Reports of train delays, ticketing problems and huge queues are a daily occurrence in the UK. Numerous rail firms have been accused of bad practice when it comes to ticketing and have suffered reputational damage as a result.
That could all be about to change, with the announcement that facial recognition is being trialled to replace the need for tickets on trains. Researchers say that it can identify individuals without them stopping and could replace ticket gates.
It's another exciting development in the world of biometrics and facial recognition. And while these technologies are not new, more advanced use cases are emerging across a variety of industries including retail, government and of course transport.
But once again, this announcement brings the age old argument of convenience vs security to the fore. Just how comfortable are Brits with sharing their personal information - and indeed their face - with companies for use in scenarios like this? And how do we know they'll use our information for the right reasons?
As biometrics further pervade our daily lives, it's inevitable that we'll become more comfortable handing over information to companies - from our fingerprint to our face and even our heartbeats. What's important is that companies are clear with consumers about what happens to their data, how it's stored and what it's being used for. This level of transparency is key to building reputation and establishing trust with customers.
Initially, the technology would be available at optional “fast-track” lanes. Passengers whose faces had been scanned in a registration process would go online or use ticket machines to pay fares or top up credit. Staff would be alerted to any people crossing the line without payment. Professor Smith said that the system could be introduced by 2020 though some security experts believe that most biometric systems can be fooled by determined attackers.