Eurostar has begun trials of a contactless fast-track service, allowing passengers to complete secure ticket verification and UK exit check on their mobile devices prior to travel without the need to share paper or electronic tickets.
Called SmartCheck, it has been developed in partnership with iProov, a specialist in biometric face authentication technology.
As part of the trial, a number of invited Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders will be able to scan their identity documents using their iPhones before arriving at the St Pancras, completing a brief biometric face scan to verify that they are the genuine holder of the identity document.
The biometric face verification is then linked to an e-ticket and confirmation sent to the passenger.
On arrival at St Pancras, passengers proceed through a dedicated SmartCheck lane.
A brief face scan at the ticket gate verifies that customers have completed the ticket check and a second face scan at the UK Exit Check allows Eurostar to verify that passengers have completed their passport information, replacing the need for them to hand over documentation.
The aim is to eliminate queues and improve customer satisfaction, especially for frequent travellers.
The concept is being brought to train travel as part of the First of a Kind 2020 competition run by Innovate UK, funded by the Department for Transport, which supports research, development and innovation in the UK rail industry.
“This secure, convenient and privacy-protecting technology will make life easier and safer for travellers around the world,” said Andrew Bud, Founder and CEO, iProov.
“The days of rooting around in your bag for your passport or hoping that your phone battery doesn’t run out before you show your e-ticket at the gate are over. It’s effortless and convenient while also delivering the reassurance and security that travellers expect.”
“We are committed to working closely with governments to introduce new tools and technology that streamline the check in and border process,” said Gareth Williams, Strategy Director and Company Secretary, Eurostar.
“Face biometric technology is a fast and contactless solution which will enable secure passenger checks to take place more efficiently and provide a seamless start to the Eurostar customer journey.”