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Contactless Pilot Days 3-9

Oh dear, I seem to have got behind updating this.  The good news is that there aren’t any show-stopping problems so far.  Comments are always welcome and will be fed back to TfL if relevant.  It’s now getting more exciting as I’ve been asked to download an app and record details of my experiences as I travel.  The app has loaded and I’ve set it up, so I’m ready to go.  But first, the last few days …

Day 3: Similar to day 2 but without the mistake of forgetting to touch in at Lewisham DLR.  At risk of continuing the argument with Mac from the last post, I still maintain that the correct charge is levied for Crayford to North Greenwich on contactless whilst it was not for my wife using her Oyster.  The route via Heron Quays and Canary Wharf is not defined on the single fare finder so it should charge the default fare of £2.30, which it does on contactless.  The touch out at Heron Quays on Oyster causes £2.50 to be deducted and I understand why so it’s not a problem to me.

This time we took the Emirates cable-car one way and then added a DLR trip to Stratford.  My son and I explored some of the Olympic Park while my wife went shopping at Westfield.  After eating we returned to Crayford, this time via Canada Water and New Cross.  Again both Oyster and contactless charged the same £2.30 as without a touch the system can’t tell the difference from the default route via Woolwich Arsenal.  When I checked the next day the total charge was as expected – £6.10.

Days 4 and 5: Both pretty basic days.  First one was to Norwood Junction for football and then it was a quick jaunt to Sidcup on the second.  Both charged as expected, no issues.

Day 6: Another glorious sunny day so we decide to take a picnic lunch to Greenwich Park.  It’s a Sunday so the normal rounders from Crayford to Maze Hill via Abbey Wood aren’t running.  Engineering work means that Crayford has extra trains, some running semi-fast, so we take advantage and travel via London Bridge (even the Lewisham to Charlton option isn’t running today, so we couldn’t avoid zones 1/2).  Both Oyster and contactless charged the expected zone 3-6 fare of £2.30.  The connection at London Bridge on the way home was just too tight so we ended up spending longer there; sods law states that the next train is the one that they have to cancel but hey-ho.  Despite the extra half hour we were still well within the 4 zone maximum journey time, so I’ve not yet tested that out.

Day 7: It’s another bank holiday and the most important match of the weekend has been moved to Monday night.  First though we decide to try out some dodgy journeys to see what happens.  There are a number of pretty reasonable destinations from Fenchurch Street for which the single fare finder says “No fares found”.  One of them is Crayford and another Blackhorse Road.  My son and I are up for a challenge so it’s Crayford to Lewisham then DLR to Limehouse and finally c2c to Fenchurch Street.  My son’s Oyster confirmed the usual child fare at the end while I later found that contactless had correctly deduced a mixed NR+TfL zone 6-1 journey.  Quite why the SFF can’t tell me that is anyone’s guess.  After a brief stop it was back on the c2c to Barking and then the overground to Blackhorse Road.  Another child fare for my son and the correct zone 1-4 fare for me on contactless.  All pretty boring really, so it was just as well that the evening entertainment far exceeded expectations.  Liverpool came, took a 3 goal lead, then inexplicably let it slip to 3-3 in the last 10 minutes and effectively handed the Premier League to Man City.  Obviously as Palace fans my son and I were floating on cloud 9 with a superb final home match of the season to remember during the summer.  And finally, daily capping works on contactless, even with the potentially illegal journeys to/from Fenchurch Street, so another test complete.

Days 8-9: Both Tuesdays so the regular trip to Sidcup and back.  No problems on day 8, but after forgetting to check online for a few days I’m surprised to see I somehow didn’t manage to touch in at Sidcup on the way back.  I’m pretty sure that I did, although the gates were locked and a train had just arrived so the validators were very busy.  So, an extra charge made, but the online portal has offered me the chance to apply for a refund.  I’ve entered the missing touch and hopefully I’ll get the overcharge back as it was a pretty straightforward journey.  I should find out tomorrow.

3 Responses

  1. Here’s a question you may not have the answer to, and would be quite difficult to test (and possibly embarrassing to do so!).

    AIUI from what you’ve said elsewhere, contactless touch-ins don’t write to the card at all, and if that’s indeed the case it means that you have no immediately available evidence that you actually did touch in.

    So, when the “revenue protection officers” come round (as they seem to frequently on at least LO and DLR) with their portable readers and ask you to touch your card to them to prove you touched in, what happens with a contactless card?

    Do you just show them a contactless card and they so, “oh, ok then” and walk on? Or do they use their portable readers to read your card number, which they then upload later and if the system finds that you weren’t in the middle of a journey at that time, then it automatically hits your card with a maximum journey fare + a £20 fine?

  2. Ha, yes. I don’t think I’ll be testing that deliberately. During the pilot I have a membership card which I have to show along with the payment card that I’m using. I’ve not had to do it yet. I assume that some note will be taken of the card number, but until I manage to bump into an RPI I won’t know. It’s funny how hard it is to meet an RPI when you actually want to :). I would hope that the membership card will be enough to prevent any further action as I’m effectively volunteering research work for TfL at the moment.

    After the pilot, who knows? I’d imagine that the conditions of carriage will have to be amended and it would seem logical that the portable reader will record details of the encounter for future investigation.

  3. Hi Mike,
    I’m glad you’re finding the trial useful. I’m a member of TfL staff and have a corporate bank card that I can use only on services where my staff pass is valid so (unfortunately) I can’t comment on the whole TfL-NR spectrum of usage, so I rely on your posts for info!

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