First Bus passengers in Leicester and Stoke-on-Trent are now benefitting from the Tap On/ Tap Off scheme, which enables contactless payments and ensures daily and weekly fare capping.
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A partnership between First Bus, Ticketer and Littlepay has led to the implementation of one of the largest Tap On/ Tap Off (TOTO) schemes outside of London, UK. The First Leicester fleet launched 92 TOTO readers in June 2021, which were installed over a four-day period, and First Bus Potteries (Stoke-on-Trent) have now introduced 105 readers across their fleet.
In Leicester, the scheme has been implemented in partnership with Leicester City Council, with funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). The TCF enabled the purchase and installation of the ticketing machines, and First Bus worked closely with stakeholders to minimise fleet downtime whilst installation took place.
The TOTO readers work together with Electronic Ticketing Machines to enable a Pay-As-You-Go experience for passengers by simply requiring those travelling to tap on when boarding and then tap off when exiting the bus, using a contactless payment card.
This new payment system brings substantial benefits for First Bus passengers: with TOTO contactless payments, combined with daily and weekly fare capping, customers can travel freely and are automatically only charged for the travel that they undertake. If passengers make several trips in one day, their fare will be capped at the daily ticket price; and those who travel several days per week pay a fare capped at the weekly ticket price. In addition, minimal driver interaction will significantly reduce boarding times for passengers, ensuring that buses leave stops on time and maintain punctuality.
First Bus will also be able to gather information on travel patterns via the system’s ‘back office’: boarding and alighting information will enable improvements to capacity management services.
Simon Pearson, Commercial Director at First Bus, said: “We have worked closely with our partners Ticketer and Littlepay to understand and implement technology that brings new benefits to our customers. Making ticketing easier is central to our plan to welcome back existing customers and encourage others to start taking the bus more often. The Tap On/ Tap Off function makes bus journeys simpler and gives customers peace of mind, as they know that they will be charged the best value fare, whether they have taken the bus for a single journey or multiple journeys throughout the day.”
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