Stagecoach Group today launched an innovative ticketing scheme to allow passengers to travel by bus and rail on one smartcard.
The smart ticketing pilot in Basingstoke,Hampshire, is one of the UK’s first commercial multi-modal applications of the Government-preferred ITSO technology.
Passengers simply hold their Stagecoach Smarttravel card over special readers on the bus, at ticket gates or on rail platforms.
The announcement comes only a week after Transport Secretary Justine Greening launched the Government’s rail strategy,which included a vision for smart ticketing inter-operable with other forms of public transport.
The new pilot involves a small number of South West Trains season ticket holders travelling between Basingstoke and any smartcard enabled station outside the London area.
A rail season ticket and a Stagecoach South Megarider multi-journey bus ticket giving unlimited bus travel in and around the town are stored on one smartcard.
The integrated bus-rail pilot will be gradually expanded in the months ahead to include more passengers and further areas.
More than 200,000 smartcard transactions are already made on Stagecoach’s bus and rail services each day. The Perth-based company continues to lead the way in working towards Transport Minister Norman Baker’s vision to have all public transport covered by smartcard technology by 2020.
Stagecoach Group Finance Director, Martin Griffiths, said: “This exciting initiative means joined up journeys on rail and bus using smartcard ticketing is a reality on our transport network now. It is making travel easier and more convenient for our passengers,who can also benefit from our good value fares.”
In 2008, Stagecoach launched the UK’s first national rail smartcard on its South West Trains franchise and ITSO smart ticketing is now live at around 100 stations on the network.
Season ticket holders on the Group’s EastMidlands Trains franchise can now also switch from paper tickets to Stagecoach Smarttravel cards for travel between 26 stations on the network that are fitted with smartcard technology.
Stagecoach’s smartcards are also in use in Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Manchester
The Stagecoach Smart scheme, using a system by Vix ERG, allows passengers to store their travel on an electronic card instead of using paper tickets. Bus customers can also pay for their travel through hassle-free automatic monthly payments.
The majority of Stagecoach’s regional bus companies also now record concessionary travel journeys through the use of smartcard technology, including all of the Group’s vehicles in Scotland and Wales as well as all except two of its companies in England.