Your Questions Answered - Contactless Payments

Tap On Tap Off Contactless

This is a new convenient way to pay for your travel on Metrobus and Brighton & Hove services by tapping on at the start of each journey and tapping off at the end of each journey using a contactless payment method (Visa/Mastercard payment card or device using Google Pay or Apple Pay). This will reduce boarding times which will help to speed up bus journeys.

The price of any journeys you make is calculated by the system and charged to your account at the end of the day. The price is the same as it would be to buy a paper ticket on the bus. The total you pay each day will automatically be capped to the price of a day ticket (Metrorider, Metrovoyager, citySAVER or networkSAVER) for the area that you travelled in, if this is less than the total cost of the single fares.

Please have your card/device ready when you leave the bus and remember to tap off each time using the exit reader; you will find this to the left of the exit door. Capping will only work properly if you use the same card/device for all journeys in a day.

You can view your journeys and fares charged by visiting our customer contactless portal.

Suitable for:

Adults who would buy one or more single tickets or a day ticket from the driver on Metrobus and/or Brighton & Hove Buses

Not currently suitable for:
  • Child or busID fares
  • Customers who wish to buy discounted tickets from the driver (Surrey Student, Hospital staff, Easit etc)
  • Family tickets
  • Customers purchasing a return or weekly ticket from the driver
  • Tickets valid for travel on other bus or train companies
  • Customers purchasing a through fare from one route to another

Tap On Tap Off Contactless FAQ


How do I use it?

When you board the bus, simply place your card or device on the ticket machine reader and wait for the bleep. When you leave the bus please have the same card/device ready to tap off at the exit reader; you will find this to the left of the exit door. To ensure your fares cap correctly please use the same card/device for all your journeys in a day.

Is it just for adult fares?

Yes; for discounted, child or family tickets please continue to buy a paper ticket from the driver.

Can I pay for two or more people?

No, you can only use your card/device for one person per journey travelling using TOTO. You can continue to buy a paper ticket for multiple passengers and pay by card, as now.

Will I get a ticket?

When you tap on or off you won't receive a ticket but you can check your journey history and the fares charged by logging on to our contactless portal. If a revenue protection official boards the bus you will need to present the card you used to make payment for inspection.

What happens if I forget to tap off?

You will be charged the single fare to the end of the route, so always remember to tap off in order to pay the correct fare. If you do forget to tap off and are overcharged as a result, please contact customer services.

What happens if I can’t tap off?

If there was a problem with the bus and you are overcharged as a result, please contact customer services.

Can I board through the centre doors?

No; you cannot tap on using the reader by the centre doors. Please board using the front doors.

Does this work on Brighton & Hove and Metrobus?

Yes; this can be used on all Brighton & Hove and Metrobus services (except City Sightseeing Brighton) and the system will cap to the appropriate citySAVER, networkSAVER or Metrovoyager price if you have used both in the same day.

Why can’t this be used by all passengers?

We are looking to develop the system further in the future to cover return tickets, child fares, other card issuers and services operated by other bus companies.

Contactless FAQ

How does contactless work?

Contactless is a quick, easy and secure way to pay for your bus travel. Contactless payments can be made for any ticket up to the value of £30. Instead of paying with cash, you can pay with contactless by placing your credit or debit card on the reader of the ticket machine. We also accept contactless payments on smart devices via Apple Pay and Android Pay.

How do I know if my card has contactless?

Look for the contactless symbol on your bank debit or credit card. Most new cards will come with this facility available but if you’re unsure, check with your bank or card issuer.

Which contactless cards and devices can I use?

We accept Visa and Mastercard contactless credit and debit cards and devices with Apple Pay or Google Pay. We do not accept American Express or Maestro cards. Pre-paid contactless payment cards can also be used, but please make sure you have enough credit on them before boarding.

Which tickets can I buy with contactless?

You can buy any tickets up to the value of £30 on all Metrobus services including single, return, day and weekly tickets.

Why is the limit set to £30?

Visa and Mastercard have set the national limit for contactless payments in the UK to £30 and therefore we are not able to process contactless payments over this value.

