Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel launch contactless payments across Oxfordshire
Last month, two of Oxford’s major bus operators have began accepting contactless payments on its buses and coaches.
Whilst well-established in the retail sector, fitting such a system to public transport brings about a number of technological challenges. The particular system used by the two companies, known in the industry as ‘model 2’, is believed to be the largest of its kind outside of London. At present the system has been set up to accept standard contactless payments of up to £30. In the near future the companies also plan to use the technology to perform ‘intelligent fare calculation’ (for example by applying daily and weekly price caps) to ensure the customer always gets the best value fare available.
Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses said “Our customers have been telling us for some time that they want to be able to pay for their travel as conveniently as possible – which for many means using contactless technology. Therefore we’re really proud to be able to offer the ability for customers to pay for their tickets using Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay and Android Pay on all of our services from today.
However, our research has told us that customers expect contactless to do more than just replace their existing cash ticket – they want the back office to select and pay for the best value tickets for them, based on their own personal journey patterns. With this in mind, we have taken the decision not to rush into launching a system identical to that used by our local competitor, but instead to invest in developing a solution that over time will much better meet the needs of our customers. Today is just the first step in the deployment of our new system, and we have ambitious plans over the coming months to introduce further improvements which we hope will help to make our customers’ lives easier.”