Transport for the North, in partnership with Northern and TransPennine Express, is set to launch the first stage of Smart on Rail project this week.
The initial phase will see operation on rail lines between Hull, Scarborough and Malton in the UK, following which it will be rolled out across the network.
Initially, the focus will be on upgrading customers’ tickets from paper to smartcard, beginning with passengers purchasing season tickets on a smartcard at a ticket office.
Station ticket offices across the North have been upgraded to support the move to smartcards. The plan is to eventually support contactless, capped payments right across the bus, tram and rail network.
Transport for the North programme director Alastair Richards said: “Working in collaboration with Northern and TransPennine Express has allowed us to develop and begin delivery of a Smart on Rail project across the rail network in the North.
“The launch of the smartcard project is a vital first step in the delivery of an even more ambitious, integrated smart travel system for the whole of the North. We hope it is well received by customers and sets the standard for future smart innovations.”
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In the coming months, rail passengers will be able to purchase online tickets and load them on to their smartcards at gatelines without requiring them to stand in a queue at ticket machines or ticket offices.
Northern commercial director Mark Powles said: “This trial is an exciting development in improving our customers’ overall experience. Smart tickets will modernise the way our customers buy tickets, adding greater convenience and introducing significant benefits for our season ticket holders.”
TransPennine Express commercial director Darren Higgins said: “The introduction of smart ticketing is excellent news for customers and we would encourage season ticket holders in Hull, Malton and Scarborough to give the new cards a go.”
The work on the rail network is part of the first phase of Integrated and Smart Travel programme of the Transport for the North.
This project is funded by the Department for Transport and part of the Smart Ticketing on National Rail (STNR) programme.
Once all three phases of the project are complete, passengers will be able to make multi-mode, multi-operator, price-capped journeys.