Bus travel in High Wycombe is to become easier following the launch of the Wycombe Smartzone.
The Wycombe Smartzone is a joint ticket arrangement with the Arriva and Carousel bus companies that has been brokered by Buckinghamshire County Council.
Launched on Wednesday 8th January 2020, the Wycombe Smartzone allows passengers to buy day, week, four week or multiple trip tickets that will be accepted on all Arriva and Carousel buses in the area.
Until the first week in January 2020 passengers had to buy separate tickets to travel on routes operated by the two main bus companies serving the Wycombe area.
The area covered by the Smartzone extends from Holmer Green in the north, to Wooburn and Bourne End in the east, to Handy Cross in the south and to West Wycombe.
As well as the jointly accepted Smartzone tickets, the two bus companies have provided top up machines in the bus station and introduced contactless payment on board their buses.
Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member at Buckinghamshire County Council, said the County Council had co-ordinated the scheme, to comply with competition legislation and will chair meetings of the management committee that oversees the scheme. Mark said: ‘I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work together to make this great customer centred scheme happen.
It makes absolute sense to make it as easy as possible for passengers to travel across the Wycombe area, whichever buses they need to use. Full marks to both bus companies for their forward thinking.‘
The bus companies set-up costs for the Wycombe Smartzone were match funded courtesy of a £124,000 top-up grant from Wycombe District Council.
Funding towards setting up Smartzone, which included the back office support, contactless ticket issuing technology and bus station top-up machines for travel Smart cards came from contributions from developers to Wycombe District Council.
David Johncock, Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainability at Wycombe District Council, said: ‘We all know how congested our local roads are and the adverse impact this has on our air quality. We have to encourage more people to use public transport and this initiative is a great start to achieving that. Providing a joint system and using modern technology is a sensible way forward and will hopefully achieve environmental benefits as well as providing a more effective service for shoppers, workers and visitors to the town.‘
The Wycombe Smartzone builds on the successful alliance between Arriva and Carousel that resulted in jointly operated routes from High Wycombe to Chesham that were launched in 2013 and between Bourne End and High Wycombe which started in 2018.
Simon Finnie, Area Managing Director for Arriva Midlands (South), said: ‘We’re really excited to be making bus travel simpler and more convenient for residents of High Wycombe. We hope that these new ticket products will allow new and existing customers to find the way of travelling that best fits into their lifestyles.‘
Phil Southall, Carousel Buses Managing Director, said: ‘This is a great step forward, improving access to buses and delivering an excellent passenger experience is a key part of our strategy. Joint ticketing will help make life easier for passengers and we’re delighted to launch this exciting initiative.‘
Sample Smartzone fares are as follows:
- Adult day ticket : £4.60.
- Adult week : £16.00.
- Adult 10 journey any time ticket : £18.00.
- Adult four weekly ticket : £55.
Tickets for children are expected to be introduced later in the year.
Further information on the Wycombe Smartzone can be found at www.wycombesmartzone.co.uk.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire County Council.