Translink Milestone for National Account Based Ticketing System for Northern Ireland

Translink has completed a significant milestone in the rollout of a national account-based ticketing (ABT) system covering Northern Ireland.

Passengers using the Translink Metro bus network in Belfast are benefiting from contactless payment technology as part of the operator’s Future Ticketing System, which has been developed in partnership with transport ticketing and payments specialists Flowbird.

Dave Thompson, Managing Director, Flowbird, pictured with Paddy Anderson, Chief Financial Officer at Translink

In time, the new contactless ticketing architecture will provide integrated and seamless multimodal travel for citizens across Northern Ireland – creating the UK’s largest multimodal ABT system outside London.

Passengers on Translink Metro’s 270 Belfast buses are the first to experience Open Payments ABT in the city, with contactless bank cards acting as both a ticket and payment method for a flat fare regardless of distance travelled. Frequent travellers also benefit from a fares cap of £3.50 when two or more Metro journeys are made in one day.

Paddy Anderson, Chief Financial Officer at Translink, said: “This rollout reflects just one exciting step in the range of plans we have to improve customer experience and shorten journey times for everyone on-board. We endeavour to provide our customers with the best possible service and are encouraging more people to benefit from this latest travel payment option.

“Ultimately, our ambition of enabling passengers to simply turn up, tap on and travel knowing they have been availed of the best value fare. Our customers will not only enjoy the convenience and simplicity of making contactless payments but, at a time when the cost of living is escalating, they can also easily view their transaction and payment history online, checking the savings they’ve made via the daily capped contactless fare.”

In addition to contactless payments, the new system also continues to accept Translink’s fare-paying and concessionary smartcards, offering passengers a choice of payment methods while ensuring access to transport services for children and customers who cannot use a bank card.

“This is an important milestone in the development of a nationwide ABT system that will evolve to include Ulsterbus, Glider BRT and Rail services in addition to Metro buses,” said David Thompson, Flowbird Managing Director. “This will make it easier than ever before for the people of Belfast to use public transport, knowing that a simple ‘tap’ will guarantee them the best available correct fare for that day.

“As long-term partners for Translink’s Future Ticketing System, we are delighted to be supporting the development of one of the world’s biggest integrated multimodal transport networks.”

The scheme will ultimately be extended to a further 1050 Ulsterbus and Goldliner vehicles, with additional ‘tap off’ functionality being introduced across Metro, Glider, Ulsterbus and NI Railways services in future. Passengers tapping their bank cards on-and-off ticketing validators will benefit from the best correct fare without having to buy a ticket in advance or navigate the fares structure. The CloudFare back office will automatically work out the best available fare for the journey, irrespective of the mode of travel or the number of legs.

In addition to the validator hardware, the Translink Rail network will also see investment in new self-service Ticket Vending Machines for the purchase and collection of tickets and the top up of stored value smart cards.

Flowbird is a global transport ticketing and payments technology innovator and is currently supporting 24 cities around the world with Open Payments/ABT systems.


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