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Welcome

January 2nd 2010 was the day that Oyster became accepted on almost all National Rail services in Greater London, making cashless pay-as-you-go a reality London-wide.  It should now be really simple, but in reality it is about as complicated as it could possibly be. There are three different fares structures depending on whether your route accepted Oyster before November 2009 or not, and if not whether your journey mixes National Rail and TfL rail and includes zone 1; while children sometimes travel free and sometimes have to pay.

This site has been set up to try and explain how the system works in an alternative fashion to the official TfL site.  It also exposes the alternative approach that families can take where Oyster is not the cheapest option. Plus I will highlight areas where the system is not working and list improvements that I feel need to be made.

The pages listed in the left sidebar allow you to navigate through the main information areas of the site.  Below this introduction is a latest news blog, which includes my own personal diary of experiences using Oyster cards with my family.  Please feel free to add comments to both blog posts and pages, especially if you spot something you think might be wrong.

Contactless Pilot Day 2

Monday was the last day of the Easter holidays so I went to North Greenwich with one of my sons.  I managed to test more features of the contactless operation, including inadvertantly missing a touch during one of the journeys.  I remain very happy with how it’s progressing so far. Read the rest of this entry »

TfL Contactless Pilot

When I signed up for this in November last year I was resigned to being told that my travel wasn’t enough to make a worthwhile contribution.  After all, around half my journeys are by bus which aren’t included in the rail trial and thus wouldn’t count towards daily capping.  Then in December the whole thing was put on hold thanks to the last minute fares revision changes.  So when I received an email last week inviting me to join the trial I was very excited.  My participants card arrived yesterday.

Read the rest of this entry »

New single fare finder

Great news!

TfL appear to have rolled out their new website this evening (the one that’s been in beta for ages).  I still need to look around properly, but the best news is that they have finally removed the button for alternate fares.  You now get all options straight away.  They still don’t describe the default route, but at least you get all the others so you can see if any of them describe the route you were planning to use.

Single fare finder: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares/single-fare-finder

Tube, DLR & Overground fares: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares

Overall fares and payments portal: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments

Blackfriars to Southwark OSI

During the last week I’ve had a chance to test out the new OSI between Blackfriars and Southwark.  This has been described as a temporary one while the work at London Bridge moves forward, although I think a case could be made for keeping it permanently.  The walk took 7-10 minutes depending on how busy the traffic was on Blackfriars Bridge which is quite reasonable.  There is unfortunately a flaw which means caution should be exercised when making journeys across zone 1.

Read the rest of this entry »

Travelcard extensions

It’s been a while since any updates have been posted here, but today there might be a few all at once.

Firstly, Matt Dickinson has noticed that LU ticket machines (POMs) are being rolled out with an upgrade.  When you touch your Oyster with a travelcard loaded on the pad it offers you a list of stations.  Alongside each one it says whether your travelcard covers the journey or whether you can use PAYG, and it then offers the ability to top up.  It also lists some stations outside the Oyster area where presumably it will sell you the required extension ticket from the boundary of your travelcard.

Matt reports that some of the fares appear to be wrong (Potters Bar) or missing (St Albans).  I’ll hopefully get a chance to try one of these out in the near future, but it seems to be tied in with the aspiration to close ticket offices.

I’d be very interested in any reports from site visitors who might use this feature.

Site updates

Several pages on this site have been updated this weekend to reflect changes introduced from today.  Apart from the slightly delayed fares changes there are some amendments to the early starts of the off-peak cap from Chesham, Chalfont & Latimer and Hatch End.  Also of note is that the fares and caps for young people with a 16+ zip Oyster card are now half the adult rate across all modes of rail.

Early Off-peak Changes

Thanks to an eagle-eyed visitor from Chesham I have been alerted to some changes to the early starts of the off-peak cap.  These take effect from the fare change, effectively from Monday 20th January.  Remember that this is the time that the off-peak cap starts being counted, NOT when off-peak fares are charged.  And that is an important distinction in the light of one change.  The details are: Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Fares Change postponed

According to a Mayoral Decision earlier today, the TfL fares increase has been postponed until January 19th.

2014 Fares Changes

On Tuesday TfL announced details of the  new fares to be charged from 2nd Jan 2014.  Overall it’s very good news for Oyster PAYG users, especially those with 16+ zip cards.  Not so well off are those who buy travelcards, although the actual size of the increase on those has been put into doubt by the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this morning.  We may have to wait a few days to see if anything changes.

In the meantime, here are the main changes from an Oyster perspective: Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Stop top-up scam

The news over the last couple of days has been full of stories about a fraudster who scammed thousands out of users when processing top-ups in his newsagent shop.  As is usual in cases like this, the journalists have tried to explain what happened, but so far they have spectacularly failed to get it right.  This may be down to TfL not wanting the exact procedure to be made public in case other shops try it as well; or it could be that not enough care has been taken understanding the issues.  It does leave confidence in the system seriously compromised, which is a problem for honest shopkeepers who may now see a drop in activity. Read the rest of this entry »

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