The Anonymous Widower

Should Oyster Be Combined With A Freedom Pass?


  • This morning I wanted an early start, so to get to Moorgate, I left before 0900, which meant I couldn’t use my Freedom Pass on the buses and Underground.
  • So I used my Oyster Card, which still had some money on it.
  • After breakfast, it was nearly ten, so I swapped my card back to the Freedom Pass.

I believe it would be more convenient, if I had one card that handled both ticketing modes. It would be an Oyster card, but when I used it outside of the morning Peak, the card wouldn’t be charged.

October 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Battersea Power Station To London Bridge – 18th September 2022

I took a Thames Clipper from Battersea Power Station to London Bridge.


  1. The South Bank is generally to the left in the pictures.
  2. I took a Northern Line train to Battersea Power Station pier.
  3. As I finished at London Bridge pier, it was convenient for the Northern Line.
  4. I took these pictures from the back of the boat in the open as the windows were so dirty.
  5. In some pictures you can see the power of the boat, as it pulls away from the stops.
  6. The boat passed three of the super sewer sites.
  7. There were large numbers on the South Bank queuing to pay their respect to The Queen.

The fare was £7.70 on my Oyster card and the journey took under forty minutes.

September 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Manchester Arena Attack: Families ‘Disgusted’ By Memorial Trespassing

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the introductory paragraphs,

Families of people killed in the Manchester Arena attack have said they were “disgusted” after a memorial site for the 22 victims was trespassed on.

The Glade of Light memorial in the city centre remains a building site and does not officially open until the new year.

Two bereaved families said they were appalled to find the security fences pulled down on Sunday.

The article also said this.

Ms Curry said she found hundreds of people were walking through the area, which is supposed to be closed to the public.

She said one man stood on a memorial stone and was abusive when challenged, another woman vomited all over the area, and groups of youths were openly smoking drugs.

I can’t understand what led to this aggressive trespass.

When, I am in certain cities, there does seem to be more low life on the streets than you habitually see in London.

I do wonder, if it is partly because of London’s transport regulations and actions as laid down by the Mayor and Transport for London.

London has an extensive CCTV network and after the London bombings of July the seventh and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, I’m sure it was improved.

Did the improved CCTV and the police action in the shooting the unfortunate Brazilian, deter a lot of low life from going to the centre?

Ken Livingstone or was it Boris, introduced a policy of banning alcohol on London’s transport system.

The precise details are given in this recent article on the Sun.

I have a feeling it had a positive effect, but did it mean that less drunks found their way to the centre?

In 2011, I sat next to a guy on a Manchester bus going from Piccadilly Gardens to Bury. I noticed that about a dozen youths were harassing the driver, trying to get his fare money and remarked on this to my companion.

My companion on hearing my London accent, said you don’t get that in London because of the contactless ticketing, as there is no fare money on the bus.

I was surprised at his reply and asked him to explain. It turned out he was a Trade Union Official, who looked after bus workers in Manchester. He told me his Union wanted a London-style contactless ticketing system, as it had drastically cut the number of attacks on staff in London.

Having worked with the Metropolitan Police on the analysis of data, they have also found that contactless ticketing helps in the tracing of people through London’s transport network and has solved several serious crimes.


I feel that terrorism and London’s reaction to it, banning of alcohol on public transport, contactless ticketing and other measures have helped keep drunks and those up to no good out of the centre.


December 6, 2021 Posted by | News, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oyster Card Scheme Extension Agreed

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC,

This paragraph describes the extensions.

Its extension, due in early 2019, will include Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City, Luton Airport Parkway and Epsom.

As the Oyster Card extension will also include intermediate stations, the following stations will be included on the four routes.

  • Hertford North – Crews Hill, Cuffley and Bayford.
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Radlett, St. Albans City and Harpenden
  • Welwyn Garden City – Potters Bar, Brookmans Park,Welham Green and Hatfield

All intermediate stations to Epsom are already in the Oyster Card Scheme.

Fourteen new stations will be added.

These are a few random thoughts.

Contactless And Oyster

Oyster card and most contactless payment methods with a card or mobile device can be used on Oyster Card reader, so in this post, I will use contactless to cover all methods.

