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North East first to benefit as Arriva launches contactless payment

Arriva, one of the UK’s largest bus operators, is today (13 January) marking the launch of contactless payment on its fleet in the North East.

Arriva has chosen the North East as the first region outside of London to benefit from contactless payment on its buses. This will deliver significant benefits to passengers who will be able to pay for their journey with a contactless credit or debit card.

The rollout is underway with bus passengers in the Tees Valley already using the new technology on a number of buses. Contactless payment will be available on all of Arriva’s 491 buses in the North East by April 2017. Along with other major bus operators, Arriva has pledged to rollout contactless across its entire bus fleet by 2022.

The rollout was marked by a launch at Middlesbrough bus station today where passengers and local leaders could see how some of the first buses to go contactless are already having a positive impact for passengers.

As contactless payment technology revolutionises the UK high street, Arriva has worked closely with technology and payment providers, Parkeon and Six Payments, to build a secure and innovative payment option for passengers. This utilises the latest technology to provide a safe and easy way to pay.

Working in partnership, Arriva is investing in contactless payment solutions to give greater payment choices to its passengers. They can also pay using local authority smart cards, which can be used across local authority boundaries and using Arriva’s own smartcard, Arriva Connect. Unlike in London, passengers will still be able to pay in cash if they prefer.

This investment in contactless as part of a digital technology strategy is one of the ways Arriva is removing barriers to travel wherever they exist and improving the passenger experience. Arriva has also developed a mobile ticketing app, making it even easier for passengers to buy mobile tickets before they board.

Kevin O’Connor, Managing Director, UK Bus at Arriva, said: 

“The rollout of contactless payment is the latest in a line of improvements that will make it easier to travel by bus and improve the passenger experience.  Alongside the ability to pay by cash, our customers also asked for contactless and we are delivering on that. Across our operations, we are innovating to improve journeys and make our services even more convenient for new and existing customers.”

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“This Government is committed to making bus travel easier and more accessible. This new technology will give passengers the freedom and convenience to go cash-free, which will reduce boarding times and speed up journeys as a result – helping thousands of passengers, as well as tackling congestion.”

David Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough, said:

I’m delighted that Arriva has chosen the Tees Valley as the first place to rollout contactless payment outside London. Good bus services are a vital part of our transport infrastructure and this new technology will help make travelling by bus much more straightforward.”

Nick Knox, Area Managing Director for Arriva North East, added: 

“This is great news for the North East as we give customers more choice in how they pay for their journey. The new contactless technology, along with our mobile phone app, demonstrates our commitment to improving the passenger experience and developing our bus fleet.”

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