Oyster card safe (for now...)

Osyter as a brand is staying put
Osyter as a brand is staying put

The future of London's Oyster card looked in doubt on Friday. This followed news that Transport For London had ended its long-standing contract with the Transys consortium - the folks that supply the Oyster ticketing system.

But TFL tells TechRadar that the Oyster card brand will not be dropped.

Although Transys' contract will be terminated in 2010, the company will continue to operate the system for the next two years, and the Oyster brand will stay even when the contract is over despite reports to the contrary.

Not because of security flaws

While this news comes after a Dutch university successfully cloned the Oyster card, a spokesperson for the TFL denies that this influenced the decision, but is simply one of several cost-saving changes to the system.

One of the recent pilot schemes that could point the way to how Oyster will work in the near future, the Barclaycard OnePulse system, saw an Oyster card built into a credit card.

Shashi Verma, TfL's Director of Fares and Ticketing, re-iterated the fact that severing ties with Transys is a cost-saving initiative: "Transport for London is committed to delivering value for money across all of its services.

"As part of this we are looking at more cost effective ways to manage and develop the Oyster card system that we expect will save millions over the next few years. The savings will be reinvested to deliver further improvements in London's transport system."

Transys originally had a 17-year contract that began in 1998. The contract is now due to be terminated in 2010, a full five years before the original agreement.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.