Rail travellers can now use contactless card payments from a station in Welwyn Hatfield when travelling to and from London – with more local stations to follow by the end of the year.
The move is part of the latest extension of the Pay As You Go scheme, which means rail users can tap in and tap out between the stations they use.
Local MP Grant Shapps said, “This exciting extension of pay as you go will make taking the train much easier. Rather than waiting for your ticket to print, a simple tap of your debit, credit or phone if connected to your card, will speed you past the ticket office or machine.”
As part of a long running campaign to make travelling into London from Welwyn Hatfield easier, Brookmans Park is the first station in the Borough to be included in the smart ticketing scheme.
The Department for Transport have confirmed that the extension will continue to stations reaching Welwyn Garden City before the end of the year.
Mr Shapps, who is also the Transport Secretary had campaigned for the extension for years, with the machine being installed, but not yet commissioned before he was appointed to the role.
Mr Shapps further commented, “New ‘contactless’ Pay As You Go journeys at Potters Bar, Radlett and Brookmans Park will help make travel cheaper, quicker and easier, with our smart ticketing roll-out also set to benefit passengers at Luton Airport and Welwyn Garden City later this year.”
Contactless card technology, which is more advanced than the Oyster system used across London, is the latest development in smart payments.
Although the system uses the familiar Oyster machines, no Oyster card is required or available. Instead a debit or credit card (or linked phone) is used. A DfT spokesman explained that since billing takes place retrospectively, weekly fare capping occurs automatically with the new technology, even though this isn’t available through traditional Oyster.
The roll-out of Pay As You Go ticketing follows ambitious plans made by train operators in 2018 to enable smart ticketing at stations across almost all of the network, with all franchised operators offering smart cards and/or barcode ticketing.
Mr Shapps is pictured launching the Oyster scheme extension with neighbouring MP Oliver Dowden at Radlett station which is also part of the extension.