickets been put onto it? If it doesn’t then I won’t know until I get off and can’t get through the gate at the other end (my local station is unmanned).
This is extremely frustrating, the leaflet that came through with the ticket is useless, and something that should be simple to use is completely over complicated that I’m so close to just putting the card in the bin.
Try downloading the ramus smart ticket checker app. You hold your smartcard to your phone and via NFC it reads the smartcard.
Better still scrap using southwestern railway to buy your tickets.
Jump to chiltern railways and use their app. You can load your ticket via NFC so it's ready to use at the station. You have to order a chiltern railways smartcard from their website though but they have definitely got it sorted. Works for daily tickets (currently unavailable via south western railway) and seasons. Delay claims just apply to swr in the normal way and send receipt from chr. Only thing better than this would be use the phone as a smartcard but based on SWR this will be years away. Hope this is of use.
Thankyou for the advice. I’ve just ordered a Chiltern Railways card and downloaded the app and it certainly appears to be much more user friendly than SWRs smart card. UNfortunately the NFC part won’t work for me as appears to be for android only but I’ve got further with Chilterns card in 5 minutes that I did in 14 days with SWRs smart card!