SPT is introducing a fully smart technology system from Saturday 29 June which will replace the old magnetic stripe ticketing that has been used since the 1970’s. The mag-stripe tickets operate with outdated turnstile gates and very restricted technology which is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.
West Street and Kinning Park will be the first Subway stations to have old gates replaced with ‘paddle style’ automatic smart gates.
The new smart system will be delivered in a phased approach whilst keeping the old system running. During this implementation or ‘transition’ phase, specially designed tickets will have dual functionality, a unique feature brought in to make the passenger experience as smooth as possible. These new tickets can be used with an old mag-stripe gate or when a new smart gate goes live. Although there are significant technology challenges with this, SPT’s focus is to minimise passenger disruption during transition.
SPT Assistant Chief Executive Eric Stewart said:
“SPT believe that the new smart system will – when fully commissioned – provide greater customer choice. Customers can, in future, use their Subway Smarcard for occasional use or choose to use the Subway as many times as they want within a capped price. We are also looking at offers such as zoned fares, a range of pre-paid and competitively priced season tickets, as well as one-off special offers – none of which we can do using existing obsolete technology.”
Once the transition work is complete, a Subway Smartcard will be launched containing a travel purse or STR (Stored Travel Rights), similar to what other smart metro systems offer around the world. That new system will be much more flexible and offer better value products.
Subway passengers will be able to put an amount of money on to their Smartcards to use anytime they want without an expiry date. They can choose the best fare when they travel and top up the value when it’s convenient, at home or on the go with mobile devices.
Smart technology will also offer more security if cards are lost. Once customers register they will get any unused value back on a new card. When multi-journey tickets are lost currently, the value is gone.
As a result, 10/20 journey tickets will be withdrawn from sale on 29 June. Customers are being encouraged to use up remaining journeys on their tickets by then. After that date, tickets with valid journeys can be still be swapped for an equivalent value new one.