SPT deploys Unicard platform to digitalise ZoneCard ticketing

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.
SPT’s Zonecard is valid on bus and Scotrail train services across the Strathclyde area, including buses operated by First Glasgow. The operator’s LG71 DLJ carries Scotrail colours for the free inter-station shuttle service in central Glasgow. RICHARD WALTER

Specialist provider of smart ticketing and payment solutions Unicard has announced that its smart ticketing platform has been contracted by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on behalf of the ZoneCard Forum to digitalise paper-based ZoneCard ticketing on ScotRail, the Glasgow Subway, and most bus routes in the west of Scotland.

The Unicard solution migrates all paper-based ZoneCard products onto a digital smart ticketing system, allowing users to purchase a new ZoneCard ticket via a website or mobile app, as well as purchase a ZoneCard ticket from a shop.

Based around the ITSO standard, Unicard says its platform is compatible with smartcard ticketing systems used by other local authorities and transport operators in Scotland, which means that users with an existing transport card such as Transport Scotland’s National Entitlement Card – also provided by Unicard – can add ZoneCard tickets to it without needing to purchase or carry a new card.

As well as being more convenient for passengers, this improves sustainability by cutting down on the production of new plastic cards, the company points out.

CEO of Unicard Sean Dickinson explained: “We’re very pleased to be working closely with SPT to help modernise ticketing across different modes of Glasgow’s public transport. SPT chose to adopt the ITSO smart ticketing standard to support its ZoneCard service. This is in line with other transport authorities in Scotland and England that are already using our platform to support ITSO based services.

“A key benefit and differentiator of our platform is that it is token-agnostic, and therefore supports other technologies. This means that, while ITSO may be the best solution for now, the platform is future proofed. With these new capabilities SPT can accommodate other token types and services like QR codes, contactless bank cards, or account-based ticketing whenever they choose”.

ZoneCard Forum Chair Ryan Sorley added: “ZoneCard has been an essential ticket for many customers using bus, rail and Subway over the years. Working together with SPT, the ZoneCard operators are delighted to launch this modernised ZoneCard offer, making full use of smart ticketing technology to provide convenience and flexibility for customers. One ticket on one smartcard to travel on bus, rail and Subway – it couldn’t be easier.”