National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board


Smart ticketing and payment means non-paper and cashless travel. In Scotland this means using a micro-chipped smartcard, mobile app ticket or contactless payment for travel purposes.

The National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board (NSTAB) is a pioneering board comprising of different modes, transport authorities, users, and experts to advise Scottish Ministers on the strategic direction for smart ticketing to improve passenger’s experience and help boost use of sustainable public transport modes. The board commenced operation in November 2023.

The board also advises on the specification of a national technological standard for smart ticketing, to be used in ticketing schemes and to help improve the interoperability of smart ticketing in Scotland, setting the foundation for better ticketing integration, and a more consistent customer experience.

NSTAB is a provision from the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019. Secondary legislation came into force in May 2023 providing more detail about the board, its governance, appointments and processes. This was informed by a consultation which ran in 2021. You can read more about the legislation and consultation via the following links:

The board will meet approximately six times a year and will produce a work programme and annual report. Advice to Scottish Ministers will be published.


The ease of using transport in Scotland, along with the growth of smart integrated ticketing, is often challenged by the different ticketing technologies that operators use. For example, while ITSO smartcards (like the saltirecard, National Entitlement Card, Young Scot card, etc) are widely accepted across modes, smart ticketing is evolving, and people now expect to use digital and contactless ticketing and payment where possible.

Given ticketing and payment is advancing at such a great rate, we need to make sure these new ticketing technologies don’t limit customer’s options, limit interoperability, create more barriers to integration, or make using public transport more complicated.

Therefore, the board will be responsible for advising on the specification of a technological standard to ensure ticketing integration is technically feasible across suppliers in ticketing schemes. By bringing together a wide range of stakeholders via NSTAB, we can help to improve the consistency and standardisation of ticketing and payment in Scotland, making transport simpler and easier to use. This will also create a better platform for transport authorities and operators to introduce smart integrated ticketing schemes.


NSTAB is a non-departmental advisory public body. Within the founding legislation the Scottish Ministers have defined the overall aim for NSTAB as follows:

The function of the Board is to advise the Scottish Ministers in relation to their functions insofar as they relate to smart ticketing arrangements, and the national technological standard for smart ticketing. The Board also has the function of issuing advice and recommendations to the Scottish Ministers in relation to the strategic development of smart ticketing in Scotland.”

NSTAB provision in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019

In doing so, the Chair aims to ensure that NSTAB’s policies and actions supports the wider strategic policies of the Scottish Ministers. 

NSTAB overarching strategic remit

  1. Provide strategic advice to Ministers (i.e., on strategy, technological standard for smart ticketing, engagement, consultations).
  2. Advise on the opportunities and challenges of a smart integrated ticketing system within the relevant sectors.
  3. Advise on the identification of a technological standard for Scotland’s smart ticketing system.
  4. Advising on recommendations following review of reports from local authorities on successes and failures in introducing smart ticket schemes.
  5. Represent views of the industry and sectors.

NSTAB Outcomes:

The National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board will result in:

  • Clear advice on a national technological standard for smart ticketing
  • Clear strategic advice on smart ticketing development in Scotland
  • Trusted, dependable source of advice to Ministers
  • Clear review process following the submission of Local Authority smart ticketing reports


Our work

Work plan and annual reports will be added following agreement between NSTAB and the Minister for Transport.


Voting membership of the board is balanced between operator and non-operator representatives, thereby providing balanced advice to Scottish Ministers, considering the views of operators, users and funders of smart ticketing. Members represent their sector, using their industry relationships and networks. The membership includes:

  • Chairperson (non-voting unless in event of a split vote)
  • Operators of different modes (Bus, Rail, Ferry, Subway, Tram)
  • Transport authorities (Local Transport Authorities & Regional Transport Partnerships)
  • Passenger and accessibility representatives
  • Transport Scotland
  • Board advisors (non-voting members)

Chairperson - Dr Andrew Seedhouse

Dr Seedhouse is an expert in smart ticketing. He is the founder of Smart Applications Management, a local authority and bus operator partnership organisation delivering smart ticketing solutions throughout the UK. In 2020, he led procurement with Transport Scotland for the replacement AMS-HOPS back-office software for the National Entitlement Card Scheme transactions. In 2021, he led the procurement with NECPO for a new Scottish National Entitlement Card Customer Management System on behalf of the 32 Scottish local authorities. He has since acted as an advisor to Strathclyde Partnership for Transport on their new ZoneCard smart ticketing platform. He is also Director of Transport for the University of Plymouth Sustainable Earth Institute.

