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First Group launches smart card programme with ‘touch card’

01 October 2014

First Group chooses ACT for smart commercial ticketing back officeTouchcard

First Group Plc has launched the first phase of its smart ticketing programme with the introduction of the touch card, a smart card designed to make it easier for passengers to travel on First buses in Bristol.

Currently available for adults using FirstWeek or FirstMonth inner or outer zone tickets in Bristol, the touch card will be rolled out to include other passenger groups and ticket types in the future.

A proven platform
First Group has already been using ACT’s proven smart ticketing platform to manage concessionary travel across its bus network. Now, with the implementation of the acclaimed CMS (Customer Management System) by ACT, it has the enterprise class, flexible back office needed to underpin the roll out of its ambitious, long term plans for a nationwide smart travel card.

Easy to use
The touch smart cards are free and can be obtained either from First’s travel shops, in Bristol or Bath, or online at First customers can load up to three FirstWeek or two FirstMonth bus tickets onto the card, either at a travel shop or on the bus.

Each time a passenger boards a First bus, they simply touch their card against the bus ticket machine. As long as a valid ticket is stored on the card, the passenger can quickly take their seat. If the ticket has expired, the passenger is prompted to top up the card. There’s no need for paper tickets and the smart card is both durable and reusable.

Putting passengers first
It’s easy for passengers to view their card and journey details whenever they want by simply registering for a customer account. Once they set up their account on the touch card website, they can log on at any time to view the journeys they’ve made and the tickets currently loaded on their card. It makes planning their journeys so easy and helps them to monitor their ticket usage.

Roll out plans
During 2014, further ticket options and passenger groups will be added to the touch card. Further ahead, the card will be expanded to include other parts of the West of England including Bath, Wells and Weston-Super-Mare.

ACT has created a scalable back office to meet First’s ambitions for a national smart card as it extends the touch card across the country.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director for First West of England, advised: “There has long been an appetite for smart cards in Bristol and we have been keen to deliver them as quickly as possible.”

Gary Watts, CEO, ACT, commented: “Over the past few years the ACT team have been busy creating the next generation digital transaction management platform for our ticketing and payment clients. We are delighted First Group has chosen ACT to help take their smart ticketing plans to market and look forward to working closely with the First Group delivery team on their UK roll out.”


For more information, please contact: Joanne Hutchinson, Marketing Manager, Applied Card Technologies Limited.

T: 01249 751200
F: 01249 751201