ITSO for Transport Operators

TRANSPORT operators are encouraged and funded by the Government to introduce smart ticketing as a way of increasing the use of public transport through improving their customers’ experience.

It is felt that smart ticketing offers a variety of benefits including:

  • Doing away with the need for cash and having the ‘right change’
  • Cutting down boarding times thus improving timetable efficiency
  • Supporting the ability to offer better and more flexible ticketing deals
  • The ability to use data obtained to improve and better target services

The biggest five bus operators in the country – Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach – have installed ITSO-compliant smart ticketing systems on their buses.

Some local authorities are also giving grant aid to smaller bus operators to help them install and run smart ticketing systems.

The Government has also made ITSO-compliant smart ticketing a requirement in some existing and all future rail franchises with a view to offering more flexible ticketing for rail passengers. The Department for Transport is funding South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) to encourage smart ticketing on rail in the South East with a view to rolling it out throughout the country.

The Government offers grants to operators for smart ticketing initiatives, as well as other things, through schemes like BBAF  (Better Bus Area Fund), BSOG (Bus Service Operators Grant) and LSTF (Local Sustainable Transport Fund)

All forms of public transport such as ferries, trams and subways are, or can be, included in ITSO-compliant ticketing schemes.

Transport in London currently uses the Oyster smartcard system. Work is ongoing to ensure that transport systems in London can also accept ITSO smart ticketing.

ITSO technology has a number of advantages over proprietary schemes, in that the equipment from different manufacturers can be combined in one scheme preventing lock-in with one vendor. Schemes managed by different operators and in different locations can interoperate, helping develop a truly integrated transport ticketing network in the UK.

ITSO is developed in collaboration with transport operators. It has a robust security system behind it, accommodates all ticket types for different transport modes, helps to improve business processes and can also be used for services other than transport ticketing such as parking, bike and vehicle hire.

ITSO also keeps up with the latest ticketing technology and is working with major standards bodies, transport and banking bodies to agree ways forward for such things as mobile phone and pan European ticketing.

This page was last updated on 9 January 2015 GMT