Bus operators across Scotland have outlined their commitment to deliver multi-operator smart ticketing. First, Stagecoach, Lothian Buses, McGill’s and XPlore Dundee have pledged to deliver the tickets across the country during 2016 to 2017. They also plan for it to be extended to rail, ferries and the subway in the near future. Technical work on the scheme has already begun, building upon existing ITSO smart platforms.
Successful delivery of the first phase of the project will see smart ticketing made available to around three quarters of the Scottish population through interoperable, bus-to-bus, multi operator smart card ticketing across Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. Once in place, customers will be able to store multi-operator tickets on a smartcard, which can be used on different buses using one card.
As well as these city schemes, Scotland’s major bus operators will also support the introduction of a single standard e-purse, the Scotland-wide saltirecard scheme that will be developed and delivered by Transport Scotland. It will enable customers to top up their smartcards with funds, similar to how an Oyster card works. The Scottish major bus operators will cooperate so these smartcards can be accepted on all their buses. This is intended to allow end to end journeys across Scotland to be completed on the various transport modes, inclusive of subway, rail and ferry. A common saltirecard logo will be displayed on the smartcards to assist customer recognition of acceptance. The ‘big five’ are also working on an ambitious plan to see contactless travel introduced on every one of the UK’s 32,000 buses outside London. The scheme, funded predominantly by the private sector, could see new EMV contactless technology installed on buses in Scotland by 2022.
Chair of CPT in Scotland and MD of First Bus in Scotland, Fiona Kerr, said, ‘The four multi-operator schemes already being developed are an important first step in delivering smart joined up ticketing across Scotland for our customers. With 80% of all public transport journeys in Scotland made by bus, we’re working closely together as an industry to give our passengers what they want. The Scottish bus industry is being clear today in our commitment to transforming how our customers pay for their travel. Delivering smarter, faster, integrated travel will save them both time and money, and will complement our existing smart and mobile ticketing offerings which are available across all of our bus networks in Scotland.’