The company, which carries some 1.6m passengers a day, made the promise after running a demonstration to compare the time it takes to board 50 people onto a bus with customers paying by cash versus customers using mTickets. The results were revealing - boarding 50 cash customers took 10.5 minutes, while 50 customers using their smartphones took 2.5 minutes – a massive eight-minute reduction, some 75 per cent. To view a video of the demonstration, visit www.bit.ly/speedy-boarding.
First Bus said that if enough passengers make the switch, boarding times will become so much quicker that average journey times will reduce, even with the ever increasing number of cars on the roads causing congestion. Despite it being a relatively new payment option, already around 1million First Bus passenger journeys a week currently are paid for via mTickets.
Managing Director of First Bus, Giles Fearnley, said: “Our demonstration has proved that converting customers from cash to mTickets or other forms of smart ticketing has a huge impact on boarding times and will help us in the battle to speed up the bus, despite the very stark congestion issues that we face. Boarding 50 customers in just 2.5 minutes using mTickets, eight minutes quicker than cash, is a huge step forward and gives us real opportunity to speed up bus journeys and maintain a competitive advantage over the car.”
The ‘catch the bus with less fuss’ marketing campaign raises awareness of a range of simple to use technology that is helping First Bus transform bus journeys. The campaign, which includes TV adverts, web banners and social media, focuses on:
- ‘First Travel App’ which allows customers to track in real time the progress of their service and therefore arrive at the bus stop when the bus does
- ‘First mTicket’ app, which allows customers to purchase tickets 24/7. Passengers simply activate their ticket when the bus arrives and show the driver their ticket displayed on their mobile phone screens
- Free on board Wi-Fi, now available on around 60% of First Bus vehicles
- And the Journey Planner facility which allows customers to plan their journeys, across all modes of public transport, not just First Bus services.
For more information about the technology that is helping customers use the bus, visit www.firstgroup.com/less-fuss