Oyster, the Olympics and HS1Jul 10, 2012
Wow, have the authorities managed to screw things up over the headline Javelin services to Stratford International. Ordinarily the HS1 line between St Pancras and Gravesend or Ashford via Stratford and Ebbsfleet is a premium service. As such, travelcards and Oyster cards are not valid on the services and there are no Oyster readers on the gatelines. But London 2012 is the public transport games and needs to be as simple as possible. So, all event ticket holders are given a free travelcard covering everything in London, including St Pancras to Stratford International. These special travelcards are only valid with an appropriate event ticket, so ordinary travelcard holders still cannot use HS1. Nor can any normal Oyster cards be used.
But, herein lies a big problem. All the volunteers staffing the games have been issued special pink Oyster cards which can only be used with their 2012 accreditation card. Initially it was not planned to allow these cards on HS1 until someone pointed out the ridiculous situation where visitors could use a service but not the staff running it. Several high level meetings later on and it has been decided that Olympic Volunteers CAN use HS1 between St Pancras and Stratford International ONLY.
This concession is only available when using a special pink Olympic Oyster card with the appropriate accreditation card to validate it. You have to go to the disabled gate at both stations where the staff member will let you through. It doesn’t matter whether the Oyster card has a travelcard or PAYG balance on it because the card itself is not being read. This is a major kludge to fix a massive oversight in the plans between LOCOG, TfL and Southeastern.
Please note that this concession is only applicable between St Pancras and Stratford International. It is NOT valid between Stratford and Ebbsfleet/Ashford/Gravesend.