Swift rolled out on bus and rail as smartcard use hits 3 million.
Swift, the region’s travel smartcard, is set for another major rollout. With three million journeys now being made every month with the card, access to it is to be made even wider.
The West Midlands Combined Authority which runs Swift through its public transport arm Transport for West Midlands has announced three new schemes:
· Rail passengers travelling into the metropolitan West Midlands from stations in neighbouring non-constituent local authorities will be able to use Swift from July
· A pilot scheme using Swift on buses in non-constituent member Redditch is to begin in the autumn
· Self-service kiosks issuing Swift cards with the holders photograph are to be rolled out across the region following a successful trial at Wolverhampton Interchange
The schemes were approved at the latest meeting of the WMCA, chaired by the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street. He said: “Swift has grown spectacularly in a short period of time, with 3 million journeys per month meaning it is the largest travel card outside London. It’s really exciting that we will soon be rolling it out beyond the West Midlands metropolitan area, which is particularly important given how many people travel from the surrounding areas into Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry.”
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead member for transport, said: “Swift has revolutionised how people use public transport in the West Midlands. “Now those benefits are going to be made available to rail passengers in the wider region. Schemes such as this are the latest examples of the innovative thinking that has made it the most successful of its kind in the country outside London.”
Swift will be available to rail passengers travelling into the West Midlands from railway stations in the following non-constituent member authorities of the WMCA:
· Cannock Chase District Council – Rugeley Town; Hednesford; Cannock
· North Warwickshire Borough Council – Atherstone; Coleshill Parkway; Water Orton
· Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council – Nuneaton; Bermuda Park; Bedworth
· Redditch Borough Council – Redditch
· Rugby Borough Council – Rugby
· Stratford-on-Avon District Council – Stratford-on-Avon; Stratford-on-Avon Parkway; Wilmcote; Wooton Wawen; Henley in Arden; Danzey; Wood End; The Lakes; Bearley; Claverdon
· Shropshire Council – Shrewsbury; Shifnal; Cosford; Albrighton
· Tamworth Borough Council – Tamworth; Wilnecote
· Telford and Wrekin Council: Wellington; Oakengates; Telford Central
· Warwickshire County Council: Leamington Spa; Warwick; Warwick Parkway; Hatton; Lapworth
Swift can only be used on rail by passengers paying by direct debit and who have an ‘add-on’ to their ticket that allows them to travel to a participating station outside the WMCA area. The Redditch bus scheme will see Diamond – the largest bus operator in the town – put its one and four week tickets onto Swift as well as accepting Swift Pay-As-You-Go. Also taking part will be Johnsons, who will be accepting the same on the 150 route which runs between Birmingham-Redditch-Worcester.
TfWM installed the Swift vending kiosk – the UK’s first Smartcard vending machine to take photos – at Wolverhampton Interchange in April. It has proved so successful that by the start of June ticket sales were nearly 100 a week and are expected to continue growing. Now, the WMCA has agreed to install another 20 machines at key locations around the region. The kiosks let people buy tickets when the Travel Centre is closed, top-up and renew existing cards, just like a Swift Collector or the Swift Card android app. There is no app available on IOS. It can vend all Swift products except the Student ticket, which requires eligibility checks.
Swift is available online from the Network West MidlandsNetwork West Midlands website.