A step change in bus travel across Greater Manchester has been announced today, as bus passengers can now pay for their tickets using contactless across all First Manchester vehicles.
Contactless payments mean that customers can switch from paying with cash to using their card or mobile; making it even easier to catch the bus. Contactless, alongside the mobile mTickets available, means that customers no longer need to worry about having the right change before they board a bus.
The switch from cash to a ‘digital’ payment also has a huge impact on boarding times; helping in the longer term, to speed up bus journey times. For customers looking for even more convenient ways to buy bus tickets, mTickets can be purchased in advance of boarding the bus and in most cases, are cheaper than buying a ticket directly from the driver.
Ian Humphreys, Managing Director of First Manchester, said: “We’re proud to announce the anticipated launch of contactless payments across our entire Greater Manchester fleet. We’ve made a significant investment in new ‘Ticketer’ ticket machines, which means that we can now offer contactless as a payment option for our customers.
“The introduction of contactless payments alongside our success with mobile ticketing means that paying for bus travel is more convenient and simpler than ever before. First Bus now offers contactless as a payment option across all the UK and we’re seeing customers switching to contactless every week and so we’re expecting to see similar results across our Greater Manchester business.
“If more customers switched from cash to a ‘digital’ payment method, then this would help to speed up bus barding times and will therefore make overall journeys quicker.”
Transport for Greater Manchester Committee Chair, Councillor Mark Aldred, said: “We want to make travel easier and more attractive in Greater Manchester and the introduction of contactless technology is a great way of doing this.
“Buses play a vital role in keeping Greater Manchester moving, accounting for three in every four journeys made on public transport, so anything that removes a potential barrier to travel – such as the need to have the right change to pay for your ticket – is of course good news for passengers.
“I welcome any initiative that encourages more people to use buses and experience the many benefits offered.”
Gary Nolan, chief executive of OneBus, added: “First’s contactless initiative is another demonstration of the huge investment made by one of the bus operators in Greater Manchester. Most buses in the region can now facilitate contactless payments, proving increased collaboration between bus operators, TfGM, the Mayor and other local authorities can have a positive impact on bus services.
“Passengers will benefit from not only contactless payments, but also standardised fares, heightened security and more efficient services made possible by the partnership of bus operators in Greater Manchester.”