Pop along to pay less for park and ride

Durham County Council’s park and ride service is now cheaper and easier to use than before as users can now get a Pop Pay As You Go smartcard.

Not only will the new smartcard system mean easier travel but it’s cheaper too, with an all-day ticket via the smartcard costing £1.70 compared with the usual £2.00.

Following a trial, the system is now being implemented on all of the park and ride buses serving Durham City and, to celebrate, commuters have been taking part in lucky dips to win one of the new smartcards with £20 worth of travel included.

The new system allows people to get straight onto the bus and use the card reader without having to queue at ticket machines. Unique to the park and ride service is the ability for people to top up online at with the value being added to the card automatically the next time they use the service. The Pop smartcards can be used for a range of travel across the region, including many bus services, metro journeys and even the Shields Ferry.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “Our park and ride service offers a cheap and convenient way of getting in and out the city as well as helping to reduce congestion, meaning it’s also better for the environment.

“As well as being part of a much wider network of travel, the Pop Pay As You Go smartcard means the service is now even easier to use and costs less. So we’re delighted that current users will be able to enjoy all of the benefits and hope that even more people think about trying it.

“By working together with travel operators and other authorities, the Pop smartcard will hopefully mean easier journeys for people across the region.”

The Pop Pay As You Go cards can be bought at Payzone stores such as the one on Claypath in the city centre, as well as at Travelshops in Tyne and Wear. Later in the year they’ll also be available to purchase online.

The move sees the park and ride service join a system already running across the region, developed under the North East Smart Ticketing Initiative (NESTI) which includes all of the north east’s councils in partnership with bus operators.

Over 6,000 people across the north east already have Pop Pay As You Go cards, which can be used to pay for travel on many bus services, the Tyne and Wear Metro and Shields Ferry. Many bus services in County Durham and the wider region now accept the smartcards with more to follow. A full list can be found at