Ten millionth Oyster card issued - Mayor urges train operators to join system by 31 January

09 January 2007

Around three quarters of journeys on London's buses and Underground are now paid for by Oyster card

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the 10 millionth Oyster card has been issued.

This is a major step towards TfL's aim of making Oyster smart card electronic ticketing the predominant means of payment throughout London's transport system.

Around three quarters of all Underground and bus payments in London are now by Oyster card.

In the three years since the introduction of Oyster card, the proportion of cash payments on London's Underground and buses has fallen to just five per cent.

The benefits of Oyster card payments in speed on the transport system are huge.

Almost three times as many passengers can pass an Underground payment gate using Oyster card as can using printed tickets - 40 a minute compared to 15 a minute.

Even greater time savings exist on buses of Oyster card payment compared to cash.

The main gap in payments on Oyster card remains on surface rail where the train operating companies are yet to accept Oyster pre-pay. This affects 180,000 passengers a day.

In May 2006, the Mayor offered a funding package of £20m to the train operators, which will finance the technology to accept the pay as you go system to be bought and installed at every station in Zones 1-6.

Unified ticketing

The companies have until the 31 January to accept this offer.

With the introduction on the rail system of the familiar six zones already used for Underground and Travelcard tickets, London can move to a unified ticketing system based on the Oyster smart card.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "Around three quarters of journeys on London's buses and Underground are now paid for by Oyster card compared to only five per cent by cash - bringing huge time savings to passengers and the transport system.

"Ten million Oyster cards have now been taken out by the public.

Oyster's convenience

"But most of the train operating companies still continue to deprive their passengers of the benefits of Oyster payment for single journeys with pre-pay.

"With the introduction of a zone system for rail fares in London, and my offer to train operators to pay them £20m to install Oyster equipment, there is no reason why the train operating companies cannot sign up to our proposals by 31st January.

"Oyster has already proved itself to many millions of Londoners and it seems amazing that these companies haven't yet agreed to a deal which would meet their capital expenditure and would save their customers time, money and inconvenience.

"The train operating companies are in talks with TfL about adopting Oyster, and particular progress is being made by some towards selling Oyster products outside of London.

Easier journeys

"But what London travellers really want is to be allowed to use Oyster pay as you go on their rail services.

"Only five per cent of journeys on the Tube and bus are paid for by cash, but the continued lack of availability of pay as you go on a large proportion of the National Rail network in the Capital means that Londoners who rely on rail services are missing out on the cheaper fares and easier journeys that are available on Oyster."

In just over three years since its launch, Londoners have snapped up more than 10 million Oyster cards, and now only five per cent of journeys on the Tube and bus networks - just one in 20 - are paid for by cash.

  • As an example, with Oyster pay as you go you can place £10 on your Oyster card, and when you touch in and out at the yellow readers with your card on the Tube, DLR, tram or bus, the reader automatically deducts the correct fare
  • Oyster is available to buy or be topped up at all 275 Tube stations and there are also more than 2,200 Oyster Ticket Stop agents across the Capital. Around 85 per cent of all Londoners live within 400 metres of an Oyster Ticket Stop