Londoners to pay extra for anonymous travelling

By EDRi · August 27, 2003

A new price-scheme for public transport in London puts a high price on
privacy. Bus and tube tickets in central London will rise up to 25% in
price from January 2004. But passengers using the Oyster smartcard will be
able to travel at 2003 prices. This plastic card, fitted with a
contact-less microchip (RFID), was introduced earlier this summer for
annual and monthly ticket holders and requires registration of name,
address and photocard number. According to the official website, one of
the scheme’s advantages is that it will ‘provide information that will
help London to manage its transport system better. For instance, we will
be able to identify where people, and how many, are transferring from bus
to bus or from bus to Tube.’

For almost the same plans to register all travel-movements, the Helsinki
public transport company YTC was presented with a Big Brother Award in
June. In Finland anonymous cards were only available at a much higher
price. Only after a long struggle with the the Finnish data protection
agency YTV finally changed their mind and concluded that the system could
also work without any identification of the passengers.

Tube fares to rise (19.08.2003)

Oystercard (introduced 30.06.2003)

YTV English web page