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Santander Cycles to accept contactless payments

Joe Robinson
16 Nov 2018

New payment method to be available from end of November, although will cause temporary disruption

London's Santander hire cycle scheme is set to accept contactless card payments as of the end of November. The new payment method will be introduced across all terminals and will simplify the payment process for all users.

The 839 docking stations across the city will be updated between this Saturday, the 17th, and Thursday 22nd November. Transport for London has warned this could cause disruption to some users, but will not affect annual members.

In a short press release, TfL wrote that 'From 19:00 on 17th-23th November, Santander Cycle payment terminals at all docking stations will be out of service. We're upgrading them so you can use contactless to hire a bike.

'Overnight access from 19:00 on 17th November will be restricted to current key holding annual members. From 12:00 on 18th November, Santander Cycles app and key holders can hire from any docking station.'

In the long run, this swift method of payment will help increase the simplicity of hiring the now-iconic bikes and reduce the time it takes to hire them.

Currently, there are two ways of hiring a bike. The first is to download the phone app, which provides you with the four-digit PIN needed to release the bike, which is useful for regular users but not so a one-off rider.

The second – and more common – method is to insert your card into the terminal, following the on-screen instructions before being provided with the code to release a bike. The contactless payment option will remove at least one step from that process.

London's bike hire scheme was launched in 2010 and has proved a resounding success, with 11,000 bikes now available for hire across the capital. In July of this year, TfL reported a new record for hires in one month with 1.2 million uses.

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