if the company running the scheme is forced out, the Mayor and Transport for London bosses would have to be real gluttons for punishment if they then abolish it or replace it with a scheme with which the Oyster card is not compatible.
That’s exactly what is in the offing: the actual card itself is what is set to be changed, as the company which supplies it and owns the technology can’t deliver all the services that TfL want. If the proposed change happens, you’ll have to surrender the existing card (remember, it doesn’t belong to you, it remains the property of TfL, and you can get your deposit back if you no longer want it) for another from another company, when that supplier is chosen. Presumably you will be credited on the new card with your balance.
I can’t see it provoking more than a loud “tsk”, from most people, hardly cause for a riot…
I am not saying that the scheme should be adopted nationwide overnight, but more as a step-by-step process, starting in a few major cities, and then expanding over the country as it becomes economically viable.
Could it ever be economically viable? I doubt it. It’s effectively replacing something that is commonly available and works without charge (money - be it cash, cheque or debit card) for something specialized which will cost (a computerized card).
they still bought Oyster cards since it enabled them to get around London at a much cheaper rate than say a weekly paper Travelcard.
Good for them, the sensible choice, but scarcely an argument that the scheme needs to go national…
The cost reduction in London is paid for in kind, because it gets people onto the buses and into the Tube faster - it’s the increase in volume which was the LU target, and absorbs some of the loss of revenue on the journeys made at a reduced rate. The Oyster card isn’t in and of itself cheap; if London Transport chose to, they could offer you bargain tariffs on a paper ticket; it’s what they used to do with the old carnets of bus tickets, the “Red Rover” tickets, etc. etc. They just don’t now.
I think it is optimistic to assume that having a card scheme would automatically lead to discounts, as most places just don’t have the necessary volume to justify the change.
Nor do most cities have the zoned layout of London; Londoners are encouraged to make journeys avoiding the city centre - by staying out of that zone, journeys on the Tube and trains are cheaper. Again this isn’t balanced against the actual cost of the journey - it’s to keep potentially crowded stations within their capacity. This just isn’t applicable in other cities. Nor would they need the ability to “balance the books” on your card, which prevents you paying more than the cost of a travel-card with which you could have made the same journeys.
I recently made a day trip to Brussels, a city closer to London and quicker to get to than many places in Britain, and it was the work of moments to buy a public transport ticket on the train.
This operates on an entirely different system - for a start it’s a multi-use paper ticket for a set number of trips. However it does something that the Oyster card doesn’t (and possibly can’t): once you stamp it, it allows you to get on and off trains, trams or buses for a period of an hour. This means that you can make a single trip of up to an hour on various forms of transport for one use of the ticket. Commuting to work with my Oyster card on a trip of 45 mins, using a train and a bus means two lots of money off my card.
If any other local transport card in the U.K. offered that, given the choice I’d take that system over the Oyster. But it wasn’t any sort of headache for me to use my Oyster to get to St. Pancras, and the Brussels ticket in Brussels, so I’m happy to use both.
If you happen to be a businessman or salesman or an official like a civil servant who goes around the country a lot, having a single means of paying for a discount journey would be far better than having to sign up to whatever local scheme is available.
That’s a very
small number of people out ofthe general population, and a smaller sub-set of them will ever use public transport - many will drive there in a car (I don’t drive, so I’m not advocating that over the use of public transport - I’m with you on the benefits of increased mass transportation), or take a trip to a station where they may not be far from their destination.
I, for example, live in a place akin to a kind of limbo in that we can use the Oyster card for some journeys but not others
I agree that the pricing systems are daft, but that again is outside the scope of the delivery mechanism - the Oyster card doesn’t make that go away, otherwise all journeys on any transport would cost the same, no matter the distance, akin to the Brussels scheme. But TfL says that a single bus journey is a flat fare, but a train journey varies on where you go, based on arbitrary divisions.
Also be thankful that you still have access to public transport; there are places now so strapped for cash that they are cutting bus services. They are hardly going to be able to fund a more expensive scheme involving computerization, radio-controlled terminals on buses and the admin involved.
Reducing confusion like this could help boost public transport,
I don’t think it reduces confusion, it just replaces it with different confusion. Trust me - I’ve tried to convince people that the Oyster adjusts the cost of your travel at the end of the day, so you never pay more than you would for a zone travel card, and believe me, many folk just don’t get it.
by also reducing the number of paper tickets. Every little helps.
There would have to be work to show that the use of a recyclable paper ticket is less environmentally friendly than a plastic card made from limited resources like hydrocarbons and the precious metal foil components.
In your initial post you made a reference to not having different credit cards - in fact we do: not all cards are universally accepted, and those that are are subject to change - one bank is removing the ability for their customers to use other banks’ machines. MasterCard and VISA are not interchangeable, not all cash machines are part ofthe Link scheme, and then you have Diner’s Club and Amex cards, which operate differently again.
You also said that we don’t have different currencies, and indeed we don’t: we have money
, which is acceptable for use on buses and trains and all sorts of transport throughout the country, without any change to any infrastructure.
The Oyster isn’t like currency, it’s like a wallet, and we don’t expect everyone to have the same wallet - they get the one that suits them.
The people of Cardiff deserve the public transport system that suits their needs: if that happens to be the Oyster, then well and good, perhaps it could be made to work; if it’s a less involved system, or indeed even a more complex one, then well and good too. If they look and say it’s fine as is, or that they want to use tokens or whatever, then great.
I just can’t see that there’s a need for a universal adoption of a scheme made for a densely packed city like London anywhere other than London. It’s a lovely idea - it just doesn’t fly…