London technology goes global

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London’s ticketing technology is going global and the first stop could be New York. Transport for London (TfL) and Cubic have agreed a deal that will allow them to adapt London’s contactless ticketing system worldwide, with a bid underway that could see the Big Apple become the first city on board.

The licence agreement will grant Cubic access to London’s contactless system, allowing it to be tailored to other world cities’ requirements. The deal will give Cubic the right to adapt London’s contactless payment system, developed by TfL, and combine it with its own NextCity suite of revenue and fare management systems.

TfL was the first public transport provider in the world to accept contactless payment cards, a customer-oriented development that earned London a UITP Award for Operational & Technical Excellence at the 2015 UITP World Congress & Exhibition in Milan. Now, around one in ten contactless payment transactions in the UK are made on TfL's network, making it one of the largest contactless merchants worldwide.

Chief Technology Officer and Director of Customer Experience at TfL, Shashi Verma, said: “Contactless payments have completely transformed the way people pay for travel in London and this deal will allow other world cities to benefit from the hard work we put into making the system work for our customers.”

“I made a firm commitment to sell Transport for London’s expertise around the globe,” said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. “We will use the income from those deals for further investment in new infrastructure and to freeze TfL fares.”

Travel tweet alerts

Meanwhile, TfL has also partnered with Twitter to pilot a world-first service whereby passengers are updated in real time of any severe delays to London Tube and rail services. The partnership will allow anyone who follows any combination of 14 existing TfL Twitter feeds to be able to opt-in to receive instant notifications about severe disruption.

“We live in a fast moving world where most people are digitally connected, which is no less true for public transport customers,” explained the Chairman of the UITP Marketing & Product Development Commission, Patrique Campal-Lindahl.

“As service providers it is our job, not only to meet our customers’ mobility needs, but their needs for timely and accurate information that is personalised to the extent that I receive it when, where and how I as a customer want it. Twitter is an excellent communication channel as it makes connecting with customers much easier. This is a very positive development for public transport and its customers,” he added.

The partnership is part of TfL's wider work to make information freely and openly available to developers. The data is being provided through TfL's Unified Application Programme Interface (API), which allows developers to have the latest travel information about all TfL services. Around 8,200 developers are registered for the Unified API and almost 500 apps are directly powered by this open data.

Ticketing is a topic that is closely followed within UITP and the sector and one that will be closely examined at the upcoming Global Public Transport Summit.

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