The contactless payment system run by Transport for London is the first of its kind in the world

London Tube's contactless payment tech 'exported' abroad

The contactless payment system developed for London’s buses and underground will be used all over the world as part of a £15m deal that will allow Transport for London (TfL) to freeze fares.

Sydney, Vancouver and Chicago are some of the cities set to benefit from the award-winning system that allows passengers to use their credit and debit cards instead of conventional tickets or topped-up travel cards to pay for their journeys.

The technology export will be possible thanks to an agreement between TfL and Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), who together developed the first of its kind system. CTS has bought a licence for £15m to use the know-how to create tailor-made systems for other cities, for which it has been developing smart ticketing solutions. TfL said it will use the money to fund engineering work without having to raise fares in the next years.

“I made a firm commitment to sell Transport for London's expertise around the globe,” said the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. “We will use the income from those deals for further investment in new infrastructure and to freeze TfL fares.”

The technology was first introduced on London’s buses in December 2012 and in September 2014 was extended to the Underground network. Since then 500 million journeys have been paid for using it. According to TfL 12 million unique credit and debit cards from 90 countries have been used with the contactless payment system, which also accepts payments by contactless-enabled mobile device. TfL estimates that one in ten contactless payment transactions made in the UK comes through the TfL transport network, which makes it one of the largest contactless merchants in the world.

"Contactless payments have completely transformed the way people pay for travel in London and this deal will allow other world cities to benefit from the hard work we put into making the system work for our customers," said Shashi Verma, TfL's chief technology officer.

CTS previously cooperated with TfL on the Oyster card system, launched in 2003.

“The challenges of mobility in 21st century cities - including access for all, inclusion, environmental concerns and the pressure of ever-growing populations - can only be met through cooperation and partnership,” said CTS president Matthew Cole. “No single entity has all the answers and this agreement between Cubic and TfL sets a new standard in public/private partnerships for addressing these issues, and acknowledges the success of account-based payment for transit for which there is clear interest from many cities across the world.”

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