Authority looking to replace Leap Cards with contactless payment

New ways of paying for public transport are being considered that could see the Leap Card eventually phased out.

Authority looking to replace Leap Cards with contactless payment

New ways of paying for public transport are being considered that could see the Leap Card eventually phased out.

Urban bus routes will be the first to adopt the new technology, such as contactless payments.

The National Transport Authority is looking to engage with service providers with a view to having its new "next-generation ticketing" system in place by 2027.

The system will allow passengers to pay for their journeys in several ways – including through mobile phones, bank cards and official identification cards.

The plans would also allow for anonymised payments through QR codes and electronic tokens.

The NTA said the new system would eliminate the need for interaction between the passenger and the driver, cutting down on payment delays.

It has noted that the processing of payments at bus stops is the second biggest source of delays – with 20% of passengers still paying in cash.

It said that even when passengers are using Leap Cards, they generally must discuss their destination with the driver, resulting in further delays.

Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly said the plans could speed up public transport journeys.

She said:

If you look at the information put out there by the different bus services, they will say that one of the biggest causes of delays is people faffing about the door trying to find the exact change, trying to tell the driver where they are going before they tap their Leap Card.

“And it does slow things down. I suppose what is happening now is they are looking to other places; other parts of the world where technology can really help.”

Contactless payment was introduced on the London transport system in 2014, and nearly half of all passengers now use the service.

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