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Boris boots Transys off Oyster contract

Nothing to do with failures or cloning, definitely not...

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Transport for London and London's mayor Boris Johnson have ended their contract with Transys, the group of companies which provide Oyster cards - the card ticketing system for the capital's buses, trams, some trains and tubes.

TfL said it is convinced it can save money by offering the contract to another company. The Oyster system currently costs £100m a year and was set up and run by Transys - a joint venture of EDS and Cubic created for the purpose. Other shareholders in Transys include Fujitsu Services and WS Atkins Ltd. The scheme was funded by a Public Finance Initiative and was scheduled to run for 17 years.

Shashi Verma, director of fares and ticketing, said: "'As part of this we are looking at more cost-effective ways to manage and develop the Oyster card system that we expect will save millions over the next few years. The savings will be reinvested to deliver further improvements in London's transport system."

A spokesman for TfL told The Register: "We're looking for better value for money. The review of the contract has been going on for some time and recent incidents [two failures of the system] are purely coincidental. We expect any new contract to not only save money but also improve service across the network."

Transys sent us the following statement: "As with the majority of PFIs, the PRESTIGE contract, which has been in existence since 1998 and includes Oyster, incorporates a ten-year break-clause element. The London transport system has changed dramatically over the past ten years. For the benefit of all stakeholders, contract negotiations have been taking place over the last year between TranSys and TfL. The TranSys consortium will continue to operate and deliver for the next two years."

The Oyster system has suffered two failures in recent weeks and the MiFare chips used by the actual cards were cloned by Dutch academics. ®

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