Swift public transport smartcard scheme extended by combined authority

Mayor Andy Street and Cllr Roger Lawrence with their Swift cards
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A West Midlands transport scheme is being extended to encourage more people to use the bus and train to travel around the region.

Travel smartcard Swift is the region’s answer to London’s Oyster card.

Three million journeys now being made every month using the card, which is managed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the public transport arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

TfWM has announced that three new schemes are being rolled out during the second half of the year.

The first will allow rail passengers in neighbouring non-constituent local authority areas (see list below) travelling into the metropolitan West Midlands to use the card from next month (July).

Secondly, from the autumn onwards, a pilot scheme will be introduced allowing people travelling on buses in Redditch (also a non-constituent area of the combined authority) to use the Swift card.

Finally, self-service kiosks issuing Swift cards with the holder’s photograph are to be rolled out across the region following a successful trial at Wolverhampton Interchange.

The trial was so successful that by the start of June, ticket sales were nearly 100 a week and are expected to continue growing.

Now, the WMCA has agreed to install another 20 machines at key locations around the region.

The schemes were approved at the latest meeting of the WMCA, chaired by the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

Mr Street said: “Swift has grown spectacularly in a short period of time, with three million journeys per month meaning it is the largest travel card outside London.

“It’s really exciting that we will soon be rolling it out beyond the West Midlands metropolitan area, which is particularly important given how many people travel from the surrounding areas into Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry.”

Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead member for transport, said: “Swift has revolutionised how people use public transport in the West Midlands.

“Now those benefits are going to be made available to rail passengers in the wider region.

“Schemes such as this are the latest examples of the innovative thinking that has made it the most successful of its kind in the country outside London.”

Non-constituent areas where people will be able to use the card to get into the West Midlands by train are:
·         Cannock Chase District Council – Rugeley Town; Hednesford; Cannock
·         North Warwickshire Borough Council – Atherstone; Coleshill Parkway; Water Orton
·         Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council – Nuneaton; Bermuda Park; Bedworth
·         Redditch Borough Council – Redditch
·         Rugby Borough Council – Rugby
·         Stratford-on-Avon District Council – Stratford-on-Avon; Stratford-on-Avon Parkway; Wilmcote; Wooton Wawen; Henley in Arden; Danzey; Wood End; The Lakes; Bearley; Claverdon
·         Shropshire Council – Shrewsbury; Shifnal; Cosford; Albrighton
·         Tamworth Borough Council – Tamworth; Wilnecote
·         Telford and Wrekin Council: Wellington; Oakengates; Telford Central
·         Warwickshire County Council: Leamington Spa; Warwick; Warwick Parkway; Hatton; Lapworth

Swift can only be used on rail by passengers paying by direct debit and who have an ‘add-on’ to their ticket that allows them to travel to a participating station outside the WMCA area.