Lothian Buses new record: 100,000 taps in a day!

'Tap happy' festival goers set a new record

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the greatest celebrations of arts and culture on the planet, selling over two million tickets in 2022. As this year’s event got underway, the explosion of tourism led Lothian Buses to smash its record for the most contactless open loop taps in a day. 

Contactless EMV cards and mobile wallets were tapped over 100,000 times on August 18, as visitors enjoyed the simple way to pay for fares.

Today, Lothian has announced this incredible milestone, achieved in partnership with Flowbird, and we’re pleased to share the full story below.

Balloons spell out 100,000 as Lothian staff stand in front of a bus to celebrate 100,000 contactless taps in a single day on its bus network
Lothian's MD Sarah Boyd, Head of Product Strategy Stevie Chambers and colleagues celebrate
Head of Product Strategyu Stevie Chambers holds up a banner showing the numbers 100,000 in front of a bus with digital signage displaying the message 100,000 taps in a day!
Head of Product Strategy Stevie Chambers

Lothian taps 100,000 customers in a day

Lothian has today (Friday 25 August) announced that it has recorded over 100,000 ‘taps’ in one day using its capped contactless payment method, ‘TapTapCap’.

The contactless system, which Lothian introduced in 2019, reached the milestone for the first time on Friday 18 August, fourteen days in to the Edinburgh Festival season, which traditionally sees the population of the city increase in size.

Throughout August, customers have been ‘tapping’ their bank cards or mobile devices to pay for travel across Lothian’s services, leading to faster boarding times during the busiest period for services in the city.

Contactless and capped "success story"

Sarah Boyd, Managing Director, Lothian said: I’m thrilled that our TapTapCap system has reached this incredible milestone of over 100 thousand taps in just one day. Our buses continue to be a popular method of public transport for residents and visitors to our city during the festival, and this achievement is testament to the amazing work of our people across the business during the extremely busy month of August.

Our contactless payment system has been a real success story for Lothian since its introduction and we look forward to breaking even more records in the future.

Contactless reader on a bus being tapped by a contactless credit card
Passengers just 'tap on' and take a seat

Effortless payments motivate sustainable travel

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: Making travel by bus as easy as possible is key to encouraging travel by reliable, sustainable public transport.

Lothian’s TapTapCap payment method does just that, as well as speeding up journeys, and it’s clear that lots of people want to pay that way. It’s fantastic that we’re seeing so many people choose Lothian’s excellent service this festival season.

I know that those 100,000 trips will have been made by people who represent the full diversity of Edinburgh residents. Indeed, Lothian’s broad appeal and first class staff is why it is part of what defines Edinburgh, and why I was so proud that they won the Excellence in Transport Accessibility category at the 2023 Scottish Transport Awards.

The capped contactless system is provided by ticketing technology specialist Flowbird, and allows customers to ‘cap’ their journeys at the cost of a discounted adult day ticket after their third tap of the day, using the same bank card or mobile device.

A fare system that flexes with passengers

David Thompson, Managing Director of Flowbird Transport added: “It’s amazing to see that so many people at this year’s festival are taking advantage of the convenience of open payments and the benefits of fare capping. Not only does it remove the need to understand fares and carry cash, visitors have the freedom to explore the city safe in the knowledge that the fare system flexes with them. This is ideal for encouraging Edinburgh’s international and domestic visitors to use the bus network.”

The bus operator’s open payment method for customers was an instant success, smashing through one million taps within a month of its introduction in 2019. It averages over 80k journey taps per day, and has logged over 5.4 million unique users in over four years of operation. In 2021, Lothian introduced ‘Weekly Capping’ for contactless users, offering unlimited travel during the week once the fare cap had been triggered.

Find out more about Scotland’s first contactless and capped open payment ticketing system, launched in partnership by Lothian Buses and Flowbird. With instant passenger appeal, the system resulted in one of the fastest adoption rates of open payments in transit in the world!


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