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Contactless Transit

Contactless payment cards are a fast, easy and secure way to pay for goods and services. In 2013, following work between Transport for London and The UK Cards Association, contactless payments went live on London buses, followed in 2014 by rollout to underground and rail services in London.

Building on the success of contactless payments on the Transport for London network, and recognising the desire of customers outside of London to pay using their contactless card, UK Cards led a project in 2015-16 to develop a Contactless Transit Framework for the UK.

The Framework describes how a customer could travel on public transport using an EMV contactless card (or device such as a phone or wearable) which has been issued by their bank or card company. The Framework will allow transit operators to consider whether to implement contactless as a payment option, and will enable delivery of a consistent customer experience and interoperability across regions and transport modes.

The Framework includes three Contactless Transit Models:

  • Model 1, Single Pay As You Go: cash replacement model where the contactless card or device is used at the start of the journey with a known fare; primarily for buses and trams.
  • Model 2, Aggregated Pay As You Go: cash replacement model where the contactless card or device is used multiple times, and the fare is aggregated at the end of the day or journey leg; for multi-mode operators.
  • Model 3, Pre-Purchase: paper ticket replacement model where a contactless card or device is associated with the ticket in advance and then used as a form of identity to travel.
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