Merseyrail has installed contactless platform validators for electronic ‘smart cards’ at the majority of its stations but the roll-out of flexible ticketing such as pay-as-you go and fare capping in the city region remains ‘a long-term ambition’.
The platform validators have been provided by INIT, a supplier of integrated planning, dispatching, telematics and ticketing systems for public transport, and will allow passengers to tap for their journey using smartcards and purchase season tickets online for retrieval via the validator.
An INIT technician installing a validator
INIT managing director Jens Mullak said: ‘COVID-19 has accelerated the shift away from traditional ticketing methods, with smartcards and other contactless payment methods becoming increasingly popular in recent years.
‘With the move to customers using these technologies wherever possible, the introduction of this system in the Liverpool City Region has come at a critical time as the UK starts to move away from the current travel restrictions.’
Init said the PROXmobil3 validators are also 'EMV-ready', which will enable them to accept contactless payments from bank cards in the future.
Suzanne Grant, commercial director at Merseyrail, said: ‘The introduction of this technology is an exciting development that allows us to modernise our retail offer, improve accessibility and develop an easier way of travelling for our customers.’
However, a spokesperson for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which oversees Merseyrail services, told Transport Network that its Metrocard does not offer any pay-as-you go and/or capping options, although metro mayor Steve Rotheram has stated previously that it is a long-term ambition for the city region to have a ‘London-style’ public transport system, including these options.
The spokesperson added: ‘The installation of the [validators] helps us futureproof towards this. We’re working towards a technical solution that will allow multi modal, multi operator tap and go with fare capping but we don’t have any timescales on that at present.’