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Business & Economy

Transport for the North appoints tech expert to oversee smart travel programme

Transport for the North (TfN) has appointed Jeremy Acklam as the new director for its Integrated and Smart Travel (IST) programme.

Jeremy joins TfN with an impressive track record working in the smart travel sector. Most notably he co-led the development and launch of the UK’s first online rail ticket retailer, Trainline, and worked on the early development and delivery of the national ITSO smartcard system.

Over his 35-year career, he has gained extensive experience of working with operators, regulators, Government and suppliers to develop account-based ticketing. He was also mentored by Sir Richard Branson.

Jeremy will play a lead role in driving forward TfN’s strategic vision for integrated and smart travel, including the delivery of flexi season tickets and contactless pay-as-you-go travel on rail – initiatives which were recently included as priority schemes in TfN’s proposed Economic Recovery Plan to rebuild and transform the North post COVID-19.

The £150 million IST programme is also currently progressing a business case with the Department for Transport to secure funding to support the North’s transport authorities in further developing their own local smart ticketing initiatives.

The programme has previously delivered smartcards for rail season ticket customers and open-data-driven tools to enhance the availability of digital travel information.

Jeremy said: “The opportunity to significantly transform how we travel really excites me, which is why I am so pleased to be appointed as Transport for the North’s Integrated and Smart Travel Programme Director.

“When the time is right, to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time including the North’s economic levelling up and decarbonisation, we need people to start using public transport again. Smart travel is key to giving our passengers confidence and implementing bold plans for the future.

“Transport for the North’s vision for smart travel is truly ambitious and poses many challenges, but I believe by building on the IST programme’s achievements to date and continuing to work collaboratively with the wider industry, the team will be able to deliver real change for passengers.”

Barry White, TfN chief executive, said: “The need for smart travel, including contactless ticketing, has been reinforced by the current crisis. As such, Transport for the North is pleased to appoint Jeremy to the role of Integrated and Smart Travel Programme Director to help accelerate our ambitions for a safer, more accessible and enhanced customer experience on public transport across the region.

“Jeremy brings with him invaluable industry experience and an entrepreneurial spirit which will be necessary to bring to fruition what are technologically and commercially complex projects. I look forward to working with Jeremy and driving forward our vision for smart travel in the North of England.”