TfL celebrates 6.5 million contactless bus journeys in first year of operation

TfL celebrates 6.5 million contactless bus journeys in first year of operation

Transport for London is celebrating a successful one-year anniversary of the use of contactless payments cards on the capital's buses, as it prepares to extend the technology to the entire transit network in 2014.

Since it was launched on Thursday 13 December 2012 when 2,061 customers made 2,586 journeys, more than 6.5 million journeys have now been made using an American Express, MasterCard or Visa Europe contactless payment card.

Usage continues to rise strongly, says TfL, and now an average of around 33,000 bus journeys a day are paid for using the debit, credit or charge cards, with approximately 1300 new cards tapping to pay each day.

The strong uptake has prompted Transport for London to open a public consultation on proposals to remove the option to pay by cash on all bus services in the capital in 2014.

Acceptance on London Underground, London Overground, DLR and trams will launch next year when London will become the first city in the world to fully integrate contactless payment cards into the fare system.

Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, says: "Each week we are setting a new record for usage which gives us great confidence for when we launch on the rest of the network and make contactless fully integrated next year."

He says there have been no technical issues regarding the deployment, although TfL has had to engage in a widespread publicity campaign to educate passengers about presenting their Oyster or contactless payment cards separately in order to ensure the right card is charged for the journey.

Since launch refunds requests for the incorrect card being charged have averaged less than three per day, out of around 4 million daily bus journeys paid for on Oyster, says Verma.

A controlled pilot on London Underground, London Overground, DLR and trams will take place over the next few months to test the system, he says, including additional customer messages, to rectify any operational issues before the full launch.

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