Northern passengers let down again over £150m smart travel scheme: The Yorkshire Post says

One of the greatest frustrations for the long-suffering users of public transport in our region is the lack of a streamlined ticketing system that allows them to travel across trains, buses and trams without having to make separate payments.

A 150m smart travel scheme for the North appears unlikely to include major bus operators. Picture: James Hardisty
A 150m smart travel scheme for the North appears unlikely to include major bus operators. Picture: James Hardisty

Commuters in London have long taken such smart travel and the convenience it offers for granted, yet it still seems to be beyond the abilities of transport bosses in the North to replicate the system, despite it being long promised.

Smart travel scheme 'at risk of failure'Now it appears that Transport for the North will have to proceed with a smart travel system that excludes the largest bus companies, which is a contradiction in terms if the services used by most commuters are not to be included in the programme.

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Granted, TfN is at a disadvantage compared to Transport for London, because it has been refused powers by the Government to compel operators to sign up to a smart travel scheme.

The limits of its authority have long been a problem for TfN, and represent a failing on the part of the Government to adequately support the North’s transport system.

That said, TfN must shoulder much of the blame for the failure to introduce a comprehensive smart travel system, for which it is receiving £150m of public money.

The criticism levelled at it by the bus companies is that its back office arrangements would cost more than their own.

Such problems could surely have been ironed out between the generously-remunerated bosses of TfN and the bus companies had the negotiations been approached in a spirit of determination to make life for the travelling public as convenient as possible.

For that travelling public is what matters, not vested interests.

The health of our economy depends on people being able to get to work and do their jobs.

Once again, they have been let down.