Feeds

London Transport plans Oyster bypass

Pay at turnstile coming in 2012

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Transport for London plans to start accepting credit and debit cards at the turnstile, reducing Oyster's cut and removing the requirement for pre-paid tickets.

Instead of charging an Oyster card with credit, and then using that credit to pay for buses, tubes and trains, Londoners will be able to pay instantly at the turnstile within two years: according to Transport For London. The details won't be public until next month, but local TV show London Tonight got hold of meeting minutes referencing a schedule calling for all buses to be equipped early in 2012, with the tube network to follow later the same year.

The idea is already on trial in New York: one simply waves a contactless bank card and the cost of the ticket is deducted from the owner's account, but doing the same thing in London will be complicated by the fact that not all tickets are made equal as the price of a journey depends on its length.

We don't know how TfL will be addressing that issue, but it might explain why the first implementation will be on London's buses which already enjoy a standard fare regardless of how far one goes. Most likely a tube system will deduct a set amount, then credit back the change when the user waves their card again on exiting the tube network.

The idea isn't to replace Oyster, at least not initially. The systems will exist in parallel, but TfL wants to reduce the amount it pays to Oyster every time a traveller tops up an account. Given that TfL owns the "Oyster" branding that's probably not going to disappear even if the cards eventually do, though that's not going to happen as long as the cards are needed to support travel cards.

Most locals rely on a Travel Card, paying a set amount for unlimited travel, and while TfL reckons it can replicate that using bank cards it's much more difficult to do.

All this would be much easier if we all had mobile phones supporting the N-Mark (Near Field Communications) standard, which can cope with more complex applications. But it seems the nearest we'll get in the UK (for the next few years) is Barclaycard-branded stickers and SMS notifications when they're used, which isn't quite the integrated mobile experience we might have hoped for. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.