Transport minister Andrew Jones MP was in Birmingham this week to launch the Swift smartcard on to the West Midlands rail network.
For the first time commuters can now use the Midlands’ own smart card to go through ticket barriers in stations across the region.
It has been introduced by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The ticket can be used by 3,000 rail passengers currently signed up to the nNetwork direct debit scheme.
Mr Jones said: “Smart ticketing is revolutionising public transport and I welcome this significant new development in the West Midlands.
“It is important that people can get on and get around and the Swift card is helping cement a modern, affordable transport network that provides better journeys for everyone.”
The roll-out of Swift on to rail follows close co-operation between TfWM and London Midland trains, which operates local rail services in the West Midlands.
It can also be used on Virgin Trains, Chiltern Railways and Cross Country trains, whose services all call at local stations.
Ticket barriers are in place at Snow Hill, University and Five Ways stations in Birmingham, which are operated by London Midland.
They are also installed at New Street, Coventry and Birmingham International stations, which are operated by Virgin, and at Moor Street station which is run by Chiltern.
Train guards and revenue protection staff are able to read the cards with handheld equipment.
Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said: “We are the first transport body outside London to deliver a truly multimodal smart ticketing solution that does not require a paper counterpart, and this is just the start.
“Swift offers a range of benefits for the passenger and over the coming months we will be working closely with London Midland and the Department for Transport to identify and develop ways of expanding it still further.”
Ms Shoaf said TfWM was now working with the rail industry to develop a project to move 12,000 customers who purchase nTrain – the local rail-only season ticket – onto Swift.
It was also working with the Midlands Connect partnership towards developing an agreement over enhancing smart ticketing that would supporting better connectivity across the wider Midlands region.
Richard Brooks, London Midland commercial director said: “This is a great initiative by TfWM.
“At London Midland we believe passionately in making travel simple for everyone. Having a single smart card that works on trains, buses and Metro will make passengers’ lives easier and encourage more use of public transport across the region.”
Swift is widely used on the bus and Midland Metro tram networks and can be used for pay-as-you-go or weekly and monthly travel passes, offering a range of discounts.
There are currently over 40,000 Swift card users making more than 1.6m journeys a month.
Following his launch of the Swift card Mr Jones visited the Birmingham headquarters of the Midland Metro Alliance, where he met newly-appointed director Alejandro Moreno and attended a meeting of the West Midlands Bus Alliance.
For more details about Swift and other ticketing go to https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/tickets-and-passes/