MasterCard to stop people wasting a day a year queuing to buy bus tickets

MC_Bus

On the day that contactless bank card travel is launched on London’s buses, research from MasterCard has revealed that every commuter wastes an entire day every year queuing to buy their tickets either as they board a bus or prior to travel.

According to the research, one in ten passengers have missed a bus because they didn’t have the right change or were queuing to buy a ticket. MasterCard says that for users of PayPass , this problem is now a thing of the past. It is a much bigger issue than you might think with 30 per cent of London bus journeys still made with cash or a paper ticket. Around 36,000 people per day board a bus and find they have insufficient Oyster PAYG balance for their journey. Not only that, but last year around 500 bus passengers a day boarded a bus without the correct change for their fare (although were allowed to travel with an Unpaid Fare Notice requiring them to pay later). Rather than scrambling for the correct change, MasterCard are quick to point out that these customers will be able to use their contactless payment card to pay their fare and carry on their journey.

From this week, bus passengers will be able to pay for their journey with a contactless MasterCard or Maestro card rather than requiring the right change, or making sure their Oyster card is topped up. Commuters paying for their journey using PayPass will be charged the same fare as Oyster for pay-as-you-go tickets, rather than the more expensive cash fare.

Contactless payment technology is being introduced across the London bus network which means commuters can pay their fare direct from their bank card rather than having to first buy a ticket or pre-load their Oyster card.

Marion King who heads up MasterCard’s UK & Ireland operation said, “Today many commuters lose valuable time as they queue up to buy tickets or top up their Oyster balance. Now that TfL accepts MasterCard® PayPass TM you can skip this step altogether. There is no need to worry if you forget your Oyster card at home, as you can pay for your travel using your PayPass card or from next year a PayPass-enabled mobile phone. This is another milestone towards a world beyond cash as people have even more opportunities to use contactless payments.”

MasterCard claim that the new way to pay will also help passengers who previously lost out on money they’d loaded on to an Oyster card that was then damaged, lost or stolen. Whilst cash can be recovered from registered cards, figures published by Transport for London showed that almost £30 million was left unspent on Oyster cards from April 2009-10.

To date over 55 million Oyster cards have been issued by Transport for London’s (TfL) but only 8 million of these are regularly used in any given month. With travellers now paying on their bank cards, TfL will see significant cost savings across the ticketing process which can then be re-invested in the transport network.

MasterCard has a long-standing partnership with TfL as well as with other transit organisations around the world. This includes the deal agreed in 2010 under which MasterCard sponsored Oyster card wallets, which helped fund improvements across London’s transport network. MasterCard PayPass cards and devices are accepted in nearly 550,000 merchant locations and in 48 countries around the world.

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