London transport to be accessed by simple card swipe

PASSENGERS will be able to access London transport with just a swipe of their bank or credit card from 2012.

Transport for London is upgrading all card readers so that a touch of a contactless bank or credit card will allow passengers to touch in and out for Pay as You Go travel.

The system will apply to the bus, Tube, DLR, Tram and London Overground network and will be operational by the end of next year.

Oyster cards will continue to be accepted but the new system will allow anyone with Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards to swipe their way onto public transport.

Customers will be able to touch in with their contactless credit and debit cards in the same way that they can today to make low value purchases in many coffee shops and other retail outlets.

They will then be charged directly from their bank or credit card account and will not have to go out of their way or queue to top up Pay as You Go credit balances.

The system is believed to be the first of its kind in the world and could later be rolled out to include the London rail network currently served by Oyster.

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Will Judge, TfL’s Head of Future Ticketing, said: “We are leading the way globally with this project, and with over twelve million contactless debit and credit cards already in circulation in the UK, we are confident that this payment option will be widely adopted in the coming years, either as an alternative to Oyster or as a back up for when the Oyster card is left at home.

“As more people use their bank issued cards to pay for their travel directly, TfL’s costs will reduce, delivering better value for money for London’s fare and taxpayers.”

The upgrade of Oyster card readers will begin this year, with London’s 8,000 buses to be installed with the technology in time for the 2012 Olympics.

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