A passenger uses a smartcard to get through a ticket barrier


Smart travel is about providing modern, digital or electronic options for tickets and / or payment when travelling on public transport – no matter which operator or mode of travel.

We’re working with the industry to capture secure, standardised and best fit technology for you to have the smartest options available for your journey needs - connecting you with an easier public transport experience.

You can now use one smartcard for journeys across multiple modes of transport and multiple transport operators and, where available, download your operator’s mobile app or use contactless payment on board. Visit www.SmartTravel.scot to see more on how smart can simplify travel for you.

As smart technology progresses and infrastructure is implemented, more options should become available with your public transport provider.

Our role is to help operators modernise their equipment and infrastructure to bring a standardised consistent travel experience for the customer, for all public transport.

Delivery strategy and vision

We are working to deliver a customer-focused, multi-modal, multi-operator smart ticketing system across Scotland. What this will mean for you is paper-free access to travel across multiple modes of public transport, using smartcards or mobile tickets.

We’re also supporting operators with a range of other smart ticketing and payments initiatives, for example using contactless bank cards, m-ticket apps or mobile wallets such as Apple or Android pay.

We have also committed to a study to look at account based ticketing for Scotland, and also to undertake a feasibility for providing the free bus travel NEC saltirecard on a mobile device.

Our remit is to deliver on the Scottish Government's vision that:

All journeys on Scotland's public transport networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment."

We started the delivery of this in 2006, upgrading the national smart infrastructure to accept the saltirecard branded National Entitlement Card estate for concessionary travel on bus.

Our delivery strategy, updated for 2018, details some of the other projects we are currently progressing to achieve this vision.

Projects and products

Digital Travel Data Services

The Digital Travel Data Services (DTDS) project aims to make travel information and journey planning easier and more accessible. As part of this project, we will enhance the Traveline Scotland website and app to improve the way people access and plan journeys online and bring a fresh look and feel to the services.

Traveline Scotland Aggregator Project – Discovery Phase

We're working in partnership with Traveline Scotland, CPT and representative transport operators on a technical and solution development study.

The study regards collation of enhanced timetable and fares information, with a view to increasing public provision of travel data and improve the customer’s experience of public transport, and relates to our revised 2018 Delivery Strategy. Fujitsu Services UK&I has been engaged to undertake this work and input will be sought from transport organisations across multiple modes and geographies.

This work is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


There are currently two very successful city smartzones, where smart, integrated ticketing can be used across different bus service providers, Grasshopper in Aberdeen(shire) and ABC in Dundee. This means you can load a daily or weekly ticket onto your smartcard and travel on any bus that comes along – no more waiting for the right operator.

Glasgow has also launched its Tripper smartzone (Nov 17) and Edinburgh is set to follow in 2018. Partnership working between bus operators, local government and the Scottish Government has led to the success of these schemes.


Smaller schemes with big social impacts, such as Employability Hub and Through Care have been launched in Renfrewshire. These use smart travel services to help address transport issues faced by many young people in the area, particularly access for travelling to work and study.

In Perth a trial of interoperable smartcards for students, who travel using both bus and train, is currently proving a success. We are also working in partnership with Local Authorities for schools and Further Education transport projects to enable children and students to get smart travel – these are being delivered in East Lothian, Argyll & Bute, Western Isles, Dumfries & Galloway, and Perth & Kinross.

All these schemes have potential to grow across regions.

To further facilitate smart ticketing, we have also supported the launch of commercial saltirecards with a number of smaller bus operators around the country. The saltirecard allows you to store your electronic ticket on it, removing the need for paper tickets.

On trains, the ScotRail network is now fully smart enabled, with an array of ticket types on offer (including Anytime, Season and Flexi-pass tickets). These can now be purchased on train as well as through the ticket machines and soon will be available from ticket offices. ScotRail is committed to smart services, seeking for 60% of its passengers’ journeys to smart by 2019.

For our lifeline ferry services, we are working with operators and local authorities to upgrade infrastructure and implement smart services, as well as interoperability across rail, bus, ferry, tram and subway.

We also note the recent success of contactless bank cards for travel convenience and are supportive of this payment method.

