Eclipse Bus Users First to Pilot New Superfast Contactless Payment System
Customer-focused, easy Tap On, Tap Off technology automatically calculates cheapest single fares and newly introduced daily cap
From today, Wednesday 3 March, bus users catching the premium Eclipse bus service connecting Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth will be able to use a new contactless payment method that automatically ensures they pay the correct single fare, and never more than a newly introduced daily cap set at the introductory rate of £5.50. It’s the first area chosen for this innovative pilot by First Bus, a leader in sustainable, customer-friendly mobility solutions.
Customers can now just tap their contactless payment card or contactless-enabled device against the card reader once when they board (‘Tap on’), and at the end of the journey they tap out (‘Tap off’) at newly installed readers that are conveniently placed near the luggage rack.
The contactless ‘Tap On, Tap Off’ technology (or ‘Toto’ for short) will automatically calculate the correct single fare based on where the customer started and ended their journey, speeding up boarding times and making life simpler for customers.
If a customer makes another journey on the Eclipse service that same day and uses the same payment type to tap on and off, the ‘Toto’ technology will recognise those additional journeys and will limit the maximum charge the customer pays to the new introductory daily cap of £5.50. Customers can be confident that they’ll never pay more than the day cap.
Jonathan Lewis, Commercial Manager for First Solent said:
We are really excited to be introducing this new payment technology on our premium Eclipse service. since the pandemic started, we’ve been encouraging customers to go cash-free to make using public transport safer for bus passengers and drivers, and now ‘tap on, tap off’ gives people even more reasons to stop using cash.It should improve our customers’ travel experience by reducing time at bus stops and eventually reducing overall travel time. The insight gained into customers’ travel habits from the new innovation will feed into our development of improved products for our customers.
Councillor Ron Humby, Hampshire Council Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment said:
I’m pleased to see First Solent’s continued investment in introducing more innovations that benefit customers and make using public transport so much easier and more attractive., By bringing this pilot to the award-winning Eclipse BRT service we can bring our Hampshire passengers a step closer to experiencing the record transaction times that bus users in London enjoy.
NOTE FOR EDITORS:
‘Tap on, tap off’ is the latest customer-focused innovation the bus company rolled out during the pandemic. Last summer the bus operator rolled out Express Mode for Apple Pay, which meant customers with Apple devices could pay contactless for their bus fare with an Apple Watch or iPhone without needing to unlock or wake their device first. It also introduced new features on its customer app that showed customers in real time where on its journey a service was and how much longer until it would arrive a certain bus stop, how many seats are available on the bus and if the wheelchair space is in use or not. And to allow customers to plan their bus travel when it’s least busy, customers can check online which part of the day their bus carries fewest customers. And last month, it introduced live chat via the smartphone app so customers with mticket queries have direct access to a customer agent.
The amount the customer has to pay will be worked out at the end of the day, and the charge will show up the following day on a person’s bank account. Customers can always check their contactless payments by visiting https://first-group.uk.littlepay.com . For customers to get the cheapest single fare, and for the technology to connect the first and any additional journeys together to calculate whether the daily cap has been met, customers are strongly advised to use the same payment method when they travel. Forgetting to tap off when exiting the vehicle or tapping on and off using different payment methods will result in the customer being charged the daily cap rate.