Bus passengers encouraged to go digital in order to save money on fares
PUBLISHED: 17:07 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:30 08 January 2019
A major bus company is introducing changes to its fares across the region in a bid to encourage more customers to go digital and ditch paying with cash.
From January 13, some ticket prices on First Eastern Counties buses will increase, while others will be frozen and some will be reduced - but only if bought digitally via a mobile app.
Those choosing to pay digitally will be rewarded with savings of up to £1.50.
In Norwich, the price of weekly, monthly and annual tickets bought electronically and on buses will be frozen.
The Norwich zone day ticket will also be frozen when bought on a bus, but will be 30p cheaper if bought electronically.
Two-trip tickets will no longer be available in Norwich with passengers making two or more single journeys required to buy a day ticket.
The cost of 10-trip tickets bought on buses and electronically will increase in Norwich by 50p when bought digitally and by £1 if bought on the bus.
The bus provider, which covers much of Norfolk and Suffolk, is also making a number of changes to its travel zones.
On the coast, a new area called the Coastal Zone, covering the Norfolk and Suffolk coast from Martham in the north to Southwold in the south and Beccles and Acle to the west, will replace the YarLow Zone.
A second new area called the Explorer Zone, which will encompass Norwich and the new coastal zone, will be created.
David Jordan, marketing manager for First, said the changes were being introduced in a bid to speed up boarding times and punctuality across the network: “Some bus fares will raise a little but our best prices on all tickets, whether for a day or more will always be the mTicket app.”
Mr Jordan said, at present, 41pc of passengers bought tickets digitally and research showed that on buses where passengers bought digital tickets boarding speeds greatly improved.
“Punctuality is the big benefit [of more people using the mTicket app], traffic is getting heavier and our buses are getting busier which is a great thing, but we need to find ways of getting our buses away from bus stops and people on their journeys faster and the best why we can do that is for people to buy their tickets before they get to the bus.
“Research has shown that it is 75pc faster to board a full bus if everyone has a mTicket so that’s a big saving and is a big part of our drive to improve punctuality.”