Transport for the North (TfN) has revealed major milestones have been reached in the quest to deliver its Integrated and Smart Travel programme.
TfN say that, by embracing existing as well as emerging technologies, the programme will play a key role in transforming experiences of passengers thanks to mutually beneficial partnerships with rail, bus and light rail sectors.
The initiatives will make travelling on public transport much easier, with quicker and easier ways to pay, opening up new opportunities including greater access to jobs in the region.
In the latest update, TfN said that these are “exciting” times for the Integrated and Smart Travel programme.
In the context of the problems experienced on the railways in the North throughout summer 2018, TfN is even more determined to deliver the smart innovations “that will truly improve the customer experience for train, bus, light rail and ferry passengers.”
Alastair Richards, Integrated and Smart Travel programme director, outlined the achievements realised since the last update.
One of the most recent ones is confirmation that the Outline Business Case for Phase III of the programme has now been confirmed by the Treasury.
Mr Richards explained what this means.
He said: “This will allow us to start the drawdown of funds from central government. It is a big step in making our plans for an account-based travel system, enabling use of contactless EMV card for payment and bringing in price capping, a reality for passengers on all modes of public transport across the North.”
Elsewhere, TfN confirmed the public procurement has been launched for Phase III’s Account-Based Back Office Travel (ABBOT) solution.
Technical trials are being carried out on the first phase ‘ITSO on Rail’ project before it can move to the rollout of smartcards for season ticket holders starting in October.
This has been described as “the first real, substantive change to passenger journeys that TfN are delivering.”
The Full Business Case is also being finalised for Phase II of the Open Fares Data and Disruption Messaging tools, ready for the approval of the Department for Transport, as the drive to greater technology continues on Britain’s railways.