Councillor Kellie Armstrong said “The SmartCard will be available from Monday, October 6, and will replace books of tickets with cost of travel remaining exactly the same. Cards can be purchased from Centra in Portaferry or in Strangford at the Ferry Terminal or Kevin Ogs Newsagents.
“On the ferry the SmartCard will be swiped and passengers will receive a balance update. One of the main benefits of the SmartCard is the ability to cancel the card if it is stolen or lost. In the past if a boat ticket was stolen there was no way to cancel the ticket to prevent fraudulent use. Now passengers can contact the Ferry Terminal to report loss or theft to protect whatever balance is available.
“The card can be swiped more than once per crossing. This will be particularly helpful for our local GAA teams who often travel with a number of cars over to matches. Now instead of carrying tickets the coach or club representative can swipe the club card to cover the number of cars being transported.
“The cost to obtain a card will be free for the first 6 months. After that it will be £2 to register a new card. I recommend all regular ferry passengers obtain their cards as soon as possible to avoid this administration fee.
“I am delighted to confirm anyone who has bulk purchased books of tickets will be able to use those tickets until October 5, 2015.
“Those passengers and tourists who do not use the ferry regularly can of course still pay for tickets in cash at the ferry.
“The Strangford Ferry SmartCard is a step in the right direction. I hope this will enable future developments to the service to further modernise ferry travel.”
Informaiton about the new system can be found at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/strangford-ferry-smartcard