Metrocar 4075 at Cullercoats
Image Source: Paul Robertson

North East app developers sought to undertake project to replace Pop cards with smart tech

North East tech firms are being sought to build a new smart ticketing app to improve the experience of Metro and Bus passengers in the region.

Managed by Nexus, the North East Smart Ticketing Initiative (NESTI) is looking to give the £50k contract to a local app developer capable of developing the desired virtual travel ticket system for mobile devices.

NESTI is working alongside ITSO Ltd, the non-profit organisation which sets technical and interoperability standards for UK smart ticketing, to bring host card emulation (HCE) to the UK, allowing mobile devices to replicate a smart card such as the Pop card, used by more than 100,000 people in North East England.

The opportunity for app developers follows work that NESTI has done which has already seen the roll-out of Pop card through a partnership between 12 local authorities, Nexus and transport operators.

Nexus, which is working in partnership with Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley (NETV) on behalf of NESTI, will be holding a workshop in January, followed by a pitching competition where developers are invited to pitch their solutions to a judging panel.

The aim is to replicate the current functionality of the Nexus, Metro and Pop card apps, making it easier for customers to purchase and store tickets, check and top up balances and to receive real time journey updates.

John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, explained: “We have led the roll-out of Pop cards for travel on public transport as programme manager for the NESTI partnership.

“We are now looking ahead to the next generation of smart technology, with mobile devices replicating the convenience and simplicity of travel with a Pop card.

“We want to work with the best app developers as we make our plans for future ticketing a reality as part of wider investment in public transport.”

Naomi Morrow, Head of Innovation at Sunderland Software City and Lead for Digital Catapult NETV, added: “The North East is home to world-class talent when it comes to software and app development, so we’re pleased that Nexus, on behalf of NESTI, is looking for a local company to work with.

“Host card emulation draws on a number of emerging technologies to create a ‘virtual travel ticket’. The partnership between NESTI, ITSO and the global digital disruptor is yet another example of how businesses in the region are at the forefront of industry innovation.”

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