OPINION: Is ‘Swift Go’ too little, too late?

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) this week launched its new “Swift Go” fare-capped payment service which can be used immediately on the Midland Metro tram service.

It means that customers will just tap their card every time they get on a tram, or eventually a bus or train, without having to work out what fare or season ticket they need in advance – Swift Go will work out the best value fare for them later.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We know that as we emerge from this pandemic that many people’s working and travel patterns will be changing.

“Many people simply do not know at the start of the day or week how many journeys they need to make and until now they ran the risk of paying for trips they might not need.

“Swift Go offers great flexibility and will therefore make a perfect option for people as they adapt to new ways of working post-Covid.”

The Swift travel payment card is developed and operated by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) working with bus, rail and tram operators. It offers commuters a convenient single payment solution across the whole network.

https://www.tfwm.org.uk/news/new-swift-go-guarantees-best-value-fare-on-metro/

Swift Go will be introduced on bus services later this year, and on rail services in 2021.

Anyone who’s ever travelled round London and used a TfL Oyster card will understand exactly how this works, you don’t need to worry about what type of day ticket you need to buy, you just tap your card on every journey you make, same as how NX Buses contactless bank card payment system currently works.

The present Swift PAYG (Pay As You Go) is little more than a ‘digital wallet’ which holds a credit balance used to purchase tickets, but you still need to request a specific ticket from the driver.

As more and more bus operators introduced contactless card payments, and as more people have access to contactless bank cards, Swift PAYG has become pretty much redundant and almost pointless.

Swift Go is a welcome step up, and will be of enormous benefit to those who may use buses less frequently, but is it arriving far too late?

I mean after all, TfL’s Oyster card has been around since 2002 and ‘daily capping’ has been available since 2005. Only 15 years behind then!

But certainly, with a bewildering selection of single and day tickets available, Swift Go will be a cornerstone of TfWM’s ambition of making transport simpler, and if it helps more people become more comfortable with using public transport, then it surely is a good thing.

It will make bus loading more efficient too, gone will be the days when you get “that one passenger” holding everyone up because they are asking the price of bus fares! Just tap and board!

Find out more at the Swift Go website

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  1. I use the bogstandard Swift card, exclusively for pre-0930 ‘twirlybird’ tickets on NX and Diamond. Sadly, I still get told by some drivers that I’ve got to pay in money so have to show them how to use their machine. Anybody else have this issue?

  2. I think its good but taken way too long to get sorted.

    I prefer just loading a a week / month ticket onto the swift card still cheaper than buying indivdual tickets.

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