First Bus has revealed a radical overhaul of its fares structure across West Yorkshire and the introduction of Tap On Tap Off (TOTO) payment technology on its buses.
All the changes begin across the region on Monday 13 December 2021 and have been developed from detailed analysis of passenger and purchasing data.
The new pricing creates a simpler, fairer, more flexible and cheaper choice of tickets. It has been devised to encourage more people to use the bus and as travel behaviour adapts following the pandemic with work and leisure patterns changing.
The TOTO contactless system guarantees customers ultimate flexibility on the fare paid. It charges for a single journey and customers who make several bus trips each day on First West Yorkshire services will pay a maximum £5.20 on the first day which then continues to reduce the more they travel during a week.
To use TOTO a person uses their contactless card or mobile at the ticket machine next to the driver but must ‘tap’ again on the new special card reader device when leaving the bus.
Transforming bus services
These developments by First Bus herald a transformational change and aid wider ambitions contained in West Yorkshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). The BSIP was compiled by West Yorkshire Combined Authority together with the region’s bus operators through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance and submitted to the government at the end of October. It outlines how bus services in the region will be made better through an Enhanced Partnership (EP) due to begin in April 2022.
Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, said:
“This is a fundamental change to our fares which brings benefits to the hundreds of thousands of people who travel with us across West Yorkshire every week.
“Our customers want a more personalised approach, with a cost related to paying for what they use, and a pricing system designed around their journey not operational processes, which has been the traditional approach to fares planning.”
Payment technology has been installed on First West Yorkshire’s fleet of close to 900 buses with investment of £850,000 in creating ‘London-style’ Tap on Tap off ticketing across the region.
“The introduction of Tap On Tap Off is another important step in simplifying journeys and will pave the way to an all-operator integrated system in the future,” added Martin Hirst.
New tickets for changing travel needs
Among five new ticket types is a discounted Return with prices starting at £2.50 for customers who make a simple journey to a destination and back.
Single tickets, which account for 60 per cent of all sales, have been simplified to four lower prices beginning at £1.40. The maximum price for the longest journeys will be £2.90, a reduction of 17 per cent on the existing fare.
Changes in commuting and hybrid working have been responded to with the creation of Flexi tickets with 3-day and 5-day options for people to plan their travel Monday-Friday or over a full week and a 13-day ticket allowing trips to be spread over a month.
Fares structure redesigned
Prices for all tickets will be consistent across West Yorkshire to achieve equality between districts and boundaries have been removed, enabling travel anywhere in the region with the same ticket.
The fares structure has been redesigned with the Single ticket as the base and all others calculated on a discount. Long-term tickets such as monthly and annual now relate more closely to the average cost per trip of other formats.
Pre-payment through the First Bus App continues to provide total flexibility with a popular Single remaining at £2 for any trip.
“Our new fares will encourage new users and those making infrequent journeys to see the great value of bus travel,” added Martin Hirst. “Regular customers have more options to fit their travel needs and the majority will be able to take advantage of a reduced fare against what they paid previously.”
Full details of the new fares and TOTO payment can be found by visiting www.firstbus.co.uk and selecting a town or city.
This post is based on a press release issued by First Bus
Photo: Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire