London’s successful adoption of contactless fares reached an important milestone today with the news that half of all Tube and rail pay as you go journeys in the capital are now made using the technology.
First launched in 2012 on buses and extended to Tube and rail services in Summer 2014, contactless allows commuters to travel using debit and credit cards as well as virtual wallet services, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, which now account for around one in eight contactless journeys.
Figures released by Transport for London show that more than 17 million contactless pay as you go journeys are now made using contactless each week, with more than 1.7 billion journeys made since launch.
Some Tube stations are routinely seeing more than 60 per cent of all pay as you go journeys made using contactless, and the technology routinely accounts for around 45 per cent of all pay as you go fares on the tram and bus network.
Designed and built in-house by TfL, the contactless system automatically calculates the lowest fare for the customer’s total journeys throughout the day, billing them a single fare at the end of the day. Fares are also capped throughout the week, ensuring passengers get maximum value without having to buying a travelcard.
And, unlike Oyster there’s no need for passengers to manage a separate card, making it quicker and easier to travel.
Cities around the world, including New York and Boston, are now looking to mimic London’s success and are using portions of TfL’s in-house code to upgrade and modernise their fares systems thanks to a deal with payment solutions provider Cubic Transportation Systems worth up to $15m to the London taxpayer.
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said: “Contactless ticketing has made travelling in and around London and the South East by bus, Tube or rail quick, convenient and affordable.
“We’re delighted with how popular this innovation has become and, with the future extension of this technology across the Elizabeth line, even more customers will benefit in the future.
“We are also now working with other world cities to share our experience and knowledge to help them introduce a similar ticketing system in the coming years.”
Richard Koch, Director of Cards at UK Finance, said: “Contactless payments have transformed public transport in the capital, making millions of journeys each week quicker and easier.
“Passengers no longer have to waste time queuing for paper tickets and can enjoy the benefit of weekly capped fares.
“Building on this success, UK Finance has developed the contactless transit Framework to support the expansion of contactless ticketing to cities and bus routes across the country.”
Steve Chambers from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Cashless ticketing is a simple, effective, way for commuters to pay for their journey while making travelling across London’s transport networks easier and more flexible.
“The rise in the number of people making contactless payments proves that if people are offered multiple ways to pay for their ticket they will use them, which is a good thing.
“We are also pleased to see the Oyster card gaining all the features of contactless later this year, bringing more benefit to London’s commuters.”