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New Year, New Site

After 11 years it is time to make some major changes to this site. The theme is quite dated and definitely not mobile friendly. Making it so would be a major project, so I’ve taken the decision to effectively start again. With the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdown there have been no new comments here since last year, so it’s a good time to draw a line under things. Don’t worry though, this site will remain for all the old posts and comments.

The new site is Oyster Fares Central and already has some discussions going on in the new forum. It also has a latest news page which is where new posts will now be made. The main pages on this site will be transferred over to the new site during the coming days, with links back here for the archived comments.

See you on the other side!

Happy Fares Change Day …

… or not, as the case is this year.

In case you hadn’t yet heard, the annual fares revision which usually takes place on Jan 2nd every year has been postponed this year.  It’s currently scheduled for Monday 1st March, but that is dependant on getting the data to the software provider by Friday 15th January.  Thus it is not certain that Oyster and contactless fares will definitely rise on the same day as the rest of the National Rail fares.  Watch this space.

If you wish to discuss this post, please use this thread oysterfares.com/topic/tfl-fare-increase-2021 in our new forum.

Have your say in our forum

I’m delighted to announce the launch of our new forum at oysterfares.com.  I’ll answer any questions raised there, but additionally you may get a quicker response from other users.  Because it’s a separate site you’ll need to register and login before you can post.

Long-standing site visitors may remember a previous forum several years ago which suffered some technical issues and had to close.  The new one is a more robust version which will be more reliable.

New OSIs at Woolwich and Highbury

A couple of new OSIs have been added to the list on this site.  There is a new entrance to Highbury & Islington station in Highbury Station Road and this OSI links the new entrance to the existing main entrance.

In a victory for this site, TfL have added a new OSI between the National Rail and DLR stations at Woolwich Arsenal. This has been a major source of overcharging since a Covid one-way system closed the interchange within the station.  The OSI will remain even after the end of the one-way system which will benefit people who inadvertantly use the wrong exit.

Kidbrooke now re-connected

It appears that the connection issues at Kidbrooke station have finally been fixed.  All my journey history has updated to show the correct touches.  I travelled via Kidbrooke this afternoon and initially it didn’t seem ok as there was no sign of the touches half an hour after making them (it’s usually updated within 5 minutes for rail touches).  But then hey presto, everything was there.  I also had a response from Southeastern twitter telling me that it had been fixed, so fingers crossed it’s now ok.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed at the length of time it’s taken.  It started going wrong on 6th September and I personally reported the issue on 29th September.  So that’s either 3 weeks or over 6 weeks depending on when you want to start the clock.  Southeastern were also a bit fed up as they displayed a notice above the Pelger Square validators directing complaints to TfL.

Congestion Charge Extension

Note: If you don’t like political posts on this site then skip this one now …

As part of the negotiation for a further bailout to allow TfL to continue running, the government want them to extend the congestion charge zone from it’s current small area to be the area bounded by the North and South Circular roads.  This will bring places like Walthamstow, Wood Green, Chiswick, Dulwich and Greenwich into the zone.  At £15 per day, anyone living in this extended zone who uses their car 5 days a week is looking at an extra £3750 bill on their motoring costs.  This will catch commuters, school-runs, shopping and leisure trips.  It also affects millions living outside the zone but who travel inside by car.

If you don’t like this proposal then here’s a petition to sign: https://www.change.org/p/petition-the-extension-of-congestion-charge.  You might also like to contact prospective Mayoral candidates to seek their view.  Sadiq Khan is obviously resisting the change, but what is the view of Tory Shaun Bailey, given that it’s his party trying to impose the extortionate additional tax on Londoners.  You almost have to wonder whether this government actually wants a Tory to be Mayor of London next May.

The very unfair fare rises

Some fares have risen by nearly 30% over the last 5 years!

This post is about National Rail fares in zones 1-6 for operators using the NR1 farescale.  That’s most fares for Southeastern, Southern, SouthWestern Railway and Thameslink south of the river Thames plus Thameslink and Great Northern north of West Hampstead and Finsbury Park.  These Oyster fares are set by the Rail Delivery Group with input from the TOCs so that the same fares can be set for all the companies.

The fares are adjusted each January using the same formula for regulated fares throughout the UK.  This means that on average fares rose by around 2-3% each year.  There is a problem where the fare in question is quite small, because the increase must be a multiple of 10p.  A 2% rise on a £2 fare is only 4p, so when rounded up to 10p the increase becomes 5%.  The logical and fair thing to do would be to increase one year and then freeze the next so that cheaper fares did not become disproportionately more expensive.  Sadly that hasn’t happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

One way system updates

Finsbury Park: A semi permanent EOSI has been set up so that NR to LU journeys should now be joined together.  I’m told that this arrangement is expected to last until October at the earliest.

Woolwich Arsenal: Disappointingly I noticed that the connection between NR and DLR was closed again last night.  I hope that appropriate measures are now in place to ensure that passengers are not overcharged.  I will ask questions again.

Child Fare Changes

Ever since the announcement that the bailout of TfL during lockdown came with conditions, including the end of free travel for under 18s, there has been an enormous amount of misinformation pedalled by media and politicians.  The LibDems started a campaign to reverse the changes despite the fact that they still haven’t been actioned.  The i-news explained how children up to 15 enjoyed free travel on the tube – oh no they don’t!  My London also believed that the changes had already been made, and I’m sure many other news outlets fell for the same poor journalism.

The facts are that as usual with this incompetent government, an idea was put forward and agreed without any understanding of the complexity involved in implimenting it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Overcharging at Woolwich Arsenal

It’s been brought to my attention that the connection between the NR station and DLR station at Woolwich Arsenal has been closed since June 16th. Passengers wishing to change between the two stations have to exit one and walk along the street to the other entrance. Of course touching out and back in again causes your journey to be split in two and you will definitely be overcharged unless you have or will cap or are using a travelcard.

I visited Woolwich Arsenal earlier in the week to investigate.  On the Southeastern side the blue poster to the right is displayed at both the platform entrances (direct and via the footbridge).  As I was travelling well after the evening peak there were no staff present on the National Rail side, so it was just as well I didn’t need assistance!

On the DLR side the posters are a little more helpful as shown below.  Being a TfL station there are staff present at all times, and it appears as though people who require step free access might be let through.

I asked the staff at the station why the measures were in place and they replied that it was instructions from Southeastern and the DfT.  When I pointed out that people would be overcharged when exiting and re-entering they helpfully explained that passengers would be let through the barriers so they didn’t have to break their journey. Unfortunately there is nothing to say that this is allowed so people are being overcharged.

I have to say that the whole arrangement seems to make social distancing harder.  Rather than passing through a wide opening (or crossing a wide overbridge and stairs or lifts), passengers are forced through a much narrower bridge alongside the National Rail ticket office.

The whole issue of overcharging could have been resolved with a simple addition of an out of station interchange between the two street entrances.  It may not have been possible on day 1, but there is an alternative option of setting an emergency OSI which would have a similar effect.

When I asked TfL about this issue they said that they believed an EOSI had been set up.  I’m still waiting for a further response which I hope will include a promise to refund any cards which have been overcharged.  I have also asked Southeastern for comment, but so far none has been received.

As a final postscript, the person who alerted me to this issue called the Oyster helpdesk to ask about a refund.  They were told that it has never been possible to interchange at Woolwich Arsenal without leaving one station and entering another.  I’ve been assured that appropriate reminders have been issued to the helpdesk staff.

Aldgate – Aldgate East OSI

After goodness knows how many suggestions TfL have finally given in and implemented a new OSI between Aldgate and Aldgate East Underground stations.  There is a little confusion about the start date – it was either today (14th) or Tuesday (16th), so I’ll add it to the list on Tuesday to be safe.  The allowance is 10 minutes either way.

Free child fares and freedom pass rules

There has understandably been a lot of media interest in the instruction from government telling TfL to abandon free bus travel for under 18s.  Unfortunately some sections of the media seem to think that it’s happened already.  It hasn’t.  TfL are currently in discussions with the DfT about how it can be implimented and what the scope should be.  They have pointed out that if all free child fares are removed then the London councils will have to work out an alternative method of providing free travel to school for those who are entitled to it.  The costs of doing that could well exceed the savings made by charging for other child journeys.  Watch this space!

What is about to happen is that older person freedom passes and 60+ Oyster holders will no longer be able to use their passes on services before 9am.  This starts on June 15th and is billed as a temporary change.  Disabled persons freedom passes are not affected.  There is, however, no change to the message that public transport should only be used if absolutely necessary.

Capping to Reading, Luton Airport etc

Last month (April 20th) TfL quietly switched on capping for contactless only stations.  I say quietly because with only essential travel being undertaken at the moment it is unlikely that anyone is actually reaching the caps.  They also confirmed that since January 2nd 2020 anyone who exceeded the relevant caps from those stations will have received an automatic refund. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor seeks reversal of under 18 fares

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has written to the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, asking him to reconsider the instruction to remove free bus travel from under 18s.  The letter has been made public and is reproduced here. Read the rest of this entry »

Buses to start charging again

TfL has begun insisting that people touch in when making bus journeys again.  From today, those using single door buses and the new Routemaster ‘Boris’ buses which have readers by the middle door will be expected to validate their Oyster or contactless card or device.  Other two door buses will follow once modifications to the screen between the driver and the passenger area are complete.  These modifications will block the area where cash transactions used to take place and cover the holes for speech between the driver and passengers.

Signs on the doors and announcements will make it clear when passengers are expected to validate their cards again.

Season ticket refunds

At the beginning of the lockdown the government relaxed the rules about refunding season tickets.  This meant that you could backdate your claim back to the last day you used the ticket and that the admin fee would be waived.

