Less than a year after the system was introduced contactless ticketing is thriving in the West Midlands, yet the New York subway has only just started installing turnstiles that can read contactless bank cards.
We rolled out contactless ticket machines on all of our 1,600 buses in Spring 2018. On Friday 25 January 2019, a customer got on a number 48 service at West Bromwich bus station and made the three millionth contactless payment on our buses.
Councillor David Hosell, Sandwell Council cabinet member for highways and environment, said: “Paying by contactless is nothing to be scared of - three million people in the West Midlands have already bought their bus tickets that way. Contactless is good for bus routes in the Black Country. It makes it quicker for people to get on the bus. They don’t have to search for the right change, so it speeds up bus journey times.”
Nick Vane, Commercial Director at National Express West Midlands, said: “We know our customers like contactless because it’s easy. You don’t even have to work out what ticket you need. Just tap a card on the reader and it works out the fare for you. However many trips you make in a day, you will never be charged more than an adult day ticket. It’s also cheaper than paying by cash. Young people especially have really embraced contactless on our buses - 50% of fares on the university bus routes in Coventry are paid for using contactless.”
Contactless is not the only digital way of paying that’s proving popular with bus passengers. On 12 January 2019, we sold our four millionth ticket on our mTicket app, with 17% of revenue now coming from people using their phones to buy tickets.
Across the UK, contactless payments grew by 99% in 2017, and cash payments fell from 61% of all payments in 2007 to 34% in 2017.
The song says “change gonna come”, but it looks like change’s days are numbered.
Published 19th February 2019