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back to article Londoners can bonk their way to work without Oyster cards TODAY

Ticket machines on London buses are set to accept pay-by-tap credit and debit cards from today, it has been announced. The capital's Underground system is expected to follow suit sometime later, wirelessly siphoning cash from commuters and bypassing the Oyster card system. The system will use MasterCard's PayPass platform: but …

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I wonder how much simpler this is to use than the completely dumb, non-electrical, no-RFID weekly tickets and daysavers that I'll routinely wave at the bus driver on the way to the seat?

Yes, that was sarcasm.

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Meh

Thank God

This has only been foisted on London, whose population I have nothing in common with and lack any sense of sympathy for.

Living in the North has its benefits, we still use real money, have poor Internet access and variable strength mobile phone signals. The fresh air is an added bonus as is conversation when shopping or travelling on a bus.

I will not be moving house for this.

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Anonymous Coward

To Bonk or not to Bonk

If I am bonking I am having sex, does this mean that each time I bonk on a bus or tube or train I will be arrested for indecency or cheered on by the crowd for my sexual prowess and stamina?

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IT Angle

Re: To Bonk or not to Bonk

Depends on the frequency of your bonkage, good sir and how well you treat the machine afterwards. If you merely bonk and disappear without a second glance backward, we shall know you to be a manwhore of the most shameless sort.

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Anonymous Coward

@M Gale

Are those the weekly tickets and daysavers you have to queue on a weekly/daily basis to purchase?

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LPF

Re: Thank God

As a Londener , I thank god that you are where you are , and if you never visit my fair city ever, then thats just gravy, sent via my supar fast broadband HAHA :)

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Re: To Bonk or not to Bonk

My favourite terminology for Oyster et al is actually "doinking". You "doink" in, "doink" out, "doink your card on it".

Much more accurate, fun to say, can't be conveyed as rude nearly so easily ("Oh, I bonked her through the gate at King's Cross because she didn't have any money"), and much more satisfying.

Doink.

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Re: Thank God

I'm happy to have two or three Oyster cards hanging around.

I'd rather lose one of them with only a few quid on than my bank card.

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Thumb Down

Re: Thank God

"As a Londener , I thank god that you are where you are , and if you never visit my fair city ever, then thats just gravy, sent via my supar fast broadband HAHA :)"

Ah, the charm and wit of one of my fellow Londoners (demonstrates lack of education, too).

Chirpy Cockney Sparrow - my arse - sounds like the very person I'm happy not to meet when up north.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank God

With all the stunning walks, and beaches here in South Wales, 'super fast broadband' is of low priority, especiailly when you blow your nose, the worst outcome is going to be a bit of sand.salt water, and not the soot you get after a day in London.

Incidently, I get 20Mbs d.l even in this 'hick' village ! :-P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To Bonk or not to Bonk

"Oh, I bonked her through the gate at King's Cross because she didn't have any money"

Does Oyster allow multiple concurrent journeys then?

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Meh

Re: Thank God

At least living in my leafy northern county with its intermittent mobile signal, wifi, 3G and limited broadband when I do take my mobile phone out of my pocket in the middle of the town to make a call I have a 95% less chance of being mugged for it.

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Flame

Re: Thank God

As a Londoner, I often feel that the best way to improve upon my home city would be to burn it to the ground and sow the soil with salt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To Bonk or not to Bonk

Will I have to wait all year for the travelcard option to kick in and refund the cost difference between my current daily fare and a year pass?

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Re: @M Gale

"Are those the weekly tickets and daysavers you have to queue on a weekly/daily basis to purchase?"

That would be the weekly tickets I buy direct from the driver at about 6am when there's no queues to speak of, yes. I suppose I could buy a season ticket direct from the bus company and avoid the 5-10 seconds of inconvenience. Either way, it works quite well and means that when the bus station/stop is busy, I can squeeze past the bonkers and cash-payers with a cursory wave of a pass, while they're reaching to place the card on the bonk-pad, waiting for it to register, then retrieving the card.

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Re: Doink

Just because: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckMvj1piK58

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Re: As a Londoner

As someone who was born in London and still has most of my relatives dahn sarf, I do like being able to go on a five minute walk and be in the middle of a load of green. The only disadvantage is that people up here think I "talk posh" and don't seem to know the difference between "born in London" and "born within sound of Bow bells", and people down there hear me speak and think I eat babies or store ferrets in my pants.

As for trying to use the Underground during rush hour, being charged increasingly extortionate rates according to which concentric circle you want to get off within, or being taxed for daring to cross an imaginary line on the ground while in a vehicle.. you can keep it.

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Re: As a Londoner

...and let's not forget the very real chance of being arrested for wearing the wrong type of T shirt.

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WTF?

Sometimes I wonder

If I'm the only remaining Luddite who is absolutely and utterly opposed to this nonsense of transferring 'money' from me to various companies without my having to do anything?

