England edges towards a single national multimodal ticketing system

MULTIMODAL TRAVEL: Bus, tram and rail services operating in Wolverhampton, West Midlands

A new group has been set up to develop a national ‘tap and cap’ ticketing solution for England.

The Integrated Ticketing Advisory Forum (ITAF) will be chaired by Midlands Connect, a government and industry-backed body which “researches, develops and progresses transport projects which will provide the biggest possible environmental, economic and social benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK”.

The Forum will provide an opportunity for local transport authorities in the Midlands and other sub-national transport bodies to share the work they are doing to make a single multi-operator smart ticketing solution possible.

Midlands Connect, along with the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the bus operators’  Project Coral group and the Department for Transport are working together on a ticketing solution which will make multimodal travel cheaper and easier for passengers using their mobile phone or contactless bank card, capping payments at a daily or weekly limit. The focus of this work is on bus and tram travel and making it easier to pay for journeys which involve several different operators.

Although developed in the Midlands, the system is to be offered as a national solution for all of England outside of London, says Midlands Connect.

“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,” says TfWM’s Matt Lewis. “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.”

The group will meet four times each year, with the first meeting on Friday 19 January.

England edges towards a single national multimodal ticketing system was written by Mike Clark and published by NFCW.