Bus Operator Representative - Alex Hornby

Alex Hornby is currently Group Managing Director at McGill’s, leading a team of over 1,500 people across four regional bus and coach businesses across Scotland. The company is the largest independently owned operator in the UK. Alex has been recognised with several industry awards and is responsible for many customer-centric initiatives and sector-leading innovations that have translated to passenger growth and modal shift over his 20-year career, which has included leadership roles at Stagecoach, Go-Ahead, trentbarton and Transdev. Alex is a strong advocate of the sector and recognises the value of partnership and collaboration, having sat on numerous partnership delivery boards at local and national level that have promoted integrated ticketing, bus priorities, new technologies, Covid recovery and fleet decarbonisation. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, and a Patron and founding member of the Young Bus Managers Network.

Rail Operator Representative - Claire Dickie

A strategic leader with almost 30 year’s rail industry experience, Claire is the Commercial Director at ScotRail and has a strong track record of delivering commercial success. Her key areas of expertise are leading projects and developing strategies to grow demand and optimise costs. She has delivered a number of transformational projects in fares and ticketing, collaborating with government, supply chain, and other rail industry organisations. These include the introduction of mobile ticketing in ScotRail and our off-peak all-day trial, both projects starting with the customer perspective and using evidence to support decision making.

Ferry Operator Representative - Diane Burke

Diane joined CalMac in 2020 as Commercial Director following leadership roles with a number of high-profile transport brands including Great North Eastern Railway and Heathrow Express, and she led the revival of the iconic GWR brand. She is an experienced and successful driver of big change, resulting in improved employee engagement, customer experience and commercial performance. Diane is passionate about customer experience and can engage and inspire colleagues through collaboration and building relationships across the organisation, in pursuit of a common vision.

Subway Operator Representative - Michael Nimmo

As SPT's Ticketing Manager, Michael is responsible for Subway smart ticketing and multi-modal integrated ticketing including ZoneCard and Roundabout. He has 18 years’ experience in the transport sector with the past seven dedicated to ticketing at SPT. He has extensive experience working collaboratively with partners across the industry and brings a customer-first approach to the strategic and objective based planning of ticketing interventions.

Tram Operator Representative - Marilena Papadopoulou

With a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Energy Engineering, Marilena joined Edinburgh Trams in 2014 and has since delivered an impressive portfolio of projects, from a refresh of the control room software to the introduction of tramstop ticketing equipment including hand-held ticketing devices for the front-line staff. As part of her role as the Renewals and Projects Manager for Edinburgh Trams she was tasked with delivering the Integrated Account Based Ticketing (ABT) solution which will be the contactless payment scheme with joint capping rules between Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses. She is the Chair of the Light Rail Engineering Group, a group created by UKTram where the industry professionals attend periodic meetings to discuss industry best practice, emerging issues, and challenges including ticketing.

Passenger Representative - Kirsten Urquhart

Kirsten Urquhart BEM is the Chief Executive at Young Scot – Scotland’s award-winning youth information and citizenship charity. As an ambassador for Young Scot, Kirsten is a passionate advocate for all young people in Scotland. Kirsten’s career has been in both the third and private sectors with a focus on information management, digital/tech, and innovation. Kirsten also has significant engagement experience in smart travel programmes – and the Young Scot National Entitlement Card is also a key delivery partner of the Under 22s free bus travel scheme. In 2021, Kirsten received the British Empire Medal for services to young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accessibility Representative - Hussein Patwa

Hussein Patwa is an accessibility consultant with a specific focus on transport, technology and inclusive communication, living in Aberdeen. He has first-hand lived experience of accessibility challenges, their impacts and solutions, being both registered blind and suffering from long-term chronic pain. He previously served as a member of the Scottish Government’s Mobility & Access Committee for Scotland, engaging with Transport Scotland, Ministers and transport operators to drive forward improvements in accessibility, customer service and overall understanding of equalities issues. As secretary and later vice-chair of the Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance, he developed a deep knowledge and understanding of varying challenges faced by disabled people across Scotland, working to increase awareness of disability and inequality in a transport context, and encouraging development and testing of practical solutions. He has experience working and volunteering across the UK in the areas of sight loss, poverty and mental health, along with advocating for inclusive product and service design at a local government level. Hussein will bring his rich personal and societal experience together with a pragmatic approach to the board and its outputs to ensure its work embeds accessibility and inclusion at its heart.

