Pay as you go rail travel from Gatwick Airport to London was officially launched by the Government’s transport secretary today (Monday January 11).
Patrick McLoughlin visited the airport’s railway station to see the introduction of the new ticketing technology, which will allow passengers to use both contactless and Oyster cards on Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services to the capital.
The move was welcomed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and hailed by Gatwick Airport as a ‘game-changer’ for its passengers.
Ticket facilities at five other stations along the route - Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill and Merstham – have also been upgraded to support pay as you go.
On non-Gatwick Express services, a peak single from the airport to London terminals is £15.50, but with pay as you go this will now cost £14.
Mr McLoughlin said: “The introduction of Oyster and contactless gates at Gatwick Airport station mean even more passengers get the advantage of a quick, simple, easier journey when travelling between central London and one of its major gateways.
“We know that the convenience of Oyster and contactless payments are what many passengers want. By extending their use to extra stations we are building a modern railway that strengthens the economy and provides better journeys for all.”
Meanwhile Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer at Gatwick Airport, added: “The launch of Oyster and contactless payments at London Gatwick is a game-changer for our passengers and will help to make journeys even easier and ticketing considerably faster.
“The introduction of a single ticketless system will create seamless connectivity to the Greater London transport network and this is only the beginning of the transformation of Gatwick’s rail services.
“With new fleets of trains being introduced, the redevelopment of Gatwick’s train station on its way, and a doubling of train capacity coming down the line, passengers will enjoy better, faster and simpler journeys to and from the airport.”
During the visit Mr McLoughlin met with partners from Transport for London (TfL) and the operator, Govia Thameslink Railway, which both delivered the improvements.
The news was welcomed by a number of transport figures.
Mr Johnson said: “Our Oyster and contactless ticketing system has transformed the way people travel around the capital. We’ve already extended our pioneering approach to a number of key routes outside of London and it’s great news that it lands at Gatwick Airport today. Now more people than ever can enjoy our quick and easy way to pay for travel.
“The new technology means that more passengers can save money on their journeys. A single journey paper peak-time ticket costs £15.50 from London terminals to Gatwick Airport (excluding Gatwick Express). With pay as you go, a rush hour trip now costs £14.00 and £8.00 off-peak.
“Since contactless payments were introduced on the TfL network in September 2014, there have been more than 250 million contactless journeys made. Each day there are over one million contactless journeys on London’s transport system. One in ten contactless transactions in the UK are made on TfL’s services, making TfL one of the largest contactless merchants worldwide.”
Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience ,said: “It’s great to see Oyster and the contactless ticketing system extended to Gatwick Airport - both are easier and quicker to use than paper tickets.
“Already customers from 80 countries across the world are using their contactless payment cards on the capital’s transport network.
“A quarter of our pay as you go customers now use contactless payment because it is so quick and easy. We are committed to making paying for transport easier for everyone and are working to further expand the benefits of this world-renowned ticketing system to all London airports as well as other key locations around the commuter belt.”
David Brown, chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group, said: “We’re very pleased to have played our part in making this complex project a success. Working in partnership with the Department for Transport, Transport for London and Gatwick Airport Ltd has resulted in passengers having greater choice and more convenient payment options to travel between Gatwick and London which is something we know customers appreciate.
“The extension of Oyster and contactless to the airport brings the industry a step closer to moving away from paper tickets.”
Angie Doll, Gatwick Express passenger service director, said: “We’re delighted that pay as you go with Oyster and contactless have now taken off from Gatwick Airport station.
“This now gives our passengers another way to pay for their journeys. It also paves the way for an exciting time ahead, when we introduce a brand new Gatwick Express train fleet in the spring and look forward to a superb newly designed and refurbished station.”
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