Smart transport ticketing in the North?

HATS Group and Olympic South Ltd CEO Henry Bilinski discusses new ‘Oyster Care for the north’.

The simple, but innovative Oyster card has come to define travel in London – it’s helped to transform the way we use and view underground transport. But can the highly successful, easy-to-use payment system be used outside of London? Well, we might be about to find out.

Efficiency and accessibility

In today’s transport industry, efficiency and accessibility is everything. Services and transport such as buses, trains and taxis haven’t changed too much over the years in terms of their primary function, but there’s always more we can do when it comes to performance and overall value.

Introducing a new system for quick travel payments in London was a big step for improved transport. The Oyster card, followed by Apple Pay and contactless card payments, has led the Capital’s underground system into a new era. But if our new efficient payment system is so affective – surely other cities in the UK should follow?

Autumn spending review

Well according to a number of sources, Chancellor George Osbourne is expected to announce £150m in new cash to start rolling out an ‘Oyster Card for the north’ at the autumn spending review.

This new smart ticketing system could see use in cities such as Manchester and Liverpool in the future, in which passengers could travel by bus, train or tram, in a number of different locations, all using the same digital ticket.

Next steps

Whilst digital, mobile phone tickets are already available on a number of different transport modes in the North, this new smart system will see more fluidity between different providers and transport systems. Great news for commuters.

TfN (Transport for the North) says smart ticketing will ’make it simple and easy to travel around and between city regions’.

It’ll be a long wait until the new ‘northern Oyster card’ is up and running, but this could be great news for transport users in the North.

More information when it comes in.

Until next time…

Henry Bilinski.

Student protest coincides with transport halts

Last week, a student protest in London turned violent when police clashed with rioters. Over 12 arrests were made whilst local transport came to a grinding halt.


Protesting against high fees and the government’s plans to scrap student grants, thousands of students and demonstrators marched outside the Home Office in central London.

Starting as a peaceful march, the protest soon turned sour when protesters met police lines in the capital.

Rioters hurled paint outside the Home Office whilst others threw smoke bombs and attempted to push their way into the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Officers on the scene were said to have arrested over 12 of the protesters for public order offences after the riot subsided.

Transport strikes

Adding to the unease in the capital, transport strikes also brought travel to a halt, meaning long delays and panic.

Transport union RMT continued with their 48-hour strike on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which ended on Thursday morning.

Speaking about the strikes, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT negotiators have made every effort over the past 72 hours to resolve this dispute through negotiation but due to the sheer intransigence of the management the DLR will now face its first ever all-out strike action in the 28 years history of the railway.”

Ongoing problems

All in all, with student protests, rail strikes and bonfire night problems, it hasn’t been a particularly good few weeks for London commuters and locals. The increasing number of ongoing disruptions to transport in the capital is extremely worrying, and with night tube negotiations still ongoing, we might not see any true respite until early 2016.

With the Christmas period quickly approaching, we can only hope that these issue die down soon.

You can find out more about the recent protests and strikes over on the BBC website.

For more information about me and my work, be sure to visit the HATS Group website.

CEO & Director of The HATS Group