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23.07.14

TfL rail services to introduce contactless fares in September

Transport for London’s (TfL) contactless payment service system is to go live across all the capital’s transport systems from September, much later than originally intended.

Contactless fares, also known as Wave&Pay, were first introduced on the bus network in 2012 and, having proved popular with passengers, will be rolled out to Tube, DLR, London Overground and certain National Rail service commuters on 16 September.

From that date passengers will be able travel by simply tapping their contactless enabled card on the Oyster reader, ending the need to queue to top-up and maintain a separate card balance.

Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience, said: “Offering the option of contactless payments will make it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for their travel, freeing them of the need to top up Oyster credit and helping them get on board without delay.

“The pilot has been a success, with participants giving us really useful feedback. This is the latest step in making life easier for our customers by using modern technology to offer the best service possible.”

In our interview with Verma in February 2013, he told us the contactless go-live date on the Tube, DLR and Overground would be “before the end of 2013”, which itself was a delay based on the original estimates.

From September, however, another big change is that when customers choose to pay using a contactless method, the system will offer Oyster-like daily and weekly fare capping. However, TfL has stated that Oyster cards will continue to still work for whoever wants to use them.

TfL added that the new system, which has undergone extensive trailing in recent months with the help of 3,000 volunteers, will ensure passengers are always charged the best value fares for their trips.

In addition, until the official go-live dates, trialists will continue to use the system to ensure TfL continues to receive their feedback about the robustness of the payment method.

Other mass transit systems around the UK, including the Manchester Metrolink, are also planning to introduce contactless fares.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Chris Shoukry   30/07/2014 at 10:31

TfL should be praised not criticised for delaying the general introduction of the contactless bank card facility until they are sure that all initial glitches are sorted and that live use by customers has given sufficient feedback to make the mass introduction smooth for customers. i work in the ICT/AFT space and time and time again i see the introduction of AFC and other ICT systems before they are really in a fit state to be used in a business as usual and then problems ensuing for users. TfL has always taken a customer centric approach in giving a long trial use lead in time before general introduction - viz the success of the current Oyster system - good for you TfL - look forward to the general launch shortly

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