National Express buses go contactless

Posted: 7 April 2017 | Intelligent Transport | No comments yet

National Express West Midlands bus passengers have been paying by contactless for the first time in a new trial in Birmingham.

Trialling the new system on its X1 (running from Birmingham city centre to Coventry via the airport) and X2 services (Birmingham city centre to Solihull), National Express West Midlands is using the retail model for transactions where the drivers select the tickets.

The new ticketing machine will use automated payment deduction when the card is presented to the reader which will make transactions quicker, reducing boarding times and speeding up bus journeys.

“The trial is going well. Drivers tell me that passengers boarding at the airport are using the new card readers,” said Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands. “We think people who’ve just arrived in Birmingham need an alternative to cash payments – they may not have the right change or even the right currency.  They’ve also seen our customers making contactless transactions in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull town centres.”

Tickets are cheaper using contactless – a peak Daysaver costs £4 instead of £4.60 and a single ticket for longer journeys in Birmingham costs £2.10 instead of £2.40.

“Over two thirds of our customers tell us they like it because it’s quicker”

“We know from running the Midland Metro tram that our customers like contactless. Over 20% of tickets sold on the trams are bought using contactless. Over two thirds of our customers tell us they like it because it’s quicker,” Mr Coates added.

The contactless technology for this trial is a simpler form of National Express West Midlands’ new ticketing machines which will start appearing on Coventry buses later this year, followed by the rest of the West Midlands 1,600-strong fleet over the next two years.

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