First Bus, Ticketer and Littlepay Roll Out One of the Largest Tap On / Tap Off Schemes Outside London

2 August 2021

A partnership between First Bus, Ticketer and Littlepay has led to the implementation of one of the largest Tap On / Tap Off (TOTO) schemes outside of London. The First Leicester fleet launched 92 Tap Off readers in June, which were installed over a four-day period, and First Bus Potteries have introduced 105 readers across their fleet. 

TOTO is a multi-operator scheme developed by Ticketer and Littlepay, a transit-focused payment service provider, that offers a simple way for passengers to pay for travel by enabling them to tap on and tap off at the start and end of their journeys using a contactless card. 

In Leicester, the scheme has been implemented in partnership with Leicester City Council, and with funding from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). The TCF enabled the purchase and installation of the ticketing machines, and First Bus worked closely with stakeholders to minimise fleet downtime while installation took place. 

Tap On / Tap OffThe Ticketer Tap Off Readers work together with Ticketer Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETMs) to enable a Pay-As-You-Go experience for passengers, by simply tapping on when boarding and off when exiting the bus, using a contactless payment card.  

This new payment system brings substantial benefits for First Bus passengers. With Tap On / Tap Off contactless, combined with daily and weekly fare capping, customers can travel freely and are automatically only charged for the travel they make. If they make several trips in a day, their fare will be capped at the daily ticket price; and those who travel several days per week pay a fare capped at the weekly ticket price. In addition, minimal driver interaction will significantly reduce boarding times for passengers, ensuring that buses leave stops on time and maintain punctuality.  

First Bus will also be able to gather information on travel patterns via the Ticketer Portal. Boarding and alighting information will enable improvements to capacity management services. 

First BusSimon Pearson, Commercial Director at First Bus said: “We have worked closely with our partners Ticketer and Littlepay to understand and implement technology that brings new benefits to our customers. Making ticketing easier is central to our plan to welcome back existing customers and encourage others to start taking the bus more often. The Tap On / Tap Off function makes bus journeys simpler and gives customers peace of mind as they know that they will be charged the best value fare whether they have taken the bus for a single journey or multiple journeys throughout the day.” 

Antonio Carmona - TicketerAntonio Carmona, International General Manager and UK Head of Sales at Ticketercomments:“We are continuously working hand in hand with our customers to help simplify ticketing, and now, by tapping on and off their contactless cards on buses, passengers will enjoy a frictionless payment experience at First Bus across Leicester and Potteries. We hope that it will contribute to bring more passengers onboard as the industry recovers from COVID.” 

Littlepay, an established partner of Ticketer, is providing payment processing for this solution. With Ticketer’s card readers pre-integrated to its payment platform, Littlepay handles a range of processes including tap aggregation, fare capping, deny list management and automatic debt recovery. It also provides an API connection to complete the end-to-end contactless ticketing solution. 

Little PayAmin Shayan, CEO of Littlepay, says: “We’ve seen great results from Tap On / Tap Off contactless ticketing, with contactless payment adoption increasing, dwell times reducing and more passengers enjoying the convenience and cost-efficiency of fare capping. We are confident First Bus passengers in Leicester and the Potteries will notice and appreciate this improvement to their travel experience.” 

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Some of the things we have won


Received 'Most Innovative Public Transport Technology 2022' award, by the UK Transport Awards.

Winners of the 2022 Euro Bus Expo Innovation Challenge Bronze Award.

Winners of the 'ROSCO Silver Award for Contribution to Safer Driving' 2022

Profit Track 100 2021

Ranked in The Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, acknowledging the impressive performance and contributions of the featured companies to the economy and society during the pandemic

Transport Ticketing

Winner of the Transport Ticketing Awards 2021 'Digital Champion' Category

Ticketer Award Megabuyte

Listed as 3rd in the Megabuyte Emerging Stars Awards which recognise the top 25 best-performing scale-up Companies of the Year in the UK, for industry-specific software

Ones to Watch award

Named as “One to Watch” in the European Business Awards

Ticketer Award Thames Valley

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year & High Growth Business of the Year

Gold Winner of the Coach and Bus Innovation Challenge 2019 for our passenger app Kazoot

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