The Key Smartcard
No more fumbling around for paper tickets. Say hello to an easier way to travel when you buy your tickets with The Key Smartcard - Southern's very own smartcard.
A faster way to buy and use season tickets. No more queues or waiting for tickets to arrive. Just tap & go
The hassle-free way to get going. Buy and renew season tickets online in advance and avoid the rush.
IT'S A KEEPER
Say bye-bye to worn and torn paper tickets. A durable card that lasts and works tap after tap.
SAFE & SOUND
If your Key Smartcard is lost or stolen, we'll block it and replace it free of charge.
How The Key Smartcard works
The Key Smartcard can save you time and hassle. Load tickets onto your Key Smartcard and touch in and out as you travel so there’s no need to queue. The Key is free: There’s no deposit, no postage charge and it really is smart! Why not switch over now?Download our Key Smartcard Guide
Freedom to travel with prepay on your Key Smartcard
Set up keyGo, The Key Smartcard pay as you go option.
Using your Key Smartcard
Use your Key Smartcard at most stations on the Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink network. You can also travel in and around London if you buy a travelcard using buses, tubes, trams, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and other National Rail services.
Identification: For season tickets held on your Key Smartcard, you may need to produce identification to prove that the ticket you hold on your smartcard belongs to you. Suitable forms of identification include a pink photocard (which can be obtained from ticket offices), a passport or driving licence. If you are using your Key Smartcard on another operator’s services, you will need to obtain a pink photocard if you don’t already hold one.
Types of tickets you can add to The Key Smartcard
You can load these types of tickets onto your key smartcard:
- weekly, monthly or annual season tickets
- weekly, monthly and annual Travelcard season tickets for the Tube, buses, trams, trains and the Docklands Light Railway
- Anytime single and return point-to-point tickets
- Off-Peak single and return point-to-point tickets
- PLUSBUS tickets for traveling in Crawley and Brighton, excluding Newhaven and Seaford stations.
Pay as you go travel with keyGo
Exclusive Key Smartcard discounts
City Car Club - save £59
Use your Key Smartcard to register and get your first year’s membership for just £1 – a saving of £59. City Car Club offers pay-as-you-go car and van rental across the Southern network.
Co-Wheels - save £24
Join with your key for just £1 for your first year. Membership of Co-Wheels, which offers pay-as-you-go car rental in lots of Southern destinations, usually costs £25.
Need to know more?
Read our answers to frequently asked questions about The Key Smartcard.
Download our pdf guide to The Key Smartcard to find out more.
You can also read the full terms and conditions for using The Key Smartcard.
How the Key Smartcard works
How to get The Key Smartcard, add tickets, and use on train journeys when you travel with us.
How to get The Key Smartcard
The Key Smartcard is a free, secure, easy-to-use smartcard which you can use on most of our network.
It’s ideal if you want to avoid queues when buying, collecting and using your season ticket.
You can order The Key Smartcard and start using it in a few simple steps:
- Register for The Key Smartcard and purchase your ticket online all in one go
- Receive your smartcard through the post and start travelling
- Buy more tickets as and when you need them to load to your Key Smartcard
Simply register for an account with us online, then select ‘apply for The Key Smartcard’.
If you already have an online account with us, then just log in and follow the options for applying for The Key Smartcard under ‘My Account’.
You can also purchase a ticket at the same time. We’ll post your Key Smartcard, there’s not deposit and no postal change – only the cost of your normal ticket which will be pre-loaded to your card so it’s ready to use. Register for your Key Smartcard
Start using your Key Smartcard
When you arrive at the station, touch your Key Smartcard on the card reader or validator. This will normally be at the gate or near the station entrance or exit.
You’ll need to touch out again at the other end when you leave the train.
If you have a travelcard, you will also need to touch in and out if you change onto London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, trams, buses, or London Overground services.
On board the train, we may ask to check your ticket using a handheld reader. We may also ask to see some ID to prove it’s your season ticket, a national rail photocard is ideal.
Buying new and replacement tickets
When you first register for your Key Smartcard, you can purchase a ticket at the same time which will be pre-loaded to your smartcard so that it’s ready to use once received.
You can buy your ticket online or from a ticket machine at one of our stations outside London. You can buy weekly, monthly or annual season tickets. You can also buy a limited range of single and return tickets on the Southern network.
When buying tickets online you need to:
- Select the Key Smartcard fares button on the main purchase screen
- Choose a station to collect your ticket and start your journey
- Allow 2 hours before attempting collection from your nominated station
- At the station, touch your Key Smartcard on a card reader or validator
*Note that the list of stations from which you can select to collect your ticket is limited to those on our network outside the London area. Collection stations are shown with a yellow dot on the Key Smartcard route map.
Stations where you can use The Key Smartcard
Details of where you can use your Key Smartcard on our network
Where you can use The Key Smartcard
You can use The Key Smartcard at most stations on the Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink network. You can travel on Gatwick Express services as long as you hold a ticket that is valid on that service. You can also travel in and around London if you buy a travelcard using buses, tubes, trams, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and other National Rail services.
When you buy a ticket online you must collect your ticket is limited to those on our network outside the London area. Collection stations are shown with a yellow dot on the Key Smartcard route map. You can also purchase a ticket from any ticket machine on our network that is outside of London.
Download the map for full details of where The Key Smartcard is valid for use and other important information.