New £500,000 grant to help bus companies accept contactless payments
Bus companies are being given almost £500,000 to upgrade ticket machines to accept contactless payments.
Up to 23 smaller operators across Scotland are able to access a £447,850 grant to upgrade or replace their ticket machines to enable contactless transactions.
The funding from the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund will also help subsidise the transaction fees charged for the payments.
The Government estimates the rollout could result in contactless payments on up to 4.5 million journeys.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Contactless payments make it easier to access travel in Scotland and I am delighted we have been able to support up to 23 smaller operators in making the transition to this convenient payment solution.
“This government is committed to supporting the bus industry and also people right across the country who choose to travel by bus.
“By helping smaller operators with the financial costs of upgrading to contactless payment, customers will benefit from quicker and easier transactions, whether by card or by mobile phone.
“A second round of the fund will open on 16 January and we are now widening this fund out to all operators, so that even more organisations can take advantage of the support on offer.”
Keith Shand, assistant operations manager at Garelochhead Minibus and Coaches, said: “Modern day society expects to board a bus and not have to carry the correct change.
“Feedback from our customers shows 75% have indicated they would use contactless payments on our buses and we’re delighted that we will now be able to deliver this service.”
This is the first round of the Smart Pay Grant Fund, announced in 2018, which will distribute up to £1.1 million over three years.