National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board - Meeting Minutes - 30 January 2024



  • Dr Andrew Seedhouse (AS)

Board Members

  • Alex Hornby: Bus Operator Representative (AH)
  • Claire Dickie: Rail Operator Representative (CD)
  • Neil Wylie: Subway Operator Representative (NW)
  • Marilena Papadopoulou: Tram Operator Representative (MP)
  • Kirsten Urquhart: Passenger Representative (KU)
  • Hussein Patwa: Accessibility Representative (HP)
  • Margaret Roy: Local Transport Authority Representative (ATCO) (MR)
  • Ranald Robertson: Regional Transport Partnership Representative (RTP) (RR)
  • Mary Docherty: Transport Scotland Representative (MD)
  • Mostafa Gulam: Technical Systems Advisor (MG)
  • James Gleave: Transport Strategy Advisor (JG)

Other attendees

  • Bettina Sizeland: Director of Bus, Accessibility and Active Travel (Transport BS Scotland) (SRO)
  • George Beale-Pratt: Smart Policy Manager (Transport Scotland) (Sponsor GBP & Acting Secretariat)


  • Diane Burke: Ferry Operator Representative (DB)
  • Matt Smallwood: Smart Delivery Advisor (MS)
  • Kevin Ho: Programme Support Officer (Transport Scotland) (Secretariat) (KH)

GBP acting as Secretariat

  • Juliet Bell: Smart Programme Manager (Transport Scotland) (JB)
  • Mark Speed: Partnership Director Tactran (MS)


  • Board confirmed they were content to formally to sign off minutes from the meeting held on 28th November 2023.

Agenda Item 1: Actions

231128-01 (Closed)

AS will set up meetings with members he has not met before to learn more about their approach and background.

Meetings took place w/c 15 January 2024.

231128-02 (Closed)

  • AS to coordinate mapping of existing picture of smart ticketing in Scotland (including contracts, programmes, and priorities)
  • Mapping coordination sessions have taken place and findings have been presented at the NSTAB.

231128-03 (Closed)

  • AS to work with Secretariat to develop a repository of information.
  • Repository established and emailed to members on 18 December 2023.
  • Members encouraged to input documentation related to ticketing.

231128-04 (Closed)

  • AS to prepare glossary of terms
  • First version of the glossary of terms shared to the Board.

240130-01 (Open)

  • MD to discuss prioritisation of the work on ABT scoping study within Transport Scotland.

240130-02 (Open)

  • KU will upload the template to the CRWIA when available.

240130-03 (Open)

  • NW to feed back to MD regarding whether the entitlement for free travel is downloaded onto the smartcard.
  • 21/02 - Child Subway smartcards and Young Scot Cards already have an entitlement product which allows the cardholder’s age to be identified. During Kids Go Free, the Subway ticket gates are configured to recognise cards belonging to cardholders aged under 16, and allow free travel (technically this is achieved by a zero-value PAYG deduction at the gate).

240130-04 (Open)

  • All members to provide feedback on any areas where they believe NSTAB should consider in relation to early wins/areas of opportunity/frustrations/known inefficiencies/members wish to be resolved, as well as examples of best practice members think NSTAB should all be aware of, to support scoping of the initial (Bronze) approach.

240130-05 (Open)

  • MG to share presentations with NSTAB after attending Transport Ticketing Global.

240130-06 (Open)

  • KU will add the findings of the survey undertaken by Young Scot to the NSTAB repository.

Agenda Item 2: Transport Scotland Sponsor Update

Framework Document

  • The document is currently being reviewed by the Transport Scotland legal department to ensure it is accurate and ready to share with the Board. One small outstanding matter to be resolved but should be ready to share with the Board in the coming weeks. Once shared GBP will invite members to view the document and raise any questions or concerns so that they can be discussed and resolved in order for the Framework Document to be agreed at the next meeting.


  • GBP updated the Board on the process of adding NSTAB to legislation relevant to public bodies, including the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) 2000 and the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.
  • There was an intention to add NSTAB to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, however ongoing legal proceedings involving the Scottish Government relating to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 could have an impact to whether there is a specific need to add NSTAB in its own right to the Act, or whether NSTAB automatically has a duty to comply. Transport Scotland continue to work through this. It is intended that NSTAB will comply with Freedom of Information requests should they arise.

