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New train tickets aim to beat black market

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New train tickets aim to beat black market
16:48 CEST+02:00
Swedish Rail (SJ) will on Wednesday move to broaden its personalised ticket system in a bid to thwart the black market in cheap tickets and improve customer service, the company said in a statement.

From one o'clock on Wednesday morning most tickets (with some exceptions) for the Swedish train company will be personalised and will contain the text ‘Personal ticket'. Travellers with these tickets must show their identification on board for the ticket to be valid.

The second-hand market in train tickets on auction sites such as Tradera (the Swedish version of eBay) has caused problems for the Swedish rail authorities over a long period of time. SJ has been particularly concerned about the opportunistic purchasing of cheap tickets for on-selling to the public at inflated prices.

“We want people to have the chance to get cheap tickets, not for people to profit on the black market,” Ulf Wallin, vice head of SJ's press office told The Local.

The move will put an abrupt stop to the online private sale of SJ train tickets, even for those who wish to sell tickets they find they are no longer able to use. However, SJ will continue to offer excess tickets for auction on the Tradera website, Wallin said.

All tickets that are designated as either ‘changeable' (‘Kan ombokas') or ‘not changeable' (‘Kan ej ombokas') will be personalised. Tickets that are designated as ‘refundable' (‘Kan återbetalas') will not be personalised. All travel on a SJ commuter card (Pendlarkort) in Mälardalen, or with ‘single' tickets (‘enkelbiljett') purchased in LOKA (the blue automatic ticket machines) will remain non-personalised.

“Personal tickets make it easier for us to inform travellers of, for example, timetable changes and traffic problems. Moreover, through recording the traveller's name in connection with the booking it reduces the possibility of speculative second-hand selling,” said Nina Hornewall, SJ sales director, in a statement.

Most tickets sold by the rail company are already personalised, Ulf Wallin said: “Already today, for 60 percent of SJ tickets you need to show an SJ card, such as ‘ticketless' tickets, last-minute special-priced tickets for students and the elderly, and e-tickets. So from tomorrow, you will have to show your ID for all tickets. So it's not a revolution.”

“It is a further step forward which will mean better service. Personal tickets will the benefit both SJ and travellers,” said Hornewall.

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