Public Transport (Integrated Ticketing and Multimodal Use)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 19 June 2013.

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Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to promote integrated ticketing and the multimodal use of public transport. (S4O-02265)

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

In October 2012, the Deputy First Minister launched the Scottish Government’s smart ticketing delivery strategy.

The first phase of that strategy involves Transport Scotland leading and co-ordinating a programme of pilot projects across Scotland, working collaboratively with regional transport partnerships, local authorities and transport operators. The pilot projects are intended to be scalable and are designed to help to deliver the longer-term vision

“That all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment”.

The pilot programme is diverse geographically, by transport mode and by smart ticket product. We have already had some success working with National Express and Dundee City Council, delivering a smart ticket for students that allows them to use part of their bursary to access citywide travel in Dundee.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

Integrated ticketing and easy access to multimodal use of public transport significantly increase the attractiveness of public transport while further contributing to a low-carbon economy. How are integrated ticketing and multimodal use of public transport being considered in current and future transport and urban infrastructure projects?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

Smart and integrated ticketing will feature heavily in new transport projects, whether the Glasgow subway upgrade, the Edinburgh tram or the next iteration of the ScotRail franchise. In addition, the influential Scottish cities alliance has recognised the importance of smart ticketing to achieving the alliance’s plans to leverage the strengths of Scotland’s seven cities. The alliance is funding a smart ticketing work stream, led by Dundee City Council, which is intended to generate further smart initiatives that can be adopted by each of Scotland’s seven city regions.

In the meantime, we are also learning from other countries. For example, I visited Amsterdam recently to see what has been done there with smart ticketing. The information that we gained in Amsterdam will be applied to our future thinking on smart ticketing.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

One lesson that might be learned from many other European countries is the need for simplicity. In Glasgow, commuters are already expected to be able to choose between the Government’s saltire card and Strathclyde partnership for transport’s new bramble card, while the zone card and the First card will no doubt still continue. Is moving from a complex array of tickets to a complex array of smart cards the best that we can do? Is it not time to knock a few heads together and get a simple system that everyone knows they can use?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

There is certainly something in what Patrick Harvie says. The reason for the current pilots is that we recognise that we have a number of different modes and quite a number of different operators, so we are not quite in the same situation as London where people have the simplicity of the oyster card—which, incidentally, is being looked at again, as the technology for these things tends to move on. Simplicity is very important and can be very easy to talk about, but it is also sometimes very hard to achieve. We need to learn what applications might be available for different modes with a multitude of operators, take the best learning from those and—I agree with Patrick Harvie on this point—then make the system as simple as possible for the user.