Parliamentary Update

  • GBP updated on parliamentary discussions concerning NSTAB.
  • On 14th December 2023, Graham Simpson MSP (Scottish Conservative) asked the Minister for Transport (Ms Hyslop), “To ask the Scottish Government, following the first meeting of the National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board, what progress has been made towards introducing a national smart ticketing scheme.” (question number - S6O-02880).
  • Ms Hyslop responded by saying, “I have charged board members with advising me on how Scotland can collaboratively improve smart ticketing consistency, accessibility and integration between modes and regions, and to identify the best technological standard for schemes in Scotland. They will report in six months outlining how they will do that, building on the many operations that are available currently or due shortly. The plan will look to build on the successful collaborative national smart ticketing enhancements that have been made to date.”
  • A further question was asked by Mr Simpson regarding the Transport for Ireland Leap card, and questioned when something similar will be introduced in Scotland. Ms Hyslop’s response included that NSTAB will submit their the operational plan for delivery in the next six months.

CD questioned how free discussion during Board meetings will be protected from Freedom of Information and whether there will there be some consideration as to what would be shared through FOI? GBP confirmed that some information is exempt from Freedom of Information, and similarly within the NSTAB minutes published online. This includes, for example, information intended for future publication, commercial interests, personal information, confidentiality, among others. Full details can be found within the ‘Exempt Information’ section of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Agenda Item 3: Smart Delivery Strategy

  • GBP introduced the Board to the draft Smart Delivery Strategy, which sets the vision and activity for smart and integrated ticketing and passenger information in Scotland. The strategy was informed by a public survey in Spring 2023, the results of which will be published imminently.
  • GBP set out the role of Transport Scotland in smart and integrated ticketing, and ran through the draft proposed activities for the next 5-10 years, the detail of which is not included in detail in the minutes, as the strategy has not yet been finalised.
  • Briefly, the activities concerned the introduction of further measures from the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, the technical progression of the concessionary travel scheme, supporting improved passenger information, and encouraging Local Authorities and operators to work together to enhance smart and integrated ticketing.
  • HP asked whether the open data legislation will be primary or secondary. GBP responded that it will be secondary legislation (i.e concerning information provision), but this will still be subject to parliamentary scrutiny, and a consultation is legally required.
  • AS asked whether there are specific timescales for the strategy activities (i.e the Digital Travel Data Service)? GBP confirmed that timescales are explained in more detail in the main strategy document. For the Digital Travel Data Service, the contract was signed in Spring 2023 and the Minimum Viable Product is planned to go live in 2024 providing journey planning and travel data enhancements.
  • JG questioned whether Transport Scotland conducts reviews on previous strategies to understand what has worked. MD responded stating that the biggest challenge has been COVID. Since the previous Smart Delivery Strategy in 2018 there was chance to implement some projects before COVID such as interoperable smartcards, but when COVID started, that reprioritised resources and strategic work was impacted. COVID also changed how smart ticketing is used, contributing to the need for a refreshed Smart Delivery Strategy.
  • RR added that considering the Parliamentary question by Graham Simpson, is there the risk that Transport Scotland creates the environment for smart integrated ticketing, but doesn’t push further? RR highlighted that CalMac should have delivered on certain smart aspects from the previous 2018 Smart Delivery Strategy, but this still has to happen. RR also mentioned the need to show we’re already making progress, not just creating the environment, for example, with Mobility as a Service. RR asked whether the Digital Travel Data Services project can do more to integrate its data with wider policy/operational areas (e.g healthcare).
  • AS asked when the study on integrated Account Based Ticketing (ABT) will commence. GBP responded stating that the plan is to commence the study in 2025, and the scoping of that work will be subject to the work of NSTAB. MD highlighted that the study on the concessionary scheme platform will be completed in March 2024. MP added that an ABT study will be beneficial for Edinburgh Trams and would like to contribute to the study, and CD added that ScotRail would be willing to inform the Transport Scotland scoping work using evidence from the ScotRail ABT Trial.
    • Action: MD to discuss prioritisation of the work on ABT scoping study within Transport Scotland.
  • AH highlighted a desire for more integrated ticketing products to be loaded onto operator’s existing apps, better utilising existing technology, software and investment.
  • MR asked whether there has there been consideration of community transport in the Smart Delivery Strategy. GBP stated he was aware of a lot of good work by some community transport operators, but there is a need to consider this more fully to understand what community transport operators need in the smart space.

