Stagecoach has launched a £12m scheme to deliver contactless payment to all of its regional bus services across the UK by the end of 2018.
The move will allow passengers to pay with a contactless credit or debit card, as well as Apple or Android services, at no extra cost.
The bus operator said it was also working with First Bus, Go-Ahead, Arriva and National Express on a project to have EMV contactless technology installed as widely as possible across the UK.
Contactless is already live on all of Stagecoach's buses in Oxfordshire – as part of the first stage of the scheme - covering Oxford city services, commuter routes into Oxford and Oxford Tube express services which run to and from London 24 hours a day.
Next in line is Ashford in Kent and Tyne and Wear by the end of this year, with Greater Manchester following in January 2017. Stagecoach aims to have the technology up and running on all of its 7,200 buses in England, Scotland and Wales by the end of 2018.
Robert Montgomery, managing director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: ‘Bus travel is experiencing a complete transformation. But to maximise the benefit of this investment, we also need bold and urgent action by transport authorities to tackle the scourge of road congestion that is holding back bus reliability.’
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘The roll-out of contactless payment technology on Stagecoach bus services outside London will help hundreds of thousands of passengers. People will be able to buy tickets online and on smartphones, making bus travel more convenient, cutting queues and speeding up journeys.’
Stagecoach also recently announced mobile phone ticketing is being rolled out across the UK over the next three months, with the facility already live in Greater Manchester.