(2) whether the integrated transport smartcard organisation specification for implementing a national multi-modal ticketing system is (a) permissive and (b) definitive specification;
(3) what steps the Government plan to take to develop a definitive national integrated transport smartcard organisation standard.
The Department for Transport sponsored development of the ITSO specifications for an interoperable smart card ticketing interface. These specifications, which were published in March 2004 and are Crown copyright, provide a common standard enabling schemes to operate with each other. Consumers can thus benefit from a more consistent interface to public transport and the ability to use one card across many different transport operators and schemes in the UK.
Local transport authorities in England are able to decide whether to introduce smart card technology on buses, trams and metro systems. The second edition of the Department for Transport's guidance on local transport plans stipulates that the eGIF standards, in which ITSO is a recommended standard, shall be used for smart card procurements.
The Department is currently consulting on the specifications for a national concessionary bus travel pass for older and disabled people in England. This includes an option to specify, in regulations, that the passes must be in smartcard format and be ITSO compliant. It is a requirement of all new rail franchises that a percentage of tickets sold must meet the ITSO specification.