Agenda Item 4: Sectoral Policy Update

AS invited members to update on any policy changes in their sector. Each member was asked in turn with the following members providing updates:

  • CD stated that the ScotRail ‘off peak all day’ trial has been extended to the end of June 2024
  • JG raised that lots of RTPs are updating their Regional Transport Strategies, and some rail operators are withdrawing super off-peak fares (such as LNER). TfL are introducing off-peak travel all day Fridays.
  • KU raised that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has introduced compulsory Childrens Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessments to be completed for all policy by public bodies. There will be a need for NSTAB to show that the Board have considered the impacts to children and wellbeing. Potentially 6 months until this is live.
    • Action: KU will upload the template to the impact assessments when they are available.
  • MR: Local authorities are seeking to change their home-to-school transport budget.
  • RR: HITRANS are updating their Regional Transport Strategy and will be running a consultation on their draft strategy from the end of February 2024. For HITRANS, the CaMac contract (CHFS3) is particularly important, as is the Islands Connectivity Plan. The RTPs have also been feeding into the Fair Fares Review.
  • MD: Updated on the Fair Fares Review. Publication has been delayed, but is expected shortly. There has been an offer from the Fair Fares Review team to present their findings to NSTAB.

Agenda Item 5: Update on mapping exercise

AS summarised the individual discussions held with members to date regarding the mapping of the existing picture of smart ticketing in Scotland. AS thanked the Board for the meetings held to date with individual members.


  • AS highlighted various examples of ownership, route control, ticketing options, discount and concessionary schemes available on ferries across Scotland. AS highlighted that freight is dominant for the ferry industry, whilst advanced booking and website reliance is also common. AS suggested that generally the ticketing investment is focused to the biggest income areas, such as freight. Therefore, other areas, such as foot passengers may be less of a commercial focus. An opportunity for NSTAB is to potentially tie in freight to enhancements to smart ticketing in order to introduce change.
  • RR raised that passengers travel for free on the Corran ferry, and the 506 and 507 Shiel Bus routes travel on the ferry which don’t require any additional tickets to be bought by passengers, providing multi-modal travel.
  • NW mentioned that with the SPT concessionary travel scheme, Western Ferries take a different approach on concessionary travel compared to CalMac, and that second home owners can access the SPT concessionary scheme if they own a home on Arran or in Dunoon.
  • MD raised that Ministers are particularly interested in the restoration and growth of integrated ticketing with ferry (i.e Rail & Sail).


  • AS summarised that generally rail operators provide online, app, paper and smart ticketing, and support discounts and the National Entitlement Card. Most rail services are tendered, with limited open access operators. Subsidy is approximately £700m per annum, with fares set by the operator and government. There are multiple retail channels and individual portals to purchase tickets.
  • AS suggested that if NSTAB are considering a multi-modal smart ticketing system, then it potentially can’t stretch too far away from the rail smart ticketing national approach. MG tempered this, as Rail Delivery Group (RDG) are preparing for ABT capping focused on the English rail network, and if there is to be interoperability between Scotland and England, then it would be that the Scotland ABT back office scheme would need to integrate with the English scheme, as opposed to being specifically a part of it. The RDG capping engine could be UK wide, but funding is focused on England. This affords some flexibility to Scotland, and shows that new rail technology is becoming more flexible for regional differences. ScotRail are not obligated to get involved in English systems.
  • AS asked whether local authority rail concessionary schemes are valid on all operators whether it is possible to download any smart ticket to any smartcard. CD confirmed that all operators are included and that any compatible ITSO card can accept a compatible smart ticket, for example a stagecoach smart ticket on a ScotRail smartcard.
  • MD asked whether the 1/3 off rail fares with the Young Scot National Entitlement Card holders is just valid in Scotland. CD confirmed this was the case.


