New York taps Transport for London's contactless expertise for public transport revamp

 
Rebecca Smith
London introduced the Oyster card in 2003 and contactless on the Tube in 2014
London introduced the Oyster card in 2003 and contactless on the Tube in 2014 (Source: Getty)

New York is set to roll out a contactless fares system across its public transport network, derived from the one developed by Transport for London (TfL).

TfL is setting up a new consulting arm to provide its expertise to operators around the world, and in the newest instance of the transport body looking to share its know-how, New Yorkers will soon be reaping the benefits of a system with tech similar to that used in London.

Last July, transport payments firm Cubic struck a deal with TfL worth up to £15m, agreeing a licence for use of London's contactless ticketing system worldwide.

Read more: Transport for London sets wheels in motion for new trading arm

And New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced this week it had approved a contract awarded to Cubic, to phase in the new fare payment system to make travel easier across its transit and commuter rail systems, and marking a move away from the MetroCard.

The shift away from the MetroCard will be phased in over five years, with customers first being able to use contactless open payment options from mid-2019.

Users will be able to use the likes of Apple Pay, or a contactless bank card at turnstiles and buses across New York, though the MetroCard won't be retired until the new system is fully operational.

"The move to a truly 21st century method of payment represents a critical step in our overall efforts at modernising the subway system and improving service for all our customers," said MTA chairman Joseph Lhota.

"The subway, bus and commuter rail network is the lifeblood of our regional economy and major upgrades like this help make the system more convenient and efficient for the millions of New Yorkers who use it every day.”

TfL has a long-running relationship with Cubic, having worked together to introduce the Oyster card system back in 2003, and working with the UK card industry to make TfL the first public transport provider to accept contactless payment cards.

That system was launched on London buses in December 2012, before being rolled out to incorporate the Tube and rail services in September 2014.

Mike Brown, commissioner for Transport for London (TfL), said:

It's great to hear that New York will be introducing contactless payments, similar to that introduced on the Tube and buses in London, to help its customers travel more conveniently.

This system has completely transformed the way people pay for travel for public transport in London, with over a billion journeys already made since it was first introduced in 2012.

Read more: Londoners can now collect top ups for the Oyster card anywhere

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