back to article Integrated tube tickets not on the Olympic menu

With two and a half years to go, the Olympic Committee has started locking down the technology for the 2012 games, with Oyster-enabled tickets the first to go as the £500m budget gets allocated. Technology For The Olympic Games (pdf) explains that the London games, July-September 2012, will use more than one hundred thousand …


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  1. handle
    Thumb Up

    "neither will Londoners get mobile-phone coverage on the underground"

    Thank god!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Payment fail

    Surely that's a sponsorship too far when you restrict the payment options ? Thank heavens it wasn't Diners Club!

    1. Cowboy Bob

      Re : Payment Fail

      Possibly also illegal in this country, especially if the customer is a business - see the restraint of trade laws.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Worse than Visa

      ...McD's is romoured to be sponsering the Food.

      It's McShit or nothing...

    3. John G Imrie

      This is oviously

      A surreptitious way of limiting numbers of potential spectators to an acceptable limit.

  3. Jimmy Floyd
    Thumb Up

    I for one welcome the lack of coverage

    Mobile reception on the Underground would be horrible and I'm very glad they're not implementing it. There are some places where one shouldn't have to listen to the inane and voluminous witterings of a shit-for-brains local, and the warm, cosy interior of a London Tube carriage is one of them. Data would be nice, but only if you could block VoIP.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    VISA fail

    That's just daft - I think I'll take a cheque book ;)

    Mind you I'm glad that there'll be no mobile coverage underground, although I can't see how issuing "free" oyster cards can be *more* expensive than other options...

    1. Paul 25

      Integration was the aim

      I think they wanted to build an oyster card physically into the ticket.

      I wouldn't have thought supplying each ticket buyer with a separate oyster card would be too tough, and is probably what they'll end up doing.

  5. Flugal
    Paris Hilton

    Mobiles on the Underground

    "On the plus side.....neither will Londoners get mobile-phone coverage on the underground."


    Paris....because we all know what goes on insider her tubes.

  6. Stef 4


    "Better news is that organisers aren't going to spend a fortune trying to stop spectators taking snaps of the games."

    Unless you are too tall obviously. Then you will be arrested.

  7. Richard Porter

    Mobiles on the UndergrounD

    "London's tube lines are too deep, too snug and too crowded to get mobiles working."

    True, but it shouldn't be too difficult on the cut-and-cover lines.

    1. jackharrer

      Re: Mobiles on the UndergrounD

      Actually mobiles work on most of District and Circle lines, at least IMHO.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Mobiles on the UndergrounD #

      "London's tube lines are too deep, too snug and too crowded to get mobiles working."

      That's a bit like saying "My car is to small to smile in". Getting mobiles working underground is nothing to do with their depth. It's a matter of finance and organisation (neither of which the tube has).

      Madrid has had underground coverage in the metro and underground main train tunnels for ages. It doesn't take up a lot of space; just one extra cable that runs along the tunnels (leaky feeder).

      As for people talking on their phones; I have no trouble with that. It's the ones that think they don't need to shower from one year to the next and get in a tube train that upset me.

  8. Adrian 19
    Black Helicopters

    Will they tell the police?

    This will be interesting, seeing as our police are prone to thinking taking photographs of a Chatham chip shop is aiding terrorist activity ... what will they make of photographs in or of an Olympic venue?

  9. Stephen Jones


    I'm pretty sure taking photos of the games and sharing them isn't illegal. It might contravene the T&Cs, but that's a civil matter.

    What does sound flaky is whether restrictions on legal tender are legal. I know there is a crazy notion that cash is the only legal tender, but all it takes is one judge to state that "a Mastercard should be reasonably expected to be accepted as payment" and the Olympic Committee are screwed.

  10. Dale 3

    @Payment fail

    It's a pity it wasn't Diners Club, then the lack of people spending any money might have encouraged the organisers of future games to think more of the spectators and less of the money grab.

    That said, bowing down to a single monopolistic anti-competitive corporate is a long standing Olympic tradition. Nothing new here.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    phone coverage

    I'd say NOT getting mobile phone coverage on the tube has got to be worth at least £100 million. So far this is the only positive thing I've seen coming out of this event.

  12. batfastad
    Jobs Horns

    Hop skip and jump

    No IT legacy goes nicely with no sporting legacy.

    Just a shame I never bothered to run my "anti London 2012" campaign featuring Routemaster buses with "Back the bid" written in French and big Paris 2012 logos.

    Good idea to not bother with Oyster card integration though.

