Transport for London (TfL) has announced a flurry of changes to the Oyster card, including a new app for passengers to get phone alerts when their balance is running low.
Those 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. They will no longer need to nominate a station when they make the purchase.
The change has also meant the time needed to get the product ready to collect has been significantly reduced to, from up to 24 hours to 30 minutes. TfL said that by the end of the autumn, these upgrades will be rolled out further so products can be collected directly on all 9,000 London buses too.
Next month, the free app is launching too, so customers will be able to top up their Oyster card with pay as you go credit, and Travelcards, wherever they are.
Passengers will be able to use their phones to add credit to the card, and the app will let people check how much credit they have on the Oyster and provide a low balance alert directly to the phone.
So you'll be able to avoid the frustrating moment of getting to the front of a long queue of commuters, only to realise you don't have enough money on your Oyster for the journey...
To use the app, you'll need an Oyster online account - those who have a first-generation card, predominantly issued before 2010, will need to upgrade theirs to access it.
More improvements are also coming to the Oyster system over the rest of the year and next, including expanding the Hopper fare to allow unlimited journeys on buses and trams within an hour, making bus and tram pass season tickets available to purchase online and via the app, and bringing in 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.