Wireless network operator Everything Everywhere and transport firm StageCoach have begun piloting mobile contactless ticketing on Cambridge buses.
Everything Everywhere is providing trial participants with Orange handsets incorporating its Quick Tap NFC technology and a specially-designed mobile app.
Users can travel on Stagecoach buses across Cambridgeshire including the Cambridge Park & Ride and Guided Busway services by tapping their handsets on readers.
The pilot - the first commercial mobile contactless ticketing trial to use the government's ITSO standard for smart ticketing - will be evaluated ahead of a potential nationwide roll-out next year.
The government is pushing the use of the ITSO standard in a bid to make smart ticketing the norm for most public transport journeys by the end of 2014. In 2009 it committed £20 million to a transport e-ticketing programme to make England's nine major urban areas paperless within five years.
Gerry McQuade, chief marketing officer, Everything Everywhere, says: "As Britain's biggest communication company, we're proud to be working with Stagecoach to help bring public transport ticketing into the 21st century and start a trend towards a future where ultimately the traditional paper and card tickets of today will eventually become a thing of the past."