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.

We’re still working on it, but you can try it out today - sign up for a smartcard (it can be your own transport operator’s card, or a national saltirecard via your council) or if available, download your operator’s mobile app. Alternatively, where available, use your contactless bank card on board to see 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 are also supporting operators with providing more options for smart payments, for example using contactless bank cards, a pre-credited epurse or mobile wallets such as Apple or Android pay.

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

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.

We have also had some interest and success with an epurse system trial in East Lothian and Fort William, where you can pre-credit the smartcard with money to be deducted for travel. Whilst we see the potential in this area for certain markets, we also note the recent success of the contactless bank cards for travel convenience and are supportive of this additional payment method.

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.



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.

We are also supporting pilots of epurse pre-credit systems, more about this can be found in our projects or campaign sections.


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.

Some operators have an epurse system, where you can pre-load credit onto your saltirecard for deducting when you travel, these pilots are available on Prentice Coaches in East Lothian and Shiel Buses in Fort William area.

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 promoting epurse and smart tickets as well as trialling our mobile app to read your smartcard (available on android only) with Prentice Coaches in East Lothian.

Promoting epurse and smart ticket offerings for Shiel Buses in Fort William

Promoting smart ticketing with Eves Coaches in East Lothian

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