I believe that in a few years, Oyster could be phased out, as cards and mobile devices will take over the ticketing.

Luton Airport Parkway

Adding Luton Airport Parkway station to the network, brings Luton Airport in line with Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.

This is very much a logical extension.

Airport Services

This is a list of the current times for airport services from London.

  • Gatwick – Express – 29 minutes – Thameslink – 39-60 minutes
  • Heathrow – Express – 15 minutes – Crossrail – 28 minutes
  • Luton – East Midlands Trains – 21 minutes – Thameslink 30-47 minutes
  • Southend – 52-53 minutes
  • Stansted – 49-52 minutes

If you look at the passenger statistics for Gatwick Airport station, they have been rising at around a million passengers a year for the past few years. How much of the recent rises have been due to the station going contactless in January 2016?

Certainly, if you’re late for a plane, contactless ticketing might save a couple of minutes.

I always remember an incident at Southend Airport station.

My plane was late and arrived very close to the departure time of the last train to London. There had recently been a lot of arrivals and the queues for tickets were long.

So a Greater Anglia employee took the decision to tell everybody to get on the train and we all went to London without tickets.

If ticketing had been contactless, Greater Anglia might have collected some fares.

But contactless at an airport is not solely about making money, but getting the passengers away from the airport quickly.

Hertford East And Hertford North Stations

Hertford East station accepts contactless cards.

Adding the facility to Hertford North station may open up some journey possibilities and ease ticketing.

The National Rail web site recommends that to go between Ware and Bayford stations on either side of Hertford, that you walk between the East and North stations.

An anytime ticket will cost you £19.50.

But buy two separate tickets between Ware and Hertford East stations and Hertford North and Bayford stations and it’ll cost £6!

Using contactless ticketing and touching in at all stations will save £13.50! Will this cost difference encourage more journeys with a walk in the middle?

When I visited the Hertford East Branch recently in mid-morning, I thought that it was surprisingly busy. Does lower-hassle contactless ticketing encourage more passengers?

Analysis of contactless touches will provide the answers to my two questions.

St. Albans City And St. Albans Abbey Stations

The Abbey Line between Watford Junction and St. Albans Abbey stations is not contactless, although Watford Junction station is so enabled and St. Albans City station will be.

There is surely a case for adding contactless ticketing to this short line of five intermediate stations.

Welwyn Garden City Station

Enabling Oyster on the route to Welwyn Garden City station, will mean that all stations on the Great Northern Route from Moorgate station will be enabled except for Watton-at-Stone  and Stevenage.

This would surely be less confusing for passengers, than the current arrangement, where Oyster tickeing is stopped at Hadley Wood and Gordon Hill stations.

Hopefully a suitable announcement would wake-up accidental fare avoiders at Hertford North station.

Epsom Station

The two routes to London from Epsom station are both fully Oyster-enabled, so surely adding one station to the routes shouldn’t be a difficult problem technically.

Further Routes For Oyster

Distances of the new Oyster-enabled stations, with a few existing ones, by rail from Central London are as follows.

  • Epsom – 16 miles from Victoria.
  • Gatwick Airport – 26 miles from Victoria
  • Hertford North – 20 miles from Moorgate
  • Luton Airport Parkway – 29 miles from St. Pancras
  • Shenfield – 20 miles from Liverpool Street
  • Welwyn Garden City – 20 miles from Kings Cross

So what other stations could be added?

Southend And Stansted Airports

Airports seem to like Oyster and as I said earlier, it can help to sort out ticketing problems at certain times.

  • Southend Airport station is 39 miles from Liverpool Street and there are five other stations between Southend Airport and Shenfield stations.
  • Stansted Airport station is 36 miles from Liverpool Street and there are six other stations between Southend Airport and Broxbourne stations.

This story on ITV is entitled Rail Minister Urged To Roll Out Oyster Card Payments To Stansted, Luton And Southend Airports.

Luton Airport will soon be Oyster-enabled, so hopefully Stansted and Southend Airports will be enabled soon.

Thirty Miles From London

There are a lot of places within thirty miles of London on commuter routes, that I’m sure eventually will be Oyster-enabled.

  • High Wycombe and Aylesbury – Chiltern have ambitions for this.
  • Rochester – 30 miles from London and on Thameslink.
  • Windsor

There will be other suggestions.

