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ITSReviewAnnual2015 43 smart phone or tablet. Or they might want to top up their smartcard at their local corner shop. All the recent talk about local enterprise partnerships or local transport and/or combined authorities taking more control over their funding and their transport schemes – using devolution, franchising, a mayoral system like London, or quality contracts – has included stated intentions to bring in integrated transport schemes offering smart ticketing which can be used on all modes of transport regardless of which transport operator is providing the service. ‘Oyster for the North’ is the shorthand used for one major plan, for example. People hold up the example of the very successful Oyster card scheme in London as the Nirvana of smart ticketing, forgetting that London transport is franchised and regulated, there is a congestion charging scheme, and that the needs and conditions for transport in a capital city that rarely sleeps are very different from those elsewhere in the country. The technology behind the Oyster scheme is proprietary, so not compatible with other schemes, and Transport for London aims to move over to a contactless bank card system anyway to cut smart ticketing scheme running costs. It has, however, been funded by DfT to upgrade its ticketing system to accept ITSO-based smart ticketing. The rest of the country has mainly de-regulated services on bus, tram, light rail or ferry, and franchised rail services. All of these have been encouraged and funded to install ticketing schemes which use the national, Crown copyright, UK Specification for interoperable smart ticketing – ITSO. In the case of rail it is specified in some existing and all future franchises. In some areas the local transport authority and transport operators have joined together to offer multi-operator, multi-modal smart ticketing. In others, the transport authority leaves it up to their bus operators to offer commercial smart ticketing schemes. For the future, some local politicians say the only way to achieve their transport goals is to franchise services or sign operators up to quality contracts. Operators say de-regulated, competitive public transport works far better and the way forward is good, quality partnerships where transport authorities offer the infrastructure (bus lanes, transport hubs) that allows operators to run good quality services. They say public transport should not be at the mercy of the ballot box. Regardless of who is ‘in charge’, using the anonymised data that can be gathered through smart ticketing can help analyse current service provision and utilise scare resources in future to better plan public transport services. That could include community transport, health and education provision as part of the lately mooted ‘Total Transport’ concept. So what is happening with smart ticketing around the country? The ‘Big Five’: Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach have all installed smart ticket machines which recognize ITSO-based concessionary bus passes. They have also stated their intention to offer multi-operator smart ticketing in nine major UK cities outside London this year. On the commercial ticketing front, as far as operators are concerned: ◆ Arriva offers a non-ITSO mobile ticketing but is also getting involved in multi-operator ITSO-based smartcard ticketing schemes; ◆ First does non-ITSO mobile ticketing but has also launched an ITSO-based Touch Card in Bristol and participates in ITSO-based 〉〉

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