Bus passengers in Wharfedale will no longer have to make a mad dash to the cashpoint or search around for change when First Buses introduce contactless payment later this month.

From Thursday, January 18, all First services in West Yorkshire will be be kitted out with contactless payment systems, providing more payment options for bus travel easier.

First is offering its customers the option to pay for travel, up to the value of £30, using contactless bank cards and also Apple Pay and Android Pay, as well as mobile tickets and traditional cash. It comes as figures from the British Retail Consortium suggest cards have overtaken cash as the preferred payment method, with more than half of purchases now made by card.

Bosses at First have also said the move away from cash will also have a “huge impact” on boarding times, which in the long term will speed up bus journey times in the district.

Paul Matthews, managing director of First West Yorkshire, said: “The introduction of contactless payments alongside our success with mobile ticketing is pivotal as we continue to make bus travel a convenient, simple and attractive experience for our customers.

“Use of mTickets is exceeding our expectations and continues to grow daily, so I fully expect customers to welcome and grasp contactless bus travel with the same enthusiasm.

“If more customers converted to using mTickets, contactless or the Mcard, then this would have a huge impact on boarding times and would help us in the battle to speed up the bus.

“We are determined to transform the experience for all our customers and I am delighted that technology is now able to deliver so many benefits for our passengers.

“The combination of journey planning, free wifi, real time information, contactless and mTickets, really does make the bus an increasingly attractive option for so many journey needs.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council executive member for transport, said: “It’s great to see bus companies investing to make their services easier and more convenient for passengers to use.

“More and more people use contactless payments these days so while it’s important to maintain cash payments for people without debit cards or smart phones this will be particularly useful for younger people who rely on bus services to get around.”

Bus passengers will be able to use contactless payment to buy any paper ticket up to the value of £30. The move comes four months after First Buses first aimed to encourage its passengers to move away from using cash on its services, by offering discounted fares on mobile tickets.