Mobile Ticket FAQs

How do I Buy a Ticket?

To speed up boarding, please purchase your ticket before you get on the bus. You do not have to use your ticket straight away and can purchase in advance (e.g. the night before).

  • Tap Mobile Tickets
  • Tap + Buy a Ticket
  • Choose from the list of tickets (your last 3 purchased tickets will show at the top)
  • Tap the price to buy
  • If you’re buying for someone else, tap ‘Buy this ticket as a Gift?’ (see below)
  • Enter a Discount Code if you have one
  • Complete the checkout

Once purchased, you have up to 12 months to use your ticket. After 12 months, any unused tickets will be removed from your account. 

For Under 19 and Student tickets, you will need to be verified before you can use your tickets. This usually takes 24 hours - please follow the in app instructions.

Why do Accounts Need Verifying for Student and Under 19 Tickets?

To ensure only those customers who are entitled to discounted travel can purchase these tickets, verification of an account is needed.

This applies to every customer and is done at the time of first purchase, so it is fair to everyone and we capture the end date for when the discounted tickets can be bought.

To be verified, please purchase a ticket and you will be prompted to upload a selfie. Once you have saved the photograph to your account, you can either:

  • Verify online by following the steps shown on the app. Look out for an email with the instructions, which may land in your Junk/Spam folder. (Note, this is only available to Nottingham based colleges and universities who we have sample IDs for)
  • Visit the NCT Travel Centre with proof of age (for under 19) or student entitlement issued by your college or university that has an expiry date on it.

Only one verification can be in place on an account. Customers who wish to use mobile tickets for multiple children should consider setting up separate accounts for each child on their devices and using the ticket gifting option.

What Happens to Under 19 or Student Tickets When My Verified Status Ends?

You can use your discounted tickets until the verification on your account ends. This will usually be:

  • Students: the expiry date shown on your Student ID card or, if a card issue date is shown, the end of the third academic year 
  • Under 19s: the date before your 19th birthday or up to three years, which ever is the soonest (this is to ensure the photo remains a true likeness)

When your account is no longer verified, you will not be able to use the tickets. You can either submit new ID for verification or contact us for a refund on the unused tickets.

How do I Activate a Ticket?

To speed up boarding, please activate your ticket before you get on the bus (ideally when you can see it approaching).

You will need an internet connection to activate your ticket and because of the verification process to connect to our on-bus Wi-Fi, we recommend you use either your 3G/4G connection or Wi-Fi at work, office, home etc.

In the app:

  • Tap Mobile Tickets
  • Tap the ticket you wish to use
  • Tap Activate Ticket and confirm you wish you want to activate the ticket
  • The ticket will now show

Can I Have More Than One Active Ticket on my Device?

Yes! It is possible to use multiple adult tickets through the same app account at the same time.

For example, 3 adults can board the bus and show 3 different active tickets to the driver at the time of boarding.

An adult and either a Student or Under 19 ticket can also be used at the same time.

It is not possible for more than 1 Student or Under 19 ticket to be active on the same device at the same time because only one of these can be verified on each account.

How do I Present my Ticket on the Bus?

To speed up boarding, please activate your ticket before you get on the bus (ideally when you can see it approaching).

You will need an internet connection to activate your ticket and because of the verification process to connect to our on-bus Wi-Fi, we recommend you use either your 3G/4G connection or Wi-Fi at work, office, home etc.

If your ticket has a QR code on, present your mobile ticket to the bottom of the reader (shown above). Hold your phone steady until the green tick shows it has been accepted. Once accepted, show the ticket to the driver.

When presenting a QR code, the reader will check that the ticket you have purchased is valid and also valid at the stop you are boarding at. If you are attempting to use a ticket that is a screenshot or shared or your ticket is outside of the area it covers, your ticket will be rejected and you will need to buy a new ticket for the correct zone.

If the reader is not detecting your ticket, ensure you have the screen brightness set to maximum.

If your ticket does not have a QR code on, show the ticket to the driver only.

How Long do Tickets Last Once Activated?

Once activated, your ticket will start to countdown. You only need to board the bus within the countdown period. If the ticket expires during your journey, that is not an issue.

Ticket activations last for:

  • Single – 15 minutes
  • 2 Trips – 15 minutes x 2, where each ticket can be activated independently
  • Day – 24 hours
  • 7 day – 168 hours
  • 31 day - 744 hours
  • Academic Year - until 31st July of the year after purchase.

The Off Peak versions of Grouprider and Network Grouprider both run from the time of activation until 04:29. These tickets can only be activated after 09:30 weekdays, but any time at the weekend and on Bank Holidays.

How do Bulk Tickets Work?

Some tickets can be purchased in bulk.

Each ticket can be activated independently and the Mobile Ticket view will show you a countdown of how many tickets remain per bulk transaction.

How do I Gift a Ticket?

It is possible to ‘gift’ any mobile ticket to another account holder, which is especially useful for parents buying tickets for children.

The email address used for the account of the purchaser and the customer who is receiving the ticket as a gift must be different.

To send somebody a ticket as a gift, select ‘Buy this ticket as a Gift’ before confirming purchase. You can then enter their account email address and they will be sent an email explaining how to claim it on their device.

