Latest step towards new smart ticketing system for Liverpool City Region

From Monday, February 18, rail users in Merseyside will be able to buy their weekly, monthly and annual Railpass tickets on a smart card.

The move is the latest step towards the creation of a new smart and contactless ticketing system, which can be used across the Liverpool City Region transport network – a key pledge of the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, who said: “Introducing a smart ticket that makes using our transport network simple and journeys as cheap as possible was one of my election promises.

“Smart ticketing technology will give customers greater choice about when and how they pay for travel, and help ensure they always get the best value fare.

“Tens of thousands of bus and train users in the city region can already make journeys using smart cards, with Railpass just the latest product to become available on what has been known as Walrus.

“But we’re now looking at how we create a new smart ticket – as well as contactless and online payment options – which is fit for the future and will work seamlessly across the entire city region transport network.”

He added: “The network of different operators and the range of technology used across the local transport network make it more complicated than we ever would have liked to get a London-like scheme operating here – but we’re working hard with our partners to deliver the smart ticketing scheme that our people deserve.”

Railpass joins Saveaway, Solo and Arriva and Stagecoach weekly passes as part of the range of ticket products which can be loaded onto what is currently known as the Walrus card.

Walrus cards loaded with Railpass tickets can be purchased at all staffed Merseyrail Northern and Wirral line stations and, depending on the zones they cover, can be used across all rail lines in the Merseytravel network as well as on the Northern-operated City Line.

Smart Railpass tickets will also be available to buy from City Line stations from next month.

The rollout of Railpass onto smart card is the result of joint work by Merseytravel, Merseyrail and Transport for the North – the regional body driving and delivering rail improvements for the North of England.

Further work to enhance the smart ticket offering on the Merseyrail network will come later this year, with platform validators being installed at all stations, allowing passengers to access and exit the network by tapping these cards on the validators.

And Merseytravel are continuing to work with rail and bus operators towards delivering an online ticket system which can be used to buy tickets, with the ambition to introduce contactless technology which will enable passengers to travel using just their bank card.

Andy Heath, Merseyrail managing director, said: “Merseyrail is committed to supporting the integration of smart ticketing and our shareholders, Abellio and Serco, have already invested in systems to enable the retailing of smart tickets at all of our staffed stations.

“They have also committed an investment towards the introduction of platform validators.

“The introduction of the weekly, monthly and annual Railpass season tickets on the smart card is a key step towards offering a simpler and more robust ticketing solution for passengers.

“Smart ticketing and new state-of-the-art trains will transform the experience of travelling on the Merseyrail network in the future and we are looking forward to working with Merseytravel to deliver this for our passengers.”

Alastair Richards, Transport for the North’s integrated and smart travel programme director, said: “Transport for the North is pleased to be able support the delivery of Railpass on to smartcard for public transport passengers in the Liverpool City Region, as part of our wider plans to improve smart ticketing across the entire North of England.

“From Liverpool to Hull, passengers across the North’s rail network are increasingly able to buy and renew their season tickets onto a smartcard.

“This roll-out is the first step in our ambitious plan for a multi-operator, account-based travel system, using contactless card payments, on all modes of public transport.”

He said: “Smart ticketing improves people’s experience of using public transport, which, in turn, helps make local areas better places to live and work. It is what Liverpool, and the North, deserves.

“By working in collaboration with our partners, such as Merseytravel, we are delivering a smarter and more integrated ticketing system that puts the passenger first.”