Seamless travel across public transport in
Britain using one credit card-sized smart card could be launched
“within a few years”.

British transport minister Norman Baker said
he has asked officials to draw up plans to introduce the cards –
based on Transport for London’s (TfL) Oyster card scheme – in
order to encourage use of buses, trains and trams.

Ultimately, the goal would be to allow
seamless travel on one ticket throughout the country, although
Baker has accepted that including long-distance rail journeys in
the scheme may be complicated.

One of the options could be to extend the TfL
Oyster scheme across the country. MasterCard is already in talks
with the organisation about upgrading the current service on mobile
phones.

Speaking at MasterCard Europe’s Debit and
Prepaid Conference in Budapest, James Davlouros,
MasterCard’s vice president for innovative platforms, told
CI that one of the solutions being discussed was a chip
attached to a slimline transmitter that could be attached to a
mobile phone. He said that this could be used in exactly the same
way that an Oyster card would be – as a contactless
card, tapping a pad on entry to pay for travel.

He added that TfL was looking to make cost
savings in its operations and reducing the number of Oyster cards
it issues as a way of saving potentially millions of
pounds.

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