Journey planner

mTickets - Frequently Asked Questions

At First Eastern Counties, we believe that we should make life easy for our app users. You may have a question or two about mobile tickets, we hope you find these answers to these common questions helpful.

Buying mTickets

Q: Tickets available on the First Bus App

A: At First Eastern Counties, you can buy any tickets other than singles and returns for all our Zones and areas on the First Bus App. You can also buy Student Saver tickets and our popular High5 group tickets.

Q: How do I buy a ticket?

A: Buying tickets is easy! Tap the mTickets button in the app, choose a ticket category, select your ticket from the list available and then simply choose a payment method...You can pay by card (Mastercard or Visa Credit or Visa Debit cards), PayPal, Apple Pay (on iPhones) or Google Pay (on Android phones). 

Your selected First Bus region/area is shown on the First mTickets screen; if you need to change it, tap on the area name to choose a different area.

Q: Can I get a receipt for my ticket purchase?

A: Receipts are sent to the email linked with the account at the time of purchase. If you're going to need your receipt, we would recommend double checking your account details are correct before making a ticket purchase.

Please note that this purchase receipt is not valid for travel, and you will need to show the driver your active mTicket displayed on the app.

Q: How can I pay for my tickets?

A: You can pay by card (Mastercard or Visa Credit or Visa Debit cards), PayPal, Apple Pay (on iPhones) or by Google Pay (on Android phones). Sorry, we don't accept Maestro or Electron cards.

Q: How do I set up a payment card?

A: To set up a payment card, click on the payment methods screen, select the 'Visa / Mastercard / PayPal' button. Enter the details of your card. Once entered, your card details are then encrypted and stored securely by the system so you can reuse the card without having to enter the details again. The next time you make a purchase, the most recently used card (or PayPal account) is presented as the default option. If you want to use a previously entered card or enter a new one, select 'Change Payment Method'.

Q: How do I use PayPal?

A: On the payment methods screen, select the 'Visa / Mastercard / PayPal' button. On the next page select 'PayPal Check Out' and the PayPal login screen will be shown. Enter your PayPal email address and password. If you want to be able to make future PayPal purchases on our app with this account, click the 'Stay Logged in for faster checkout' tickbox. Then select the card you want to use via PayPal and press Continue. The next time you make a purchase, your PayPal account will be presented as the default option. If you want to use a previously entered card or enter a new one instead, select 'Change Payment Method'.

Q: How do I use Apple Pay?

A: On the payment methods screen, select the 'Apple Pay' button. On the Apple Pay panel, select the card you want to use (of those stored in the Apple Pay wallet) and enter your Touch ID. The transaction will complete in a few moments.

Q: How many mTickets do I need to buy?

A:  There is no minimum purchase. You can simply buy the ticket you want in advance of your journey or buy several at once. All of your purchased tickets are automatically put in your wallet and stored here until ‘activated’ so you’ll always be ready for your bus journey.

Q: Can I get a refund for my mTicket?

A: We can only provide refunds for unactivated tickets; any activated tickets aree non-refundable. However, refund requests for annual and long-term student tickets may be reviewed on a case by case basis by a member of the mTicket Support Team.

Contact the mTicket support team here.  

Using mTickets

Q: How do mTickets work?

A: Once a ticket is purchased it will appear in the 'wallet' of the mTicket section of the app. Tickets in this section are listed from the oldest at the top to the newest at the bottom.

When you want to use a ticket, select the one you want and then select 'Activate Now'.

You'll then be informed of how long the ticket will be active for, before confirming that you want to activate this ticket. We would advise reading this carefully to avoid activating unwanted tickets.

Once activated, the app will generate a moving ticket image on your phone's screen and a QR code. This will stay active for the remainder of the ticket's validity and will include the time and a four letter 'word of the day'.

You'll need to scan the QR when you board the bus.

Q: Do I need an internet connection to use mTickets?

A: You need an internet or data connection to purchase and ‘activate’ an mTicket. Once your ticket has been ‘activated’, you don’t need an internet connection - so a poor phone signal when you board your bus should not be a problem. However, the First Bus App does need to communicate with our system on a regular basis to keep itself up to date when you're out and about, so long periods without connection may cause an issue.

Please note the app is not designed to work with Wi-Fi only devices such as tablets and iPods.

Q: What happens if there's a problem boarding and my mTicket expires before I board the bus?

A: You will need an active and valid ticket to travel on the bus. If the mTicket is no longer valid, you will need to activate another, or pay to travel by cash and buy a ticket from the driver.

