No, all tickets can be purchased on the day of travel.
When you have completed your booking, you will be e-mailed your booking confirmation within a few minutes. This e-mail will have your journey details as well as your unique booking reference number. This will be your e-ticket. Print this e-mail and hand it to a member of staff when boarding. Please keep your e-ticket for the duration of your journey.
If you haven't received your email ticket in your inbox, please check your spam folder.
As an extra measure you have the option to resend your email ticket: Log-in to the website using your username and password, and within the My Orders section (Hover over your username to access this menu) select to view your order and there is a resend ticket button at the bottom of the page.
When booking an e-ticket online, you will be able to select a return travel date within 3 months of the outward journey. If you try and choose a date beyond 3 calendar months, the system will stop you from proceeding and ask you to re-select. Period return tickets purchased elsewhere are valid for a return journey on any day within 3 months of the date of the outward ticket.
No, just turn up and go. Our customers prefer this, as flights can be delayed etc.
If you wish to make any amendments to the travel dates on your e-tickets, please contact us through the Contact Us form on our website at least 3 days before travel or alternatively contact us on 0345 646 0707. Please note, we cannot make any changes to e-tickets if you contact us after the date of travel has passed.
Sunday service operates on Bank Holidays. A special timetable operates on Boxing Day and there is no service on Christmas Day.
Concessions are only available to holders of valid 16-25, Senior, Disabled and HM Forces Railcards.
Yes, but only on some of our coaches.
Q. Can I just turn up without booking?
A. Unfortunately we cannot carry wheelchairs on all of our coaches. Therefore it is important that you inform us of the date and time of travel, so we can ensure that a wheelchair accessible coach is allocated to your journey. Please contact us on 0118 957 9425 at least 3 days in advance of travel, as each coach can only carry one wheelchair user.
Q. Can I remain seated in my wheelchair?
A. Yes, your wheelchair will be safely secured in the vehicle, allowing you to remain in their wheelchair for the duration of the journey.
Q. Do you accept the Disabled Persons Railcard?
A. Yes, the Disabled Persons Railcard is accepted and you will save a third on all RailAir tickets. Please bring your Railcard with you when you travel with us.
Q. When I arrive at Reading are there facilities for wheelchair users?
A. Yes, the RailAir lounge is fully accessible and there are toilet facilities for wheelchair users also. Reading Train Station is also fully accessible from the RailAir Lounge with a lift and ramps.
Q. Can I sit in a regular seat even if I board using the wheelchair ramp?
A. Yes, providing you can safely get into a seat or have a helper with you who can provide assistance if needed. Your Wheelchair must fold away neatly and be able to be stored safely in the luggage hold below. Please be aware that owners of larger wheelchairs, particularly motorised wheelchairs should check before booking that we can accommodate your wheelchair type by calling RailAir on 0118 957 9425.
Q. What types of wheelchairs are accepted on RaliAir?
A. We accept standard and motorised wheelchairs however they must not exceed 75cm from the front to back (including battery) and no more than 65cm in width. This is to ensure that it is safe to operate the wheelchair access lift and that the wheelchair can be safely positioned on the coach. Unfortunately we do not accept mobility scooters.
The total maximum weight to be carried onto the wheelchair lift is 300kgs including wheelchair and occupant.
RailAir is not classified as a local bus service and therefore free passes for over 60s or eligible disabled are not accepted. However, we do accept Senior or Disabled Railcards for discounted travel (see www.railcard.co.uk).
Season tickets are available for travel on RailAir for £100 for one month, £300 for three months or £1000 for a full year. These are available from any staffed station on the railway network and offer fantastic value for money to regular users. These are available to anyone who wishes to make frequent journeys to and from Reading and Heathrow. BA employees can also purchase RailAir season tickets from the Airport Commuter Centres at Heathrow Academy or BA Waterside. In order to purchase your season ticket, you will need proof of identity in the form of a passport or driving license as well as a passport sized photo. You will then be issued with your season ticket and you will be free to make as many journeys within the period of validity. Simply show your season ticket to a member of staff when boarding the coach. To add travel on local bus services in addition to RailAir, airport employees can purchase a 'Bus+' Heathrow Travelcard which is valid on services operated by Reading Buses. Please enquire about this option when buying your season ticket. Season tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.heathrow.com/commuter by airport employees at a reduced rate of £90 for one month, £270 for three months and £900 for a full year until further notice. Please note that season tickets are not available from the RailAir lounge at Reading, Central Bus Station or from the National Express desk at Terminal 5. There are no additional reductions for airline or airport employees. If you require any further information regarding RailAir season tickets, please feel free to contact us using the ’Contact us’ section of the website.
