Leeds bus company films 'faster boarding' e-ticket experiment

Ever waited for a bus in Leeds and found yourself sighing in frustration while a queue builds up behind passengers fumbling with their loose change?

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 3:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:10 pm
The mTicket app is available to First bus users
The mTicket app is available to First bus users

If you've already got an e-ticket on your smartphone, you probably can't help wondering how much faster the boarding process would be if everyone took advantage of the technology.

Bus operator First West Yorkshire thought so too - so they set up a social experiment to prove that users of their mTicket mobile app can start their journeys quicker than those paying by traditional methods.

The company filmed a group of 50 volunteers queuing to board a First service using both e-tickets and cash payments - and the results were astonishing.

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When the passengers boarded first, using cash, it took just over 10 minutes before the vehicle was ready to leave - while when the experiment was repeated using only smartphones, it took just two and a half minutes to fill the bus. The eight-minute difference is a reduction of 75 per cent.

The bus provider has now promised it will offer customers faster journeys as use of the app increases. Passengers can pay for their fares and passes in advance on mTicket, and simply flash their downloaded pass at the driver as they board.

Managing director Paul Matthews 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, free wi-fi, real time information and mTickets, really does make the bus an increasingly attractive option for so many journey needs.”

First also offer a travel app with real-time journey updates, and 60 per cent of the fleet now has on-board Wi-fi.