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Transport for London (TfL) has taken a step backwards in its plans to extend the use of the Oyster smart card to payments in shops.

A TfL spokesperson told Government Computing News that it has decided it is "not economical" to carry on with the plan it has followed over the past year.

In July of last year it announced a shortlist of potential partners with which it would discuss the possibilities of adding new services to the Oyster card. These could include using the card – currently used to prepay for travel - at parking machines or paying for low value items at news agents, supermarkets and fast food outlets.

Its discussions have since led it to believe it has to reconsider the plan, as it could not fully define the procurement.

"No one in Britain has done it before, and we did not know what exactly to procure," the spokesperson said. "We've cancelled the notice in OJEU that said we were looking for a partner, but we are still interested in getting it up and running.

"It may be that someone comes to us or it may be that we ourselves have an idea on how we can do it."

There is no timetable for further developing the idea, and the spokesperson said that, as the Oyster card was originally developed to pay for travel, the change in plan would not affect the economic structure of the scheme.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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