Tap 'n' grow - 3 million people pay contactless on the bus
Public transport in the West Midlands is way ahead of New York!
A quarter of all bus fares here are now paid for with contactless cards - less than a year after the system was introduced. And yet the New York subway has only just started installing turnstiles that can read contactless bank cards.
National Express West Midlands rolled out contactless ticket machines on all its 1600 buses from February 2018. And on Friday 25 January 2019, a customer got on a number 48 at West Bromwich bus station and made the three millionth contactless payment on the company’s buses.
Councillor David Hosell, Sandwell Council cabinet member for highways and environment, said:
“Paying by contactless is nothing to be scared of - three million people in the West Midlands have already bought their bus tickets that way.
“Contactless is good for bus routes in the Black Country. It makes it quicker for people to get on the bus. They don’t have to search for the right change, so it speeds up bus journey times.”
Nick Vane, Commercial Director at National Express West Midlands, said:
“We know our customers like contactless because it’s easy. You don’t even have to work out what ticket you need. Just tap a card on the reader and it works out the fare for you. However many trips you make in a day, you will never be charged more than an adult day ticket. It’s also cheaper than paying by cash.
“Young people especially have really embraced contactless on our buses - 50% of fares on the university bus routes in Coventry are paid for using contactless.”
Contactless is not the only digital way of paying that’s proving popular with bus passengers. On 12 January 2019, National Express West Midlands sold the four millionth ticket on a mobile. 17% of the company’s revenue now comes in from people using their phones to buy tickets.
That means the proportion of people buying bus tickets using digital payments is now 42%, with 58% of passengers still using cash.
Across the UK as a whole, contactless payments grew by 99% in 2017, and cash payments fell from 61% of all payments in 2007 to 34% in 2017.
The song says “change gonna come”, but it looks like change’s days are numbered.