The process of topping up your Oyster card has always seemed a little archaic. Though customers can do this online, until now, they've had to nominate a specific station to touch into — not ideal if your plans happen to change (you're a Londoner, they do).
Now, free app TfL Oyster (available on Apple and Android) allows you top up your Oyster card on your phone, and collect the top-up from any tube or rail station, tram stop or river bus pier as little as 30 minutes later. (Future versions of the app will allow you to collect the top-up on buses too.)
In addition, you can use TfL Oyster to track the journeys you've made, and the cost of these. Alerts pre-warn when you're running out of credit, or your travelcard is about to expire. Nice touch.
Says Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, "As smartphones become an increasingly essential part of our customers' lives, we are introducing this app to make the process of buying and checking travel products as quick and convenient as possible."
There are, of course, limitations to the app. As we mentioned, you can't yet use it to top up on buses. It also only works with Oyster cards, rather than contactless cards. And that 30 minutes between purchase and top up could still feel an age to any Londoner in a rush (you're a Londoner, you're in a rush).
Still, a step in the right direction, we reckon.
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