  • AS summarised the smart ticketing provision on bus, highlighting the variety of ownership models, route control, and ticketing options. Many bus operator accept paper, smart ticketing, capping, and accept the National Entitlement Card. There are multiple retail channels and individual portals for ticket retail, large number of local partnerships and high net subsidy (considering concessionary schemes and Network Support Grant). BS added that the current Network Support Grant for bus is £49m per annum.
  • Following discussion with MD, AS agreed to remove the Young Scot column from the bus table, as these schemes have now broadly been superseded by the Under 22s Free Bus Travel Scheme.
  • AS raised that many operator apps only show the operator’s own routes, and there seems to be limited information on any employer-specific schemes. AH said that employer schemes do exist but these could be advertised more.
  • AS suggested there is a gap between Under 22s concessionary travel and the Over-60s free bus travel, where there could be an opportunity to provide 23+ year olds with an integrated ticket that has a cost, but eases the transition from free concessionary travel to ticket purchasing.
  • AH added that intercity coaches could be incorporated into the table, noting that a lot are registered as local services but some longer distance coach services are not registered.

Subway, Trams and local air services

  • AS summarised that Subway and Edinburgh Trams are owned and controlled by the local transport authority. Subway supports paper and smart ticketing, whereas Edinburgh Trams additionally supports app-based ticketing. Air services are privately owned but there are some contracted routes. Air services offer smart ticketing. All modes accept some form of concessionary travel.
  • NW clarified that 60+/disabled customers benefit from concessionary Subway travel (Strathclyde Concessionary Travel Scheme) and can use their NEC to access this (PAYG deductions at Subway entry gates). Visually impaired customers benefit from free Subway travel as part of the national scheme and can also use their NEC to travel. Subway is not currently part of the national U22 free travel scheme (or any other national concessionary scheme).
  • MR mentioned that in her view the Kids Go Free on Subway during some school holidays is very successful and asked whether it would continue. NW confirmed that the Kids Go Free continues at main holidays (not Christmas) but is subject to a funding decision each year. Customers aged under 16 can obtain a free single use ticket for travel from the Subway ticket office, providing proof of age if required. Alternatively, a Child Subway Smartcard, or a National Entitlement Card/Young Scot Card can be used at the ticket gates.
    • Action: NW to feed back to MD regarding whether the entitlement for free travel is downloaded onto the smartcard.
  • NW stated that there is a high use of ticket vending machines (TVMs) on Subway, and this means there is a limitation to the types of ticket that can be purchased. CD raised that the TVMs don’t sell the whole suite of products for ScotRail, but there are valid reasons as to why this is the case, citing revenue protection.
  • MP stated that Edinburgh Trams are funded by Scottish Government to accept concessionary schemes. The local authority has agreed to fund this the Over 60s acceptance on tram for Edinburgh residents. Under 22s free travel for Edinburgh residents was initially funded by the local authority, but funding stopped after a few months, and Edinburgh Trams now provide this for free without reimbursement. Edinburgh Trams remain in discussion with Transport Scotland to identify if there is any option for Edinburgh Trams and SPT Subway to be formally included in the concessionary scheme.
  • RR stated that Loganair have a mix of commercial and subsidised services. AS will confirm the air routes in Orkney that accept the NEC.

AS concluded this agenda item by explaining an overview diagram indicating the powers and levels afforded to Scottish Government and local transport authorities to enhance smart and integrated ticketing. Two diagrams were shown, outlining the position before and after implementation of the ticketing measures from the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

