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Transport for London (TfL), the operator of the public transit network in London, has opened up its network to open-loop contactless credit and debit cards.
The new system will be up and running on all of London’s 8,000 buses in time for the 2012 Games, enabling quick and easy bus travel for the millions of visitors who will flock to the Capital to enjoy the greatest show on earth.
Discussions are also under way with the Train Operating Companies that serve London about whether contactless payment cards could be used on National Rail services where Oyster is currently accepted.
Oyster will also continue to be accepted for the many millions of customers who use it every day.
By doing so, Tfl claims that London will be the first city in the world to fully adopt contactless cards branded with card networks such as Visa and Mastercard.
Tfl has a closed-loop Oster contactless transit card program similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong. Over the past few years, Tfl has been considering opening its network to credit and debit card fare payments. And in 2006, Barclays introduced a dual application card with two separate chips on the same card, one for Oyster and one for traditional network-branded credit card.
More and more public transit system operators around the world are considering opening up their networks to allow direct fare payments from credit and debit cards.