Bus passengers in the North East will be the first to use a new multi-operator smart ticketing scheme.
The SmartZone scheme will allow customers in South Tyneside to use a single smartcard for travel across services run by both Stagecoach and Go North East.
Extensions to the multi-operator scheme could see inclusion of smaller bus operators or other transport modes such as trams and trains.
Stagecoach and Go North East predict that additional transport operators in the north east will join the scheme later this year, as work continues to deliver multi-operator smart ticketing across the wider north east.
Passengers will be able to purchase SmartZone tickets on the bus or online, with one-week tickets within the scheme’s boundaries costing £13.
In a joint statement, Phil Medlicott, managing director, Stagecoach North East and Kevin Carr, managing director Go North East said: 'In line with our promise to customers, we’re delighted to be launching smart ticketing across different operators which is a major step forward for bus passengers in South Tyneside and will make travelling by bus even easier and convenient by allowing customers to jump on the first bus that comes along rather than waiting for a specific operator.
‘Bus operators are committed to developing services within the region and to enhancing every aspect of the customer experience. Tyne and Wear has the highest customer satisfaction rating of the UK’s metropolitan areas and this is further evidence that by working together, and with the region’s local authorities, bus operators can make our buses even better.’