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Archive for September, 2020

Equipment Failure at Kidbrooke

UPDATE: Southeastern say that a fix has been applied today after they received an email yesterday.

FURTHER UPDATE: It hasn’t been fixed as touches are missing from yesterday (Sun 4th).

After hearing reports about a serious equipment malfunction at Kidbrooke station in Southeast London I visited the station last night.  It seems to be related to the activation of new validators at the Pelger Square entrance on the up platform starting from the weekend of the 5th/6th September.  Contactless and some Oyster touches are not being transmitted to the central system.  This results in incomplete journeys which might be automatically resolved based on previous history.  If they are not resolved then a maximum journey charge is applied.

On my contactless card I ended up with two incomplete journeys, both starting at Crayford because it can’t tell which way you’re going when you use a validator.  The first one was available for me to manually complete, so I did and the change was accepted within an hour and updated.  The second journey was auto completed to Watford Junction.  It said this was to avoid overcharging me, but the fare charged is more than the incomplete journey charge, so that didn’t work out well.  I have been to Watford recently, though not the most recent journey.

On my son’s zip Oyster card the journey from Crayford to Kidbrooke is shown correctly but the return is shown as unspecified location to Crayford.  This is because the fare deduction is made on the card and the validators are working properly in terms of Kidbrooke station itself.  At least I don’t need to get a refund for the zip card.

Notwithstanding the inconvenience of getting incomplete (or wrongly completed) journeys adjusted there is a more serious aspect.  If a revenue check is made and the central system thinks you are out of the system at the time then you get a maximum journey charge and a black mark against your card or device.  If you get three of these then your card or device is hotlisted and cannot be used again on TfLs system.

One-Way System Woes

It is with some dismay that I have to report that TfL do not appear to be coping well with preventing overcharging at stations where one-way systems are in operation.  I’m aware of issues at both Woolwich Arsenal and Finsbury Park. The problem is mainly associated with Oyster or zip cards.  As I understand it, an emergency setting has to be made each day to allow Oyster cards to keep a journey open when passengers have to leave the station and re-enter at a different entrance.  For contactless the setting is permanent in the back office.  The station setting seems to be a bit hit and miss.  I’d urge anyone using the interchanges at either station to check journey history and complain to the helpdesk if they have been overcharged. Read the rest of this entry »