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Does anyone here use the First Bus app?

 

With this app you can buy a "carnet", a set of ten single journey tickets at £1.80 each (so £18 for ten) which are valid for a year. You have to activate each ticket when or just before you board the bus, then hold your smartphone face up over the card reader on the ticket machine by the driver.

 

My understanding of it is that each of these tickets is valid for one journey within the Sheffield city boundaries, regardless of what the normal fare for that journey is, so it saves you money compared to buying ordinary single tickets on the bus for any journey for which the normal fare is more than £1.80. Obviously, you can only use them on First buses so if you live in an area also served by Stagecoach or any other operator, you either have to check on the app before setting out when the next First bus is due, let any other operator's buses go if they arrive before the next First bus, or pay the full fare if another operator's bus comes first.

 

However, it doesn't make it clear exactly where they are valid. Are they also valid for journeys across two or more of the four local authority areas in South Yorkshire, e.g. Sheffield to Doncaster on the X78? And what about journeys starting inside and finishing outside South Yorkshire (or vice versa) on First routes that continue into neighbouring counties such as Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire, e.g. Sheffield to Castleton on the 272?

 

I've only just downloaded the app, and so far I've only used those carnet tickets for one out and back journey to and from Sheffield city centre. On my outward journey, after I held my phone over the ticket machine the ticket counted down 17 minutes until its expiry (or at least the first time I looked and noticed that it was counting down it said 17 minutes), and on the return journey it counted down 30 minutes. 17 minutes is the approximate time it takes me to get into town from home, and 30 minutes would be more than enough. I wonder whether the system knows how long it will take you to get from where you board the bus to the terminus of the route on which you are travelling and sets the length of time to the expiry of your ticket accordingly, or just randomly decides how long to give you?

 

If it's always 30 minutes, what if you are doing a journey that takes longer than 30 minutes (e.g. Intake to Fulwood on the 120)? Ticket inspections on buses are pretty rare (it's a few years since I last saw a ticket inspector on a bus in Sheffield) but I suppose if there were an inspection and you were using a carnet ticket on the First Bus app that you had validated on that bus but that had expired in the last few minutes, you could potentially be in trouble even though you had boarded that bus with a perfectly valid ticket.

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Posted (edited)

I've used these tickets since the start of the pandemic. When the ticket expires it says what time and day it expired so in the unlikely event of a ticket inspector coming onboard (I've never seen an inspector in at least the last five years) I don't think you need to worry about the ticket having expired on a long journey, you could just state where you got on. 

 

I think the expiry time after activating the ticket is 30 mins. At the start of the pandemic it was an hour and the ticket could be re-scanned within that time. I know this from inadvertently using a single ticket twice on a couple of occasions when I first started using them as I was so used to having my monthly ticket on the app that I didn't even think about it when I opened the app for my second leg and the ticket and QR code were there on screen. I think this was a system error as it soon changed and even if the ticket was still active, if it had been scanned once it wouldn't scan again. They then also reduced the active duration to 30 mins.

 

It's been a great value ticket if you know you're just doing one return journey that day and the standard ticket price would be more than £1.80. 

 

Tbh I assumed the tickets were for within the Sheffield boundary but looking at the First South Yorkshire website it suggests the tickets can be used on any First bus across South Yorkshire, suggesting you could get the X78 to Doncaster?

 

https://www.firstbus.co.uk/sheffield/tickets/ticket-prices

Edited by saywhatnow
Typo

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1 hour ago, AY1975 said:

Does anyone here use the First Bus app?

 

With this app you can buy a "carnet", a set of ten single journey tickets at £1.80 each (so £18 for ten) which are valid for a year. You have to activate each ticket when or just before you board the bus, then hold your smartphone face up over the card reader on the ticket machine by the driver.

 

My understanding of it is that each of these tickets is valid for one journey within the Sheffield city boundaries, regardless of what the normal fare for that journey is, so it saves you money compared to buying ordinary single tickets on the bus for any journey for which the normal fare is more than £1.80. Obviously, you can only use them on First buses so if you live in an area also served by Stagecoach or any other operator, you either have to check on the app before setting out when the next First bus is due, let any other operator's buses go if they arrive before the next First bus, or pay the full fare if another operator's bus comes first.

