Transport Minister launches major Stagecoach bus smartcard initiative in Manchester

30 June 2011  •  Source: Stagecoach

Transport Minister Norman Baker today (Thursday 30 June 2011) welcomed smarter travel in Manchester as he launched Stagecoach’s innovative smartcard scheme on buses in the city.

Transport Minister Norman Baker

Transport Minister Norman Baker

The introduction of StagecoachSmart travel cards in Manchester makes it the largest city outside London to have a live commercial smartcard scheme on buses using the Government’s preferred ITSO technology.

The scheme, using a system by Vix ERG, allows Stagecoach bus passengers to store their travel on an electronic card instead of using paper tickets. It also offers customers the chance to pay for their travel through hassle-free automatic payments.

Launching StagecoachSmart in Manchester, Local and Regional Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “I very much welcome the introduction of this new smartcard initiative for bus passengers in Manchester. It will make bus travel simpler and more attractive, cut carbon and encourage more people out of their cars and onto buses.

“Smart ticketing can lead to more efficient, seamless journeys for passengers. I want to see this being rolled out to all modes of public transport in England as quickly as possible and this announcement from Stagecoach is another positive step towards that.”

More than 200,000 smartcard transactions are now made on Stagecoach’s bus and rail services each day as the Perth-based company continues to lead the way in working towards Norman Baker’s vision to have all public transport covered by smartcard technology by 2020.

Stagecoach has already introduced StagecoachSmart travel cards at its bus companies in Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire after becoming the first major UK bus operator to install smartcard-enabled technology on its entire 7,000 fleet of buses outside London. In London, all 1,400 Stagecoach buses accept Transport for London’s Oyster Card.

The company also uses smartcard technology to record English National Concessionary Travel Scheme journeys on its services in Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria, Tyne and Wear, Teesside, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and East Kent and East Sussex. Stagecoach also has concessionary travel smartcard schemes in place in both Scotland and Wales.

In 2008, Stagecoach Group launched the UK’s first national rail smartcard pilot on its South West Trains franchise. Having successfully completed the trial, South West Trains now has live ITSO smart ticketing at around 100 stations on the network. Stagecoach has also recently introduced live ITSO smart ticketing on its East Midlands Trains franchise between Derby and St Pancras with plans to roll it out progressively across the network during 2011.

Stagecoach Group Finance Director, Martin Griffiths, said: “Today’s launch is another demonstration of our commitment to making travel easier and more convenient for our passengers. With millions of people now making smartcard transactions on both our bus and rail services, we are proud to be at the forefront of delivering the Government’s smartcard aspirations.”

Stagecoach Manchester Managing Director Chris Bowles added: “With around 98million journeys made on our buses each year we know we have a responsibility to our customers to continue introducing new technology and new ideas to improve their travel experience. We believe the launch of StagecoachSmart will encourage even more people to try our greener, smarter bus services in Manchester.”

The launch of StagecoachSmart in Manchester offers passengers the chance to sign up to the company’s new Megarider Xtra ticket which allows monthly payments to be debited from the customer’s bank account on an agreed date each month, meaning they no longer have to renew their ticket manually. The customer’s Megarider Xtra ticket is stored on their StagecoachSmart travel card and simply remains valid for travel until the payment is cancelled.

For more information about Stagecoach bus services visit www.stagecoachbus.com

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