How tube users pay their fares will be much simpler if London Underground's (LU's) latest billing system project goes ahead.
The new application will build on the smart card system due to be introduced next year, and will allow travellers to 'charge up' their card remotely using the internet or telephone, or pay by direct debit at the end of the month so avoiding ever lengthening queues at ticket offices.
The project would be a world first for post-payment for travel. The system is expected to go live in 2004.
The software will be configured so the final payment figure gives the customer the best possible deal, claims the company. The idea is that if you have made enough trips to qualify for a weekly ticket then that is what you will be charged. Similarly for the monthly one. "So customers won't need to decide in advance whether they need a weekly or a monthly ticket - they will get the best deal no matter how much they travel", claims LU.
So we will have to trust LU to get the billing right and be confident they're billing us the right amount?
Fat chance. I'd rather queue.