Oyster-style smart ticketing system an essential part of levelling-up agenda, say MPs

Date posted: February 16, 2021
a man holding a purple swift pay as you go card

MPs have urged the Government to invest in a Midlands-wide ‘tap and cap’ smart ticketing system for public transport to boost passenger numbers, convenience and safety post-COVID-19.

New research by transport body Midlands Connect, which helped to develop the plans, showed that nine out of ten people surveyed supported the scheme, while 61% of respondents said that having a smart ticketing system in place would make them more likely to use public transport.

Set to cost £20million, the ‘tap and cap’ system will allow passengers to travel seamlessly across the whole region, paying for journeys on buses, trams and trains via one smart device, mobile phone or credit card.

Although smart ticketing initiatives exist in some form in Nottingham via the Robin Hood travel card, and in parts of the West Midlands via ‘Swift’, the UK’s second-biggest public transport payment system after London’s Oyster scheme, this new platform would be the first to function at a Midlands-wide level, and encompass all public transport operators and modes. In future, the initiative could also be rolled out to cover travel via electric bike hire and e-scooter initiatives.

Nicola Richards, MP for West Bromwich East, said:

It’s been 17 years since the oyster card was introduced in London; it’s about time the Midlands had a smart ticketing system of its own. With everything else that’s going on, we must not delay efforts to decarbonise the economy – we’re in the midst of a climate emergency, and it’s essential we give passengers the tools they need to return post-pandemic to a convenient, cost-effective and safe public transport network, in greater numbers than ever before. This scheme represents great value for money, has the backing of local communities, and is an essential step in levelling up. I hope the Chancellor gives us the green light to turn these plans into reality.

Read the full press release on the Midlands Connect website.

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