Agenda Item 6: Development of work programme

  • AS ran through a series of slides outlining the development of the work programme, including the core priorities to improve the customer offering, drive growth via modal shift, support the first and last mile, recognise multiple reasons for travel, understand technological standards, and the need for a clear approach and vision. AS summarised that work programme may cover around 6 approaches/considerations, including:
    • Customer approach
    • Process
    • Technical approach
    • Funding
    • Timing - staged
    • Options - Bronze, Silver, Gold
  • The Board agreed that this presented a good summary of the discussion from the previous and current meeting of NSTAB.
  • The aim is to collate the suggestions to feed into the development of the work programme at the next meeting of NSTAB.
  • AH suggested that NSTAB should set standards within operator apps, so integrated tickets can be sold through multiple operator’s apps, thereby not requiring development of new apps, reducing complexity and confusion.
    • Action: AS asked members to provide any areas where they believe NSTAB should consider in relation to early wins/areas of opportunity/frustrations/known inefficiencies/members wish to be resolved, as well as examples of best practice members think NSTAB should all be aware of, to support scoping of the initial (Bronze) approach.
  • MD commented that whilst there are fiscal challenges, if a project is invest to save, that can be more palatable for funders.
  • MP added that with ABT, there may be a temporary reduction in revenue due to the introduction of capping, but in the longer term, ABT makes travel more attractive, increasing revenue. CD noted that as COVID affected travel patterns significantly, the impact from introducing ABT is less now than pre-COVID.

Agenda Item 7: Sectoral updates

AS invited updates from members representing each sector to update on any changes that have taken place since the last meeting to provide an overview to wider members on how their sector is evolving.

James Gleave - Transport Strategy Advisor

  • JG noted that RTPs are updating their Regional Transport Strategies (RTSs). All the RTSs mention smart and integrated ticketing but noted the detail can vary and suggests a cautious approach by RTPs. The RTSs set out the high level objectives for transport in the RTP areas. JG noted that the new RTSs focus more on equity and decarbonisation, differing from previous RTSs that focused on economy and climate change. This may reflects a change of the criteria on how investment projects may be judged.

Mostafa Gulam - Technical Systems Advisor

  • The Project Coral Invitation To Tender has been published which will procure a system that provides integrated ABT for bus, and provides an element of integration with other modes. Transport Scotland are not directly involved with Project Coral. The tender is assumed to be publicly available.
  • RDG are progressing work on data standards concerning the sharing of ‘tap’ data, and considering how RDG may be able to provide a central aggregation service, primarily for England. Initial area of focus for this project is Manchester. The second planned integration area is with Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM). The TfWM integration is ITSO focused, rather than cEMV. MG raised the concern that Scotland may be impacted by this as Avanti rail services travel through TfWM areas up to Scotland, potentially locking Avanti into technology that must integrate with the TfWM scheme.
  • The Smart Transport Advisory Group (STAG) are underway with work on integrated barcode standards. The current proposal uses rail barcodes as a foundation, with the incorporation of other modal barcodes within.
  • TfWM are developing short to long term options for integrated barcode standards which may result in a competing standard to STAG’s standard work. MG commented the TfWM standard may be more flexible as it doesn’t use rail as a foundation.
    • Action: MG to share presentations with NSTAB after attending Transport Ticketing Global.

Kirsten Urquhart - Passenger Representative

  • KU raised the issue of anti-social behaviour on buses and has joined a Scottish Government working group on this topic and is keen to link that work with the work of NSTAB. KU commented that data on antisocial behaviour suggests that it is not necessarily just from young people. MR added that this contributes to bus drivers not wanting to work in the industry.
  • KU is also engaged with Consumer Scotland who note that transport is an issue that needs consideration. KU plans to make connections at Consumer Scotland in relation to NSTAB business.
  • KU noted that Young Scot have surveyed 2,000 young people which found positive comments about travel on bus and rail, and the benefits of the Under 22s scheme.
    • Action: KU will add the findings of the survey undertaken by Young Scot to the NSTAB repository.

Margaret Roy - Local Transport Authority Representative

  • All LTAs try to encourage smart ticketing but smaller operators are nervous to participate, and unsure about how money is being allocated if they are part of integrated ticketing schemes. Additionally, in order to have integrated ticketing, there also be an integrated transport network. MR asked whether there can there be some overarching standardisation to how transport providers speak to each other so integration is managed. MR commented on the need to showcase what integrated ticketing can deliver, citing the success of the Under 22s scheme providing seamless integrated travel.
  • AH added that whilst working for a previous bus company, it was agreed between operators to only change timetables at ‘service stability dates’, of which there were 4 per year, in order to introduce certainty and confidence in the network. AH suggested it could be something for NSTAB to consider.

