Blackpool bus ticket upgrade helped by council loan
Councillors are being asked to rubber stamp a £550,000 loan to Blackpool Transport to cover the cost of installing a contactless ticketing system.
The system, which has cost £750,000 in total, has been fitted on all Blackpool Transport’s fleet of around 115 buses with plans to install it on the trams this summer.
Passengers can still pay using cash, but the contactless system means they can use bank cards or other device such as their phones.
There is also a ‘Tap & Go’ facility, similar to London’s Oyster card, whereby people tap their card or contactless device when boarding, tap with the same device when exiting, and they will be automatically charged the correct fare for their journey.
The council’s executive is being asked to approve the loan from the council’s £200m business loans fund when it meets on Monday (June 14).
Blackpool Transport, which is owned by the council, is due to repay the loan over five years.
A report to councillors says: “Blackpool Transport Services Limited operate a modern fleet of trams and buses and the contactless system would ensure the network is future-proofed for those users who prefer to pay by card rather than cash, offering a more convenient way to pay for an increasing proportion of service users.”
It adds: “The installation of the ticketless system represents a significant upgrade on the current ticketing arrangements and brings Blackpool Transport into line with other transport operators throughout the country.”
The council’s business loans fund was set up to support economic growth in the town while generating revenue.
Loans are provided on a commercial basis and are funded by borrowing through the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), an arm of the Treasury.
This enables councils to borrow money at low interest rates, and make loans to suitable companies or to their wholly owned companies.
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