"Oyster card" style bus payment to finally arrive in Leeds this Christmas as part of wider fares change

A London style tap on and tap off fares system is to be introduced across West Yorkshire this December as First Bus reveal a host of radical changes to its fares structure.

By Alex Grant
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 9:28 pm

All the changes begin across the region on Monday, December 13 and have been developed from detailed analysis of passenger and purchasing data.

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New pricing will create a simpler, fairer, more flexible and cheaper choice of tickets. It has been devised to encourage more people to use the bus as travel behaviour adapts following the pandemic with work and leisure patterns changing.

Th tap on and tap off fares system will closely resemble London's famed Oyster Card.

The TOTO contactless system guarantees customers ultimate flexibility on the fare paid. It charges for a single journey and customers who make several bus trips each day on First West Yorkshire services will pay a maximum £5.20 on the first day which then continues to reduce the more they travel during a week.

To use TOTO a person uses their contactless card or mobile at the ticket machine next to the driver but must ‘tap’ again on the new special card reader device when leaving the bus.

This "Oyster Card" style payment method will be one of a host of changes -

Introduction of 5 new fares including a discounted Return

‘London-style’ Tap On Tap Off technology fitted to all buses

Cost of Single fares reduced

Choice of Flexi tickets for commuters

Fairer system with all tickets allowing travel anywhere in West Yorkshire

These developments by First Bus herald a transformational change and aid wider ambitions contained in West Yorkshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

The BSIP was compiled by West Yorkshire Combined Authority together with the region’s bus operators through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance and submitted to the government at the end of October. It outlines how bus services in the region will be made better through an Enhanced Partnership (EP) due to begin in April 2022.

Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “This is a fundamental change to our fares which brings benefits to the hundreds of thousands of people who travel with us across West Yorkshire every week.

“Our customers want a more personalised approach, with a cost related to paying for what they use, and a pricing system designed around their journey not operational processes, which has been the traditional approach to fares planning.”

Payment technology has been installed on First West Yorkshire’s fleet of close to 900 buses with investment of £850,000 in creating "London-style" ticketing.

“The introduction of Tap On Tap Off is another important step in simplifying journeys and will pave the way to an all-operator integrated system in the future,” Mr Hirst added.

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