TfL are following these rules for refunds of travelcards stored on Oyster cards, but the process used for the refund initially follows the normal rules.  This means that you’ll get back the refund due on the day of the claim, less the admin fee.  As a separate process the applications are looked at again and a further refund of the days between last use and your claim, plus the admin fee, will be processed.  At the moment this is taking around 2 weeks.

If you’ve been waiting longer than that then you can call the Oyster helpline.  Call volumes have subsided significantly now the majority of queries have been answered so it is possible to get through.

Brief Updates

While the government stipulates that only essential travel by key workers should be undertaken, there is not a lot going on to report here.  However, there are some things still happening and this is a summary of key points:

  1. London Buses are now centre door only to protect the driver from contact with passengers who may unknowingly be carrying the Covid-19 virus.  At each stop passengers are requested to let people off first and keep their distance within the bus.  There is no need to touch in on buses at this time so journeys are now free.
  2. The sponsorship project with G-Pay at Underground stations has been put on hold.  Some stations did get the white labels on their touch pads before travel restrictions were imposed, but no further changes will be made at this time.
  3. Daily and weekly capping has been activated on the contactless only routes (Reading to Iver, Luton Airport Parkway to St Albans and Welwyn Garden City to Brookmans Park).  Full details will be published on this site once I have answers to a number of questions.  It is extremely unlikely that anyone is reaching caps at this time with the limited essential travel being undertaken.
  4. There are also a couple of other stories that I have been working on which may be published shortly.

Stay at Home – Save Lives

Evidence today shows that public transport across all modes in London is dramatically down on the levels seen just 4 weeks ago.  This is good, and must continue.  Please only travel if your journey is absolutely necessary, and when in the centre of London please try and keep your distance as much as possible.

The Oyster and contactless systems continue to operate normally.  There shouldn’t be anything different, though I am aware of one small consideration where service frequencies have been cut.  This concerns out-of-station-interchanges where, for example, tube and National Rail journeys are joined together and charged one fare.  At most London terminals you have 40 minutes between touch out from the Underground and touch in at the NR gateline to allow you to wait on the concourse until your train is advertised.  If your wait is longer then the two parts will be charged separately and will probably cost a little more.  To avoid this you might want to consider travelling to another station and waiting for your train there, for example Clapham Junction from Victoria or Waterloo, or London Bridge from Cannon Street or Charing Cross.  As long as your wait is while touched in you won’t end up paying two fares.

GPay: White is the new Yellow

If you’ve used Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station in the last 3 months you may have noticed that the yellow Oyster pads on the gatelines were changed to a white pad with Google GPay branding.  This was in fact a trial scheme in advance of a year long sponsorship deal.

Later this month over 5600 pads on gates at every Underground station will be changed to the new design (see below).  They will remain white for 12 months and Google has an option to extend the deal subject to agreeing follow on terms.  The sponsorship deal is worth around £1.5m which TfL will reinvest in London’s transport network.

Both parties want to use the scheme Read the rest of this entry »

Paddington Gates Overcharging

It’s come to my notice that there is a problem for travelcard holders on Oyster with the gates for platforms 2-5 at Paddington. If you travel in from the West using a ticket to the boundary of the highest zone on your travelcard, then touch out using your travelcard at those gates, you will be charged a fare from Heathrow using Heathrow Express. The same will also apply in reverse. That’s a £22/£25 interest free loan to TfL until the help desk issues a refund.

TfL are aware of the issue and I’m waiting for a response.

Bye Bye Oyster Deposit

As exclusively revealed on this website two months ago, TfL are phasing out the Oyster card deposit from February 23rd.  Cards purchased before that date will still retain the £5 deposit which can be cashed in when returning or cancelling the Oyster card.  From Sunday 23rd onwards an Oyster card will cost a £5 fee.  If the card is retained then that £5 will be added to the PAYG credit balance on the first anniversary of purchase.  Unused credit will still be refundable at any time, along with the deposit on older cards.

The main reason for making the change Read the rest of this entry »

Same Station Exit Oddity

My son stumbled across a little known oddity of making a same station exit last month.  He touched in at Crayford and after a few minutes was informed that the line was closed because of a fault.  He touched out and I drove him to nearby Slade Green where he touched in on the validators.  Further along the line his card was inspected by a Southeastern RPI and he was told it wasn’t validated.  Thankfully the RPI responded to my son’s protestations by scrolling back through the journey history and he noticed the Crayford to Slade Green journey.  He decided to let my son carry on, and on touch out at London Bridge an incomplete journey was recorded.  I called TfL the next day and they refunded the overcharge.

What actually happened was a mystery to the customer service staff at TfL, Read the rest of this entry »

Site Updates for 2020

The Fares Guide section now has pages for the 2020 fares and the fare finder is also showing the updated fares. Other pages will be updated where necessary over the next day or so.

Change to Oyster Deposit

News has leaked out that TfL are to change the Oyster card deposit at some point in the new year.  The date hasn’t been agreed yet, but it is NOT linked to the new fares.

When this change takes place the £5 refundable deposit will be replaced with a £5 fee.  This is to encourage use of contactless payments for short or infrequent visits to London.  The good news is Read the rest of this entry »

TfL Online Password Reset

At 2pm this afternoon TfL locked everyone out of their online accounts pending a password reset.  All you need to do is click on the forgotten password link and enter your registered email address.  If that address exists on the system you’ll be sent a link to enable you to set a new password.  Once done everything will work again.  While locked out, all Oyster cards and contactless cards will still work for travel, and topups can be made at stations and ticket stop shops.

The beginning of this story dates back to August when a number of TfL accounts were accessed maliciously using a list of email addresses and passwords stolen from other companies.  Where people have re-used the same password on multiple sites the hackers were able to get in.  TfL spotted something was up because there were suddenly a large number of invalid logins using email addresses that didn’t exist on their system.  The online system was taken down immediately, limiting the success of the attack, Read the rest of this entry »

Contactless to Welwyn Garden City

The final PAYG extension for the year, covering Welham Green, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City went live on Tuesday.  As with Luton Airport Parkway, only contactless payment cards and devices are accepted, not Oyster cards of any variety.  The full range of paper tickets are also still available and may well work out cheaper at times, especially at weekends.  At this time there is also no capping, so if travelling a lot in London you could well be better off with a normal travelcard.

Auto Topup – Faster Payment Delayed

I’ve now had confirmation from TfL that the payment changes to auto topup have been postponed until next year.  So all that’s currently happened is the raising of the threshold to £20.  I’d still recommend always ensuring that you have plenty of funds available on the linked bank card and make sure the emails from TfL don’t go into a spam folder.

New Fares for 2020

In amongst all the election stuff and other sensational news stories, the Mayor released his decision on fares for next year.  It’s pretty much as expected – bus, tube, dlr, most London Overground, most TfL Rail and National Rail inter-available single fares all frozen for the 4th year.  Other National Rail fares and caps/travelcards all rise in line with DfT advice to the TOCs which is an average of 2.8% this year.

Arrangements for the TfL Rail extension to Reading are confirmed with Freedom Passes, Veterans Oyster cards and under 11s free travel commencing on December 15th, but only on TfL Rail services.  The contactless only fares for stations beyond West Drayton to Reading will start on January 2nd and will be valid on both TfL-Rail and GWR services.  Buried in the small print in the annexes is the news that daily and weekly capping will be supported.  Hopefully that also means that capping will be extended to the contactless only sections of GTR services.

Changes to Auto Topup

Anyone using auto topup on an Oyster (or zip) card will have received an email yesterday.  The key points are:

From Sunday 17 November 2019, the Auto Top-up threshold will change to £20. From this date, your Oyster card will be topped up with your chosen value when your balance falls below £20.

You will also see Auto Top-up charges more quickly in your bank account. If we are unable to collect payment for your Auto Top-up, your Oyster card will be stopped.

I have seen some comments already on other forums expressing disgust which I must say surprise me somewhat.  My first reaction is great, or why has it taken so long.  At a stroke it will solve the issues with auto topup at Gatwick Airport and Victoria platforms 13/14.  There might still be problems at Paddington HEx platforms but they will be reduced and TfL probably thought increasing the threshold to £25 was a step too far.

The second paragraph appears to be somewhat draconian, but it is in fact similar to the current procedures.  At present the auto topup amount is requested as part of an overnight process the day after the credit was applied to your Oyster card.  Back in the day many details of touches were only transferred to the central system overnight, but that has long since been superceded by transmission within 30 minutes.  Again, it’s perhaps surprising that TfL have taken this long to update the auto topup process.  Remember that the credit is applied to the Oyster card and can be used immediately, meaning that TfL take a revenue risk.  By claiming the funds quicker they reduce the risk.

The big change is that TfL will no longer send an email if a collection fails offering you the chance to correct the issue within a few days.  This is a shame, but is almost certainly due to increasing misuse of the system by fare evaders.  You won’t actually lose the upto £20 legitimately on the card, but you will have to liaise with the helpdesk to regularise the issue.  It should also be noted that you won’t be trapped in the system if your card is stopped as exit gates are programmed to allow exit on stopped cards.  The key is to always ensure that your account has enough money to cover your £20/£40 topup at any time.

Finally, if you aren’t happy with these changes you can always deactivate auto topup.  And if you pay full adult fares then using a contactless payment card/device is a better solution than auto topup anyway.

PAYG to Reading – What is Accepted

The press release from TfL outlining the extension of PAYG to Reading from Jan 2nd 2020 certainly raised a number of questions and talking points. I’m not going to cover discussion about zones and Oyster here, but rather concentrate on the cards which will and won’t be accepted. Nothing changes between London and West Drayton, so this list solely applies to people using stations between Iver and Reading inclusive, and only on TfL Rail services. Read the rest of this entry »

Tap, Tap, Fly, from Luton Airport

Tuesday saw the launch of contactless payment at St Albans City, Harpenden and Luton Airport Parkway on the Thameslink route. Note that it is not accepted at Luton or beyond. With contactless payment already accepted on the shuttle bus from Parkway to the Airport* it means that Luton becomes the 4th airport accessible from Central London using just a contactless payment card.

