A new ticketing infrastructure designed to support payments via open-loop contactless cards and NFC phones won't now arrive in time for the Olympics, TfL has revealed.
Plans to introduce open-loop contactless and NFC payments across London's public transport network have been delayed until at least 2013.
Transport for London (TfL) originally announced that fare payments using mobile phones and contactless credit and debit cards would be in place on London's 8,000 buses before this summer's Olympic Games, with the roll-out continuing to the Tube, DLR, Tramlink and London Overground network by the end of 2012. The implementation is now reported to be running a year behind schedule, however, and is unlikely to be complete until the end of 2013.
"We are breaking new ground. There is a lot of technology. It is not like a programme we have done 25 times before. This is new technology starting from scratch," Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, has told the London Evening Standard.
"There is a huge amount of development to be done. Not just by us but by the banking industry," Verma continued, adding that with TfL focused on making the London Games go smoothly the contactless payments system was "not the sort of thing you want to be mucking about with just before the Olympics."
TfL has confirmed to the Standard that only a "small number" of buses will have the system fitted next month with the remainder following in stages "throughout the year".