Unicard News
SPT deploys Unicard platform to digitalise ZoneCard ticketing
Unicard deliver ITSO-based and futureproofed smart ticketing solution for Glasgow and west of Scotland
June 26th 2024 by Unicard

Unicard, an established provider of smart ticketing and payment solutions to the public and commercial transport sector, today announced that its smart ticketing platform has been contracted by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on behalf of the ZoneCard Forum to digitalise paper-based ZoneCard ticketing on ScotRail, the Glasgow Subway and most bus routes in the west of Scotland.

The Unicard solution migrates all paper-based ZoneCard products onto a digital smart ticketing system. Following the recent launch, users can now purchase a new ZoneCard ticket via a website or dedicated mobile app or purchase a ZoneCard ticket from a shop. It has removed the need to buy paper tickets from the driver when boarding - instead passengers simply “tap in” whenever they travel. It is designed to improve the passenger experience and reduce the complexity involved with managing paper tickets.

Based around ITSO, the established and widely used national smart ticketing standard, Unicard’s platform is compatible with smartcard ticketing systems used by other local authorities and transport operators in Scotland. This means that users with an existing transport card such as Transport Scotland’s National Entitlement Card – also provided by Unicard – can add ZoneCard tickets to it without needing to purchase or carry a new card. As well as being more convenient for passengers, this improves sustainability by cutting down on the production of new plastic cards.

Unicard’s solution comprises its industry-leading, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)-ready ticketing platform, a central back-office solution encompassing a high-performance ITSO HOPS and flexible Customer Management System, which securely processes all smart transactions. This combined solution is supported by a dedicated customer self-service web portal, and mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The cloud-based solution can scale to support different modes of transport and mobility services as, and when, required. It can also be configured to support account-based ticketing (ABT) in line with fare capping and flexible travel schemes.

Sean Dickinson, CEO of Unicard, explained: “We’re very pleased to be working closely with SPT to help modernise ticketing across different modes of Glasgow’s public transport. SPT chose to adopt the ITSO smart ticketing standard to support its ZoneCard service. This is in line with other transport authorities in Scotland and England that are already using our platform to support ITSO-based services”.

"With these new capabilities SPT can accommodate other token types and services like QR codes, contactless bank cards or account-based ticketing whenever they choose.”

Sean Dickinson

CEO of Unicard

Sean added: “A key benefit and differentiator of our platform is that it is token-agnostic, and therefore supports other technologies. This means that, while ITSO may be the best solution for now, the platform is futureproofed. With these new capabilities SPT can accommodate other token types and services like QR codes, contactless bank cards or account-based ticketing whenever they choose.”

ZoneCard Forum Chair Ryan Sorley said: “ZoneCard has been an essential ticket for many customers using bus, rail and Subway over the years. Working together with SPT, the ZoneCard operators are delighted to launch this modernised ZoneCard offer, making full use of smart ticketing technology to provide convenience and flexibility for customers.

“One ticket on one smartcard to travel on bus, rail and Subway – it couldn’t be easier.”

Unicard’s solutions have been adopted by over 80 Local and Regional Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. This includes Transport for London (TfL), Transport for Wales (TfW), Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Transport Scotland and Solent Transport. Unicard also provide smart ticketing back-office support and ticket retail services for Rail Delivery Group.