At the time of writing TfL still haven’t made the fares available either on their single fare finder or my fare finder (yellow button at the top of every page).

As with Brookmans Park, only contactless is available at these stations. No Oyster cards are valid at all. The full range of paper tickets are still available and will sometimes be cheaper, particularly at weekends when super off-peak tickets are valid. In the main single fares will be cheaper on contactless which is particularly useful for the airport. Remember that these out of London contactless extensions are for convenience first, rather than value.

The other important point to note is that there is currently no capping when making journeys that start or end at the three new stations. Depending on the other travel made within London a day travelcard may well work out cheaper.

*Although the shuttle bus accepts contactless payment cards, it does not accept American Express at all.

Brookmans Park in Action

So my friend Geoff Marshall (of All the Stations fame) decided to try out some scenarios using contactless out to Brookmans Park.  You can watch the video here. Read the rest of this entry »

TfL Rail to Reading – No Oyster

Yesterday TfL announced their initial plans following takeover of the GWR suburban services between Paddington and Reading on December 15th.  In contrast to any other TfL takeover, neither Oyster nor contactless will be available on day 1.  To ensure a smooth introduction, contactless PAYG will be introduced from January 2nd 2020.

The big news though is that Oyster PAYG will NOT be valid between West Drayton and Reading.  This means that adults with railcards, 11-15 and 16+ zip card holders will not be able to make use of PAYG.  And holders of Apprentice, 18+ Student and Jobcentre Oyster cards will not be able to seamlessly transition between using a travelcard stored on the card to PAYG.  On the plus side, under 11s accompanied by adults will be able to travel free, but only on the TfL Rail services.

Read the rest of this entry »

Radlett, Potters Bar & Brookmans Park

Last Thursday, 29th August, PAYG was extended to Radlett, Potters Bar and Brookmans Park.  Both Oyster and contactless are accepted at the first two, while Brookmans Park is the pilot for a new breed of stations accepting contactless only.  The official launch took place at Radlett in the morning with the local MP, the new transport secretary and other GTR senior staff.  More detail about fares follows, but first some quotes on the day:

Read the rest of this entry »

Fare Finder Changes

Yesterday GTR launched new PAYG stations at Radlett, Potters Bar and Brookmans Park.  While the first two accept both contactless and Oyster PAYG, Brookmans Park is the first contactless only station.  It was clearly necessary for my fare finder to indicate this for any journey to/from Brookmans Park, so some coding changes were rapidly required.  Sadly the multi-type fare finder has had to be taken out of use at the moment, but the newer version (yellow button at the top of the page) has been updated.  You can also use this directly on a mobile device at https://oysterfares.com/off/.

The zonal coverage and cap information for the new Oyster stations isn’t live yet because I haven’t received the data from TfL.  I’m also waiting for precise information about what capping, if any, will be applied if one journey involves Brookmans Park.  There are a number of potential scenarios, but the statement by both GTR and TfL that capping does not apply from Brookmans Park doesn’t give any clues away.

Contactless might cost more than Oyster

We’ve all heard the annoying announcements at tube stations. Why not use contactless? The fares are the same as Oyster and there’s no need to top up. In fact, as described elsewhere on this site, contactless can often be cheaper than Oyster thanks to the way it compares all combinations of caps and extension fares. However, TfL have unwittingly introduced an issue which means that sometimes contactless may cost more than Oyster.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Northern Extensions

There’s been a bit of excitement since the publication under FOI of an internal staff magazine by TfL. One of the topics covered was upcoming extensions on Thameslink and Great Northern. Sadly the original publication date was quite a while ago (early May) and there was also a shocking geographical error mixing up the positions of Brookmans Park and Potters Bar stations. The article and other sources suggested that extensions to Radlett and Potters Bar would be live imminently. A more cautious approach was being suggested on the Thameslink and Great Northern websites, so I sought clarification from both TfL and Govia Thameslink Railway.
Read the rest of this entry »

St Pancras Resolution of Overcharge

I’m delighted to be able to report that the issues at St Pancras over the two bank holiday weekends in May are being resolved.  A GTR spokeswoman said:

We apologise to the passengers impacted by this charging error. As soon as we were alerted to the isolated issue our revenue team worked with the technical team at TfL to ensure that everyone who was overcharged would be refunded automatically. These refunds should all be issued early next week. A permanent fix will be applied as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have agreed a process to avoid any impact to customers.

Overcharged at St Pancras?

Potentially hundreds of Thameslink passengers may have been overcharged over the two bank holiday weekends in May.  On both weekends the line between West Hampstead Thameslink and St Pancras (low level) was closed for engineering work.  Trains from Bedford/Luton terminated in platforms 1-4 at St Pancras (high level) and passengers wanting to continue south had to walk down to the low level platforms (A-B).  The problem is that there was no internal out-of-station interchange (OSI) set up between the Oyster validators for platforms 1-4 and the gateline for platforms A-B.  Thus a journey from Elstree to Blackfriars was charged as two journeys; Elstree to St Pancras and St Pancras to Blackfriars.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster Not Always Cheaper

Thanks to a keen visitor I can confirm that in certain circumstances a pair of full adult peak singles is more expensive than the paper anytime return.  The journey must be in a single zone (2, 3, 4, 5 or 6), be priced on the NR1 fare scale (see guide to fare scales) and both directions must be made at peak times (0630-0930 or 1600-1900).  There are some quite reasonable length journeys, especially in zones 2 and 6, like Caterham to Purley or Lewisham to Clapham Junction via Denmark Hill.  The peak Oyster single is £2.30 making £4.60 for a return while the paper return ticket is £4.40. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello Meridian Water

Monday 3rd June saw the opening of London’s newest station, Meridian Water.  It replaces the old Angel Road which has already seen quite a lot of demolition work since the last trains called there on Friday 31st May.  For the time being the service will be the same as that at Angel Road, but later this year a new shuttle service between Stratford and Meridian Water will start, providing an all day service, rather than the current peak hours only.

TfL’s single fare finder now includes Meridian Water which means that my fare finder can also show the fares.  As my station list is a simplified one (cutting out duplicates where two modes serve the same station) I have now removed the entry for Angel Road.

Revenue Protection

While travelling around London last weekend I came across this poster detailing the results of some targetted enforcement earlier in the year.  It’s a timely reminder that both TfL and the TOCs take revenue loss (fare evasion) very seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

Most Used OSIs May 2019

TfL have very kindly provided updated data showing how many journeys made use of each OSI in the system. The data was recorded over a four week period in April/May 2019. The top 3 remain the NR to LU interchanges at South London termini, though London Bridge has overtaken Victoria.  The accessible route OSI at Woodford has now started being regularly used while no-one now walks between Hackney Downs and Central other than by the  footbridge linking the two stations. The slightly lower figures for many entries is probably down to the fact that there were 3 bank holidays in the period.

Read the rest of this entry »

New fare database from 19th May

As far as I know there are no major changes at this intermediate fare change date.  However, the error with zip 11-15 fares from Epsom has been corrected, as has the fares between Epsom and Stoneleigh which is back in zone 5 where it should be.  Fares for Meridian Water (replacing Angel Road) are ready, but not visible yet because the opening (and closing) has been delayed a bit.

The Epsom Story (Part 2)

OK, I’ll come clean, I had forgotten about this.  In part 1 I explained how difficult it must have been to get agreement between the various companies involved.  I’m now going to express my frustration in trying to get information. For both the Epsom and Hertford North extensions TfL pass pretty much every query over to GTR.  This includes infrastructure questions like will gates at a station operate with a particular travelcard loaded on an Oyster card. Now to me the answer is either yes or no, and I’m sure someone at TfL can confirm that.  It’s not breaking any confidentiality because it’s confirming what will actually happen in a technical scenario.  With Epsom it’s even worse because while GTR lead the project, the fares are set by SWR.  So, rant over, on with the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Caps now on Fare Finder

My Easter present to you all is the addition of daily caps to the results returned on my fare finder.  To access that just click on the yellow button at the top of every page of the site.  Or, particularly if you are on a mobile phone, you can see a standalone version at https://oysterfares.com/off.

I have included the caps on every result, even though they are usually the same.  I still live in hope that the 2-6 and 2-9 daily caps may one day return.  If you’re curious, try Finsbury Park to Hackney Central as an example where they are different now.

Journey History page re-write

After way too many years I have finally got round to updating the journey history page. The heading now includes queries as that is TfL’s prefered method of contact when querying a contactless journey. A series of screen shots explains how to get to the form to do this.

Hertford Travelcards

In my earlier post I looked briefly at some of the single fares and caps for the new Oyster extension to Hertford North.  This time I’m going to explore the number of options for travelcard season tickets from the town of Hertford itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster to Hertford North

The latest Oyster and contactess extension started today and brings Cuffley, Bayford and Hertford North into the Oyster system.  Cuffley is in zone 9 while Bayford and Hertford North are in the same pseudo zone as the Broxbourne to Hertford East line.  Fares to London Terminals will be cheaper than currently, and holders of zip 16+ cards will also enjoy half adult rate fares.

The fares have been set by GTR.  An initial analysis has revealed some unfortunate scenarios between Hertford North and Southeastern stations.  The default fare assumes travel via London Bridge and St Pancras and is National Rail only.  Avoiding zone 1 fares have been set up via Stratford and Highbury & Islington but these cost more than the default because they include Undergorund and/or DLR travel.  They also require you to touch the pink readers at both stations, but if you ignore this you’ll be charged the default fare (ie less).  It’s a bit of a mess.

