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Bus accepts contactless payments

  • 31-01-2023 1:43pm
    Registered Users Posts: 22,290 ✭✭✭✭

    Bus company in Galway area accepts contactless on board. When will TFI follow suit?

    You can pay for any ticket priced up to €50*, using any contactless card displaying the Visa or Mastercard logo. Or Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay using your phone or other compatible device.

    How it works... 1) Ask for the ticket of your choice. Tell the driver that you'd like to pay with contactless. 2) Place your card towards the card reader beside the ticket machine. The machine will read your card take payment and issue your ticket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭CPTM

    They wanna wait until they're the last in Europe to do it. Then they'll be happy enough to proceed I think.

  • Registered Users Posts: 511 ✭✭✭91wx763

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Almost, this involves both tap on and tap off. It seems we will end up doing more like how they do it in London, TFL/Oyster areas.

    Basically tap on, tap off on Luas and DART, but tap on only on the bus, no tap off. The tap on will probably give you the 90 minute fare, likely need to talk to the driver for the short fare unfortunately.

    Same in London, tap on and off for London Underground, tap on only for London bus, as it is a flat fare anyway.

    Basically just like Leap cards are now, but no need for the leap card, just use your phone or contactless debit card instead. Should also handle the daily and weekly cap.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,398 Mod ✭✭✭✭Peregrine

    We're actually going for tap off on buses too. Everyone taps on for the flat fare, tap off to apply the short fare or if you really want to tap off.

    But it looks like it'll be 2025 now 🙄

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,650 Mod ✭✭✭✭dfx-

    A flat fare is key.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    “We're actually going for tap off on buses too. Everyone taps on for the flat fare, tap off to apply the short fare or if you really want to tap off.”

    I hadn’t heard that anywhere else, but great news if true.

    But I’m not sure how it would work? Would we be putting a tag off reader next to the rear doors so?

    It certainly makes having both the 90 minute fare and the short fare not as bad. I really hated this idea when the short fare required the driver interaction. But this seems like a good compromise.

    ”But it looks like it'll be 2025 now 🙄”


  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,398 Mod ✭✭✭✭Peregrine

    Two validators at the front door and two more at the middle door. No driver interaction.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    That is brilliant news. Two validators on the front, should allow two queues of people to board at the same time. Should really speed things up, specially once driver interaction is completely eliminated. And hopefully faster ticket machines / validators too, it would be nice if you didn't need to hold the card against the reader and wait like you currently do.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,357 CMod ✭✭✭✭Dravokivich

    I'd be very surprised if thats the case. I was in a workshop prior to Leapcard's launch where NTA weren't too keen on tap on/off with buses because it was too easy to pay lower fares. They had seen companies who did it and passengers were tapping on as entering the bus, then just walk down and tap off straight away.

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Do you mean 13 years ago before Leap launched?

    If so, I'd guess that the thinking may have changed a lot since then.

    In the past Dublin Bus seemed hyper focused on fare evasion, at the cost of running a fast and efficient service for most passengers. That might of made sense in the past when Ireland was a poor country, but now that Ireland is a relatively rich country, things have changed.

    Keep in mind Ireland has some very serious carbon emission goals to reach, which if we don't could lead to hundreds of millions, if not billions in fines. We plan on transport sector and public transport improvements to play a very big part in reducing those emissions.

    It doesn't make sense to spend 2 billion on BusConnects, to then turn around and slow down buses to try and fight 70cent of fare evasion!

    I feel strongly that we need to either go tag-on/tag-off like this or a single flat fare tag-on only like London Bus. Either way NO driver interaction. Any other options will just lead to slower dwell times and thus longer journey times.

    Also keep in mind, that the type of person who will do that are also the type of people who are already just asking the driver for the short fare and travelling much longer. That happens all the time, I've seen it myself as a passenger. I'm not sure if tag-on/tag-off will make it any worse then it already is. Also keep in mind that someone doing this is losing out on the 90 minute transfer, if they tag on to a second bus, I assume they will just end up getting the €2 90 minute fare anyway. So overall I'd say it is less serious then 13 years ago when we had like 5 or 6 different fares.

    Don't get me wrong, I hate seeing people get away with fare evasion, but I think it is more important that we focus on creating a great and speedy experience for the majority of honest fare paying passengers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 511 ✭✭✭91wx763

    Yeah but to solve that issue you have revenue protection and a reasonably high "Standard Fare" say €100.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    I fully support more revenue protection and a higher standard fare. But keep in mind we are only talking about the difference between a €1.30 fare and a €2.00 fare. A difference of 70 cent. And even then, only if the person doesn't get on a second bus within 90 minutes.

