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Transport minister waves flag for smart ticketing

14/01/16

Andrew Jones plays up potential for contactless payments following agreements between bus and train operators and card payment industry

Transport Minister Andrew Jones has said that it should be possible to pay for all public transport by contactless means by 2022, following agreements among major transport operators to support the use of smart cards in the industry.

Andrew_JonesIn a speech to the UK Cards Association, he said the technology is becoming more mature and that an increasing number of operators want to make use of it.

“I am delighted with the news today that the card payment and rail industries have agreed to make it more convenient for passengers to pay for journeys using contactless cards and devices, and that the bus industry will make contactless payment fleet-wide in UK by 2022,” he said.

It follows reports that the UK's five major bus operators have announced they will provide the technology for contactless payments on all their vehicles by 2022, and the rail industry has agreed a tranche of funding and a new framework to look at how contactless payments could be used for season tickets and long distance travel.

This will involve investigating contactless transit models for 'pay as you go' for set fares and multiple journeys during a day, and a pre-purchase model where the card replaces paper tickets and is used as a form of identity to travel.

In addition, the West Midlands transport authority Centro has been extending the use of the Swift smart card across the region, and other authorities for areas such as Brighton and Manchester are providing bus cards that can be used with a number of operators.

Partnership progress

Jones said the Smart Cities Partnership, a cross-sector body working on multi-operator tickets, has played an important role in distributing about 700,000 cards and supporting smart ticketing in nine cities.

“There is a growing appetite for these new ticketing technologies but we need to make sure that they have the opportunity to develop outside London,” he said. “We have given more power to the cities because they have said they want to deliver a better experience for passengers, and now we want to see the industry demonstrate what it can do with minimum intervention.”

Picture from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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