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Northern Oyster card mooted

Economists have called for an ‘Oyster card for the North’ to be created to improve connectivity and boost city economies.

The City Growth Commission, chaired by retiring Goldman Sachs chief Jim O’Neill, called for an acceleration of digital and physical connections between large metropolitan areas to create economic powerhouses in the UK’s regions.

This was part of a broader strategy to help cities across the UK close the gap between income raised from taxes and expenditure on public services.

Five cities in northern England this summer outlined a £15bn plan to improve road and rail connections in the region.

O’Neill said: “If our closely geographically located cities can have the best transport between them, allowing their current and potential future consumers and producers to feel as though they are all part of one urban mass, then the benefits that typically accrue to London could be repeated elsewhere.”

He added: “Our recommendations include a number of key requirements, such as the creation of a Northern Oyster to truly pull this off, some of which might not necessarily require new powers for any of these cities, but would probably require some new integrated transport authority.”

Londoners can use Oyster cards to travel on a number of forms of transport in the capital without separate tickets.

The City Growth Commission’s final report is called Unleashing Metro Growth.

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