New North East multi-operator smartcard

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Stagecoach North East, Go North East and Arriva share operating territory in Newcastle. Pictured here are vehicles from each of the operators at Eldon Square in the city. STEVE HODGSON
Stagecoach North East, Go North East and Arriva share operating territory in Newcastle. Pictured here are vehicles from each of the operators at Eldon Square in the city. STEVE HODGSON

The smartcards of Go North East, Stagecoach North East and Arriva in the area will all be usable on each other’s services

Smart, multi-operator ticketing launched in the north east of England on Monday, December 14.

Bus operators Go North East, Arriva and Stagecoach North East have introduced a new multi-operator smart card called SmartZone which allows travel on buses operated by all three major bus companies in Sunderland, Newcastle and North Tyneside. SmartZone provides unlimited travel from less than £2 per day.

The announcement follows a pledge made last year by the country’s major bus operators to deliver multi­?operator smart ticketing to millions of bus customers across England during 2015 as part of the government’s Smart Cities initiative.

Regionally, the new initiative follows the launch of the South Tyneside SmartZone scheme last December. Since then, bus operators have worked together across the country and made a multi-million pound investment to deliver smarter ticketing for millions of bus passengers.

The new SmartZone products can be loaded onto either a StagecoachSmart card, a Go North East Key card or Arriva Connect card. All three will be accepted on any Stagecoach, Go North East or Arriva service in Tyne and Wear, within the SmartZone boundaries.

Once purchased, customers can catch the first bus that comes along. Passengers simply hold their card over the ticket reader when boarding the bus to record their journey.

The new tickets offer unlimited travel from £13.50 a week or £52 for four weeks in Sunderland, £14.30 a week and £55 for four weeks in North Tyneside and £14.50 a week and £56 for four weeks in Newcastle.

In a joint statement, the Managing Directors of the bus companies involved (Phil Medlicott, Stagecoach North East, Kevin Carr, Go North East and Nick Knox, Arriva North East) said: “Our buses are used by millions of people every year across the North East.

“Collectively we are investing millions of pounds in new digital technology to make it easier for people to use the bus. Smart ticketing, better information and easier ways to buy travel are at the heart of our strategy and support the government’s wider objectives to make buses better through effective partnership working.”