Speedier boarding times predicted if bus customers switch to mobile tickets

Published Tuesday, 20th December 2016
First bus customer paying via m-ticket app
First bus customer paying via m-ticket app

Research highlights that bus boarding times would be 75 per cent faster if customers paid for tickets via their mobile phone.

Local bus operator First South Yorkshire has launched a major campaign to raise awareness of how it’s transforming customer experiences through innovative new technology.

First South Yorkshire is part of the Rotherham Bus Partnership which brings together local bus operators First South Yorkshire, Stagecoach Yorkshire, Stagecoach East Midlands and TM Travel, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and Rotherham Council in a bid to improve the town’s bus services and attract more people onto public transport.

Customers are already seeing vast improvements to their services since the Partnership was introduced in 2014, with improved punctuality and reliability, value-for-money tickets and increases in patronage including an upturn in child travel.

In light of the high profile congestion issues across the UK, First South Yorkshire hit the accelerator on a campaign by promising customers speedier bus journeys, if passengers switch from paying fares by cash to paying via its mTickets app, which enables customers to use their mobile phones as bus tickets.

The company made the promise after a demonstration to compare the time it takes to board 50 people onto a bus with customers paying by cash versus customers using mTickets. The results were revealing - boarding 50 cash customers took 10.5 minutes, while 50 customers using their smartphones took 2.5 minutes – a massive eight-minute reduction, some 75 per cent.

First South Yorkshire said that if enough passengers make the switch, boarding times would become so much quicker that average journey times would reduce, despite the ever increasing congestion on the roads.

Managing Director at First South Yorkshire, Kevin Belfield, said: “Our research has demonstrated that converting customers from cash to mTickets or other forms of smart ticketing has a huge impact on boarding times, and will help us in the battle to speed up the bus, despite the very stark congestion issues that we face.

“We are determined to transform the experience for all our customers and I am delighted that technology is now able to deliver so many benefits for our passengers. The combination of journey planning, real time information and mTickets, really does make the bus an increasingly attractive option for so many journey needs.”

The ‘catch the bus with less fuss’ campaign raises awareness of a range of simple to use technology that is helping First South Yorkshire transform bus journeys. Key technology available for customers to use includes:

  • ‘First Travel App’, which allows customers to track in real time the progress of their service and therefore arrive at the bus stop when the bus does
  • ‘First mTicket’ app, which allows customers to purchase tickets 24/7. Passengers simply activate their ticket when the bus arrives and show the driver their ticket displayed on their mobile phone screens
  • The Journey Planner facility which allows customers to plan their journeys, across all modes of public transport, not just First Bus services

For more information about the technology that is helping customers use the bus.

Go to the First Group website

Watch the First Bus Video m-ticket versus cashimage