We live in a society now where the majority of payments take place without the payees interaction - bonks, obviously, but look how many utilities charge by direct debit; insurance companies, mortgage payments, ridiculous roaming charges... loads of *variable* payments over which you have no immediate control.

If I'm paying for something, I want to know how much and I want to know when; that applies equally to the gas bill as a bus fare. Waving a card past a scanner may be easy but it lacks any sense of 'payment'; I'm not surprised people seem to be perpetually surprised about how little money they have...

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Go

Re: Sometimes I wonder

The ticket gates do show you how much your journey cost you when you go through an exit barrier.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes I wonder

But who has time to look?

How can i keep track of my journey and get refunds?

When Oyster messes up they refunded me easily, and the guards there have refunded without me asking when my card didn't work because it wasn't read right...

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Re: Sometimes I wonder

But who has time to look?

It is a very minor skill to anticipate that you'll have about half a second to see this as you go through. But if I can manage this with my near-dyspraxia and poor eyesight, the vast majority of people should have no problem.

How can i keep track of my journey and get refunds?

Don't know for the Paypass, but certainly the Oyster online system enables you to see where and when you've been, how much you were charged, where and when you've loaded the card. It's almost spooky to see it show times to the minute for the start and end of your journey, the stations you travelled to. Particularly spooky if you're off on a jolly during work time, or going for an interview....

How can i keep track of my journey and get refunds?

I'd guess that the Paypass system will show a journey record for each payment along the lines of Oyster on line, like this, from my Oyster online account:

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:08 - 09:36 Marylebone [London Underground] to Monument £2.00

Other than the security concerns about wafting your credit card around in close proximity to the unwashed masses, I can't see why this won't actually work very well. On the underground though, will the pay by bonk fares be the same as Oyster prepay, or will they be the extortionate cash single fares?

Refunds will presumably work in the same way as Oyster as well.

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Re: Sometimes I wonder

I like it and I'm all for it. Before direct debit I'd habitually forget to pay things, because I'm shit. Now I haven't missed a payment on anything in years because the logistics are taken out of my distracted hands and automated. That's progress as far as I'm concerned. I work with somebody who refuses to use any of these systems, with the result that once a week he spends a good half hour in the bank paying bills, sorting stuff out - life's too short. In the same way, I don't see topping up my oyster card as a problem or annoyance because I'm perfectly happy to use their auto top up facility and have it recharge itself. You can only spend so much on one of these things per day, which is plenty of time for me to realise that I've lost it or it's been stolen and cancel it.

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So, given that my cards are in my wallet

How the heck do I know which card - Oyster, MasterCard, Visa etc is the one that actually paid the journey? If I've got a bus pass on my Oyster, and the reader happens to see my MasterCard first and eats my money instead, what comeback do I have?

Do we now need to separate all our cards into individual sheaths?

Or carefully extract the card from the wallet before waving it at the reader, thus causing a massive traffic jam behind as cold, gloved fingers try to find the right card in the mass of plastic in any modern wallet or purse?

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Trollface

Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

Or, you could do what people have always done since Buses asked for payment - have it ready before you get on? Crazy idea, I know.

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Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

According to the tfl website, that's exactly what you'll have to do:

"If you keep your contactless payment card and Oyster card together (for instance in a wallet) and touch them on the yellow card reader together, the reader will normally reject them both. This is because we can't be sure which card you want to use. If you have more than one contactless card (Oyster card, payment card or building pass), please choose the card that you intend to pay with, and touch it on its own on the yellow card reader."

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/26416.aspx

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Facepalm

Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

Translated:

"If you weren't bothered about contactless payments and commute you'll already have an Oyster card and a contactless bank card. Now that this system has gone live you'll have to fumble around getting one of the cards out of your wallet and if you're going to do that then what's the advantage over a Travelcard?"

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Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

I already have four or wireless cards in my wallet, but it only has three flaps. Innovation in wallets is lagging severely behind. Things are getting desperate!

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Silver badge

Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

My Oyster cards are easily identifiable by the wallets that have 'Sack Boris' in large letters printed on them.

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Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

I had an Barclaycard One Plus, which was RFID credit card + oyster card.

When Barclaycard took over Egg credit cards, they sent me a new RFID card, which stopped the oyster card part of the One Plus card from working. Barclaycard swore blind that it wasn't having any effect and refused point blank to replace it.

So I no longer have any Barclaycards, nor will I ever again.

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Holmes

Re: So, given that my cards are in my wallet

I inserted a baking foil-wrapped piece of card into the lining of my wallet and placed the Oyster on one side and the PayWave card on the other. Now I can bonk with whichever side of the wallet is appropriate for the transaction.

