ATOCíS Position On Oyster Pay-As-You-Go And The Offer By Transport For London31/01/2007
George Muir, Director General of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said, "All London train operators will be responding positively to Transport for London's (TfL) proposal for Oyster pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and want to move forward with discussions aimed at implementing it on the railway in London."
"Because the costs are different in different parts of London, in some cases further discussion will be needed to achieve agreement on the proper level of funding and the back office processing required from TfL."
The railway in London already accepts Travelcard season tickets on Oyster. This requires simple equipment and does not give rise to major ticketless travel problems — it is difficult to misuse a season ticket during its validity.
But accepting Oyster PAYG tickets in smart card format will be more complex and expensive to implement. PAYG ticketing requires additional equipment and more processing power because of the need to touch in and touch out, determine the fare on each occasion and deduct it from the PAYG balance on the smart card. It also requires additional back office processing.
Oyster PAYG raises issues around ticketless travel. Ideally, PAYG ticketing requires fully gated stations but currently, while 70 of the largest stations in London have automatic ticket gates, 260 do not. At stations which don't have automatic ticket gates, stand-alone validators can be used, though these are not as satisfactory for passengers or train operators.
These issues can be overcome, and in responding positively to TfL's proposal made on the 22nd November, train operators have weighed up the issues as they affect their local area.
In parallel to this, train operators want to see progress in dual-fitting gates at London's stations so that they also accept ITSO smart cards. Rail operators need this because smart cards outside London will be in ITSO format and passengers travelling into London with smart cards will be carrying this form of card.
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