Londoners and visitors to the British capital have embraced the contactless way to pay, with more than 17 million pay as you go journeys on bus, Tube and rail services made a week using the technology according to the latest figures from Transport for London (TfL). This total equates to around half of all pay as you go journeys now being made using contactless payment cards or mobile devices.
And this number will only increase with work now underway to introduce pay as you go along the Elizabeth line, starting with TfL Rail services to Heathrow from May 2018, and expanding to Reading in December 2019. Whilst the experience of this roll-out will be shared globally with TfL and Cubic now supporting introduction of contactless ticketing in New York, Boston and Sydney - modelled on London’s system - following successful licensing deals.
Contactless payment methods, which launched on buses in London in December 2012 and across Tube and rail services in London in September 2014, have now enabled more than 1.7 billion journeys showing how Londoners and visitors have taken to using contactless payments as part of their daily life.
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL ( @TfL ) stated at the release of the figures: “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.”
The number of journeys made in London using contactless has risen from around 25 per cent just two years ago. Contactless journeys made using mobile devices continue to increase, with around one in eight contactless journeys in London now being made using a mobile phone or smart device.
Whilst on buses and trams, the use of contactless is also increasing rapidly - with around 45 per cent of all pay as you go journeys now being made using contactless.
Other key figures released today by TfL include:
- While half of all pay as you go journeys across London are now made using contactless payments, a number of stations, including Blackfriars, Shoreditch High Street, Canary Wharf and Clapham Common, are consistently seeing more that 60 per cent of all pay as you go journeys made using contactless. Close to half a million contactless pay as you go journeys are made from Oxford Circus every week – the equivalent of 50 cards touching in every minute.
- On the London bus network, the most popular bus route for using contactless is the route 521 from Waterloo station to London Bridge station via Holborn, which regularly sees more than 60 per cent of all pay as you go journeys being made using contactless.
- London’s airports where pay as you go is accepted continue to see a growing proportion of contactless journeys made from both UK and overseas customers. More than 35 per cent of pay as you go journeys from Heathrow airport, more than 40 per cent of pay as you go journeys from London City Airport and more than 55 per cent of pay as you go journeys from Gatwick airport towards London are now made using contactless.
TfL’s contactless ticketing system automatically calculates the best value fare based on the customer's specific journey history and then charges them at the end of the day - ensuring customers always pay the best fare in the easiest and most convenient way. This means that customers could save money compared to buying a one day Travelcard, helping them to travel around London more affordably.
Customers using contactless also benefit from weekly capping, which will be expanded to Oyster card users later this year, as well as the Hopper fare, which allows bus and tram customers to make unlimited journeys within an hour for the price of one.
The success of contactless in London is now leading to more world cities introducing the technology as a convenient method of paying for travel. In 2016 TfL signed a deal worth up to £15m with Cubic Transportation Systems ( @CubicTS ) , allowing them to adapt the capital's contactless ticketing system worldwide. Since then, New York, Sydney, Miami and Boston have all announced that they plan to introduce contactless payments in the coming years. From May 2018, pay as you go will also be extended to cover TfL Rail services between Heathrow airport and Paddington station, and will also cover the entire Elizabeth line when it launches from December 2018.
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