back to article London's Oyster card website still down after 12-hour outage

Transport for London's Oyster card website jumped the tracks and fell offline for 12 hours, leaving anyone wanting to top-up, cancel or renew their card online unable to do so. Since at least 8pm yesterday visitors to the Oyster page, when accessed through the main TFL site, were faced with this error message: Oyster card …


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  1. Wild Bill

    "now I have to walk an hour to work"

    Bollocks you do. Just pop in a newsagent. Bloody drama queens

    1. MrWibble

      Re: "now I have to walk an hour to work"

      Or indeed say hello to that man behind the window at the place where you get on the train. You know, the "ticket office".

      1. Iain 25

        Re: "now I have to walk an hour to work"

        Buy it at the ticket office -- good idea! Unless the punter in question uses his Oyster as payment for a bus journey, say. Or on Croydon Tramlink. Or the DLR. None of which have ticket offices.

        That having been said there's always gonna be a newsagents or convenience store somewhere close at hand where the Oyster can be topped up.

        1. Samo

          Re: "now I have to walk an hour to work"

          all DLR stations have a ticket machine or three, just sayin'

        2. smooth1x

          Re: "now I have to walk an hour to work"

          I use the DLR and you can top up oyster cards at the machine, did you not know that?

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Re: "now I have to walk an hour to work"

      Exactly what I thought! If they were going the to station anyway, couldn't they get a topup done there?!

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Let me guess

    leaves on the server?

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Is the Oyster site...

    centred around Perl?

  4. Steven 1

    "We are carrying out a major upgrade"

    And of course the best time to perform that would be in the middle of the week....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "carrying out an upgrade"

      Also by day, and by displaying some proprietary error code, instead of a page explaining when they'll be back again. Not a very believable spin, ms spokeswoman.

      For reference, though apparently the train timetable scraper has been dead for some time, skewing the threat levels. But then, what are unskewed threat levels?

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: "carrying out an upgrade"

        Transport in London is basically semi-organized chaos anyway, on a good day.

    2. Wize


      ...midweek sounds a good time.

      Most would have bought their weeks travel before Monday morning. Leave it too late towards the weekend and you get all the weekend traffic getting their top ups.

      Can't please everyone.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually...

        A Saturday Evening / Sunday morning perhaps?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ticket Office?

    Ahh, but is that a ticket office now ? Since we now have things like "director of customer experience", I'd imagine that ticket office has been renamed "experience embarcation venue" ......... or something.

    1. paulf

      Re: Ticket Office?

      Slightly off topic - but move a little out of the TfL area and into the home counties and the Ticket Office is usually called "Closed". Thanks to London Midland for pushing through their ticket office closures by stealth before they get permission to do so by blaming it on a staff shortage of their own making.


  6. Jon Green

    Newless cluebies

    Firstly, "a short time" for a commercial website is 5, 10, at a stretch 20 minutes. Not 12 hours.

    Secondly, did it not occur to anyone in their management chain to run a site test simulation before rolling out the new features live? It's not like it's that difficult to do, or difficult to secure so that can't be seen "in the wild" before it's launched to the public.

    What bugs me is that I run a small consultancy, and I wouldn't allow _our_ new site live before it's tested thoroughly and the content proof-checked. TfL ought to be big enough and ugly enough to have that as part of its routine rollout procedure.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most likely..

    .. they discovered that they had a big socking vulnerability and took the website down to stop it getting exploited while they tried to fix it..

  8. biznuge

    if your service was going to have planned downtime you'd have planned to provide feedback to customers I'd have thought, rather than leaving an unstyled error.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Wrong kind of packets

    on the line ?

  10. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

    Unexpected error

    The adjective 'unexpected' when used to qualify the noun 'error', in the context of computer software, is the most redundant waste of linguistic effort, ever.

    In what circumstances is a software error anything *other* than unexpected? "Error 707: An entirely predictable error has occurred. We knew that was going to happen!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Knowing things will go wrong and going ahead anyway...

      ... happens quite a bloody lot in computing, actually. In other words, in an ideal world you'd be right. In a not-so-ideal world, less so. Still and all, that sort of error message is very annoying because it is not useful, it's not even trying to be, seemingly on purpose. Some vendors positively excel in this sort of thing. Needless to say, but I'm saying it anyway, I tend to try and avoid those.

    2. Dale 3

      Re: Unexpected error

      In the old days, an "expected" error was, for example, the user ejecting the floppy disk prematurely. The error was "expected" in the sense that the designer or developer spent some time thinking about what sorts of things could possibly go wrong, and coded against them. The most likely response would have been an error message - hopefully one more meaningful than just a coded number.

      An "unexpected" error, on the other hand, is one that they didn't think of. But they still had the good sense to catch it, and display a coded number which could be reported to customer support to aide diagnosing the fault, so that in the next release it could be turned into an "expected" error and handled properly.

      1. pPPPP

        Re: Unexpected error

        You've got it spot on. Expected errors are detected, and handled correctly. Unexpected errors usually cause some sort of assert or reset as the code has entered an unplanned state and letting it carry on could make things worse.

        Think cars. If you run low on oil the error message is a warning light on the dashboard. This is an expected error. If the engine catches fire, this is unexpected as cars aren't designed to catch fire. The error message is the flames and the smoke.

        Or something like that.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Unexpected error

          "The error message is the flames and the smoke."

          Do you work for Sony?

  11. wilber

    Makes sense to me.

    They took down the site 'for maintenance' and never 'expected' anyone to try to access it?

  12. koolholio

    I thought it was impossible to get lost with an oyster card?

    I'm sure IBM use a simillar HTTP code specification...

    691 ---- Lost connection (URLFetcher)

    Planned maintenance does not involve 'Lost connections' or are they getting a little lost themselves? lol

  13. Dagg


    It sounds like they have outsourced the oyster card to the same mob that support the Melbourne Myki card!

  14. taxman

    Which DH

    called this Transport for London? Transport for Londoners, yes I'd agree to that.

    Or Transport for those in London, yes that too.

    But Transport for London?

    NO! The bloody Oyster card does not allow me to travel on any transport FOR London from anywhere that isn't near bloody London.

    Where's the pedent army when you need them? Write to Boris! Quarrel with his quiff!

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