@Robert Hill; Tom; Mark; etc
I'm sorry chaps, but you really have been sold a pup.
1. You may be willing give TfL the interest on your prepay money and hand over to them the complicated decision of whether to buy a Travelcard tomorrow but most people have a reasonable idea of where they are going on any particular day. The reason you think you save so much is because TfL have hiked up the single and bus fares so much and you imagine that you will always remember to swipe out, no matter how distracted you are. It WILL happen. You are a human, not a robot.
2. OYSTER IS NOT CHEAPER. It merely appears cheaper because the normal ticket prices have been raised by hundreds of percent.
3. OYSTER IS NOT QUICKER. The quickest was the open barrier with a human guard eyeballing tickets as the commuters flocked through. When TfL first installed the Cubic it was reasonably OK because one could insert one's ticket into the machine while the person in front was walking through. With the Oyster, you have to wait until the person has gone through and wait behind the magic eye yourself before you can successfully swipe your Oyster. This takes longer, especially in rush hour. It just does.
4. Maybe the class of customer is better since Oyster. I really couldn't say -- I haven't noticed any great improvement. Even if there was, could it not be due to other socio-economic factors relevant to London? Perhaps you could supply us with some data to clarify.
4. I'm not a freeloader. I used to occasionally blag a ride, but I used to buy a ticket later that day as you certainly couldn't get away with flashing a pass with yesterday's date for very long. My point was that the system used to cut the honest user a bit of slack. Now everyone's treated like a fare evader.
5. I have been riding the tube and the rest of the TfL system to work and the shops every day for 22 years. You can stick your precious Oyster card somewhere dark and hope the RFID chip turns into a pearl.