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Transport Minister heralds ‘smart ticketing revolution’

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Transport Minister Andrew Jones (pictured) has welcomed the news that millions of bus and rail passengers across the UK will in future be able to pay for their travel using contactless cards and devices.

Smart ticketing offers more convenience and flexibility for passengers, allowing easy connections across different modes of transport and helping reduce ticket queues and crowding at transport interchanges.

There are currently 700,000 smartcards in use in cities that are part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Smart Cities Partnership (SCP).

Now the UK’s five major bus operators have announced they will bring contactless travel to every bus in Britain by 2022, with many areas benefiting sooner.

The rail industry has also agreed a tranche of funding and a new framework to explore how contactless payments could be introduced for rail season tickets or long-distance train travel, so passengers no longer have to print out tickets

The framework will look specifically at the benefits that could be offered by three different contactless models: Pay as You Go (PAYG) for set fares, a PAYG model for multiple uses during a day or during a journey and a pre-purchase model.

Centro, West Midland’s integrated transport authority, backed by £620,000 of DfT funding, is extending the Swift smartcard across the region, which was introduced at Birmingham New Street station  in September 2015. From next month Swift cards will work on buses, trams and trains in the area

City regions across the country have rolled out the technology including capped Nexus card travel in Tyne and Wear for affordable travel, and brand new multi-operator bus cards in Brighton and Manchester so passengers save time and money by using one card for all bus services in their city

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The smart ticketing revolution is helping to build a modern, affordable transport network that provides better journeys for everyone.

“By working together, industry, city regions and Government have been able to ensure more and more people can use smart ticketing to get around. We are determined to continue driving progress so passengers get the quick and simple journeys that they want and deserve.”

The participating SCP local transport authorities across England include:

  • Centro
  • Leicester City Council
  • Merseytravel
  • Nexus
  • Nottingham City Council
  • South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
  • Transport for Greater Manchester
  • West of England Partnership
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Supporting bus operators include:

  • Arriva
  • First Group
  • Go-Ahead
  • National Express
  • Stagecoach
  • Album – the Association of Local Bus Company Managers

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