City of York


To make it easier and cheaper for young people to use the city’s buses – and to encourage them to get the bus habit for life – York wanted to pioneer a scheme giving 11 to 16-year olds discounted fares plus discounts at local leisure centres, cinemas, bowling alleys, music stores and restaurants. With funding from the Department for Transport its innovative YOzone photocard scheme, which has Novacroft’s technology and know-how at its heart, was so successful it’s been extended to 16-18 year olds and is making a positive difference to bus usage, truancy rates and the ability of youngsters to take up education and work opportunities.

9 bus operators in York
10,000 YOzone ID cards produced by Novacroft

Our aim is to increase bus usage by 18% in 2015/16 and through working with travel operators to provide excellent discount opportunities for even more people in York we hope to achieve this

Cllr Dave Merrett, City of York


York council’s goal of introducing a scheme for youngsters linking cut price bus travel with a host of special offers required not only the involvement and commitment of local bus operators and private companies but also the resources and systems to ensure its successful operation – and expansion. From the start, the city’s ultimate ambition has been to be able to develop the YOzone concept and infrastructure easily and efficiently in the future.


Having successfully bid for government funding for this young person’s scheme, York chose to work again with Novacroft, which had provided application processing, card production and management systems for the city’s concessionary travel schemes and whose commitment and value as a business partner had already been proven. For this scheme we:

  • Process hard copy application forms (and will soon be introducing online application processing)
  • Provide a complete personalisation, production and fulfilment service for the ITSO-compliant smartcards
  • Provide our InNovator card management system, giving the council and other stakeholders 24/7 visibility of events in the lifecycle of every card.


Having a proof-of-age YOzone photocard:

  • Makes it easier and cheaper to get around the city for leisure, work and study
  • Cuts the cost of taking part in sports, going to the cinema and shopping and eating in the city
  • Provides access to special age-specific ticket price cuts introduced by bus operators.

Because of the new laws that mean young people have to stay on in education, the 16-18 year YOzone card can help to alleviate some of the financial stress that families
face when their young people go into further education

Ethan Redmond, York’s member of the UK Youth Parliament


The YOzone photocard scheme has enabled York council to:

  • Encourage young people to get out and about more on the city’s buses
  • Offer discounted travel so they can more easily get to school or college
  • Increase the value of the YOzone card by connecting it to benefits from brands like Subway, Vue and McDonalds
  • Use smartcard data to provide evidence of the scheme’s success to the Department for Transport
  • Open up a range of ticketing possibilities for bus operators through the use of ITSO-compliant cards
  • Establish a robust and scaleable infrastructure to support future developments
  • Have the confidence to make the decision to migrate to online application processing
  • Secure additional Department for Transport funding for the switch to more efficient digital applications.

What York council has achieved so far with the YOzone scheme is just the beginning. It has a vision for enhancing the city’s transport services and adding value for the younger generation and we’re now discussing how we can help turn its ideas into reality

Duncan Collingwood, Account Manager, Novacroft