Contactless bank cards, mobile devices and Oyster cards will be accepted on the Heathrow Express beginning February 19.
The trains run every day between London Paddington and the Heathrow terminals from 5:10 AM to 11:25 PM.
Passengers can now tap their card on the ticket barriers to pay, though this will charge for a Peak Single at £25 ($32) or an Off-peak Single at £22 ($28). That fare can be reduced to under £30 ($38) round trip for a with tickets booked a month or more in advance online, with Heathrow Express confirming that its best fares “remain available online or via the Heathrow Express app.” These advance tickets can be similarly scanned at the ticket barrier on a mobile device.
Those who want a Business class ticket can use Contactless or Oyster to tap in and buy an upgrade on-board.
Children aged 15 and under can travel free using a Zip Oyster card.
Heathrow Express is owned and operated by Heathrow airport rather than Transport for London (TFL), which runs the London Underground and Overground and has daily and weekly fare caps.
TFL accepts payments through Oyster and Contactless cards, though acceptance of Contactless is patchier across the UK’s rail network, with ministers recently calling for the introduction of a nationwide payment system.
Heathrow Express says it serves 17,000 passengers every day. With a 15 minute journey time it is the quickest way to the airport from the city center.
Les Freer, Director of Heathrow Express said: “Speed is everything to Heathrow Express customers so the introduction of Contactless and Oyster offers quick and easy ways to pay for your journey. This also adds to our already wide range of ticketing options offering customers choice on how they make the most of our service on top of our advance tickets from £5.50 ($7) each way at weekends.”
Tickets at that price need to be booked three months in advance.
Shashi Verma, Director of Strategy and Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: “Half of all Tube and rail pay as you go journeys are now regularly made using contactless payment because it is so quick and easy.
“We are committed to making paying for transport easier for everyone and this extension means that all rail services within Greater London now accept payment via Oyster and Contactless. We continue to work with the Department for Transport to support their aspirations to further expand the benefits of this world-renowned ticketing system to other key locations outside of London.”