Smart Pay Grant Fund

As part of the Low Carbon Travel and Transport Programme (LCTT), the Smart Pay Grant Fund was launched in November 2018 to financially assist bus operators to provide a contactless payment service. The project is in response to the shift away from cash to contactless payments and to assist smaller bus operators compete with the larger operators who already offer the service.

The Grant Fund  is accessible to all operators, local authorities and regional transport partnerships that provide commercial bus services to the general public in Scotland.

The £1.1 million Grant Fund supports successful applicants introduce a contactless payment service making access to bus travel easier and more convenient. The aim is to encourage passenger journeys and reduce a reliance on the car, lowering carbon emissions and improving our air quality.



The move towards payment via contactless bank cards has had an impressive impact on the travelling market. We are pleased to see larger operators embrace this convenient and simple payment method for rail, bus and ferry travel.

As this movement will mean infrastructure and cost implications for the smaller sized bus operators across Scotland, we are looking at how we can support this, to bring payment convenience to the whole of Scotland.

The move towards payment via contactless bank cards has had an impressive impact on the travelling market. We are pleased to see larger operators embrace this convenient and simple payment method for rail, bus, tram and ferry travel.

This movement will mean infrastructure and cost implications for the smaller sized bus operators across Scotland. Transport Scotland, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, have developed a £1.1 million Smart Pay Grant Fund to financially assist with the introduction of a contactless payment service to bring payment convenience to the whole of Scotland.


Saltirecard is the Scottish Government ITSO accredited smartcard. ITSO is the Department for Transport identified system for smart ticketing, and is a secure, encrypted software, standardised across the UK.

Our saltirecard and other ITSO smartcards allow you to store electronic travel tickets on them. It means you can tap on board to make your journey and there is no need to keep hold of a paper ticket for your travel. It also allows for interoperability – the smartcard chip can be read on any ITSO compliant infrastructure, this is available on all bus operations, on the ScotRail network and Glasgow Subway, and we are working to bring it in place on ferry and tram.

You can usually purchase tickets online at the operators website, and these will then be available after a set period of time to collect either on board your bus for bus travel, or at train station machines or gates for rail travel.

You will also find the saltirecard logo on the concessionary travel and young scot cards, as this uses the same ITSO technology. These cards are also interoperable, bus, train and subway tickets can be stored and read on them.


Fife in the Fast Lane

We are working with Stagecoach and ScotRail to promote public transport travel across the newly dedicated public transport corridor on the Forth Road Bridge. You can use your smart card to purchase tickets on either bus or rail and we are working hard on the technical integration to make these interoperable, so you will only need one card.

Make life easier

We are supporting online purchase for smart tickets with Prentice Coaches and Eves Coaches in East Lothian and Shiel Buses in Fort William

We have launched smart ticketing interoperability which enables you to use one ITSO smartcard for journeys across multiple modes of transport and multiple transport operators.

People now have the choice between 16 types of ITSO smartcards (both saltirecard and operators’ own) that are already available across Scotland. This improvement makes the process for people to use smart ticketing on public transport easier.

It aims to reduce the number of paper tickets and plastic smartcards being produced and encourage people out of their cars and onto more sustainable public and active transport.

Read more about ITSO smartcards and other smart ticketing and payment methods at www.SmartTravel.scot.

Smart survey

During Summer 2018 we collaborated with operators, local authorities and smartcard providers to ask you about your travel choices, current ticket use and any smart ticketing, or smart medium (including mobile or smartcard) preferences.

Over 2000 people responded, including both concessionary and non-concessionary passengers, from all over Scotland

Smart and integrated ticketing survey 2023

We’re working hard to enhance smart and integrated ticketing in Scotland, making it easier for you to use sustainable transport and access the best tickets for your journey.

As part of this, we’re refreshing our 2018 Smart Delivery Strategy and we’d like to know what you think about the future of smart and integrated ticketing on public transport in Scotland. Since we launched this strategy, we’ve supported getting contactless payments on buses, helped to expand the concessionary travel schemes, and improved the integration of smartcards. So where should we focus next?

The survey should take about 10 minutes and will ask about your use and thoughts of public transport tickets and payments. It will close on Sunday 14 May 2023.

Thank you for taking part.