Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel Introduce New Touch-Free Convenient Way to Pay on Buses

Jun 22 2020

New contactless technology has been added to Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel fleets to provide customers with convenient touch free options to pay for travel.


From Sunday 21st June when boarding passengers will be able to ‘tap on’ via the driver ticket machine at the start of each journey and ‘tap off’ on a special reader before disembarking, using bank cards and digital devices. The ‘Freeflow’ payment system does not require a sign-up process and will be compatible with Visa and Mastercard payment cards or devices using Google Pay or Apple Pay.


Freeflow will help reduce boarding times and contribute to speeding up journey times. The development also contributes to the current enhanced hygiene programme currently on buses and coaches via Freeflow’s touch-free system, which removes the need for an exchange of cash and paper tickets.


The Freeflow price will be the same as buying an adult single paper ticket on the bus. The total paid each day is automatically capped to the price of a day ticket for the area travelled in, if this is less than the total cost of the single fares. Customers will need to use the same payment card or device for all journeys taken on the same day for capping to be applied.


Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel Managing Director said: “This is another step forward in our continued programme to embrace and introduce technology to our fleets to help improve our service to our customers. In addition to providing additional convenience to customers it will also help people travel safe and help give people further confidence to travel on our services if and when they need to.”


The introduction of Freeflow follows a successful pilot scheme of the cashless technology by sister company Carousel Buses in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in partnership with tech delivery partner Ticketer.


Freeflow is not currently suitable for the multi-operator run Oxford SmartZone, and therefore journeys made wholly within Oxford Smartzone will initially be capped at the ‘CityZone EXTRA’ daily price of £5, which includes unlimited travel between Oxford and Abingdon. However, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel are working with Stagecoach and each bus operator’s ticketing partners to develop the technology further, with a view to enabling an expansion into SmartZone products in the not-too-distant future.


Ticketer’s CEO, John Clarfelt, said: “We have been immensely proud to work with the Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel on their new ‘Freeflow’ payment system. Our ticketing technology, which allows passengers to ‘tap off’ on our new standalone card reader, has been designed with exactly this in mind; to deliver touch-free travel, to increase convenience in conjunction with enhancing both passenger and driver safety.”