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by James Scannell

Half of all Tube and rail pay-as-you-go journeys across London UK using contactless payments

Nearly half of all London’s Tube and rail pay-as-you-go journeys are now regularly made using contactless payment cards or mobile devices, according to Transport for London (TfL).

The convenient payment method, which was launched on buses in London in December 2012 and across Tube and rail services in September 2014, is now being used to make around 17 million journeys a week across London. Since launched, more than 1.7 billion journeys have been made across the capital, showing how Londoners and visitors have taken to using contactless payments as part of their daily life. On buses and trams, the use of contactless is also increasing rapidly, with around 45% of all pay-as-you-go journeys now being made using contactless.

While half of all pay-as-you-go journeys across London are now made using contactless payments, a number of stations, including Blackfriars, Shoreditch High Street, Canary Wharf, and Clapham Common, are consistently seeing more that 60% of all pay-as-you-go journeys made using contactless. Close to half-a-million contactless pay-as-you-go journeys are made from Oxford Circus every week - the equivalent of 50 cards touching in every minute.

Contactless journeys made using mobile devices continue to increase, with around one in eight contactless journeys in London now being made using a mobile phone or smart device.

On the London bus network, the most popular bus route for using contactless is the route 521 from Waterloo station to London Bridge station via Holborn, which regularly sees more than 60% of all pay-as-you-go journeys being made using contactless.

London’s airports where pay-as-you-go is accepted continue to see a growing proportion of contactless journeys made from both UK and overseas customers. More than 35% of pay-as-you-go journeys from Heathrow airport, more than 40% of pay-as-you-go journeys from London City Airport and more than 55% of pay-as-you-go journeys from Gatwick airport towards London are now made using contactless.

TfL’s contactless ticketing system automatically calculates the best value fare based on the customer’s specific journey history and then charges them at the end of the day, ensuring customers always pay the best fare in the easiest and most convenient way. This means that customers could save money compared to buying a one-day Travelcard, helping them to travel around London more affordably. Customers using contactless also benefit from weekly capping, which will be expanded to Oyster card users later this year, as well as the Hopper fare, which allows bus and tram customers to make unlimited journeys within an hour for the price of one.

The success of contactless in London is now leading to more world cities introducing the technology as a convenient method of paying for travel. In 2016 TfL signed a deal worth up to £15m with Cubic Transportation Systems, allowing them to adapt the capital’s contactless ticketing system worldwide. Since then, New York, Sydney, Miami, and Boston have all announced that they plan to introduce contactless payments in the coming years. (Editor’s note: also see The Roundhouse, page 7.) From May this year, pay-as-you-go will also be extended to cover TfL Rail services between Heathrow airport and Paddington station, and will also cover the entire Elizabeth line when it launches in December..

Manchester UK Deputy Mayor and Travelsafe Partnership reassure public on safety of transport network

As part of the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP), Transport for Greater Manchester is working with the Mayor for Policing and Crime, Bev Hughes, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to reassure the public on the safety of the city-region’s travel network, following a number of serious crimes and incidents of antisocial behavior in areas along the route of the Rochdale via Oldham Metrolink line. GMP is providing extra patrols in areas where the incidents have occurred, and at the same time, the TSP continues to bolster its team including Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), TravelSafe Officers, Inspectors and Sergeants.

In addition, the security of the transport network has been boosted through the expansion to 24/7 operation of its control centre based at TfGM HQ at 2 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, which has access to CCTV footage from across the Greater Manchester road network, park-and-ride sites, bus stations and Metrolink stops. The 24-hour control centre operation will also support greater reliability on the transport network as one of the key measures from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Congestion Deal.

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Revised: May 2018