• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Lothian Citysmart not so smart

Status
Not open for further replies.

AndrewE

Established Member
Joined
9 Nov 2015
Messages
5,194
Lothian buses are exact-fare only and are introducing a stored-value card, apparently replacing carnets of adult single paper tickets. However this offering seems to be a bum deal for the occasional visitor (like me) in many respects:

The initial purchase is 20 single journeys at the full price – a hefty interest-free loan to them of £32! (Oyster was £5 deposit and £10 when I got mine)
Citysmart credit is wiped 180 days after purchase – unless you top it up before then, minimum 5 journeys, £8, (Oyster lasts for ever, it seems)

Citysmart can only be used against single journeys, currently £1.60 and not to buy a day ticket (£4) Oyster "latches" when you get to the price of the appropriate Travelcard, as I understand it.

The Lothian website T&C don't say what happens at fare rise time, like whether the remaining value gets drawn down more quickly... Oyster gives a discount on fares immediately.

On the plus side, it is transferable, so a couple only need to hold one (but only one passenger can use it on the tram.) If you want to travel separately at any time that's a £64 outlay!

You would think that they might be prepared to share some of their benefits from avoiding handling cash with the customers... An opportunity missed, as far as I am concerned.
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

WestCoast

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,603
Location
Glasgow
Sounds a bit rubbish really, especially the credit wiping!

If they can't implement a type of capping system, they should copy the Centro Swift Card in the West Midlands. You simply buy a single or range of day tickets (10p or 20p discount) with the card, it would allow it to work easily with all the different types of day ticket etc. Not ideal but better than this Citysmart.
 
Last edited:

theageofthetra

On Moderation
Joined
27 May 2012
Messages
3,519
I bought one a couple of years ago when I used to visit Edinburgh fairly regularly. Unless things have changed the other idiotic problem is you can't buy it at the airport and the travel centre off Princes St is only open limited hours. There used to be a convenience store just up from Waverley on North Bridge where you could top it up which was open long hours 6am-12 I think.
 

TheEscapist_

Member
Joined
18 Nov 2011
Messages
150
It is utterly pointless. I live in Edinburgh and would love for there to be a system like the Oyster card. They missed out here. Contactless payment would be good too on the buses.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,594
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Contactless is the solution, and get the cash off the bus and rid of the complicated smartcard and mobile ticketing schemes. There are enough pre-paid cards for those who are not eligible for a standard debit card; they could even work with a bank to launch their own. And those wishing to use phones can, over time, move to the Apple Pay/Android Pay ecosystems.

Must admit I can't help but think Lothian may be rather relying on those not familiar with their system overpaying via the exact change system.
 
Last edited:

AndrewE

Established Member
Joined
9 Nov 2015
Messages
5,194
To be fair, when at a bus stop some years ago and checking the fare with an elderly local, he said "It's just gone up to £1.40 - but it must still the best value in the UK."

Dead right. It's still good value at £1.60 for a cross-city ride that can take an hour (with a beautiful beach at the end of the line!) Granddaughters love the top deck views too.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just went up by 10p! 10p!! ;)

Should that be "It's just went up by 10p!", or is that Glaswegian? ...Did you buy a carnet or smart card in advance?
 
Last edited:

me123

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2007
Messages
8,510
It's worth pointing out that this is very similar, albeit slightly more restrictive, than the mobile tickets. Mobile tickets also expire after 180 days, but have the benefit that there's not the same minimum purchase (it's just a £10 minimum purchase per transaction, which works out as seven single tickets, although other tickets are available too). Mobiles also have the benefit of a display warning you of ticket expiry. And if you lose or break your phone (as I did recently), the tickets are tied to an account so you don't lose them. It does lack the capacity for fare capping, but the smart cards don't (currently) offer that anyway!

Nothing about Citysmart would make me move away from Mobile ticketing (as a passenger who regularly does one return trip daily). Mobile ticketing works very well for me.

Agree with Neil Williams - contactless is the best solution for buses, as London has so aptly demonstrated. I'm not convinced that places outside London are fully ready for cashless buses, but allowing contactless as an option is the next logical step IMO.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,594
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Agree with Neil Williams - contactless is the best solution for buses, as London has so aptly demonstrated. I'm not convinced that places outside London are fully ready for cashless buses, but allowing contactless as an option is the next logical step IMO.

I would agree - even if cash payment is still accepted, people would increasingly use contactless, saving time on boarding. And Lothian, of course, would be a very easy operator to switch, as like London they are already flat-fare, so no need for the complication of touching out or stating a destination.

The bus operators agree - the big 4 are all investigating contactless payment. I would expect to see it piloted within a couple of years and rolled out to every "big group" bus in the UK within 5, really.
 

radamfi

Established Member
Joined
29 Oct 2009
Messages
9,267
The bus operators agree - the big 4 are all investigating contactless payment.

