Swift, the West Midlands’ own smart travelcard, has been rolled out in a first for the region.
Thousands of bus users in Redditch are now able to use the card on all Diamond and Johnsons bus services in the Worcestershire town.
They can be used as pay-as-you-go or as one or four week season tickets.
Swift is run by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Although not a full constituent member of the WMCA, Redditch has non-constituent status and is a key town in the wider travel-to-work commuter area of the West Midlands.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the WMCA, said the roll-out of Swift into a non-constituent member of the authority was a major milestone in its development.
“Swift has grown spectacularly in a short period of time, with 3.5 million journeys per month meaning it is already the largest travel card outside London,” he said.
“With new opportunities to use Swift in and around Redditch and on Diamond services in the Black Country, even more people can now benefit from using this revolutionary ticketing system.
“As Swift continues to grow it makes complete sense to roll it out beyond the West Midlands and expand its reach to neighbouring towns and districts.”
Cllr Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that Redditch is the first town where Swift has been rolled out for bus passengers beyond the West Midlands metropolitan area.
“It is particularly important when you consider how many people living in towns like Redditch travel into Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, and the Black Country.
“Public transport plays a vital role in getting people to where they want to go, so the more we can make it easier for people to leave their cars at home, free up road space and ease pollution and congestion the better.”
The cards are obtained online and can be topped up via the Swift app, or from collector machines located at Redditch bus station and the town’s Alexandra Hospital.
Bob Baker, Diamond Buses business director, said: “Working with TfWM to launch some of our products onto Swift now gives us the opportunity to add smart card technology to the growing ways passengers can buy Diamond Bus tickets and passes.
“In addition to contactless payment and M-ticketing, both of which are already available to Diamond Customers, we are achieving a key goal of making ticketing more flexible and accessible to passengers.”
Martin Meacham, bus manager of Johnsons Excelbus, said: “We are really excited to be part of this important change for customers.
“It is yet another example where we lead in great customer service and give the user a meaningful & easier way to make travel less complicated.”
Swift was launched in 2012 and now sees more than three million journeys a month made on it.
Users pay cheaper fares than with cash and there are a range of products to suit people’s needs.
Staff from TfWM will be in the Kingsfisher shopping centre in Redditch on Saturday, February 17, to explain how Swift will work.
They will also be giving out free Swift pay-as-you-go cards with £5 credit to the first 100 people to visit the stand, which will be there from 10am to 2pm.
For more details on Swift in Redditch go to the Network West Midlands website.