Newest Review: ... blindingly obvious so I'll put this as simply as I can: London transport's Oyster Card system is simply fantastic. It looks like a cre... more
Oyster- here to stay
Member Name: shopaholicleo
Disadvantages: prone to glitches which don't favour the customer
So due to crazy fare rises in London, we are forced to use the Oyster card. A good idea in theory, as it allows you cheaper travel on buses and tubes but it's not without it's drawbacks. It's main problem is that if you live in south east London like me, near to places like Forest Hill, Sydenham, Bromley and Croydon, you can't benefit from daily price capping on Travelcards as there are no nearby tube stations. This means I still have to pay the normal travelcard rate (well, I would if I didn't have the 16-25 railcard) but this does affect many people in this area as the advertising is just not relevant. Some things like refunds and online top-ups seem to only be activated by touching in at Tube stations, which is annoying if you have to make an extra special journey to get one.
There are also times when the system does fail, which can work to your advantage when on buses. If a sign says 'oyster not working' you simply just give a wistful look at the reader as if to say 'what a shame, I had so much money on it as well', but on trams it can be a different story. I was very annoyed to be confronted by an announcement that I'd have to pay the cash fare to get on the tram as the system wasn't working, when I'd just used my last bit of change to top up my card. I called up and got a refund, but I feel like they should have allowed free travel for oyster users, as we weren't to blame.
However, I like the fact that this card can be cancelled if it is lost and a replacement picked up from a station within a few days. I used to have loads of paper tickets which I had to eventually chuck, so I guess this system is better all round for the environment. The system is similar technology to that of the Octopus card in Hong Kong. I do I feel the system there is far superior as it is used widely around all of Hong Kong on every form of transport and can be used to make small purchases in shops, vending machines and even fast food places. Instead of fiddling for loose change for a newspaper, you can simply touch it against a reader and go. It is also easy for tourists to pick them up and I still keep mine as a memento of my time there (probably has about 2p on). I think this is the way forward for Oyster once all of the glitches are sorted out. I think it needs to be used everywhere to become truly successful and a way of life.
Summary: needs work and wider use across all transport and even shops
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