Contactless Pilot (end of May)Jun 03, 2014
I’ve decided to stop talking about journeys which have no issues as they are becoming more common. The bottom line is that contactless works, apart from one issue that I’ll come to later on. I’ll still be testing edge conditions, sometimes inadvertantly, and these I’ll document on here.
So, the big test this week was exceeding the maximum journey time. I travelled from Oxford Circus to Crayford, but in the middle I detoured via Elephant & Castle LU, in and out of the NR station, Clapham North, Clapham High Street, Clapham Junction and Waterloo. The reason was in connection with mapping the walking OSIs which is an ongoing project for the site. The overall journey took 155 minutes whereas the maximum journey time for 6 zones on a Mon-Fri evening is 145 minutes. I hadn’t set out to test this as such, but as I did, what happened? Well, on Oyster it would have been two incomplete journey charges which would not have counted towards the daily cap. With the benefit of hindsight, contactless split the journey at Waterloo where it was within the evening zone 1 maximum journey time and treated Waterloo East to Crayford as a separate journey. The result was no extra charge as I’d capped anyway, but even if I hadn’t actually capped it would have been much better than two incomplete journeys.
Now, back to the issue. Earlier in May I made a return from Crayford to Sidcup and back but the touch on the validator at Sidcup for the return did not register, or so I thought. I replied to the notification inviting me to fill in the missing detail and received a refund a few days later, so all sorted. The next week I made the same journey, but because I was busy mapping interchanges I didn’t check the journey history straight away. I was 100% certain that the validator at Sidcup accepted my touch, so I wasn’t expecting any problems. A week later when I checked I found that the same touch was missing on the original day. Four days later a refund was automatically processed. At first I thought “great, it’s a regular journey and they’ve filled it in for me”. Then I looked in more detail and noticed that the amended journey included the actual time of the missing touch at Sidcup. I know the time because my son’s touch on his zip card was logged on the usual Oyster journey history. So it looks like the details of my contactless touch arrived too late from the validator at Sidcup.
Obviously the fact that it’s been refunded is good, but I’ve asked TfL to investigate this issue with Southeastern, because when contactless is rolled out properly they won’t want a big increase in calls to report missing touches, particularly if they haven’t really been missed. Watch this space for updates.