Swipe card system on Merseyrail

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Flickr/ © CARLOS62

A Mersyrail train carriage © Flickr/Carlos62

Merseyrail has launched its contactless card system today in a bid to ease congestion at Liverpool stations.

Passengers in Merseyside can use credit or debit cards to pay for their journey by swiping them on the reader. It’s the only place outside of London to use the system.

Londoners use Oyster cards for travel, which they have to top up. Next year Liverpool is set to have its own version, known as ‘Walrus’.

The introduction of the cards is meant to encourage people to use more public transport, as well as reduce the hassle of payment.

Merseyrail has said that all of its stations should all have the card readers by the end of the month in a scheme in partnership with Mastercard and Visa.

Maarten Spaargaren, head of Merseyrail, told JMU Journalism: “It’s much quicker. You don’t have to key your pin in anymore so there’ll be less queueing. It’s just easier and faster.”

Anouska Ladds, head of travel, transit and leisure at Mastercard said: “It’s a major step forward because London is quite unique in terms of how it operates and Merseyrail is the first to go live with a contactless payment system outside of London.”

The system will cover the journeys which cost £20 or less, which account for 98% of its business.

When the plan was launched in September 2011, the introduction of the cards was set to be this year. However, the use of them on buses is not going to be possible until next year.


About Lucy Bannister, JMU Journalism