Oysters out priced by contactless cards

If you’re a London commuter who uses an Oyster card to travel each week, you could be paying up to £91 more than those who choose to use contactless card payments. 

Transport for London (TFL) has recently introduced weekly caps for travelers who choose to use contactless cards instead of an Oyster.

Oyster cards have yet to adopt a weekly capping function, only offering a daily price cap to their users. This means that commuters who use their Oyster cards on a weekly travel basis, are paying far more than their counterparts utilising contactless payment.

Analysis by the London Assembly Labour party found passengers using pay-as-you-go fares, who travel between zones four and seven during peak-time seven days a week, would pay £121.40. But passengers travelling through the same areas using contactless payment would only spend £29.40 – saving up to £91.80. Whilst a zone one to six commuter who hits the peak-time daily cap (five times) would save £21.80 per week by switching from Oyster to contactless card payment.

The new figures raise questions over Boris Johnson’s pledge that Oyster cards would be the cheapest way of travelling in the capital, with the cheaper alternative being contactless payment.

When contactless payment was introduced by the London mayor, weekly caps could have been added to the Oyster card to ensure fares were kept as low as possible. But it seems contactless card users have purposely been given a better deal, despite almost half a million Londoners not having a bank account – let alone a contactless card.

But what is most hard to swallow for London commuters, is how specific details of contactless payments have not been well publicised.

A recent survey for TFL found only 26 per cent of Londoners have made a payment using a contactless card, with far less people being aware of the significant savings that could be made if they did so.

Is this the beginning of the end for the Oyster card?

 Picture: Lena Vasiljeva

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