National Express West Midlands is trialling contactless payments on its X1 and X2 services between Birmingham and Solihull. Tickets are cheaper using contactless, with a peak Daysaver costing £4 instead of £4.60 and a single ticket for longer journeys in Birmingham costing £2.10 instead of £2.40. The pilot is using a retail model for transactions, the drivers select the tickets. The new ticketing machine will use automated payment deduction when the card is presented to the reader. This will make transactions quicker, reducing boarding times and speeding up bus journeys. The contactless technology for this trial is a simpler form of National Express West Midlands’ new ticketing machines. The technology is due to appear on Coventry buses later this year, followed by the rest of the West Midlands 1,600 strong fleet over the next two years.
MD of National Express West Midlands, Peter Coates, said, ‘The trial is going well. Drivers tell me that passengers boarding at the airport are using the new card readers. 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. 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.’