Contactless payment introduced on London buses

Bus passengers in London can now use a contactless debit, credit or charge card to pay for their journey, Transport for London (TfL) announced today.

To use contactless payment, passengers can touch their payment card on the yellow Oyster card reader and pay the single Oyster fare on any of London’s 8,500 buses.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed the new technology and said it means that people can avoid having to search for change and also benefit from the Oyster fare discount.

According to TfL, London’s transport authority, more than 85,000 bus journeys in the capital each day are still paid for using cash. The single fare costs GBP2.30 when paying by cash, which is much higher than the GBP1.35 Oyster fare. Moreover, at least 500 people every day try to pay their fare with a high denomination note for which the bus driver does not have change.

Initially this new payment method will only be available on London’s buses and daily price caps will not be applied, but by the end of next year contactless payment will be extended to cover travel on the London Underground, Docklands Light Rail, London Overground and trams. Daily and weekly price capping will be included at this stage, TfL said.

The authority is also in talks with the train operating companies that serve London about the possibility of accepting contactless payment cards on National Rail services where Oyster is currently accepted.

Contactless enabled cards are currently issued by a number of UK banks. The technology allows users to safely make a fast payment for goods or services costing GBP20 or less without entering a PIN.