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Many of the large cities in Europe have moved beyond this to contactless Smartcards (e.g. Oyster in London, Navigo in Paris, Pastel in Toulouse) which removes the need to queue up to purchase a ticket and speeds up the passage through the ticket gate (now down to milliseconds).
There is an interest among many cities to expand the services covered by the Smartcard to other mobility services such as car clubs, public bike schemes and car parks (e.g. Milan). A new generation of transport payment systems are also starting to be developed based on contactless credit card and mobile phone (e.g. London).