Calderdale Council backs plan for West Yorkshire Oyster card travel scheme

Buses at Halifax bus station
Buses at Halifax bus station

Ambitious proposals to package access to public and eco-friendly transport schemes with a credit system for cheaper fares and other local services have been welcomed.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Transport Working Party were discussing Leeds City Region’s bid for funding from the Government’s Future Mobility Zones funding bid.

Transport Planner Tom Jones explained what the bid meant, including proposals to develop a new digital platform to make planning, booking and buying travel services of all types much easier.

This would not only include established public transport services like the bus and train but also locally-organised ones such as car or lift-sharing schemes, for example, driving demand for the latter and producing eco benefits by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

Once established the technology might also deliver “mobility credits”, which could be established to reduce costs for residents who might need help, for example job seekers or those needing access to education and healthcare.

Some might also be made available to encourage “sustainable” behaviours as lifestyle credits.

The digital platform would also be available in physical “mobility hubs” which could encompass other aspects of the communities they serve, for example offering hot and cold food, pop-up retail, part-time medical services, creches and even space to work, briefing papers to working party members outlined.

Electric vehicle charging points could also be placed in mobility hubs, they heard.

Chairing the meeting, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) asked if a service similar to London’s Oyster cards, which allow customers to use a range of different transport services and can be “topped up”, would be included.

Mr Jones said that would need a lot of planning to be viable in a regional context, but that was the ideal.

Nina Smith of Upper Calder Valley Renaissance’s Sustainable Transport Group wondered if a card scheme could include use in taxis and private hire vehicles.

Expanding the council’s Appy Parking scheme to other local centres might also be on the cards.

The scheme runs in Halifax and the AppyParking app uses technology to tell drivers where spaces are available and can also be used to make payment for parking.