£2m ‘Oyster card’ bid to increase use of public transport in Hampshire

SIMPLE A London commuter uses her Oyster Card
SIMPLE A London commuter uses her Oyster Card
M27. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A TRAVEL pass similar to London’s Oyster Card system could be introduced across south Hampshire under new plans by the area’s transport leaders.

Transport for South Hampshire, which includes representatives from Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton councils, is preparing a business plan for public transport smart cards.

The cards can be charged up with cash and are touched to special receivers so cash can be deducted each time passengers make a trip.

The hope is that the simplicity of the system, which could be used on buses, ferries and trains, would encourage more people to use public transport.

TfSH has applied for £2m from the Department of Transport to set up the scheme.

Portsmouth City Council’s assistant head of transport,Pam Turton said: ‘The smart card scheme will make it easier for people to travel, on buses at first, then on other forms of transport later, we hope.

‘Advantages include people being able to pay the way they want to, when they want, such as choosing to buy for a month ahead or deciding to use it as a standard single fare when they board.

‘They’ll also be able to use all the area’s buses, not having to stick to using just First, or just Stagecoach.’

TfSH will find out in December whether it has made the shortlist for winning the funding, and will then draw up a full business plan for the scheme.

In London, Oyster cards, allow passengers to travel on all buses, tube services and trains across the city.

In Hampshire, they would be used first on buses, as all the region’s bus companies have already agreed to operate under the scheme.

Ferries would be next, then train services across Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Southampton, when franchises are renewed– which will be later this decade at the latest. If successful, the system would later be extended to cover the whole county.

People will still be able to pay using cash.

Hampshire’s leader for transport Cllr Mel Kendal said: ‘The convenience for passengers is very important, as well as the fact the system will reduce journey times.’