50 MILLION journeys were made on public transport using smart Swift cards across the West Midlands last year.

The figures make 2019 the most successful year to date for the smartcard, which can be used to pay for travel on buses, trains and trams across the region.

The numbers of travellers using the card, which can be topped-in online or in shops, increased from 35.5 million journeys in 2017.

Travel bosses have attributed the growth to better value ticket options and greater availability to buy tickets online.

Smart ticketing is usually associated with a plastic smart card, but Swift, which is developed and operated by Transport for West Midlands. was the first ticketing scheme in the UK to partner with Google to add tickets direct to mobile phones.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:“The Swift smart travel card offers great value and convenience for travellers and I am not surprised it has become one of the most successful in the country.

“On top of this we are also developing innovative ways to make it easier for people to pay for their journeys, such as mobile ticketing. Thanks to this approach and our £4 billion investment in bus, rail and Metro services, we are seeing real growth in numbers of people using public transport.”

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “Swift is great for travellers as not only does it offer discount on cash fares, but can be used by people regardless of their credit rating or whether or not they have a bank account or debit card removing a barrier to public transport.

“And next year we are also launching a new way of using Swift where customers can use the card for whatever journeys they need to make safe in the knowledge that Swift will work out the best value fare over the day or week.”