Con­tact­less card pay­ment boost on buses

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes

CON­TACT­LESS card pay­ment will be rolled out across all Na­tional Ex­press West Mid­lands buses dur­ing 2018, it has been con­firmed.

The sys­tem will be in­tro­duced along with a daily fare-cap­ping scheme to en­sure that those who take sev­eral buses dur­ing a day do not run up a huge bill of sin­gle fares.

The com­pany, which runs 80 per cent of bus ser­vices in the city, car­ried out a short trial of the tech­nol­ogy on the key X1 and X2 routes be­tween Birm­ing­ham, Soli­hull and Coven­try.

Na­tional Ex­press West Mid­lands also op­er­ates the Mid­land Metro, where cus­tomers have been able to use con­tact­less cards to buy tick­ets on trams since June 2016.

More than two-thirds of pas­sen­gers say they like it be­cause it’s quicker. Na­tional Ex­press WM will roll out con­tact­less pay­ments across its fleet of 1,600 buses next year. A key tech­no­log­i­cal hur­dle has been en­sur­ing a sta­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion link for the debit buses as re­gion.

Reg­u­lar com­muters al­ready use bus passes or the Trans­port for West Mid­lands Swift cards for pay­ments. But those who travel less fre­quently, in­clud­ing tourists and new ar­rivals to the West Mid­lands, are of­ten caught out by the ex­act fare de­mands. card read­ers on they travel about the the

Adam Ride­out, the com­pany’s head of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, said: “We want to make it eas­ier, make it quick and make it sim­ple for pas­sen­gers to travel on our buses. But we will still also take cash as we al­ways have for those who pre­fer to pay that way.”

Mean­while, the com­pany’s mo­bile ticket app has just sold its 500,000th ticket.

Launched with lit­tle fan­fare last year, the NXBus mTicket app has been grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.

Pas­sen­gers who down­load the app on their Ap­ple and An­droid phones and reg­is­ter their de­tails can buy cut-price tick­ets in ad­vance.

They then down­load the ticket and show it to the driver as they board.

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