Transport for London (TfL) is poised to make the current ticketing systems as redundant. Passengers can now travel using contactless payment cards across Underground and most of the other London transport. This will also curb the use of Oyster smartcards which was popular earlier among passengers.
Nearly 50% of London’s population already has contactless debit or credit cards which can conduct transactions under £20 without the need for PIN number or signature. Contactless payments have been in use in London buses since December 2012. Cash payments were abolished in July 2012 which saved TfL £20m-£30m annually. There are currently about 70,000 contactless payments being made on buses in a day.
Passengers who use own contactless cards would not have to pay more than a travelcard user. Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, said: "Accepting contactless payments on transport in London is a fantastic achievement for our city – it provides our customers with the most convenient way to pay for their travel and highlights the capital's position as a world leader in transport ticketing, technology and customer service. Oyster will continue to be available, with contactless payments being another option that lets our customers travel without the need to top up Oyster credit."
TfL's move could boost the takeup of contactless payments in other domains as well besides transport.
Richard Sanders, payments expert at ACI Worldwide, commented: "A big transport network like TfL taking this step does suggest transport is the much-vaunted 'killer application' for contactless payments. The gradual removal of Oyster will reduce paper tickets and cash handling, thus resulting in potentially huge savings. Contactless payments are also more secure and will improve correct fare collection. More importantly, it will give TfL improved data on transport usage and will help to schedule trains, buses and tubes more efficiently."