Oyster cards take over London transport

Oyster card

The Oyster automated ticket system is finally making its way to rail services in London - as well as river boats.

The pay as you go part of the system will be accepted on Thames Clipper commuter boats today and on all National Rail services in London from 2 January - just a few days past the 2009 goal.

At the moment, Oyster cards holding season tickets are accepted on all rail lines, but only some take pay as you go tickets. It's also used across London buses, the underground, and DLR.

Mayor Boris Johnson said in statement that "the Oysterisation of all London's commuter rail services is to become a reality."

"It truly will be the only ticket Londoners need to get around town," he added.

Transport secretary Andrew Adonis said the system will allow users to "travel seamlessly" across the network. "But we mustn't stop there - I want to see smart ticketing on all modes of public transport in England as quickly as possible."

Upgrading to new equipment at every train station cost 40 million, according to London transport commissioner Peter Hendey.

The system automatically calculates the cost of a fare in a fifth of a second from five million options, TfL said in a statement. The swipe and go system allows 40 people through a gate per minute, nearly doubling the 25 that can squeeze through using paper tickets.

At the moment, there are seven million Oyster cards in use, with 80 per cent of Tube and bus fares using the swipe card.

It's some good news for the Oyster system, which has had a troubled year, with outages costing TfL millions of fares, researchers publishing hacks, and IT system contracts being ended early.