“Wave and Pay” on the Tube delayed by a year
Don’t get rid of your Oyster card just yet
Not obsolete yet: An Oyster card
Dick Murray, Transport Correspondent
21 May 2012
Plans to install “wave and pay” technology using a credit or debit card on London’s transport network have been significantly delayed.
The scheme — described as “contactless travel” — was supposed to make commuter travel easier as fares would be automatically deducted from passengers’ accounts. But it is now running a year late and will not come into use on the Tube until the end of next year.
Shashi Verma, Transport for London director of customer experience, said of the delay: “We are breaking new ground. There is a lot of technology. It is not like a programme we have done 25 times before. This is new technology starting from scratch.”
Mr Verma said it would be “even harder” fitting the new technology on the Tube than buses. “There is a huge amount of development to be done. Not just by us but by the banking industry.”
He said that with TfL focused on making the London Games go smoothly Wave and Pay was “not the sort of thing you want to be mucking about with just before the Olympics”.
The technology was to have been installed on all 8,000 London buses in time for the Games, but TfL confirmed today that only a “small number” of buses will have the system fitted next month with the remainder following in stages “throughout the year”.
TfL had also pledged in February last year to have introduced the system to the Tube, DLR tram and London Overground network by the end of 2012.
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the London Assembly’s Lib-Dem group and the transport committee, said: “No one is against new technology but the delayed start of Wave and Pay is a great opportunity to ensure the new technology works properly from day one of its introduction.
“At the same time the Mayor and TfL must ensure that whenever it starts people who decide to stick with Oyster ‘pay as you go’ don’t get penalised with higher fares.”