Yes. An application form will be available from the ticket office or by calling Customer Services on 08451 27 29 20. A card issued without an online registration will mean tickets can only be purchased directly from the self service ticket machines at any Southern Station.
You may transfer your current paper ticket to the key as long as you have at least one months validity remaining and the origin and destination stations of your ticket are key valid stations. To transfer your ticket simply follow these steps:
Apply for the key
Visit any Southern manned ticket office outside of London where the key is valid and hand in your key along with your contact details and your paper season ticket for the details to be recorded (we will give you back your ticket)
We will contact you when your key is ready to be collected. You simply visit the ticket office you handed your key card to, hand in your paper season ticket and we will give you your key loaded with it.
No. You won’t need a photocard when travelling on a Southern service, however if travelling on another operator they may request to see a photocard or another form of personal identification per the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. Relevant photo identification will also be required to support some discounted tickets e.g.16-25 Railcard.
Yes everyone must touch in and out to ensure that their journey has been ‘validated’.
This will give us a better understanding of the types of journeys people make and when they make them so we can be better at tailoring ticket products for individual travellers.
Yes, a free wallet is provided with the key. We recommend that you do not keep your key card in the same wallet as an Oystercard or contactless payment card as this can affect the key or Oyster card being read on gates and validators
You can buy tickets through your own online login at southernrailway.com/thekey, via Southern’s online ticket sales. You can then ‘load’ your ticket at a station by touching the key onto a smartcard reader positioned on the ticket gateline or on station validators. You should allow two hours between buying a ticket online and seeking to load it onto the key at a station.
You can get a refund via your online account at southernrailway/thekey. By following the prompts we will be able to refund your debit/credit card (if we hold these details) or we will provide you with ‘e-vouchers’ to use for your next purchase. For refunds on tickets purchased via a self service ticket machine, you will need to call Customer Services on 08451 27 29 20.
The easiest way for you to find out when your ticket expires is by logging into your key account online. The self service ticket machines at the station will also let you know what tickets you have on your key at any given time and if using a validator to touch out, this will display your ticket expiry. You can also setup your online account to send you reminders when your ticket will expire, just as with paper tickets purchased in this way.
If your key stops working or it has been lost or stolen, you can obtain a replacement by visiting southernrailway.com/thekey for a free replacement card, or by speaking to a member of staff at any Southern ticket office who will be able to cancel your existing card and arrange for a new key to be sent to you at your registered address (admin fee will apply at a ticket office).
The key works through contact with smartcard readers positioned on ticket gates, self service ticket machines or validators at stations. The steps for this are below:
Once you have registered and received the card in the post, tickets can be purchased online at southernrailway.com/thekey, or at the station via the self service ticket machines
Tickets booked online can be loaded onto the card by touching against the smartcard readers located on the ticket gates or validators at the nominated station. Simply hold the key onto the yellow hand on the smartcard reader for a few seconds. The message on the validator will read ‘journey started’.
Please Note: If touching against the smartcard reader on the ticket gates or validators, this will also start your journey i.e. the ticket gates will open to allow you through
If you are buying a ticket at the self service ticket machines, hold the key to the reader, select the ticket you wish to purchase, pay for it, and hold the key to the reader again. Once the ticket is loaded onto the card, simply touch your card against the smartcard reader located on the ticket gates or validator to begin your journey. Instructions will be provided on screen
Simply ‘touch out’ at the end of your journey by placing the key on the reader on the ticket gates or validator when you exit a station. A message will be displayed to show your journey has ended with a green light and an audible beep
NB: Please do not have the key and your Oystercard or any contactless payment card in the same wallet when touching in/out; this may block the card you wish to use from being read.
For your safety and assurance, our payment systems are market leading. Counter fraud services and encryption technology keeps your payments secure. Personal information we hold in relation to your key, including your online key account, is protected using the latest encryption technology and is in line with the latest data protection law making sure your information is secure.
No, the key is not transferable and is only valid for use by the person whose name is on the card and for whom the card has been registered to. For your own security, should someone else other than the registered user be found to be using your key, this will be retained. If the key is found to be used fraudulently then those involved could be liable for prosecution.
PlusBus tickets can be purchased on your key for the Crawley and Brighton areas.
You can buy PlusBus tickets in the following ways:
Weekly Season / Single and Return tickets – From the Self Service Machine at the same time as your train ticket. Just push the ‘Add PlusBus’ button before you confirm your order.
Monthly, Annual or longer Season tickets – By calling Customer Services on 08451 27 29 20 from Monday – Friday, between 9 and 5. Please note that you must have bought a Monthly or Annual ticket online prior to calling. Customers with a Monthly or Annual Season rail ticket can also buy Weekly PlusBus tickets during the course of the month in this way.
