TfL Oyster card limited edition released to mark 20 years of paperless Tube and London bus travel

The Oyster card was first introduced on June 30, 2003 and revolutionised travel in London by allowing passengers to ditch paper bus and Tube tickets.
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Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new limited edition Oyster card to mark the 20th anniversary of the smartcard.

The souvenir cards will be available from ticket machines in all London Underground stations in Zone 1, as well as at all Visitor Centres and selected Oyster Ticket Stops in central London, at the cost of £7.

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The limited-edition design joins others which have been created in previous years, such as for the launch of the Elizabeth line, the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Oyster card was first introduced June 30, 2003 and revolutionised travel in London by allowing passengers to ditch paper bus and Tube tickets.

New limited edition Oyster cardNew limited edition Oyster card
New limited edition Oyster card

More than 125 million people have used an Oyster card since it first launched, benefiting from quicker journeys and more convenient travel.

Over the past two decades, TfL has introduced a number of changes including daily and weekly fare capping so passengers can get cheaper fares.

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Daily fare capping was introduced in 2005, followed by weekly capping in 2021. In 2010 the Oyster network was expanded to include all commuter rail services within Greater London.

However since the exponential growth of contactless payments, Oyster cards have declined in popularity.

New limited edition Oyster Card. Credit: TfLNew limited edition Oyster Card. Credit: TfL
New limited edition Oyster Card. Credit: TfL

TfL figures from 2021, revealed there are over 82 million Oyster cards which haven’t been used in at least a year. The data also showed there are now three times as many contactless pay-as-you-go bank card users as Oyster card faithfuls in the capital.

In the last 12 months, 16.7m Oyster cards have been used on the capital’s public transport system.

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Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said: “We’re excited to be celebrating 20 years of the Oyster card as a world leading innovative way to travel. Customers have loved the convenience of pay as you go travel, and we are immensely proud to celebrate two decades of the Oyster card making travelling in London easier.

“It has cemented TfL’s reputation for being at the forefront of innovation and paved the way for the use of contactless payments on public transport – not only in London, but across the world.”

Seb Dance, deputy mayor for transport, said: “When introduced in 2003, Oyster was a trailblazer for urban travel, streamlining journeys for millions of Londoners who no longer had to queue to buy a ticket for each journey. It is admired across the world, inspiring and setting the standard for world-class public transport networks.

“It’s great to celebrate 20 years of the Oyster card, which demonstrated London’s innovation at its best and has kept evolving ever since then, to meet the needs of a modern, thriving city.”