Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Call for Dundee to be at forefront of "Scottish Oyster Card"

Saltire Card would operate
similarly to the London
Oyster Card.
I have called on Dundee City Council to be at the forefront in progressing the Scottish Government’s “Saltire Card” by offering to be a pilot site for the proposed Scottish equivalent of the Oyster Travel Card that has been a huge success for public transport in London.

Having been the City Council's Planning & Transport Convener and a former chair of the regional transport partnership TACTRAN, I am only too well-aware that there is a real need to make public transport as accessible as possible and having a card that passengers can use for travel on trains, different bus operators and other public transport will make travel easier and possibly cheaper.

I have recently had feedback from Eric Guthrie, Director of TACTRAN, on the Saltire Card issue and Mr Guthrie is to be meeting with Transport Scotland later this month about this integrated ticketing initiative.  He has advised me:

“As you are aware TACTRAN has supported the need to extend Smart ticketing across the public transport system, both regionally and nationally.   We will be clearer on the opportunities and likely timescales regionally once we have met with Transport Scotland and I’m happy to update you on progress.”

The Oyster Card in London has been a great success in allowing people to pay for different forms of public transport use with the same card without the need to carry exact fare with them, and its made public transport all the more accessible for people.    Having recently had a family visit to Melbourne, their equivalent - the Myki card - is an excellent way to travel to your destination, changing between train, tram and bus seamlessly.  I can see great benefits for Dundee and, as it is clear that the Scottish Government wishes to pursue the Saltire Card initiative through a series of pilot projects, I want to see Dundee City Council take the initiative here by offering to be involved at an early stage.

I have written to the City Council’s Head of Transportation, suggesting that the City Council engage with the regional transport partnership and with Scottish Government to move this forward for Dundee.    

At least some of the pilot work on the Saltire Card will be Commonwealth Games focussed and whilst that is understandable, it is important that it moves forward in various parts of Scotland, not just in the areas closest to the centre of the games in Glasgow.    

Dundee has high usage of public transport and will make an ideal pilot location.   There are real benefits for the travelling public and I want to see Dundee included at the earliest opportunity.