‘Tap on Tap off’ expanded in Leicester

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Leicester City Council, bus operators and technology specialists from Littlepay and Ticketer have worked together to deliver a seamless contactless payment platform for customers to pay for their bus travel in and around the city.

Tap on, tap off contactless ticketing was launched in Leicester by First Bus, Arriva and Centrebus in 2021 and the operators say it has been extremely popular with customers. The next step was to develop a contactless multi operator ticket version that provided customers with flexibility to travel across multiple bus operators’ services. This was achieved in March this year, and is believed by the partners to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The newly launched contactless open loop capping scheme is expected to be accessible to 99% of all customer journeys made in the zone of availability, the operators promising peace of mind that passengers will always get the best value fare no matter where or how many journeys they take. Customers can check charges by accessing the portal available on the Leicester Buses website.

Funding was awarded through the Department for Transports ‘Transforming Cities’ fund to purchase and install new tap out readers from Ticketer. The new hardware works in conjunction with the technology already in place to process, analyse and charge for a bus journey.

Littlepay’s back office system aggregates card taps received by the card readers, applies fare caps set by individual operators, and delivers a broker service to manage multi-operator caps layered over all three operators’ fare structures. Littlepay provides a secure merchant portal to each operator, enabling them to view all passenger taps that contribute toward triggering a multi-operator cap. In addition, transaction and settlement reports provide the information necessary to ensure each bus company receives the correct share of fare revenue.

From left: Dave Lynch, Chief Information Officer at First; Bijel Mistry, Leicester City Council’s Public Transport Specialist; and Andrew Godley, Commercial Director at Arriva. LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL