Contactless payments on Edinburgh Trams’ services reached 50% of all ticket vending machine transactions just two weeks after being made available to customers.

Last month (December 2017), the company asked its technology partner Parkeon Transportation to upgrade the 51 Galexio Plus terminals on the tram network to accept contactless debit and credit cards, along with Apple Pay and Android Pay, to meet the evolving needs of its customers.

Lea Harrison, Edinburgh Trams managing director, said customers were increasingly comfortable with using contactless technology in coffee shops and retail outlets, so introducing the payment on trams tapped into consumer demand.

He said: “We’ve seen a rapid take-up of these payment options – all customers need to do is select their ticket and touch a contactless ‘target’ with their card or mobile device for a quicker, smoother purchase. This is also leading to quicker transaction times at the terminals.”

Reducing dwell times at machines is a key objective for the operator to help keep pace with growing demand for its services, with latest figures showing a 19% year-on-year increase in journeys in 2017 to 6.6m.

A new timetable was launched at the beginning of last year to increase capacity, improve frequency and reduce journey times, with trams running from every three minutes and connecting Edinburgh’s airport with the City Centre in under 36 minutes.

Parkeon project manager Andrew Wilson said: “Given the growing demand for Edinburgh Trams’ services, it’s important that ticketing technology not only enhances the customer experience but also contributes to operational efficiency. In this case, we can see an immediate enthusiasm for contactless payments, which in turn is leading to quicker transactions and shorter queues at ticket machines.”

Parkeon is a long-term technology partner for Edinburgh, having developed and installed the original ticketing and back office architecture for the tram and bus networks. The company is also a systems provider to the city’s rail services and parking schemes.