How close do I have to be to the contactless reader?

You can place your card or smart device on or just above the ticket machine reader. If you wish to buy a paper ticket please only do this once you have told the driver which ticket you would like.

What happens if I present more than one card to the reader at the same time?

If the machine detects more than one card it will beep and tell the driver that more than one card has been detected. You’ll then be asked to present only one card. If you have a valid key card or concessionary travel card in the same holder as your contactless card, the ticket machine may read the key card or concessionary card first.

Can I use my contactless card to make more than one payment?

Yes, your card can be used more than once. If you need to buy different types of tickets you can add these together and pay for them in a single transaction, as you would with cash. If you want to buy several tickets that add up to more than the £30 limit, you can buy these separately using your card for each transaction.

Why didn’t my card work?

There are a few reasons why a card may not work when presented for travel; if this happens your driver will ask you to try another card, or to pay using cash or another form of payment such as the mobile app.

Unfortunately, we will not always know the reason for a card not being accepted. Some of the reasons why a card may not work include:

1. The card has expired or is not yet activated

2. The card is not a contactless card

3. The card is of a type that we do not accept e.g. American Express or Maestro

4. Your mobile device has not been set up correctly to use Apple Pay or Android Pay or you are not using the Apps to support the payment properly.

5. A payment for a previous journey failed to complete.

6. Your card hasn’t been approved by the bank for the transaction. This can happen if you make several low value transactions in a short space of time, as for some card issuers this can trigger risk management rules that are designed to keep your card safe from criminal activity.

7. Your card has been flagged as not having had a chip and PIN transaction for a certain period. Some (mostly older) cards require at least one chip and PIN transaction to take place in every so many transactions, to help manage the risk of the card becoming lost or stolen and subsequently being used fraudulently by criminals. The easiest way to remove this flag is to conduct a chip and PIN transaction at an ATM or retailer of your choice. Please note this is different to the new requirement to enter your PIN after five contactless transactions which does not apply to our buses.

How do the payments work?

After you have used your card on a bus, an initial authorisation transaction (usually 10p) may be charged to your account. At the end of the day, the total of any paper tickets purchased using contactless and your tap on tap off journeys (taking account of any caps) will be charged to your account. This total for the day replaces any initial authorisation transaction which was made.

Why is there a charge on my account on a day when I didn’t travel?

When contactless is used to pay on our buses, the payment will usually show on your statement on the day of travel or the day after. However, should the payment fail to reach our account, the system will automatically try again on subsequent days so the amount may show against a later date. If a payment from a previous journey is outstanding, your card is likely to be declined on our buses and this will also trigger an attempt to recover the outstanding amount.

I have a joint account, can I still use contactless payment?

Yes you can! Also, if you’re both travelling at the same time, you can use each card separately for payment.

Is my contactless payment safe?

Our systems and equipment are tested and certified to comply with all payment card scheme data security standards. Contactless payment cards are safe and secure, and have the same level of protection as Chip & PIN payments, so you can feel confident when using one to pay for your travel.

During a contactless payment transaction, only minimal information is sent to us, and no information about your card account or personal data is displayed to the driver or our customer services and finance team. We regularly check with card issuers to make sure that your card hasn’t been reported as lost or stolen. If it has, you’re protected against fraud loss as long as you report it to your bank or issuer as soon as possible.

Your transaction details are available to view online

I have bought the wrong ticket - can I get a refund?

Our drivers cannot offer refunds for contactless payments that have been completed on our vehicles. If you have purchased the wrong ticket, please proceed to purchase the correct ticket and then contact our Customer Services Team, who will be able to refund the incorrectly purchased ticket for you.

Please note that we can only refund transactions that have successfully settled, and therefore it may be necessary to wait a few days between making the transaction on the vehicle and us being able to process the refund. This is because the card schemes do not pay over your money to us until a few days after you make a payment.

If I have less balance than the bus fare on my card or in my bank account, can my account go overdrawn?

Yes, you can go overdrawn - this is the same as when using a contactless card in a shop. It’s important that you understand that going overdrawn could result in you incurring bank charges such as overdraft fees. For more information, please check with your bank.