Photo of a customer using their UNIBUS key card on a bus

theKey smartcard is one way of buying your bus tickets safely and securely online. Once you have topped up, it will only take 3 hours for your online bus ticket to load and then your Key card is ready for use on the bus. However, if you want your ticket to be available instantly, why not switch to our mobile app where your phone becomes your ticket and they are available to use immediately?

If you've registered your Key, we will be able to replace your card and any tickets on it if gets lost, stolen or damaged. Replacement charges may apply.

Already got a registered Key card? Top up now.

How theKey works

Simply follow the steps below to get your Key, load your bus tickets and travel with ease! 

  1. Order your Key online
  2. Allow 2 working days for your key to arrive in the post 
  3. Login online and purchase your preferred bus tickets
  4. Wait 3 hours for your online bus ticket to load onto your Key card
  5. Hold theKey for 5 seconds on the bus ticket machine to activate for the first time, anytime thereafter just wait for the green light!
  6. Enjoy travelling and saving money with theKey!

Bus tickets available on theKey

You can buy 10 trip tickets or the UNIBUS annual pass on theKey. 

Take a look at our university students and staff fares and our everyone else fares to see which tickets are available on theKey.

Got an unregistered Key card?

Make sure you register your details to your Key so that you can top-up online. This also ensures that should your Key get lost, stolen or damaged, we can transfer any remaining bus tickets onto a replacement card.

Keep me, don't bin me!

Please look after your Key and don’t throw it away. You can use the same Key card time and time again. Your first Key is free, but you may be charged up to £5 for every additional card.

Live departure times

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Timetables & Maps

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