Contactless travel: here today, more tomorrow
Mike Tuckett, Head of Customer Payments at Transport for London, tells Intelligent Transport how payment habits have changed during the last 12 months, and how cross‑network contactless travel could become a reality for the UK.
What does contactless mean at this moment in time for TfL, and how has that changed based on what it now means to consumers given the events of 2020?
MIKE: When you look at our numbers over the past few years, there has been a steady transition towards contactless. It’s such an easy way for our customers to pay their fares and travel – the last 12 months have just reinforced that transition. Today, for obvious reasons, contactless is particularly attractive, minimising interactions and the time users spend on the transport system.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have promoted contactless via public address messages at stations, reinforcing how contactless or using the Oyster app are the cleanest, safest ways of paying for travel. It’s difficult to tell whether the advertisement of those solutions has itself made a difference or whether people have just recognised it for themselves, but if you look at the percentages of journeys made using contactless, it had already grown fantastically pre-lockdown, with between 35 and 40 per cent of all journeys paid for using contactless – making it the single most popular way of paying. Now, this figure is between 45 and 50 per cent, which just goes to show the attractiveness of contactless in today’s environment.
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