Local Transport Authority Representative - Margaret Roy

Margaret commenced her career in public transport when she joined Stagecoach Perth in 1994. Five years later she moved on to join the Public Transport Unit at Perth and Kinross Council. Though almost 30 years as a transport professional, she has witnessed the evolution of ticketing from Setrights to Smart Ticketing. As current Chair of ATCO Scotland she looks forward to bringing her own transport knowledge and skills to the board in conjunction with sharing the knowledge and feedback from her ATCO Scotland colleagues.

Regional Transport Partnership Representative - Ranald Robertson

Ranald Robertson has been Director of HITRANS since 2012. An experienced transport professional, Ranald has over 20 years’ experience and a proven track record of delivering multi modal transport projects and programmes and helping shape transport policy in the Highlands and Islands and beyond. Ranald is passionate about making multi modal travel easier and removing barriers that discourage sustainable transport. He has been involved in the development of smart ticketing schemes and leads the successful GO-HI Mobility as a Service project which has delivered multi modal travel planning and payment on modes ranging from bike and bus to ferry and air services.

Transport Scotland Representative - Mary Docherty

A qualified accountant by profession, Mary is the head of the Concessionary Travel and Integrated Ticketing Unit at Transport Scotland, responsible for delivery of a number of smart ticketing initiatives over the past 6 years, including Young Persons Free Bus Scheme, implementation of smart platforms, Smart Pay Grant Fund, multi-operator and multi-modal ticketing on ITSO smartcard and inflight projects including Digital Travel Data Services and moving ferry concessionary travel onto smart platforms for NorthLink and Pentland Ferries.

Technical Systems Advisor - Mostafa Gulam

Mostafa is the Managing Director of a transport ticketing consultancy that provides expertise to national, regional and local transport authorities, transport operators and suppliers of transport ticketing systems across the globe, spanning from North America to Australia. He has led the technical design and implementation of some of the largest smart ticketing schemes in the world and in a previous role led the technical arm looking after new ticketing technologies for National Rail. Over the more recent part of his career, he has been providing strategic vision, direction and introduction of new ticketing technologies in the public transport industry. This included the modernisation of back-office fares and ticketing system for Smart Ticketing, Thin Client Retailing, Account Based Ticketing, closed loop smartcards, contactless EMV (Open Loop Ticketing) and Barcode ticketing. He has also had close working and extensive engagement with stakeholders such as transit agencies/operators, national and regional transport authorities, in respect of ticketing technologies and their funding.

Transport Strategy Advisor - James Gleave

James brings to the board knowledge and experience relating to the development and delivery of transport strategies, and specifically the role that smart ticketing can play in achieving wider objectives. He has nearly 20 years of experience of doing so in local authorities and regional government, and has experience in advising national governments on the potential of new transport technologies to achieve wider goals, as well as working in the technology sector. He hopes that through this role, he can encourage people and organisations to remember the bigger picture of reducing inequalities, taking climate action, delivering inclusive economic growth and improving health and wellbeing. Additionally, it is important that smart ticketing strategy serves all the varied communities across Scotland.

Smart Delivery Advisory - Matt Smallwood

Matt brings over a decade's experience in the development and delivery of smart ticketing and is currently the Connected Mobility Manager at Transport for the North. With roles spanning the public and private sector, ranging from delivering integrated commercial ticketing in South Yorkshire through to developing a connected mobility strategy for the North of England, he is a recognised subject matter expert in ticketing across bus, rail and light rail. To date he has had a particular focus on technical multi-modal integration, commercial governance and fare structures needed for successful integrated ticketing.

Secretariat and contact details

Transport Scotland provides the secretariat to serve NSTAB.

The Secretariat responsibilities include:

  • monitoring the board’s mailbox
  • ensuring monthly fees and expenses claims are processed
  • monitoring the board’s finances
  • supporting the logistics of the board
  • acting as an initial point of contact between the board and Transport Scotland
  • ensuring the board adheres to Scottish Government’s policies where appropriate
  • facilitating the board’s engagement with Ministers
  • assisting in the preparation of board papers
  • securely storing and managing all the board’s correspondence, papers and data.

The NSTAB Secretariat can be contacted at: