August was the first full month that every bus operator in the region offered the option of contactless payment and new figures show 18% of bus users opted for this method. Tony McDonough reports
Almost one in five bus journeys in the Liverpool city region were paid for using contactless technology in the first month of the network going fully contactless.
August was the first full month that every bus operator in the region offered the option of contactless payment. Liverpool city region is now the only region outside of London with a 100% contactless coverage.
New figures show an average of 18% of transactions across the whole network were paid for by contactless during the month.
Some individual operators are experiencing even higher uptake, with one in four journeys on Arriva buses being paid for by contactless technology after it was introduced in June 2019, and more than one in five on Stagecoach buses which introduced the payment option in July 2017.
The customer shift to contactless is expected to increase in the coming months as awareness grows of its availability across the entire bus network.
Funding to fit ETMs to vehicles operated by smaller operators across the region was provided by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority via a £1.05m Transforming Cities Fund grant.
The Liverpool City Region is committed to giving people a variety of options for paying for their journeys, with an online portal for purchasing tickets set to be introduced later this year, with a staged roll out of products.
The payment improvements support wider improvements to the bus network through the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance which has seen better value for money fares, wifi on all services, newer, cleaner, greener buses and enhanced cleaning regimes.
These initiatives have helped the Liverpool City Region buck the national trend of falling passenger numbers, with a 15% increase in fare paying passenger journeys since 2013/14 and 91% of bus users satisfied or very satisfied with services – the joint highest of any Metropolitan area (Transport Focus, March 2019).
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram said: “The roll out of contactless technology on all our buses, along with the planned online ticket buying portal, is yet another step towards the creation of a London-style transport system, here in the Liverpool City Region.
“By continually improving our bus offer, we can encourage people out of their cars which will, over time, improve our air quality.”