London, Cubic to License Mass-Transit Contactless Payments Overseas

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London wants to export its popular open-loop contactless payment system for mass transit to other global cities, through a new licensing deal with Cubic Transportation Systems.

Transport for London (TfL), the government mass-transit agency for the greater London area, will work with Cubic to offer the city’s ticketing system to other locales—combined with other Cubic technology—through a deal the participants say is worth $20 million, according to a July 13 press release.

Income from the licensing deal will go toward supporting a four-year freeze on TfL’s own mass-transit fares, Sadiq Khan, London’s recently elected mayor, said in the release.

The license grants Cubic access to London’s EMV-based contactless payment technology and expertise, enabling it to be tailored for other cities’ transport systems, according to the release.

Any city may license the system to accept contactless payments on all types of public transportation via cards and mobile devices, with support for personalized accounts and mobile wallets, a spokesperson said.

TfL and Cubic began working together in 2003 to develop the Oyster card, a reloadable contactless fare card for buses, subway and rail travel around London. In 2012, the system was upgraded to enable open-loop contactless payments.

More than 1 million London riders per day use TfL’s contactless payment system, which drives about one in 10 contactless transactions in the U.K., making it one of the world’s largest contactless merchants.

San Diego-based Cubic provides contactless payment and other mass-transit ticketing technology to cities worldwide, including Chicago, Vancouver, Canada, and Brisbane and Sydney in Australia.

“Contactless payments have completely transformed the way people pay for travel in London and this deal with allow other world cities to benefit from the hard work we put into making the system work for our customers,” Shashi Verma, TfL’s chief technology officer and director of customer experience.

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