A new 'smart-card' allowing rail passengers in Bristol to travel without buying paper tickets is being launched next month.

The card - known as 'Touch' - will initially be available to passengers on the Severn Beach Line as part of a pilot to see if rail and bus travel can be combined in a single ticket offered across the city.

Passengers will be able to add weekly, monthly and yearly rail tickets to their electronic card and if the pilot is successful it could mean the integration of MetroWest and local bus services.

The 'Touch' card. Credit: GWR

Both adults and children will be able to use the card through an online account or at special ticketing machines but bus tickets will not be part of the pilot scheme at first.

The aim of the card is to ease congestion and make travel faster. Credit: PA Images

Mark Bradshaw from Bristol City Council which is helping run the pilot project said it would help passenger congestion and ease the process of travelling:

This investment is good news for passengers using Temple Meads and the Severn Beach Line with more gates to help ease congestion, equipped with new ticket readers making smart payment for local rail travel a reality."

Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Bristol City Council
Bristol Temple Meads. Credit: PA Images

Lee Edworthy from Great Western Railway described the scheme as 'the first step towards a wider integration of ticketing for bus and rail across Bristol.

The MP for Bristol North West Charlotte Leslie said she hoped the trial would be successful and the scheme rolled out across the city.


  • Bristol Temple Meads

  • Lawrence Hill

  • Stapleton Road

  • Montpelier

  • Redland

  • Clifton Down

  • Sea Mills

  • Shirehampton

  • Avonmouth

  • St Andrew's Road

  • Severn Beach

The pilot begins in May. Credit: PA Images

Before the pilot is launched in May new platform validators need to be installed at all Severn Beach Line stations and improvements made at ticket gates at Bristol Temple Meads.

The scheme could be made progressively available on more lines this Summer after initial testing.

Later phases could allow a combined rail and bus ticket to be added to the card and bus tickets for a number of services in the region to be integrated too.