Contact-free payment is launched on Falkirk buses

Keith Brown, left, tries out the new contact-free payment system for himself
Keith Brown, left, tries out the new contact-free payment system for himself

Contact-free payment on buses means there’s no need to rummage for change, and much less time is spent waiting to get on board.

These are the main advantages of the decision by First Bus to extend the system across its entire fleet, according to cabinet minister Keith Brown MSP.

He was a guest at the official launch of the scheme at the company’s Larbert depot, and said he was impressed by what’s seen as further evidence of the firm’s commitment to more convenient travel.

The company says the addition of services in and around Falkirk to routes already set up for contact-free payment mean it’s the first Scottish-based bus firm to use the system across its entire operation.

“It is now easier than ever to use the bus using this quick, easy and convenient way to pay”, says First Bus, adding: “The days of scrambling around for change or having to dash to the cashline before the bus arrives are now long gone”.

The firm is also accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay as part of the contactless roll-out.

The launch of contactless complements the bus operator’s previous introduction of mobile and cashless payment options via First Bus mTickets, as well as the First Bus multi-modal journey planning app in 2017.

Graeme MacFarlan, Commercial Director of First Bus in Scotland, said: “We’re very proud to be at the forefront of introducing contactless technology on all of our vehicles.

“Contactless technology is just one of the ways First Scotland East is innovating to make bus travel even easier for our customers, and I am delighted to see this latest launch complete the roll out across our entire Scottish network.”

Use of cashless payment methods such as contactless or mTickets are said to speed up passenger journeys by up to 75 per cent.

A First Bus experiment carried out two years ago found it took about 10.5 minutes for people paying by cash to board a bus, but just 2.5 minutes for the same number of people using the mTicket app.

Customers can pay with contactless for multiple tickets in a single transaction as long as the total amount is £30 or less - as £30 is the maximum set by banks.