Oyster-haters, rise up: your time is here. As of RIGHT NOW, you can pay for your bus travel (within London) using a NFC card or smartphone of your choosing. I can barely contain myself.
The system goes live on all 8,500 of London’s buses today — the only ones you won’t be able to use your smartphone on are the old heritage Routemasters. The NFC reader is apparently integrated into the Oyster readers, so just touch your contactless payment method of choice onto the reader and hop on board. Fares are the same £1.35 you have to cough up with Oyster; but unlike Oyster, there’s no daily “cap” and you can’t put Travelcards on your contactless payment thing. So, this is more of a oh-shit-I-forgot-my-Oyster-card solution, not something to replace the Oyster card weighing down your back pocket. And remember folks, buses only; though TfL’s got plans to roll NFC out across the whole network, it ain’t happening yet.
A few caveats: don’t keep your Oyster and NFC cards in the same wallet, as that’ll bamboozle the poor old reader. Don’t try and take your screaming child on board and try to pay for both of you — you can only use one contactless thing per person. Finally, don’t use your brand spanking-new contactless card; most cards require you to make a chip-and-pin payment before you can use your card. Phew.
Image credit: London bus from Shutterstock