We are making good progress on implementing smart ticketing across transport modes and across England. On railways, some train operators are already using smartcard and barcode technology; all our major cities have smart ticketing schemes; and we have committed £150 million to support the vision of “Oyster for the north”.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Devolution to Greater Manchester includes plans to introduce a multimodal smart ticketing scheme. Will she assure me that from the outset travel data will be collected and interpreted so that further improvements can be made to Greater Manchester’s public transport system?
My hon. Friend is right to point out the importance of gathering data and how great it is that this devolution agenda is working for passengers in Manchester. I agree with him about the importance of data and I will certainly make my views known to Transport for Greater Manchester, which is responsible for introducing these schemes.
The Minister will know that I have raised the issue of automatic refunds before and campaigned for their introduction in Kent, so that my constituents can benefit from refunds when their trains are delayed by a few minutes instead of the current 30 minutes. When will this scheme be introduced nationally?
First, I commend my hon. Friend for consistently promoting the interests of his travelling constituents. He may be aware that from next February, c2c, which runs trains throughout his neighbouring county in south Essex, is introducing an automatic compensation system, which will provide compensation after two minutes of delay for those customers who are registered and signed up to its system. That is exactly the sort of scheme I want to see nationally, so we will closely monitor the roll-out of this programme to see whether it can be rolled out across other franchises.
Flexible ticketing was announced in 2013 and was wildly popular in the south-east when it was trialled in 2014, but there are rumours that it is being kicked into the long grass. Will the Minister scotch those rumours for long-suffering commuters in the south-east by announcing the date for its roll-out?
The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that the south-east flexible ticketing scheme, to which the Government have committed £80 million, is being implemented. We are currently looking at the best way to roll that out across the train operating companies. It has already gone live on Southern, Govia Thameslink
Railway and indeed on c2c, and we are talking to Southeastern about the right date to introduce it. I would be happy to meet him to work on this together.