Arriva announces virtual bus tickets

Buses in the UK run by Arriva will accept tickets bought on your mobile phone, starting next week. The m-tickets require a free app on your mobile

Flora Graham
2 min read

Arriva -- the bus company that brought you the number 23 Erskine to Glasgow, among other favourites -- is going to start accepting e-tickets flashed from the screen of your mobile phone.

Arriva is calling it the m-ticket, and you have to install an app on your mobile phone to get started. Go to arrivabus.co.uk/m-ticket or text 'mbus' to 82500 and a link to download the app will be sent to your phone, for free.

Your phone must have a colour screen, and support Java apps and GPRS, so you're out of luck, retro-brick lovers. iPhone users are also left standing alone in a chilly bus shelter, but Arriva says they'll get on board sometime next year.

But that covers pretty much every other phone out there, with a full list of supported handsets stretching the length of the number 38 bendy bus available from Arriva's FAQ page.

Once the app's installed, you can buy tickets using a credit card or debit card. If you prefer to flash the cash, you can top up your credit at a PayPoint outlet or Arriva Travel shop.

After you've bought a ticket, you can use it whenever you want -- you don't have to buy it on the day you want to travel. The app displays the ticket on your phone's screen, and you show your phone to the driver when you board.

So could you snap a photo of your mate's screen and flash that instead? We're not sure how Arriva plans to block such dastardly plots, but presumably its crack team of busologists are on the case.

Arriva is offering a 10 per cent discount on four weekly saver tickets when you use the m-ticket service, so that should cover our Cristal budget for a few weeks.

The mobile phone tickets will be accepted on some 1,000 routes in England, Scotland and Wales starting on 17 November. The first routes covered will be the Arriva bus services in Yorkshire and Kent, not including Maidstone Park & Ride buses, Fastrack A route or Transport for London services.