In 2011, the two main bus operators in the city of Oxford introduced an inter-operable smart ticketing system known as the SmartZone. Meanwhile, many other parts of the country have faced significant challenges in attempting to introduce inter-operable smart ticketing in deregulated bus markets. The Oxford system has therefore attracted considerable attention and it has been suggested that it could offer valuable lessons for other areas. This paper explains the context within which the scheme was developed and describes the key features of bus ticketing in the city of Oxford and in its wider travel to work area. The paper then compares the Oxford system with the aspirations of Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs).