BUS passengers in South Tyneside will be the first to use a new ticketing scheme.
The new SmartZone initiative lets passengers use one smartcard for both Stagecoach and Go North East buses.
The development comes after Britain’s biggest bus operators pledged to deliver smart ticketing to millions of customers across England during 2015.
The technology has the ability in the future to extend the benefits of smart ticketing to other public transport modes, such as National Rail and light rail services.
The scheme – which uses Government standard ITSO technology – was launched last week by operators, who believe it will deliver better value and hassle-free bus travel for local people.
The launch follows successful trials of the new ticket last month and the scheme is now officially part of the Stagecoach North East and Go North East ticket ranges.
South Tyneside SmartZone tickets are valid on buses in South Shields, Whitburn, Cleadon, Boldon, Bill Quay, Hebburn and Jarrow.
Passengers can purchase SmartZone tickets on the bus or online, depending on the type of ticket selected.
A one-week ticket can be bought onboard or online and costs £13, and the four-week ticket, at £50, is only available online.
Tickets can be added onto a Stagecoach Smart Card or a Go North East Key Card, and all valid products on smartcards will be accepted on any of the services in South Tyneside, within the SmartZone boundaries.
In a joint statement, Phil Medlicott, managing director of Stagecoach North East and Kevin Carr, managing director of Go North East, said: “Our buses are used by millions of people every year and, along with local authorities and Government, we have a shared responsibility to make them even better.
“In line with our promise to customers, we’re delighted to be launching smart ticketing across different operators, which is a major step forward for bus passengers in South Tyneside.
“It will make travelling by bus even easier and convenient by allowing customers to jump on the first bus that comes along, rather than waiting for a specific operator.
“Bus operators are committed to developing services within the region and to enhancing every aspect of the customer experience.
“Tyne and Wear has the highest customer satisfaction rating of the UK’s metropolitan areas and this is further evidence that by working together, and with the region’s local authorities, bus operators can make our buses even better.”