pteg welcomes Government commitment to city region smartcards

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
TfL's Oyster smart card provides an easy and flexible alternative to cash fares (c) Transport for London

pteg today welcomed the Government's ticketing strategy and its commitment to prioritise bringing in 'Oyster' style smartcards for the city regions as a stepping stone to a national smartcard offer. The additional grant funding for smartcards in the major urban areas was also welcomed.

pteg also welcomed the reference in the Government statement on the ticketing strategy that it would look at devolving some national bus subsidies to PTEs, although expressed disappointment that in the short to medium term they intend to route subsidies to operators rather than the PTEs.

Neil Scales said:

'We are delighted that the Government has recognised that the city regions are the right place to focus on for rolling out the public transport smartcard revolution. London's Oyster card shows how smartcards and simple ticketing can transform perceptions of public transport, with patronage growing as a result. We look forward to working with Government on delivering on the Ticketing Strategy's objectives for the eleven million people that we serve in the city regions.'

Neil Scales added;

'We are disappointed that the Government has not moved to ensure better value for the public purse by devolving national bus subsidies to the city regions. We could make comprehensive smartcard offers happen far more quickly, and at much better value for the taxpayer, if the subsidies for smartcards were devolved to us. It is a waste of public money for the DfT to be paying operators a subsidy for every bus fitted with a smartcard reader - when in many cases the public sector (in the form of the PTEs) has already paid for those smartcard readers to be fitted to buses

However, we note the DfT statement indicates that in the longer term the option of devolving bus subsidies is on the table. We will continue to make a strong case for devolution of subsidies as it is strategic transport authorities like PTEs that are best placed to ensure that best value is achieved through targeting these subsidies in a way that meets local needs and local objectives.'

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