Contactless travel plan developed

Transport chiefs are looking at contactless travel for journeys across the North
Transport chiefs are looking at contactless travel for journeys across the North
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Contactless card travel across the North could be one of the major benefits to emerge from devolution as transpennine cooperation is improved.

West Yorkshire is leading talks over ways to make it easier for public transport users to travel between different parts of the North.

Ideas on the table include allowing passengers to use bank cards with contactless payment technology to get on to trains and buses.

With technological hurdles to overcome, swifter improvements could see smartcards introduced for rail season tickets in the region.

Simplifying journeys across the North so people find it easier to travel for work is seen as one of the key ways to drive economic growth.

Coun Keith Wakefield, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee, said: “Just this week we have celebrated the re-opening of the refurbished Wakefield Kirkgate station and in the coming weeks and months we will see the completion of other major Combined Authority projects with new rail stations at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge and Low Moor and the opening of Leeds Station southern entrance.

“Transport for the North, wants to see 30 minute journey time between Leeds and Manchester and Leeds and Sheffield, but to maximise the impacts of these and future initiatives we also need to ensure similar journey times between our smaller centres to ensure that the benefits, in terms of business growth, new and better jobs and housing, are felt right across West Yorkshire and the City Region.”

The discussions over ticketing are part of Transport for the North (TfN), an initiative bringing northern councils together to have a bigger say on major decisions transport decisions previously taken in Whitehall..

TfN, which the Government has announced will become a permanent body overseeing major transport projects, is also looking at infrastructure improvements to speed up journey times.

Projects on the table include the best way to deliver transpennine high speed rail and how it could connect to the proposed HS2 line between Yorkshire and London.

Details of the discussions over improving travel in the North has emerged as councils agree to developing closer ties.

Authorities across the North have now agreed to be part of a West Yorkshire-led initiative to set up a ‘Council of the North’.

The move is designed to offset concerns that the Government’s proposals to strike devolution ‘deals’ with parts of the North could pitch areas against each other.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “Different parts of the North are not in competition, this is about co-operation.

“We want to come together to make sure we can avoid duplication and improve co-operation and at the heart of that will be improving transport.”

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese has previously expressed support for Yorkshire’s devolution ambitions, arguing it will help the North compete economically.

Greater Manchester struck its own devolution deal with the Government last year.

Yorkshire councils have submitted a series of proposals over how the area could wield devolved powers from Government.