The era of TVMs is not yet over!

30 / 01 / 2024

Pierre Veillon, Mobility Marketing Manager at Worldline, provides a concise historical overview of Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) and underscores Worldline's strategic positioning in this dynamic market

5 min.

The era of TVMs is not yet over

The Pioneering Role of TVMs in Transport

Before smartphones and widespread internet access, public transportation operated quite differently. Traditional staffed ticket offices were the go-to for ticketing, however, a quiet revolution was in motion: the introduction of Ticketing Vending Machines (TVMs). These inconspicuous yet ground-breaking machines marked a pivotal moment in transportation history.

In the 1960s and 1970s, TVMs underwent a noteworthy transformation, shifting from mechanical to electronic systems. By the 1980s, around a decade after payment cards were introduced, TVMs became widely adopted, establishing themselves as a crucial sales channel for almost three decades.

The ongoing evolution of TVMs in services has been distinctive. Initially focused on selling individual paper tickets, especially in some well-developed Western European cities, transactions were limited to coins and banknotes. Over time, TVMs smartly expanded their role, integrating with central systems to handle a broader range of fare structures. In today's ticketing landscape, customers can purchase tickets online and have them distributed via TVMs, whether in paper or electronic format.

TVMs have pioneered unattended ticket sales, providing unprecedented convenience, and allowing travellers to buy tickets without the need for face-to-face interactions. Long queues at ticket counters dwindled as TVMs became the 24/7 solution for ticket procurement, bridging the gap between passengers and their journeys. TVMs reduced waiting times for commuters, initiating a significant step toward the digital transformation of transport services, making them more accessible and user-friendly.

Despite their functionality, TVMs typically lack information on lanes, routes, or network schedules. They often operate with a monomodal, mono-network, and mono-operator approach, posing challenges for those unfamiliar with transportation intricacies. The diverse colours of TVMs in French train stations highlight this variation. An intriguing possibility for evolution involves challenging the established order by creating truly multimodal kiosks, spanning multiple networks and offering diverse services. This shift would require reorganising the current segmented structure of mobility, despite the growing responsibilities of transport authorities across Europe.

Ticket counters

In terms of payments, a significant breakthrough came in the 1980s with card payments, followed by the convenience of contactless payments. While TVMs may offer a narrower range of electronic payment options compared to in-store payments, their longer equipment lifespans ensure the longevity and reliability of these payment terminals.

Pierre Veillon, Worldline’s Mobility Segment Marketing Manager, delves into TVMs’ ongoing role in the ever-changing transportation landscape, examining the challenges faced and exploring future innovations promising to further transform how we purchase tickets and experience our journeys.



  1. The pervasive influence of the digital revolution poses a significant challenge to traditional TVMs. Commuters can now effortlessly book their journeys with a few taps on their smartphones, diminishing the once-dominant role of TVMs. The statistics paint a compelling picture: daily transactions per TVM have plummeted to fewer than 10 for national rail operators while doubling for urban transport operators. These figures underscore a profound shift in how people engage with ticketing systems. The escalating preference for online purchases has confronted TVMs with a stark reality—ticketing kiosks no longer serve as the primary channel for ticket sales.
    The digital era's impact is unmistakable, challenging TVMs to adapt to evolving consumer behaviours and preferences. As commuters increasingly embrace the ease of online transactions, the role of traditional ticket vending methods is undergoing a significant transformation.

  2. Revolutionising staff roles is intricately tied to the pursuit of cost efficiency within transport operating companies. As these companies seek ways to streamline operations, the prominent strategy that has emerged is staff reduction. Train stations are closing, services are centralising, and automated systems are replacing staff members. In this narrative of staff reduction, TVMs take centre stage. TVMs possess a tangible advantage over human staff—they operate 24/7, both inside and outside vehicles and stations.
    As staff costs are slashed and train stations trim their personnel, TVMs play a pivotal role in ensuring that commuters can easily access ticketing services. These machines become the face of transportation services, offering passengers a convenient and reliable means to procure tickets even in the absence of human agents. TVMs stand as a testament to the evolving landscape of cost-effective and efficient transportation solutions, meeting the needs of passengers around the clock.

As we navigate this technological crossroad, it becomes clear that TVMs will continue to play a pivotal role in the narrative of public transportation, bridging the past with the future and adapting to the ever-evolving needs of commuters.

Amid the resurgence of TVMs for both national railways and urban mobility operators, Worldline steps into the spotlight with a game-changing strategy. Our commitment to innovation shines through our extensive product range, led by the cutting-edge Self 7/8000 series. These solutions are meticulously crafted to meet the evolving needs of modern ticketing systems, ensuring a seamless and efficient experience for both operators and users.

The latest addition to this unattended terminal range, the Self 7/8000 series, reflects decades of expertise from Ingenico in terminals designed for TVMs. Paired with a terminal management back office (AXIS), it enables precise and optimised fleet management. Explore the components of our offering designed specifically for TVMs below:

  • Ingenico Self 7/8000 Payment Terminal: At the forefront of payment terminal technology, the Ingenico Self 7/8000 stands unrivalled in the current market. It seamlessly integrates secure cashless payment solutions into self-service kiosks, ensuring an intuitive consumer experience through a user-friendly interface.
    Beyond accepting various payment methods and adhering to industry standards, the Self 7/8000 range offers dual form factors, simplifying retrofits into existing kiosk cut-outs. Its robust metal construction and embedded security features are designed to thwart vandalism and fraud.

  • Worldline In-Store Payment Gateway: Complementing these cutting-edge payment terminals is Worldline's flagship, the In-Store Payment Gateway. It introduces pivotal features to enhance your TVM fleet. It empowers you to efficiently monitor, maintain, and update your network. As an omnichannel gateway, Worldline In-Store Payment Gateway equips you to support customers across various use cases, embracing the shift towards mobility, such as online payments with subsequent reimbursements at a TVM, or vice versa.
    Additionally, it connects to a broad spectrum of commercial acquirers across Europe, enabling you to shape and execute your preferred acquiring strategy effectively.

  • Integrated within Worldline One Commerce: Worldline One Commerce is built around your business and your ambition for growth, helping you become the architect of your omnichannel world. It unifies in-store and online payments into a seamless customer journey, tailored to your needs and across the entire payments ecosystem. This singular, centralised platform serves as your ultimate solution for onboarding, monitoring, and reporting. It offers unparalleled convenience, acting as the central hub for all your payment transactions and assets, streamlining operations and enhancing the management of your payment ecosystem.

For more information visit our Mobility Payments Suite web page: Worldline en-global | Mobility Payments Suite

Pierre Veillon

Pierre Veillon

Mobility, EV Charging and Parking Segment Marketing Manager Europe - Merchant Services Worldline