Smart students choose the smartcard!
National Express Dundee is celebrating the success of a student smartcards pilot project, involving young people at Dundee College.
More than 80 students have been participating in the trial with the bus operator since February. Each student has had their matriculation card activated to carry a student weekly ticket, so that they only need to swipe their card upon boarding the bus in order to travel.
This project, which is the first of its type in Scotland, builds on work already done between Dundee College and Dundee City Council managing the National Entitlement Card.
Christina Potter, Dundee College Principal, said:
"We are continually seeking ways of improving services to our students. This innovative system gives flexibility and convenience and we are delighted to have played a role in the pilot."
National Express Dundee's smartcard project plays a key role in a wider plan by the Scottish Cities Alliance to introduce smart ticketing across the country.
The new system means customers will be able to pre-load their smartcard with the ticket of their choice, making it easier and more convenient to catch the bus and reducing the need to carry change or paper tickets.
Ken Guild, Leader of Dundee City Council said:
"As the lead authority on transportation and Smart ticketing issues for the Scottish Cities Alliance I am delighted that this is the first of the projects in Scotland to reach the implementation stage.
"I will be watching with great interest to see how the pilot scheme with these local students progresses, and what lessons, if any, can be learned before taking the scheme nationwide."
Roy Brannen, Transport Scotland's Director of Trunk Roads and Bus Operations said:
"We have launched an ambitious plan for delivery of Smart and Integrated Ticketing. Phase 1 is well underway and involves us working with partners to develop a number of pilot projects like the one being launched today.
"This project has been a great success in both providing an innovative payment option for students of Dundee College and in working with a range of partners to further develop Scotland's position as a leader in Smart and Integrated Ticketing. There is now real potential to roll this out to every college and University in Scotland."
"We have also worked closely with First ScotRail to deliver the largest rail smart ticketing pilot in the UK on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow route, while smart ticketing will be a key element of the new franchise from 2015."
In Dundee, the smartcard initiative is set to be rolled out to include the wider student population from the end of May, on their NEC card or with a brand new Discovr smartcard which will be launched for the general public in the coming weeks.
Phil Smith, Managing Director of National Express Dundee said:
"I'd like to extend our thanks to the staff and students of Dundee College, who have helped make this pilot such a success.
"Now that we've tested the technology, we feel confident that we can begin to roll out smartcard ticketing across the city. It's yet another way we can make public transport an easier, more efficient choice for the people of Dundee."