The Northern Ireland Government has announced a £45m investment to modernise the country’s public transport ticketing, aiming to ‘transform travel’ and increase users.
Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard announced that international urban mobility and ticketing company Parkeon has been awarded the contract to design and deliver the new system.
Northern Ireland infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard
He said: ‘A high quality public transport infrastructure is fundamental to encouraging people to use our buses and trains. This innovative ticketing system will deliver long-term benefits and transform how we access public transport across the region.
‘The current ticketing system was introduced 15 years ago and serves around 80 million passenger journeys every year. This programme will deliver a modern, efficient and convenient ticketing system that will benefit passengers and lead to greater efficiencies. It will improve the passenger experience.’
Chris Conway, group chief executive of integrated public transport provider Translink, said: ‘This is a key milestone in our plans to transform public transport and make it your first choice of travel.
‘Exciting enhancements will include the acceptance of contactless payment cards on bus, e-purse payments like the London style “Oyster Card”, ticket vending machines, gated rail stations and an online app for customers to manage their accounts and top-up their smartcards.
‘Implementation is expected to start in 2018 with the new Bus Rapid Transit System. Following this, in 2019 we plan to introduce contactless payments for Metro and Ulsterbus services and customers will enjoy further technology enhancements as we phase in this new era in Translink ticketing which will attract more people to use the bus and train as travel options.’
Separately, London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that the new ‘Hopper’ bus and tram fare will begin on Monday (12 September).
The fare allows passengers buying a £1.50 single ticket a free second journey within one hour of the first.
Transport for London (TfL) is still working on delivering unlimited bus and tram transfers within one hour, as promised by Mr Khan in his manifesto.
City Hall said this is ‘not currently possible due to limits with the existing technology’ but that TfL plans to deliver unlimited journeys in an hour from 2018.