New analysis shows that pay as you go with mobile on the Tube now more popular than before the pandemic
- Pay as you go with Contactless is available on all Tube, bus and rail services across London and calculates the best value fare based on the customer's specific journey history in the most convenient way every day or week
- Google Pay reminds customers that they can breeze through stations and never top up again when using pay as you go with contactless as part of wider commercial partnership with TfL
More people are using contactless via a mobile phone or smart watch to travel on the London Underground than they were prior to the pandemic, new analysis by Transport for London (TfL) has revealed.
The new figures show that in a four-week period from the end of July to late August 2022, around 485,000 journeys a day were being made on the Tube using a mobile device. This equates to around 35 per cent of all Tube adult pay as you go journeys made using contactless or around 25 per cent of all adult pay as you go journeys. Prior to the pandemic (around the end of January 2020), there were around 400,000 contactless journeys a day being made using a mobile phone or smart watch - which was just 26 per cent of all pay as you go with contactless journeys and around 16 per cent of all Adult pay as you go Tube journeys.
Using pay as you go with contactless means that customers can simple touch in and out at stations, meaning they can avoid queueing at ticket machines or the need to top-up their Oyster card. The system then automatically calculates the best value fare based on the customer's specific daily journey history and charges them at the end of the day - ensuring they always pay the lowest fare in the easiest and most convenient way.
The popularity of pay as you go with contactless has grown in recent years, particularly with customers using mobile devices as more people adopt the latest smartphone technology. Across London, contactless journeys now make up around 71 per cent of all pay as you go journeys on buses, Tube and rail services in and around London, up from around 31 per cent in 2016.
The contactless system covers all Tube, bus and tram services, as well as rail services as far as Gatwick Airport in the south, Luton Airport, Welwyn Garden City in the north and Reading, Marlow and Henley-on-Thames in the west. It can also be used on the Uber Boats with Thames Clippers and the IFS Cloud Cable Car.
By automatically working out the correct fare for customers and only then charging the total at the end of the day, customers can also save money compared to buying a Day Travelcard, helping them to travel around London more affordably. Despite the growth in contactless on the Tube, thousands of paper tickets are still being sold every day in Tube stations – for example, at King’s Cross station, around 1,000 paper ‘Day Travelcards’ are sold every day. Thanks to daily capping, it would be cheaper if pay as you go with contactless was used instead, as all caps are set at a lower rate than the cost of a one Day Travelcard.
To encourage customers to avoid queueing and move from paper tickets to more convenient, smarter ticketing, Google Pay has recently begun a six month creative campaign across five of London’s most high profile Tube stations. Within these stations, customers will see signage prompting them to add a debit or credit card to Google Wallet. Once a card is added to the app, customers can skip the queue for ticket machines and simply pay contactless with Google Pay. Signage on ticket readers at Tube stations across the network has also been refreshed to better emphasise contactless options alongside the traditional Oyster card.
Google has also made improvements to its suite of apps to help provide better access to public transport information within London and let customers know that they could use Google Pay to travel on London’s public transport network, rather than queuing to buy a paper ticket.
Andrew Anderson, Head of Customer Payments at TfL, said: “We are committed to making travel in London as easy as possible. Millions of journeys in and around London are now made using contactless every day – with close to half a million now made using mobile devices rather than a bank card. Working with Google Pay, we are helping promote the benefits of smart ticketing over queuing to purchase traditional paper tickets, making travel more convenient and accessible for all.”
For more information about pay as you go with contactless, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/contactless
Notes to editors
- All customers using pay as you go are required to touch in and out using the same card or mobile device to ensure that they pay the correct fare and avoid incomplete journeys. This is particularly important when using mobile devices as each device is treated uniquely regardless whether part of a wider digital payment system. Information on using contactless with mobile devices can be found here - https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/how-to-pay-and-where-to-buy-tickets-and-oyster/pay-as-you-go/contactless-and-mobile-pay-as-you-go
- Where it can, TfL always attempts to automatically complete the journey where the travel pattern suggests an occasional inadvertent failure to touch out, and the likely location for the missing validation can be inferred. Customers don’t have to have an online account to benefit from this – however, by having an online account they can see their journey history and also request a refund or amend an incomplete journey if it hasn’t already been amended.
- TfL’s development of contactless payments is seen by many as the catalyst for contactless being adopted more generally by consumers in the UK. Pay as you go with contactless launched on buses in London in December 2012 and across Tube and rail services in London in September 2014. The huge success of pay as you go with contactless in London has led to other cities across the world such as New York, Chicago and Sydney having now introduced payment options for public transport based on London’s system.
- London has now seen pay as you go journeys made using contactless cards or mobile devices from more than 180 countries across the world – demonstrating how easy it is for overseas visitors to arrive and travel using public transport without needing to purchase a ticket.
- Figures relating to the analysis (all relate to Tube journeys only)
DAILY CONTACTLESS JOURNEYS
|TOTAL DAILY CONTACTLESS JOURNEYS||%||TOTAL DAILY OYSTER PAYG JOURNEYS||TOTAL DAILY PAYG JOURNEYS||MOBILE % OF TOTAL PAYG JOURNEYS|
|Period 11 2019 (January 2020)||400k||1520k||26%||920k||2440k||16%|
|Period 5 2022 (August 2022)||485k||1390k||35%||530k||1920k||25%|