The Minister for Infrastructure has confirmed that a recent trial period for Bus Vannin ‘e-tickets’ was unsuccessful.

During Tuesday’s House of Keys sitting, Tim Crookall was asked what research had been undertaken or what progress had been made with regards to the introduction of digital bus tickets by MHK for Douglas North, David Ashford.

Mr Crookall said: ‘After an unsuccessful trial of mobile ticketing and ticketing within the existing “MANNgo” app, the department continues to engage with industry professionals with regard to a workable solution for the Isle of Man.

‘As previously reported, the department seeks a solution that enables electronic ticketing, journey planning and capping to be made available to its customers in a cost effective manner and within the current budgetary constraints.’

In a supplementary question, Mr Ashford said: ‘We’re now in 2023, nearly 2024.

‘This has been standard technology in many places for a long time now for well over a decade. Can the Minister advise why the trial was unsuccessful and why we’ve not been able to implement this technology?’

Mr Crookall stated that the reason this trial period was unsuccessful was because the collaborating provider was unable to provide the level of security the department required.

He said: ‘I’m quite happy to agree that things have moved on in the last decade or so.

‘Unfortunately, the provider who we were working with was unable to provide the required level of security to stop the risk of fraudulent use.

‘The challenges are numerous, but the predominant problem is funding this type of scheme within the current budget. Alongside this, the current bus fare structure would require review.

‘The department’s priority for 2024 is a review of the bus policy, strategy and service, so at this stage I’m unwilling to commit resources to the prioritising of e-ticketing.’

Whether the use of e-tickets could be used as a cost-saving approach for the Department of Infrastructure was another question brought forward to Mr Crookall, who said: ‘It is quite right that there are savings to be made from this scheme.

‘We can gather more information on cost-saving now from e-ticketing than we could from the previous machinery used. We will look at this, but again it does all come down to cost implications.

‘Even with these implications, e-ticketing is definitely under review alongside discussions over the island’s bus service in 2024. I would expect digital ticketing to come back in one form or another in the future.’