    I go through London Bridge every day and the Jubilee line (and all the rest) can't cope with the numbers of commuters, let alone more commuters and a whole bunch of fans travelling to watch running races/hop, skip & jump. Often they have to stop people entering the Underground at London Bridge causing a backlog of people filling the ticket hall and the roads outside.

    Shouldn't have bothered with the 'lympics, it's all crap anyway!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Payment Fail

    Almost as bad as Ryanair.

    I guess be thankful they accept Cash - the local crooks will be loving all those tourists forced to carry extra cash.

  14. Tim J

    Mag stripe travel ticket

    The inclusive public transport ticket that everyone with an Olympic Games spectator ticket will get will almost invariably be a conventional printed ticket with a magnetic stripe on the back (and would I expect have the same validity as a normal all-zones Travelcard).

    This makes sense - the infrastructure for reading mag stripe tickets exists across London, as despite the existence of the Oyster card system plenty of passengers continue to use conventional printed tickets - being specific, all ticket gates in London can read mag stripe tickets in tandem with the ability to 'read' Oyster cards.

    Whilst it might have been neat to issue the free travel on Oyster cards, they're inherently more expensive to produce, and many might never have been re-used but simply just gone in the bin instead.

    In other words, this really is no big deal.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    See no evil

    "By 2012, spectators will routinely be able to share footage of the Games online," the committee claims. But despite this being illegal....

    Well, of course. I mean, the olympics are not a world-wide event to be enjoyed by EVERYONE are they? Who the hell decided that taking a photo of your fave event / sporting star was to be "illegal". And which idiots agreed that it was RIGHT to be "illegal"?

    I really am starting to seriously hate the people behind any media event / sporting event / rock concert / pretty much any organised event because you can bloody guarentee that taking a couple of innocent piccies of it to remember it by will be considered "illegal" for reasons that nobody can sensibly justify.

    I can see an issue of sitting there with thousands of pounds worth of broadcast-quality kit taking picture-perfect video of some rock concert. But a couple of fuzzy pics just for the memory? It's bollox!!!

  16. Ricky H

    right that is the last i'm reading about the Olympics

    the whole thing will be an embarrassment and shambles.

  17. shay mclachlan


    Better news is that organisers aren't going to spend a fortune trying to stop spectators taking snaps of the games.

    Pity, the subsequent mass riots in the staium would have probably been more watchable than a lot of the events.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    *more* ANPR cameras.

    Icon says it all I think.

  19. iamapizza

    "what the IT legacy of the 2012 games will be?"

    Why, that wonderful 2012 Olympics Logo of course!

  20. Benny


    Excellent, so whilst they are trying to figure out what train to catch and get a ticket I can just breeze on past with my Oyster and get to work....

  21. Ian 23
    IT Angle

    Doesn't need to be that technological...

    Simply ask for the names of the people the tickets are for.

    For each person give them a voucher for whatever Oyster credit or travel card they are entitled to.

    Exchange voucher when they get their Oyster card.


    And on the plus side they might loose the voucher and end up paying anyway ;)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    If I buy a ticket.... the synchronised swimming heats, do I get free travel for the duration of the games or just the day of the event?

  23. dreamingspire
    Thumb Up

    Oysters are not the only (or most economical) fruit

    The decision not to issue Oysters with Olympic tickets was known about 6 months ago, and at the time was said to be based on a clash with the TfL upgrade programme for their technology - they wanted to get started on upgrades in 2011, but would have been forced by Olympic rules to delay that. More recently it has become known that TfL can see ways in which they believe they can dramatically cut operating costs, namely by adding contactless bank payment technology. A problem with the Oyster scheme is that there are many Oyster cards that are used only very occasionally or not at all, but they remain live because there isn't an expiry date. Sweeping those cards out in favour of bank cards (pre-paid or normal debit) is seen as a win-win, because the card holder can use bank cards for more than just travel, and the bankers carry the cost of managing the population of cards (which of course will have expiry dates). Do I need to point out that Oyster cards issued to Olympics spectators would be taken away afterwards as trophies and never used again? And, to forestall one objection to bank cards in the TfL environment, the daily fare cap with PAYG will continue, via a technology and risk sharing agreement with the bankers.

  24. Jay 2

    Free Travel?

    So vistors to "the games" get free travel do they? That's nice for them. Do us Londoners who are actually paying for all this get free travel too if we go to watch stuff?

  25. Chris007
    Big Brother

    Only VISA

    I believe, but may be wrong, that as part of a successful bid the country has to pass temporary laws making legal what would usually be illegal cartel like operations. That or be persuaded to hold any enquiry after the event has taken place......

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