Smart, integrated ticketing for transport in Scotland 

National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board (NSTAB) holds its first meeting – a major step in enabling integrated payments for all journeys by Scottish bus, ferry, rail, subway and tram 

The different transport networks and operators in Scotland currently make use of a range of ticketing and payment systems. It can be difficult for users to navigate this varied patchwork, and it doesn’t always give customers the best value for money.  

a large bridge over a body of water

Photo by Hongbin

In fact, the Scottish government has long acknowledged an issue here. NSTAB was established years ago as part of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019. The intention behind it is to improve consistency and interoperability, supporting improvements to enable smart, integrated ticketing across the whole of Scottish public transport, making it easier and more accessible to use. 

But it has taken until this summer to appoint the board’s 14 members, which include representatives from transport operators, local authorities, regional transport partnerships, passenger representatives and technical experts.

They face a sizeable technical and administrative challenge. For example, ITSO smartcards are currently used widely across different modes of transport but there is increasing demand from customers for digital and contactless ticketing and payment options. The NSTAB will investigate options and help to specify technical standards across the sector, advising government ministers on how best to proceed. 

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Transport, says: ‘This pioneering board represents a significant step for public transport in Scotland and a first for the UK. It brings together key partners who will work collaboratively to provide trusted, high-quality advice on how to propel Scotland to be a leader in smart ticketing. 

‘Modernising transport is crucial in driving forward a greener, fairer Scotland, enhancing equality, increasing opportunity, and supporting communities. And great progress has already taken place, with contactless payment available on almost all buses thanks to the Scottish Government’s £1.1m Smart Pay Grant Fund, and interoperable smartcards able to be used across different operators. 

‘I’m really looking forward to seeing what more can be achieved as we work together to deliver for passengers and help to make public transport the mode of choice for travel in Scotland, contributing to a healthier, fairer, more prosperous, and greener Scotland.’ 

Infotec will follow NSTAB’s work with interest. 

In related news:

SUVs ‘massively’ undermine efforts to decarbonise transport, says report 

‘Near miss’ data to aid road safety in West Midlands 

£4.1m for fully electric licenced taxis in Bradford 


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