Ticketless bus plan

High-tech plan: A First bus.

High-tech plan: A First bus.

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SOUTH Yorkshire’s biggest bus company is investing £2.7 million in developing a cashless ticketing system for its 500-strong bus fleet.

The investment is part of £27m being spent by parent company First Group nationwide.

Passengers will be able to touch their debit or credit card on a machine when boarding and alighting from a bus, to pay their fare.

It means people will no longer have to carry change to buy a ticket from the driver.

First said it intends to be the first bus operator outside London to offer customers ‘touch in touch out’ contactless payment and the technology will be introduced in South Yorkshire during 2012.

The system will also allow First to offer a range of tickets and cap the daily fare.

But customers won’t need to carry an additional card or worry about pre-payment or topping up.

Customers using the contactless cards will simply see the cost of the fare deducted from their bank or credit card balance.

Today’s announcement follows First’s recent new bus order, a £160m investment in nearly 1,000 buses from manufacturers in Northern Ireland and Scotland – one of the largest orders the industry has ever seen, which will result in new vehicles sent to all its companies, including First South Yorkshire.

Dave Alexander, regional managing director of First in North England, said: “Considerable investment in our buses continues.

“This is a groundbreaking announcement for the bus industry and good news for our customers.”