First Cymru is working with Ticketer to pilot tap on, tap off contactless payment that uses a journey’s ‘as-the-crow-flies’ distance to calculate the adult fare.
The pilot is what First Bus claims is a UK first and it expands upon existing tap on, tap off work with Ticketer. The pilot is underway on services in Bridgend County Borough. A journey may include a passenger boarding multiple buses within a 30-minute transfer time. The fare will be calculated between the first boarding stop and final alighting point.
Upon tapping on, the passenger is charged a minimum fare of £1.60. It covers the first two kilometres of the journey. Beyond that, they are charged based on distance, up to a maximum of a £5 daily cap. The weekly cap is £21.
First Bus Chief Commercial Officer Simon Pearson says the pilot “has the potential to change the game in the fare capping pricing space.” The group adds that calculating fares to the metre is “a much fairer way” for customers, and particularly those who may otherwise pay more because of their geographical location between fare stages.
Mr Pearson adds that First Cymru will run the pilot with Ticketer for three months, and that the group is “excited” to see both the results and how it is received by customers. If successful, the approach has potential to be introduced to other areas.
Bridgend County Borough Council and Transport for Wales have assisted First Bus and Ticketer in rollout of the pilot. Says Ticketer Founder John Clarfelt: “We are really excited to have been able to deliver this truly innovative way of calculating fares for First.
“Simplifying fares for passengers is a key priority for us and our customers, and we are proud to have worked in partnership with First to introduce this novel approach to fares to the market.”
Excluded from the pilot are Cymru Clipper longer-distance services that serve Bridgend County Borough. They will continue to be charged in the normal manner.