TfL plans to make Oyster integral part of Olympics

Oyster Cards could be used by visitors to the 2012 Olympics to pay for entrance to the games and for goods inside the Olympic Village as well as for transport to and from the event.

The plans are at an early stage but Transport for London (TfL) admits it is keen for the card to be used as a key operational part of the games.

TfL marketing director Nigel Marson says it is waiting for the announcement of the Olympic Games’ official sponsors to see if there is a partner from the financial services sector that TfL could work with on the project.

Marson says: “We’d love to make the Oyster Card the card you need in order to get most out of the Olympics in 2012. It’s all in loose planning stages but we foresee consumers using Oyster Cards to travel between their homes and the events and, once there, using them to pay their way into each event. Then again when purchasing food, drink and maybe some official merchandise.

“Details are far from sorted but none of it is impossible. All the bits are there, they just need joining up,” he adds.

Oyster Card users can access information and top up their card online, but there has been continued speculation that TfL is keen to enable customers to pay for items such as newspapers with their cards.

Previous attempts to turn the Oyster Card into a payment card were abandoned.

The new plans would reunite Marson with his predecessor Chris Townsend, who left TfL in June to become commercial director for the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) in June. Locog will reveal a timetable for announcing its sponsors in the coming weeks.

According to the latest TfL figures, published in January, there are about 5 million Oyster Card users. Oyster Cards are valid on Tube, Docklands Light Railway, tram and national rail networks within selected zones, and across all of London’s bus network.

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