Reading Buses launches contactless

Reading Buses has become the UK’s first town-wide contactless bus network outside London, with the launch of its new payment options.

Andrew Jones MP (centre) launches system

Reading Buses is also the first independent operator to go 100% contactless, and will be the first operator using Ticketer’s contactless system.

“We have been working hard and investing in upgraded ticketing systems, with our supplier Ticketer and payment services provider CreditCall, to get contactless launched across our entire Reading town network,” says Martijn Gilbert, CEO of Reading Buses.

For all users

It means all Reading residents will be served by a bus accepting bankcards, says the operator.

Customers can now use all card types including bank cards and ITSO smartcards, plus Apple Pay and Android Pay.

It will be especially helpful to passengers who would normally be caught out by reading’s exact-fare policy.

“Contactless is the final part of our new three-part digital ticketing strategy,” says Mr Gilbert, “which includes the use of ‘QR’ barcodes on paper tickets – with readers installed on the buses – cutting down the amount of waiting time as people simply scan as they board rather than waving their ticket at the driver.”

Choice to pay

The contactless system was launched by Buses Minister Andrew Jones. He says: “Buses make vital journeys possible every day and we are doing everything we can to improve services for passengers.

“I’m delighted to see Reading Buses giving travellers the choice to pay for their journey using a smartcard, contactless payment card or phone, making bus travel more convenient, cutting queues and speeding up journeys, as well as ensuring they get the cheapest fare.”

Initially, Reading’s contactless will work on a ‘retail’ model, similar to buying food on the high street. The company is working on a faster ‘tapping’ model, similar to London’s Underground system.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of The UK Cards Association, says: “Following the great success of contactless ticketing in London, the cards industry has worked with transport operators to explore its introduction across the UK.

“Using contactless cards for travel will bring many benefits, such as no longer having to buy and collect paper tickets or worry about having enough cash, and we are pleased with this development.”