    I mean this already happens with folks just asking for the short fare from the driver. So it most not be too big an issue.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull

    Aircoach are taking Leap as of today, so that suggests that finally the team at Ticketer have managed to get the Leap Card to play nicely and work well with their devices which should hopefully make them a good contender for the NTA contract.

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy

    I thought Ticketer was more aimed at non London UK operators that still handle cash. As opposed to the continental model the NTA is going for.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull

    Nope, Ticketer has been used by most UK operations as the way to go over to smartcard and contactless payments.

    Lots of independents who never had contactless before went over to Ticketer because of this feature and the all round package that is far more than just ticket issuing

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy

    I didn't realise they have tap on tap off which would be what the NTA is looking for

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    They have a YouTube video here that describes their tag on and tag off readers and how they are used with daily, weekly ticketing, etc. Sounds like it perfectly matches the NTA operating model:

    Maybe a small thing, but I will say I’ve seen much nicer designed readers from other companies. Ones with large, much easier to read, colourful screens. The ticketer readers look a little old fashioned. Here is an example of a nicer reader IMO:

    Or the fancy new full screen devices they are getting in New York:

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull

    Design is only part of it though. People in the industry have seen lots of things that look nice and flashy over the years designed by people with real artistic flair and marketing skills, that looks first class but in reality has serious problems in the usability stakes.

    The thing that sets Ticketer apart is it's not just a ticketing platform, it has many other features built into it that can help with the operation of bus services. Whilst the cost of Ticketer machines is more than some of the ones that are dedicated to ticketing, you're getting a whole platform that is fully cloud based.

    For example the small operator which only has 2 or three routes in the UK where I spent a good while growing up uses it to deliver messages to drivers during service, for full depot and office RTPI service (much more powerful than public interface), schedule adherence, passenger counting and also the driver can log a fault with a bus via the machine and the operator can already be ready for the fix when it comes back to the depot.

    It's also a company set-up exclusively to service the public transport industry, rather than some of the other solutions that are an IT / Data company first who might have good tech, but have less experience in actually operating bus services which sometimes results in a project that isn't that great passenger experience

    They're also excellent in customer service and work well in partnership. First placed a lot of faith in them to adapt the system for ROI and not only that, but also the custom work to allow pre-booked tickets from the Aircoach website to be scanned, multi currency payments (for the 705x) and now the Leap Card show that they were willing to put the development in even for a much smaller market than the UK.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,398 Mod ✭✭✭✭Peregrine

    That's ancient history at this stage. This is from 2023:

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Devnull, I get what you are saying, but I have to strongly disagree.

    What you call "flashy", I'd call basic human interface design. Frankly the Ticketer validators look terribly old fashioned and outdated. They really don't look much better then the 13 year old Leap card readers!

    The issue is how hard it is for passengers to see the info on the small LCD screen. The advantage of the "flashier" modern designs above is they have much larger screens with much larger and clearer text, letting passengers know what is happening, they can easily see they have tagged-on and how much is deducted, etc. They also use colour well, the screens turn green to show validated tag-on, red if there is an issue and where applicable flash yellow if credit is running low.

    A better designed screen which is larger, will lead to faster boarding times as people don't have to squint at a small LCD screen.

    I don't think Ticketeres reader is good enough for 2025. I'd fear we would have a repeat of the TGX fiasco of already being outdated when installed.

    Of course, it isn't the only aspect, reliability of the reader, how fast it can process a card, number of card processes per minute, how close you need to hold a card are all important too.

    As for your comments on Ticketer being a public transport focused company, with a great cloud system, with vehicle information, etc. Sure that is all great, but hardly unique to them, other similar companies exist with similar or even better systems and focus,

    For instance, I didn't know it at the time, but both of the above more modern systems in New York and Sydney that I linked to above, are by Cubic Transport Systems. Cubic also aren't a general IT company, but a public transport focused company, with a very similar cloud based system to Ticketer and frankly seem to have way more experience then Ticketer. Cubic are the folks behind Oyster in London, Opal in Sydney and currently rolling out their tap to pay technology in New York city! Very much a big fish.

    Ticketer seem to be a much smaller company, from what I see, mostly focused on bus ticketing and smaller operators. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they have much, if any, experience doing ticketing for rail/trams/metro, etc. like Cubic do.

    Worth noting that Cubic already work with the NTA and seem to be responsible for running Leap card now and I'm not sure how far the contract goes, but it seems to include modernising Leap with the Next Generation Ticketing, so they seem more likely then Ticketer.

