A collaboration between bus and train companies and West Yorkshire Combined Authority has led to travel becoming smarter and tickets more readily available throughout the region.
MCard is the largest smartcard scheme of its kind outside of London and enables people to travel right across West Yorkshire’s bus and rail network using a single ticket.
New smartcard readers for all 700 Payzone stores within West Yorkshire were installed towards the end of 2013, with all terminals meeting with the strict requirements of the Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation (ITSO) specification.
Chairman of West Yorkshire Ticketing Company, Richard Soper said: “All the metropolitan areas are moving towards ITSO smart ticketing for their multi-operator multi-modal tickets. West Yorkshire is at the forefront of this activity and this is the biggest operational scheme to date outside of London.
“This is a large scale project that has taken months of planning. We have had to take into account the training of bus and rail companies, as well as Payzone agents throughout the region. We want to encourage people to use the bus and rail network in West Yorkshire and ensuring that we have the best services available and operator systems in place, means we are equipped and ready to meet with their needs.”
All bus and rail companies have invested in new technology in order to be able to read and record card usage on vehicles, with rail companies also adapting station gates to operate using the new smart MCards.
With Payzone outlets opening on average over 14 and a half hours per day, Monday to Saturday and nearly 14 hours on a Sunday, transport tickets are now much more readily available to travellers throughout the region.
A programme of improvement is planned to allow passengers to see more detailed information about their journeys and over time manage their own accounts. Along with account management the bus and rail companies plus West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be implementing a number of new ways to buy smart travel products including sales using a customer’s smart phone.
Mr Soper added: “The changing retailer trends of customer’s means that this project will have to evolve over time. We are already considering how we can meet with the needs of our passengers by allowing tickets to be purchased using smart devices. The launch of the MCard and Payzone partnership certainly marks the start of a very exciting journey for bus and rail companies and travellers alike.”