A YORK bus operator committed to driving innovation has introduced new payment methods across its entire fleet.

First York is entering the Business Innovation of the Year category after partnering with electronic machine specialist Ticketer to launch contactless payment options across the entire Yorkshire fleet, including York, in January this year.

First York is the largest bus operator in the region, and operates the York Park & Ride scheme in conjunction with City of York Council.

It boasts a fleet of more than 100 buses transporting around 50,000 people every day across York.

The company operates from its James Street depot and its George Hudson Street office, and employs more than 250 staff.

Fiona Yeadon, lead pr manager, said: “The investment in Ticketer machines is part of the business’s aim to improve the customer experience and to encourage customers to move from cash payments towards digital transactions.”

“First York launched contactless in January 2018. Research showed that 86 per cent of all First Bus customers had access to some form of contactless payment method and so our challenge was how to raise awareness and to change habits of customers paying with cash.

“To encourage customers to switch from cash to contactless, local marketing activity was planned to raise awareness of the new payment options available.”

The business has since seen customers switching to contactless across York, with key results including; 30,000 contactless transactions, with more than 1,795 customers switching to contactless every week.

Contactless has already become York’s third largest payment channel, after cash and mTickets.

The introduction of contactless has helped to improve communications about bus service locations – for example Ticketer machines have enabled improved communications between drivers and controllers, as well as the introduction of real-time information, which is offered via the First Bus Travel Information app.