National Express West Midlands (NXWM) is fitting each of its 1,500 buses with contactless technology.
The operator has signed a multi-million pound deal for ticket machines which can take payments from bank cards, smartphones and smart watches, as well as cash and Swift smartcards.
The first ticket machines are expected to start appearing on buses in Coventry at the end of 2016, with the roll-out continuing across the whole West Midlands fleet over the following two years.
NXWM Managing Director, Peter Coates, said: “We know our customers want the choice of using contactless when they travel.
“Only a month ago, we introduced it on the Midland Metro and already 7% of passengers buying a ticket on board are using contactless. So, as part of our pledge to the West Midlands Bus Alliance to get more people travelling by bus, we are investing in contactless because it makes journeys quicker and easier for passengers.”
The operator expects the new technology to speed up bus journey times, because passengers will spend less time buying a ticket.
NXWM awarded the contract for driver consoles, on-board computers, ticket printers, validators and the back-office system to INIT (Innovations in Transportation Ltd).
Jens Mullak, Managing Director of INIT, said: “Our solutions are already in use around the globe, and National Express is an important new customer for us in the UK.
“I think that, with the popularity of contactless bank cards and the use of mobile phones, contactless will surely replace cash payments more and more.”