Local leaders have welcomed developments to the Itchen Bridge which mean toll booths will now accept contactless card payment.

The announcement from Southampton City Council came yesterday and card readers are being installed on the toll booths this week.

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Customer Organisation said: "I'm pleased that we've been able to introduce contactless payment as an option on the Itchen Bridge.

"We've been committed to this for some time as a convenient option for people making the crossing.

"We've now managed to overcome the challenges with introducing it in this location for the benefit of everyone using the crossing."

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Woolston councillor Warwick Payne said: "Living in Woolston I believe that contactless payments on the bridge will be an improvement. They will help the traffic flow as some motorists arrive at the bridge without smart cards or cash and then find it hard for them to get across the bridge. That should now become a thing of the past."

Bargate councillor John Noon said: "I think it's a brilliant idea and it's going to make life easier for a lot of people."

MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith said: “All I can say about this announcement is, ‘at last’. It has frankly been an embarrassment that the city council has been so late in installing this sort of technology.

"Perhaps they have finally realised we are in the 21st Century."

Cash and SmartCities cards will still be accepted, though some older SmartCities cards may need replacing in order to work on the new toll booth card readers.

The council said they have written to those who will need to replace their SmartCities card.