Ten years of the Oyster card

The card was publicly launched on June 30 2003, transforming the way travellers paid to get around the capital.

To mark the occasion here's ten Oyster facts:

  • Three names were shortlisted before Oyster was chosen. In another world, Londoners could be carrying around Gem or Pulse cards to pay for their transport.
  • Oyster allows 40 people per minute to pass through ticket gates, 15 more than with paper tickets, and also makes boarding a bus three times faster.
  • There have been a number of special edition Oyster cards over the years, commemorating events such as the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
  • Around 60 million cards have been issued and over 85% of all rail and bus travel in London is paid for using an Oyster card.
  • In 2010 Oyster acceptance was expanded to include all commuter rail services within Greater London.
  • Oyster is widely known as the world’s most popular transport smartcard.
  • Oyster cards never expire. They can be used again after any length of time. Deposits and balances can also be refunded on return of the card at any time.
  • TfL’s latest plans to improve ticketing include extending the use of contactless debit, credit or charge cards to pay for fares from London’s 8,500 buses to the Tube, London Overground, DLR and trams.
  • There are currently 24,939,352 Oyster cards in circulation that have not been used in a year or more. That's £46,631,475 worth of deposits.
  • The nearly 25 million Oyster cards that haven't been used in a year or more have £52,735,881 worth of pay as you go balance on them. Time to check under the sofa cushions.

"We know that our customers love the convenience of Oyster, and we are immensely proud to celebrate its decade serving London.We are looking forward to extending the added convenience of contactless payments as an option for our rail customers."

– Shashi Verma, Transport for London