On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

Another escape from paper ticketting

Posted on September 17, 2012

Reading time: 2 minutes.

Around two years ago, I was making use of Arriva’s m-Ticket app on a Blackberry Curve 8520 that I then owned. Apart from a certain sluggishness due to the hardware and its 2G internet connection, it worked fine until I forgot the PIN that it needed. From then on, I returned to paper bus tickets and stuck with them ever sense.

However, curiosity and a better phone have me having another go. This time it’s from Google’s Play Store from which I got the app. It remains free of charge and seems so that the world of Android and a HTC Desire S armed with 3G connectivity have made for a smoother and faster experience. The fact that it is a touchscreen phone allows the developers to make a better interface too.

Also, there are some savings to be had. For instance, a North West four weekly ticket costs £56.70 and a day ticket for the same area is £4.20. The paper counterpart to the latter is £4.60 and four weekly tickets will set you back £72.00. Interestingly, weekly tickets cost the same via the app as they do from a bus driver.

To work the app needs personal details such as name, address and date of birth. For payment, you can store a credit (or debit) card number in the app with the card’s security code and a PIN provided by Arriva needed for any transactions. Topping up beforehand is another option if you don’t like the idea of card details on a phone.

With the app, you can see ticket prices before you buy and activate any that you buy price to use. There are no single journey tickets on here so they need to be bought from a bus driver. That must make the app easier to maintain for the developers and means that the range of tickets is easier to browse. While doing, I found some for areas that I might be inclined to visit such as Northumberland’s coast. It’s good to see what’s out there ahead of time instead of holding up a bus trying to get the information. That it’s all doable on the move only helps too.

This time around, that PIN will be stored somewhere for safekeeping and my hope is that my time with mobile bus ticketting will continue longer than it did two years ago. It might surprise you now but I had put this option out of my mind until I spotted someone else showing a phone to a bus driver on getting aboard. That was enough to make me go investigating again.