Another anomaly is that zip 5-10 holders travel free from Hertford East, but they are charged child fares from Hertford North.

George Street Resolved

Further to my earlier post I can confirm that TfL customer services have resolved all the issues with the faulty reader at George Street tram stop.  The reader is now working and they have worked to refund anyone charged an incomplete rail fare at Wimbledon as well as anyone who received a revenue check which could have been down to the faulty reader.

They’ve also provided some screenshots demonstrating how to raise an issue with them from the online journey history.  I’ll be adding these to this site shortly.

Faulty Tram Reader – George Street

I’ve received several reports about a faulty reader at George Street tram stop (see the Wimbledon page comments). I’ve been in conversation with TfL about this issue and can confirm that it was one of the readers at George Street and that it has been fixed now.  As I understand it, the reader appeared to work as normal, but nothing was sent back to the central system. However, it has raised some interesting questions about TfL’s systems which I’m also seeking feedback from TfL on. Read the rest of this entry »

Heathrow Express and Young People

Heathrow Express began accepting Oyster and contactless last month. As with the Gatwick Express, convenience is the word rather than value for money. The fares are the same as walk up singles. If you plan ahead then advance fares can be significantly cheaper. Heathrow Express has always operated on a kids go free basis, so there is no charge to holders of zip 5-10 or zip 11-15 photocards. The problem comes with zip 16+ photocards.

Holders of zip 16+ photocards travel at half the adult rate almost everywhere in Oysterland. For this reason you can’t add a 16-25 railcard discount to a 16+ zip photocard because you are already getting 50% off. Unfortunately Heathrow Express decided to charge adult fares to 16+ zip photocard holders on their services. This means that whilst adults and 18+ students get 1/3rd off off-peak if they have a railcard added to their Oyster, railcard holding zip 16+ photocard holders can’t.

It’s undoubtedly an oversight, and quite understandable, but I hope someone somewhere comes up with a solution. In the meantime it’s getting added to the When not to use Oyster page.

PS. The Epsom story (part 2) is still coming, very soon.

The Epsom Story (Part 1)

Before we get into the nitty gritty, a little background which might help to explain why Epsom took so long. Epsom station is managed by Southern, part of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). Trains are operated by Southern and South Western Railway (SWR), and SWR are designated as the lead operator so they set the majority of the fares from Epsom. One of GTR’s franchise commitments with the DfT was to enable Oyster PAYG at Epsom. To do this they had to provide the infrastructure at the station, liaise with SWR and TfL over what fares to charge and how these could be integrated into the existing Oyster system, and run the whole thing past the DfT for a final sign-off. Anyone with any experience of big companies liaising over projects will realise that this was not an easy task.

With that out of the way, now we come to what’s actually been agreed. Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster at Epsom

STOP PRESS!!!!!!!

Oyster will be accepted at Epsom from Monday 25th February.  Details are a bit sketchy at present, especially as the fares are not yet in the publicly available fare-finder.  However, we do have a quote from TfL:

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London said:

We are delighted that, working with the DfT, GTR and South Western Railway, we have now been able to expand Oyster and contactless to cover services to Epsom station. Pay as you go with contactless and Oyster has helped revolutionise travel on Tube, rail and bus services across London, making them more convenient for all. We are now working with the DfT and train operating companies on expanding pay as you go to more stations across the GTR network, including Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City and Luton, throughout 2019.

Oyster and Heathrow Express

A little over 9 years after Oyster PAYG began being accepted on most National Rail services in London, the last rail service has finally joined the family.  Yes, you can now use Oyster and contactless on Heathrow Express.

Just like the Gatwick Express, the fares charged are determined by which platform you use at Paddington to touch in or out.  If it is platforms 6 or 7 then the higher Heathrow Express fares will be charged.  The single fare is exactly the same as the cash fare on the day, while if you return it will cost more than cash.  There are also very reasonably priced advance tickets available from the Heathrow Express website.  Thus just like Gatwick, Oyster is very much provided for convenience and not value for money.

Adult fares are charged for standard blue cards, Student, Jobcentre, Apprentice and zip 16-18 Oyster cards.  Holders of both 5-10 and 11-15 zip cards are not charged, in line with the Heathrow Express policy of not charging kids.  These fares do not count towards any caps and travelcards are not taken into account.

Examples of Capping Scenarios

I’ve added a long awaited new page to the site explaining how capping works using real examples. You can find the page in the menu to the left, or here.

Wandsworth Town fares

A recent visitor queried why fares from Wandsworth Town to Southeastern destinations did not offer a zone 1 avoiding option via Clapham Junction and Peckham Rye when similar journeys from Putney did have the option.  I’ve queried this with TfL who were already aware of the anomaly and they have confirmed that it should be fixed with the May fares revision.  The issue dated back to 2010 when cash fares from Wandsworth Town did not exist avoiding Waterloo.

Gatwick Fares – A New Twist

A last minute change of mind saw the Thameslink/Southern off-peak fares for National Rail only services from Gatwick to and through zone 1 held at last years price of £8.30.  That’s good isn’t it? I hear you ask.  Well, yes and no.  The problem arises where you want to continue onto the Underground, or indeed if you want to avoid zone 1.  Once you mix the Underground into a journey involving zone 1, TL/SN add £2.40 to the fare being the zone 1 tube single.  But off-peak they are adding £2.60 because they thought the basic fare was going to be £8.50.  Hence Gatwick to Bank is £10.90 off-peak, but hang around at London Bridge for 20 minutes and you’ll be charged £8.30+£2.40 = £10.70.

Avoiding zone 1 is even worse.  After initially setting the fares greater than the via zone 1 equivalent in 2016, they matched them in 2017 so there was no benefit in avoiding zone 1 from Gatwick.  This year the avoiding zone 1 off-peak National Rail only fares have all gone up to £8.50, so we’re back to being charged more to avoid zone 1.  Clearly whoever decided to freeze the fare to zone 1 forgot to do the same to the avoiding zone 1 equivalents. And it gets more complicated because at peak times it is cheaper to avoid zone 1.  What a mess!

It should be noted that National Rail Enquiries states that the off-peak fare is £8.50 for Gatwick to London terminals, so GTR even forgot to update the definitive source of fare information for National Rail services.

So, until such time as the confusion gets sorted out, don’t avoid zone 1 if your off-peak journey to/from Gatwick can be made entirely with National Rail.  And if changing to the Underground at a terminal you will save money if you can wait 20 minutes after touching out before touching in at the Underground station.  Sadly the other way is more difficult because you have to wait 40 minutes before touching in to the National Rail platforms to split the journey in two.

Note: This article has been updated on 29th January with new information recieved from TfL.

Site Crashed by a YouTube Video

If you tried to access this site on Friday evening there is a fair chance that you found it unavailable.  This obviously wasn’t planned, but coincided with the release of a new video from Geoff Marshall (aka @geofftech).  With almost 100K followers of his YouTube channel, this site recieved an unprecedented spike in demand.  Thankfully all was fixed by the early hours of Saturday morning.  Want to know what the fuss was about?  Take a look, and subscribe to Geoff’s channel if you haven’t already.

2019 Fare Tables

We have today published our fare tables with the 2019 details. The caps and travelcards page has also been updated for next year. All pages can be found on the Fares Guide page. I am waiting on the zonal range data from TfL before being able to provide access to the fare finder for next year.

Bank (Walbrook) to Cannon Street OSIs

Now that the new entrance to Bank Station, within the Bloomberg building on Walbrook, has opened, TfL have added a new OSI between Bank and Cannon Street LU.  The OSI still works with any entrance to Bank station, but the Walbrook exit is far and away the nearest.  This entrance takes you down to the Waterloo and City line platforms and has access to the rest of the station from there.

The details have been added to my OSI list, and to the map page for Bank to Cannon Street.

Oyster Weekly Capping for Bus/Tram

The first stage of weekly capping on Oyster cards is almost here. From next Monday, 17th December, bus and tram fares will count towards a weekly as well as a daily cap. Just like contactless the weekly cap will apply to journeys made between Monday and Sunday. If you reach the bus and tram cap every day this means that on the 5th day you will be charged less as you will have reached the weekly bus and tram pass price, the same as the weekly cap.

Note: This only applies to blue adult Oyster cards. Concessions should continue to buy the weekly bus and tram pass to take advantage of the discounted rates.

At the moment rail fares (inc tube and dlr) will still only cap on a daily basis on Oyster. TfL hope to roll out the next stage in the spring of 2019.

The bus weekly capping was supposed to have started today, 10th October, but the problems caused by the recent O2 network outtage have necessitated a short delay.

Equipment Malfunctions

Obviously in a system as large as Oyster there are going to be occasional malfunctions.  Many of them, while annoying, will not have serious repercussions.  If a gate stops working it will usually be blocked out of use, but what happens if the error doesn’t affect the actual gate function?  I have become aware of three instances recently where Oyster data has been compromised in some way.

Back in the summer a single gate at London Bridge failed to update the date.  Anyone using PAYG exiting through that gate ended up with two incomplete journeys, one ending on the previous day and one starting at their origin on that day.  Read the rest of this entry »

New OSI at Tottenham Court Road

A new OSI was activated between gatelines at Tottenham Court Road towards the end of September.  There’s a 10 minute allowance either way.  The OSI List has been updated (including the change history).

Discontinued OSI at Mansion House

TfL have decided to remove the OSI between Cannon Street NR and Mansion House LU.  This was added some time ago when reconstruction work at Cannon Street resulted in closure of the LU station.  They say that analysis of journeys shows very few people use this OSI compared to the thousands using the NR-LU OSI at Cannon Street itself.  I’ve removed this OSI from the list here.

