December 2018
A successful year for the Integrated and Smart Travel programme has been capped with the launch of our smartcard project on a number of rail routes in the North.
Working in partnership with Northern and TransPennine Express, the launch of 'Smart on Rail' is a vital first step in the delivery of an even more ambitious, integrated smart travel system for the whole of the North.  We have already had impressive take-up rates and feedback that it has been well received by customers and sets the standard for future smart innovations. Merseyrail are launching their smart zonal railpass seasons from the start of 2019.

Across the rest of the programme, progress continues. We secured Ministerial approval of the Full Business Case for Phase Two (FBC2) which has allowed us to go to Treasury to drawdown funds to start implementation of Phase Two at the start of 2019. We have awarded our first innovation grant funding to test touch-on touch-off capped contactless ticketing on bus with the operator Transdev. The Phase Three account-based travel team is also continuing to work hard, preparing for what promises to be a busy 2019.  

Transport for the North would like to extend our thanks to all the project partners and stakeholders who continue to support us. Our work is not without challenges, but the continued commitment to the aims the programme keep us motivated and moving ahead. Collaboration is truly they key to our success.


- Alastair Richards, IST Programme Director

'Smart on Rail' - now live for passengers

Working in partnership with Northern and TransPennine Express, we have now successfully launched the first phase of our Smart on Rail project.

This initial phase has given ticket office customers the opportunity to upgrade their paper season ticket to a smartcard.  This offer has initially been made available to passengers travelling between Hull, Scarborough and Malton, and will continue to be rolled out across the North’s full rail network over the coming months.
We are pleased to report we have seen an enthusiastic response from staff and customers so far. As testament to this, in the first two weeks, over 40% of season ticket passengers on the launch routes have already made the switch to smart and have provided positive feedback!
Throughout 2019, rail passengers will continue to benefit from a planned series of improvements to the way they buy and use tickets, including being able to buy online and load tickets on to their smartcards at gatelines, without having to queue at ticket machines or ticket offices.  The project is being funded by the Department for Transport and is coordinating with their Smart Ticketing on National Rail (STNR) programme.

LRTIC approval of FBC2

In another major milestone for our programme, the Full Business Case for Phase 2 (FBC2) has been approved by DfT’s Local Region Transport Investment Committee (LTRIC) and signed off by Ministers.

The business case will now move on for final approval from HM Treasury. A decision is expected in order to allow contracts to be awarded in January to commence implementation. Approval of FBC2 allows for a further draw down on funds from central government.
Procurement update - preparing to invest
It continues to be a busy time for our procurement team as we prepare to invest in smart transport innovations for the North.  

We have now finished evaluation of supplier tender returns for both the Disruption Messaging Tool and the Open Data Hub; two integral components of our plan to make public transport journeys easier and quicker to plan for. Supplier negotiations are underway and signing of contracts will begin after final approval of FBC2. Full details will be announced following this.

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for Phase Three’s Account-Based Back Office for Travel (ABBOT) and the pre-paid solution are both still open for the selected suppliers and we have also launched a procurement to appoint a merchant acquirer to work with us on Phase 3. Our team have been busy responding to technical and business requirement queries and are looking forward to evaluation of responses early in the new year. The selected supplier for the procurement will be notified in Q3 2019, ahead of submission of the Full Business Case (FBC3).

Alignment with Traveline and the DfT's Bus Open Data programme

We have now begun a joint project with Traveline and the Department for Transport’s Bus Open Data programme to progress our work on fares.  This comes after agreeing a shared approach for the provision of standardised fares data, both across the North and nationally.

Transport for the North will be responsible for developing and launching a Fares Data Build Tool which has the potential to be scaled nationally. This will help make multi-operator fares information more easily accessible and understandable; helping bring the data experience enjoyed by rail passengers to bus and other modes of public transport. Procurement for the tool will begin in Q1 2019.
Open data - a new powerhouse partnership
Continuing our theme of partnership, we are now formally working with ODI Leeds’ new venture Open Transport North (OTN). Like Transport for the North, OTN aims to deliver open innovation with data to improve the transport network and unlock potential across the region.

OTN are currently supporting engagement with the open data community across the Integrated and Smart Travel programme’s initiatives.  The initial focus of this work is to identify and develop relationships with app developers who can deliver public transport journey data to passengers, as well as help establish the Integrated and Smart Travel programme as a thought leader within the sector. Look out for more news and content exploring in this partnership in the coming months.
Transdev Blazefield ready to Innovate with 'ToTo'
We are pleased to announce Transdev Blazefield have been chosen as the successful bidder for the first round of our ‘Innovation’ grant funding.  The Harrogate-based bus operator will receive £50,000 to pilot ‘Touch on, Touch off’ technology in a live environment on bus with contactless cards and single operator capping.

The trials – which will focus on contactless capped ticketing capabilities - are expected to begin on selected Transdev bus routes across Yorkshire in February. The outputs from the trial should help answer key questions about passenger and driver views as well as smart infrastructure costs, implementation and integration, as we continue towards delivery of account-based ticketing across the entire North.
‘Passengers of the Future’ youth forum
At the end of October, we were delighted to host Transport for the North’s first ‘Passengers of the Future’ youth forum. Bringing together operators, local authority planners and young people aged 16-18 years old from across the North, the forum aimed to explore the youth experience of our region’s public transport offer.

The agenda was developed in partnership with the Youth Work Unit’s Youth Voice (Yorkshire & Humber) group and two of three workshops were led by the young people themselves. The key issues for discussion were
  • Parity and integration of youth transport services across the North
  • Smart travel: benefits and barriers for young people
  • Access and inclusivity for young people with additional needs
The debate was stimulating and provided a unique opportunity to hear from young people. The session also highlighted operators' active interest to engage with this younger sector of their passenger base. 
"It was valuable to spend quality time with customers representing the ‘youth’ market. It was also great to be able to change perceptions and go away motivated to achieve more. Thank you for the invite."
Alex Hornby, Transdev Blazefield - CEO
We would like to thank everyone who attended and made it such a valuable session. Following the event 100% of respondees suggested they would be interested in attending future Forum sessions - so watch this space!
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