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TfL considers life without Oyster

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Transport for London may replace its Oyster card with with new ticketing systems operated through mobile phones or bankcards.

Will Judge, head of future ticketing at TfL, told the London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee on 21 October that the body is looking at various technologies and providers to take over from Oyster in 2010.

This follows TfL's decision in August to terminate its contract with TranSys to deliver Oyster ticketing five years before the planned termination date of 2015. The decision came after reports of technical problems with the operation of the cards, and incidents in which ticket gates had to be opened for free travel following widespread card failures.

Judge said TfL wants the new ticketing system to be contactless and fast, and suggested it could be delivered through another smartcard or on a phone or bankcard. He said it wanted to take advantage of good practice elsewhere.

The new ticketing system could have a different name as TfL does not own the Oyster brand. There are still plans, however, to integrate Oyster with London's riverboat services next year.

Judge also told the committee that the replacement for the contract with TranSys is unlikely to take the same shape. It could be broken up into a number of segments, each let individually rather than under a large private finance initiative as in the existing arrangements.

Committee chair John Biggs said: "This committee is interested to hear about the new technologies that TfL is exploring for the delivery of their new ticketing system. We will look with interest during our examination of TfL's business plan to see what level of savings is achieved."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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