 

However, it doesn't make it clear exactly where they are valid. Are they also valid for journeys across two or more of the four local authority areas in South Yorkshire, e.g. Sheffield to Doncaster on the X78? And what about journeys starting inside and finishing outside South Yorkshire (or vice versa) on First routes that continue into neighbouring counties such as Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire, e.g. Sheffield to Castleton on the 272?

 

I've only just downloaded the app, and so far I've only used those carnet tickets for one out and back journey to and from Sheffield city centre. On my outward journey, after I held my phone over the ticket machine the ticket counted down 17 minutes until its expiry (or at least the first time I looked and noticed that it was counting down it said 17 minutes), and on the return journey it counted down 30 minutes. 17 minutes is the approximate time it takes me to get into town from home, and 30 minutes would be more than enough. I wonder whether the system knows how long it will take you to get from where you board the bus to the terminus of the route on which you are travelling and sets the length of time to the expiry of your ticket accordingly, or just randomly decides how long to give you?

 

If it's always 30 minutes, what if you are doing a journey that takes longer than 30 minutes (e.g. Intake to Fulwood on the 120)? Ticket inspections on buses are pretty rare (it's a few years since I last saw a ticket inspector on a bus in Sheffield) but I suppose if there were an inspection and you were using a carnet ticket on the First Bus app that you had validated on that bus but that had expired in the last few minutes, you could potentially be in trouble even though you had boarded that bus with a perfectly valid ticket.

Just checked on my app, says the tickets are valid for an hour?

1 hour ago, saywhatnow said:

I've used these tickets since the start of the pandemic. When the ticket expires it says what time and day it expired so in the unlikely event of a ticket inspector coming onboard (I've never seen an inspector in at least the last five years) I don't think you need to worry about the ticket having expired on a long journey, you could just state where you got on. 

 

I think the expiry time after activating the ticket is 30 mins. At the start of the pandemic it was an hour and the ticket could be re-scanned within that time. I know this from inadvertently using a single ticket twice on a couple of occasions when I first started using them as I was so used to having my monthly ticket on the app that I didn't even think about it when I opened the app for my second leg and the ticket and QR code were there on screen. I think this was a system error as it soon changed and even if the ticket was still active, if it had been scanned once it wouldn't scan again. They then also reduced the active duration to 30 mins.

 

It's been a great value ticket if you know you're just doing one return journey that day and the standard ticket price would be more than £1.80. 

 

Tbh I assumed the tickets were for within the Sheffield boundary but looking at the First South Yorkshire website it suggests the tickets can be used on any First bus across South Yorkshire, suggesting you could get the X78 to Doncaster?

 

https://www.firstbus.co.uk/sheffield/tickets/ticket-prices

I would agree, looks like they can be used on a bus across SY, not just in the town/city boundary.

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The 10 ticket pack is for use within the SY border, so Sheffield/Rotherham/Doncaster. If you board a service that exits SY then your ticket is no longer valid from that point, for instance, the Castleton service so you would need to purchase a ticket for the remainder of the journey. You would also not be able to use the ticket to travel from outside the SY border, even if the destination is within. Both start and end points must be within the SY border.

With regards to the expiry, an inspector can see when the ticket was scanned via the ticket machine therefore if it was scanned whilst valid then expires during the journey it will still be valid until you get off. 

Further to the travelling outside the ticket specifications. From what I have been told, fare evasion (a criminal offence) via passengers overtravelling or using fake passes (non-scanned ones) is a big problem in South Yorkshire, particularly where services are cross-fare borders. 

ie. Buying a Citybus/Sheffield day/week then travelling on a Rotherham bound service and not alighting at the border or paying the extra charge. I've personally been on an X5 service where the driver has checked tickets and stopped multiple intending over-travellers attempting to use Sheffield only tickets to get to the food plant in WalesWood (Rotherham fare zone).

This will lead to the operators into one of 2 actions:

1. Employ at their cost more inspectors and have them check more often, increasing operating costs at a time when they can ill-afford it.
2. Increase fares for those that are actually paying in order to cover those that refuse to pay the proper fare.

Sadly it will be option 2 that they choose because it costs less.

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