New project launched to develop contactless fare capping on West Midlands public transport services
Transport for West Midlands’ new multi-operator contactless payment option will allow residents and visitors to benefit from convenient and cost-efficient public transport by simply tapping on and off buses in the region.
Credit: West Midlands Combined Authority
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has announced that it is working with the UK’s principal bus operators to launch a major fare capping project to offer passengers best value and greater convenience when using their credit or debit card on public transport across the West Midlands.
Over the next two years, a system will be developed to allow passengers to use their contactless cards across a range of transport modes and operators, which will mean ‘best value’ fares are applied automatically. This will effectively enable any debit or credit card for multi-operator travel, offering people, including visitors, and those who are not regular public transport users the benefits of seamless travel by simply tapping on and off buses in the region.
This scheme is one of a number of innovations being delivered over the next two years after TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), secured £18 million funding from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.
Although in future, passengers will not need a Swift card to ensure best value – it will continue to be available for those either excluded from the banking system or unwilling to use their contactless card for travel, with flexible fares capped over one, three and seven days on offer.
The funding will also cover the costs of 60 new Swift card vending machines, which will be installed at key locations across the West Midlands from early 2023.
“Given the cost-of-living pressures facing local residents right across our region, the pay as you go options, flexible tickets and season passes offered via Swift have an important role to play in reducing household outgoings during these challenging times,” said Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands. “Over the longer term, our new investment into multi-operator contactless ticketing will help to make public transport here even more convenient, even more cost efficient and even greater value for money in the future.”
Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Offering better value and convenience is a key part of our plans to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use public transport as we tackle the climate emergency, reduce traffic congestion and improve the air we breathe.”
The multi-operator contactless fare capping project being pioneered by TfWM and the national bus operators could also be rolled out further afield through partnerships with Midlands Connect, meaning that the scheme could cover the wider region and nationally with government and other transport operators’ support. The tap and cap scheme would help commuters in the West Midlands go further afield for work and leisure and go from bus to tram to train throughout the region for a daily cap.
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