​First West of England introduces speedy contactless Tap & Cap payment and Express Mode for Apple Pay

8 October 2020

‘Tap & Cap’ is a paperless system that means bus users can pay for their journey without having to ask or wait for a ticket: they just tap their contactless card or device on the Ticketer ETM contactless card reader as they board the bus.

Customers will automatically be charged a Bristol Zone single fare of £2.50 (or £2.25 on metrobus services) and have the peace of mind that regardless of how many trips they make, daily costs will be capped at First’s Bristol Day ticket price of £5.00, (or £4.50 if just using metrobus services), and costs over a seven day period will be capped at First’s Bristol Week ticket of £20.00,  (or £18.90 if just using metrobus services). Using an online portal provided by Littlepay, passengers will have full visibility of what they’ve spent using ‘Tap & Cap’. The speedy ‘Tap & Cap’ transaction will create a faster flow of customers on to buses, helping everyone adhere more easily to social distancing guidelines.

Express Mode for Apple Pay means customers with Apple Pay can now pay using their iPhone or Apple Watch without the need to wake or unlock their device, open an app or use Face ID or Touch ID.  For customers using Face ID on iPhone, Express Mode for Apple Pay has the additional advantage of allowing customers to keep their face covering on while boarding the bus.

The system has been rolled-out in the City with the support of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

James Freeman, Managing Director at First Bus West of England said:

“Delivering contactless, price-capped, daily and weekly tickets by 2022, ensuring passengers know that no matter how much they travel they won’t be charged more than a fixed amount, is one of the aims of the Bus Deal we entered into with WECA and Bristol City Council, so I am delighted we are delivering on this for Bristol ahead of schedule. WECA’s support has been invaluable in this, ensuring that metrobus customers can also benefit from Tap & Cap.

“It also marks another important milestone in our journey to make bus travel simpler for our customers using innovative technology and partnerships. Tap & Cap has already been launched in Aberdeen, Doncaster and Southampton where it has proven extremely popular with customers. It gives customers the confidence to know they will always get the best value fare when they buy on board and makes our buses more accessible than ever, at a time when customers need access to increasingly flexible options to meet their changing travel requirements. Combined with the recent updates to our app, our new Space Checker tool and our pilot of pre-bookable services in the West of England, First Bus continues to be at the forefront of continuing to make public transport safe and simple.”

John Clarfelt, CEO at Ticketer, adds: “We are immensely proud of our partnership with First Bus. We believe expanding payment options with ‘Tap and Cap’ is fundamental to making bus travel more accessible and convenient for passengers, whilst also building confidence that buses are a safe way to travel. Operators further benefit from a new wealth of journey pattern data to run more efficiently, maximise the use of their vehicles, and reduced boarding times.”

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said:

“In the last few weeks, working with our operators, we’ve seen bookable buses, space checker tools, and e-scooters launched in the West of England. We really are getting the region moving. “Now the Tap & Cap concept is being launched ahead of schedule, it shows how we’re getting the job done and I can’t wait to see it rolled out across the rest of the West of England. Making bus travel affordable and easy to use is vital to ensure it is accessible for all of our communities. I’m thrilled to see more new technology making it even easier for people to leave their cars at home and provide choice and flexibility in how we get around.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“We are delighted to see this exciting upgrade taking place on buses with First West of England. We are committed to doing all we can to make public transport an accessible, attractive option for everyone in Bristol and this step forward in technology will help to speed up buses and give customers reassurance on the amount they are spending. This is just one benefit of the Bus Deal between Bristol City Council, WECA and First West of England, whereby we are working together to make the necessary changes to remove some the barriers people face in choosing bus travel across the region.”

Amin Shayan, CEO of Littlepay, said:

“We have a longstanding relationship with First Bus and we are happy to see them using more of our technology to bring passengers added value. Contactless payments are a vital measure helping to eliminate contact with cash and ‘Tap & Cap’ is a great way of ensuring passengers access best-value fares.”

Find out more at https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west/tickets/tap-cap

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