Most Used OSIs

TfL have very kindly provided data showing how many journeys make use of each OSI in the system. The data was recorded over a four week period in June/July 2018. Unsurprisingly the most popular ones are interchanges between National Rail terminals and Underground stations.  There are some surprises, including the accessible route OSI at Woodford which wasn’t used at all.  I’m also curious as to why so many people still walk between Hackney Downs and Central when there is a footbridge within the paid areas linking the two stations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bayswater to Queensway – New OSI

I’ve received clarification from TfL that they have indeed added a new OSI between the above two stations.  This means that you can now avoid Notting Hill Gate when changing between Circle/District Lines and the Central Line.

Oyster Fare Finder (mobile friendly)

A little later than planned, I’m delighted to announce our new mobile friendly Oyster Fare Finder. The links on this site have been updated to use it within the site, but you can also access it directly at https://oysterfares.com/off/. The functionality is very similar to the old version, but on the first screen you now choose which type of Oyster card you want to see fares for. At the top of the results page there is a new button for “amend” so you can check a different card type or just change one of the stations.

The major difference between this and the TfL version is that we still display the zonal coverage of the fares. This can be useful when working out what the default route is likely to be, but also clarifies which zones are required on a travelcard to make the journey, or which daily cap might apply. There are some cases where the default route doesn’t necessarily use the expected zones. Examples include Finsbury Park to Hackney Downs and Mottingham to Woolwich Arsenal.

The old version showing all the fares for each card type is still available on the fares guide page, in the menu on the right hand side.

Happy 15th Birthday Oyster

Today is 15 years since Oyster was first launched on London buses and the Underground, 30th June 2003. In the early days it was just for single journeys with no daily capping.

Watch out for a celebratory launch of our new fare finder tool later this weekend.

Gatwick Express fares suspended

As part of the resolution to the well publicised difficulties with the Thameslink operation, GTR have suspended all restrictions on use of tickets by brand. The cheapest Southern, Thameslink, Not Gatwick Express or Any Permitted ticket is valid for any journey, subject to time restrictions for off-peak tickets. This is expected to last until the end of August.

This only affects Oyster and contactless users at Victoria where no-one should be expected to touch in or out at the platform 13/14 gates. Instead passengers should be directed through a side gate to use adjacent platform gates.

May 2018 Fares Revision

Well, not so much a revision (to actual fares), but there will be hundreds of new journeys available to and from Heathrow NR from Sunday 20th May 2018.  That is when the Heathrow Connect operation is transferred to TfL-Rail.  As already mentioned, Heathrow NR will be in zone 6, but single fares to and from the airport will carry a premium.  Oyster and Contactless will NOT be available on Heathrow Express until later in the year.

The premium fares mean that I’ll be adding another column to the fares guide pages. Although the new fares were publicised in a press release in March, there was no mention of fares to West London destinations in zones 3-6 via Ealing Broadway. Watch this space in the early part of next week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Elizabeth Line Fares Announced

Yesterday TfL released details of the fares to be charged on the Elizabeth Line when it starts operating at the end of this year.  They also confirmed fares for the second TfL Rail line from May 20th between Paddington and Heathrow.  This will become part of the Elizabeth line later on.

The big news is that Heathrow (TfL Rail) will be joining Heathrow (LU) in zone 6.  This means that travelcards will be valid as will all other TfL concessions (zip cards, freedom passes, etc).  The downside is that there will still be a premium to be paid for single fares to/from Heathrow (TfL Rail), but Oyster and contactless capping at the zone 6 level will limit the effect on return journeys and indeed on other travel within the zones that day once in London.

As for the rest of the line, fares in the central area will be the same as normal Underground fares.  This will extend westwards as far as Hayes & Harlington and West Drayton.  To the east Whitechapel and Canary Wharf are mentioned as being standard LU fares, but the press release is silent on further out.  Currently the fares to Harold Wood are the same in the peak but a bit more expensive off-peak.  It remains to be seen what fares will apply to/from Woolwich and Abbey Wood.

I’ll add more details on the actual fares in the coming weeks.

Unlimited Hopper Bus/Tram Fare

True to TfLs new year promise that the unlimited hopper fare would be introduced this month, it has indeed gone live today.  You can now make as many bus or tram journeys as you like within an hour and only be charged one fare of £1.50.  I’m already aware of one person (Geoff Marshall) who has made 25 journeys up and down one road, so it definitely works.

At the same time you can now also make a rail/tube/dlr journey in the middle, so bus to station, train to town, bus to the office will only cost £1.50 plus the rail fare Read the rest of this entry »

Updated Latest Comments

The latest comments block on the left has had a bit of a makeover.  My replies are again hidden so you get the last 20 questions asked.  The link in the header now takes you directly to the full comment so you can also see replies.

Brentwood off-peak fare anomaly

An eagle eyed visitor has noticed that there’s an anomaly with off-peak fares from Brentwood (Z9) to Zone 1. The off-peak single fare for Brentwood to either Liverpool Street NR or LU is £5.50 but to any other Zone 1 LU station it is £5.40. This also includes passing through zone 1 and escaping the other side.

With Oyster you need to note that if you exit at Liverpool Street NR and then go down to the Underground you will be overcharged because the Oyster system won’t refund a fare once charged. To avoid this, consider changing at Stratford onto the Central or Jubilee lines. Contactless will work properly, as will return journeys to Brentwood.

If you want Liverpool Street itself then consider either Aldgate or Moorgate as alternative nearby stations.

2018 Fares

The observant among you will have noticed a series of new pages appearing on the Fares Guide over the last week or so. Today the final link has appeared which provides access to 2018 fares in the Oyster Fare Finder.

You can find this special version here.

Online Topup – Collect on Buses

TfL has turned on the ability to collect online orders (top-ups and travelcards) on buses. At the moment it is in a test phase which means that it may not work if an issue is encountered.

Testing began on 1st September but had to be halted a few days later as there were some significant issues. It was restarted on 2nd October and so far there have been no problems. I’m aware of several people who have picked up top-ups on buses in the last week, including my son. If all goes well it is hoped to launch it properly at the end of this year.

Human Verification

Did you struggle with the maths when posting comments or logging in? Then the good news is that I’ve changed the captcha module so it now uses the Google reCaptcha service. Most people will simply need to click the “I’m not a robot” button and that will be it. Some may have to undertake a short test to prove their human credentials. There is no timeout, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve entered a long comment.

Autumn Fare Changes

This Sunday (3rd September) will see a number of changes to Oyster fares. They affect people travelling via Stratford and Highbury & Islington, from Watford Junction and in the Charing Cross and London Bridge areas. Here are the details: Read the rest of this entry »

Gatwick Simplification

I’ve just discovered that a partial simplification occured back in May with fares on the Merstham to Gatwick section. Originally Govia (backed by the DfT) had mandated that fares avoiding zone 1 should often be more expensive than the equivalent via zone 1 fare. This had the particularly nasty side effect that sometimes touching a pink reader (eg at Surrey Quays) might charge more than if you didn’t bother. That definitely contradicts the message TfL want to make about pink readers.

However, since May these fares have been revised downwards to the same level as the via zone 1 fare. One can only guess which side was the driving force behind this change, and I don’t think it was either Govia or the DfT. Better late than never, and a shame no announcement was made, from either side.

The opportunity to save money on most fares by splitting at East Croydon still exists though.

Improved Online Topup

Ordering top up online and collecting when making a journey has just been given a massive makeover. It also includes ordering travelcards. The key changes are as follows:

  • No need to specify a station to pick it up from. It’s available from any station or tramstop which accepts Oyster for travel. You still need to pick it up as part of a journey. Buses and ticket machines cannot be used. (buses will be available later in the year)
  • You only need to wait up to 30 minutes before the order can be picked up.
  • It must be picked up within 3 days or the order will be cancelled and refunded automatically. This includes travelcard season tickets even if the start date is more than 3 days in advance.
  • Only newer Oyster cards can take advantage of this facility. When you log into Oyster online you will be told whether your Oyster is a first generation card or not. As far as I can tell these were issued up to sometime in 2010. If your card is a first generation card then you are recommended to arrange a replacement with the helpdesk. The cards will still work at the moment, but you won’t be able to add products online any more but you won’t be able to use them with the new mobile app (due for release later this year).

I’ve got some serious rewriting of some pages on this site to attend to once I have full details confirmed.

Pink Readers – Interchange only

I’ve just been informed that TfL has tightened up the use of pink readers from an unspecified date in March such that they will no longer start a journey if the Oyster card is not touched in at the time. Sadly it appears as though the fact that this was an unpublished feature means that they don’t see a need to communicate it to everyone.

Minor Fare Reduction

It’s not often that there is good news on the fares front, but TfL have corrected what I suspect was an error in the off-peak single fare between zones 5-7. It was £1.90 and is now £1.80, the same as zones 5-8 and 5-9.

This affects singles between Harrow & Wealdstone or Headstone Lane and Carpenders Park, as well as stations between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Uxbridge or Pinner to Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley and Watford (Met).

New OSI – Euston Sq – Warren Street

After many people have suggested it, TfL have finally added a new OSI between Euston Square and Warren Street. You are allowed 20 minutes between touches in each direction. The entry is live on my list and a map will be added shortly.

They’ve also recently added an OSI between the gatelines at West Harrow. This station suffers a lot from people taking the wrong train and wanting to turn back round, in both directions.

New Improved Oyster Fare Finder

I am delighted to announce the arrival of a new version of our Oyster Fare Finder.  There have been some cosmetic tweaks to make the adult fares stand out more, plus a major new addition.

Alongside each route description is a statement describing the zonal coverage of that route.  This may help when deciding what route is used by the default fare.  It also clarifies which route is assumed when there are two completely different routes using different zone combinations.  It can also help decide whether a travelcard will cover a journey, or which cap may be applied as a result of making the journey.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Expanded Fares Guide

I’m delighted to announce that the fares guide section of this website has been enhanced significantly. There are now pages summarising all types of fares (adult, child, etc) within zones 1-9. This is the first of a number of improvements which will be happening over the coming months.

