Cubic in the driving seat as 8,500 London Buses enabled for contactless payment

17 December 2012  •  Source: HA Media Global

Cubic Transportation Systems, Transport for London’s (TfL’s) partner for ticketing, gating and revenue management, is celebrating a major milestone in an ambitious project to enable the city’s entire transport network to accept payment via contactless debit and credit cards.

The co-operation between TfL and Cubic means that passengers travelling by bus in London have the option of paying their fare with their contactless debit, credit or charge card by simply presenting it to one of the card readers on the bus.

The new scheme requires no pre-registration and provides a useful and alternative means of payment for individual bus journeys while still attracting the same low fare previously only available with the Oyster card. This means cash fare payers, or Oyster card holders who find themselves temporarily with an insufficient Oyster balance, can opt for using their contactless debit, credit or charge cards.

Contactless bank cards are increasing in popularity and prevalence as a convenient means of paying for everyday items quickly and securely. As more people are issued contactless cards, the numbers who may want to use them for their travel payments will rise.

Prior to the launch on December 13, each of London’s 8,500 buses was equipped with a contactless-enabled reader, developed by Cubic in conjunction with TfL and compatible with all contactless bank cards as well as London’s Oyster smart card.

“The simplicity of the technology from the passenger’s perspective belies just what an achievement this is,” comments Roger Crow, managing director, European Operations, for Cubic Transportation Systems. “This is the world’s first pay as you go contactless scheme for transport that allows passengers to use credit, debit or charge cards – other schemes are operating but on a pre-pay model – and it’s by far the largest. Equipping London’s entire bus fleet with contactless payment facilities has been a major logistical exercise in itself,” he says. “At a technical level, we’ve engaged with banks and standards organizations to ensure that the system is compatible, compliant and secure across the board.”

London Buses operate a flat fare policy, making them the ideal candidate for the first stage of contactless deployment. Plans include rollout to other modes of transport on the TfL network with more complex fare structures, including Tube, tram, Docklands Light Railway, and London Overground.

Steve Shewmaker, president of Cubic Transportation Systems, said, “This puts TfL firmly at the forefront of the worldwide move towards the acceptance of contactless open payments for transport, with London on course to being the first city to operate an open payment system across its entire network. We’re delighted to have played our part thus far and look forward to working with TfL to continue the rollout next year.”

Further information on the launch is available from the Transport for London website.

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