The ESP Group provides the means for contactless journeys


As the biggest producer in the UK of smart cards for the transit industry, Systex – part of the ESP Group, has kept production and the country rolling during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The transport and mobility services business works with some of the UK’s biggest travel providers including Transport for London (TFL), Translink Northern Ireland, London Councils, Transport for Greater Manchester,  Transport for Wales, and nine train operating companies under the Smart Ticketing on National Rail initiative.

Even as public transport systems responded to lockdown and social distancing, there was still a need to prioritise contactless travel through the provision of smartcards for those who were still reliant on this mode of transport, including key workers and vulnerable people. Smart card personalisation and provision is a core service within ESP’s portfolio, assisting the transit industry by reducing boarding times, reducing fraud, removing barriers to travel, and providing valuable data to assist with planning future services.

Systex delivers services for national and local transit schemes across the UK and Ireland. Their contactless smartcards are compatible with the UK’s ITSO standard and the London Oyster format, and also specific proprietary formats. They can be further integrated with access control, membership, and event ticketing systems. In addition to smart card production, the ESP Group supplies cloud -based card management software, public facing websites and mobile apps to support customer application and scheme management.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the ESP Group maintained business functions while ensuring a duty of care to its staff. Measures included:

  • Home working for those with the ability to do so across both its contact centre operation Journeycall and its smartcard bureau at Systex.
  • Social distancing measures and PPE provision for those on site. Systex’s unique bureau setup of four production units across two separate sites allowed it to implement immediate changes in social distancing as soon as lockdown measures were enforced.


Theresa Slevin, CEO of ESP Group said: “We were identified as a key operation to allow vital transport links to continue running throughout lockdown. As well as the importance of our daily support to smooth transport operations across the country, our technical expertise has also been vital as contactless and smart card systems were increasingly important to managing health risks.


“Systex will continue to be an industry leader in smartcard production and application, despite the restrictions of lockdown, and research and development to meet changing needs will continue to play its part.”




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