You have to question the reasoning behind TfL’s naming a form of electronic ticketing after a tasty sea-faring creature which is not only mistakenly employed as an aphrodisiac, but can also do amazing tricks with mucus secretions and dirt.
Someone pointed out to Londonist recently that the whole idea behind Oyster was ripped-off from Hong Kong anyway, where they have been using Octopus cards since the mid-1990s. (Didn’t London used to dictate what Hong Kong did, and not the other way around? What ever did happen to the British Empire?)
As with the Octopus card, there is potential for Oyster to act as an e-money payment system. However, seeing as how The Powers That Be cannot even figure out how to install prepay on the WAGN (it’s changed to First … something-or-other now, hasn’t it?) services from King’s Cross to New Barnet, this seems highly improbable within the foreseeable future.
This is mostly by the by. The news today is that Oyster cards are to be made available to overseas tourists before they leave home, in a bid to boost inbound UK tourism. Londonist wonders if British (in particular London) tourism is genuinely in that bad a state of affairs. If the throng of Kentuckians congregated outside Oxford Circus tube station this Bank Holiday Monday were anything to judge by, we’d hesitate that, as per usual, the figures are too healthy.
Exact details escape us, but recently (read: any time within the last six months) there was a delightful exhibition of photographs of the West End from the early 1900s. One in particular, a picture of huntsmen on horseback with hounds in the early hours on a deserted Oxford Street, evoked the days when Soho was all fields and trees and hunting grounds.
Who’s up for a spot of Hunt the Holidaymaker? Stratford-upon-Avon has already instigated a similar tourist-culling scheme, and they seem to be doing just marvellously.
Initially the cards will go on sale in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. In the Guardian, Red Ken is quoted saying something empowering. This should really just be considered as another TfL PR-related incident, and as such ignored or put up with as best as possible.
In yet another recent survey, 62% of Britons polled voted London transport the most expensive in the world.
Good luck …
Photo from hirotomo’s photostream