tap on tap off - frequently asked questions

Here are some answers to questions you might have about tap on tap off.

What is the most I’ll pay using tap on tap off?

In each zone, you will only pay a maximum of the day rate. If you travel between different zones, you will be charged the smallest amount based on single journeys or day tickets depending on your journey. See below for the daily cap by payment zone.


Daily cap


£3.40 (£3 until 31 December 2023)

simplyWokingham & Reading




simplyNewbury & Thatcham


simplyWokingham & Bracknell


simplySouth Bracknell

£4.40 (£4.10 on app)

simplySlough & Windsor


Do I need to take my card out of my wallet/purse?

Yes. If you are using a physical card, you should take it out of your wallet to avoid card clash (where the system is trying to read more than one card in your wallet!) If you don’t do this, the system may select the wrong card meaning you get charged more, or may be unable to read your card causing delays to your journey. It will always be safer and easier to have your card ready.

If using a watch or phone to pay, you should make sure that you have the correct card selected to pay.

Can I still pay with cash?

You will still buy the same selection of tickets from the driver using cash as before.

Can I still use my smartcard or purchase a new one?

Smartcards can still be used as before and are still avaliable to purchase online or from the bus shop.

Can I still buy a ticket on the app?

Tickets can still be purchased on our mobile app ahead of travel.

Is there any changes for ENCTS (English National Concessionary travel scheme ) pass holders?

There is no change for ENCTS passholders, you will just need to tap on at the ticket machine as before.

How do I get a receipt for my travel?

You can download an itemised PDF receipt of your travel history from the contactless journeys section on our website.

Can tap on tap off be used for two or more people?

No, each person needs to use a unique payment method when tapping on (eg. an alternative bank card or device). You will still be able to buy multiple tickets from the driver with cash or contactless - just tell the driver what ticket you want before paying like in a shop, or buy on our app.

Can I use my tap on tap off All-Bus ticket on other bus company’s services?

Yes. You can tap in and out on any bus within the simplyReading zone, including Thames Valley Buses, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses. You will never pay more than the Reading All-Bus day ticket price if travelling within the simplyReading zone (which is just £3 until December 31 and £3.40 after!).

Can I buy a boost, student or group ticket?

Unfortunately, tap on tap off only works for adult tickets. You can still buy Boost and group tickets by asking the driver before presenting your payment card, on our app or on a smartcard. You can still buy simplyUni tickets on the app or on a smartcard.

Can I buy a short hop fare (e.g. on orange 13 & 14 in Woodley) with tap on tap off?

Yes! You will be charged the short hop fare on the applicable sections of routes so long as you tap on and off as normal. Click here to see all our short-hop fares.

Do I need to register my card before using tap on tap off?

There is no need to register or sign up before using tap on tap off. You can, however, register your card on our mobile app or website to track your journeys and the amount spent.

Can I use more than one contactless bank card or device in the same day?

No. To ensure that you get the best fare when travelling please use the same payment method for all travel that day, otherwise you may miss out on a lower fare cap.
For example if you tap on and off with your phone for a journey into Reading, be sure to tap on and off using the same phone for your journey home. If you switch payment methods (even if the ‘card’ is the same) you may be charged more.  

Which contactless cards can I use for tap on tap off?

We accept Mastercard and Visa cards that display the contactless symbol. You can also use devices including smartphones and smartwatches that support Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Unfortunately, prepaid cards and American Express cards cannot be used for tap on tap off at this time.  

Can I use a payment card that was issued outside the UK?

Most contactless payment cards issued outside the UK should work for tap on tap off, however, please be aware that payment cards issued outside the UK may incur overseas transaction fees applied by your bank card or issuer.

Do I need to unlock my iPhone to use tap on tap off?

No, if you have a compatible iPhone you can enable Express Mode for your payment card which allows you to tap on and off without unlocking your phone. You can find out how to enable this on the Apple website here.

What happens if my smart device runs out of power before I complete my journey?

It is important to keep your device charged if using it as your payment method for tap on tap off. Most of our buses feature USB charging to help you top it up if you are running low on your journey. As always, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid ticket or payment method available at all times when travelling. Should you be unable to tap off due to a device failure, please contact customer services.

Will I still get a paper ticket?

Tap on tap off does not print a ticket when you board, however, you can keep track of your journeys using the contactless journeys link at the top of our website or on the app where you can view your journey and payment history and also download it as a PDF. 

What happens if the tap off reader isn’t working or I am unable to reach the centre doors on a two-door bus?

In the event of the tap out reader not working or being unable to reach the one at the centre doors on our 2-door buses, you will be able to tap out on the drivers ticket machine similar to how you tapped on – but this should only be done if you are unable to use the normal tap off reader.

What happens if I forget to tap off?

If you forget to tap off you will be charged the full fare to the end of that route. If you do forget to tap off, please get in touch with customer services.

Can I use tap on tap off on all your buses?

Tap on tap off readers are installed across the Reading Buses fleet and can be used on all of our routes including the London Line 702 and Flightline 703 with the only exception of football services. You can also use tap on tap off on Thames Valley Buses for their 127, 128 and 129 routes that run into Reading.

If you are planning to connect with other routes operated by Thames Valley Buses or those operated by Newbury & District you will need to purchase a paper ticket from the driver or on our app. You can also use tap on tap off on Thames Travel and Carousel Buses within the simplyReading area.

What happens if the bus breaks down and I am asked to transfer to a new vehicle?

In the rare event that this happens the driver of the bus will tell you what to do; you should tap off when leaving the bus that you are changing from, but do not tap on or off on the one that you are transferred to. You can then continue tapping on and off as normal for any other trips you make that day.

How do I view my journey history for tap on tap offs made using my smartphone or smartwatch?

For these devices, add the bank card you used on your device to the contactless journeys page. The history and spend information will then show for this card.

Why can’t this be used for all types of ticket?

We cannot include products such as group tickets or any young person tickets as the system would not know to charge for them. We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to extend the price capping to include return fares on our rural services and to weekly tickets. In the meantime, return fares remain available from the driver, and weekly tickets on our app. The main thing is that adults travelling on the day no longer need to plan their tickets in advance to get the best fare.