Smart ticketing forum sets out nationwide plans

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A forum is being set up to develop a tap and cap ticketing solution for the whole country. The Integrated Ticketing Advisory Forum (ITAF) will be chaired by sub-national transport body Midlands Connect and aims to provide an opportunity for Midlands local transport authorities and other sub-national transport bodies to share the work they are doing to make a single multi-operator smart ticketing solution possible.

The group plans to meet four times per year, with the first meeting taking place on Friday 19 January.

Midlands Connect, along with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), bus operators’ group Project Coral and the Department for Transport plan to work together on a ticketing solution which will make multi-modal travel easier using a smart phone or contactless bank card, capping payments at a daily or weekly limit. The work is focused on bus and tram travel and centres around making it easier to pay for journeys when using a number of different operators, and although developed in the Midlands, it is planned to be offered as a national solution for all of England outside of London.

Bharat Pathania, Head of New Technologies at Midlands Connect, said: “This forum is an exciting opportunity for us to work collaboratively with transport authorities. Transport users are long overdue a simplified tap-and-cap solution and this will really streamline the work we’re doing. The extra flexibility and ease of smart ticketing will help attract more people to public transport and create a more efficient and modern offer.”

Technical director at TfWM Matt Lewis said: “Simplifying payment for bus travel is an important part of encouraging more people to use bus services. This national project will see the introduction of ‘tap and go’ solution for customers using their bank card on regional bus services where, irrespective of which bus operators they use, they will get best value fare – this will finally allow us to bring the benefits to our bus passengers, which public transport users in London have enjoyed for more than a decade.

“The creation of the ITAF will ensure that local transport authorities are aligned in their thinking as we work in partnership with bus operators as we jointly deliver this exciting project.”