Students at Newcastle University will soon be able to use their campus smart card to travel around the city on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
The pilot scheme launched today between the North East Smart Ticketing Initiative (NESTI) and the University will eventually reach up to 20,000 students, when it is fully rolled out.
Harvey Emms, Director of Housing, Planning and Transport at Newcastle City Council and chair of the NESTI board, said: “This year will see us take some big steps towards making smart cards part of everyday life in our region.
“This pilot project shows how smart infrastructure created in North East England is transforming the way people access a whole range of services and opportunities, starting with public transport.”
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, pro-vice chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University students already access buildings, libraries and students union facilities with a University issued smart card.
“Students will also be able to use the same card to pay for Metro travel and buy season tickets, enjoying all the benefits of the Pop card, which works in a similar way to London’s Oyster Card.”
New University cards incorporating the NESTI ‘double smile’ logo are now being issued to all new students as they enrol. Existing students who wish to use a University smart card for Nexus travel may exchange their existing smart card for the NESTI compatible smart card by registering their interest – details of which will be advertised to Newcastle University students.
Students will be able to place Student MetroSaver tickets on their University cards, which will be usable at Metro ticket machines and to activate new gatelines and smart validators at stations, already installed ready for launch later this year.
From later this year students will be able to use cash credits on their cards to pay for public transport right across the North East, not just the Metro.
Laura Perry, President of the Newcastle University Student Union, said: “As a student who uses the Metro, this is a great move. It will make using public transport so much easier and convenient, without having to find the correct change or worry whether you have enough money when you're trying to head home after a night out. For that reason, this should help people feel safer and less vulnerable, and will probably encourage more students to use public transport.”
NESTI is a partnership of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, local authorities, Nexus and transport operators to build a single smart infrastructure covering the Tees Valley, Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
Away from the Metro NESTI, which is being delivered by Nexus for the partnership, already manages more than a million smart transactions a week made by older and disabled bus users holding concessionary travel passes.
It has paid over £1 million in grants to bus companies to upgrade ticket machines to work with a single smart infrastructure – meaning people can use local transport anywhere between the Tees Valley and Scottish border on a single card.
And the smart infrastructure is designed so that a range of local services can in future be incorporated in any NESTI-compatible smart product, such as Metro Pop cards and the new University card.
published on: 17 April 2013