Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oystercard Deposits

Transport for London announced today that, with effect from 17th May, a £3 deposit would be charged on all Oystercards. Currently deposits are charged on only a few cards.

The press release contains some startling facts;
  • a third of all new Oyster cards issued with a 7 Day Travelcard or bus & tram pass on them are discarded after a week
  • seven million Oyster cards have been issued to 700,000 Travelcard and 300,000 bus & tram pass season ticket holders. If I'm understanding this correctly, that means each season ticket holder has gone through an average of seven Oystercards.
I am on my second Oystercard - the first one developed a fault and I use the second one only for some journeys at the outer extremities of the Metropolitan Line. This is because I now have a cardboard Travelcard issued by Chiltern Railways (living as I do in rural Buckinghamshire).

I had always thought that the £3 deposit on pre-pay cards was to stop people exiting through gates (putting their cards overdrawn, which I think can happen up to £3), and then throwing the card away.

Given the facts as outlined by tfl, I think that the £3 deposit has to be a good idea. There is some shocking waste going on.

1 comment:

James UK said...

I think it was on "It's all about mileage" that I read that some b@stards actually have recorded the "sound" of the Oyster card being read / accepted, and then try and "play" it using their mobile 'phones as they get on buses, to fool the driver when they have no actual card!

Considering the pass cards in my old job cost something like £200 (any idea how much the Oyster ones are to produce?) I think a deposit is a great idea too. I wish my old place had taken my suggestion of deposits for the cards onboard, instead of ignoring it, and just accepting losses ("Oh, I can't find it..." of 10 or more cards a month... :-(