Monday, 3 September 2018

First ticketing app fails in both rush hours ... NATIONWIDE!

There was chaos today as First's mTicket app failed at the height of both rush hours today. The nationwide outage meant that passengers who had already bought tickets on their mobile were unable to access them in order to use them for travel.

The problem was first reported by First's Twitter feed, which you can always find in the right hand panel on the desktop version of this blog, along with Twitter feeds from all bus operators in our region, at 0740:

No advice for passengers who had paid for tickets on their phone, which they now could not use. I expect Alex was too busy copying and pasting the same message to all of First's other regional Twitter feeds:

At the time I was attempting to get to the day job in Manchester. When the app failed, it gave an error message that insisted the problem was either with my phone or my data connection. I had a few minutes before it was due, so I restarted my phone. As it was restarting, my bus went past, 3 minutes ahead of schedule (a separate issue - and with no warning of such from the live departures app I use). Still believing it was an issue with my phone, I tried the app again. Same message. Then I looked on Twitter:

Again, no advice on what affected passengers should do. I had no cash on me and contactless has not yet been rolled out here, so I gave up, jumped in the car and drove to the nearest park & ride tram stop. Across the country, many thousands of people must have either found another way or just abandoned their journey.

This palaver lasted for the whole rush hour, with the all clear only being given by First at 0948:

Something wasn't right though, because in the evening rush hour, the same thing happened again:

This outage lasted from just before 1722 (we have to assume passengers were being affected and refused travel for several minutes before First admitted the problem on Twitter) right through until...

2015, long after rush hour had ended! As the first weekday after the school holidays, many people will have been trying the bus for the first time - and will have been put off for good by this fiasco.

I'm not hopeful for tomorrow.

Were you affected? Have you experienced something similar with other operators and how did they manage the situation? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Brighton and Hove have had a similar issue with their app both yesterday and again this morning. Apparently drivers are being told to let passengers on who would have a ticket on their phone, but as always, some drivers do and others argue the point.

  2. I think this post demonstrates how anti-FirstBus this blog is....this is hardly news, and as mentioned above it has occurred with other companies too

  3. I am so glad this has happened, it proves my point to many a young idiot that technology shouldn't replace cash! As for contactless, unless some techno geek comes up with a way that makes cards totally fraud proof and so robust they never fail or break down, I'll NEVER use one! How many fools said contactless was safer than chip and pin? How many fools said chip and pin was safer than carrying cash? It didn't take long at all for both types of technology to be conquered by criminals, for those who don't know, criminals have developed an APP that can scan a contactless card in a wallet in someones pocket and can quickly rob from it using the same app! You won't even know you've been robbed until you next check your balance. At least with cash, you can break fingers like I once did, or put the higher value cash somewhere really safe like your shoe.

    1. People can break into your house and steal any cash you might have lying around. How are you going to prove it was there? At least with cards/contactless/apps etc there is a paper chain and a much higher chance of getting it back!

  4. I agree with Anon at 0834: This wasn't First's fault at all! It was their supplier Corethree who developed the app and provides the server infrastructure for it to work. Corethree suffered a server outage which means that they couldn't cope with the increased loads at peak times.

    Arriva also saw outages with their app a couple of days ago:

    In terms of First's comms about this: First would have been relying on the information Corethree gave them about when it was resolved, whether it would affect evening peak etc.

    Corethree provide apps and infrastructure for several Go-Ahead companies, Arriva, First and several other smaller operators.

    As for Anon at 0843, and the "young idiots" who use such technology, we're not idiots at all. All technology is fallable, it's no reason to abandon it! In these circumstances drivers would have been told to use their common sense and let passengers travel for free. First are also offering full refunds to anyone who did have to purchase another ticket.

    1. After all, what actual loss would First suffer from doing that? They got zilch from enforced non riders.

      It seems also to be good publicity, and a bus actually carrying pax is a better image especially for authorities wishing to make cuts.

      Could corporate First ever think so?