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Contactless payments take off on London Underground

London Underground sign

If you’ve visited London recently you’d know it’s no longer necessary to purchase a travel ticket for the tube. Since the introduction of contactless payment, you just tap your debit card at the turnstile and off you go.

It’s all very clever, at the end of the day Transport for London (TFL) automatically calculates the best fare for your journey across the day and bills accordingly.

Half of all tube and rail pay-as-you-go journeys across the capital are now made using contactless payments, according to figures from TFL, a 25 per cent rise on the total two years ago.

On buses and trams, the use of contactless is also on the rise, with 45 per cent of all pay-as-you-go journeys made using the payment method.

Contactless launched on buses in London back in December 2012 and then across Tube and rail services in September 2014. It is now used to make around 17m journeys each week across the capital.

Contactless journeys made using mobile devices are also on the increase with around one in eight in London made using a mobile phone or device such as a smart watch.

TfL’s  success has also drawn attention from other world cities, and in 2016 the transport body signed a deal worth up to £15m with Cubic Transportation Systems, for the capital’s contactless ticketing system to be adapted across the world.

New York, Sydney, Miami and Boston have since announced plans to introduce contactless payments in the coming years.

Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL said: ‘Contactless ticketing has made travelling in and around London and the South East by bus, Tube or rail quick, convenient and affordable.

‘We’re delighted with how popular this innovation has become and, with the future extension of this technology across the Elizabeth Line, even more customers will benefit in the future. We are also now working with other world cities to share our experience and knowledge to help them introduce a similar ticketing system in the coming years.’

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