Remember this press release from 2011?

http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/latest_news/?id=007371

FirstGroup, the UK’s largest bus and rail operator, today revealed it is to invest £27m in revolutionary new ticketing technology for its 5,000 strong bus fleet in England, outside London.

The company intends to be the first bus operator outside London to offer customers ‘touch in touch out’ contactless payment. The new ticket machines, designed to read contactless debit or credit cards, in addition to ITSO smartcards such as concessionary bus passes, will be introduced to buses from the autumn and will initially allow customers with an ITSO smartcard to touch in. Contactless bank cards will be accepted across England from late 2012.

First’s new ticketing system will act much like London’s Oyster Card; customers will simply ‘touch in’ and ‘touch out’ using their debit or credit card, taking less than a second, and avoiding the need to carry the correct change. The system will also allow FirstGroup to offer a range of tickets including capping the daily fare. But unlike Oyster customers won’t need to carry an additional card or worry about pre-payment or topping up. Customers using the contactless cards will simply see the cost of the fare deducted from their bank or credit card balance.

Three and a half years late so far.
 

ChathillMan

Member
Joined
13 Sep 2010
Messages
265
Fair play for introducing contactless but bus operators need to persuade the DfT to ditch ITSO. The standard is so inflexable.

Sent from my ONE A2003 using Tapatalk
 

Hophead

Established Member
Joined
5 Apr 2013
Messages
1,202
Harrogate & District intend to introduce payment by contactless card on the 36 - very soon was the last I read, but these things do tend to slip, as the thread demonstrates.

As I've said before, payment by card instead of cash is an obvious benefit to passenger, driver and company alike, but I do not see a case for a Travelcard-by-proxy in the TfL style: that is actively hostile to groups travelling together and attempting to pool payment.
 

radamfi

Established Member
Joined
29 Oct 2009
Messages
9,267
I do not see a case for a Travelcard-by-proxy in the TfL style: that is actively hostile to groups travelling together and attempting to pool payment.

Groups are better served by using mobile apps. I don't like the idea of paying for a paper ticket with a bank card as that still involves considerable interaction with the driver and only saves the change giving.
 
Joined
5 Feb 2016
Messages
158
I bought one a couple of years ago when I used to visit Edinburgh fairly regularly. Unless things have changed the other idiotic problem is you can't buy it at the airport and the travel centre off Princes St is only open limited hours. There used to be a convenience store just up from Waverley on North Bridge where you could top it up which was open long hours 6am-12 I think.

They can only be topped up at Lothian travel shops or on the bus (for a maximum of five journeys). When the cards were introduced they were described, with much fanfare, as "Edinburgh's Oyster card". As far as I can tell the only thing the two cards have in common is that they're both placed on a card reader. No daily cap equivalent to a day ticket, can't be topped up at newsagent or online, credit has a short life time before expiring. Contactless payment ought to be a priority.
 

endecotp

Member
Joined
23 Apr 2014
Messages
224
They can only be topped up at Lothian travel shops or on the bus (for a maximum of five journeys).

No daily cap equivalent to a day ticket, can't be topped up at newsagent or online, credit has a short life time before expiring.

I agree entirely - and I find it surprising as Lothian Buses generally gives the impression of being a well-organised company. I wonder if there is any chance that it will improve eventually.

(Also - presumably no night bus tickets.)
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,594
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Groups are better served by using mobile apps. I don't like the idea of paying for a paper ticket with a bank card as that still involves considerable interaction with the driver and only saves the change giving.


It is still a start. Groups are probably as you say best served by making other arrangements.

An advantage of the interaction is that parents can purchase tickets for children. London gets around this by not charging for child fares when accompanied, but I doubt regional companies would go for this.
 

Hophead

Established Member
Joined
5 Apr 2013
Messages
1,202
Groups are better served by using mobile apps. I don't like the idea of paying for a paper ticket with a bank card as that still involves considerable interaction with the driver and only saves the change giving.

That's if they have the right phone and have downloaded the appropriate app and intend to spend the whole trip together. Most larger operators already have this sort of option, though, do they not?

And it's not really the interaction with the driver that takes the time; it is the actual fishing for cash and finding a few extra coins, and the driver having to drop the cash from his holder and then hand it over or wait for the passengers to collect from the tray. At the end of the day, the driver has the cash to deal with, as well as the ongoing security issue. And that's not to mention the ongoing problems with the float running out after an hour or so.

Contactless payment is a matter of a second or so; it's in widespread use in shops and should be in widespread use on buses too.
 

radamfi

Established Member
Joined
29 Oct 2009
Messages
9,267
That's if they have the right phone and have downloaded the appropriate app and intend to spend the whole trip together. Most larger operators already have this sort of option, though, do they not?

