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How we can keep the bus network rolling

This Catch the Bus Week, it’s more important than ever that we work together to encourage more people to use local bus networks. Local bus journeys in England have seen a 1.4% decrease over the past year, leading to reduced routes and services, which in turn further deters passengers from taking the bus. At the same time, vehicle miles have increased by 7.5% in five years on UK roads, meaning road traffic pollution is on the rise.

The key to driving up passenger numbers is education. We need to ensure that there is no confusion around ticketing, pricing and bus schedules. In short, we need to demonstrate the clear benefits of catching the bus, and how easy it really is.

A cashless ticketing strategy

The way passengers purchase tickets and board buses is central to creating a seamless travel experience, so we need to ensure our ticketing strategy is keeping up with the increasingly digitalised world. As technology continues to develop, we are moving ever closer to a cashless society. 2017 was the first year that card transactions surpassed cash payments: 13.2 billion transactions were made using a debit or credit card compared with 13.1 billion cash payments. Just as we expect to be able to pay in shops and restaurants with a tap of our card on the payment terminal, passengers want to be able to use contactless cards to pay for public transport. It is now time that operators consider implementing a cashless ticketing strategy to make bus travel all the more seamless for the modern-day passenger.

Switching to a smart or mobile ticketing strategy would reduce the concern passengers have around paying for tickets in cash and drive down incremental cash-handling costs, giving operators an effective selling point for the 63% of people in the UK who use contactless debit or credit cards already. Today, our ever-increasing dependence on technology means that the next step for the bus network is to make all aspects of bus travel available in one place: the smartphone. Passengers want to be able to access bus schedules, plan their journeys and pay for travel all from the comfort of their mobile device. Operators need to prepare for the future of mobile ticketing and journey planning in order to keep the bus network thriving in today’s digitalised world and to communicate this to passengers to show that bus travel will be made simpler and easier.

Mobile ticketing from ITSO

ITSO’s new mobile smart ticketing technology, ITSO on Mobile, will give operators the opportunity to keep up with the transport industry’s natural progression towards mobile ticketing, providing a more convenient and efficient travel experience that meets the demands of today’s passenger.