Tap on Tap off contactless payments

tap off image

Tickets are now even easier and cheaper, with new improved contactless payments Tap On, Tap Off now available on all our buses.

You can pay by:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Apple Pay
  • Android Pay

What is tap on, tap off?

  • EASY
  • DAY/WEEKLY FARE CAPPING (not suitable for returns)
    • Tap on, tap off automatically calculates your best available daily fare

Who is it for?

Tap on tap off is suitable for anyone making a single trip or multiple trips on Bluestar and Unilink buses in any one day/ week.  

How does it work?

Simply TAP ON using the driver’s ticket machine at the start of each journey and TAP OFF at the end of each journey on the tap off reader located by the exit door, using a contactless payment method (Visa/Mastercard payment card or device using Apple Pay or Android Pay).

There is no need to tell the driver where you are going, and you don’t need a paper ticket. This all helps to make boarding our buses easier and faster.

Which contactless cards can I use?

All Visa, Mastercard and Maestro credit and debit cards with the contactless symbol can be used, including most contactless cards issued overseas. Pre-paid contactless payment cards can also be used, but please make sure you have enough credit on them before boarding. Payments can also be made using a smart device via Apple Pay or Android Pay. Unfortunately, we’re unable to accept American Express or pre-paid cards (such as prepaid Visa, Mastercard and GoHenry) at this time.

How do I know what I will be charged?

If you use tap on tap off, we are initially offering you the best available daily fare guarantee.  The price of any journeys you make will be calculated by the system and charged to your account at the end of each day. The system will automatically calculate your best available daily fare depending on what fare zone you have travelled in.

You can check your journey and fare history through our Contactless Customer Portal. The portal will be branded littlepay.  You can either set up an account or proceed as a guest - you will need the details of the payment card you used on the bus to track your trips.

Do I have to register my card first?

To use Tap On, Tap Off there is no need to register or sign up - you can board the bus with your contactless card or device to tap on and off. However, if you want to see your trip history, you will need to log into the customer portal.

Can I use more than one bank card?

To get the best available daily fare you will need to use the same card that day/week. However, you can use other contactless cards, but your transactions will not be linked.

Can I use a contactless-enabled device other than a credit or debit card?

We are able to accept payments on smartphones and smartwatches using Apple Pay and Android Pay as well as contactless-enabled wearables such as wristbands. If you then want to view your journey and payment history online or in the app, you'll need to register using the physical credit or debit card associated with your device.

Who is Tap On and Tap Off suitable for?

Adults who buy single, dayrider or weekly tickets. 

Who does it not work for?

It is not suitable for:

  • Customers buying return tickets that are less than the daily capped zone price
  • Child fares
  • Group tickets
  • Customers purchasing a transfer fare from one route to another
  • Customers who want a return that is a lower price than the daily capped fare
  • Customers who wish to buy promotional discounted tickets from the driver

These will continue to be available on the bus as paper tickets and you can still pay for these tickets using contactless payment devices or cash. You do not need to tap off when buying paper tickets.

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.

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. 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 will read the key card or concessionary card first.

How will it appear on my bank statement?

You will see a charge to your bank account from Go South Coast, you may see more than one charge in one day, but the total added together will be no more than the cost of a dayrider.

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.

What if the bus I am on breaks down and I am asked to transfer to another bus?

On the rare occasion this happens our driver will tell you what to do, but you should tap off of the bus you started your journey on, i.e the bus that broke down and do not tap on or off of the bus you are transferred to.  For any additional trips you make that day, please tap on and tap off as normal.

What if I get asked to use my PIN?

The new requirement to enter your PIN number after five contactless transactions does not apply on our buses.


What if my payment does not 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
  4. The card is being presented for a payment over the £100 limit
  5. 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.
  6. Your card has been flagged as not having had a chip and PIN transaction for a certain period. Many card issuers 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.
  7. 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. 

If you are affected by issues 6) or 7), you may find that your card will be temporarily added to our “deny list.” This will mean that you will not be able to travel until this flag has been removed from our systems.

The easiest way to remove this flag is to do the following:

  • Conduct a chip and PIN transaction at an ATM or retailer of your choice
  • Attempt to travel again (for issue 7 it is best to wait until the following day)
  • If the card still does not work please contact our Customer Services team who will be able to assist you.

My card has stopped working

Sometimes your card won't be accepted, even though you've used it before to travel on our services.

This could be because of unpaid fares

Sometimes your card may be accepted by our card readers, but the payment is declined by your card issuer.

If this happens:

  • You've made a journey that you've not paid for
  • You won't be able to use your card again to travel until the unpaid fare has been paid

How do I pay my unpaid fare?

  • Contact your card issuer

If you don't pay your unpaid fare through your account, we'll try by sending requests to your card issuer.

If the payment is successful, this could appear on your bank statement up to 30 days after you travelled.