Transport for London already makes it relatively easy to navigate our capital, with the Oyster contactless payment method being particularly useful. From August it will get a whole lot easier, as the TfL app, available for iOS and Android, will get a much needed update.
With the new update, Oyster users will be able to top up pay as you go credit directly within the app, check the current balance of their card, get low balance alerts and even buy Travelcards.
Getting the credit loaded onto an Oyster card has also become much easier. Currently, when you top up your card, you have to nominate a station where you will touch in, for the credit to then go on. You also have to wait up to 24 hours before you can do so.
From today, the wait time has dropped to 30 minutes, and there's now no need to nominate a station, as credit will be loaded to your Oyster no matter where you touch in. TfL says by the end of Autumn, you will even be able to touch in on any of London's 9,000 buses to load credit onto your card.
Other updates that will eventually make their way to the app include being able to view your journey history for contactless payments, and making it easier to apply for refunds for incomplete journeys.
To make sure you can benefit from the updates to the Oyster payment system, you will need to make sure your Oyster card has a "D" printed in the corner on the back. Cards issued after 2010 should have this, but ones printed before likely won't, and won't be compatible. Owners of these cards should be contacted by TfL.
TfL has also laid out plans for other improvements across London, including allowing unlimited journeys on buses and trams within one hour as part of the Mayor's 'Hopper Fare' scheme, introducing weekly capping on Oyster so it's the same as using a contactless card, and making bus and tram season tickets available to buy directly through the TfL app.