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.

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