Transport for London (TfL) has launched an online service for Oyster card holders, which allows them to look back over their journey history and fares paid.
London's transport authority hopes that the online account will allow season ticket or pay-as-you-go users to easily check that they have been correctly charged for their journeys without having to contact the call centre. Passengers who register for the new system will also be able to see whether they have correctly touched in and out of card readers at stations.
The system aims to make the process for printing out the journey history on an Oyster card easier as passengers will be able to download their history online and use the information to claim work expenses, rather than having to contact the Oyster help desk for the information to be posted to them. Eight weeks of journey history will be available, from the date the Oyster account is set up, the transport authority said.
According to TfL, feedback from customers who have trialled the accounts has been positive so far.
The new move is part of a programme of improvements to make the Oyster system more convenient for passengers and to streamline processes for the authority. More features will be introduced to the Oyster online accounts system later this year, including the ability to submit refund applications online.
Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, said the authority understood the frustration felt by some customers who have had issues with the current system.
"Having the online account allows users to easily check that they have been correctly charged without having to contact a call centre. Later this year we will further improve the service by introducing an online refund service, which will be another step forward for our hugely popular cards," she said.
The announcement to enhance the Oyster system is happening alongside a drive by the authority to launch contactless payments later this year. However, in November last year the business case for contactless tickets was heavily criticised by the London assembly's transport committee for not being robust enough. TfL was told to report back to the committee by September 2012 on the concerns it had raised.
Speaking at a transport event in January, Matthew Hudson, head of business development for fares and ticketing at the authority, said that TfL was committed to launching contactless tickets. He also revealed that the Oyster system was at times problematic and expensive to run, but said that the authority had no plans to phase out the smartcard.
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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