West Midlands Metro has become the first public transport service in the UK to allow passengers to buy and save a ticket on their smartphone using Google Pay.
It is available to the first 500 West Midlands Metro passengers to sign up to the new Swift on Mobile travel app, initially available as one day, one week and four week passes, ahead of full roll out across the tram network in 2019.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has worked with Google Pay and smart ticketing specialist ITSO Transit Hub on the new service.
It means that those using the Swift on Mobile app and Google Pay can just tap their phone to use their ticket rather than use their Swift travel smart card.
Longer term, TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is working with its technology partners and bus and rail operators to bring Swift on Mobile to other forms of public transport.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “We are excited to be introducing ticketing on Android smartphones with Google Pay and ITSO for our West Midlands Metro passengers.
“We are always looking to use technology to make travelling by public transport easier for more people in the West Midlands and will continue to explore new ways to improve our services.
“I know the team at TfWM have worked very hard to make this happen.
“By providing more convenient ways to buy a ticket we will encourage more people to use public transport.”
The Swift on Mobile scheme has been backed with funding from Midlands Connect which is looking to further develop the technology across the wider Midlands region.
Maria Machancoses, Midlands Connect director said: “There is huge potential to replicate this model in other parts of the Midlands.
“Our long-term aspiration is to work with local authorities to allow seamless travel across the Midlands, between different modes of transport.”
In October the West Midlands was named the UK’s first Future Mobility Area and given £20 million Government funding to innovate and develop technology to improve transport in the region.
Steve Wakeland, chief executive of ITSO Transit Hub, said: “People want to buy travel in the same way that they buy other daily goods and services and working with Google Pay has enabled us to do just that.
“ITSO on Mobile will make ticketing a quicker, easier and more seamless daily process for the travelling public.”