Bus passengers using Go North East are now able to order and receive tickets by mobile phone.
The SMS-based TXT2GO service allows customers to receive a digital ticket direct to their handset within minutes of placing an order. Passengers then show the ticket information on the phone screen to the driver as they board the bus.
Customers must set up an online account at the Go North East website. Money is then added to the account using a debit or credit card and the cost of each ticket is automatically taken from the account.
The account can be topped up through the online account, via text message or automatically when funds reach a certain level.
Subscribers can buy single and day tickets for adults and children, but more ticket choices and more advanced ticketing could be introduced if the scheme proves popular.
"This is an exciting step in making bus travel more convenient and we want to find out whether passengers feel comfortable with this method of buying tickets, " said Martin Harris, commercial director at Go North East.
"Buying tickets in advance speeds up the time it takes people to board our buses and helps us run a smooth and efficient service."
Go North East stressed that the new tickets are very secure, as each is locked to the handset from which it was ordered and cannot be transferred to another phone. Coded information within the digital ticket also reduces attempts at forgery.
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