tickets could become a thing of the past under proposals announced
by the Government today.
New technology, enabling mobile phones to double up as
"swipe and go" cards and bank cards to be used
to pay directly for journeys could revolutionise how travellers
purchase and use tickets according to the new consultation.
The Government estimates that the benefits of universal
'integrated smart' ticketing could be as much as
£2 billion per year through improved journey times and faster,
more convenient and reliable purchasing and use of tickets, with
benefits for local government and operators too.
Central to the vision is the implementation of smart ticketing
infrastructure using the Government backed ITSO specification to
allow seamless travel between, and within, cities and regions; and
different modes of transport.
Some of the more innovative proposals could see electronic
tickets or pre-pay credit loaded straight onto a mobile phone
enabling it to be used as a ticket; or “contactless” payment which
will allow ordinary bank cards to pay instantaneously for travel
simply by being passed over a terminal, dispensing with the need
for a ticket at all.
Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said;
"Experience has shown that smart ticketing can be a key
part of offering a 21 st century public transport system. And of
course the easier it is to use public transport, the more people
will do so, which is why I want to see a universal coverage of
smart ticketing on all modes of public transport in England as
quickly as possible.
"We know that passengers want quicker journeys and
better reliability, and smart ticketing will help us do that. We
could see the end to waiting in line at ticket machines, while
buses could spend half the amount of time sitting at the bus stop
waiting for people to board and looking for the right change. In
some cases, direct payments may even do away with the need for a
ticket at all.
"The technology and the interest is already out there
and I want to see it used to not only help passengers but also
reduce congestion, pollution, improve the local environment, and
help local authorities plan more effective local transport systems."
The Government hopes that the Smart and Integrated Ticketing
Strategy will build on the success already seen in London where
'Oyster’ smart cards are now used for 78 per cent of bus
and tube journeys.
Jonathan Bray, Director of the Passenger Transport Executive
Group Support Unit said:
"We fully share the Government's ambition to
see smart ticketing introduced across Britain's largest
urban areas as soon as possible. Oystercard has become intrinsic
to London life - passengers have a right to expect a similar deal
in the next tier of major urban areas.
"We look forward to continuing to work with Government
on the reform of bus subsidies that's currently underway
to help make this happen."
The key benefits of smart ticketing include:
Allowing passengers to load tickets or credit in advance of
travel, speeding up boarding times and reducing queuing;Fraud and
security. Smart tickets are far harder to replicate and can be
electronically 'killed' the moment they are
reported lost or stolen with any remaining balance
refunded.Sophisticated rules can be applied to
'cap' an individual's cost of
travelling at a certain level so that they will always pay the
best ticket price possible for the journeys they actually
make.Operators will be able to run their own loyalty schemes and
offer ticket types to suit individual customers'
needs.Joining up services through using smartcards for other
products such as library membership, leisure centre entry, benefit
entitlement, parking, bike and car hire, and even lift share
Notes to Editors
1. Developing a strategy for integrated and smart ticketing
consultation paper can be found here
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/. The consultation closes
on Friday 23 rd October. Consultation responses will feed into a
full strategy to be published later in the year.
2. Today's publication builds on measures already put in
place by the Government to support the implementation of smart and
integrated ticketing. For example 'ITSO', which
is both an organisation and specification for interoperable smart
ticketing, has been created and sponsored by DfT to create a
single specification for smart ticketing. All recently let rail
franchises and new England-wide concessionary bus passes must be
ITSO compatible and the government has announced the intention to
pay a higher rate of Bus Service Operator Grant (BSOG) to
operators which are equipped with operational ITSO smartcard readers.
3. Integrated ticketing can refer to a variety of different
concepts, such as integration between different transport
operators, integration between different modes of transport or
even integration between transport and other types of goods or services.
4. Smart ticketing is the name given to the system where an
entitlement to travel (or ticket) is stored electronically on a
microchip rather than being printed on a paper ticket. In most
smart ticketing schemes, the microchip on which a ticket is stored
is embedded in a smartcard. For this reason, smart ticketing
schemes are often known as smartcard schemes, although there is
much more to the scheme than just the smart card.
5. There are a number of benefits derived from smart and
integrated ticketing that can be quantified. The total benefits of
widespread adoption and high take-up are estimated at up to £2.6
billionper annum. A breakdown of how this can be achieved is
at p124 of the consultation document.
6. The organisation, ITSO Ltd, is an independent,
not-for-profit company that was established by stakeholders with
support from the Department in order to develop and maintain an
open specification which would facilitate interoperable smart
ticketing in the UK and potentially beyond.
7. The London Travelcard was introduced in 1983. Between 1982 and
1984 passenger kilometres on the underground grew by 44%.
8. Research commissioned by the department suggests that bus
'dwell time' could reduce by 50% if there was
full take up of smart ticketing technology.
9. TfL found with the introduction of Oyster 35 passengers per
minute could go through the ticket gates compared to 15 passengers
per minute previously.
10. Experience in London from the introduction of Oyster in 2003
to the end of 2007 is a reduction of 59% from the 50 million paper
tickets a month sold at the start of the period.
11. Nottingham Citycard is a contactless smart card and is issued
free to all residents in Nottingham by Nottingham City Council.
The card can be used for travel on buses as well as in libraries
and leisure centres. 100,000 cards are now in regular use. A
version of Citycard is also available for 11-17 year olds which is
issued to children eligible for free school meals, this offers
free travel if the individual attends a leisure provider.
12. The Cheshire Travelcard is an example outside of London of
multi-operator commercial smart ticketing which can be used as a
weekly or monthly travelcard, or as a prepay card which offers a
10% discount on cash fares.
13. Go North East have recently completed a successful trial of
tickets that can be ordered by text.
14. Hong Kong's Octopus Card was the first major
multi-modal, citywide contactless smart system in the world. 95%
of those aged 16-65 within the region own one of the cards.
15. The 'Osaifu Keitai' product in Japan has 30
million users, and enables your mobile phone to act as a virtual
wallet. It can act as a credit car, library card, cinema and
transport ticket and virtual keys for your front door.
16. Mobile phones are becoming more and more widespread
-approximately 90% of 15-64 year olds have use of a personal
17. pteg - the Passenger Transport Executive Group -
brings together and promotes the interests of the six Passenger
Transport Executives (PTEs) in England. Nottingham City Council,
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport for London are
associate members. pteg has two main tasks: promoting
efficiencies and the exchange of knowledge and good practice
within the PTE network, and raising awareness nationally about the
key transport challenges which face the city regions, and the
public transport solutions which PTEs are implementing.
18. Every Integrated Transport Authority (previously known as
Passenger Transport Authorities) has plans to roll out a local
ITSO smart ticketing scheme.
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