Go-Ahead launches contactless payments in Oxford

From Thursday 8th June, Go-Ahead has begun accepting contactless EMV payments on buses and coaches at its Oxford division, comprising Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses.

The deployment is believed to be the largest outside of London to use back office technology based on the UK Cards Association (UKCA)’s “Model 2.” The new system has the potential to offer London style “pay as you go” ticketing with fares calculated – and capped – in the back office, rather than by the driver’s ticket machine. It is also the first “Model 2” deployment to feature a fully integrated EMV reader within the bus ticket machine.

“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,” said Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses. “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.”

The company’s new system is able to help mitigate the increased transaction costs which operators face from introducing contactless payments, by “aggregating” multiple transactions from the same customer together into a single debit to their account.

The project is the result of a partnership between Go-Ahead, Ticketer and Littlepay, a fintech start-up company focusing specifically on developing micro payment processing services.

John Clarfelt, Managing Director of Ticketer said “We are delighted that after the intensive efforts of all parties, working closely in partnership, that Oxford Bus Company is introducing such an innovative and customer-friendly option for its passengers. Oxford Bus Company can now offer its customers the full gamut of payment options and, with the architecture in place, the contactless solution released today is merely the start, not the end, of a very exciting road ahead. We are extremely proud to be a part of that journey.”

“By enabling contactless payments, Oxford Bus Company is improving customer convenience whilst taking the first step in delivering a world-leading transit payments solution. By leveraging Littlepay’s cloud-based, bank-grade platform, passengers can be sure that their transit payments are being processed quickly, simply and safely,” commented Michael Walters, CEO of Littlepay,” added Michael Walters, CEO of Littlepay.

Briony Krikorian-Slade, Principal Policy Adviser at The UK Cards Association, said, “We are delighted to see Go Ahead launch this new contactless ticketing implementation. It means passengers in Oxford will no longer have to worry about having enough cash to buy a ticket, and will also allow passengers to benefit from fare capping, ensuring that they get the best value fare for their journey, which customer research indicates is something passengers value highly. More than three-quarters of all retail spending in the UK is made using cards and this launch allows Go Ahead customers to extend that convenience to their daily journeys.”

Following the Oxford launch, Go-Ahead is planning to extend the roll out of contactless payment technology to its other bus operations across the UK over the coming months.

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Categories: Transportation

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