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May 08 2019
By Jessamy Chapman

Trentbarton and Kinchbus
rolling out tap-on/tap-off

Trentbarton and its sister operator Kinchbus will soon have the first full tap-on/tap-off contactless bus network in the UK outside London.

Trentbarton’s Jeff Counsell (l) and John Clarfelt from Ticketer

After a successful trial on Kinchbus’ Skylink Derby route, the East Midlands operators are investing £2.5m into 350 tap-on/tap-off terminals for their combined fleets.

Ticketer will supply the technology, which uses GPS tracking to calculate fares.

During the two-month Skylink trial, one in five customers paid for their journey with a contactless debit or credit card, which is expected to increase fast.

For most operators that have already introduced contactless, customers ask for a ticket from the driver as usual and pay for it via contactless. With tap-on/tap-off contactless, the ticket machine works out the best fare depending on where the customer taps on and off, London Oyster style.

It speeds up boarding times and gives customers better value for money.

Trentbarton and Kinchbus MD Jeff Counsell says: “One in five is a huge number annually, but we only expect contactless to increase its share of payments over time.

“This is especially true for our system which, uniquely for a UK bus company, automatically charges the lowest possible fare given where customers get on and the stop they get off at. This beats the flat charge levied by other operators.

“With daily and 28-day caps too, our customers will have confidence that they are getting the best possible value for money every time they tap on and off a Kinchbus or Trentbarton service.”

Kinchbus services will see contactless rolled out across its fleet this summer, and Trentbarton in the autumn.

Using the GPS tracking on board each bus, the system was developed by Berkshire-based technology firm Ticketer with the help of Kinchbus and trentbarton.

John Clarfelt, MD of Ticketer, says: “We are delighted that the trial of our tap-on tap-off terminals, working together with Littlepay, was such a huge success for Trentbarton and Kinchbus.

“Our ticket machines are the first in the UK to guarantee passengers pay for their actual journey, rather than a pre-purchased ticket. They are also so easy to use, passengers simply tap on with their contactless credit or debit card, then tap off as they disembark.

“They no longer need to state their destination or ticket type to the driver. We are so pleased that yet another of our innovations is making it easier for everyone to travel by bus.”

Jeff Counsell says: “For decades we’ve been at the forefront of developing innovation in bus travel, including the vehicles, the all-round experience, the real-time information, attractive branding and outstanding levels of service by friendly drivers.

“By adding contactless in this more sophisticated and customer-centric way, whilst still accepting other methods of payment, we are creating more choice. It is innovations such as this which will encourage more people to choose bus travel.”

Customers who travel contactless will be able to see their journey history, trip charges and how close they are to their day and 28-day cap through the Trentbarton or Kinchbus websites.




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