First Group and Corethree link up for mobile ticketing in Google Pay

Tyrone Stewart

First Group, one of the UK’s largest bus operators, and mobile ticketing provider Corethree have teamed up with ITSO Transit Hub – a subsidiary of non-profit smart ticketing organisation ITSO – Google Pay, and Ticketer to introduce mobile ticketing in Google Pay.

The mobile tickets, which are currently being piloted in Glasgow, are created and fulfilled by ITSO Transit Hub’s cloud-based ticketing service and then stored in Google Pay. Through Near Field Communication (NFC), they enable passengers to tap in and validate their journeys on compatible Ticketer electronic ticket machines or ticket gates. The solution is called 'Host Card Emulation'.

Following the pilot in Glasgow, the solution will be rolled out across the First Group network, which is made up of more than 1.6m passengers.

“This is a monumental step for our company and a clear validation of our commitment to provide the best customer experience through technology innovation,” said Dave Lynch, chief information officer at First Group. “This collaboration marks the dawn of a new way to travel as it will enable our passengers to simply tap their Android smartphone on any contactless reader to validate their journey, through Google Pay they regularly use for their other digital cards. We look forward to working closely with our long-term partner Corethree, ITSO Transit Hub, the Google team and Ticketer to conduct a successful pilot and bring the offering to the masses.”

Ashley Murdoch, Corethree CEO, added: “We are extremely proud to be playing such a pivotal role in the delivery of a wholly new ticketing experience with ITSO Transit Hub, Google Pay and First Group… With smart digital cards showing no signs of abating and the appetite for customers to rely on their smartphones for virtually any aspect of their daily lives, we expect this solution to grow in demand. We look forward to conducting a successful trial and cement our collaboration with First, ITSO Transit Hub and Google Pay to shape the future of mobility.”