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Anonymous Coward

I have an idea

How about flexible tokens with numeric denominations printed on them, so they could be optically scanned. You could have numbers like 5, 10 and 20 printed on them, and use them in combination for other amounts. In fact, it is so flexible, you could probably use them to pay for all sorts of things. You could even have smaller, more manageable tokens for cheaper items. (Excuse me while I patent this.)

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Silver badge

Re: I have an idea

You want to have a bus with loads of them travel through some of the not so nice parts of London? And wait while people count them at some of the busier stops?

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Re: I have an idea

Not fast enough and too expensive to keep/transport the cash..

I don't know the specs for the Oyster readers on the bus, but the when specifying Oyster on the tube, TFL were looking for a device that could scan a card, authenticate it, check any tickets on it and and update the card by taking any appropriate money off it in less than .8 of a second.

After all, while asking someone to spend 30 or 40 seconds sticking cash in a machine doesn't sound a lot (it isn't), it adds up when you've got 10, 20, 30 or more people behind you waiting to do the same thing. Now, add in the delay caused when the machine inevitably fails to recognise one or more of the coins or notes, and the consequent delay when the person is left to hunt around in their pockets, wallet, bag or purse for a replacement.

Remember, whatever system they have chosen will eventually end up installed in the ticket gates in the major tube stations, where it will end up dealing with thousands of people an hour in each station.

Then there's the security aspect (money is nick-able, cards aren't as they are never handed to the driver or left in the machine).

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Megaphone

Re: I have an idea

Make them out of metal, they might last longer!

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Black Helicopters

Re: I have an idea

How about flexible tokens with numeric denominations printed on them

Unfortunately that doesn't support snoop-by-tap! Our political masters need to keep track of our journeys, you know.

Terrorism! Paedophiles! The current enemy of the Party!

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Re: I have an idea

You mean like people did for about a century before Oyster cards were forced upon us by doubling the cash fare?

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Re: I have an idea

(Excuse me while I patent this.)

I'm sure apple already have...

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Re: I have an idea

I suspect Mr Wombat is going to use rectangles with *square* corners for his invention.

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Pirate

Re: I have an idea

Well - you could always let the people on to the bus in one go and then collect the fares once they are inside - you could have an additional member of staff to do this while the bus is on its way thus delivering the passengers more quickly to their destinations - a customer service improvement that customers actually want.

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Stop

Re: I have an idea

"How about flexible tokens with numeric denominations printed on them"

Yeah, and lets call it MONEY.

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Alert

Re: I have an idea

a customer service improvement that customers actually want

Madness! Next think you'll want them to do something about antisocial behaviour on public transport!

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Go

Cost?

Are you charged the same as an Oyster journey?

Or is it equivalent to the (extortionate) cash fare?

I don't mind this. Pay bonking with cards is actually alright, so long as it's as fast as Oyster. But pay bonking on your phone, that's just daft. Having my bank account accessible through my phone as well as through the cards in my wallet? No thanks, that would double the potential theft/fraud targets.

The rival platforms of Visa PayWave and Mastercard PayPass is horribly predictable though. Come on, it's almost 2013, do companies still need to be bothering to build rival platforms? This technology has probably been around for at least 10 years, you'd think it would have outgrown the playground bullying.

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Re: Cost?

Good point - Oyster is promoted as being significantly cheaper than paying by other methods. Single tube journey paying with Oyster £2, identical journey using any other payment method £4.30 - this is just staying within the single central zone!

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Re: Cost?

"so long as it's as fast as Oyster."

I'm not familiar with the speed of Oyster. However if the bonk-payment and new RFID-enabled OAP passes are anything to go by, it's the slowest way of getting on a bus next to paying cash when the driver has hardly any change left.

Just give me a laminated bus ticket that the driver can check using Eyeball Mk 1. Much easier, and quicker, for everyone concerned.

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Re: Cost?

It might cost more. There is a daily price cap on Oyster (as you cumulative bus spend can be stored on the card). They can't do this with PayPass so if you make more than three bus jouneys a day you will pay more than you would with Oyster.

Better prices than cash though.

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@corinne

Holy shit, really? oO

Have you got a source for that, because that's disgusting if they're really charging an extra £2.30 just to bonk.

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Re: Cost?

"I'm not familiar with the speed of Oyster"

About 0.2-0.3 seconds on the tube for the card to be acknowledged and read. Just enough to be noticeable, and very marginally irritating if you're feeling intolerant, although an experienced user will judge their pace so as not to have to pause mid stride. It's probably faster than the circa half a second for the magnetic strip tickets.

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Re: @corinne

The cost to pay by bonk is the same as the Oyster fare, the only issue is the lack of a daily price cap. If you did 10 bus journeys in a day it would cost you 10x single bus fare, whereas Oyster will cap it to the price of a daily travelcard.

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Unhappy

Re: @Thomas 4

Taken just this morning from the TFL web site. Type in any journey you want to do in their Farefinder (I chose Victoria to Paddington) and those were the prices quoted.

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