Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor of London, announced today that London’s entire transport network would accept contactless payment cards by mid-July.
Speaking at the 4th Smart City Event in Amsterdam, Malthouse said that the new payment methods would be available across London’s transport network “within two months’ time” after extensive trials on the city’s bus network took place last year.
“In the past, the private sector banking system and the public sector transport system had been integrated purely by the exchange of cash,” he said. “An inefficient way of doing things. This will generate huge savings and a much more efficient system for the consumer.”
“Even with the Oyster card we’re still operating a banking system, still collecting lots of cash,” he added. “Eventually all we will do is act as an interface between the consumer and the banking system. The bank will just send us the money everyday.”
A leading city in collecting data, London was one of the first to open up this information to app developers and the private sector.
“We collect enormous amounts of data,” Malthouse added. “Ninety percent of it we have no idea what to do with. One of our Boroughs in London even collects the location of dog shit. Yet, we now have 450 apps for our transport system alone.”
Apart from tracking buses, Malthouse announced that soon Londoners will also be able to track the next tube, or metro, and also how busy the carriages are, to enable passengers to time their journey better.
“Throw your data open,” he urged the audience of mayors, city chief information officers and private sector leaders. “Collect as much as we can and let the private sector do its work.”