East Midlands bus operator launches ‘world’s first’ account-based ticketing smartphone app

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What is claimed to be the world’s first account-based ticketing app from a bus company has been launched by East Midlands operator Trentbarton.

The new Mango app, available for free on Apple and Android devices, calculates the correct fare for customers using scan-on, scan-off technology via a QR code. It also includes an on-screen balance and online top-up function.

Developed with technology provider ACT, a Fujitsu company, the new system, described by Trentbarton as the “world’s most advanced ticketing app for buses”, will in time replace its existing plastic Mango cards.

These have been in use since 2008, with more than 100,000 of the cards currently active and 678,000 issued during the past 12 years.

Jeff Counsell, managing director of Trentbarton, said: “We’ve taken the best bits of the Mango card and put them into the Mango app, plus added more to bring Mango into the smartphone age.

“By being purely digital, the Mango app gives us the scope to keep developing Mango in the future by adding in more features and benefits for our customers. It’s simple to use but behind it is a complex system of fares, caps and tracking dynamic locations.”

After topping up with credit, either within the app or at a Trentbarton travel shop, customers then use the app each time they travel. The Mango app automatically generates a unique QR-style barcode to be scanned as the customer gets on board.

Customers will also scan their phone under the driver’s ticket machine when getting off. Each night, ACT’s Actora cloud-based system will calculate the amount to charge for the day’s journeys based on applicable fares and caps, using the precise points of boarding and alighting.

As well as a daily cap on charges, there are also rolling weekly and 28-day caps so customers can be confident there is a limit to what they spend, however frequently they travel on Trentbarton buses.

Mark Fagan, head of ACT, said the mobile app has been designed to make it simple for customers to sign up: “Customers also benefit from using their phone to complete the whole ticketing process, with no need to interact with multi-user touchpoints, such as TVMs.

“We hope it will go some way in restoring confidence in using public transport.”

Existing Mango customers can continue using their physical Mango card for two months, during which they can migrate onto the app, transferring any credit from the card to the app.

The Mango app will also be rolled out across Trentbarton’s sister company Kinchbus.

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