Oyster Card Here to Stay Despite Strong Growth of Contactless Fare Payments in London

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As more and more transit authorities globally seek to emulate Transport for London’s success in gaining widespread adoption for contactless open-loop fare payments, they should take note that London’s closed-loop Oyster card remains popular, even among visitors to the city.

Perhaps no other statistic demonstrates this better than the fact that the London transit authority still issues up to 30,000 new Oyster cards per day, a number that hasn’t declined with the growth of contactless, according to Andrew Anderson, head of transformation portfolio, payments, for Transport for London, speaking at the recent Transport Ticketing Global conference in London. It’s not surprising then that the authority has no plans to retire the nearly 20-year-old Oyster card.  

That is despite the fact that “contactless is now the single-most popular way to pay for transit in London,” Anderson said. He added, however, that most of the gains for contactless open-loop payments have come at the expense of season tickets–which have fallen by 50% since the agency fully rolled out contactless in 2014–not from Oyster. Customers use both contactless bank cards and most Oyster cards for pay-as-you-go transactions.

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