The West Midlands public transport smartcard Swift has been used for an incredible 50 million journeys this year – its most successful year to date.
The growth is up from 35.5 million journeys – in 2017 and is a result of better value ticket options, greater availability including online, and a growing range of additional uses.
Swift cards are available as season tickets for regular commuters and as Pay-as-you-go for occasional public transport users. They can also be bought and topped up in shops, ordered online and even purchased from self-service machines at bus stations.
The card is developed and operated by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) working with bus, rail and tram operators.
While smart ticketing is usually associated with a plastic smart card, Swift was the first ticketing scheme in the UK to partner with Google to add Swift products directly into your mobile phone. This is currently available on West Midlands Metro.
Further recent innovations include using Swift to access gyms in Wolverhampton and for rail station parking in Bromsgrove and Sutton Coldfield. Work is under way to add more uses including cycle and car hire schemes.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:: “The Swift smart travel card offers great value and convenience for travellers and I am not surprised it has become one of the most successful in the country.
“On top of this we are also developing innovative ways to make it easier for people to pay for their journeys, such as mobile ticketing. Thanks to this approach and our £4 billion investment in bus, rail and Metro services, we are seeing real growth in numbers of people using public transport.”
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Swift is great for travellers as not only does it offer discount on cash fares, but can be used by people regardless of their credit rating or whether or not they have a bank account or debit card removing a barrier to public transport.
“And next year we are also launching a new way of using Swift where customers can use the card for whatever journeys they need to make safe in the knowledge that Swift will work out the best value fare over the day or week.”
In 2020 Swift will commence the rollout of a new type of public transport ticketing where customers will be able to travel on any bus, tram and ultimately train without having to have any knowledge of the fares or what product they need to buy.
Instead Swift will calculate daily or weekly what a customer needed to have paid to achieve best value.
Swift’s ambitious programme will also see it being used in a wider range of transport areas including for car parking, cycle and car hire.
This will support increasing numbers of people who are choosing to give up their private cars. Swift will be at the very heart of extensions to the West Midland Metro network and the arrival of Sprint bus rapid transit.
Swift cards are available on-line at www.myswiftcard.com, at Travel Shops, Payzone outlets and at five self-service kiosks installed at key locations.