Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation
ITSO is a non-profit membership organisation which maintains and develops the ITSO specification. The specification is an open one which is Crown copyrighted and available to all with the aim of allowing interoperable ticketing between transport operators in the UK.

ITSO Limited operates and manages an interoperable smart media environment, and facilitates and supports development of interoperable smart ticketing schemes that comply with the ITSO specification.

ITSO was established as a result of discussions between various UK passenger transport authorities concerning the lack of standards for interoperable smartcard ticketing. These discussions grew to include other authorities, transport operators and government.

Today ITSO membership covers the breadth of the transport arena including transport operators (both bus and train operating companies), suppliers to the industry, local authorities and public transport executives.

The Department for Transport rolled out Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme which uses ITSO smartcards. Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government have implemented ITSO in their concessionary travel schemes. Many regions of England either currently use the Specification to support concessionary and commercial public transport schemes or have plans to do so within the next few years.

ITSO Limited is funded by its members, which include transport operators and affiliated bodies, as well as local, regional and national government organisations.

The Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation has been dropped and ITSO is now just ITSO. That is because the specification covers other forms of ticketing besides smartcards and transport.


The ITSO specification is a technical platform on which interoperable smart ticketing schemes can be built. It defines the key technical items and interfaces that are required to deliver interoperability between the components of a ticketing system – smart media (usually smartcards), points of service (bus or rail ticket machines) and back office data processing systems. ITSO is unique in transport smartcard specifications in that it covers all required components.

The ITSO specification is Crown copyright
Crown copyright
Crown copyright is a form of copyright claim used by the governments of a number of Commonwealth realms. It provides special copyright rules for the Crown .- Australia :...

 and is available from the ITSO website.


The ITSO member list includes most of the major bus operators, ticket issuing system vendors and passenger transport executive
Passenger Transport Executive
In the United Kingdom, passenger transport executives are local government bodies which are responsible for public transport within large urban areas...


ITSO members (and links to their websites) include:
  • Ecebs Ltd - Smartcard Ticketing Solutions Experts. Developed the entire security infrastructure on behalf of ITSO
  • Almex Information Systems - Ticketing System Vendor
  • Applied Card Technologies - supplier of ITSO HOPS(AMS) system and integrated Card Management Systems (CMS)
  • Arriva
    Arriva plc is a multinational public transport company owned by Deutsche Bahn and headquartered in Sunderland, United Kingdom. It has bus, coach, train, tram and waterbus operations in 12 countries across Europe, employs more than 47,500 people and services over 1.5 billion passenger journeys each...

     - Bus, coach and train Operator
  • Association of Train Operating Companies
    Association of Train Operating Companies
    The Association of Train Operating Companies is a body which represents 24 train operating companies that provide passenger railway services on the privatised British railway system. It owns the National Rail brand. The Association is an unincorporated association owned by its members...

  • ATOS Origin - Ticketing System Vendor
  • Burall InfoSmart Ltd - Ticketing Stock Supplier
  • West Midlands PTE
    West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive
    The West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive , sometimes known as Centro, is a local government organisation responsible for certain transport services in the West Midlands county in England....

     - Centro
  • Cubic Transportation Systems
    Cubic Transportation Systems
    Cubic Transportation Systems is an American public corporation providing automated fare collection equipment and services to the mass transit industry...

     - Automated fare collections systems solution provider
  • Department for Transport
    Department for Transport
    In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport is the government department responsible for the English transport network and a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are not devolved...

  • Vix ERG - Ticketing systems and automatic fare collection vendor
  • First Group - Bus and train operator
  • General Information Systems Ltd - Developers and manufacturers of handheld terminals and specialist smartcard readers
  • Go-Ahead Group
    Go-Ahead Group
    The Go-Ahead Group plc is a rail and bus operating company that was created following the privatisation of the UK's train and bus industries. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.-Early history:...

     - Bus and train operator
  • National Express Group
    National Express Group
    National Express Group plc is a British transport group headquartered in Birmingham that operates bus, coach, rail and tram services in the UK, the US and Canada, Spain, Portugal and Morocco and long-distance coach routes across Europe...

     - Bus, coach and train operator
  • Novacroft - Designs, develops and manages innovative end-to-end multi-application citizen cards and multi-modal smart ticketing solutions
  • Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH - A global leader in fare collection technology.
  • SmartCitizen Ltd - Specialists in Local Authority smartcard solutions
  • sQuidcard Ltd - eMoney Payments Network, works as a top-up partner for paid-for transit schemes based on ITSO.
  • Stagecoach Group
    Stagecoach Group
    Stagecoach Group plc is an international transport group operating buses, trains, trams, express coaches and ferries. The group was founded in 1980 by the current chairman, Sir Brian Souter, his sister, Ann Gloag, and her former husband Robin...

     - Bus, coach and train operator
  • Clear2Pay - Test Tool and Certification Testing Services Provider for ITSO
  • Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Unicard Ltd - Local Authority smartcard solutions

The above is not an exhaustive list. A full list of members can be found here:

Non-ITSO systems

The largest commercial-based scheme is Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

, which is marketing its smartcards as Oyster
Oyster card
The Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport services within the Greater London area of the United Kingdom. It is promoted by Transport for London and is valid on a number of different travel systems across London including London Underground, buses, the Docklands...

. Currently, Oyster is not compatible with the ITSO specification. However, the Department for Transport is working with TfL to ensure the readers will also be compatible with the ITSO specification.
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