West Yorkshire Ticketing Company

SUMMARY

To increase the use of public transport and to make it easier for passengers to buy tickets, the West Yorkshire Ticketing Company (WYTC) wanted to introduce a new multi-operator, multi-modal range of travel cards. Second only in scale to London’s Oyster card, the MCard scheme was launched in April 2014 and has been a huge success, with take-up exceeding all expectations. MCards are ISO 14443 compliant smartcards encoded to the ITSO specification and are used on the smartcard reading infrastructure available on the vast majority of buses and at main rail stations. Future developments will enable passengers to buy travel products online and add them to their MCard via an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet.

£13m investment in transforming public transport

46 different bus operators

100,000 MCards issued in the first 8 months, with 10,000 personalised MCards issued by Novacroft

93% of passengers say ticket purchase is easy

The launch of the MCard marks a real turning point for travel in West Yorkshire and will make transport easier and a more appealing option for residents and visitors

Richard Soper, Chairman, West Yorkshire Ticketing Company

THE CHALLENGE

West Yorkshire is a large county served by dozens of different transport operators running services covering cities and towns to villages and off-the-beaten-track places. Passengers often had to buy multiple tickets to get where they wanted to go. The vision of the WYTC, a joint venture between bus and rail operators and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, was to enable the region’s 2.1m people to get around more easily and cheaply, using a single smartcard for any journey no matter how many operators are involved.

THE SOLUTION

After raising local and national funds to launch the scheme, including £4.35m from the Department for Transport, the WYTC chose Novacroft to provide the web-portal that enables passengers to apply online for a range of MCards. We had already implemented a web-portal for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s concessionary travel schemes so there was an appreciation of our experience and technology, including our ‘white label’ web-portal, which in this case was configured to look and feel as if it is part of MCard’s own website, our online payment processing service, our ability to implement systems in a short timeframe and our card bureau services.

THE ADVANTAGES FOR PASSENGERS

Passengers have given the scheme the thumbs up, with 93% saying their MCard offers value for money, and appreciating that they can:

  • Apply for an MCard online easily and quickly from the comfort of their home, workplace or school or college
  • Travel anywhere in West Yorkshire on any mode of transport with a single travel card
  • Board buses and make their way through rail stations quicker thanks to the card’s smartcard technology
  • Not worry about having the right change or asking for the right ticket
  • Top up their MCard easily at a Travel Centre or one of 700 Payzone retail outlets.

THE BENEFITS FOR THE WEST YORKSHIRE TICKETING COMPANY

The WYTC is delighted that huge numbers of residents and visitors to the region are already benefiting from the scheme and that:

  • Local public transport is seen as modern, easy and value for money
  • The MCard is proving easy to get hold of, top up and use
  • On-bus boarding times are quicker
  • The Novacroft system is capable of supporting new features such as online payment, with travel products being added to a card via an NFC-enabled smart device.

The launch has been planned as a phased programme as we introduce a family of smartcards designed for each user group. With the commitment and buy-in from WYCA and our bus and rail operator partners throughout the network we are excited about the future of travel across West Yorkshire

Richard Soper, Chairman, West Yorkshire Ticketing Company