Extending Freedom Pass

I’d like to be able to just touch-in and touch-out to go to any station in the Oyster card area.

My Freedom Pass would be connected to a bank or credit card and I would be charged beyond the Freedom Pass area.

If Oyster cards can be linked to a bank or credit card, surely London’s control computer can be programmed to do something very powerful for Freedom Passes.

It could be a nice little earner for cash-strapped Transport for London.


Oyster is extending its reach and after this flurry of extensions in the next few months, lot of places will be wanting to be Oyster-enabled.

I suspect the only objector to this roll-out, will be the RMT, who have made the Luddites look like pussycats!




December 15, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Welcome To The Future, New York City

The title of this post is the sub-title of this article on the Inverse web site.

It describes how New York City is changing its public transport ticketing from a card-based system to a Tap-and-Ride system based on london’s Oyster technology.

Is this one of the first steps to the world becoming London’s Oyster?

October 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Behind London’s Contactless Ticketing

I have just read this article on London Reconnections, which is entitled Don’t Fear the Beeper: Bus Hopper Tickets and the Future of Oyster.

It is fascinating stuff and a lot consists of an interview with Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Technology and Customer Experience.

One thing that surprised me is that Oyster and Contactless have separate back-ends, but the two will be combined in 2018.

So I think we’ll see lots of new features coming in after 2018.

As many of these will improve the customer experience, isn’t Sadiq a lucky Mayor, as he’ll get the credit rather than the geek who had the idea and did the coding.

This is said in the article about the Bus Hopper

This isn’t to say, of course, that the Hopper was an entirely new idea.

“[It] is something we have wanted to do for years and years.” Verma confirms. “But we haven’t wanted to do in the way that some politicians have wanted it to be done.”

So it was there all along.

How many other things will be possible, when the back offices are combined?

Use With Railcards

According to this page on the TfL web site, railcards don’t work with contactless cards.

I would suspect that one feature after 2018, would be that if you create an account for contactless or Oyster and add a railcard to the account, your fares will be adjusted accordingly.

The system could also handle the very popular Two Together Railcard. You’d just register two accounts for each traveller with the same railcard, then if they’re both used within say five minutes for the same journey, the back office applies the discount.

Use With Freedom Pass

Once the back offices are combined, the Freedom Pass could be made to work in two ways.

As now!

Or it is registered in your TfL account along with your contactless card and the back office would charge you an appropriate fare.

So if say I wanted to go to Gatwick Airport or anywhere in the Oystercard area, I just tap in and out with my contactless bank card and the back office charges be the £3, I would be charged if I went to East Croydon using my Freedom Pass and left the station before coming back in using contactless to get a train to the Airport.

If such a method was possible, I would certainly use it, as quite a few of the journeys I do are just outside the Freedom Pass area, but still within the Oystercard area.

It would then mean that I would only have to carry one card in my pocket.

The Outer London Freedom Pass

Say you live in one of the administrative districts that ring London. I’ll use Epping Forest as an example.

Because of your age or circumstances, you are entitled to a bus pass, but you get no free travel on trains or the Underground.

If your local authority decided to have a Freedom Pass scheme for all travel in the district, you would get any train or tube travel between stations in the local authority or to the boundary of the area, free.

In the case of Epping Forest, you’d get the outer reaches of the Central Line.

So if you were travelling from Theydon Bois to Liverpool Street, you’d only get charged for the tube between Woodford or Grange Hill and Liverpool Street.

You would create a contactless/Oyster account on TfL and add your bus pass and/or railcard to the account.

The back office would do the rest and you’d travel all over the Oystercard area using your contactless card.

I think that some local authorities could look at this concept seriously to encourage card holders to shop locally.

Stations Could Allow Freedom Passes Outside Zone 6

I’ll take Greenhithe for Bluewater station as an example.

The clue is in the station name.

Suppose that the Shopping Centre felt it would get a lot more business from Freedom Pass holders if it were to be in Zone 6, would it pay for the cost of tickets for Freedom Pass holders to attract them to their relaxed shopping experience.

It should be noted that there are already stations outside Zone 6, like Watford High Street and Shenfield stations, that allow Freedom Passes provided you use the London Overground or TfL Rail.

