£800,000 for smart machines in Milton Keynes is just the ticket for people with anxiety

People with social anxiety will soon be able to use the buses without having to talk to the driver.

Milton Keynes Council is set to start a tender process to find a business to put smart ticket machines at the city’s busiest stops where people will be able to top up their travel cards and collect their tickets on the street.

A bus stop in Milton Keynes

A bus stop in Milton Keynes

Adele Wearing, the council’s strategic lead for transport, says, in her report to a meeting next week, that one of the benefits of smart ticketing is that it can: “remove the need for driver interaction, unlocking public transport for members of the population who struggle with these interactions for a variety of reasons.”

The contract has an estimated value of a maximum £800,000, which the council is set to receive from a government quango, called SEMLEP (the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership). But it has to apply for the money soon, or it will be lost.

Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East) is the council’s Cabinet member for transport and planning. He’s due to officially decide to launch the procurement process at a Delegated Decisions meeting on Tuesday (October 8).

The contract could be awarded by February 2020 and completed by March 2021.

Other benefits of street smart ticketing to top up the city’s MK Moove cards are seen by the council to include a reduction in boarding times due to there being no need for passengers to carry cash.

People can also top up their cards by using an Android phone.

Because of the value of the contract, it will have to be advertised across the European Union, says the report to Cllr Gowans.