In London, you can now use your “contactless” card to pay your fares instead of having to get an Oyster card. Apparently the fares are the same as if you’re using an Oyster card, although only adult fares are charged (no concessions). Of course, tourists will need to be sure that their overseas card is accepted, and also that their card provider won’t charge fees that will make the whole arrangement less than viable. On the other hand, for amounts such as fares, perhaps even the 3% margin + not-so-good exchange rate charged by the likes of CBA wouldn’t be too significant in the overall scheme of things?
I’m still apprehensive about “contactless” technology, but I accept that it opens up opportunities. I assume that it’s most unlikely that Myki cards would ever be accepted interstate (or vice versa), even though toll road e-Tags are (thank goodness for that). But if the authorities could be persuaded to introduce in Australia technology that allows contactless cards to be used on urban transport, the result would be to eliminate the need for interstate (and overseas) visitors to buy Mykis, Opals, Go card, SmartRider ……whatever.
In fact, there are some hints that something like this could actually happen in Australia, or at least in Sydney, CBA has been reported to be working on a proposal along these lines. It would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.