The facility to use contactless debit or credit cards for fares on London’s buses, originally promised to be operational by the 2012 Olympics, will now be available from tomorrow – not that TfL have bothered to tell anybody, apart from those with registered Oyster cards who received the following email from TfL within the last half-hour:

I am writing to let you know that we are introducing contactless payment tomorrow; this will initially be available on any of London’s 8,500 buses.*
If you have a contactless debit, credit or charge card, you can now use this to pay for a single bus journey by touching in on the yellow card reader. So if you run out of credit on your Oyster card or normally pay cash, you may find this a useful alternative. The fare will be the same as a single Oyster fare, although Oyster daily price capping does not currently apply.
If you have more than one card that is now accepted on London’s buses (for example an Oyster card and a contactless payment card), please choose which card you intend to pay with, and touch it separately on the yellow reader. If you present two cards together, the reader will normally reject them both, but there is a small possibility of payment being taken from a card which you did not intend to use.
For more information, please visit
Yours sincerely,
Shashi Verma Director of Customer Experience
*Contactless payment will not be available on the Heritage Routemaster buses that run on some parts of routes 9 and 15 and there will be no transfer discount between Bus Feeder routes T31, T32, T33, 130 and 314 and trams

Oyster daily price capping doesn’t apply, so it’s useless for those who regularly use several buses in a day.

The information page on the TfL website still says that contactless payment will be available later this month so anyone who hasn’t received today’s email from TfL will be none the wiser.

The Mayor’s flagship cycle hire scheme was riddled with software problems for at least a year after its launch so it remains to be seen how well TfL’s latest electronic payment initiative will work.


4 Responses to “Wave & Pay” Appears On London’s Buses With Less Than A Day’s Notice

  1. Brian says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve got a registered Oystercard but haven’t received the email. I keep my oystercard and a contactless debit card in the same wallet, so there’d be a real chance I could inadvertently use the wrong card next time I get on a bus. This must apply to an awful lot of people!

  2. Panther Solo says:

    “it’s useless for those who regularly use several buses in a day.”

    Without wanting to sound like a dick, surely those who regularly use several buses in a day will already have an Oyster anyway?

  3. Mabel says:

    The lack of publicity around this appears to be causing problems already. Those who keep their oyster and contactless bank card in the same wallet run a significant risk of mischarging.

    If the reader detects two cards, it will return an error. But if it detects a contactless bank card but not your Oyster (say, if you keep them in either side of a chunky wallet), it will charge a single fare rather than let you through the barriers on an existing Oyster travelcard. Anecdotally, I’ve seen a rise in ‘errors’ at the gates since introduction – people who previously beeped their wallet through are now having double cards detected, holding up the queue of people exiting behind.

    It’s a shame, because this is actually a really good time-saving idea. Is it being rolled out to suburban rail?

  4. The truther says:

    “Those who keep their oyster and contactless bank card in the same wallet run a significant risk of mischarging.”

    …and the users haven’t worked this out yet?

    Oh dear – it seems this is just another confidence trick to fleece the ignorant.

    ….just like the bankers did – it must be catching.

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