It is quite common, yes.

And it's not really the interaction with the driver that takes the time; it is the actual fishing for cash and finding a few extra coins, and the driver having to drop the cash from his holder and then hand it over or wait for the passengers to collect from the tray.

Still not as quick as touch in touch out, or touch in and press a button, or just touch in. Those methods exist in various places internationally and don't require the driver to do anything.
 

Blindtraveler

Established Member
Joined
28 Feb 2011
Messages
9,802
Location
Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
The smartcard has had to my understanding limmited uptake but what has angered me is the discontinuation of the pree paid books of paper tickets by Lothian. I used to keep 1 on hand for visiters but cannot do this now

contactless is defo the way forward
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Another point touched on briefley upthread about overpayment and the companies possible relyance on it, I think there is a lot of it happening and it wouldnt surprise me at all if the opperation depends on it to an extent. When a few years ago the price went to 1.30 then 1.40 Il bet many just shuved 1.50 in. With the latest rise my guess is is many will shuv in 2 quid.

If you overpay you can ask the driver for printed proof youve done so and get a refund but I shouldnt think it happens under a fiver.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The smartcard has had to my understanding limmited uptake but what has angered me is the discontinuation of the pree paid books of paper tickets by Lothian. I used to keep 1 on hand for visiters but cannot do this now

contactless is defo the way forward
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,594
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
And it's not really the interaction with the driver that takes the time; it is the actual fishing for cash and finding a few extra coins, and the driver having to drop the cash from his holder and then hand it over or wait for the passengers to collect from the tray. At the end of the day, the driver has the cash to deal with, as well as the ongoing security issue. And that's not to mention the ongoing problems with the float running out after an hour or so.

Contactless payment is a matter of a second or so; it's in widespread use in shops and should be in widespread use on buses too.

Indeed so. I don't think there would be a huge issue with the idea of "just touch in and out for a single journey, you will be capped at the day ticket, but speak to the driver and still pay by contactless if you want something complex". Provincial operators don't have the off-bus retail network of TfL, and the vast majority of passengers will just be able to touch in and out anyway, particularly if a policy of free accompanied child travel was to be pursued.

It's counting out change (by the passenger and driver) for a potentially unknown fare that is what takes the time, not saying "city please" and tapping the machine.

So to me it would be well worth starting with contactless just being used as a preferred means of paying for the regular range of paper tickets, then progressing slowly towards a well-tested TfL-a-like system with daily, weekly and monthly capping.
 
Last edited:

AndrewE

Established Member
Joined
9 Nov 2015
Messages
5,194
That's if they have the right phone and have downloaded the appropriate app and intend to spend the whole trip together. Most larger operators already have this sort of option, though, do they not?

And it's not really the interaction with the driver that takes the time; it is the actual fishing for cash and finding a few extra coins, and the driver having to drop the cash from his holder and then hand it over or wait for the passengers to collect from the tray. At the end of the day, the driver has the cash to deal with, as well as the ongoing security issue. And that's not to mention the ongoing problems with the float running out after an hour or so.

Contactless payment is a matter of a second or so; it's in widespread use in shops and should be in widespread use on buses too.
1) flat fare and no change, so presumably no float anyway
2) I read the T&C/info page as saying that after "touching in" in the same way that a pensioner does you actually get a ticket of some sort, so presumably groups are not a problem as long as they all travel together initially. (Lothian say that you can get a refund on a lost card if you show them your recent travel receipts that will have the card no. and remaining credit shown on them.)
It may be "contactless" (not the correct term, as it's not!) but still delays the queue for boarding while the ticket is printed though.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,594
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Isn't the thing about printing tickets for pensioners (prior to ITSO working in enough places) more about stopping staff just hitting the pass button loads of times?
 

BestWestern

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2011
Messages
6,736
Isn't the thing about printing tickets for pensioners (prior to ITSO working in enough places) more about stopping staff just hitting the pass button loads of times?

Which is circumvented by printing off a fistful of slips between stops and rapidly dishing them out! :D
 

gingerheid

Established Member
Joined
2 Apr 2006
Messages
1,511
Why would a company develop their own card? Wouldn't they go straight to what Oyster is moving onto and use contactless cards that other people provide and don't cost them anything?
 

causton

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2010
Messages
5,504
Location
Somewhere between WY372 and MV7
Why would a company develop their own card? Wouldn't they go straight to what Oyster is moving onto and use contactless cards that other people provide and don't cost them anything?

Because presumably they know better or they have asked another company what to do, who have quoted them for another system to make them more money!

Welcome to the bus industry.

See: Hertfordshire's live bus departures - Oh, there is NextBus from Traveline, no worry, we'll make up our own proprietary system which is switched off half the time, thank you Intalink! ;)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top