New north east smartcard
A new multi-operator smartcard has been launched in South Tyneside. The new SmartZone initiative was released by Stagecoach North East and Go North East. The ITSO standard card offers unlimited travel from less than £1.80 per day. It has the ability in the future to be extended to other public transport modes, such as National Rail and light rail services. It is currently valid on buses in South Shields, Harton, Whitburn, Cleadon, Boldon, Bill Quay, Hebburn and Jarrow. Passengers can purchase SmartZone tickets directly on the bus or online, depending on the type of ticket selected. A one week ticket can be bought onboard or online and costs £13, whilst the four week ticket at £50 is only available online. The tickets can be added onto a Stagecoach Smart Card or a Go North East Key Card and all valid products on smartcards will be accepted on any Stagecoach or Go North East service in South Tyneside, within the SmartZone boundaries.
This new ticket is part of a multi-million-pound investment believed to be the biggest smart ticketing project in UK history. The technology can also allow smaller bus operators to be included in multi-operator schemes. In the north east, it is predicted that additional transport operators will join the scheme later this year as work continues on delivering multi-operator smart ticketing available across the wider north east.
MD Stagecoach North East, Phil Medlicott, and MD Go North East, Kevin Carr, said in a joint statement, ‘Our buses are used by millions of people every year and, along with local authorities and central government, we have a shared responsibility to make them even better. In line with our promise to customers, we’re delighted to be launching smart ticketing across different operators which is a major step forward for bus passengers in South Tyneside and will make travelling by bus even easier and convenient by allowing customers to jump on the first bus that comes along rather than waiting for a specific operator. Bus operators are committed to developing services within the region and to enhancing every aspect of the customer experience. Tyne and Wear has the highest customer satisfaction rating of the UK’s metropolitan areas and this is further evidence that by working together, and with the region’s local authorities, bus operators can make our buses even better.’