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June 21 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Contactless tickets technology
starts to sweep across Britain

The introduction of contactless ‘wave pay’ technology across Britain’s’ bus operators is gathering pace.

One of the latest operators to accept contactless payments is Go Ahead-owned Thamesdown Transport, which it bought earlier in the year. 

It is now accepting all contactless payment types, including apple and android - as well as wearables like apple watch.

Says Thamesdown GM Alex Chutter: “We are the first operator in Swindon to offer this facility. It is all about providing quicker and more convenient ways to pay.”

Ticketer is providing Go-Ahead with its latest ITSO ticket machines, with a fully integrated EMV reader for contactless payments. 

In an industry first, the machines are being used by Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses, in the largest deployment outside of London to use technology based on the UK Cards Association’s ‘Model 2’. 

The system has can offer London style ‘pay as you go’ ticketing with fares calculated – and capped – in the back office, rather than by the ticket machine. 

The new system is able to help mitigate the increased transaction costs that operators face introducing contactless payments, by aggregating multiple transactions from the same customer together into a single debit to their account.

The project is the result of a partnership between Go-Ahead, Ticketer and Littlepay, a fintech start-up focusing on developing micro payment processing services.

Phil Southall, MD of Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses says: “Our research has told us that customers expect contactless to do more than just replace their existing cash ticket – they want the back office to select and pay for the best value tickets for them, based on their own personal journey patterns.”

Meanwhile, Stagecoach bus passengers across Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex can now pay for their bus travel using contactless, which is now live on all 490 Stagecoach buses across the three counties.

Contactless is also live on Stagecoach 384 Yorkshire buses across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

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