Ranald Robertson - RTP Representative

  • HITRANS continue to work on developing Bus Service Improvement Partnerships and noted that RTPs now also have an enhanced role in active travel delivery. RR discussed the GoHi app, providing Mobility as a Service, which will incorporate bike hire booking. GoHi is also looking to extend their MaaS app to include Stagecoach East Scotland tickets, and is developing a booking link with Scottish Citylink. RR would welcome more engagement from Transport Scotland on Digital Travel Data Services, as would like to enrich information on fares in GoHi.

Mary Docherty - Transport Scotland Representative

  • MD highlighted opportunities that can be built on to continuously improve. For example, ZoneCard in SPT area and Oneticket in South East Scotland; is there an opportunity to see what can be delivered on a regional basis, embracing the art of the possible including tap on tap off, but also potentially fully integrated public transport systems, flat fares, and integration between operators. NSTAB need to be ambitious within the the legislation and look to deliver demonstrable outputs.
  • AH emphasised the work done to digitise the Glasgow Tripper integrated ticket, and incorporate this within operator’s existing apps, noting that they are seeking to do provide the ABC integrated ticketing in Dundee. AH is seeking to include other modes within Tripper, such as Subway. As ZoneCard and Tripper replicate a similar market, NW identified this an opportunity to discuss going forward.

Hussein Patwa - Accessibility Representative

  • In engaging with his network, HP notes excitement but also anxiety as to what smart means due to potentially accessibility impacts. There is need to manage expectations and be clear in communication.
  • HP was pleased to hear of work to develop open data by Transport Scotland, and highlighted a desire to see more non-standard transport modes integrated into ticketing and planning systems to support improved first and last mile journeys.
  • HP suggested an opportunity for the Board to consider support mechanisms for smaller operators to introduce consistent apps to improve consistency and accessibility. AS raised that he was involved in a project that built a white label app system for smaller operators.
  • HP identified the need for there to be support from day 1 following any introduction of new system so that there is equal access for everyone. HP also suggested the need to future proof the infrastructure so that there isn’t a need to retrofit the infrastructure in the future.

Neil Wylie - Subway Representative

  • NW commented that the direction to enhance ticketing should be to build on what is already there. In particular, NW noted that Subway will be introducing contactless ticketing, and contracts have been signed. Initially the fares will replicate the existing ticketing structure. NW commented on the challenging fiscal position regarding bus funding.

Alex Hornby - Bus Operator Representative 

  • Currently managing the pause of the Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) which had been underpinning many of the bus partnerships. Glasgow Bus Partnership has decided to continue and is hoping that the BPF will restart in due course.
  • Agreed concessionary fares reimbursements for next financial year, and as a result of new UK Government legislation, approximately 800 buses in Scotland (150 are McGill’s) will be fitted with audio-visual technology. AH questioned whether this legislation applies to operate in Scotland. GBP confirmed that the legislation is reserved to the UK Government, but does include all bus operators in Scotland.

Claire Dickie - Rail Operator Representative

  • ScotRail plan to soft launch their ABT trial in 2024/25.
  • Other ticketing developments include introducing more products on digital barcode ticketing, including season m-tickets (s-tickets), and e-tickets so tickets can be downloaded and don’t need to be held in apps.
  • Many rail operators are starting procurement for new digital retail solutions. ScotRail procurement is subject to public sector procurement rules.
  • ScotRail are going through the budget process to understand available capital. They are also rolling out accessibility enhancements including more ramps and meeting points, and improving active travel infrastructure.

Marilena Papadopoulou - Tram Operator Representative

  • In terms of wider tram industry, MP updated that there are two local authorities (Leeds and Coventry) looking to introduce light rail systems. UK wide appetite from local authorities is to take ownership of trams in order to save money.
  • Edinburgh Council have announced a public consultation for the next phases of the Edinburgh Trams extension.
  • Edinburgh Trams are also in process of implementing ABT, integrating with Lothian Buses. Unlike the buses, Edinburgh Trams will have tap off readers as there are two fare types. This project is targeted to go live in 2024/25.

Agenda Item 8: Next steps


Agenda Item 9: AOB


Date of next meeting: 26 March 2024

Published Date 30 Apr 2024 Type Topic