PTEG’s smart ticketing plan
PTEG (Passenger Transport Executives Group) has launched a plan it believes will put the city regions on a fast track to smart and simple public transport ticketing. It envisages this will look and feel more like London’s Oyster in terms of what it offers to passengers. The document sets out progress made so far in making ticketing smarter – including progress on smart concessionary ticketing, flexible ‘carnet’ tickets and the ability to buy smart tickets in local shops. The plan also shows how the roll out of smart is building momentum, including: 1m public transport journeys a week now being made in West Yorkshire by M-card; 60m concessionary journeys a year by smart in the West Midlands and 1.3m smartcard transactions a month on the Tyne and Wear Metro. However, the document also sets out the danger that ticketing may become smarter, but it could still be far too complex, with different fares being charged for the same journeys by different bus companies; high charges for tickets that can be used across operators and insufficient integration with rail ticketing.
PTEG’s plan calls for new buses legislation to give local transport authorities more powers on fares to ensure simpler outcomes for passengers, even in areas where bus services remain deregulated. It suggests building on existing collaboration between city regions, transport operators and DfT to ensure more cooperation in cracking technical and logistical problems more quickly and at less cost. It aims to ensure that national smart policies and initiatives on bus and rail ticketing are coordinated to achieve single outcomes in the city regions.
Lead for PTEG on smart futures, John Henkel, said, ‘It should never be the case that a public transport user needs more than one smartcard in their pocket to be sure of getting the cheapest deal – yet in some parts of the country this is already happening as bus companies promote their own tickets ahead of those that can be used on all services. Public transport users in the city regions want ticketing that is smart, simple and integrated and which looks and feels more like London’s Oyster. That’s what we want to give them but can only give them with a legislative framework that allows us to do so.’
‘We also want to look to the future because smart and clever cities across Europe are already looking beyond smart ticketing across public transport networks to a future where the same smart product will also unlock and pay for hire bikes and hire cars. This emerging market in “total mobility” offers exciting opportunities not only to make travel more convenient but also to promote awareness of the more sustainable travel options.’