Q: What happens if an inspector needs to check my ticket?

A: If an inspector asks to check your ticket, please show them the active ticket in your wallet as you would do the driver. For those who boarded using a single ticket which has since expired, the inspector will still be able to see this under the 'expired' tab in your wallet.

Q: Can I activate multiple tickets on my phone for travelling with friends and family?

A: The mTicket system only allows one ticket of each type to be active at a time on a single device. If you are travelling with friends or family, they will need to purchase mTickets on their own device from their own account, or use contactless or cash to buy a ticket from the driver.

You are able to activate different ticket types at the same time e.g. 1 x Adult FirstDay and 1 x Adult FirstWeek.

Q: What should I do if I’m travelling with children?

A: The app will allow for one adult and one child ticket to be active at the same time on one device but if you’re travelling with more than one child, you'll almost certainly be better buying a High5 Group ticket.  They're good for unlimited travel for one day in your chosen zone for up to 5 people (max 2 adults age 20+).

Q: How long will my ticket last?

A: Generally mTickets will stay in your virtual wallet for 1 year, unless stated within the ticket details on the app.

Q: How long will my ticket be active for?

A: The validity of mTickets is similar to paper tickets. This means a day ticket is not valid for 24 hours, but rather the remainder of the day on which it is activated.

Following this principle, other validities are as follows:

  • Day – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated
  • Week – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated, plus an additional 6 days
  • tMonth – the remainder of the days the ticket is activated, plus a further number of days in the month less one. A month ticket activated on 25th May for instance, would expire on 25th June.

We also allow a period of grace after midnight, to allow for the last bus services of the day but please note that the expiry date (shown in words on the ticket screen) is the last full day of the ticket and does not reflect the period beyond midnight.

This is so customers do not wrongly believe they have an additional full day's travel.

Q: What about my single ticket bought as part of a 10-trip bundle – how long does this last for?

A: Single tickets will remain valid for 15 minutes once activated. The app will remind you of this before activating one.

Q: Which software version do I need on my phone?

A: The First Bus App supports versions above and including iOS 10.1 and Android 5. Google Play Services support for 4.0 ended in February 2019. Unfortunately, the Windows operating system is no longer supported; Microsoft discontinued updates for Windows Mobile in 2017.

Q: How do I share or gift a ticket to my child?

A: Customers can send tickets to a child or young person by using the gifting feature on young person tickets only.  Please visit our ticket gifting page for more information.

Q: How do I transfer my tickets to a new phone?

A: The First Bus App is only designed to work with one device per account. However should customers purchase a new handset, or lose or damage their current device, they will be able to transfer their tickets over.

To do this:

  • 1. Log off from your mTicket account on your old phone (if possible).
  • 2. Download the app and login to your mTicket account on your new phone
  • 3. Check the wallet Ticket Wallet screen. You should find a pink panel containing a button to start the transfer process.

If the button is not visible, please ensure you have a data connection and refresh the app (on an iPhone tap the screen three times, or on Android select Refresh from the menu button).

Customers are able to complete the above process twice a month but further requests are subject to approval by a member of our mTickets team. Please don’t attempt to share your ticket with anyone else.

Q: How do I change area on the app?

A: To change area on the app, please go to the mTickets area on the app and then select the area that you’re wanting to travel in.

If you have GPS location services enabled on your phone and for the app, selecting this will display your closest First Bus areas.

Problems with mTickets

Q: Help! I can't see my tickets.

A: Missing tickets are generally caused by your mTicket account becoming logged out, or a prolonged loss of internet connection.  To restore your tickets, please make sure you have a good network connection and refresh from the Options button (iPhone) or Menu button (Android). All tickets in your account should reappear after a few seconds.

Q: My phone ran out of battery before I could show my ticket to the driver.

A: Unfortunately, it's your responsibility to ensure your phone has enough battery power to show a valid mTicket to the driver, or to any ticket inspector throughout your journey. If your phone does run out of charge, you will need to buy a ticket from the driver using contactless or cash.

Q: My phone has broken – can I get a paper ticket?

A: We do not issue paper copies of mTickets. You will receive an email receipt when you make your purchase, but this will not be valid for travel.

With mTickets, it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure a working mobile phone is available to show the driver the ticket screen. If there is a problem with the system, please let us know and we'll do our best to help.

Q: The QR code on my ticket won't scan on the bus.

A: If the QR code is not being picked up by the ticket machine, please show the ticket screen to the driver. Providing you're travelling on the correct ticket, the digital copy of your mTicket is still valid for travel and will be accepted.