30 Jan 2015

Merseytravel's Walrus Card: What's the point?

I'm a frequent public transport user. I tend to travel off peak and at irregular times so I generally buy a Saveaway. It's flexible (buses and trains) and reasonably priced by today's (inflated) standards.

Recently, Merseytravel introduced the Walrus card. It's being trialled in Wirral before a planned roll out across Merseyside. It was dubbed an Oyster card for Merseyside. This sounded great as the Oyster card is really flexible. You load up your card in advance and travel when you need to so no need to queue at the station and fret about missing your train.

Only Walrus isn't like that. You have to load the card on the day you travel. And, it's quite slow to load based on the experience at my local newsagent.

Previously you could buy Saveaways in advance, scratch them off on the day of use and off you go. I always kept a stash at home and never had to worry about buying a  ticket on the day.

So what's the point of the Walrus card? My newsagent reports a huge dive in sales of Saveaways since Walrus was introduced.

We all want public transport to be as flexible as possible. At the moment Walrus is a real step backwards in flexibility as it doesn't allow purchase before the day of travel.

Hopefully Merseytravel are working on this. Otherwise sales of Saveaways are likely to fall and fewer people will be using public transport.

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