All change for Calderdale’s buses as smartcard installation begins

THERE could soon be no more searching for change to pay your bus fare.

Smartcards will be in operation on Calderdale’s buses by March this year.

The cards will contain a computer chip meaning you could just scan your card as you walk on.

Calderdale bus operator First will be fitting card readers on its buses during February.

Dave Pearson, Metro’s assistant director of transport coordination, confirmed the news at a meeting of Calderdale Passenger Consultative Committee (PCC), at Halifax Town Hall. The first smartcards in Calderdale will be for concessionary passes before expansion of the service to all bus users, if successful.

The PCC, which meets as part of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority and includes representatives from all Calderdale’s bus operators and members of the public, heard that other operators such as Centrebus and T J Walsh will also install the system on their buses.

The scheme is similar to the Oyster Card service available in London on the Tube and buses but may take another year before it expands to all passengers.

“Hopefully this time next year we will be talking meaningfully about Oyster Cards in this area,” said Mr Pearson.

West Yorkshire bus operators Arriva and Transdev have already been using the system in Wakefield and Dewsbury for passengers with concessionary passes.

However, Mr Pearson warned there had been some issues with the cards because of the size of people’s wallets.

“Initially there were some difficulties in the Dewsbury area because of machines rejecting cards,” said Mr Pearson.

“Some people have trimmed their cards to fit their wallets. We encourage people not to do that. Inside the cards there is an aerial and trimming the cards can damage the aerial.”