New figures suggest a major shift towards bus passengers using contactless payments instead of cash in West Yorkshire – one which a main provider believes could cut journey times on the region’s congested roads.
First Bus today said it has recorded over 80,000 contactless transactions in the area since launching the new method in January.
It said that more than 4,250 customers in West Yorkshire each week are switching to the digital payment type, which allows people to buy any paper tickets up to £30 on a contactless card or mobile.
The company said that the new process can speed up customer boarding and, in the long-rung, overall journey times.
Martin Hirst, commercial director of First West Yorkshire, said more people turning to contactless payment or other pre-pay methods such as the region’s MCards “would have a huge impact on boarding times and would help us in the battle to speed up the bus”.
He added: “We’re pleased to see customers making the switch from paying with cash to contactless and the feedback has been hugely positive so far. Uptake of customers using contactless continues to grow each week – and in fact, West Yorkshire is one of the fastest adopters of using contactless for purchasing bus tickets, in comparison to other First Bus operations in the UK.”
Nearly 900 new ticket machines have been installed as the company encourages people to make the change. Services in York were also due to go contactless last month, with plans to update South Yorkshire payment methods by the end of the year.
Department for Transport figures show there were 27.3 billion vehicle miles covered in Yorkshire in 2016, the highest total on record and 700,000 higher than the previous year.
Coun Eric Firth, deputy chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said that improving public transport is key to supporting economy growth and new jobs.