TfWM wants smart ticketing system to help boost public transport

Government is being urged to fund a £20 million smart ticketing system in a bid to increase the use of public transport across the Midlands.

The new system, which is similar to the Oyster card system used by Transport for London, would allow travellers to pay for trips on the rail, bus and tram network via their smartphone, travel pass or bank card.

The plan would be for it to operate across the entire Midlands region and would feature a “tap and cap” model, where once people hit a payment limit they can travel for free, reports the Express & Star.

The system is considered an upgrade on the current ‘Swift’ system, which allows people to travel on bus, rail and tram with one card. It would cost £20m to get off the ground, and could be adapted in future to include electric bike hire and the rental of e-scooters.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Although the card is the biggest of its kind outside of London, we must always look to keep improving,” he said.

“Not only will this funding from Government allow us to cap payments to ensure better value for money, but it also means we could integrate the technology with our new e-scooter trial and soon-to-be announced bike share scheme, allowing seamless travel on all modes of transport across the region.

“With work habits changing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic we must support more flexible travel patterns, and this scheme would allow us to do exactly that. I will be pressing the case to Government.”

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and transport portfolio lead for the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “The way we work, live and travel is changing – this smart ticketing platform will mean better value for money, more convenient ways to pay and crucially, more people using our public transport network.

“Government must deliver on its promises to ‘level-up’ and support passengers in Birmingham and the wider Midlands, as it has done in London.”ADVERTISING

The development of the new system will be led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) with initial roll-out of the plans being implemented by TfWM and Nottingham City Council. Midlands Connect will work with other local authorities across the region to integrate more areas into the scheme, which could be operational by 2022.

The use of public transport in the West Midlands plummeted since the start of the lockdown, although National Express said it had seen strong passenger growth on buses in recent weeks.

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