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"One-Ticket" by David Scotney: Meeting of 2 December 2003

"One-Ticket" is an innovative ticketing initiative introduced by SESTRANS (South-East Scotland Transport Partnership) to promote travel throughout its area and to destinations further afield and David Scotney provided a detailed insight to the setting up and operation of the scheme.

David Scotney (left) & John Yellowlees, Scottish Region Vice-Chairman.d

David Scotney (left) & John Yellowlees, Scottish Region Vice-Chairman.

© John G. Fender 2011

He looked at the history of such ticketing schemes, from the first railway and tramway season tickets, introduced in the early 1900's and the effects of the Transport Act, 1930. The first bus operator season tickets appeared in the 1930's and the first operator travel ticket in the UK, as distinct from a season ticket, was introduced in Edinburgh in the 1950's.

The 1968 Transport Act created the first PTE's and urban travel tickets were introduced in the 1970's. Now, the relevant legislation is the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1976; the Transport Act, 1980; the transport Act, 1985; the Competition Act, 1998 and the Transport (Scotland) Act, 2001, all of which have a bearing on ticketing.

The ticketing schemes introduced by the PTE's were often considered in being "Stalinist" in their approach as the PTE's set the agenda and participants complied. However, with deregulation, such schemes were deemed to be illegal through being anti-competitive. However, the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 allows local authorities to promote ticketing schemes, but these are subject to the provisions of The Competition Act, 1998 (Public Transport Ticketing Schemes Block Exemption) Order 2001. However, this ceases at the end of February 2005.

Delivering a ticketing scheme encompasses a number of aspects. The pricing of a ticket has to be low enough to be commercially viable but at the same time high enough so as not to undercut individual operator's tickets. The reimbursement of operators needs to be on an equitable basis and most schemes are on the basis of the actual passenger distance travelled. Where there is an "add-on" to a ticket, these usually have pre-defined values that are paid for accepting another operator's ticket. Ticketing schemes also have a number of costs, such as commissions to agents, administrative costs, including overheads and management supervision costs.

SESTRANS, created by a group of councils with mutual public transport interests began, development of "One-Ticket" in 1998 and had developed the principles for the ticket scheme by 1999. Details had been worked out by 2000, but the implementation was delayed until the "block exemption" had come into force. Phase 1 of "One-Ticket" was introduced in May 2001. The price of the ticket was lowered in November that year and further developments were introduced throughout 2002, with extensions to the scheme, some re-zoning and lower prices. The ticket was extended to the whole SESTRANS area at the end of 2002. Developments in 2003 included better marketing and the introduction of the West Lothian local area ticket within the overall arrangements.

A separate company was set up to deliver "One-Ticket" and both the participating councils and operators are shareholders. The company is operated so as to neither make a profit or a loss. This means that all revenues are reimbursed to the operators. Sales of "One-Ticket" are increasing as more people discover the benefits of the scheme and further advertising in the Edinburgh area has led to marked increases in sales.

Report by John Fender.


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