TfL proposed to extend Oyster to most of the southeast of England in 2011, but their bid was rejected.Compared to the fairly smooth rollout of Oyster in London in the early to mid-noughties, the big railway's efforts feel like a right shambles. We've had the great promise of the ITSO smartcard ticketing revolution for the best part of the last decade!
(Yes, it took until 2010 for Oyster PAYG to come to National Rail in London, but that was also down to the intransigence of the big railway too.)
From the SEFT Lessons Learned document:
In December 2011, TfL submitted a bid to DfT proposing that the funds be invested in the extension of Oyster in the South East and the upgrade of infrastructure for ITSO and EMV. TfL would act as delivery partner. The proposed geographic scope was limited (extending only as far as Colchester in the east, Bicester and Oxford in the west and Ely and Huntingdon in the north)