National advisory body meets for the first time, with remit to advise ministers and work towards sectoral standards to ensure integration of what is currently a patchwork of differing systems
Scotland’s National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board has had its inaugural meeting, marking a “significant step” for Scottish transport.
The board discussed the future of smart integrated ticketing, which the Scottish Government hopes to introduce across all methods of public transport.
According to the board’s website, integration of differing ticketing and payment methods can be hampered by the differing technical set-ups of transport providers.
“The ease of using transport in Scotland, along with the growth of smart integrated ticketing, is often challenged by the different ticketing technologies and approaches that operators use,” the site says. “For example, whilst ITSO smartcards… are widely accepted across modes, ticketing is modernising, and people expect to use digital and contactless ticketing and payment if possible.”
Formed by 14 members from operators and local authorities to regional transport partnerships and passenger representatives, the ticketing panel aims to enhance consistency between operators as well as making public transport easier to use.
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Appointments to the board were made in recent months, and members will now begin advising ministers and working towards the ultimate “specifying a technological standard” to be used across the transport sector.
“We can help to improve the consistency and standardisation of ticketing and payment in Scotland, making transport simpler and easier to use,” the board’s website says. “This will also create a better platform for transport authorities and operators to introduce more cost effective smart integrated ticketing schemes.”
Scottish government minister for transport Fiona Hyslop said: “Modernising transport is crucial in driving forward a greener, fairer Scotland, enhancing equality, increasing opportunity, and supporting communities. And great progress has already taken place, with contactless payment available on almost all buses thanks to the Scottish Government’s £1.1m Smart Pay Grant Fund, and interoperable smartcards able to be used across different operators. I’m really looking forward to seeing what more can be achieved as we work together to deliver for passengers and help to make public transport the mode of choice for travel in Scotland, contributing to a healthier, fairer, more prosperous, and greener Scotland.”
The board was established as part of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 and is a 2023/24 Programme for Government commitment. The act aims to make Scottish transport more sustainable and accessible and to complement parallel work in reducing carbon emissions.