TfL becomes more transparent

TfL is reinforcing its commitment to improve transparency for customers and stakeholders by making a range of previously unpublished information available on its website. More contracts, details of expenditure and ‘most requested’ data is now to be routinely published on TfL’s website. As a result, data will now be presented each quarter on: Oyster card deposits, balances and incomplete journeys; road safety; Congestion Charge payments and penalty charges, including outstanding payments from embassies; Barclays Cycle Hire usage and availability; and performance on responding to FOIA requests. All expenditure of more than £250 will also be published, improving on the previous reporting threshold of £500.

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‘Bus Days’ help London’s disabled

A travel mentoring service helping disabled people make the most of London’s bus network has been rolled out in Sutton. ‘Bus Days’ provide disabled Londoners with the opportunity to experience independent travel on a London bus in a safe and controlled environment. They are a collaboration between TfL, Sutton Community Transport, the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Team and Go-Ahead. They are facilitated by an Innovation Grant from the London Borough of Sutton. This new scheme is one of eight similar projects already in place across the capital. The first session saw a London bus follow a pre-planned route around Sutton, with passengers able to get on and off along the way. They were accompanied by TfL travel mentors and Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Teams. The disabled passengers were shown how to use all the information at a stop and how to board a bus and stay safe. Wheelchair users are guided through using the ramp to get on the bus and their safety while travelling. Police officers also act out real life scenarios during the session that passengers may encounter on their journeys and advise them how to handle these situations. 

Director of Operations at London Buses, Mike Weston, said, ‘We are delighted to be part of the team that is bringing “Bus Days” to Sutton for the first time. They provide a fantastic opportunity for disabled Londoners to experience travelling on a bus in a supportive environment. We hope those who take part in this innovative scheme will find it a useful experience that will enable them to travel independently on the bus network in future.’

1m contactless payments in London

1m bus journeys in London have now been paid for using contactless debit, credit or charge cards, four months after they were introduced. The number of people paying this way has continued to rise each week. From 2,061 people making 2,586 journeys on the first day on 13 December 2012, up to 10,000 people are now making as many as 16,000 journeys each day. Around 1,000 new contactless payment cards are touched on to the readers on London’s 8,500 buses every day. Daily price capping does not apply to current bus users of contactless payment cards, but once the technology is rolled out to the wider transport network, daily and weekly price capping will be introduced. Plans progress for the roll out of contactless payments on to the Tube, DLR, London Overground and trams at the end of the year.

Over the last eight weeks, the top five bus routes for contactless payments have been route 38 from Clapton Pond to Victoria, route 73 from Victoria to Stoke Newington, route 55 from Leyton to Oxford Circus, route 243 from Wood Green to Waterloo and route 149 from Edmonton Green to London Bridge. The top five bus stops where passengers have boarded and touched in with their contactless payment card over the last eight weeks have been London Bridge/Duke Street Hill, Angel Station/Duncan Street, Tottenham Court Road Station/New Oxford Street, King’s Cross Station/Euston Road and Shoreditch High Street/Bethnal Green Road.

 TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, Shashi Verma, said, ‘Paying for a bus fare should be as easy as buying a sandwich. Enabling customers to use their contactless payment card on the buses removes the inconvenience of needing to top up an Oyster card or dig around for cash before making a journey. It is fantastic that we’ve already seen a million bus journeys made using a contactless payment cards and it’s a great sign that our customers are keen to benefit from this technology. We are now working hard to roll contactless payments out to the rest of the transport network.’