Scottish 'Oyster Card' Begins Final Tests

26 February 2016, 17:32

Final testing of a new single card payment system for nationwide public transport is under way.

The technology, which is similar to London's Oyster Card, will allow travellers to use the one card as a ticket for all means of public transport.

All routes in Scotland will be able to process the card by March, but customers will have to wait until all testing is completed before they can use the system.

Transport Scotland has not given a date for the public launch, but it could be rolled out this year. ScotRail aims to have 60% of journeys paid by smart cards by 2019.

Unlike the Oyster Card, the Scottish version will not offer one price for all modes of transport.

Rail, ferry and bus operators will be able to keep their individual pricing schemes.

Transport Scotland commercial director Bill Reeve said: "The Scottish Government has a clear vision that it should be possible to travel anywhere around Scotland by public transport: by bus, by train, by ferry, by tram, by subway, using one form of smart ticketing.

"I don't know how many cards I've got in my wallet now but I really like the idea of a single card I can use on any piece of public transport rather than having to have a separate one for every means of public transport.''

According to Transport Scotland, all barriers and ticket machines are also ready to accept payments via smartphone.

But Mike Peters of Nevis Technologies, which develops smart card systems, said direct payment by phone will not be possible immediately because "the technology of the phone isn't quite there yet, security wise''.

He said:" It's very difficult for the phones to get into the secure element and to get ticket wallets in there.

"There's now technologies coming out, but they have only just come out.

``We'll follow that because if it's secure enough for payment then it will be secure enough for transport, but not everybody has a phone that will support that so some people will have their phone and some people will have a smart card.''