Merseyrail introduces contactless payments

Merseyrail introduces contactless payments

Merseyrail will this week become the first UK rail operator to roll out contactless payments across its network, although travellers will still need a paper ticket.

Customers at all of the network's stations will be able to pay for journeys worth up to £20 by tapping their contactless cards or devices against readers at manned ticket booths.

With 98% of Merseyrail customer transactions under £20, MasterCard, which has worked with the operator on the project, says that the technology will make paying for journeys quicker and more convenient.

However, customers will not, initially, be able to pay for their tickets with a contactless card at self-service machines and there are no plans to bring in a London-style pay-at-the-gate option.

Anouska Ladds, head of travel, transit and leisure at MasterCard says that cloning London is not practical in Liverpool and that this week's development is the first step in an evolutionary process away from old fashioned ticketing.

Liverpool is also only the first of several UK cities set to introduce contactless payments in some form in the near future. Within 18 months, MasterCard expects the technology to be in use at all transport authorities.

Marion King, president, UK and Ireland, MasterCard, says: "Merseyrail is the most intensively used rail network outside of London and this partnership is the first step in our ambition to offer all transit networks in the UK safe, secure and more convenient ways to pay for their travel in a world beyond cash."

Ladds has also played down contactless payments security fears in the wake of recent research from the University of Surrey which found that data could be picked up from as far away as 80 centimetres. She insists that the technology is safe and says that MasterCard is working with other industry players to educate the public on the issue.

Meanwhile, in London new figures show that around five million journeys on the capital's buses have been paid for using contactless cards since the option was introduced last December. This falls well short of the 23 million which TfL predicted for the first year of wave and pay in its initial business case.

The body hopes to see uptake soar next year when it finally extends contactless to the underground, overground, DLR and trams. Initially due to have been rolled out this year, the technology will finally arrive sometime in the next 12 months, TfL says, with pilots beginning in the next few weeks.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 November, 2013, 09:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes I guess the article is saying "you can buy a sub-£20 paper ticket using a contactless bank card". I wonder why that is restricted to MANNED ticket offices only...