Aberdeen multi-operator ticket goes smart

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The GrassHOPPER pass will be available in smartcard form from August 22, after it has grown to cover 17,500 passenger journeys per month

Scotland’s first multi-operator smartcard is set to launch across the north-east of the country.

From Monday, August 22, the GrassHOPPER pass, which currently exists as a paper ticket only, will utilise a smartcard instead across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

Customers will be able to store the GrassHOPPER ticket electronically on a smartcard – either a StagecoachSmart card, a First Touch card or a Grasshopper smartcard, which can be used to travel with any participating operator.

Coach and bus operators across north-east Scotland joined forces in 2014 to launch the multi-operator bus ticket. Since then the ticket has developed reflective of demand and now offers unlimited travel from £4.20 per day in Aberdeen City.

The GrassHOPPER Pass, which has seen a steady growth in uptake since its launch, is a partnership led by local bus operators and administered by Aberdeenshire Council. The partnership is also supported by Aberdeen City Council and Nestrans. There are now over 17,500 passenger journeys being made every month using GrassHOPPER tickets.

The Smart GrassHOPPER ticket was launched at St Nicholas Square in Aberdeen by Bill Reeve, Commercial Director for Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf.

Humza said: “It’s great to see Scotland’s first regional multi-operator smart ticketing scheme go live.

“Giving passengers the option to have one ticket that can get them on a number of bus services should help encourage more people out of their cars and onto public transport.

“I’d like to thank operators for their commitment to making this product, delivered on the Saltirecard, a reality and in doing so making integrated journeys simple.

“I look forward to seeing even more smart ticketing schemes rolled out across the country in the future.”

Steve Walker, Managing Director for Stagecoach North Scotland added: “It is fantastic to see the GrassHOPPER ticket reach another milestone in its introduction – the fact that it can now be stored on smartcards, including our StagecoachSmart card – will deliver greater convenience to customers and cut down the amount of paper tickets issued.

“The GrassHOPPER tickets have gone from strength to strength since the launch back in 2014 and we look forward to welcoming even more passengers on our buses now that the product has got even smarter.”

Daniel Laird, Commercial Manager at First Aberdeen, said: “With our partners we’re proud to be at the forefront of Smart ticketing in Scotland.

“Using the latest technology we’ve already introduced m-Tickets which enables our customers to use their mobile phones as bus tickets. The introduction of Smart to GrassHOPPER is further good news for customers as we make using the bus a smarter and simpler travel alternative.”