Ahead of next weekend’s big change to concessionary fares, Stagecoach Manchester will turn on the “smart” functionality of senior citizen and disabled bus passes this weekend. They’ve created a handy webpage detailing how to use the smartcards – put your bus pass on the reader on top of the ticket machine and it will tell you whether you can travel for free or not depending on the day of the week and the time of the day you’re travelling.
Martin blogged about the introduction of Stagecoach’s new ticket machines in June 2009, so it’s taken over a year and a half for the first smartcard to start being used. They’re not the first operator in Greater Manchester to start using the national bus pass as a smartcard: we know that Rossendalebus and other Lancashire-based operators have been doing this since 2007 given the early introduction of the Nowcard bus pass within that county. Cheshire-based Network Warrington have also been registering bus pass smartcards for the past couple of months. We’d expect other bus operators to go live soon (if they haven’t done so already) as closer scrutiny of concessionary fares comes into effect – but some may need to upgrade their current ticket machines.
There’ll be a post about where we’re at with the new concessionary fare scheme and associated fare increases (oh yes) after the weekend.