Department for Transport pours millions into eTicketing
Electronic tickets are coming, like it or not
The UK's Department for Transport is to pour £20m into eTicketing outside London, and £60m into eTicketing within the smoke.
The numbers come from the Department's Smart and Integrated Ticketing Strategy, which lays out who is to get the money and what for. It asserts the Department's belief that if only people didn't have to scrabble around for change they'd all be taking the bus every day.
The £60 million for London will pay to upgrade the existing Oyster system to "Prestige" - enabling support for the new ITSO specification cards, the Department for Transport (DfT) having poured 5 million into developing that standard and ensuring it remains compatible with Near Field Communications (NFC). The DoT is firmly of the opinion that NFC is coming into mobile phones real soon now, and wants to be ready.
"We could even see the death of the paper ticket, as direct payments and mobile phone technology pick up pace" said Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, as reported by NFC World.
The £20 million will subsidise buses in major urban areas that want to use eTickets - to the tune of around 800 quid a bus - and another £32 million goes to local authorities in the hope they can get companies working together on cross-system ticketing.
And if they don't agreed to play nicely together it then they might find themselves legislated into it, as the DoT reckons compatibility is vital to get punters onto public transport.
London's new Prestige System won't, of course, be compatible with the existing Oyster system, so there's another five million in the pot to cover the cost of making Oyster cards into a dual-format card while the system is being deployed.
It's enough to cheer the hearts of the NFC lobby, who've been having a hard time convincing anyone to pay for the technology. O2's NFC trials in London went well, with almost a quarter of those taking part saying they travelled more.
But there's no revenue stream for the network operator so no incentive for them to pay, which is why it's so nice to see the government stepping in to fill the void at this time of year. ®
As long as... which they won't, of course.
I don't mind electronic ticketing, provided it retains the properties I find valuable in paper systems: Ease of use (And yes, managing chance is much easier than all that invisible electronic crap. If you complain you merely lack that basic skill.), it has to actually work even in adverse conditions (like when the power goes out or the network is down), and last but certainly not least, it must be anonymous. Even ``anonymous'' but with a seven year trail of your movements attached doesn't count. No traceable record keeping, no names attached, and hard guarantees that state clearly what will happen if a breach does occur.
It's all quite simple compared to the horribly complex systems that trash privacy the government usually comes up with, but nobody bothers to do it. Curious, curious.
Does this inherit Oysters insecurity.
Only as El Reg reported at some length the hardware behind Oyster has been comproimised some time ago.
If this is more on tomp of the current hardware that makes more stuff to steal. Or are they upgrading the card hardware?
The Usual Crap
""It asserts the Department's belief that if only people didn't have to scrabble around for change they'd all be taking the bus every day."
Of course that's why i don't use the bus/train to get to work. Nothing to do with the fact that my 1 hour commute to work in my car would take almost 2 hours using public transport."
It never ceases to amaze me how the government and its quangos use statements to justify their arguments which everybody else knows are patently untrue.