Smart technology for region's transport

A Metro sign The new technology will tie in with developments at Metro stations

Transport operators across North East England are working together to develop the region's first smart ticketing technology for public transport. The plans would see passengers able to travel anywhere from the Scottish border to the Tees Valley using a similar technology to London's Oyster Card.

The system would charge a fare from a passenger's smart card as he or she boarded a bus, Metro or train. Versions of the smart cards would also let passengers use special offers from individual operators.

A conference at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on Wednesday brought together bus operators Stagecoach, Go North East and Arriva, the Association of North East Councils and Nexus to discuss taking the plans forward.

Tobyn Hughes, Nexus Head of Strategy, said: "Smart card ticketing is used all over Europe to make passengers' journeys easier. We believe people in North East England deserve something similar.

"Smart cards can allow passengers to ‘pay as you go' just like mobile phones, without worrying about carrying change, they speed up boarding times and let part time workers enjoy discounts for regular travel that otherwise apply only to five-day-a-week commuters.

"Making public transport more attractive is good for the economy, helps combat congestion and benefits the environment by giving people a real choice to the car."

Nexus is now seeking funding to develop technology which would be fitted at Metro stations and on buses right across the region. It will also be seeking the backing of transport operators and local authorities across North East England to support the work.

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