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Transport for West Midlands plans ‘tap and go’ card payments for best value fares

Tram and bus
Image source: TfWM

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has said it is working with the UK’s principal bus operators to launch a major fare capping project using ‘tap and go’ contactless access to public transport.

It plans to develop a system over the next two years to allow passengers to use their contactless debit and credit cards across a range of transport modes and operators, and to automatically apply ‘best value’ fares.

This will effectively enable any debit or credit card for multi-operator travel offering people, including visitors and those who are not regular public transport users, to tap on and off buses in the region.

This scheme is one of those supported by £18 million of funding from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.

TfWM said that although its Swift travel card will not be needed in future it will continue to be available for those either excluded from the banking system or unwilling to use their contactless card for travel. This will include capping flexible fares over one, three and seven days.

After London’s Oyster, Swift is the most popular smartcard scheme for travel payments in the UK with approximately 250,000 regular users making more than 60 million journeys per year.

Swift card initiative

The funding will also cover the installation of 60 new Swift card vending machines at key locations across the West Midlands from early next year.

TfWM is also working with operators and government through the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan to further improve value for passengers.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Thanks to the operators we work closely with, the West Midlands has some of the lowest fares in the country. This is especially true on our excellent value bus network, with the daysaver held at its 2013 price - cheaper than recent daysaver fares announced in other parts of the UK - and further boosted by the news this week that the Department for Transport will cap single fares at £2 for a period.

“Over the longer term, our new investment into multi-operator contactless ticketing will help to make public transport here even more convenient, even more cost efficient and even greater value for money in the future.”

The project could also be rolled out further afield through partnerships with Midlands Connect, TfWM said.

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