One million bus journeys in London have now been paid for using a contactless debit, credit or charge card. This is an encouraging sign to Transport for London (TfL) that Londoners are keen to make the most of this easy and convenient way to pay for their travel.
In the four months since the launch of contactless payments on buses on 13 December 2012 the number of people using their contactless payment card has continued to rise each week. From 2,061 people making 2,586 journeys paid for on their contactless payment card on the first day in December, up to 10,000 people are now making as many as 16,000 journeys each day.
The option of paying a bus fare using a contactless payment card means that instead of fumbling for change or finding their Oyster card has run out of credit, bus passengers are able to use the contactless payment card they already have in their pocket to pay their fare. It is part of TfL's focus on improving customers' experience of travelling in the capital.
Around 1,000 new contactless payment cards are touched on to the readers on London's 8,500 buses each day, indicating that it isn't just the same people each week who are choosing the convenience of paying their fares this way. The take-up is encouraging as plans progress for the roll out of contactless payments on to the Tube, DLR, London Overground and trams at the end of the year. Daily price capping does not apply to current bus users of contactless payment cards, but once the technology is rolled out to the wider transport network daily and weekly price capping will be introduced.
Shashi Verma, TfL's Director of Customer Experience, said: "Paying for a bus fare should be as easy as buying a sandwich. Enabling customers to use their contactless payment card on the buses removes the inconvenience of needing to top up an Oyster card or dig around for cash before making a journey. It is fantastic that we've already seen a million bus journeys made using a contactless payment cards and it's a great sign that our customers are keen to benefit from this technology. We are now working hard to roll contactless payments out to the rest of the transport network."
Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President at Visa Europe, said: ""Today's milestone is further validation that contactless payment is a convenience consumers really appreciate. We're seeing a corresponding growth in the use of contactless cards across the UK; £33 million was spent on Visa contactless cards in February, and the number of transactions has grown by 25 per cent in the last quarter to reach 4.5 million every month."
The top five bus routes for contactless payments over the last eight weeks have been route 38 from Clapton Pond to Victoria, route 73 from Victoria to Stoke Newington, route 55 from Leyton to Oxford Circus, route 243 from Wood Green to Waterloo and route 149 from Edmonton Green to London Bridge.
The top five bus stops where passengers have boarded and touched in with their contactless payment card over the last eight weeks have been London Bridge/Duke Street Hill, Angel Station/Duncan Street, Tottenham Court Road Station/New Oxford Street, King's Cross Station/Euston Road and Shoreditch High Street/Bethnal Green Road.