TfN's smart ticketing runs into trouble as more KPIs missed


Transport for the North (TfN) has failed more key performance indicators (KPI), with its smart ticketing programme running off the rails and crunch talks scheduled for September.

The regional transport body was supposed to have a fully integrated smart ticketing system operating across Mersyerail, TransPennine and Northern rail services by the end of last year.

Its business plan and accounts documents also state that its KPIs were based on the delivery of: 'The first stages of phase 2 bus and light rail fares, disruption, open data hub, knowledge network and innovation pilots by spring 2019.

For Phase 3, TfN was supposed to have established 'a Special Purpose Vehicle with transport operators that will commission, accept and run the ticketless travel systems when they are procured and delivered by the end of 2018'.

None of this has been completed, despite £9.26m being spent in 2018-2019 on the programme - £8.2m of this was on capital expenditure. Tens of millions more are being held in reserve for the scheme but have not been drawn down due to the 'slippage' in the programme.

As part of Phase 2 though, TfN announced in May this year that suppliers have been brought on board to deliver an ‘Open Data Hub’ and ‘Disruption Messaging Tool’.

The news comes after Transport Network revealed the statutory body had also fallen behind on its KPI of integrating its Northern Powerhouse Rail plans with the HS2 phase 2b hybrid bill.

The business case has been held up in Department for Transport since February, putting prime minister Boris Johnson's Autumn deadline for a Powerhouse deal in doubt.

New dawn fades

After the failure of the south east smart ticketing scheme, which saw scores of millions spent on a scheme that delivered little or nothing more than paper ticketing, it was hoped that TfN could learn the lessons.

Progress initially seemed positive and optimism was high, however with millions spent already on a system that once again provides little more than a plastic versions of paper tickets, TfN is at risk of falling into a similar trap as the south.

Merseyrail's Walrus 'smart card' only operates on Merseytravel services. It does not provide any fare-capping or flexible fare services and the card does not offer pay-as-you-go services.

A spokesperson highlighted its, albeit limited, multi-modal option: 'Passengers can purchase Saveaways on Walrus which gives the passenger unlimited off-peak travel for one day on bus, train or ferry in Merseyside.'

On the TransPennine smart card, a passenger can travel on any train operator’s services 'so long as it has a valid season ticket on it' - a system also available on paper tickets in the north region.

The smart card can’t yet be used on bus, trams, ferries, nor does it offer flexible season tickets or fare capping.

A spokesperson said: 'The smart card can currently be used to buy rail only season tickets. We are working with Transport for the North to introduce full multi-modal ticketing across the North of England within the next two years. We do not currently offer pay as you go.

'Currently TPE’s smartcard can be used for any station to station season ticket from weeklies to annual. Fares capping is not part of the functionality for smart ticketing.'

Similarly, the Northern rail smart card does nothing apart from hold basic paper season tickets and doesn’t even provide the same services they do.

It has no fare capping potential or pay as you go.

It does allow multi-operator season tickets if you pay extra for the multi-operator package but this was the case on paper tickets and the multi-modal season ticket paper ticket is not available to be uploaded onto the Northern smart card.

A spokesman said: 'We will introduce flexible season tickets on many of our commuter routes later this year. These products will be loaded onto the Northern Smartcards and will allow customers to travel on a number of days within a set period, providing a more flexible and affordable alternative for regular but not full-time commuters.

'All MCard products sold by Northern are sold to smart cards, and can be used on all bus and rail services within West Yorkshire. We work closely with all multi-modal ticketing schemes across our network and are actively progressing the smart-enablement of other multi-modal products with ticketing companies, other operators and transport authorities across the North. We are committed to delivering Pay as You Go as part of TfN’s Integrated and Smart Ticketing Programme.'

A spokesperson for TfN told Transport Network:  'Delivering a smart ticketing solution across different modes of transport and many operators in the North is extremely complex, with several different options. Our members have asked for additional work to be undertaken in order to consider the best way forward.

'We’re working closely with the Department for Transport and operators to agree the next steps and will reconvene in September.'

They highlighted that so far, 3.9 million journeys have been loaded to smartcards since their introduction, with take-up continuing to rise.

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Environmental Improvement Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
We have an exciting opportunity to recruit to the position of Environmental Improvement Officer within Regulatory Services. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Legal Officer - Planning and Highways

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Kirklees Legal Services is one of the largest legal practices in the area and carries out and commissions legal work required by the Council Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Cleansing Operative

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£20.466 - £20.835
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic team of staff responsible for the cleanliness and general maintenance of a wide range of... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Road Safety Engineer / Road Safety Auditor (all levels of experience)

TMS Consultancy
By negotiation
Purpose of the Job Depending on individual experience, candidates will be involved in a range of road safety engineering and traffic management pro... Coventry
Recuriter: TMS Consultancy

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recuriter: Newport City Council

Senior Technical Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £29,636
The successful candidate will feed into the planning process, assessing applications in accordance with the... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Technical Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£21.591 - £25.809
Using your administrative and communication skills to the full, you’ll provide invaluable support across our busy Directorate.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Contract Monitoring Officer (Streets and Grounds)

Wiltshire Council
£24,313 - £26,317 per annum
This is an interesting and varied role involving inspecting and monitoring the condition of the highway Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Green Space Partnership Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£30,066 - £34,538
You will have excellent written and presentation skills including experience of preparation of reports, briefings, minutes of meetings and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Sustainability Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
Looking for two Sustainability Officers to work across the Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy team to create, manage and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Projects Manager

Brent Council
£45,585 - £48,482 p.a. inc.
As Parking Projects Manager, you will be responsible for leading the delivery, to time and budget, of key parking projects... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Parking Operations Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Are you a hard-working individual, who enjoys working outdoors in all weather conditions? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Team Leader (Local Plan)

City of Bradford MDC
£40,760 - £43,662 pa
The post requires a degree and eligible to be a corporate member of Royal Town Planning Institute and NVQ Level 5 in Management or... Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Team Leader (Infrastructure & Local Plan Implementation)

City of Bradford MDC
£42,683 pa - £45,591 pa
The Post provides an exciting opportunity to manage a multidisciplinary team of professionals leading on Transport planning and Local Plan Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 - £42,490
Seeking Environmental Health Officers to contribute towards delivering the project objectives of addressing rogue landlords and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Neighbourhood Highway Engineer

Devon County Council
£36,876 to £40,760 per annum
Seeking an experienced highway engineer with extensive knowledge of highway maintenance and traffic management to... Devon
Recuriter: Devon County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
SCP 13-17 - £11.41 - £12.35
Exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Highways, Transport & Engineering, Road Safety & Sustainable Transport Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Project Assistant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in undertaking complex Air Quality Improvement Projects... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Road Safety Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team.The Royal Borough of Greenwich is commit England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich