Contactless card payment will be rolled out across all National Express West Midlands Buses during 2018, it has been confirmed.
It means that passengers will no longer have to fiddle around for the exact change as they board the majority of buses in the city.
The system will be introduced along with a daily fare-capping scheme to ensure that those who take several buses during a day do not run up a huge bill of single fares.
The company, which runs 80 per cent of bus services in the city, carried out a short trial of the technology on the key X1 and X2 routes between Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.
National Express West Midlands also operates the Midland Metro, where customers have been able to use contactless cards to buy tickets on trams since June 2016.
More than two-thirds of passengers say they like it because it’s quicker.
National Express WM will roll out contactless payments across its fleet of 1,600 buses next year. A key technological hurdle has been ensuring a stable communication link for the debit card readers on the buses as they travel about the region.
Regular commuters already use bus passes or the Transport for West Midlands Swift cards for payments. And cash will still be accepted for those who prefer to pay that way.
But those who travel less frequently, including tourists and new arrivals to the West Midlands, are often caught out by the exact fare demands.
Adam Rideout, the company’s head of customer experience, said: “We want to make it easier, make it quick and make it simple for passengers to travel on our buses. But we will still also take cash as we always have for those who prefer to pay that way.”
Meanwhile, the company’s mobile ticket app has just sold its 500,000th ticket.
Launched with little fanfare last year, the NXBus mTicket app has been growing in popularity.
Passengers who download the app on their Apple and Android phones and register their details can buy cut-price tickets in advance.
They then download the ticket and show it to the driver as they board.