Contactless welcomed, but questions remain

Bus Users UK has welcomed the recent pledge made by bus operators to have ticketless travel up and running across the UK by 2022. The country’s five main operators announced plans to implement this in January. The campaign group wants to see smart ticketing on all buses outside of London to be introduced as quickly as possible, with a level playing field for smaller operators and those passengers without access to bank accounts. However, big questions remain, according to the organisation.

Chair of Bus Users UK, Norman Baker, said, ‘Contactless ticketing is potentially a great route to higher passenger numbers. But while the pledge is welcome, there are important details to nail down in terms of the proposed timetable for rolling out the scheme such as who will be paying for it? How will the scheme ensure small bus companies with tight budgets are not left behind? And how will this work outside flat fare areas?’

Chief Executive of Bus Users, Claire Walters, is also welcoming of contactless ticketing, saying ‘the sooner it can be introduced the better’. However, she is particularly concerned that any system of smart ticketing accommodates the significant number of passengers without bank accounts. She said, ‘One of the biggest benefits of bus travel is that it is socially inclusive, and any scheme that is eventually introduced must be accessible to everyone.’

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