Stagecoach to deploy contactless bus travel across UK by end of 2018
21 October 2016 • Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport
Stagecoach has confirmed it will deliver contactless bus travel on all UK regional services by the end of 2018.
The £12 million initiative backed by Transport Minister Andrew Jones, will allow passengers to pay for their travel with a contactless credit or debit card, as well as Apple Pay and Android Pay. The deployment is the first of its kind in the UK outside of London.
On 20th October, Stagecoach launched the first stage of the project with contactless now live on all of the operator’s 180 buses in Oxfordshire including, Oxford City services, commuter routes into Oxford and Oxford Tube express services which run to and from London 24 hours a day.
The development will be rolled out to Ashford in Kent and Tyne and Wear by the end of this year with Greater Manchester following in January 2017. According to Stagecoach, the technology will be live on all of its 7,200 buses in England, Scotland and Wales by the end of 2018.
Commenting on the introduction, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Buses make vital journeys possible every day, and this government is doing everything it can to improve services. The roll-out of contactless payment technology on Stagecoach bus services outside London will help hundreds of thousands of passengers. People will be able to buy tickets online and on smartphones, making bus travel more convenient, cutting queues and speeding up journeys.”
Stagecoach has already ordered 4,000 special ticket machines, covering more than 50 percent of its bus fleet, with the remaining 3,200 machines scheduled for 2017-18.
The announcement follows the launch of a new smartphone app providing customers with journey planning, next-stop information and live bus tracking. Stagecoach has confirmed its mobile phone ticketing will be rolled out across the UK over the next the months, with the facility already live in Greater Manchester.
“Buses are the simpler, smarter and greener mobility solution”
Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, commented: “Bus travel is experiencing a complete transformation. Major investment by Stagecoach in new digital technology is making it easier than ever to catch the bus. From contactless technology and new apps to greener vehicles with the latest environmental performance, buses are the simpler, smarter and greener mobility solution. But to maximise the benefit of this investment, we also need bold and urgent action by transport authorities to tackle the scourge of road congestion that is holding back bus reliability.”
Stagecoach is also working with other major bus operators – First Bus, Go-Ahead, Arriva and National Express – on a major project to have EMV contactless technology installed on every one of the UK’s 32,000-plus buses outside London. The project would cover more than 1,200 bus operators in England, Scotland and Wales, and make contactless travel available for 5.2 billion bus passenger journeys a year across Britain. Associated government legislation would be needed to ensure contactless ticketing was offered by all individual bus operators.