Transport for London dangles £1.1bn carrot in pursuit of suppliers for new revenue collection deal

Project includes shifting back office IT and replacing thousands of devices

Transport for London, the body responsible for public transport and infrastructure in Europe’s largest city*, is set to begin talks with suppliers over a potential £1.1bn deal for collecting money for travel.

At pre-COVID levels, TfL took in about £5bn from paying customers across the English capital every year, supporting 16 million journeys per day.

It is now looking for “possible approaches to the procurement of a new revenue collection system contract” in a market teaser otherwise known as a Prior Information Notice.

As part of the new contract, the transport authority expects an overhaul of the ticketing and payment infrastructure familiar to any London-dwelling traveller. The old pneumatic powered gates, mainly found in central London, will be replaced, as will the current ticket validation readers. TfL is also looking to migrate its pre-pay RFID Oyster card system onto the same technology platform as other bankcard and phone contactless payments, and retire the related back-office legacy system.

The scope of the new deal includes ticketing systems, software package and information systems, installation services and transport services. Most of the IT-related work comes in the back office, where TfL is looking for oyster back-office systems, integration with TfL’s contactless back office system, magnetic ticketing back-office systems, payment card processing systems, system control and monitoring systems, helpdesk, and support. It is also looking for data centres, infrastructure (including server hardware and operating systems), and network design.

TfL said it wants to replace a single contract which covers back-office IT as well as 4,000 devices, including gates, validators, and ticket machines, in 280 London Underground station ticket halls; validation equipment on over 8,500 buses and at 39 tram stops; over 5,000 devices at Docklands Light Railway, TfL Rail, London Overground and National Rail Stations; 4 000 devices at retail outlets. Lastly, don’t forget the ruggedised validation devices at 23 river bus piers.

The current supplier is Cubic, which, in 2017, signed a $185m three-year contract with TfL.

In 2016, Cubic signed a £15m, two-year deal for contactless payments.

Although TfL is set to begin its early market engagement for the replacement deal, the formal contract tender notice is not set to be published until 2022. TfL did not reveal the expected duration of the deal.

Last year, the Oyster card website was pulled offline after 1,200 accounts were accessed by miscreants using stolen customer login credentials.

In the summer of this year, the London transport body awarded Capita a five-year £355m contract renewal from October 2021 to further work on the Congestion Charge's digitisation, and the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone to include the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular Roads. ®

* London is Europe's largest city by population.

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