Yes, the key can only hold 5 tickets at a time. However when buying online you will only be allowed ONE smart ticket per transaction per day, as there is currently a limitation on how many tickets we are able to send to the gate or validator.
When buying from a Self Service Ticket Machine, you can buy as many as you like, however there is still a limitation of 5 tickets on a key smartcard.
The key is more reliable and secure than a paper ticket, you will no longer have to worry about worn tickets or ticket no longer working the barriers. Should your key card be lost or stolen, you can simply cancel the card via your online account and a new card loaded with your tickets will be send to you. Other benefits are also available, as a key holder you will be able to access a range of discounts which can be found here: southernrailway.com/keybenefits
As the key is registered to you as an individual, on registration you will be asked for:
date of birth
For Child registrations (5-15yrs) this will need to be carried out by parents or guardians. A photo will need to be uploaded. To complete the child registration proof of Identification must be presented by the parent or guardian along with the child at any Southern manned ticket office.
Go to your online account at southernrailway.com/thekey to update your details or contact the Southern customer services team on 08451 27 29 20. A new card will be required for any changes to name or photo and this can be requested at the same time.
The key is a reusable smartcard which can have various types of ticket, including season tickets, added again and again.
The key is based on ITSO (www.itso.org.uk) which is a Government backed specification and is being used across the country’s public transport for all future smartcard schemes. With all transport providers using the same ticketing system, integrated transport will be easier to promote with the potential for operators to link up and provide more multi-modal ticket products.
The key is similar in nature to London’s Oyster card. You hold it against a smartcard reader to ‘touch in’ and ‘touch out’, accessing the network through ticket gates or via the validators at stations.
The smartcards will evolve over time with many possibilities for the future. For example, they could be used in the future to hold car park tickets or indeed to hold ‘cash’ which could be used at station or train retail outlets making the overall journey more straightforward for the passenger.
Following the pilot we needed time to refine the system before rolling out the key to other parts of the Southern network. The timescales for this depended on feedback and analysis as we want to make sure that any teething troubles were fixed before making the key available to more people. The plan is to continue to roll out into London for all stations to be completed by the end of 2014.
Currently you will only be able to collect your key tickets on gates and validators outside of the London Travelcard area. Tickets will be available to be collected from gates and validators within the London area in the near future.
The key can currently be used at London Victoria, London Bridge, Clapham Junction and East Croydon along with all outer London stations excluding stations between Epsom and Dorking which will be coming soon.
Boxhill and Westhumble
Durrington on Sea
Goring by Sea
Pevensey & Westham
* Not valid for travel to London
** Travel to London Bridge only on Southern services
Smartcard readers are located on all Southern Ticket Gates. Key validator posts are also available at all stations outside of the London Travelcard area where gates are not available and are positioned at the entrance/exit to the station, including those used when ticket offices are closed. Inside of the London Travelcard area, you will be able to touch the existing Oyster validators. You will need to touch in and touch out on the smartcard readers located on the Ticket Gates or validator posts at the start and the end of your journey.
If you lose your key or there is a query with your key we want to make sure that we can get any unused tickets back to you or that you can talk to us about your key.
Information we collect from you includes, title (Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss etc), first name, and surname, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth and gender.
If you have ticked the relevant box on the application form, we may also contact you to keep you updated with information about other Go-Ahead group services and also to inform you of special offers and other related products and services from Go-Ahead Group Companies. You can opt out from receiving emails, by logging into your account at southernrailway.com/thekey and changing your preferences.
Yes, a birth certificate, medical certificate or passport will need to be provided as proof of age for a child smartcard.
Once an online application is completed the authorisation of a child smartcard must be completed at a Southern ticket office where the birth certificate, medical certificate or passport can be checked. Once verification has taken place, the child card will then be posted direct to the address provided on application.
Please ensure that adequate time provision is made for the authorisation of a child smartcard prior to any required ticket purchase or travel.
Railcards will continue to be separate from your smartcard, although you will be able to buy concessionary tickets on your smartcard.
We are working to add the ability to have railcards added to smartcards in the future.
Yes, the existing London Oyster card system is currently being updated to allow the key to work. The key is currently accepted at London Victoria, Clapham Junction and East Croydon, but in future, you will be able to load a travelcard onto the key for use on National Rail, London Underground, DLR and buses.
A ‘pay as you go’ product for shorter, local journeys will be launched in 2014. This is currently planned for the Brighton and Crawley areas, and if this proves successful then this may be rolled out to the rest of the Southern network.