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July 14th, 2008

Transport For London System Failure Disabled Electronic Oyster Cards For Thousands Of Travelers

Thousands of people using London’s public transport network may find their electronic Oyster card no longer works after a fault hit the system. The system was inoperable for at least five hours on Saturday. Some cards used during that time have since stopped working or incurred a fine. London commuters are suffered more problems than usual Sunday morning, thanks to the weekend failure of the Oyster card readers at tube stations and on buses.

The cards are used as payment on buses, Tube, tram and Docklands Light Railway. Transport for London apologized and said people with a faulty card could get a replacement from Tube stations.

Extra staff have been drafted to sort out problems with cards which were used between 5.30am and 10.30am on Saturday. Some cards were apparently wiped, meaning some customers were left with cards that didn’t work and/or a fine. Although the problems were supposedly fixed by 10.30am Saturday morning, we’ve had reports of problems on buses up until late Saturday evening.

Certain Freedom Passes and Young Persons Oyster cards might also need to be exchanged for a new card. Transport for London believes as many as 40,000 cards might have problems.

Transport for London (TfL) said the computer problem was fixed at 9.30am on Saturday but some retailers did not get ticket services back until Sunday. People who were charged a maximum fare on Saturday morning will get an automatic refund on Tuesday. According to the spokesman, the vast majority of passengers have traveled without any disruption this morning and London Underground staff have minimized the delay to passengers with cards that are not working. Less than 1% of the 6 million regular Oyster card users required replacement cards after the incident on Saturday morning. Affected cards are being replaced and there are now less than 35,000 cards that need to be replaced. If this has not been practical during this morning, LU staff, and London bus drivers, have allowed these passengers to travel. Ticket offices are well stocked and the passengers who have not yet replaced their cards are advised to go to their nearest LU ticket office through-out today.

The problem comes just weeks after Dutch researchers found a way to clone the Mifare chip which the card is based on. Chip company NXP is taking legal action to silence the university researchers who revealed the problem.

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    One Response to “Transport For London System Failure Disabled Electronic Oyster Cards For Thousands Of Travelers”

    1. underworld Says:
      July 14th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

      noooo not the oyster cards!!! what’s next old peoples hearing aids!

      Commuting is bad enough without having a broken clam shell!

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