Lothian buses blasted over 'unacceptable' six-month wait for contactless family tickets

Councillor Kevin Lang criticised the wait after families were told it would only be a "matter of months"
Lothian passengers are only able to buy adult fares with contactlessLothian passengers are only able to buy adult fares with contactless
Lothian passengers are only able to buy adult fares with contactless

Families continue to be “discriminated against” and are still waiting to be able to use contactless to buy tickets for their children nearly six months after they were promised it would come into effect by Lothian buses, a councillor has said.

Parents were promised by Lothian in July 2019 that family tickets would be available “in the coming months” but the continued delay has been described as “unacceptable” by the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Kevin Lang.

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He added that the operator had given him no indication of when ticketing for families would be made available.

Councillor Kevin LangCouncillor Kevin Lang
Councillor Kevin Lang

Lothian buses said providing the ability to sell family tickets alongside adult fares on contactless cards is “complex” and the company needs time to “get this right”.

Contactless card payments were made available by the company in July 2019, but only if you wanted to buy a single adult ticket.

Child fares and family tickets are not available through contactless and customers can only by a single fare with each card.

'It is unacceptable'

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Cllr Lang highlighted the difference between Edinburgh and other major cities such as Glasgow and Cardiff where you are able to buy any ticket using contactless.

He said: “Rather than tapping their cards, parents are tapping their watches as they wait for contactless family tickets.

“We are now six months on and it’s unacceptable this easier way of paying still is not available for families to use.

“Lothian say it is a complicated issue. But other cities like Glasgow and Cardiff have allowed passengers to use credit and debit cards to buy family tickets for some time. There is simply no excuse that families continue to be discriminated against.

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“At the start of 2020, Lothian Buses management need it set a New Year’s resolution to put families first and get contactless payments in place as quickly as possible.”

'One of the most successful contactless deployments'

A spokesman for Lothian said: “Our capped contactless payments have seen unprecedented growth since launch in July last year and we are proud that within the wider industry, this has been noted as one of the most successful contactless transit deployments to date.

“To be able to offer the flexibility of both capped payments and retail transactions is complex, so for the benefit of our customers and our staff, including the 50,000 daily customers currently using TapTapCap, we need to ensure we take the time to get this right.

“At each stage of the rollout of this technology at Lothian, we are focused on providing the solutions which offer the maximum possible benefit to the largest proportion of our customers, before expanding to make the same available to all of our customers as soon as is practicable.

“Other ticketing options continue to be available for families and we are committed to introducing this additional payment method once our development work is complete.”