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03rd Jul 2024

Contactless payments one tap closer as NTA selects company to implement


One small step for NTA, one giant leap for the general population’s mental health

NTA has selected a company to roll out contactless fare payments on buses, trains and trams. Spanish defence and technology company Indra which calls itself “one of the leading global defence, aerospace and technology companies” has been awarded the job of installing contactless payments or tap-on payments which are in use across much of Europe and the rest of the Western world. The move would take over from the piecemeal payments currently in place across our main public transport infrastructures, which are made up of ticketing, Leap Cards and online transactions.

What an NTA spokesperson described to The Dublin Inquirer in their piece as a “next generation” ticketing system, which will replace “the ageing legacy Leap card system nationally”. The move aims to allow customers to pay for their Luas or train fairs on their contactless cards, phones, smart watches or other device with correct payments set up.

The project will come to the greater Dublin area first, the NTA spokesperson told the same publication last week, adding that it would cover “buses, trams, trains and commuter buses, a large proportion of which is part of the overall BusConnects Programme for Dublin.

The same publication stated that in a March 22nd meeting, the NTA’s board approved the award of this “framework agreement” to Indra, which the company confirmed in a 29 April statement adding that “this is a significant contract worth hundreds of millions of euros over the potential term of the contract”.

The biggest source of bus delay aside from traffic, is the payment process at bus stops according to BusConnect’s Next Generation Ticketing & Cashless Payment project. “Even when using the Leap Card, the complexity of payment stages means a high percentage of passengers have to interact with the driver, with resultant delays at bus stops. At busy bus stops these delays can be for several minutes. Multiply by the number of busy stops on a route, and those delays accumulate to add significantly to the overall journey time,” it reads.

The project aims to reduce interactions with the driver and streamline the process of paying for bus journeys by creating a fluid way of paying for the bus, it aims to do this by removing cash payments and integrating either a “tag-on” and “tag-off” facility or a single “flat fare” approach in order to reduce the need to interact with the driver for fare payments.

“This is a large and complex technology project and it is likely to take between three to four years to fully roll out the new system,” the website reads, “exact timelines will be finalised in the coming months as the newly appointed supplier commences the detailed design stage of the project.”

We for one can’t wait for the day we are left panicking about the whereabouts of our Leap Card.

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