Missing route in SW London

A site visitor queried why they had been charged the zone 1-3 cap instead of the expected zone 1-2 cap recently, and it has thrown up a missing route option between a number of stations in SW London.  The system thinks you’ve gone via zone 3 even when you haven’t.  The problem Read the rest of this entry »

Croydon Tram Incident

Although not specifically an Oyster issue, our thoughts go out to the families and freinds of those who lost their lives in the tram crash this morning, as well as those who are still in hospital.

Using Two Season Tickets in London

The current National Rail Conditions of Carriage are about to be replaced by a new document called the National Rail Conditions of Travel.  The new rules take effect on Saturday 1st October 2016.  Most of the changes are minor, or simply clarify existing wording.  Several clauses have been re-numbered and/or re-ordered to group related rules together.  There are some quite big changes, and one in particular affects multiple seasons in London.  And best of all, it is very good news. Read the rest of this entry »

Bus Hopper arriving 12th Sept

One of the pledges made by Sadiq Khan during his mayoral campaign was to introduce a one hour bus hopper facility. By 2018 TfL hope to allow unlimited bus and tram journeys within the hour, but from next Monday, 12th September, it will be possible to make two journeys while only paying for one.

A second touch on a bus or tram within one hour of the first touch will not charge a new fare. After an hour (or after two touches) another touch on a bus or tram will charge a new fare. The daily bus cap still applies, so all bus and tram journeys after the first three chargeable ones are free – but you must still touch in.

One final note – just as a bus will break a multi-leg train journey, using a train will break a bus hopper so you’ll be charged another fare even if it is within one hour, unless you’ve reached a cap for the day. There is also a problem at Wimbledon where a bus journey after leaving the tram system will be charged, but if it shouldn’t have been it will be automatically refunded a few days later. Both these issues are expected to be fixed when the full bus hopper is rolled out in 2018.

Night tube fares

So the night tube finally started tonight on the Central and Victoria lines. The fares are just normal off-peak fares, including connecting onto any of the through the night National Rail services. Capping also applies, mostly linked to the previous daytime. The detail is as follows:

If the time of touch in at the start of the journey is before 0430 then the whole journey will be treated as part of the previous day and will count towards any cap accumulated for that day.

If the time of touch in at the start of the journey is from 0430 or later then the journey is treated as part of the new day. As the new day is a weekend day the off-peak cap (if applicable) counts straight away. Fares are still off-peak of course.

Gatwick truth (updated)

Yesterday I made some journeys to and from Gatwick to check out various questions. I’ve updated the post above, but here are the main points:

  • Auto topup won’t work if you have between £10 and the entry threshold at either Gatwick Airport or the Express gateline (p13/14) at Victoria. The gate will refuse entry citing insufficient funds.
  • The entry threshold at Gatwick takes no account of whether you have reached (or might reach) the daily cap for Gatwick. You still need the full single fare to enter even if you won’t be charged anything for the journey.
  • Between 1600-1900 you need the peak single non-express fare to London even though if you go to London zone 1 you’ll be charged the off-peak fare.
  • If you do use the gates to p13/14 and travel on a Southern train you will be charged the correct fare to any station other than Gatwick, but there is no OSI so any tube or Southeastern journey will not get linked and you may be overcharged.

Oyster and Gatwick – The truth

Ever since Oyster was expanded to cover the whole National Rail network within the zones there has been a desire by the government for it to be accepted for journeys on the express services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. There are a number of issues which have prevented progress, but when Govia Thameslink Railway were awarded the management contract to run Great Northern, Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express, enabling Oyster (and contactless as well by now) on the Express was one of the key target deliverables. Initially the idea was to allow Oyster on Gatwick Express services only, Read the rest of this entry »

Updated Wimbledon Diagram

I have updated both the Wimbledon page and the diagram showing the positions of the readers around the station. Platform 10 is now split into 10a and 10b and references to FCC have finally been changed to Thameslink.

Gatwick Capping Changes

As if the inconsistencies with pricing along the line between Merstham and Gatwick Airport weren’t already bad enough, it looks like TfL have completely ripped up the rule book with regard to contactless capping once you venture south from zone 6 at Coulsdon South. This means that since May 16th some part-time commuters have seen their daily fares rise by 27%, without any warning at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Authorised User CPC cards

I’d actually forgotten about this issue until I recently came across mention on the TfL site explaining that you can link authorised user cards to an online account.  Originally there was a problem where the name on the card did not match the name that the bank statements were sent to.  I had tried to explain the problem to both TfL and my bank, but neither seemed to understand what was wrong.

However, I can now report that my wife has successfully added her payment card to her own account, even though the card is linked to my card account.  Now I need to dig out my paytag and find out if they’ve fixed the issues with that too.  Watch this space.

Zonal fares will be simplified

Yes, this was a lame attempt at an April Fool.

So, last night I spent an hour or so in The Albert pub on Victoria Street. While I was there I was joined by a press officer from TfL, whose headquarters are next door.  The conversation inevitably drifted towards the incredibly complex fare structure in the zonal area and what might be done about it.  I have to say I was quite stunned by what I learnt. Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster at Swanley

Swanley will accept Oyster and contactless from Wednesday 9th March 2016.  Like Dartford it will be in zone 8 and use the fare scale.  I have added Swanley to the Oyster Fare Finder.

Oyster’s Zones Are Full

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research in an attempt to fully understand the fares for the Gatwick extension of the Oyster system.  The results are nearly ready for publication, but in the meantime I have come to the conclusion that the current Oyster system is full.  What do I mean by this?

Read the rest of this entry »

New Oyster Fare Finder

I am delighted to be able to launch an alternative to the TfL Single Fare Finder. It is linked at the top of the Fares Guide page, or you can access it here.

Like the TfL version you enter two stations, but that’s where the similarity ends. The results page contains all the different fares (Adult, 11-15, 16-18, Disabled Railcard and Other Railcards). At the top of the results page is a button to simply reverse the enquiry so you can check any differences in peak times.

The fares data is provided directly by TfL Open Data so is the same as that found on their single fare finder. The list of stations has been sanitised so that multiple entries for the same station are eliminated. No distinction is made between National Rail, London Overground and TfL Rail – they are all NR.

The 32% cap increase

So I received a call from TfL today which confirmed my fears about the part-time worker refunds for zones 4-6 for railcard holders.  They have been abolished.  This means that young (under 26) and disabled workers using zone 6 who last year enjoyed a cap of £5.90 if all their travel was after 0930 now have to pay up to £7.80 per day.  That’s over 32% higher.  I wonder what the constituents of Uxbridge would make of this?

Zone 4 increases from £5.30 to £6.15 (16%) while zone 5 is £5.90 to £7.25 (23%).

Most Expensive Oyster Journey?

You might be thinking something like Amersham to Shenfield which is £11.00 in the peak time, or perhaps you’ve remembered that Gatwick Express now uses Oyster and charges £19.80 single.  They’re both good guesses and neither can be beaten with a single paper ticket, but the Gatwick Express one is more expensive than paper if you make a return.

However, say you’re in Stratford and want to see a friend off from the airport.  You go to Westfield for some last minute supplies and then want to travel.  One of the ways you can do this is to take Southeastern High Speed to St Pancras then Victoria line to Victoria and finally Gatwick Express.  Journey time is about 1 hour and avoids the slow Thameslink crawl through south London thanks to the London Bridge rebuilding.  Once you’ve seen your friend off you want to come back to Stratford.  How much will this cost?

Stratford Int’l to St Pancras Int’l £3.80 (off-peak)
Kings Cross St Pancras to Victoria £2.40
Victoria to Gatwick using the Express £19.80
Total one way: £26.00, both ways £52.00 assuming off-peak on HS1

or Stratford Int’l to Gatwick Airport off-peak day return £23.30

So that makes Oyster 123% more expensive.

Oyster at Gatwick

Today marks the start of the latest Oyster extension to Gatwick Airport. While there are people who will benefit, this is the most complicated extension yet, and great care will need to be taken to ensure that you aren’t overcharged.  I’ve been shown an internal briefing for Southern and Thameslink staff and some of the details of the implimentation are going to cause lots of problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Part-time workers in 4-6 clobbered

When the details for the January fares increases were published there was a lot of coverage about the average increase being about 1%.  Obviously with the need to keep adult fares rounded to the nearest 10p there were always going to be some increases above that, with the zone 1 single rising 4.3% being the most notable.  The fact that most other TfL single fares didn’t rise kept the average down.

There was, however, one aspect of the fares package that TfL kept very quiet about.  Remember last spring when the abolition of off-peak caps in zones 1-6 was found to adversely affect people regularly travelling from zones 4-6?  The response then was to re-introduce the previous off-peak caps (with a slight increase of course) and apply them to regular travellers*.  Well, guess what? The reason TfL failed to mention the rises for these caps is because they are massive.  £8.00 (zone 1-4) becomes £8.60, a 7.5% increase while £8.80 (zone 1-6) becomes £9.40, a 6.8% increase.  Ouch!  What’s worse is that many of the people relying on these refunds won’t actually realise that they’ve been cut until the first week of 2016 is processed, possibly next week or the week after.

There is also no mention of these caps for railcard discounted users so it’s not clear whether it’s been abolished already for them.  What is clear is that they intend to get rid of the feature for everyone in as short a time as possible.

* Regular travellers are defined as those exceeding the off-peak caps on 2 days in any week, 4 days in any fortnight, or 8 days in any 4 week period.  In each case a week is from Monday to Sunday.