We advise that the luggage you carry should not exceed normal airline allowances. Any item that cannot be lifted easily in and out of the coach's under-floor compartment by our member of staff may be refused on grounds of safety. Sharp objects should be covered and bicycles will be accepted so long as they are suitably packaged (wrapped or boxed) to prevent damage to other passenger property.
Sorry, BritRail Passes are not accepted on our service.
We do not provide tax receipts for our online e-ticket as VAT is not applicable on RailAir. Your e-ticket and payment confirmation, both e-mailed to you after making your booking, should be sufficient in lieu of a receipt.
Early Bird tickets at a special discount can be purchased a minimum of 2 calendar months in advance of travel. These tickets are non-refundable. However, amendments to travel dates are permissible so long as at least 3 days prior notice to the booked travel date is provided and the change does not contravene the 2 months in advance requirement. Contact details are printed on your e-ticket. Please note that Railcard discounts are not available with Early Bird tickets.
Buying tickets is easy! Tap the mTickets button in the app, choose a ticket category, select your ticket from the product catalogue and then simply choose a payment method.
Your selected First Bus region/area is shown on the First mTickets screen; if you need to change it, tap on the area name to choose a different area.
Receipts are sent to the email linked with the account at the time of purchase. If you're going to need your receipt, we would recommend double checking your account details are correct before making a ticket purchase.
Please note that this purchase receipt is not valid for travel, and you will need to show the driver your active mTicket displayed on the app.
On the payment methods screen, select the 'Visa / Mastercard / PayPal' button.
On the next page select 'PayPal Check Out' and the PayPal login screen will be shown.
Enter your PayPal email address and password. If you want to be able to make future PayPal purchases on our app with this account, click the 'Stay Logged in for faster checkout' tickbox. Then select the card you want to use via PayPal and press Continue. The next time you make a purchase, your PayPal account will be presented as the default option. If you want to use a previously entered card or enter a new one instead, select 'Change Payment Method'.
On the payment methods screen, select the 'Apple Pay' button. On the Apple Pay panel, select the card you want to use (of those stored in the Apple Pay wallet) and unlock your screen with your password or fingerprint. The transaction will complete in a few moments.
We can only provide refunds for unactivated tickets; any activated tickets are non-refundable. However, refund requests for annual and long-term student tickets may be reviewed on a case by case basis by a member of the mTicket Support Team.
Contact the mTicket support team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 03300 947 577. So we can fully answer your enquiry please give us as much information as possible about the ticket type, device and operating system you are using. Normal opening hours: 7am – 10pm, seven days a week.
You can pay by card (Mastercard or Visa Credit or Visa Debit cards), PayPal, Apple Pay (on iPhones), Pay by Google Pay (on Android phones). Sorry, we don't accept Maestro or Electron cards.
To set up a payment card, click on the payment methods screen, select the 'Visa / Mastercard / PayPal' button. Enter the details of your card. Once entered, your card details are then encrypted and stored securely by the system so you can reuse the card without having to enter the details again. The next time you make a purchase, the most recently used card (or PayPal account) is presented as the default option. If you want to use a previously entered card or enter a new one, select 'Change Payment Method'.
There is no minimum purchase. You can simply buy the ticket you want in advance of your journey or buy several at once. All of your purchased tickets are automatically put in your wallet and stored here until ‘activated’ so you’ll always be ready for your bus journey.
We have a whole range of tickets available, these vary depending on the area of travel. Check the tickets in your local area to see details.
Once a ticket is purchased and downloaded, it will appear in the 'wallet' of the mTicket section of the app. Tickets in this section are listed from the oldest at the top to the newest at the bottom.
When you want to use a ticket, select the one you want and then select 'Activate Now'.
You'll then be informed of how long the ticket will be active for, before confirming that you want to activate this ticket. We would advise reading this carefully to avoid activating unwanted tickets.
Once activated, the app will generate a moving ticket image on your phone's screen and a QR code. This will stay active for the remainder of the ticket's validity and will include the time and a four letter 'word of the day'.
You'll need to scan the QR when you board the bus.
You need an internet/data connection to purchase and ‘activate’ an mTicket. Once your ticket has been ‘activated’, you don’t need an internet connection - so a poor phone signal when you board your bus should not be a problem. However, the First Bus App does need to communicate with our system on a regular basis to keep itself up to date when you're out and about, so long periods without connection may cause an issue.
