OBC and Thames Travel to debut Freeflow tap on, tap off

Go-Ahead Group subsidiaries Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel will introduce ‘tap on, tap off’ touch-free contactless payments on Sunday 21 June under the Freeflow name.

It has been developed in partnership with Ticketer. Passengers will tap on via the ticket machine and then tap off via a dedicated reader when alighting (pictured). Besides contactless bank cards, devices using Apple Pay and Google Pay are compatible with Freeflow.

Freeflow ‘tap on, tap off’ follows a successful pilot of the cashless technology by sister company Carousel Buses in High Wycombe.

The operators say that Freeflow will reduce boarding times and contribute to enhanced driver and passenger safety. The daily total paid will be capped at the price of a day ticket for the area travelled in. If the sum is less than the cost of the relevant day ticket, single fare(s) will be charged.

Currently the technology is not yet compatible with the multi-operator Oxford SmartZone product. However, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel are working with Stagecoach and each operator’s ticketing partners to develop the concept further. That is being done with a view to enabling an expansion into SmartZone “in the not too distant future.”

Ticketer has developed a new standalone card reader (pictured) to assist with ‘tap on, tap off’ payments.