Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to invest just under £10m into developing tap-and-go payments, contactless payments and fare capping on Liverpool city region public transport – but we don’t know when. Tony McDonough reports
Tap-and-go payments, contactless payments and fare capping will all be introduced across Liverpool city region’s public transport network.
On Monday, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced £9.86m would be invested into what he claims will be a simplified and cheaper ticketing system for buses, trains or ferries across the six boroughs.
Under the planned improvements, people will be able to use the same card or ticket whether travelling on buses, trains or ferries. However, the Combined Authority has not revealed a timetable for the changes, which will include:
- Continued development towards a tap-and-go ticketing system.
- Future ability to introduce fare capping – ensuring that passengers always pay the cheapest possible fare.
- Ability to pay by contactless bank card or mobile payment through services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
- An app for buying and using tickets.
- Increased range of products across the MetroSmart Portal and additional tickets added to the MetroCard.
MetroCards were introduced in the city region in January 2021 but the tickets you can currently load onto them are limited. So you can purchase an all-day Saveaway ticket, for example, but you can’t buy a ticket for a single or return train journey.
Travelling is simpler in other parts of the country. On the London tube, for example, you can just tap a card or your phone at ticket barriers to pay for your journey.
There have also been multiple complaints on Merseyrail from people who have purchased tickets online but ended up being fined as the network currently insists on a paper ticket as proof of payment.
Steve Rotheram said: “Travelling on public transport should be simple, especially when it comes to how people pay for their journey.
“Yet, the reality is that our current ticketing system is no longer equipped to meet the demands of a growing 21st century city region like ours.
“I understand people’s frustrations about the current system and that’s why we’ve been working towards introducing a more simplified ticketing structure, but increasing public demand has meant that we’re now accelerating our plans.
“By upgrading our current paper ticketing with a new and improved smart system, we can make it easier and quicker for people to get from A to B.
“The tap-and-go, contactless ticketing system I want to introduce will unlock so many benefits for our region, removing the need for unnecessary queues, and ensure that no one spends more than they need to get around our region.
“London shows how it can work well – and I want to build a similar system in our area that makes ticketing easier, quicker and cheaper and, most importantly, works in favour of passengers, not profit.”