Swift

What is Swift?

Swift is the largest and most comprehensive smartcard scheme in the UK outside of London and is regularly used by over 200k people undertaking more than 42m journeys per annum. It is already comprehensively available on buses and the tram and will become equally available on the rail network over the next 2 years as West Midlands Trains (WMT) deliver the commitments within its franchise. 

Swift launched in 2012 and since then there has been a significant change in both technology and governance with the introduction of the West Midlands Combined Authority providing a much wider remit than that which existed previously.  Therefore, with Swift largely established as the payment function for public transport, this is the perfect time to review the vision to ensure it aligns to the new wider remit and also exploits technology advancements. 

Swift Pay As You Go

Swift was introduced in October 2012 with Pay As You Go the first product. We now have a comprehensive Pay As You Go scheme accepted on virtually all West Midlands bus services and the Midland Metro.

With Pay As You Go passengers no longer need to have the exact change before they travel, the card can be shared with friends and family, and virtually all operators offer a discount compared to the equivalent cash fare. An Auto Top-Up function ensures credit never runs out. Swift is linked to a bank card so when credit drops below £10 credit is automatically added back to your card and you are billed later.

Smart Retail

Swift offers the ability to transfer purchases from an Android device directly onto a Swift card using the Swift App, so you can buy a product waiting for a bus, transfer it to your Swift Card and use it instantly.

There are also more than 100 Swift Collectors located around the region which allows customers to load their purchases made online to their card. We were the first to use this solution in this way and almost half of all purchases on Swift are made this way. In addition you can buy and top-up at convenience stores through Payzone and at Travel Information Centres.

Swift Season Tickets

As well as Pay As You Go there is a range of multi-operator, multi-modal season tickets available. Adult and child season tickets can be used on bus, rail or tram and are renewable via Direct Debit. We have delivered a multi-day ticket giving 5, 10 or 15 days of travel for use on all local bus services.

Smartcard Framework

We set a target to further develop smarter mobility, journey planning, and integrated ticketless travel. To achieve this a programme was set up to:

  • Provide a wide range of easy to use and accessible retail and self-service facilities offering smart ticketing
  • Get to know our customers better through 'one view' of the customer, with automatic and streamlined back office processes
  • Make commercial opportunities for developing innovative technology and with partners

We awarded this for up to ten years, recognising the investment and effort required to set up these systems and to develop partnership working with a supplier who would participate in our ongoing innovation of smart ticketing.

We can offer other improved smartcard services to customers:

  • Through a single supplier who may be directly appointed
  • Open to any public sector or private organisation 
  • Runs for up to ten years

Next Steps (2019-20)

In the run-up to Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture, Swift has commitments to provide:

  • Customer Enhancements - Following customer feedback, we’re improving our customer experience online by offering more self-service functionality so that customers can do what they want online. As well as visual layout improvements to our online portal and mobile app.
  • Contactless, capping and account based ticketing - In 2018 two of our largest bus operators started to offer contactless payment, with National Express offering a daily cap. Our next challenge is how to extend contactless capping across modes and operators - future ensuring that customers are able to obtain the best value price for their travel. 

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  • Swift Mobile App - A limited range of metro tickets are now available to purchase and use on Swift on Mobile. The next step is to extend the range of tickets available, most importantly providing a bus option. We’re currently working operators and manufacturers of ticket machines to make this possible. 

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  • MaaS - We are leading the way in mobility as a service solution, partnering with upcoming app developers such as MaaS Global and piloting our own integrations including:
    • Taxi - Swift PAYG
    • Rail - Swift PAYG
    • Parking - Swift PAYG

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