Oyster Woes

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor2 Comments

200807140924.jpgTim Parker, Chair of TfL and Chief Executive of the GLA, has announced that bus and tube fares "may increase."

Speaking on the BBC, Mr Parker said:

"We are in an age where there is a lot of pressure on funding and I know the attitude of the current mayor is to make sure that we properly fund Transport for London."

Whilst, especially in this economic climate, such rises make uncomfortable reading, this is still a statement which should be welcomed. It is a dangerous fallacy to believe that transport in London can improve without extra funding.

All this, however, comes against a backdrop of Oyster card failures. The Oyster network went down for about five hours on Saturday and today it is expected that some cards will not work at all, or will have incurred fines. Extra staff have been drafted to help with the inevitable queues at ticket booths, but as of yet TfL have not issued any information on the cause of the fault, or assurances that such a failure will not occur again.

At a time when Tim Parker is floating the idea of fare increases, this is a disgrace. Mr Parker needs to prove the basic effectiveness of the network and its key components before any such rises should be authorised.

Londoners require confidence in TfL and its management of the network. It is on that basis that public approval for fare rises can be assumed.

How Mr Parker deals with this mess will be a fine measure for the public of his competence in heading up TfL and investing money on our behalves.

UPDATE 15/07/08: The Guardian reports that 65,000 cards were affected by the error. ZDNet calls a the reason behind their wiping a "mystery".