The new SmartZone initiative follows big five promise to deliver widespread smart ticketing in 2015
Bus passengers across South Tyneside will be the first to benefit from a new multi-operator smart ticketing scheme.
The new SmartZone initiative gives customers the flexibility to use one smartcard to travel across the borough with multiple bus operators and offers unlimited travel from less than £1.80 per day.
The development follows Britain’s biggest bus operators pledging to deliver smart ticketing to millions of customers across England during 2015. The technology is capable of extending the benefits of smart ticketing to other public transport modes in the future, such as National Rail and light rail services.
The ITSO-based scheme was launched on Friday, January 30, by Stagecoach North East and Go North East. The launch follows successful trials of the new ticket and the scheme is now officially part of the Stagecoach North East and Go North East ticket ranges..
Passengers can purchase SmartZone tickets directly on the bus or online, depending on the type of ticket selected. A one-week ticket can be bought onboard or online and costs £13 and the four-week ticket at £50 is only available online.
Tickets can be added onto a Stagecoach Smart Card or a Go North East Key Card and all valid products on smartcards will be accepted on any Stagecoach or Go North East service in South Tyneside, within the SmartZone boundaries. Customers simply hold their card over the card reader on board the bus to record their journey.
This new ticket is part of a multi-million-pound investment by the UK’s largest bus operators in what is believed to be the biggest smart ticketing project in the UK’s history.
The technology can also allow smaller bus operators to be included in multi-operator schemes and provides a platform to extend the system to other modes, such as trams and trains.
In the north east, it is predicted that additional transport operators will join the scheme later this year as work continues on delivering multi-operator smart ticketing which will be available across the wider north east.
In a joint statement, Phil Medlicott, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East and Kevin Carr, Managing Director Go North East said: “Our buses are used by millions of people every year and, along with local authorities and Central Government, we have a shared responsibility to make them even better.
“In line with our promise to customers, we’re delighted to be launching smart ticketing across different operators which is a major step forward for bus passengers in South Tyneside and will make travelling by bus even easier and convenient by allowing customers to jump on the first bus that comes along rather than waiting for a specific operator.
“Bus operators are committed to developing services within the region and to enhancing every aspect of the customer experience. Tyne and Wear has the highest customer satisfaction rating of the UK’s metropolitan areas and this is further evidence that by working together, and with the region’s local authorities, bus operators can make our buses even better.”