Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 19:42 UK

Oyster 100m deal will end early

Oyster card
TfL says the cancelled contract is not related to recent problems

The company that runs London's Oyster card system is to have its 100m-a-year contract terminated five years early, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

The contract with TranSys was due to run until 2015 but TfL is exercising a "break option" to cancel it in 2010.

A TfL spokesman said however, the move is not related to two recent system failures that forced staff to open Tube barriers for several hours.

Six million Oyster cards are now in use across London's transport network.

In a statement, Mayor Boris Johnson and TfL said they were convinced any future contracts will deliver enhanced services for less money.

We are looking at more cost-effective ways to manage the Oyster card system that we expect will save millions
Shashi Verma, Transport for London

"The mayor is keen to improve the Oyster card to make it even more attractive for Londoners, and TfL will work to make sure this happens, both quickly and in a way that represents the best value," it said.

However, no specific savings targets have been released.

BBC London has learned TfL could lose the right to use the Oyster brand as it is owned by TranSys.

TfL has acknowledged that but insisted "TfL will ensure the continuity of the brand in future arrangements".

A spokesman also stressed the termination of the contract is not connected to recent system failures that led Peter Hendy, Transport Commissioner for London, to say he was "incandescent with rage".

The failures are estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds - monies that TfL said would be recouped from the TranSys consortium.

'Deliver value'

The spokesman said there is no financial penalty associated with TfL's decision to cut short the contract.

Shashi Verma, TfL's director of fares and ticketing, said: "We are looking at more cost-effective ways to manage and develop the Oyster card system that we expect will save millions over the next few years."

TranSys said the 10-year break clause is standard in public-private financing deals, and negotiations have been taking place for a year.

"The London transport system has changed dramatically over the past 10 years," it said in a statement.

"The TranSys consortium will continue to operate and deliver for the next two years."


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