Having a troupe of dancers on tap is not something seen every day in railway stations.
Passengers using the time-saving cards must remember to ‘tap in' and ‘tap out' at stations. To reinforce that message, members of Jason Thomas Performing Arts took to tapping on a super-sized Cornwall pay-as-you-go card which had been transformed into a dance floor.
The touch smartcard has the result of a collaboration between Great Western Railway (GWR) and Cornwall Council. This means that payments and tickets can be rolled into one process while still guaranteeing the best-value daily fares.
Customers may register for the new cards now and, once registration has taken place and the card has been linked to a bank account, passengers may tap in and tap out on the yellow card readers at stations between Penzance and Par.
This is only the second pay-as-you-go scheme on the entire GWR network and coincides with the multi-million pound investment in Cornwall by Network Rail. Signalling equipment is being replaced by brand new technology, while the county is now at the forefront of new digital fares technology. The rest of Cornwall, going right through to Plymouth, will also be included in the new pay-as-you-go ticketing, as a result of Cornwall Council's successful bid to the Government's Levelling Up programme for the Mid-Cornwall Metro.
The smartcard is valid on GWR and CrossCountry services between Penzance and Par. Best value walk-up fares for the day of travel will be available, as well as weekly season ticket price capping applied to end-to-end journeys between two stations over a Monday to Sunday seven-day week.
With the exception of a Flexi Season ticket, train tickets and season tickets can be stored on the pay-as-you-go smartcard. Customers should obtain a separate smartcard for a Flexi Season ticket. Railcards can be loaded on to the pay-as-you-go card – with discounts automatically applied – while a 50% child fare reduction is available if a child is registered.
A smartcard can be obtained by registering for a GWR.com account or logging in if an account is already open. Passengers should click on ‘manage smartcards' in the account and then click ‘apply for a smartcard' from the drop-down menu. After filling the form, a card should be received within five working days.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport, Richard Williams-Pears, said: “We are committed to helping our residents get the best value and give them access to the most convenient ways to make the most of public transport in Cornwall.
“Initiatives such as this and our bus fares reduction scheme under the Transport for Cornwall banner, mean that Cornwall is leading the way in making it easier for people to travel by public transport and is another step in encouraging more people to look to more sustainable ways of travel, leaving their cars at home and cutting their carbon emissions.”
GWR Regional Growth Manager, David Whiteway, added: “We're really grateful to Jason Thomas Performing Arts for helping to promote our Cornwall pay-as-you-go card. The smartcard allows you to ‘tap in' and ‘tap out' at stations across West Cornwall, calculating the best value fare on the day of travel.
“We launched a similar scheme in Bristol last year and are excited about doing the same in Cornwall, supporting residents, visitors and local businesses. Cornwall Council has already done so much to support modal shift and sustainable travel and we are proud to be working with them on this next step.”
Peninsula Transport chairman, Cllr Andrea Davis, said: “We need to make sure passengers have easy and convenient ways to pay for travel as we move towards a more integrated transport system for the South West. GWR's Cornwall smartcard should take us further on that journey. We need to encourage more people to use public transport to take pressure off the roads and reduce carbon emissions. Making payments and ticketing as easy as possible is a very important part of that process and something I'm sure passengers will find helpful.”
Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership's Richard Burningham noted: “It's great to see this hassle-free new way to travel being rolled out in Cornwall, giving passengers even more choice and convenience for their local journeys. To give people a sneak preview of how easy it is to use, we're pleased to have produced a short video showing an example pay-as-you-go trip between Penryn and Truro. We'll be promoting the video on social media to encourage as many people as possible to try this exciting new option.”
CrossCountry's Interim Regional Director for West and Wales, Sarah Gould, said: “We're pleased to support with the rollout of the new smartcard system in West Cornwall, which will make travelling by train that much easier for customers in our Wales and West region. It's been fantastic to work with colleagues from across the rail industry and throughout West Cornwall to make journeys swifter and smoother for our customers.”