TfL on plans to launch a new brand focused app and roll out contactless to taxis

Widely cited as the catalyst for making contactless pay go mainstream in the UK, TfL’s head of transformation delivery Mike Tuckett says London’s travel network is now focused on making public transport as “easy as buying a cup of coffee.”

Since launching contactless pay in September 2014, adoption has been a massive success with 1 in 5 of TfL’s pay as you go customers – accounting for 700,000 journeys a day – now using contactless cards to travel.

And Tuckett told Marketing Week that he expects 50% of all journeys to be made using one within the next 12 months.

“This isn’t a niche thing for advanced early adopters – contactless, whether through cards, bands or mobile phones, isn’t going away,” he said.

“Around 70% of all TfL customers own a contactless card and have used one at some point so the opportunities will only get bigger.

“What’s been good to see is the transformative effect TfL has had. Brands are benefitting as once someone uses a contactless card on the tube they are then using it as a stepping stone to use it in shops too.”

Tuckett says TfL is currently working on an app to launch early next year as it aims to modernise the Oyster brand.

Apple Pay is the latest contactless payment method on offer to TfL travellers

The app will allow people to check timetables as well as instantly top up their Oyster card for use on the bus, tube or overground. This is different to the current online system where users have to wait 24 hours for their balance to update and can only activate their card at a selected train station.

Boosting loyalty

Over recent months, TFL has opened up the names of stations for sponsorship and accelerated pop-up retailers within tube stations as it aims to double its non-fare activity to 5% of total income within ten years. Hackett says the app could include a loyalty layer to continue this sponsorship income strategy.

“That’s definitely an opportunity and something that could be built in so brands within the network can speak to customers,” he adds. “But it’s still early days.”

Tuckett also says TfL is in the consultation phase of adding contactless pay to London’s taxis.

“We are running a consultation at the moment and the intention is to mandate contactless on all of London’s black cabs so users don’t have to worry about who is offering what and will know that every taxi will accept it,” he says.

He concludes: “I think the key is to reduce barriers to entry for travellers. We want to get to a point where nobody has to question or understand local transport systems in London, or the rest of the UK, but can just seamlessly get out their card or device. Using public transport should be as easy as buying a cup of coffee.”

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