Caution – Hokey-Cokey Issues

So today I’ve been out and about experimenting and encountered a problem with trying to break an OSI.  The OSI was broken alright, but the fare charged for the first leg was not what I expected to see.  I’m trying to track back through my journey history to see where I’ve tested this before but it’s taking a while.  So far I’ve only found where one of my kids used it to break a circular journey.  In that instance it worked just fine, but as kids fares within zones 1-6 are just a flat 75p off-peak it may have masked other effects.

Watch this space for more news.

5-10 Zip card holders with credit

From next Saturday, 2nd January 2016, holders of 5-10 zip cards will no longer need to pay for any National Rail journeys within the zones.  This is good news, but what if you already have some credit on your card.  The helpdesk can arrange a refund, but a side-effect is that the card will be cancelled.  As you need the card to benefit from the free travel that is obviously no good.  There appear to be two options available at the moment: Read the rest of this entry »

New fares available on TfL website

Over the last few days the details of the new fares have been gradually added to the fares section of the TfL website.  They seem to have taken my lead in some respects because there is now a page listing just caps and travelcards, although there is still too much duplication in my opinion.  The single fare tables have not yet been updated, and I wonder whether they actually will be.

The single fare finder tool now has buttons to display 2015 or 2016 fares for any journey.  It also includes the new fares for the Gatwick Airport extension, even though they won’t actually start until later in the new year.

I have published a new version of my caps and travelcards page with the details of the new prices.  Note that 5-10 zip card holders will no longer be charged fares and thus won’t need to buy travelcards either.  The effective off-peak caps for zones 4-6 for part-time workers and regular users have not yet been confirmed but I’ve included what I believe they will be.

Absolutely bonkers fares from Dartford

As anyone who reads this site regularly already knows, the Oyster fares system is ridiculously complicated. There are odd scenarios, particularly in the afternoon peak, where it can be cheaper to finish a journey in zone 1 than at the zone 2 station beforehand. However, this evening I’ve found a case where the cheapest route varies depending on the time of day you travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Stratford moves to zone 2/3

Today’s announcement on 2016 fares has also confirmed the news that Stratford will move to the zone 2/3 boundary from Jan 2nd 2016.  In fact, the whole of the DLR/Jubilee line between Stratford International and Canning Town will move so that all direct journeys from Central London to Stratford can be made without using zone 3.

There may be small increases for journeys from zones 3-9 ending at Pudding Mill Lane, Bromley-by-Bow and East India as these stations will all move from the zone 2/3 boundary to zone 2.

Oyster to Hertford East

Another extension of the Oyster system has come onstream today with the stations between Broxbourne and Hertford East added into the same zone as Broxbourne.  This time the fares have been added to the single fare finder and the National Rail fares pages on the TfL site, although at the time of writing the adult fares page seems to have been replaced by the railcard fares version. Read the rest of this entry »

Dartford finally appears on the SFF.

It’s only taken 23 days, but finally you can look up Oyster fares from Dartford on the single fare finder. The zonal map will sadly not be changed until later in the year.

Geographical Rail Map

A new geographical map of London’s railways has been released by TfL in response to a freedom of information request.  The request strangely appears to be from last September, hence the map is a little out of date in terms of who runs what.  It does include future plans, some of which are yet to materialise, so it’s still useful.  The map is a large PDF file Read the rest of this entry »

Dartford in zone 8 from Sunday

TfL have now confirmed that Dartford will be in zone 8 from Sunday 6th September.  The previously predicted fares have been confirmed apart from the through fare to Underground in zone 1 (the zone 2 fare was wrong but has been corrected).

The PAYG fares offer considerable savings over paper tickets for a single fare and are also a little cheaper when making a return journey.  The daily cap will be the same as for other zone 8 stations, £20.00 anytime and £11.80 off-peak, which are both cheaper than the current one day travelcards from Dartford.  They also allow travel to other zone 7-9 stations within the same cap.

The weekly/monthly zone 1-8 travelcards are slightly more expensive than the current Dartford to zone 1-6 seasons.  They do offer validity in zones 7 and 8, but unless that is a regular requirement they should probably be avoided for now.

There are other major benefits to users of the three lines to Dartford.  Because Oyster will now be accepted at Dartford it will be possible to interchange there between the three lines without paying extra.  This has always been possible with paper tickets so now it’s consistant over all ticketing methods.  If you have a travelcard including zone 6 (valid to Barnehurst, Crayford and Slade Green) on your Oyster card then you can also interchange at Dartford, but, it would be advisable to have some PAYG credit in case your card is checked outside of zone 6.  You must also ensure that you touch in at the start of your journey so the card is validated.

Oyster at Dartford

The Southeastern website confirms that Oyster will be accepted at Dartford from Sunday September 6th.  It doesn’t list any fares, and customer services can’t confirm them either, but a little digging through the new fares database reveals that these are likely to be the adult fares: Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster at Stratford International

Oyster and Contactless PAYG are now accepted for travel on Southeastern High Speed services between St Pancras and Stratford International stations.  The fare charged is a special fare, like those for the Emirates cable car and the Thames Clipper riverboats and it does not count towards any daily caps.  It will also split any longer journey (eg Romford to Baker Street) into three bits which will cost significantly more than the single journey avoiding High Speed 1.

However, for people travelling to Stratford (for the forthcoming Rugby world cup especially) it will offer speed and convenience.  The adult single fares are £5.40 peak and £3.80 off-peak and all the usual discounted fares for railcards and kids exist as well.  Travelcards* and Freedom Passes are not accepted on HS1 (*unless marked plus high speed).

 

This post somehow didn’t get published at the time but is dated correctly.

New Hackney Interchange

Thanks in part to Noel and PC for spotting this. I visited the stations at Hackney Central and Downs last night and spoke with staff. The new link is due to open in the summer and will provide a direct walkway from Platform 1 at Hackney Downs to Platform 2 at Hackney Central. There will be a pink validator along the walkway so that people avoiding zone 1 can indicate this. It would not surprise me if the OSI was removed once the walkway opens as it will be a considerably quicker route even if you have to change platforms within both stations. I do wonder whether the platforms at Central might need to be renumbered 5 and 6 to avoid confusion.

New fares for Greater Anglia services

Details have been announced about the new Oyster fares from Liverpool Street starting on May 31st. TfL zonal fares will apply to all services between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt, Chingford or Harold Wood except where the TfL rate is higher than the old NR rate. Some fares, particularly off-peak outside zone 1, will be higher than current TfL fares. Brentwood will move to zone 9 for travelcard purposes and most of the fares will fall from todays level, but not to the same level as the fares to Amersham and Chesham. There will no longer be a premium for continuing your journey on the Underground or DLR. Some fares will drop by as much as 40%.

Most fares to Shenfield will remain set by GA although there will be reductions between zone 2-6 and Shenfield.

Even though GA will continue providing the services between London and Cheshunt via Tottenham Hale there is an agreement that will see TfL fares charged in line with the Overground route via Seven Sisters.

Brentwood moves to zone 9

Information is slowly trickling through about the transfer of various Greater Anglia services to TfL. It seems that Brentwood is due to move from its own zone to zone 9 from next month. It’ll be quite a jump from zone 6 at Harold Wood though.

Odd period seasons available online

Quite by chance I noticed that odd period travelcard season tickets can now be ordered online for collection by an Oyster card.  Previously you could only order weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annual travelcards.  Now you can specify any period between one month and one year.  This is especially useful when making monthly tickets last for five weeks so you don’t pay for every weekend.

Off-Peak Cap Refunds Due Today

I have found out more about the automatic refunds for people regularly travelling after 0930 (or any time at weekends) from zones 4-6.  The good news is that the first refunds should be available today.  Here is my understanding of how the system works. Read the rest of this entry »

Contactless charging less than Oyster

I’ve recently had several queries where people were charged less than they expected using a CPC, or even less than they were charged making the same journeys with Oyster at a different time.  The reason is the different way that capping is calculated when using CPCs.  There’s a new page which tries to explain the detail.  It’s quite complex in places, so I welcome questions and comments.

Oyster at LM ticket offices

It’s been brought to my attention that London Midland are to cease allowing Oyster transactions at their ticket offices at both Euston and Watford Junction from April this year.  This is yet another kick in the teeth by TOCs following similar actions by Southeastern and South West Trains in recent years.

U-turn on Off-Peak Caps

There has been considerable unrest over the abolition of the cheaper adult off-peak cap, particularly in zones 4-6 where the increases are quite significant.  Of course this was part of the package which made commuting 2-3 times a week at peak times a lot cheaper, but it disadvantaged a number of people who work part-time or shifts and travel at off-peak times.

So, from April the off-peak caps of £8.00 (zone 4) and £8.80 (zones 5-6) will be re-introduced for people travelling 2 or more times a week, or 8 or more times in 4 weeks.  Refunds will be back-dated to January and then processed every month.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bus cap discounted by railcards

An eagle eyed site visitor (thanks Thomas) has noticed that the bus/tram cap can be discounted by adding a railcard to your Oyster.  The reason is that the discounted zone 1-2 off-peak cap (£4.25) is now less than the bus cap (£4.40).  Unless you have a disabled railcard, this only applies if all the bus and tram journeys are after 0930 M-F.  Obviously if you use rail outside zone 1-2 then the cap will increase to the relevant level.

Cheaper fares to zone 1 in PM peak

One of the changes introduced this month concerns journeys starting outside zone 1 and ending in zone 1 during the afternoon peak.  Where TfL set the fare it has been off-peak for a couple of years now, but from this month it is extended to all rail journeys.  Unlike TfL fares, with the NR set fares this does mean that it will be cheaper to travel to zone 1 than zone 2 at this time.  It should be noted that the dual zoned stations work as they should which will be frustrating for people using Vauxhall and Elephant & Castle NR stations.  Travel from Clapham Junction to Vauxhall will be charged peak as will travel from Vauxhall to Waterloo, but Clapham Junction to Waterloo will be off-peak.

