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London could replace Oyster with mobile

Transport for London may replace its Oyster card with with new ticketing systems operated through mobile phones or bank cards.

Transport for London may replace its Oyster card with with new ticketing systems operated through mobile phones or bank cards.

Will Judge, head of future ticketing at Transport for London (TfL), told the London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee on Tuesday in the UK that TfL was looking at various technologies and providers to take over from Oyster in 2010.

This follows TfL's decision in August to terminate the contract with TranSys for delivering Oyster ticketing five years before the original date of 2015. The decision came after reports of technical problems with the operation of the cards, and incidents in which ticket gates had to be opened for free travel following widespread card failures.

Judge said TfL wanted the new ticketing system to be contactless and fast, and suggested it could be delivered through another smartcard or on a phone or bank card. He said TfL wanted to take advantage of good practice elsewhere.

The new ticketing system could have a different name, as TfL does not own the Oyster brand. There are still plans, however, to integrate Oyster with London's river-boat services next year. Judge also told the committee that the replacement for the contract with TranSys was unlikely to take the same shape. It could be broken up into a number of segments, each let individually rather than under a large private finance initiative, as in the existing arrangements.

Committee chair John Biggs said: "This committee is interested to hear about the new technologies that TfL is exploring for the delivery of their new ticketing system. We will look with interest during our examination of TfL's business plan to see what level of savings is achieved."