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Buses: Fares

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timescale has been established for the roll-out of smartcard technology on buses in England; whether it is policy that all buses should be smartcard-enabled; and if he will make a statement. (253907)

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: The Department for Transport would like all buses in England to eventually be smartcard enabled. To help achieve this, we have specified that all concessionary travel passes must be smartcards and have announced our intention to pay a higher rate of Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) for buses that use such technology. We anticipate that as a result of these initiatives there will be a transformation in the availability of smart card systems and the use of smart cards over the course of this decade.

Work is under way on a ticketing strategy for England, which will encompass smart ticketing. The intention is to publish a consultation paper in the spring and officials are currently meeting with key stakeholders to inform the development of the consultation.