Government cuts have put plans for “smart travel” in jeopardy, transport chiefs for the North have said.
The Department for Transport has scrapped all funding for Transport for the North’s (TfN) plans to introduce contactless payment across trains, trams and buses, meeting papers show.
TfN had asked for £33 million over the next year to fund the programme across the North.
But instead the Government told TfN it would stop funding its smart travel plans entirely, as well as cutting another £4 million to the transport body’s core budget.
In a letter to the Government, published ahead of a meeting this morning, TfN chief executive Barry White called the cuts “incredibly disappointing” and requested a meeting with transport chiefs.
“The £33m requested for the year ahead would deliver contactless payment on rail, light rail and buses in partner geographies across the North – a key element in providing travellers with the confidence to use public transport as we recover from the pandemic,” he wrote.
“The decision to cease funding the programme entirely is incredibly disappointing – particularly given the identification of key contactless initiatives that could be developed quickly and have been awaiting this funding decision for several months.”
TfN now faces a “cliff edge” in funding for the third straight year, meeting papers for today’s board meeting reveal.
The papers say the cuts will “lead to delays to projects in the North” and could lead to job cuts at TfN in a bid to balance its £6 million budget.
TfN’s board is meeting today to discuss the cuts.
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A Department for Transport spokesman told YorkshireLive: “TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme. To date, £24m has been utilised to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north.
“We are focused on delivering more modern journeys for passengers, so are now considering how to deliver a more rapid and effective rollout.
“The Transport Secretary has spoken with Northern leaders extensively, including in late December, to discuss their priorities. The Northern Transport Acceleration Council is now considering how a range of northern projects can be delivered more effectively.”