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 Plans for Merseytravel ‘Walrus’ smart ticketing programme to go to Committee

Plans for Merseytravel ‘Walrus’ smart ticketing programme to go to Committee

Published on 28/02/2014
An electronic Smart card for travel on Merseyside will be a step closer should elected Members approve recommendations for its initial roll out at a Merseytravel meeting next week (Thursday 6 March).
 
Members at the General Purposes Committee are being asked to agree to the first available product on the ‘Walrus’ card being an electronic version of the Saveaway ticket – Merseytravel's day pass which can be used on buses, trains and ferries.
 
Should plans get the go-ahead, it is expected that the new Saveaway will initially be able to be bought in Wirral from the autumn, with roll out across the whole of Merseyside in the months that follow.
 
The Walrus Saveaway would be available alongside the existing paper version during the phased roll out.
 
It is hoped that individual operator tickets will be able to be 'loaded' onto the Walrus cards during the first half of 2015.
 
Alongside the work to get the initial Walrus product up and running, Merseytravel has begun a review of its existing pre-paid tickets to get a real understanding of what customers need and want and their travel patterns in order to develop a new suite of tickets. The overall pricing and zonal system is being looked at as well as new ways to purchase travel.
 
The report acknowledges that the Walrus smart ticketing project has not progressed as quickly as originally anticipated due to the complexities of integrating technology across different transport businesses with different systems and processes and commercial set ups – challenges not unique to Merseytravel.
 
Said Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel: 
 
"Should Members approve the recommendations then this is just the start of making buying tickets and travelling more flexible and that much easier. 
 
"The Smart ticketing programme was launched prematurely without consideration of all the complexities. That's why I commissioned a review. There is now a reinvigorated work programme which will ensure that the scheme is rolled out with proper consideration as to what customers need and want.”
 
"This is not just about putting existing products on the cards but ensuring that what is available and how the products are bought reflects the modern world and modern traveller.
 
"We're no strangers to smart-enabled cards. There are already around 320,000   issued for concessionary travel accounting for around 3 million journeys a month on Merseyside. It's about taking what we've learned here and feeding it in to a wider commercial operation."
 
The report which sets out the full rationale and recommended approach to Merseytravel's pre-paid smart ticketing programme is available at:
http://moderngov.merseytravel.uk.net/documents/s11380/Smart%20Ticketing%20Programme.pdf