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TfN outlines plans for ‘Smart North’ scheme

Transport for the North (TfN) has outlined its ambitious plans for the new Smart North ticketing system which is aimed at delivering integrated, easy-to-use, seamless public transport journeys across the North’s transport network.

The latest Northern Transport Strategy report, which was launched today by TfN and the DfT, says that the outline business case for Smart North will be presented to government in spring 2016.

It will involve new smart ticketing and IT development schemes, a ‘pay as you go’ offer that works across the north, daily and weekly fare caps, a ‘fair price promise’ and support for the transition to the new technology infrastructure.

Once TfN has been granted the necessary business case approvals, it says there will be access to the funding allocation announced by George Osborne in the 2015 Autumn Statement for the delivery of a smart and integrated ticketing programme up to 2020.

Smart North has four key objectives: improving the customer experience by providing seamless inter-region and multi-modal travel; reducing time queuing to purchase tickets, to enter/exit stations and to board buses, trains and trams; providing an enhanced information offer including greater availability of service and pricing information; and, over time, offering a ‘price promise’ to improve passenger perceptions on receiving value for money.

Andrew Jones, parliamentary under secretary for transport, said: “From smart motorways and rail franchising to potentially revolutionary future projects including Smart North and Northern Powerhouse rail, our work is delivering easier and swifter journeys for passengers, and supporting jobs and growth across the region.”

Smart North pilot

The plan is to deliver Smart North by a series of ‘releases’ over a number of years. In Tranche 1 this is listed as enhanced and new smart ticketing provision and core IT development. During this first phase, TfN will explore developments in a small number of towns or cities and routes.

Tranche 2 will focus on transition and ‘Pay As You Go North’. TfN said it will seek to support the transition of many current smart ticketing services to use the new technology infrastructure, giving passengers the opportunity to move from a dedicated transport smart card to a contactless bank card or a smart phone should they chose to do so

Then in Tranche 3 fare-capping and a ‘fair price promise’ will be introduced. To do this, TfN will work with operators and others in seeking to develop fare-capping and a ‘fair price promise’ to passengers on daily (and in due course weekly) basis.

Tranche 1 is planned to take place during the lifetime of this Parliament. Tranches 2 and 3 build on the proposed programme set out for Tranche 1; however, they are planned for completed delivery beyond the life of the existing spending commitments.

The report provides significantly more details of the Oyster-style ticketing scheme that TfN boss David Brown promised would be introduced within three years at the recent Northern Powerhouse Conference.

(Image c. Ingy the Wingy)



Andrew Gwilt   09/03/2016 at 00:21

Northern Powerhouse and TfN is a brand new scheme to improve road and rail networks across the North of England including Manchester, Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, NE England, Tyne and Wear (Newcastle & Sunderland), Yorkshire (Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, York, Trans-Pennine) and the North Midlands (anywhere north of Nottingham, Derby & Birmingham) which may include Lincolnshire but that's in East Midlands.

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