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Oyster card may be replaced by Credit cards or Mobile phones

Speaking in front on the London Assembly on Tuesday, the head of future ticketing at Transport for London made it clear that the organisation is considering all options for the Oyster card used by millions on the London underground.

Will Judge said that TFL is looking to save millions of pounds by switching to what it calls a more conventional contract which would use other modes of ticketing including smartcards, mobile phones or even a bank card.

The current system, which used RFID-equipped smartcard, could be replaced as TFL ended its contract with Transys, a consortium comprising of EDS, Cubic, Fujitsu and WS Atkins, back in August and is looking for replacements.

It will be outsourced to third parties and the Oyster name could be canned altogether, with the added cost of rebranding a recognised solution.

TFL also announced its intention to divide the travelcard contract into separate modules which will be awarded to diffent suppliers in a bid to reduce operating costs and improve reliability - Oyster has already been hit with two major outages in July.

Last November, O2 trialled an Oyster credit card mobile phone which proved to be quite popular.


Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.