Report this comment
  • "Something very like this was tried in the Reading area in the late 1990's but was eventually phased out.
    One problem is that people won't use the card rather than cash unless there is a financial advantage, and the operators aren't prepared (and the Council can't afford) to subsidize the set up and operating costs.
    Same reason you are charged 20p extra to pay Oxford City parking charges by phone or online, when logic suggests you should get a discount or at least pay the same as for cash."
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.

  • Enter the above word in the box below

Oyster-type travel card may be introduced in Oxfordshire

County council leader Ian Hudspeth         Picture: Mark Hemsworth

County council leader Ian Hudspeth Picture: Mark Hemsworth Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

A TRAVEL card that could be used by bus and rail passengers across Oxfordshire is being proposed by Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth.

He wants to create a plastic smartcard similar to the Oyster card in London, which can be used on buses, rail services, and to pay for car parking.

The ‘Oyster card for Oxfordshire’ does not yet have the backing of the council’s cabinet, and Mr Hudspeth wants to consult passenger groups before costing the idea and taking it forward. The proposal follows the success of the Key smartcard introduced by the Oxford Bus Company in 2010.

Rival bus firm Stagecoach operates a similar smartcard.

Eighteen months ago, a joint ticketing arrangement was introduced so that Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach passengers could use both companies’ services in and around the city, using a SmartZone option on the smartcards.

Mr Hudspeth said: “The card would be similar to the Oyster card in London, and could be used on different forms of transport across Oxfordshire, to make it seamless and easier for people to travel.

“At first the card could be designed for just bus passengers but eventually I would like to extend it so that rail passengers could use it as well.

“This is at a very early stage, but it’s an idea I want to explore with all travel operators and passenger groups to see what they think.

“The card could be used to pay for park-and-ride car parking charges, and for bus and train tickets.

“I want to investigate how far this could go, using smartphone technology, and perhaps a special Oxfordshire travel app could also be created.

“Ideally I would like someone to be able to park-and-ride at Water Eaton and then get the train from Oxford to London using just the one card.”

Philip Kirk, managing director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “We realise that the success of our groundbreaking Key has made everyone aware of the advantages of a smartcard in speeding up journey time and making bus travel more flexible.

“We are happy to discuss the possibilities and investigate how we can harness the ever-changing technology.”

Mr Hudspeth said he would set up a working group to examine the proposal if he was still council leader after the May election, and that a card could take 18 months to launch.

Hugh Jaeger, spokesman for the Oxford branch of Bus Users UK, met Mr Hudspeth on Tuesday to discuss it.

Mr Jaeger said: “There are bus passengers in places like Abingdon and Wheatley who want to take advantage of joint ticketing but can’t at the moment and they would certainly welcome a smartcard for bus travel for Oxfordshire.

“The technology is there, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be investigated.”

Bruce Williamson, of rail campaign group Railfuture, added: “A card like this would provide more flexibility for rail passengers, but I think you still need to keep the option of paying cash.”

First Great Western spokesman James Davis said: “We are happy to discuss these proposals with county council leaders in Oxford. We are working with the rail industry as a whole, and the Department for Transport to extend the use of smartcards.”

Ticket barriers at Oxfordshire stations have not been adapted for smartcard use.


THE Oyster card is run by Transport for London and is a plastic smartcard that can be used instead of paper tickets. 

The card can be used to pay for single journeys on bus, tube, tram, Docklands light railway, London overground and most national rail sevices in London.
Oyster cards can be topped up with credit and you can renew travel cards or bus passes using the Oyster card.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree