DfT scraps funding for North's Oyster card

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johntea

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Interesting article here, Harrogate news source hence the specific mention of Harrogate but more widely Transport for the North seem to have scrapped any further investments in contactless payment technology implementations on bus and rail...


Plans to introduce contactless pay-as-you-go payments on train and bus services in the Harrogate district are set to be scrapped.

Transport for the North (TfN), the regional transport body for the north of England, had planned to roll out the contactless payment systems on rail, light rail and buses in Yorkshire and across the north.

TfN bosses said contactless payments were key to restoring confidence in public transport after the pandemic.

However, the organisation has now proposed scrapping the roll-out of the scheme, which is already implemented on some transport services, due to a lack of government funding.

Last month, the Department for Transport cut funding for the organisation and withdrew funding for smart travel schemes.

I wonder if one of the funded schemes was the recent introduction of the 'flexi season tickets' and readers that were popping up along the Northern network and intiially trialled on the Harrogate line, if so a lot of newly installed smartcard reader devices have become a bit of a white elephant!
 
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skyhigh

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Flexi seasons are a different scheme to contactless payments, and will continue and expand to cover more stations. The readers are needed for those to work.
 

Taunton

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One of the issues with new technology, whether it's Contactless, automated road tolls, or whatever, is that each such scheme always seems to have had a hard sell by a different technology provider from any that have gone before, who are going to completely invent the wheel from scratch again, to the substantial financial benefit of the technology provider but a real nuisance to the end users who have to go through countless re-registrations, and remember them all when their credit cards change.

If only the various authorities would just go out and buy the service off the shelf from an established existing provider, much cheaper. But it's just like the way that railway rolling stock has gone, everyone gets sold a separate, bespoke design, completely non-compatible version. Whatever were TfN going to spend £33m, just for 2021, on?
 

IanXC

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The DfT have specifically withdrawn the funding for PAYG travel options that were being planned by Rail North.
 

Sleepy

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So will DfT & RDG stop pushing to get rid of traditional orange cardboard tickets now passenger numbers have gone through the floor ?
 

Ianno87

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So will DfT & RDG stop pushing to get rid of traditional orange cardboard tickets now passenger numbers have gone through the floor ?

I'm intrigued to see, once passengers return, what proportion do so using e-tickets and Apps. I think it will be quite high.
 

HSTEd

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Transport for the North have gutted their projected improvements anyway.

This makes little difference.
 

JonathanH

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So will DfT & RDG stop pushing to get rid of traditional orange cardboard tickets now passenger numbers have gone through the floor ?
No, RDG are still pushing for a change to the ticket structure to be the outcome of the current review of the railway and 'building back better'.

And, if we are to genuinely serve our customers, we need root and branch fares and retail reform. We need the Rail White Paper to set out a clear direction of travel in each of these areas.

Taken from https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/a...re-anything-we-can-learn-from-nhs-reform.html written today.
 

JonathanH

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Do you still need a RDG with the end of Franchising? Seems like it could be a big cost saving.
A central organisation to promote the railway and operating groups does seem necessary. Also, I think RDG administer the allocation of revenue. Is that the work of civil servants?
 

plugwash

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This isn't contactless payment it's Account Based Ticketing (ABT).
The problem is that "contactless" can refer to at least three different things depending on who is saying it and in what context.

1. The actual technology for talking to a smart card without electrical contacts.
2. A system for acceping smart payment cards without electrical contacts
3. A scheme where users touch their contactless bank cards on readers while travelling and then a backend system automatically works out what to charge them and bills it to their card.

Afaict "account based ticketing" is industry internal jargon, not a term used in a public facing manner.

It still seems clear as mud to me what these cutbacks will or will not affect.
 

Andrew1395

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Do you still need a RDG with the end of Franchising? Seems like it could be a big cost saving.
Well as they run all the back office systems yes. You would need an organisation to that, even if you called it something like Railways of Great Britain Business Systems.
 

WatcherZero

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There seems to have been a couple of trial rollouts of the system in Merseyside and Harrogate but when it was time to pony up and transfer the funds they had pledged for a full region wide rollout the Dft reneged on their commitments with a 'Westminster central procurement could do this cheaper, lets go back to the drawing board and get fresh tenders and equipment trials' approach.
 

XAM2175

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So will DfT & RDG stop pushing to get rid of traditional orange cardboard tickets now passenger numbers have gone through the floor ?
The cost of maintaining magnetic-stripe equipment makes it likely that the phase-out of cardstock tickets will continue, even if they're only replaced with basic thermal paper in the near term.
 

IanXC

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There seems to have been a couple of trial rollouts of the system in Merseyside and Harrogate but when it was time to pony up and transfer the funds they had pledged for a full region wide rollout the Dft reneged on their commitments with a 'Westminster central procurement could do this cheaper, lets go back to the drawing board and get fresh tenders and equipment trials' approach.

Those trials are actually just carnet style tickets on smart cards. Its never got as far as a PAYG situation.
 

WatcherZero

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PaYG was launched on Metrolink. The TfTN scheme also paid for the Tocs to rollout card readers across the Merseyrail, Northern and TPE network and the carnet schemes you mentioned which were collecting usage data that would have fed into pricing/product design, Leeds-Harrogate 10 days unlimited travel that can be used anytime over six months and Merseyrail 3 return journeys that can be used anytime within a week.

They had invited tenders for the full pan-northern rollout last October under the project name Smart North Ecosystem which was supposed to start this year which would support multi-operator and multi-modal fare capping and allow credit to be preloaded.
 
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Starmill

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Well as they run all the back office systems yes. You would need an organisation to that, even if you called it something like Railways of Great Britain Business Systems.
Would it need to lease such very large, expensive real estate, and employ many hundreds of highly paid staff, though? BR carried out these functions with rather more frugality.
 

P Binnersley

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SwiftGo is the new PAYG card for the West Midlands. It can currently be used on Buses and the Metro. According to a Combined Authority Paper West Midlands Trains have purchased validators for stations and are waiting for DfT approval to install them. They are working with RSP to add SwiftGo fares (similar to Oyster PAYG fares) with a target date of March 2022.
 

mattdickinson

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Would it need to lease such very large, expensive real estate, and employ many hundreds of highly paid staff, though? BR carried out these functions with rather more frugality.
Would it need to lease such very large, expensive real estate, and employ many hundreds of highly paid staff, though? BR carried out these functions with rather more frugality.
It would be a lot cheaper, but politically impossible, to subcontract it all to TfL.
 
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