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London's black cabs to accept Apple Pay 9 months early as part of PayPal deal

As black cab firms look to gain ground on Uber, transport for London (TfL) plans to mandate card and contactless payments in taxis from October 2016. However, Londoners looking to stay ahead of the curve may be able to take advantage of the technology sooner.

To kickstart the initiative ahead of time, Paypal is running a campaign with black cab advertising outfit Ubiquitous which will see card and contactless payments arrive early in select Hackneys.

Black cabs will make use of the tech firm's PayPal Here (one of the products set to be used in TfL's full launch) to process payments.

Apple Pay, MasterCard, Maestro and American Express are all accepted under the scheme, which is being supported by OOH ads and in-car tip-seat posters.

The campaign highlights the system's ease of use and is primarily aimed at London taxi drivers, with Rob Harper PayPal UK's director of mobile commerce saying he hopes the move will help shift the perception of customers who are "frustrated" to find that many taxis don't take card.

Andrew Barnett, managing director of Ubiquitous added: "We are delighted to be working with PayPal to offer what we strongly feel is the best card payment solution for drivers and passengers; one which will help London’s iconic Black Taxis to better compete in a market that is increasingly driven by technology, which now includes the option of faster, easier payment via contactless.”

The decision to embrance contactless payments was outlined by TfL at the end of 2015 after consultations revealed a widespread public appetite for the feature. 

The rivalry between digital ride-hailing apps and cabbies came to a head in October, when Uber was declared legal by the UK high court following a dispute over the app's fare calculation system. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) was unhappy about the ruling, taking to Twitter to call "the law" out for being "an ass".

Featured by The Drum