WEST Yorkshire’s long oppressed rail users could be set to benefit from a new smart card fare system.

Reporting in its quarterly newsletter, Track Record, Chairman of the Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield Rail Users Association, Richard Fieldhouse, revealed that he had been involved in talks with the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive regarding the introduction of a pre-payment card scheme similar to London’s successful Oyster card.

Passengers in London have benefitted from lower travel costs since Oyster card’s introduction in 2004, as the pre-paid fares offer a saving on one-off purchases in a bid to reduce congestion at ticket machines and barriers.

In use on buses, trains and the Tube, the Oyster card is touched against a scanner at the beginning and end of each journey and the cost is deducted.

Having seen the benefits of the London based scheme, West Yorkshire’s rail chiefs had been hoping to pilot a similar scheme called YorCard in 2007, using identical technology to Oyster.

The £25m plan was then due to roll out to stations across the region in 2009.

A revised proposal is now being presented to the Government’s transport bosses almost two-years behind the original schedule.

Passenger Focus research show there is keen interest among passengers in using new technology to resolve some of the problems experienced when buying tickets.

In the research, all users agreed that if introduced, a rail smartcard should be compatible between the different train operators, and where possible other public transport operators.

The Track Record newsletter also reveals that the

installation of automatic barriers at Huddersfield is still many months away and that similar barriers at Leeds station are on hold.