A bus company has become the first in the North-east to offer a contactless payment scheme – meaning Aberdonians will no longer have to rummage in their pockets for exact change.
First Aberdeen has unveiled its plans to offer passengers the choice of using their contactless bank cards on its vehicles.
Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Bus in Scotland, said: “We’re very proud to announce that First Aberdeen is leading the way in Scotland with contactless technology.
“This is another major step forward in improving the experience for our customers and builds on other innovations including our mobile mTickets and new journey planner app.”
First has been testing the technology in Aberdeen for the last month and today a spokesman said the company sees the initiative as a means to reduce the use of cash on buses and speed up boarding times and services.
The experiment showed that boarding times were 75% quicker if customers used contactless, mTickets or smartcards.
Managing director of First Bus Giles Fearnley said: “The introduction of contactless payment alongside our success with mobile ticketing is pivotal as we continue to make bus travel a convenient, simple and attractive experience for our customers, despite the ever increasing congestion that we face in most of our operations across the UK.
“Use of mTickets is exceeding our expectations and yet continues to grow on a daily basis. I fully expect customers to welcome and grasp contactless bus travel with the same enthusiasm.”
The initiative – which allows customers to pay for their journey at the tap of a card, up to the cost of £30 – comes after the introduction of mobile payment by First Bus’ mTicket app and the launch of the multi-operator GrassHOPPER smartcard in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Currently, more than 20% of First Aberdeen customers use First mobile mTickets and the GrassHOPPER smartcard.
Fellow bus company Stagecoach North Scotland said it was currently investing in contactless equipment and would make an announcement at a later date.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for our customers to pay for tickets and travel with us. Both our upgraded website and mobile app allow customers to purchase tickets in advance of their journeys and pay with a credit/debit card or PayPal.
“The Stagecoach Bus app allows passengers to instantly buy and download dayrider or seven-day megarider tickets straight to their mobile device.
“Contactless technology has already been rolled out across various locations within Stagecoach UK Bus.
“We are in the process of investing in contactless compatible ticket machines within north Scotland and an announcement will be made in due course.”