The Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport based in Greater London in England. It is promoted by Transport for London and is valid on travel modes across London including London Underground, buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, trams, some river boat services and most National Rail services within the London fare zones.
A standard Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smartcard that can hold single tickets, period tickets and travel permits, which must be added to the card prior to travel. Passengers touch onto an electronic reader when entering and leaving the transport system in order to validate it or deduct funds. The cards may be "recharged" by recurring payment authority, by online purchase, at credit card terminals or by cash, the last two methods at stations or ticket offices. The card is designed to reduce the number of transactions at ticket offices and the number of paper tickets. Use is encouraged by offering substantially cheaper fares than with cash.
The card was first issued to the public in July 2003 with a limited range of features and there continues to be a phased introduction of further functions. By June 2012, over 43 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on public transport in London were made using the card.
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