Author(s): Raghu Gopal
The UK Cards Association and the Department for Transport recently published a national framework that would allow UK passengers to use standard contactless cards and NFC-equipped phones to pay for their travel. The smart ticketing revolution is expected to offer a better travel experience.
The leading UK bus operators are working together to introduce contactless travel by 2022. The scheme — to be funded by the private sector — aims to install new contactless technology on all of the UK's 32,000 buses.
Additional government legislation may be needed to ensure that all individual bus operators comply, but there's a positive track record here. The new system is expected to do well given the success of contactless ticketing via London's Oyster card, where contactless transactions are already accepted on the capital's 9,600 buses. Transport for London says that over 1.2 million contactless transactions are made every day on its network, meaning it's one of the largest markets for contactless technology in the world. The new project is intended to cover more than 1,200 bus operators in England, Scotland and Wales, providing the option of contactless travel for 5.2 billion bus journeys per year.
The country's rail operators are also independently exploring ways to implement contactless travel.
These initiatives are a milestone in simplifying journeys for the millions of UK residents who rely on buses and trains for transport, and will help to drive momentum for contactless payments on smartphones and wearable devices that support NFC. However, the ambitious programme will need careful planning and close partnership between private operators and local authorities, and the sheer volume of generated data will require transport providers to consider encryption options.