Reading Buses claims contactless first outside London

Reading Buses claims contactless first outside London

Transport minister Andrew Jones joined Reading Buses executives this week to launch a new contactless payment option for bus travel on the operator’s services.

The operator claims the initiative is the UK’s first town-wide contactless bus network outside of London. Reading Buses is also the first independent – non PLC – operator to go 100 per cent contactless.

Reading Buses is using Ticketer’s contactless system which also includes an integrated card reader for all card types: contactless bankcard, ENCTS concessionary pass or other ITSO smartcards as well as Apple and Android pay.

“Once again we are delighted to bring a number of firsts to Reading,” says Reading Buses chief executive Martijn Gilbert. “We have been working hard and investing in upgraded ticketing systems, with our supplier Ticketer and payment services provider CreditCall, to get contactless launched across our entire Reading town network – something that we believe we are the first to do outside of London.

“Contactless is the final part of our new ‘three part’ digital ticketing strategy which includes the use of ‘QR’ barcodes on paper tickets - with readers installed on the buses - cutting down the amount of waiting time as people simply scan as they board rather than waving their ticket at the driver.

“The Reading Buses app forms the second element which has integrated journey planning, live bus tracking and mobile tickets, all on one platform, which again uses barcode technology – and has already been hugely successful with customers.

“All this builds upon a highly successful ITSO smartcard ticketing scheme which was one of the first in the UK at the time when launched back in February 2011.”

Gilbert acknowledges that the company’s exact fare policy can be an issue for new and occasional users and believes the contactless option will help resolve this. “Contactless offers a great way for new or occasional users to pay on the day without the hassle of the exact fare or needing to download the app,” he adds.

“For occasional travellers, our saver 10 smartcards provide another way to save without needing to know how often they will travel.” 

Transport minister Andrew Jones MP says: “The roll-out of contactless payment technology on Reading’s bus network is great news for the many passengers every day who use them around the town. 

“I’m delighted to see Reading Buses giving travellers the choice to pay for their journey using a smartcard, contactless payment card or phone, making bus travel more convenient, cutting queues and speeding up journeys, as well as ensuring they get the cheapest fare.”

Reading is aiming to launch a ‘tapping’ model for contactless card users for its £2 ‘simplyReading’ flat fare in the next few months.