Chances fading for London Olympics tickets that double as Oyster cards

Smart ticket idea deemed too expensive
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Smart ticket idea deemed too expensive

The prospect of tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games doubling as Oyster travel cards looks likely to be put on ice.

The organiser of the upcoming Games, Locog, has poured cold water on the idea of fitting entry tickets to the Games with a chip that would allow them to be used with Oyster card readers around London.

The potential for tickets to be swiped over the readers to allow holders to get free travel around the capital was the subject of research by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) last year.

However the idea has now been all but written off by Locog, according to a recent report by Post entitled Technology for the Olympics.

"There has been speculation about whether tickets will be integrated with the Oyster card," the report said.

"Although this is technologically feasible, Locog says that the expense is likely to be too high, given that the Games are a temporary event."

A spokesman for Locog refused to comment directly on the Post report other than to say that Locog is "working through our ticketing plans".

However he added Locog is keen that the cost of producing the tickets does not make them unaffordable for spectators.

"There will be over nine million tickets on sale for both Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and we have always said that we want there to be a large number of affordable tickets available - this is one of the considerations as we develop our plans," he said.

Olympic ticket holders will be able to use public transport for free while the Games take place and Locog is in discussion with Transport for London about alternative ways of providing free travel for spectators in the capital.

While the idea of including NFC technology on Olympics tickets for transport purposes has been shelved, its inclusion to enable contactless payments has yet to be officially ruled out.

The Locog spokesman said a decision has not yet been taken as to whether entry tickets for the Games would contain an NFC chip that could be topped up with cash and swiped in front of a reader to pay for goods at the Games.

The Post report also said the Games' organisers will encourage spectators to share photos and videos they have taken of events on "official social networking websites".

It added there is currently insufficient mobile network coverage at the Olympic Park and other venues in the UK to handle the predicted load during the Games. It says Locog is in talks with mobile network operators about how to improve network coverage at Olympic venues and city centre sites where Olympics events will be shown on big screens.

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