More than one billion pay as you go London bus, Tube and rail journeys were paid for by contactless debit and credit cards over the past five years according to new figures published today by Transport for London.
Contactless fares were first introduced on the capital’s bus fleet in 2012 and were extended to DLR, Overground, Tube and national rail services in 2014, since when millions of passengers have ditched their Oyster cards and paper tickets and embraced the technology.
Designed in-house by TfL, the contactless system automatically calculates the cheapest fare based on a passenger’s travel throughout the day and even offers weekly capping for regular travellers.
Today’s figures reveal that an average of two million journeys are made using contactless every day and that the payment method now accounts for 40 per cent of all pay as you go journeys – up from 25 per cent in early 2016.
As well as contactless cards, passengers can also use popular mobile services including Google Wallet and Apple Pay to pay for their trip.
TfL says almost one in 10 contactless transactions are now made using mobile devices and that more than 31 million journeys were made using mobile phones in the last 12 months.
As well as proving a hit with London passengers and visitors to the capital, the system has caught the eye of other world cities which are looking to mimic London’s success.
This has prompted Cubic Transportation Systems, a major provider of fares systems, to licence TfL’s software in a deal which will net taxpayers up to £15m. The firm is currently in talks with transit authorities in Sydney and Miami to deploy the system on their networks.
The Cubic deal makes TfL’s system one of the most commercially successful public IT projects in Britain.
Shashi Verma, TfL’s Chief Technology Officer and the driving force behind the system’s development, said: “Contactless payments have completely transformed the way people pay for travel in London and it’s great to see more than 1 billion journeys now made across the capital’s transport network.
“Our contactless technology is now making it easier for people to travel around the city, whether it’s for work, leisure or to visit friends and family.
“We’re committed to continue developing and expanding the system where we can to make it even more convenient for anyone visiting London.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan added: “London continues to lead the way in terms of contactless payment around the world, and the money we make selling TfL’s innovation and expertise to other major global cities will allow us to put further money into improving London’s own transport network.”