Applying a monthly Oyster card this morning, and by the time I had got to work, an email was waiting to let me know my card had been updated.

How odd I thought, as it normally takes at least a day for a nominated station to be ready to credit an Oyster card, and just then, TfL announced it has upgraded its software.

In an announcement, TfL said that its now possible to collect a travelcard update within 30 minutes of buying it online, and there’s no longer a need to nominate a specific station to collect from.

By the end of autumn, the upgrade will also be expanded to allow Oyster updates to be collected directly on all 9,000 London buses.

Next month, a new TfL app will launch, allowing customers to top up their Oyster card with pay as you go credit and buy Travelcards.

Once launched, further functions will be added to the TfL app throughout 2017, including making it quicker and easier to apply for refunds for incomplete journeys, as well as viewing journey history for Contactless payments in Spring 2018.

Later this year, they will also be expanding the Mayor’s ‘Hopper fare’ to allow unlimited journeys on buses and trams within an hour. Another change will be bad news for corner shops, as bus & tram season tickets will be available to purchase online and via the app.

The upgrades form a key part of TfL’s action plan to address concerns raised in a recent London Travelwatch report into the closure of ticket offices at London Underground stations.

In order to use the new TfL app, customers will need to have an Oyster online account. Customers with a first-generation Oyster card, which were predominantly issued prior to 2010, will also need to upgrade their Oyster card to one which has a “D” in the bottom left hand corner on the back of the card.


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  1. Andyp1972 says:

    About time too! Until this announcement surely the most embarrasing thing that the greatest city in the world doesn’t have an app for its primary transport network

  2. Ben says:

    YES! Fantastic news. Thanks for sharing this Ian.

    It’s incredibly frustrating to be stranded somewhere because you can’t use cash on buses, nor top up your Oyster card (at newsagents or shops) after 11pm.

    Hopefully these changes will address that. Unless they keep that same function block in place because of nightly Oyster system maintenance.

    Worth finding out.

  3. Melvyn says:

    Those early Oyster cards were issued free but during his time as Mayor Boris introduced a £5 charge simply to purchase an Oyster card so will anyone who needs to upgrade have to pay this amount for a new card ?

    While Oyster and contactless now dominate with Greater London people traveling to London for the day still need to purchase the old orange paper ticket which covers their return fare from home Station to boundary 6 and return home and includes their zone 1-6 Travelcard for the day . So perhaps the next move needs to make these journeys possible either on Oyster or rail companies cards like The Key or C2C card ?

    One issue that already exists with journeys to Watford Junction but will increase with the coming of the Elizabeth Line is the difficulty of obtaining Travelcard for zones 7-9 I asked in the past when I was going to Watford Junction but they were not available at my station in Essex and I had to alight at Harrow and Wealdstone to buy one something the closure of ticket offices May has made worser

    • Ian Visits says:

      A £3 refundable deposit was introduced by Mayor Boris in 2009, and it doesn’t apply to replacement cards.

    • Jon says:

      The vast majority of people coming to London for the day will arrive into a zone one station (Euston, King’s Cross, Paddington etc) on a ticket travelling from home to the terminal (eg Birmingham to Euston) then they either use contactless or Oyster with capping to travel round the city. Or they get a paper travelcard issued with their tickets.

      The number of people worried about boundry extension tickets is tiny.

  4. Katy says:

    I will never trade in my old Oyster!!! Still got the one that came in the blue CD case with its red roundel. Had a look for the case the other day, but I think I must have binned it in a house move. Sad state of affairs.

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