Swift Collectors being removed from bus stops

Last week, while waiting for my bus home from work, a lady got off another bus at the stop where I was waiting. She walked round to the side of the stop and then back around. After a short pause, she then approached me and asked me about Swift Collectors.

She told me that wherever she went to a bus stop which had a Swift Collector machine, the machine had been removed and a notice put up.

Now to be honest, I’ve never actually needed to use one of these myself, but I was aware that there was one here at the outbound Auckland Road stop on Stratford Road, Sparkbrook.

So to my surprise, I went round to the side of the shelter, and found out for myself that the machine had gone, and the sticker (pictured above) had been put up.

All she wanted to do, she told me, was to tap her Swift card to get it updated, and she was getting a bit frustrated at not being able to find a stop where a unit was still installed.

At that point in time, I didn’t really know where another one might be for her to use. And unfortunately as my own bus was just about to pull up, I didn’t have the time to fire up the TfWM app on my phone – it takes bloody ages to start up! – so wasn’t able to help her using the Swift Collector feature on the app.

That was last week, and today while I was waiting at the same stop, I took the above photo, and when I got home this evening I checked on the TfWM Swift website.

The Auckland Road stop does not appear on the ‘Find a Collector Or Kiosk‘ map now, though I don’t know if that was the case last week. Certainly the stop itself still has the ‘Swift Collector Here’ purple flag, alongside the usual bus stop flag.

You’d think that if someone from TfWM was going around and physically disconnecting and removing the Swift Collector devices, they’d also take the time to remove these additional flags from the shelter as well.

The other questions begging to be answered are how much did these devices cost to buy and install, and what will happen with them now?

As for the reason for their removal, TfWM has the following to say:

The removal of on-street Swift collectors:

Due to the growing popularity of collections being made on the TfWM app (available for download on Apple and Android devices), less than 5% of collections are now being made using on-street collectors. 

A number of collectors will remain. These can be found on our collector map here.

Customers can also top up at Payzone (click on additional services and look for swift smart ticketing).


Which I suppose is a fair enough reason, I’ve certainly never seen anyone use this particular Swift Collector at this stop. And I would hazard a guess that most people buying top-ups online for their Swift card would already have a smartphone with the TfWM app installed, or those buying from a Payzone outlet would have their cards topped-up at the same time.

But still, there is a feeling that there is a lack of publicity surrounding this, and certainly it may be possible that the location maps on the website are not being updated immediately, and there is of course the issue of the ‘Swift Collector Here’ flags not being removed from shelters at the same time.

While many at-stop collectors are being removed, a number will remain, presumably at busier stops where usage has been recorded.

What do you think? Do you use at-stop Swift Collector devices to collect online purchases? Were you aware that these devices were being removed? Have you been inconvenienced as a result? Please do let us know by leaving a comment below.


About WMBU

Stu is the founder of this West Midlands Bus Users website.
He is not a bus enthusiast, but as a regular passenger takes an interest in public transport related matters, having relied on buses to get around for over twenty-five years now.

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