    Don't get me wrong, Ticketer seems like a great company, but they do need to get a better reader IMO.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull

    The whole reason that Ticketer was founded and become a success was because the bigger companies were failing operators since their solutions were mainly pitched to win tenders and please regulators and transport authorities rather than the operators themselves.

    Companies like Cubic are more interested in doing the big ticket work for public transport authorities, regulators, TFL and probably indeed the NTA but when it came to doing customisations that operators required and bits here and there they simply were not flexible enough to meet the needs of those operators. Ticketer was born out of the fact that many of the other much bigger players in the market were very much of a 'take it or leave it' approach, rather than actually doing anything to meet the exact needs. The founders saw that and were able to build the company up, despite the presence of far better resourced, long established competitors.

    I don't disagree that the systems that you outline look better, but there are countless examples of systems that look better and more flashy but the execution and usability of them is poor. In the UK for instance there has been a trend by Abellio to replace orange LED train information displays at their train stations with new Full HD LED screens with fancy animations and wipes full of colours and images. However the problem is that for all the glitz, they are unable to handle anything out of the ordinary properly because those programming said systems simply don't have the experience to plan for such scenarios.

    Ticketer is still developing at a fast rate and the whole system is built in the cloud. There is no in depot infrastructure required so this already prevents any of the fiascos that we have seen with other equipment. In addition the whole system is modular anyway and it is perfectly possible to upgrade one part of the system such as the touchscreen, base, card reader, printer etc without getting rid of the rest of it. The idea is that as much as possible is done in the cloud to make sure that the systems don't become outdated as quickly as Wayfarers did in the past.

    Ticketer being focused on smaller companies is a huge myth as well. That is how they started yes, but most of the bigger groups are onboard in the UK right now simply because it is the best in the market for them since they are seeing new features added year on year by people who know the bus industry, rather than some company who simply is out for maximum profit. If you look at the stuff on the Ticketer website they have added over recent years, it is very impressive and the list is still growing.

    In relation to the readers, yes they are basic, but they wanted a solution to appeal to everyone at a price that did not break the bank. There is talk of another model coming out in the future with more sophistication, but the UK bus market told them that the biggest barrier to implementing tap on and tap off was the cost of the extra validators and the cost of getting in such systems from other companies made it unviable, so I assume that is why Ticketer went for a more basic, but highly reliable model.

    Probably the likes of Cubic are better placed for the NTA contract, but as I said before, the Ticketer platform isn't just a ticketing platform, it's a whole bus operations platform, just look at the kind of features it supports. Many of them the so called big names simply are not interested in.

    Just look at the various features you can click on under the Depot / On Board / Passenger headings

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,166 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Yep what you describe is pretty common for a start up in IT. start-ups can often have more modern technology as they are starting from a clean slate and are often more focused and responsive to smaller customers as they have less.

    But often such companies can struggle to scale up to larger projects/customers, as they lack the experience, lack staff, lack the understanding to integrate with complex large legacy systems.

    Im not saying that is the case for Ticketer or not, just a general observation.

    The fact that they have been accepted by a bunch of UK bus companies is great, but frankly that still pretty sounds small fry to me, at least in the world of public transport systems. Big city wide systems like London or New York is a whole different ball game.

    To be honest, I was quite surprised when I looked up Ticketer validators and saw how old fashioned they looked. Their ticket machines look very nice and modern, so I was surprised by this. What you say about small UK bus operators not wanting more expensive readers makes sense, but this says to me that they are still a small operation and don’t have experience of big city mixed operations with trams/metro/rail.

    “Probably the likes of Cubic are better placed for the NTA contract, but as I said before, the Ticketer platform isn't just a ticketing platform, it's a whole bus operations platform, just look at the kind of features it supports. Many of them the so called big names simply are not interested in.”

    Not to fanboy Cubic or anything like that, but if you look at their website, you will see that they also have a completely cloud based and modular system too, full mobility platform (Umo), RTPI, traffic management systems, etc.

    Now I don’t know if the NTA are contracting with them for these sort of systems too or just ticketing. Are fleet management systems the responsibility of the NTA or does it fall under the individual operators?

    I could totally see a situation where Cubic operate the Next Gen Leap system, maybe put their own machines in Dublin Bus, Luas, etc. but then Aircoach can integrate Ticketer with future Leap on their vehicles and perhaps Bus Eireann commuter fleet use Ticketer, etc.

    It is very normal for big projects like this to have multiple companies involved in the project either directly or as sub contractors or as integration partners.