Within two years, there could be a single smart card allowing travellers to ride the London Underground, the Paris Metro and the New York Subway.
The company running the tube, Transport For London (TfL), is speaking to its counterparts in the United States and Europe about the possibility of harmonising the ticketing systems. With millions of tourists crossing the globe to visit major cities for business and leisure, the aim is to simplify their travel and spare them the bureaucracy of buying a local card.
In London, most commuters pay for travel using a top-up card known as an Oyster, which has been in place since 2003 and is used by about seven million people. TfL plans to run a ‘contactless payment’ scheme as an alternative to Oyster, allowing people to use public transport by scanning their debit or credit cards on a special reader.
The next technological step would be to develop a common internationally accepted card, making life considerably easier for the tourist.
- London’s museums and galleries enjoyed a blockbuster summer as recession-hit Britons stayed at home and an influx of foreign tourists swelled visitor numbers. Attendances were up by an average of 11 per cent, with some attractions enjoying a 24 per cent boost
by Andy Moreton
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