Oyster card is ten years old

The Oyster card has now been enabling London rail and bus journeys for ten years, reports globalrailnews.com.

For Londoners – as well as for regular visitors in the capital for leisure or work-related occasions at event spaces – an Oyster card has become an essential part of their wallet. The contactless payment method is much cheaper than buying traditional tickets.

It was not always going to be called Oyster – during the planning stages there was a suggestion that it could be called Pulse or Gem. Around 85 per cent of rail and bus travel in the capital is now paid for using an Oyster card.

Shahi Verma, director of customer experience at Transport for London (TfL), said: “We know that our customers love the convenience of Oyster, and we are immensely proud to celebrate its decade serving London.”

While about 60 million cards have been issued, nearly 25 million of these have not been used for more than one year, meaning that over £45 million in deposits is currently misplaced.   

Oyster celebrated its tenth birthday on Monday (July 1st), but mayorwatch.co.uk pointed out that it is not clear how much longer the cards will be in operation, since there are plans to rely on ‘Wave and Pay’ contactless bank cards.  

Some banks are already issuing these cards, but there is concern that – if TfL shifts away from Oyster – people who do not have one of these cards will end up paying higher rates.