Norfolk has been selected for a £2.5m trial of smartcard technology for bus journeys as part of the government' desire to do away with paper tickets for public transport.
Those living in London often roll their eyes when they see tourists using paper tickets to navigate the underground or hop on a bus, as the Oyster Card system has been in use for a number of years now, providing a much simpler, quicker - and cheaper - method for paying for journeys.
However, it's easy to forget that much of the rest of the UK still relies on paper tickets for bus journeys. Now the government wants all this to change.
"I want smartcards being rolled out not just on buses but on all modes of public transport in England as quickly as possible," said transport minister, Norman Baker.
"This important piece of work will make that ambition one step closer to becoming a reality. Smart ticketing is the passport to more efficient, seamless journeys for passengers."
The smartcard technology will first be used on the areas Park and Ride buses, Norfolk Council told V3.
The government said it selected Norfolk first because it has "a good mix of rural and urban passenger and bus operator markets" to allow it understand what types of technology and set-up works best for passengers. No doubt Alan Partridge would approve.
"I am delighted the government has agreed to fund this demonstration pilot, and that Norfolk residents will be the first to benefit from the convenience and flexibility of smartcards," said Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation.
"We have worked hard to show that Norfolk is the right place to trial smartcard technology in a rural area."
Moves to improve the efficiency of ticketing systems on transport have gathered pace over recent years. Indeed, while those in London are used to the Oyster ticketing system, since January buses have been accepting payments via contactless banks cards using NFC.
27 Feb 2013
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