Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

18.04.17

Stepping up to London’s contactless bus network

Source: PSE Apr/May 17

Reading Buses, the innovative operator wholly owned by the local borough council, has become the first town-wide contactless bus network outside London. PSE reports.

Reading Buses, the council-owned organisation that strives to reduce car dependency for visitors and residents, has become the first independent operator to go 100% contactless, meaning it is now the first town-wide contactless bus network outside of the capital. 

Bus users will now be able to use a contactless system which also includes an integrated card reader for all card types, whether contactless bankcard, ENCTS concessionary pass or other ITSO smartcards, as well as Android and Apple pay systems. 

Martijn Gilbert, its chief executive, hailed it as another example of the company bringing “firsts” to Reading. 

“Contactless is the final part of our new ‘three-part’ digital ticketing strategy which includes the use of ‘QR’ barcodes on paper tickets – with readers installed on the buses – cutting down the amount of waiting time as people simply scan as they board rather than waving their ticket at the driver,” he added. 

“The Reading Buses app forms the second element which has integrated journey planning, live bus tracking and mobile tickets, all on one platform, which again uses barcode technology – and has already been hugely successful with customers. All this builds upon a highly successful ITSO smartcard ticketing scheme which was one of the first in the UK at the time when launched back in February 2011.” 

The CEO acknowledged that the ‘exact fare policy’ of the organisation, which is wholly owned by Reading Borough Council, is important for safety and speeding up boarding times, but can “catch out” new users. 

“Contactless offers a great way for new or occasional users to pay on the day without the hassle of the exact fare or needing to download the app,” argued Gilbert. 

“Whilst we recommend that our regular customers download the app for their tickets, with period tickets of up to 30 days now available, and to stay connected with live travel information, our successful simplyBus smartcard will still continue to provide great value and service.” 

Great news for passengers 

The launch of the scheme early in March was attended by transport minister Andrew Jones MP, who said the roll-out of the technology on Reading’s bus network is “great news for the many passengers every day who use them around the town”. 

“I’m delighted to see Reading Buses giving travellers the choice to pay for their journey using a smartcard, contactless payment card or phone, making bus travel more convenient, cutting queues and speeding up journeys, as well as ensuring they get the cheapest fare,” the minister said. “Buses make vital journeys possible every day and we are doing everything we can to improve services for passengers.” 

As well as this initiative, Reading Buses is hoping to launch a contactless ‘tapping’ model for its £2 ‘simplyReading’ flat fare in the coming months. In the meantime, passengers can use contactless to buy singles, day tickets and period (seven-day) tickets, as well as the ‘four go together’ group ticket. 

The operator, which parades brightly coloured buses around Reading, has been transporting customers in the region for over 100 years and its buses now feature free wi-fi and several USB charging points. Approximately 70% of its fleet consists of environmentally-friendly buses, including 31 hybrid, 34 gas and 24 Euro6 diesel vehicles, in order to “dramatically improve” the air quality for the community.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.reading-buses.co.uk

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

November too late for pay cap decision, GMB says

25/09/2017November too late for pay cap decision, GMB says

The GMB has criticised the government’s choice to defer the decision of ending the public sector pay cap until the Autumn Budget on 22 Nove... more >
LGA: TfL Uber decision shows need for ‘urgent reform’ of outdated taxi laws

25/09/2017LGA: TfL Uber decision shows need for ‘urgent reform’ of outdated taxi laws

Councils have this week declared that outdated taxi laws need to be urgently reformed following Transport for London’s (TfL’s) decisi... more >
Councils falling short of preventive care obligations

22/09/2017Councils falling short of preventive care obligations

Councils are failing to meet their obligations to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care as set out in the Care Act 2014. New research p... more >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides ... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
South Yorkshire devolution in doubt as councils clash over next steps

19/09/2017South Yorkshire devolution in doubt as councils clash over next steps

South Yorkshire’s devolution deal took a serious knock today after a statement from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) revealed that two councils, Barnsley and Doncaster MBC, have refused to b... more >
Male LCR cabinet urged to give up their seats for female nominees

15/09/2017Male LCR cabinet urged to give up their seats for female nominees

The entirely male cabinet at the Liverpool City Region (LCR) have this week been urged to give up their seats by the Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) in a drive towards a more gender inclusiv... more >

the raven's daily blog

How would local government look under a Labour government?

25/09/2017How would local government look under a Labour government?

Few will disagree with the statement that the current landscape of local government is one that has been shaped by seven years of Tory influence. Harsh austerity measures have seen pressures on council-run services, as well as the NHS, mount sharply as demand increases. The resurgence of the Labour Party in June’s snap election... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider lessons of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and what measures and assess... more >
A quiet revolution

04/09/2017A quiet revolution

Dermot Ryan, programme director at NHS Digital for the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), talks to PSE about the importance of moving to the ... more >
Effective leadership in uncertain times

04/09/2017Effective leadership in uncertain times

Dr David Beech, lecturer in people management at Salford Business School, argues that continuous renewal and progress is fundamental to effective... more >
Refocusing professional development

04/09/2017Refocusing professional development

Graeme McDonald, managing director of Solace, discusses the importance of taking time out to focus on learning, especially in the ever-changing l... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

public sector focus

View all News