First Group adds NFC bus tickets to Google Pay

First Glasgow bus on road
SMART TICKETING: ITSO on Mobile is being used in the First Glasgow bus services mobile ticketing pilot

Public transportation operator First Group has begun a pilot of a new mobile ticketing service that uses host card emulation (HCE) to let customers with an Android NFC phone purchase a bus ticket, provision it to Google Pay and then use their smartphone to tap an on-board contactless reader when they board a bus.

The pilot is taking place on First Glasgow bus services in the UK city of Glasgow “before being rolled out to more than 1.6 million passengers across the First Bus network”.

The service uses ITSO on Mobile, a mobile ticketing solution developed by UK smart ticketing organisation ITSO, that enables UK public transport operators to deliver ITSO-compatible tickets directly to the Google Pay digital wallet on passengers’ NFC mobile phones.

“The solution securely delivers First Bus tickets within seconds from the operator’s app directly into the passenger’s Google Pay digital wallet,” ITSO explains.

“The ticket on the handset emulates a standard ITSO smart card and is instantly recognised by ticket validator machines or gates,” it adds.

“The smartphone serves as both ticket machine and ticket to provide a modern, end-to-end mobile ticketing solution.”

“Giving bus passengers the option to use their phone as both ticket machine and ticket eliminates the need to carry a paper ticket or find the right cash to pay before boarding,” explains Steve Wakeland, director of ITSO Transit Hub.

“By adding an ITSO travel card to Google Pay, users can reload funds and purchase tickets from their mobile device, so they can get rid of physical cards or paper tickets entirely.

“Passengers can now buy tickets anytime, anywhere, while significantly reducing boarding times.”

“We see mobile ticketing as a central part of making our network up to date and frictionless,” says First Group CIO Dave Lynch.

“This collaboration with ITSO Transit Hub Ltd and Google Pay is helping us to achieve our goal of providing the best possible travel experience for our passengers.”