Please note the app is not designed to work with Wi-Fi only devices such as tablets and iPods.
You will need an active and valid ticket to travel on the bus. If the mTicket is no longer valid, you will need to activate another, or purchase a ticket from the driver paying by contactless or cash.
If an inspector asks to check your ticket, please show them the active ticket in your mTickets wallet as you would do the driver. For those who boarded using a single ticket which has since expired, the inspector will still be able to see this under the 'expired' tab in your wallet.
The mTicket system only allows one ticket of each type to be active at a time on a single device. If you are travelling with friends or family, they will need to purchase mTickets on their own device from their own account, or use contactless or cash to buy a ticket from the driver.
You are able to activate different ticket types at the same time e.g. 1 x Adult FirstDay and 1 x Adult FirstWeek.
The app will allow for one adult and one child ticket to be active at the same time on one device but if you’re travelling with more than one child, purchasing your tickets on the bus may be more suitable - you can even pay for your ticket with contactless.
Generally mTickets will stay in your virtual wallet for 1 year, unless stated within the ticket details on the app.
The validity of mTickets is similar to paper tickets. This means a day ticket is not valid for 24 hours, but rather the remainder of the day on which it is activated.
For example, typical validities are as follows:
- FirstDay – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated
- FirstWeek – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated plus a further 6 days
- FirstMonth – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated plus a further number of days in the month less one
- First4Week – the remainder of the day the ticket is activated plus a further 27 days
We also include a period of grace past midnight, so if our services end at 2am locally, the period 00:00 to 02:00 forms part of the previous day and the hours & minutes countdown shown on the mTickets screen reflects this.
Please note that any expiry date shown in words on the ticket screen is the last full day of the ticket, and does not reflect the period beyond midnight. This is so customers do not wrongly believe they have an additional full day's travel.
The validity of single tickets varies across each First Bus region. For the most part, single tickets will remain valid for either 5 or 15 minutes once activated. The app will remind you of this before activating one.
The First Bus App supports versions above and including iOS 10.1 and Android 4. Unfortunately, the Windows operating system is no longer supported; Microsoft discontinued updates for Windows Mobile in 2017.
Customers can send tickets to a child or young person by using the sharing feature on child and young person tickets. As it stands, this function is only available for child tickets – adult tickets cannot be shared. Please visit our ticket gifting page for more information.
The First Bus App is only designed to work with one device per account. However should customers purchase a new handset, or lose or damage their current device, they will be able to transfer their tickets over.
To do this:
1. Log off from your mTicket account on your old phone (if possible).
2. Download the app and login to your mTicket account on your new phone
3. Check the Ticket Wallet screen. You should find a pink panel containing a button to start the transfer process.
If the button is not visible, please ensure you have a data connection and refresh the app (on an iPhone tap the screen three times, or on Android select Refresh from the menu button).
Customers are able to complete the above process twice a month but further requests are subject to approval by a member of our mTickets team. Please don’t attempt to share your ticket with anyone else.
To change area on the app, please go to the mTickets area on the app and then select the area that you’re wanting to travel in.
If you have GPS location services enabled on your phone and for the app, selecting this will display your closest First Bus areas.
No; while you don't need an internet connection at the point you ‘activate’ an already purchased ticket, a regular internet connection is required by the app to keep content up to date and secure.
Problems with mTickets
Missing tickets are generally caused by your mTicket account becoming logged out, or a prolonged loss of internet connection. To restore your tickets, please make sure you have a good network connection and refresh from the Options button (iPhone) or Menu button (Android). All tickets in your account should reappear after a few seconds.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your phone has enough battery power to be able to show a valid mTicket to the driver and any inspector throughout your journey. If you cannot do this, you will need to buy a ticket from the driver using contactless or cash.
We do not issue paper copies of mTickets. You will receive an email receipt when you make your purchase, but this will not be valid for travel.
With mTickets, it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure a working mobile phone is available to show the driver the ticket screen. If there is a problem with the system, please let us know and we'll do our best to help.
If the QR code is not being picked up by the ticket machine, please show the ticket screen to the driver. Providing you're travelling on the correct ticket, the digital copy of your mTicket is still valid for travel and will be accepted.
If you are still experiencing difficulties please contact the mTicket support team on email@example.com or 03300 947 577. So we can fully answer your enquiry please give us as much information as possible about the ticket type, device and operating system you are using. Normal opening hours: 7am – 10pm, seven days a week.