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Apple Pay and contactless comes to buses and trams in Nottingham

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A scheme to allow tram and bus users to pay with contactless cards, smart watches, Apple Pay, and PayPal is now set to be fully operational in April 2020.

Nottingham City Council is running the project and has committed £500,000 towards it, while the Department for Transport is paying £3.2 million towards the scheme.

It had been hoped the scheme would be operational by the end of this year, but after a decision approved today (Tuesday, November 20), it will be operational in early 2020.

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The initial plan was to begin the roll-out this year, by linking Robin Hood cards to people’s bank accounts.

However a decision was taken to wait until all parts were ready for the new system, so it can be rolled out all at once.

The city council hopes it will make public transport easier, encouraging more people to come into the city and boosting the local economy.

The move has been welcomed by Scott Knowles, the chief executive of the East Midlands chamber, who said: “Anything that makes it easier for people to come into the city to shop or enjoy the night-time economy has to be something to support.

“We welcome anything that brings people into the city as a good thing.”

Currently, passengers can use Mango or Robin Hood cards which have to be topped up in advance.

It is hoped the scheme will cover all public transport in the Robin Hood network, which includes the trams, Nottingham City Transport and the Link buses.

However bus company Trent Barton is currently in the process of reviewing the ticket machines it uses, and the outcome could affect whether it is involved in the initial 2020 roll-out.

Councillor David Liversidge is the portfolio holder for transport on the city council, and said: “The idea is that we try to get rid of cash journeys, that’s going to take a long time because there are still people who want to use cash.

“You are getting more and more people using their Robin Hood card, but the idea of this is you can use any sort of card.

“The idea is people are moving on and they want things to be done quicker all the time, and we recognise that, and it’s recognised by the companies that they want to do that.

“In some cities, you’ve got different bus companies, so you can’t get one ticket that works across the journey. You have to get off and buy a separate ticket.

“The idea is that you will be able to have one journey across the system using your card.”

A spokesman for NET said: “The introduction of contactless payment will be excellent news for the travelling public of Nottingham and we are working hard alongside the city council and other operators to deliver an effective scheme. This should be at some point later next year.”

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