Bus smart cards are to be rolled out across Preston to get more of the city's young people using public transport.
Trials are currently taking place on the ITSO smart card technology, which will allow young passengers to use any bus in Preston without having to carry cash.
It is planned to introduce the cards for 16-23-year-olds on Preston Bus, Stagecoach, John Fishwick and Son and Blazefield services in the city early next year.
Each bus will be fitted with a machine which allows passengers to top-up their accounts by cash and then travel without using money on subsequent journeys.
Any 16-23-year-olds who use the cards will get a discount on journeys – with 10% the current suggestion. The scheme may be rolled out to all passengers at a later date.
The machines will also be used by pensioners and disabled people with free travel cards.
Peter Bell, managing director of Preston Bus, said: "We will be fitting our buses up around the turn of the year. The idea is to make it easier for people to use buses and to get more people using it.
"We will be starting with the scheme for 16-23-year-olds, whether we go any further we have not decided yet. We have an open mind."
Chris Bowles, managing director of Stagecoach North West, said: "We recognise that among young people, particularly in the period after 16 when public transport expects them to be adults, there will be quite a significant uptake."
Transport chiefs are eventually planning to roll the system out to every bus operator in Lancashire.
It is also hoped it will speed up bus travel for passengers because drivers will not have to take payments at each stop.
The cards, which are being trialled by bus employees and county council officers to iron out any bugs, will allow passengers who top up their cards and pay for a journey on one operator's bus to use a completely different operator on the return leg.
It is being introduced as part of the CIVITAS scheme. Machines on streets which will allow people to top up their cards are also being considered.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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