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May 12, 2014

Transport for London in second phase of five phase plan to make Oyster open loop

The UK government is only in the second phase of a five phase plan to make London's transit card network a fully integrated open loop system.

By Ellie Chambers

The UK government is only in the second phase of a five phase plan to make London’s transit card network a fully integrated open loop system.

Six years after Barclaycard first introduced contactless cards to the UK and two years later than first expected, Transport for London (TfL) is preparing to launch an open loop system across the transport network but has yet to set a date for the rollout.

Shashi Verma, director of customer experience for TfL, put the delay down to external factors, saying: "We entered into an agreement with the Department for Transport to support the implementation of their ITSO system on our network due to which we had to delay the implementation by a year.

"Accordingly, the live proving of the system started in November 2013. We were also then interrupted by the changes to the fares revision announced during the Chancellor’s autumn statement.

"The system went into an industry pilot in February and a customer pilot in April, in preparation for a customer launch further this year."

Since December 2012, passengers have been able to use their bank-issued contactless cards to pay on London buses, as well as the city’s prepaid transit card, known as the Oyster card.

TfL announced in April that it would stop accepting cash on buses from 6 July, but has another four phases to go through before contactless cards integrate seamlessly with the existing system.

Verma said: "Phase 1 was the introduction of contactless cards on buses, although without daily capping. Phase 2 is the introduction across all transport modes in London, along with daily capping and also introducing weekly capping.

"Phase 3 will provide customers the ability to link season tickets to their contactless cards. Phase 4 will migrate pre-paid Oyster cards from legacy technology to contactless technology. Phase 5 will see a shutdown of legacy technology."


Related articles:

Transport for London refunds £11,000 to commuters for charging twice

London buses will not accept cash payments from summer 2014

A touch of magic on the Toronto transit system

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