All Aboard The Oyster Train

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 114 months ago
All Aboard The Oyster Train

Image by Redvers under the
Creative Commons licence
Oh frabjous day! After having been talked about for, oh, ever, the Standard says Boris is about to announce that Oyster cards and pay as you go will finally be arriving across the entire rail network by the end of the summer.

The train operating companies serving London have been huffing and puffing about the cost of installing and maintaining Oyster machines and ticket barriers, but it seems TfL have had enough of their whinging and are putting the machines in themselves. At a cost of £40m to the taxpayer. So expect even higher fares next year then...

While we're raising our arms to the skies in a hallelujah, this isn't going to happen without some controversy. Ticket barriers caused problems aplenty when they came to Sydenham and Forest Hill last summer - it seems you can't have Oyster without clogging up platform entrances and exits or even closing some entrances entirely. Fingers crossed we'll get more of the discreet DLR-type swipe machines rather than congestion-causers.

But wait... what's this? Apparently South West Trains aren't playing. They're planning to introduce a different smart card scheme (ITSO), with a pilot already running between Staines and Windsor, and Oyster isn't compatible yet. Just one more thing to get you steamed up as you stand on that rammed train into Waterloo. Sorry.

Last Updated 09 January 2009


Checked the ITSO FAQ and seems the Staines - Windsor trail is just that. this new card on the block won't be rolled out nationally on the rail system until it works with Oystercard and other cards in operation UK wide.

So a little piece of mind at least. But I would not be surprised if we have to carry 2 cards to get us about.

Now I wonder if ITSO will be able to be read on an Oystercard reader as well as the otherway round?


The odd thing is that South West Trains were apparently contractually obliged to accept Oyster PAYG from January 2009 (page 5 on the doc). Goodness knows whatever happened to that contract. The Standard's article claims that the failure is because SWT are demanding higher PAYG fares.

I can see the advantage of the ITSO cards, as they will be of use outside of London, but presumably as it's a separate piece of plastic, it won't contribute to daily Oyster PAYG price caps, so it's pretty useless as an alternative for us Zone 1-6 folk.

There's a Facebook Group about this, if you feel as though you want to register your protest Web 2.0 stylee.


You might be interested in trying this website out. http://www.prepayortravelcard.... - created by @jamescridland on twitter. I worked out I could save £140 by switching!


Nice site that, pity it doesn't take into account bus use (I get the bus to/from the station, so an extra £2 per day).

Maybe said @jamescridland could amend his site to include Bus and mainline train (all within Zones 1-6).

I do use my PAYG Oystercard and have found it to be cost effective, even on high travel days meeting clients all over London.