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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Oyster card system upgrade, new TfL app and July London Bus tender awards

I have several news stories today so let’s start off with the news that the Oyster card is set to be upgraded, enabling unlimited 1 hour fare which means you pay once and get unlimited transfers for the one-hour hopper fare. Also, TfL is launching a new phone app where passengers can top up their Oyster card on the go.

From TfL press release

Getting around London is set to become even more convenient after a range of improvements to London's Oyster ticketing system were introduced.

Passengers who top up their pay as you go credit or buy Travelcards using Oyster online can now collect their purchase from any Tube or rail station, tram stop or River Bus pier when they touch in, rather than having to nominate a station when they make the purchase.

The upgrade has also significantly reduced the time it takes for the product to be ready to collect - from up to 24 hours to just 30 minutes.

Improvements to Oyster

By the end of autumn, these improvements will also be expanded to allow products to be collected directly on all 9,000 London buses.

The improvements to Oyster will be followed by further upgrades to the system in the coming year.

Next month, the new TfL app will launch, allowing customers to top up their Oyster card with pay as you go credit and buy Travelcards wherever they are.

The new app, which will be available to download for free via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, will allow customers to use their smartphone to quickly add pay as you go credit to their Oyster card.

'Hopper fare'

It will also allow customers to check how much credit they have on their Oyster card and also provide, for the first time, a 'Low balance' alert direct on their mobile to help customers ensure they have enough pay as you go credit before they travel.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, further improvements to the Oyster system will also be introduced, including:
  • Expanding the Mayor's 'Hopper fare' to allow unlimited journeys on buses and trams within an hour
  • Making Bus & Tram Pass season tickets available to purchase online and via the app
  • Introducing Weekly Capping on Oyster to bring it in line with Contactless

Shashi Verma, Chief Technical Officer at TfL, said: 'Pay as you go with Oyster and Contactless has delivered greater convenience for our customers and we are constantly looking to make further improvements.

'With more people using the internet to manage their life than ever before, it's right that we make the process of buying and checking their travel products as quick and convenient as possible.

'This latest upgrade, along with the forthcoming TfL app, is part of our continuing work to make it as easy as possible to use public transport in London.'

Enhance the online experience

Janet Cooke, London Travelwatch chief executive, said: 'We welcome these improvements which will enhance the online experience for Oyster users.

'It's also great to see that TfL will be launching a new Oyster app next month which was developed in response to our research on improving passengers' value for money on London's transport services in August 2013.

'This will provide passengers with a more convenient way to top up Oyster pay as you go balances and identify and claim any money due to them for incomplete journeys.'

To register for an Oyster online account, please visit oyster.tfl.gov.uk

The technological advances form a key part of TfL's action plan to address concerns raised in the London Travelwatch report into the closure of ticket offices at London Underground stations, which was published last year - london.gov.uk/transport/rail-and-underground/tube-ticket-office-closures-and-improving-customer-experiences

Once launched, further functions will be added to the TfL app throughout 2017, including making it quicker and easier to apply for refunds for incomplete journeys, as well as viewing journey history for Contactless payments in Spring 2018

In order to use the new TfL app, customers will need to have an Oyster online account. Customers with a first-generation Oyster card, which were predominantly issued prior to 2010, will also need to upgrade their Oyster card to one which has a "D" in the bottom left hand corner on the back of the card. For more information about this, please visit - tfl.gov.uk/first-generation-oyster

TfL is currently contacting regular Oyster card users with a first-generation card through Oyster online to encourage them to upgrade their card prior to the release of the new TfL app

Here are some recent London Bus tender awards:

Route Current Operator New Operator PVR Vehicles
99 Stagecoach Selkent Arriva London North 14 2011-13 Euro V diesel double deck
269 Stagecoach Selkent Arriva London North 12 2011-13 Euro V diesel double deck
401 Go Ahead London Central Arriva London North 8 2011-13 Euro V diesel double deck
422 Go Ahead London Central Stagecoach Selkent 16 2011 Euro V diesel double deck (a)
423 RATP-Dev London United RATP-Dev London United 7 2011 Euro V diesel single deck
635 RATP-Dev London United RATP-Dev London United 3 Double deck (details to be confirmed)
B14 Go Ahead London Central Stagecoach Selkent 5 New Euro VI diesel single deck
B16 Go Ahead London Central Go Ahead London Central 9 2010 Euro V diesel single deck
H22 RATP-Dev London United RATP-Dev London United 11 2017 Euro VI diesel single deck (b)
H28 Abellio West London Abellio West London 9 2012 Euro V diesel single deck (c)
H37* RATP-Dev London United RATP-Dev London United 15 Single deck (details to be confirmed)
H98 RATP-Dev London United RATP-Dev London United 14 2011 Euro V diesel single deck (d)


* 24 hr service at weekends.

(a) 4 vehicles will be new Euro VI hybrid.

(b) 4 vehicles will be 2011 Euro V diesel.

(c) 1 vehicle will be new Euro VI diesel.

(d) 4 vehicles will be 2014 electric.

Contracts will commence on the following dates:

13th January 2018: Route 635.

20th January 2018: Routes 99, 269, 401, 422 & B16.

3rd February 2018: Route B14.

24th February 2018: Route H28.

3rd March 2018: Routes 423, H22 & H37.

17th March 2018: Route H98.

Lastly, a London Bus news update from LOTS:

1) Following the 12 x E20Ds into service at Arriva Harlow, 12 x B7RLEs moved to Stevenage to replace the very elderly B10BLEs. However Stevenage still has the various loans from Kent garages in service. 7 x new E20Ds are now in service at High Wycombe on route 32, and more should be around by now at Luton on routes 12 and 27.

2) The expected move has now been cancelled of RATP’s UMC fleet out from Twickenham Garage, which would have included the Kingston University buses to Epsom. Renumbering of Epsom-based vehicles to the RATP system has moved ahead very swiftly.

As always, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Google Plus by searching for @CLondoner92

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