How bus users have changed the way they pay for tickets

An mTicket used by bus passengers on First Eastern Counties Buses. Picture: Archant

An mTicket used by bus passengers on First Eastern Counties Buses. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Changes to the way people pay for things have been laid bare by new figures which show than half of bus passengers using First Eastern Counties routes pay through cashless methods.

As of the end of November 2019, 58pc of bus users on the network used mTickets, which can be brought through a mobile phone app and are scanned on vehicles, or paid for tickets with contactless card technology.

First covers all of Norfolk, north Suffolk, Ipswich and cross country routes from King's Lynn to Peterborough and a few years ago the percentage of passengers buying mTickets was 25pc.

Out of all 13 First Bus networks across the UK, First Eastern Counties Buses, which covers one of the smaller areas and carries out 23 million passenger journeys each year, is fifth highest in terms of mTicket sales.

David Jordan, marketing manager for First, said: "Gone are the days when people rock up on a bus with £20 to pay for a weekly ticket. We have not found any real resistance from any user group. Scanning an mTicket is easy because it takes a fraction of a second."

MORE: Deal with congestion to speed up buses, transport chief saysHe added the majority of the 39pc of passengers who continued to pay with money were occasional bus users. The remaining 3pc of passengers bought tickets through the commuter travel club, offering discounted tickets through big companies, and some student travel passes.

The mTicket was piloted successfully by First Eastern Counties Buses routes for University of East Anglia students and Ipswich buses and introduced on the whole network in October 2015.

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It was one of the earlier First networks to take on the new ticket system but was one of the final groups to adopt contactless payment technology in May 2018.

Mr Jordan added: "Moving to contactless was a natural progression. We were getting more people asking if we accepted contactless card payments. We were responding to increasing demand. When people go out they often just take their phone to pay for things."

MORE: Norwich could get 50 new buses if bid for transport cash millions succeedsAll tickets can be bought through the mTicket app including daily, weekly, monthly and 10-trip tickets.

Mr Jordan added: "Bus travel is part of the solution in tackling environmental concerns and increasing population."