Published: 12:10, 07 September 2015
The wait is finally over. Commuters can now climb aboard trains at Dartford railway station using contactless payment or Oyster cards.
Train users will now be able to pass through the barriers by simply waving their contactless-enabled debit or credit card or Oyster card over the reader as part of a scheme to make paying fares easier.
Transport for London (TfL) said the move will mean significant financial savings for customers now Dartford comes under Zone 8.
A standard anytime single fare for travel to Dartford is currently £8.40, but after the system launched on Sunday the new pay as you go contactless payment or Oyster single fare changed to £7.00 in the peak (saving £1.40) and £4.00 off peak (saving £4.40).
The news has sparked praise from Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, who is keen to see the system rolled out further in Kent.
Mr Johnson said: "Getting the Oyster card for Dartford is something I have campaigned on for a long time so I am pleased to see it is finally arriving.
"No one is claiming it is a magic wand which will make all our rail problems disappear but having Oyster will make travel more convenient for people using Dartford station.
"We have received confirmation that no fare will increase as a result of this extension and, in fact, a number of fares will be reduced.
"People can continue using their current ticketing system or switch to Oyster if it works out better for them."
Mr Johnson added that smart card technology similar to Oyster is to be introduced in stations across Kent and East Sussex for season ticket holders later this year.
This is thanks to a deal between Southeastern and TfL as part of the government-funded South East Flexible Ticketing programme.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Integrating the fares on this route with the wider TfL network makes perfect sense and ties in with our mission to make getting around our city easy for everyone, no matter where they live.
"No one is claiming it is a magic wand which will make all our rail problems disappear but having Oyster will make travel more convenient for people using Dartford station"- Gareth Johnson MP
"I'm delighted that the great people of Dartford can now benefit from contactless payments and Oyster, which offer better fares and a more convenient way to travel."
TfL's director of customer experience, Shashi Verma, said: "This is just one of the many projects we are working on to make paying for transport easier for everyone travelling in the Capital and beyond.
"Over 20 per cent of our pay-as-you-go customers use contactless payment already because it is so quick and easy. There's no need to top-up, you just touch in and out with your credit or debit card."
One in 10 contactless transactions in the UK are made on TfL's services, making TfL one of the largest contactless merchants worldwide.
To get an Oyster card, click here.