LONDON – The head of London’s large Oyster card program expressed frustration with the pace of development of NFC, complaining the technology isn’t ready for London transit riders to use to pay fares.
Shashi Verma, director of customer experience for Transport for London, criticized the NFC industry, contending payment from NFC SIM cards isn’t fast enough to enable customers to flow through bustling London Underground turnstiles or buses. NFC-based mobile payment also isn’t easy for consumers to set up on their phones, he said.
About eight million customers regularly tap Oyster cards to pay onboard buses, at Underground gates and on other modes of transport, making Oyster one of the largest contactless-payment programs in the world. Verma, who spoke Tuesday at the Open Mobile Summit in London, said he was taking a “contrarian view” during his presentation to try to spur the industry into action.
“Right now, we have eight million customers in London who are attuned to using contactless payment on the transport network every single day,” said Verma. “You can’t imagine a better customer network than this if you want to launch NFC. There isn’t a better opportunity than this anywhere in the world outside of East Asia.