Other possibilities include.

  • Gravesend by an extended Crossrail.
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Watford Vicarage Road
  • Windsor

Who knows, which local authorities, events and attractions would find subsidising travel worthwhile.

Imagine for instance Winter-only Off Peak use of a Freedom Pass to say Brighton or Southend.


Travel in London is going to get even more interesting.

I look forward to the day, when I have a single card in my pocket!

October 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Ticketing In London Takes Another Big Step

Over the last month,since London’s buses went cashless, the silence has been deafening about this issue and I haven’t found any news reports about problems or complaints.

So it was no surprise to see that from September 16th the Underground, Overground and DLR will accept contactless bank cards.

There are still a few small steps to take, like bringing all of other rail companies into the system.  Once this is done, you could say turn up at Gatwick Airport touch your contactless bank card on the reader and then again, when you get to Victoria, to get into Central London. Obviously, you can do that from September 16th at Heathrow or City Airports, as they are in the Transport for London area.

One of the things also to be introduced is a weekly cap. So will this mean that if you put a weekly ticket on Oyster, you won’t need to any more.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Getting Your Money Back On Oyster

I don’t use my Oyster card much on London’s transport system, as I have a Freedom Pass.

But I do appreciate how difficult it could be to get a refund on a journey that has gone wrong. So this story about getting refunds on-line through Oyster is to be welcomed. Here’s an extract.

Whilst the system for taking your money is very slick – automatic Oyster top-up, contactless payment – getting it back has been a laborious process, with a lengthy online or even pen-and-paper form.

Sigh no more, commuters. From today, TfL are making it easier to get a refund for late Underground and Overground trains.

Now, instead of entering all of your personal information every time your Underground or DLR train is 15 minutes late (or 30 minutes if you’re on the Overground), you can set up an account that holds it all, so you only have to put in the details of your late journey.

This does show how the way public transport ticketing is going.

With only a few days now before London’s buses go cashless and as it looks like the Underground and Overground will go the same way soon, London is eliminating the hassle from public transport.

As Oyster can now be topped-up automatically, I wonder how many companies now give employees an Oyster card, that the company tops up automatically? Take say a bit employer like University College Hospital, where there is no staff parking, would a company Oyster card be a simple perk to recruit and retain staff.

Transport for London seems to be becoming a giant computer system, with large numbers of ride-on terminals. Wouldn’t it be nice if black taxis and the bikes were able to be charged to Oyster?

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Should Oyster Become A Bank?

This suggestion was put forward by the Social Market Foundation in a report yesterday.

Oyster is a trusted brand and it handles billions of transactions in a year, so expansion into a contactless bank, would probably be something that could work.

I also get better information from my Oyster card than I get from my debit or credit card. I can see my last journeys at most ticket machines in London, but can I find out the last five transactions on my debit card at a cash machine? I don’t think so!

So perhaps the other side of this suggestion, is should bank cards be more like Oyster?

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

London Buses May Go Cashless

According to reports like this one on the BBC, it looks like London buses may go cashless.

There have been a few comments that the usual suspects are against this, as it may hurt the poor and the vulnerable, but I don’t think it will create too many problems after the first few months, especially if publicity and the technology was cranked up a bit.

I do remember though, a conversation on a Manchester bus, with an off-duty driver and union representative.  He felt that their single-door buses where the low-life gathered around the driver and tried to steal his money were very inferior to two-door buses.  he would have loved a cashless system.

I’ve just done a small calculation.  There are six million riders on each weekday on London’s buses and working on a figure for today that one per cent of riders buy a ticket with cash, that means that 60,000 riders a day buy paper tickets. as there are 250 weekdays in a year, that means there are fifteen million tickets sold each year.

The cost of collecting the cash is given as £24 million a year, so it would almost appear that some of those without tickets could be issued with a free get-you-home ticket. Transport for London are saying they might bring in the Hong Kong system, where an expired card is good for one journey.

I do think though that if the decision was made to go cashless, as the no-cash day approached most people would do something about getting a ticket like Oyster.

i do suspect though that there will be a few objectors, who would not countenance any ticket like Oyster, that enabled them to be tracked,

August 19, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment