The first round of investment has been awarded as part of the Smart Pay Grant Fund which will help bus operators upgrade their ticket machines so that contactless bank payments can be accepted.
Transport Scotland has announced that more than £447,000 has been awarded from the Scottish government and European Regional Development Fund, which will support up to 23 bus operators in this transition.
Large bus operators in Scotland have benefited from the rollout of contactless payments; however, for smaller operators, there are significant financial barriers in the way. The Smart Pay Grant Fund removes these somewhat and will give these a chance to upgrade ticketing machines so that contactless bank payments can be accepted.
The fund is important, given that Transport Scotland has estimated that it will provide contactless payment solutions for approximately 4.5 million fare paying journeys across Scotland.
It is part of the Scottish government’s wider ambition to ensure that all journeys on the country’s public transport network can be made by using smart ticketing or payment.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, is delighted at the first round of awards, and said the second round of the Smart Pay Grant Fund is now open.
He said: “Contactless payments make it easier to access travel in Scotland and I am delighted we have been able to support up to 23 smaller operators in making the transition to this convenient payment solution.
“This government is committed to supporting the bus industry and also people right across the country who choose to travel by bus.
“By helping smaller operators with the financial costs of upgrading to contactless payment, customers will benefit from quicker and easier transactions, whether by card or by mobile phone.”
This announcement follows the investment set aside to deliver low emission buses in Scotland, which highlights the government’s commitment to improving and upgrading its bus network.