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Strathclyde on track for Oyster-style smartcard pilot

Pilot covers buses, ferries, trains and the subway

Scotland is moving closer to adopting an Oyster-style smartcard travel system for travelling on public transport, with a live trial taking place in Strathclyde.

The initial plan is for passengers to use smartcards instead of paper tickets on all modes of public transport in the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) area, which includes Glasgow.

A system has been designed by Lanarkshire-based smart media company Ecebs, which has commissioned a new data centre in East Kilbride to support the travel platform.

Ecebs' Paragon Transport system will provide the back office to validate and record smart journeys on buses, ferries, trains and the Glasgow subway using the same smartcard or smartphone.

The smart travel programme, which complies to the UK government's ITSO technical standard, is being implemented through a joint venture between Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Ecebs.

David Burdett, managing director of Ecebs, said: "The heart of the system is in place, the operational systems are tried and tested and everyone agrees that a smartcard for Scotland makes sense. Now that we are on the road to making it a reality, we very much hope that other operators across the country will join us in delivering a truly inter-operable system."

The new system will enable passengers to top up cards or buy and download travel tickets online or at multiple locations throughout the area such as bus stations, rail and subway stations and shops.

The system will be fully operational in advance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, promised Ecebs, and it will allow the future inclusion of additional services onto the cards, including delivering travel and events tickets to mobile phones, providing credit card-style payment services, and a number of council services such as travel passes for schools.

Earlier this year, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport said it was creating an integrated financials, procurement, stores management and timesheets platform, to help reduce complexity and streamline its contract negotiation processes.

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