A 12 digit code is also generated, which you can share with the gift recipient.

How do I Redeem a Gifted Ticket?

You need to have an account to be able to redeem a ticket. Create an account, if you do not already have one.

To redeem a gift code you have been sent:

  • Tap Mobile Tickets
  • Tap Redeem a Gift Code
  • Enter the gift code you have been sent
  • The ticket will appear on your device

I Gifted Myself A Ticket by Mistake, What Can I do?

Don’t panic! You can retrieve the ticket by:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Gifted tickets
  • Copy the gift code or write it down
  • Tap Mobile Tickets
  • Tap Redeem a Gift Code
  • Enter the gift code you have been sent
  • The ticket will appear on your device

What Happens if my Battery Dies?

It is your responsibility to ensure the battery on your device is charged so that you can show a valid ticket to board. If you cannot show an active ticket, you will need to pay for your journey on the bus. NCT will not reimburse these additional costs.  

Why has my Account been Suspended?

To prevent customers from sharing active tickets across multiple devices, the app keeps a record of all log-ins by device.

If it detects more than one login within a 24 hour period whilst an active ticket is present, an 8 hour suspension will automatically apply and you will not be able to use your tickets. NCT will not reimburse any additional costs as a result of an account being suspended.

We therefore recommend you stay logged in on your device at all times and use one device.

If there is an emergency situation where you need to use a second device and you are suspended, please contact us by calling 0115 950 60 70, emailing [email protected] or through our social media platforms, where we consideration can be given to over-turning the suspension.

Why has my Account been Blocked?

This happens when a transaction is reported to the bank as being fraudulent by the cardholder or we are notified by our payment provider that there is suspicious activity on an account. To prevent any further transactions being made, accounts are blocked indefinitely in these circumstances. 

Can I obtain a Refund on a Mobile Ticket?

Yes, in accordance with our Refund Policy for Tickets and Passes, which is available here.

I’ve Purchased a Ticket, But it’s not Showing?

There are three common causes for this:

  1. You’ve accidentally purchased the ticket as a gift – see “I gifted myself a ticket by mistake, what can I do?”
  1. The transaction hasn’t been successful.

This is usually because the details entered at the time of purchase don’t match the details registered with the card issuer. Check all of the details are correct and try again.

Some card issuers still show these declined transactions on a statement and they will either delete them or credit back the money to the account. As NCT has not received this money, we are unable to speed up this process and it is dependent on your card issuer.

  1. Device Settings

Please ensure your device is set to the correct date and time.

I use Google Pay and the Transaction has Failed, but my Postcode is Correct. What has Happened?

This issue has arisen following the introduction of new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations.

SCA is the new European regulatory requirement recognising the need to authenticate the identity of users during transactions and banking activities in order to:

  • Reduce the cost of processing fraudulent transactions
  • Reduce the potential for online fraud
  • Comply with international regulations
  • Increase cardholder confidence in using online services.

To comply with the SCA regulations, there are increased security checks in the background when payments are taken in the app and on some occasions, the bank may request additional information. We have no control over these bank requests and you may see a window pop up on your device to enter additional information.

For Google Pay customers, some transactions are failing SCA because of postcode mismatch. Whilst the postcode may be correct in the app, the postcode that is used for SCA is the one in your Google Pay account settings. In some instances, we have discovered that customers who did not enter or update a postcode when they created their Google Pay account have had their account default to their bank’s postcode.

As this postcode doesn’t match, the transaction fails. This transaction will move to the pending state and then the money is returned by our payment provider immediately, but due to the way banks process them, it can take up to 10 business days to be returned to your account.

Please check and update your postcode in Google Pay account settings. If the money has not returned to your account within 10 business days, you need to contact your bank or card issuer.

How do Discount Codes Work?

If you have a Discount Code, this needs to be added at the Checkout before you press Buy Ticket. Click "Add a Discount Code", enter the code and then click Apply. Discount Codes cannot be retrospectively applied and a refund of the difference between the normal price and discounted price is not available. 

Why Have You Introduced QR Codes on Tickets?

QR codes provide a number of benefits:

  • They allow us to check when a ticket was last used, which helps when processing customer refunds
  • They improve the data we receive on usage, which helps us to plan services (personal data is anonymised)
  • They minimise fraudulent use of mobile tickets, which keeps fares down

My Ticket with a QR Code Was Rejected, Why?

The most common reasons are:

  • You are attempting to use your ticket outside the boundary or zone it is valid
  • You are using an expired QR code or a screenshot of a QR code on your mobile device
  • Your ticket has recently been presented on a bus and "passback" has been initiated 

If your ticket is rejected, you will need to purchase a new ticket in the NCTX Buses App or use an alternative way to pay, such as contactless.

The QR Code on my Ticket Won’t Read, What Can I Do?

If the reader cannot pick up a QR code, ensure your screen is set to the maximum brightness. If this does not resolve this issue, show the ticket to the driver to verify your ticket manually. 

My Phone is Cracked or Smashed, What Can I Do?

You are responsible for presenting a ticket which can be validated and you should repair or replace your phone, if possible.

Where there is slight damage to the screen, show the ticket to the driver to verify your ticket manually.