Transport authorities mull travel cards for use worldwide

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Transport authorities in big cities around the world are considering harmonising their ticketing systems, so that people could use contactless bank cards to pay for journeys wherever they are in the world, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Transport for London (TfL) is planning to start accepting contactless debit and credit cards as an alternative to its Oyster card, although there are no plans to phase out the current system entirely.

According to TV news programme, London Tonight, which claims to have seen minutes from a TfL board meeting, the capital’s buses will be equipped to accept bank cards from early 2012, with the Underground set to follow later that year.

A switch to bank cards, or mobile phones, has long been mooted, with TfL talking about superseding its Oyster card in October 2008. Barclaycard launched a combined contactless Oyster travel and debit card, OnePulse, in 2007.

The move is designed to make travelling more convenient and save TfL money on the commission it has to pay Oyste’s operators every time an account is topped up.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph claims TfL is talking to counterparts in the US, Australia and Europe on harmonising systems, which would enable travellers from London to use their bank cards to travel on the Paris Metro or New York subway.