The government has promised to speed up the introduction of smart ticketing across the UK via three initiatives announced this week.
The new schemes, which were announced by transport minister Baroness Kramer, include plans to invest over £620,000 to extend smart ticketing across the rail network in the West Midlands.
The money will be used to enable Centro, the West Midlands transport authority, to extend its ‘Swift’ smartcard to large areas of the local rail network and work to introduce similar products in future.
Passengers will be able to use the smartcards at the revamped Birmingham New Street station when work finishes in September.
Kramer also oversaw the signing of an agreement for bus operators and members of the ‘Smart Cities Partnership’ to work together to deliver smart, multi-operator ticketing.
The partnership, which comprises nine city regions representing the biggest urban areas outside London, hopes to accelerate the delivery “of a number of multi-operator ticket schemes”, according to the Department for Transport.
“The signing of the concordat marks a successful year of engagement between cities, operators and DfT, which has seen the accelerated delivery of a number of multi-operator ticket schemes. It ‘banks’ the success to date and sets a solid foundation upon which pace can be maintained in delivering benefits to passengers,” John Dowie, chair of the smart cities partnership, said.
Separately, the government announced it will work with the UK Cards Association, the body representing the cards payments industry, to bring contactless payments to public transport across the country.
The association will lead a project to coordinate actions between card payment processors, card issues and transport operators.
The government is yet to announce expected outcomes or deadlines for the scheme. However UK Card Association chair Melanie Johnson said benefits include “reducing ticketing costs, delivering efficiency and harnessing the popularity of payment cards”.