London buses go contactless

London bus passengers are now able to pay for journeys using contactless payments cards, Transport for London announced today.

TfL said that the Oyster card readers on its 8,500 buses now enable passengers to pay for single fares using Near-Field Communication (NFC)-enabled contactless debit, credit or charge cards.

The new payment option means travellers can pay for bus journeys using an American Express, MasterCard or Visa Europe contactless payment card instead of cash or a pre-paid Oyster travel card.

Passengers will be charged the same amount as if they were using an Oyster card, TfL said. However, the daily price cap, which means Oyster users will never been charged above a certain amount, will not be applied, it said.

The contactless card payment option will be extended to the London Underground, DLR, London overground and trams with daily and weekly price capping by the end of 2013, TfL said. It is also in discussions with local train operators.

MasterCard UK and Ireland president Marion King said travellers will be able to pay for bus journeys using an NFC-enabled mobile phone with its PayPass payment app from 2013. “This is another milestone towards a world beyond cash as people have even more opportunities to use contactless payments,” King said.

In 2011, the London Assembly’s Transport Committee report The Future of Ticketing highlighted how people on lower incomes must not be disadvantaged by TfL’s ‘Wave and Pay’ contactless payment fares due to an estimated one in five Londoners not having access to a bank card.

“Recommendations from the London Assembly’s Transport Committee included ensuring Oyster Card passengers are not made to pay more than those using ‘Wave and Pay’, good customer support is put in place and there are tight security controls over payment information,” said Caroline Pidgeon, chair of London Assembly’s Transport Committee.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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