The government is working with industry to roll out smartcard ticketing similar to London’s Oyster card across England and Wales in a move intended to increase convenience for passengers, transport Secretary Justine Greening has said.
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“Smartcards are pivotal to introducing a more flexible system tailored to customers, with a wider choice of tickets and season cards, recognising the reality that not all journeys take place five days a week during rush hour,” she said.
The announcement follows the publication of the government’s Command Paper, which sets out its rail strategy.
In its paper the government specified the use of ITSO-compliant ticketing, which allows smart ticketing schemes across the country to be interoperable between train operators and other modes of public transport.
The paper also said that the Department for Transport and Transport for London were funding a programme to enable the Oyster infrastructure to accept ITSO smartcards by 2014. This will allow passengers to travel to, from and through London using a single ITSO smartcard or product, it said.
“[Around] 60% of rail travel in the UK starts in, ends at or crosses London, so it is vital that London is capable of accepting ITSO smartcards,” it said.
The news follows a report by Sir Roy McNulty which identified inefficiencies worth £2.5 to £3.5 billion-a-year.