Transport for London (TfL) has paid £1 million to buy the Oyster brand from the Transys consortium ahead of a renewed push to incorporate the contactless e-ticketing technology in mobile phones and bank cards.
The Transys consortium has been running Oyster via a 17-year public finance initiative (PFI) contract since 1998. However, in August TfL decided to ditch the deal this year by exercising a break option, selecting Cubic and EDS to manage and develop the system from 2010 to 2013.
It has now paid out £1 million to buy the Oyster brand, enabling it to "investigate the future potential for Oyster to be extended to new and existing technologies and the commercial opportunities that provides".
TfL has already worked with firms including Nokia, Barclaycard and O2 on mobile and debit card Oyster trials. The 2008 mobile pilot was hailed a huge success, with nine out of ten participants saying they were happy using NFC technology on a mobile phone and 78% interested in using contactless services if available.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's transport advisor, says: "Oyster has the potential to be used for so much more than simply getting around the Capital, and the technology is there to make it even more convenient for Londoners to use by integrating it into mobile phones or bank cards."