SMARTCARD technology has been introduced on buses in Basingstoke by operator Stagecoach.

The scheme – now live on over 265 Stagecoach buses across Hampshire – offers customers the chance to store pre-paid travel on an electric card called StagecoachSmart instead of buying paper tickets.

Andrew Dyer, managing director of Stagecoach South, said: “We know we have a responsibility to our customers to continue introducing new technology and new ideas to improve their travel experience.”

He said he believed the smartcard would encourage more bus travel.

“As more passengers use the smart card, we will see less boarding time at bus stops as the journey is pre-paid,” he explained.

The initiative will also allow bus users to arrange automatic payments on an agreed day each month called the Megarider Xtra ticket.

This method of payment means that passengers no longer have to buy their travel manually.

The scheme is in line with the Government’s vision to enable most public transport journeys to be made using smart ticketing by late 2014.

More than 200 million journeys are now made a year on Stagecoach buses across the country using the smartcard system.