Transport bosses today revealed details of an initiative that shows Leeds’s travel smartcard revolution is definitely on the right track.
Passengers are now able to top up their MCard smartcards with payments for weekly and monthly bus and rail journeys at 38 train stations in the city and the rest of West Yorkshire.
Sites with vending machines that can handle the London Oyster card-style transactions include Burley Park, Crossgates, East Garforth, Garforth, Guiseley, Headingley, Horsforth, New Pudsey and Woodlesford as well as Leeds City Station.
The vending machine upgrades have been carried out by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) in partnership with Northern Rail.
Coun Keith Wakefield, chair of the WYCA transport committee, said: “MCard is already making bus and train travel more convenient for people across West Yorkshire and because it can be used on any company’s services can help people save money and avoid having to wait for the ‘right’ bus to come along.
“Making MCard more convenient by enabling passengers to top up at stations across the West Yorkshire rail network is just the latest development in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s smart travel scheme.
“Next month we will be introducing a money-saving carnet ticket – the modern-day smart version of a saver strip – for bus travel and further ahead we will be rolling out online top-ups, with a pilot scheme to enable people to use their mobile phone as a smartcard being planned.”
Northern Rail commercial director Richard Allan said: “This latest upgrade will make it quicker and easier for our customers in West Yorkshire to travel seamlessly around the rail network.”
Stations in Wakefield and Kirklees which have the MCard-ready machines include Castleford, Fitzwilliam, Moorthorpe, Normanton, Sandal & Agbrigg, South Elmsall, Wakefield Kirkgate and Batley.
There are currently around 100,000 MCard holders in West Yorkshire, making it the country’s largest travel smartcard system outside London.