Contactless coming to trentbarton

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Bondholder trentbarton and its sister operator Kinchbus are rolling out the UK’s first truly tap-on tap-off contactless payment for a region’s bus travel.

The companies are investing £2.5 million in around 350 tap-on, tap-off terminals for their combined fleets after trialling the system from pioneering UK provider Ticketer on the skylink Derby route’s 11 vehicles.

During the two-month trial, one in five customers opted to pay with their contactless debit or credit cards. Customer research by trentbarton found that 80 per cent of customers have a contactless card.

With more than 40 million customer journeys each year, a similar 20 per cent take up across the trentbarton and Kinchbus networks would see an average of more than 20,000 contactless payments made each day.

trentbarton and Kinchbus Managing Director Jeff Counsell said: “One in five is a huge number annually, but we only expect contactless to increase its share of payments over time.

“This is especially true for our system which, uniquely for a UK bus company, automatically charges the lowest possible fare given where customers get on and the stop they get off at. This beats the flat charge levied by other operators.

“With daily and 28-day caps too, our customers will have confidence that they are getting the best possible value for money every time they tap on and off a Kinchbus or trentbarton service.”

Kinchbus services will be first to see contactless rolled out across its fleet this summer, followed by trentbarton by the autumn.

Using the GPS tracking on board each bus, the system was developed by Berkshire-based technology firm Ticketer with the help of Kinchbus and trentbarton.

Jeff Counsell said: “For decades we’ve been at the forefront of developing innovation in bus travel, including the vehicles, the all-round experience, the real-time information, attractive branding and outstanding levels of service by friendly drivers.

“By adding contactless in this more sophisticated and customer-centric way, whilst still accepting other methods of payment, we are creating more choice. It is innovations such as this which will encourage more people to choose bus travel.”