Stagecoach Manchester Goes Contactless

Greater Manchester bus passengers able to pay for singles and day rovers using contactless cards

Elisabeth Tasker, Stagecoach Manchester’s MD seen at Hyde Road depot launching the company’s contactless payment option.

From the start of this month, Stagecoach Manchester passengers now have access to contactless payment methods. In line with Greater London operations and Stagecoach South East’s Little & Often network, they will be the first bus operator to offer this facility in Greater Manchester.

The upside is, passengers no longer need to fumble for change. A single journey on the 231 or a Day Rover could paid for with contactless credit and debit cards. Or through the smartphone’s Apple Pay and Android Pay. On the downside, having no access to available funds from your account could mean a long walk (East of the M60 recommends having some cash spare should the worst happens).

However, Stagecoach Manchester’s MD Elizabeth Tasker also used the launch to call for urgent action regarding Greater Manchester’s congestion issues. According to last month’s Inrix survey, the average Manchester commuter spends 40 hours a year stuck in traffic. In other words, the average Mancunian is ‘working’ an extra week (based on full time hour) without pay. Due to Ashton Old Road, Hyde Road and so forth being snarled up in the peaks.

Outside Piccadilly Gardens, two passengers are seen with an oversized smartphone and a contactless card. We know this is part of the launch, but try scanning one of these on a busy 216 at 8am on a VIX ticket machine. Through the gap in the driver’s anti-assault screen.

Following the launch, Stagecoach Manchester, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “The introduction of contactless technology is further evidence of the transformation that bus travel is currently undergoing. Ensuring that our customers are receiving the most efficient and hassle free service is our priority at Stagecoach Manchester and this will allow customers to pay for their tickets more easily than ever before.

“However, the delivery of high-quality bus services is a shared responsibility and, although we are investing heavily in customer improvements in the areas we can control, there is one key issue that is holding buses back and damaging air quality and that is traffic congestion. Manchester is now the most congested city in the UK after London and Public Health England estimates that around 1000 people die every year in Greater Manchester because of increasingly poor air quality.

“Congestion on our roads slows down journeys, pushes up fares, damages public health and undermines the work of operators to deliver improvements and attract more people to bus travel. We need politicians to step up and tackle this growing problem now, to allow our local bus networks to flourish for the many people who rely on them every day.”

All aboard: our two passengers board a Chorlton bus at Piccadilly Gardens. The Sedge Lynn is quite a good lunchtime venue for cheap eats. The Deli Deal is pretty awesome.

With Stagecoach Manchester leading the way in this field, could First Greater Manchester and the city region’s other companies follow suit? Will it be taken on board by its passengers?

An EM60 Presentation, 06 March 2017.

All images courtesy of Tangerine PR Limited, 2017.


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