A million tickets have been sold on Merseytravel’s Walrus smartcards since the card’s launch in November 2014. It is estimated that over 40% of new UK smartcards issued during the last 12 months have been Walrus cards. Tickets currently available in ‘smart’ format are pre-paid weekly and adult four-weekly Solo tickets, which can be used on any bus across Merseyside; as well as Saveaways, the off peak day ticket for buses, trains and ferries. Walrus cards can be ‘loaded’ at around 800 PayPoint outlets across Merseyside, which has more than doubled the number of places from which Saveaways can be purchased and has significantly increased the availability of Solos, which were originally available from only 50 outlets. There are plans for more tickets to go ‘smart’ on the Walrus card later this year, including some commercial operators’ weekly bus tickets. However, this is subject to the ‘Bus Alliance’, a partnership between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach, being formally agreed. Also in the next 12 months, there are plans for popular Merseyrail tickets to move to Walrus and for the introduction of carnet tickets for bus travel.
Chair of Merseytravel, Cllr Liam Robinson, said, ‘To go from no commercial smart ticketing scheme to one million ticket sales in just 15 months is incredible. What makes it even more of an achievement is that Walrus has been available right across Merseyside for less than a year, with Saveaway, the first ticket to go smart, on a Wirral only trial up until March 2015. Walrus is now the most active smart ticketing scheme outside London, yet we are still very much in the infancy of what is possible. Working with operators, we will, this year, broaden the ticket choice available, hand in hand with simplifying fare structures and zones to make it easier for people to tell whether the ticket they are buying is the best value of them.’
Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said, ‘The success of Merseyside’s Walrus card shows customers value smart ticketing that makes their lives easier. We will continue to support Merseytravel as they increase the range of tickets available on the card this year. Smart ticketing is a key part of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse and the Walrus card is a shining example that I want to see other areas follow.’
…and in Greater Manchester
Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) ‘get me there’ bus travel cards can now be topped up at over 1,000 PayPoint outlets. Since the smart ticketing scheme was launched on buses in November 2015, over 12,000 of the cards have been issued and nine out of ten Greater Manchester buses are now able to accept smartcards as part of the scheme. Additionally, new tickets for Manchester’s tram system, Metrolink, have been introduced.
Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, Cllr Andrew Fender, said, ‘Buses account for eight out of ten public transport journeys in Greater Manchester and buying those travelcards is now even more convenient for thousands of people with the addition of the PayPoint network. In the few months since we’ve launched the get me there app and smart ticketing on buses, we’ve seen many thousands of customers start to take advantage of smarter ways to travel. We are continuing to work with operators so we can extend the number of get me there bus travelcards available and we remain committed to providing Greater Manchester with an integrated smart ticketing system which works seamlessly across all modes.’