TfL’s Oyster gets new contract

Transport for London (TfL) has replaced its terminated Oyster card deal with the TranSys consortium - with a new contract involving two major investors in the original group.

The contactless card-based ticketing system for London's public transport system will now be delivered and further developed by the TranSys consortium's leaders, Cubic Transportation Systems and EDS.

Over the summer, the back-end systems for the Oyster network fell over twice in a matter of weeks forcing TfL to offer free travel to Londoners across the Underground network, as the six million cards in use couldn't be scanned.

TfL opted to leave its 100 million, 17-year contract with TranSys early, with the aim of cutting costs. It was set to end in 2015, but will now end in 2010, when the new three-year contract kicks in.

TranSys is a public finance initiative (PFI), made up of TfL, Cubic and EDS. Shareholders also include Fujitsu and WS Atkins Consultants.

The new contract ensures TfL will be able to keep the Oyster brand, despite concerns to the contrary. The travel body could not divulge the cost of the contract, but a TfL spokesman told IT PRO it offered "significant savings."

Indeed, Shashi Verma, TfL's director of fares and ticketing, said in a statement: "This new deal will see Oyster in the pockets of Londoners for years to come and will save significant money that TfL will invest in improving transport in the capital." EDS will be responsible for maintaining the network of Oyster top-up points in shops and stations, as well as procuring the smartcards. Cubic will handle the rest of the contract, with TfL taking on a few more aspects of the management, the spokesman said.