Ken and TfL launched a new, united scheme for 11-18 year olds who qualify for free travel today. From June, they'll need a snappily titled Zip card which is a free Oyster photocard that must be beeped - a la 'pay as you go' - for them to get around town for nothing.
Lurking beneath the shiny revamped scheme though lies the dark beating heart of Big Brother. Compelling kids to beep their Zips at every opportunity makes it easier for TfL to track teeny hoodlum movement on transport and to catch out those trying to blag free travel - if you don't have a Zip card with your face on it, your number's up.
We're doubtful that the Zip card will help curb youth crime and disturbance on London transport as Ken hopes - after all, they're not installed with MP3 player anti-speaker devices - and we're not sure that the threat of having your free travel privilege removed as a punishment for anti-social behaviour is really going to worry the truly hard kids intent causing trouble. But we really hope it will help loads more of London's young people to get out into town and experience some of its more edifying delights, as well as enabling them to get binge drunk in all sorts of new places too.
Image courtesy of Transport for London.