Bus operator Arriva has today launched mobile ticketing for its regional customers.
Customers in the North East, North West, Yorkshire, Midlands, Shires and Essex, Southern Counties, West Scotland and Wales will from today be able to buy daily, weekly and four-weekly tickets via their mobile phones. The service is expected to be available in London sometime next year.
Arriva’s introduction of m-ticketing is believed to be the largest deployment of its kind in the world, covering approximately 1,000 routes served by Arriva’s regional fleet of 4,500 buses. It will enable passengers to use their mobile phones to purchase tickets and then display them to the driver.
Arriva has worked in partnership with Concept Data Technologies and mobile transaction provider mBlox to create the m-ticketing service, which is a free to download mobile application. Once downloaded it allows people to purchase tickets either directly through the application via a registered card or by purchasing credit from any PayPoint outlet either by cash or card. The ticket runs from the date of first use, not purchase.
To ensure consumers only pay the price of the ticket and do not incur any data download charges to their mobiles, Arriva is using mBlox’s ‘zero data charge service’ which means the cost of the network data used in purchasing the ticket is part of the ticket price. It means customers without mobile data plans can still purchase Arriva bus tickets via their handset.
The m-ticketing technology can be operated on any GPRS enabled phone. The service also works on BlackBerry handsets, and from early 2010 it will be iPhone compatible as well. Phones with black & white screens, which are typically four or more years old, cannot be used. Arriva’s m-ticketing service will work on all mobile networks.
Arriva UK Bus managing director Mike Cooper said: “The mobile phone is an essential part of modern life and m-tickets will give additional flexibility and convenience to our customers.
“The launch of m-ticketing across all our regions will mean that millions of bus journeys will be taken using the technology. We believe this represents the largest introduction of its type in the world.
“Customers can buy tickets using their phone at anytime from wherever they happen to be. It saves them searching out the cash to buy a ticket and speeds up getting on the bus as they simply show the ticket on the phone display to the driver.”