Britain's biggest bus companies are to bring in Oyster-style smart ticketing in England's largest urban areas with Greater Manchester passengers being the first to get the ticketing.
The ticketing has been a feature in London for some years.
To be introduced in 2015, the scheme will also benefit Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire as well as the city regions of Nottingham, Leicester and Bristol. In the West Midlands nearly 30 operators are already part of the Swift smart multi-operating ticketing scheme.
The initiative involves the Stagecoach, First, Arriva, Go Ahead and National Express companies and represents a multi-million investment. The technology will allow smaller bus operators to be included and provide a platform to extend the system to other transport modes, such as trams and trains.