Scotland unifies transport ticketing infrastructure

View of Scottish railway station
INTEGRATED: Scottish travellers can use a smart transit card issued by any of 16 public transport operators

Public transportation users in Scotland can now use a smart transit card issued by any of a group of 16 different bus, rail and subway operators to travel on all the services provided by any of the other members of the group.

The interoperability project is based on the UK’s ITSO transit card standard and “brings transport operators together by integrating 16 previously unconnected ITSO smartcards”.

“Instead of carrying multiple smartcards or paper tickets, travellers can now use one smartcard across Scotland’s bus, rail and subway network, once it is loaded with selected ITSO travel products,” the standards organisation explains.

The 16 operators include rail operator ScotRail, bus service operator Stagecoach Scotland and Glasgow Subway operator SPT.

“While contactless debit card or mobile payment is used for single or return journeys on many transport modes across Scotland, currently smartcards can allow for more complicated ticketing products such as weekly or monthly passes,” Transport Scotland, the country’s national transport agency, explains.

“This improvement makes the process for people to use smart ticketing on public transport easier. It also aims to reduce the number of plastic smartcards produced for smart ticketing travel.”

“Our ambition has always been to see that some form of smart ticketing or payment can be used for all journeys across our public transport network,” says Michael Matheson, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity.

“The interoperability improvement project is a fantastic step forward to achieving our vision for smart ticketing across Scotland.

“By making ticketing for public transport simpler, we make it easier for passengers to use multiple modes of travel with one smartcard instead of two or three. I’m confident this new convenience will be welcomed by customers right across Scotland.”