Transport ticketing is on a journey of transformation

A world in which passengers can choose how they pay, whether by payment cards, smartphones or wearable tokens, is closer than ever.

It’s a real pleasure to be here today, and I am grateful for the chance to speak.

Today, transport ticketing is on a journey of transformation.

After a decade of pioneering progress, three vital elements have come together.

Smart ticketing technology is becoming more mature.

Passengers are starting to expect new ticketing technologies.

And transport operators are committed to meeting passengers’ expectations.

Transport for London has shown what can be done and in the past six months there has been some really significant progress in other cities.

Against that background, I am delighted with the news today that the card payment and rail industries have agreed to make it more convenient for passengers to pay for journeys using contactless cards and devices, and that the bus industry will make contactless payment fleet-wide in UK by 2022.

These landmark announcements are proof that we have reached a smart ticketing tipping point.

The benefits are clear and we can see signs of this already in the cities outside London.

Last November, I visited Nexus, Tyne & Wear’s transport authority, for the launch of the Purple Pop, the first capped Pay As You Go smartcard product outside the capital.

The Purple Pop is a great example of city regions taking the initiative – and as a result of smart ticketing, Nexus has seen a rise in both passenger journeys and revenues.

Of course, other arrangements can work, too – such as public and private sectors working together.

The Smart Cities Partnership has shown the way – supporting multi-operator smart ticketing across all modes of transport in nine regional cities outside of London and leading to the distribution of at least 700,000 smart cards.

There is a growing appetite for these new ticketing technologies but we need to make sure that they have the opportunity to develop outside London.

We have given more power to the cities because they have said they want to deliver a better experience for passengers, and now we want to see the industry demonstrate what it can do with minimum intervention.

But whether the changes are forged by the private sector or city authorities, or both working together, the key ingredient will always be collaboration.

Transport is complex.

It involves many different interested parties.

And it’s not always easy to reach consensus.

So we need collaboration between forward-thinking cities, operators and suppliers.

What is so impressive about today’s announcements is how the bus, train and payments companies have all worked together to find solutions that benefit passengers.

This achievement means a world in which passengers can choose how they pay, whether through payment cards, smartphones or wearable tokens, is closer than ever.

It will be a world in which time spent queuing for a ticket is a thing of the past.

And a world in which the rail industry’s orange tickets no longer clutter the nation’s pockets.

Of course, there’s plenty still to do.

And where there’s a case for extra government help, we will provide it.

In the spending review we announced that we would spend up to £150 million on smart ticketing as part of our plan to build a northern powerhouse.

I am sure that many people here will be working closely Transport for the North as the implementation plan takes shape.

And that’s a vital point.

The smart ticketing revolution won’t happen without your help.

We need innovative thinking.

Creative endeavour.

A firm focus on the solutions that help passengers.

I know there’s plenty of that here today.

It’s become a hallmark of the smart ticketing industry.

And it’s down to your efforts that we are living in a rare time of real transport change.

So thank you for your work.

Thank you for everything you have done to get us where we are today.

And thank you for your commitment to the future of transport.