Translink set for major transformation with London Oyster Card type tickets and contactless payments
Northern Ireland is set to get a London Oyster Card style public transport ticket system as part of a major transformation.
A £45million investment programme promises to transform travel and hopes to lead to an increase in the number of people using public trasport.
Parkeon, a global leader in this industry, has been awarded the contract to design and deliver the new ticketing system.
Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway said: “This is a key milestone in our plans to transform public transport and make it your first choice of travel.
“We are looking forward to working closely with Parkeon to introduce modern ticketing technologies that will create easier, integrated ticketing options offering customers more choice and convenience.
“Exciting enhancements will include the acceptance of contactless payment cards on bus, e-purse payments like the London style ‘Oyster Card’, ticket vending machines, gated rail stations and an online app for customers to manage their accounts and top-up their smartcards".
Implementation is expected to start in 2018 with the new Bus Rapid Transit System.
Meanwhile, in 2019 contactless payments for Metro and Ulsterbus services are set to be introduced.
At the announcement on Monday, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: “The new Programme for Government envisages increasing the number of people using public transport.
“A high quality public transport infrastructure is fundamental to encouraging people to use our buses and trains. This innovative ticketing system will deliver long term benefits and transform how we access public transport across the region.
“The current ticketing system was introduced 15 years ago and serves around 80million passenger journeys every year. This programme will deliver a modern, efficient and convenient ticketing system that will benefit passengers and lead to greater efficiencies. It will improve the passenger experience.”
The Consumer Council welcomed the announcement calling it "great news".
Chief Executive John French said: "A modern, efficient and convenient ticketing system that will benefit passengers and improve passenger experience is great news.
“We know from research that any new ticketing solution needs to have a strong focus on value for money, convenience, ease of purchase and flexibility to be used on all Translink services. We look forward to working with the Department for Infrastructure and Translink to ensure the best system is delivered for passengers.”