The introduction of paperless travel on Lothian Buses has been a virtual hit, with 30,000 users downloading the mobile phone application in the first four weeks.
The app launched last month allows passengers to download e-tickets to their iPhones and Android devices before showing them to the driver.
And such has been the surge in interest surrounding the technology that downloads in the first month have doubled company targets.
A total of 16,000 mobile tickets were also downloaded in the four weeks since the launch on November 18 to match the huge interest in the app.
The result has been praised by transport chiefs, who are intent on achieving fully integrated travel where the one ticket or “smart” card can be used across trams, trains and buses.
The virtual ticket service is expected to be available on the £776 million tram line from Edinburgh Airport to York Place when it is launched by May.
Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig said of the download tallies: “This is a fantastic result for Scotland’s first public transport mobile ticketing app. We had every confidence that this innovation was going to be popular with our customers and I’m delighted to see that reflected in the figures.
“I think this sends a very positive message about the company as we prepare to embark on a new era with an integrated bus and tram service for the Capital.”
The phone app also offers personalised options for on-the-go users.
Alerts for the first and final departures of the day plus “proximity alarms”, which tell passengers unfamiliar with a bus route when they are about to reach a planned stop, can all be set.
City transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “This is an innovative use of new technology and demonstrates the continued popularity of public transport as we prepare for the introduction of our integrated bus and tram service next year.”
The download results were announced as Lothian Buses lauded the popularity of changes to its NightBus schedule and this year’s launch of a family day pass. Passenger numbers using the NightBus network have soared by 40 per cent – an extra 90,000 journeys – since changes were made to the service from July 1.
Under the overhaul, extensions were made to the N3 and N16 routes, with more journeys created for the N44 service from Balerno to Tranent. Common city centre stops were also introduced to make it easier to switch between buses.
Mr Craig said: “The NightBus is a fantastic service for a major city such as Edinburgh offering a cheap, safe and responsible way of getting home from a night out. It’s always been an important part of what we offer passengers, but I’m really pleased to see that the changes we made in the summer have proved to be so popular with late-night travellers.”
Special Services over festive season
TRANSPORT chiefs are braced for a record breaking number of passengers this festive season, with more than 330,000 passengers expected to travel on the Capital’s buses.
A host of additional services have been laid on for shoppers and revellers travelling in and around the Capital over Christmas and Hogmanay. Hogmanay revellers will once again treated to a free NightBus service in partnership with Diageo after its success last year.
And special services will also run on New Year’s Day, including extra services to and from Midlothian and East Lothian for the first time on January 1.