Plans for a Scotland-wide smart travel card which will work on all public transport have been launched.
The Saltire Card will allow passengers to pre-load money to be used on trains, buses, ferries, subway and trams.
It is hoped it will lead to promotions such as cut-price travel for those using the card. The smartcard allows operators to collect more personal information about customers and increase their marketing opportunities.
On Monday, the plans were launched at Buchanan Bus Station by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The Scotland-wide concessionary bus pass already makes use of a smart card, with around 7000 readers on the country’s 260 bus operators.
Ms Sturgeon said: "The Saltire Card will be a hugely exciting development for transport in Scotland and will help us achieve a truly world-class public transport network.
"It will make it easier, more attractive and possibly cheaper for people to get around using public transport and will help further connect our cities.
"While we are aware that there is still some substantial work to do on this proposal, we are now taking the first steps towards achieving this vision by launching a series of demonstrator schemes with a number of operators and public sector partners throughout the country.
"Bus operators are already smart card-enabled and many are already working in partnership with Transport Scotland to see how they can fully realise the benefits of the technology and how they can integrate with other operators to share those benefits with passengers."
But Green MSP Patrick Harvie said, although the Saltire Card was a "small step in the right direction", more needed to be done to encourage usage of public transport.
Mr Harvie said: "After years of pressure for a Scotland-wide public transport smart card, it's a shame all we're getting is a cashless payment card. While it's a small step in the right direction it won't deliver the huge benefits of a properly integrated ticketing system like London's Oyster Card where people can switch between different modes of transport without having to buy different tickets.
"If Nicola Sturgeon wants to make this work, she must make sure that all public transport services are included in the scheme, and she should add car club and bike-hire options too for a fully integrated scheme. And I would urge her to speed up the timescale, as the one envisaged by Transport Scotland suggests most of Scotland will be waiting a very long time to see any benefits."
Sustainable transport campaign group Transform Scotland has welcomed the announcement, saying it has been calling for a similar scheme for some time.
Calum McCallum from the group said: "A smart card would remove a key barrier to using public transport. With the completion of the national concessionary travel system, a lot of Scots are now familiar with smart cards, and many of us have used London's Oyster Card.
"The Saltire Card can bring the benefits of cashless travel to Scottish public transport users. Scots will now have the opportunity to travel across all of Scotland on one card.
"Commencing with a pre-paid ticket is a reasonable first step. However, we'll be keen to see the Saltire Card expand to incorporate season tickets. And a key first step will be a day-ticket for all public transport in Glasgow in time for the Commonwealth Games."