London buses now accept contactless payments

Public transportation users in London can now pay their fare with a contactless credit, debit or charge card on any of the city’s 8,500 buses.

Mayor Boris Johnson on a London bus. (C) Transport for London.
MAYOR: Boris Johnson rides a London bus

The cards can be used to buy single journey tickets at the same discounted rate offered with Transport for London’s existing Oyster Card service.

The Oyster readers on all of London’s buses have been upgraded for the new service to accept contactless payments alongside Oyster transactions.

“Lots of us have had the frustrating experience of dashing to board a bus only to discover that our Oyster card has run out of credit,” says Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. “So the arrival of this latest technology is welcome news, meaning that with a simple touch of a contactless payment card, people can avoid having to scrabble for change and also still benefit from the Oyster fare discount.”

More than 85,000 bus journeys each day are still paid for using cash, at a cost of £2.30 per journey rather than the £1.35 Oyster fare, and at least 500 people per day try to pay their fare with a high denomination note for which the bus driver does not have change, says TfL.

“The new payment option will also be good news for the approximately 36,000 people per day who board a bus and find they have insufficient pay as you go balance on their Oyster to pay for their journey as they will be able to use the other card they may have in their wallet — their contactless payment card — to pay their fare.”

By the end of 2013, customers will also be able to use a contactless payment card to pay for travel on London Underground, DLR, London Overground and trams. Weekly price capping, already offered with Oyster, will also then be added for bank card users.

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