A £1.1 million fund to support smaller bus operators in accepting contactless bank payments has been launched by the SNP Government.
The Smart Pay Grant Fund will help smaller bus operators with the financial costs associated with upgrading systems to include smart payment services, enabling people to pay, for example, by mobile. It is set to build on the success of the introduction of contactless payment by Scotland’s major bus operators and follows industry feedback of the complexities and barriers of accessing this payment solution.
The fund is comprised of £440,000 from the European Regional Development Fund Low Carbon Travel and Transport Programme and £660,000 from the SNP Government.
The Smart Pay Grant Fund supports the government’s vision that all journeys on Scotland’s public transport networks can be made using some form of smart ticketing or payment.
Commenting on the launch of the fund, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP said:
“Contactless payment has quickly become the norm for many people looking to purchase low cost products and services, and we are now seeking to support this convenience on our public transport networks, making it easier to access travel in Scotland.
“For smaller bus operators in particular, the cost to upgrade machines can be prohibitively high, and so this fund responds to a need to support and encourage smaller operators to make the transition to contactless payment systems – benefitting everyone who chooses to travel more sustainably by using buses.
“The Smart Pay Grant Fund will place smaller operators on a more equal footing with larger bus operators and provide smarter, quicker and easier transactions for passengers right across Scotland.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This is a perfect example of the SNP Government working together with Europe to deliver service improvement for people across Scotland.
“The Smart Pay Grand Fund is open to transport operators, Local Authorities, and Regional Transport Partnerships that provide commercial bus services to the general public in Scotland.
“The fund is anticipated to be made available for distribution over a three year period or until funds have been fully expended.
“I encourage all local operators active in North Ayrshire to visit www.transport.gov.scot/spgf to confirm whether they are eligible to apply for these funds.”