Fares changes for 2015

The new fares take effect today and thus many of the pages on this site need updating.  I have made some changes already and will be expanding others when I am sure of the detail.  I will not be amending any comments or replies prior to 2015.

Single fare finder issues

Something seems to have gone wrong with the switching between 2014 and 2015 fares this morning.  Both results pages display fares for 2014.  Hopefully it’s just a minor glitch.

Disabled Railcard Discount

As announced in the TfL fares changes decision, from Jan 2nd next year holders of the NR Disabled Railcard will be entitled to discounts at any time when using PAYG on Oyster. This will require a new discount code to be added to the Oyster. ATOC are supposed to be writing to all holders of disabled railcards to tell them about the change, but as yet this doesn’t seem to have happened. We have done some mystery shopping at some Circle line stations and the best answer we got was that it can’t be done until Jan 2nd.

Somewhat alarmingly one station insisted that railcard discounts do not apply to tube travel at all. I’ve passed the results back to TfL so I won’t name and shame just yet.

Epsom – Off-peak travelcard loophole

Now that the National Rail booking systems have the 2015 fares loaded it appears that there is a good way to undercut the price of a paper zone 1-6 travelcard. As we know, off-peak in boundary travelcards are being withdrawn from Jan 2nd, but out boundary ones will still exist. Epsom has long been one of the cheapest places to get one as Southern offer a discounted version which can only be used on their trains between Epsom and Ewell East. Once you are inside the zones it becomes a normal travelcard. There is no compulsion to use the ticket at Epsom.

So, the £10.50 Southern only travelcard from Epsom will save £1.50 over a zone 1-6 travelcard and £1.20 over the zone 1-6 off-peak cap on Oyster. Ticket offices should sell the ticket if asked, but it can always be bought online and picked up from your local TVM.

Remember that this is only effective once the fares actually change in
January.

Boris clobbers off-peak travel

TfL has announced their fares for 2015 and there is a big surprise.  Adult anytime and off-peak caps are being combined into a new all-day cap.  This is good news for people travelling in zones 1-3 and anyone travelling a lot and starting before 0930.  But if you live in zones 4-6 and travel off-peak you are going to be clobbered for making a lot of journeys. Read the rest of this entry »

Gipsy Hill – Another Success

Edwin, a visitor to this site, found out the hard way that there is no avoiding zone 1 fare from Gipsy Hill to Notting Hill Gate.  Research on the single fare finder showed that such a fare exists from both West Norwood and Crystal Palace, the stations either side of Gipsy Hill.  Frustratingly, the train from Crystal Palace has to call at Gipsy Hill on the way, so it did seem like an oversight.

After quite a wait I’ve just received an email response from the fares team confirming that the avoiding zone 1 fare will be added from the next fares change in January.  Thank you TfL.

Contactless is here

From today, anyone can use a contactless payment card instead of a normal adult Oyster. It charges the same as Oyster and introduces Monday to Sunday capping as well as daily capping. If you choose to register the card on the TfL website you will get access to journey history for a whole year and the ability to request adjustments online. It should be noted that adjustments are less likely to be needed though, because the system processes all touches at the end of the day and can make educated decisions to correct many inconsistencies.

Southwark and Blackfriars

On Saturday afternoon I went walking around the City in search of book benches with my son.  When we had finished we made our way to the north bank entrance to Blackfriars and only then did we realise that FCC trains weren’t serving London Bridge this weekend.  The advertised diversion via Elephant and Castle seemed a bit of a detour so we decided to walk a bit more by crossing the river through Blackfriars, along to Southwark and through there to Waterloo East.  This gave me a chance to check out a report that walking through Southwark is always free.

Read the rest of this entry »

Problems with Forum

Unfortunately the site forum has developed a problem (the database is corrupted and inconsistent) and it looks like it will need to be re-started from scratch.  If you have posted questions recently then I’m sorry but they won’t be able to be shown or answered.

The integration of the forum into the main site also did not really work as planned, or might have done if I could have spent more hours than I have, so with the current issue I have decided to start again with different forum software.  I’ll have more news once it is set up, hopefully in a week or so.

National Rail will take contactless

TfL have now confirmed that agreements are in place for contactless payments to be accepted on National Rail services wherever Oyster is available.

Contactless – Good news and bad

Today has seen good news on the use of contactless payment cards on buses, but confirmation of extremely bad news for the use on trains. Read the rest of this entry »

Interchanges and Maps

A recent project for this site has involved walking between each pair of stations in OSIs and generating Google maps so people can see what is involved.  The full list of OSIs can now be found on it’s own page while the general explanation has been re-written from scratch and renamed Interchanging Trains.  In the list each entry with a map shows the distance in miles between the stations and that is a link to the map page.  The map page lists just the entries applicable to that map (usually two) along with a Google map.  The recommended route is shown with blue dots while Google tries to be helpful by adding one or more alternatives as grey lines.  There are no maps where the two stations are linked by one concourse or are so close together as to make a map pointless.

For the statisticians out there, most OSIs are half a mile or less so should be walkable in under 10 minutes.  The longest one is between Paddington and Marylebone NR stations at 0.8miles.  Others over half a mile include the Bromley stations, Emabankment to Waterloo East, Euston to Kings Cross or St Pancras, and Ickenham to West Ruislip.  Although not mapped, the shortest one is undoubtedly Southwark to Waterloo East which is about 20 yards.

Boris moves a zone boundary

I’m seeing conflicting reports that Boris is planning to move Stratford into zone 2 in January 2016 as part of the Olympic Legacy.  The BBC are suggesting that it will move from zone 3 to zone 2, while ITV think the more logical idea would be to run the zone 2/3 boundary through Stratford High Street, Stratford Regional and Stratford International.  Personally I’d say the boundary shift along the DLR seems more likely as that would not involve putting up any fares.  It’s likely to cost TfL £7million a year.

Is it too much to hope that by January 2016 the High Speed line will accept travelcards and Oyster?

Contactless is coming to Rail

This morning I attended a briefing at TfL about the soon to be launched contactless payments on rail services.  Sadly TfL wouldn’t commit to an actual date, but late summer/early autumn seems likely.  At the same time as the rail system goes live, the existing bus facility will be merged with it, offering full capping for all rail and bus journeys, including the new Monday to Sunday weekly capping.

I’ll need some time to document all I’ve learnt about the new system, but for now I can confirm that everything mentioned in my pilot diaries is accurate.  Although I haven’t yet managed to test out weekly capping, I’m informed that the final charge made will be worked out using a complex algorithm to ensure a best price is paid.  Put simply, if your regular commute is extended with the odd out of zone journey these will still be charged as extensions as they are now with Oyster.  The added benefits mean that if you make a lot of unusual journeys the system will work out if a different travelcard cap would be cheaper, and of course if you fall ill and don’t travel enough you won’t be charged for the full travelcard.

Finally, despite what some would say, Oyster definitely has a future.  It will be needed for all the youngsters who aren’t old enough for bank cards, for starters.  What is likely is that it will change from the card holding your balance to a similar system as contactless where the balance is held centrally and journeys are worked out in the back office.

Unexpected transactions on May 1st

If your bank or credit card account shows an unexpected £20 or £40 debit for TfL then it’s likely that you were involved in a systems issue in February.  Around 750 Oyster cards were auto topped up on Wednesday 19th February but when TfL tried to collect the funds the next day there was a problem.  The issue has now been rectified and TfL re-processed the transactions on 1st May.

If this scenario makes sense then you don’t need to do anything, but you are welcome to contact the helpdesk with your Oyster card number and they will confirm whether or not you were involved.

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

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 »

New Route Validators

I have heard from a reliable source that pink route validators will shortly be installed at both Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays.  I’ll add more info (like when) as soon as I hear it.

Update: September 7th

The new fares are included in the normal fares update from tomorrow (8th Sept).  It’s not clear when the actual validators will be installed, but hopefully soon.

New helpdesk number

The Oyster helpline can now be reached via the TfL main number which is 0343 222 1234.  This is treated like 01 and 02 numbers for inclusion into free minutes on mobile and landline plans.  The Oyster helpline is under option 1 on the initial menu, along with ticketing and contactless payment.  Remember that Oyster is only open between 8am and 8pm while the above number is answered 24/7.

New Page – An Oyster Rail Journey

A new page has been added to the site today describing in detail what happens as you make a rail journey using Oyster.  It’s very much a first draft based on my extensive experiences of using the system, but if anyone in the know spots an error or misunderstanding then I’ll happily update it.

New “Low Balance” display

Since the beginning of July there has been a slight change to the display when you touch in or out.  I’m still trying to get full details, but this is what I’ve worked out so far.  Whenever you touch in and your balance is below the maximum journey charge the system will display a “Low Balance” warning message.  This also happens on touch out.  There appears to be account taken of whether you have already capped or are close to doing so, certainly on touch in but possibly also on touch out.  If you have auto top-up enabled then it is unlikely that you will see this warning as the top-up will happen before it decides whether to display it.

This isn’t all good news though. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 10th Birthday Oyster

Yesterday (30th June) saw the 10th anniversary of the introduction of London’s Oyster card. Originally it was a medium to store travelcards and bus passes with pay-as-you-go introduced in 2004 but only valid at Underground and DLR stations (plus a limited number of inter-available National Rail stations where routes run in parallel with Underground lines).  Other National Rail lines joined over the next six years with complete roll-out in January 2010 (excepting Heathrow NR services and high speed services between St Pancras and Stratford International).

Weekly Journey History not run

Thanks to regular visitor Phil who spotted that the normal Monday distribution of weekly journey statements had not run this week.  According to the helpdesk there was a problem which meant Oyster online was unavailable for some of Monday.  It appears that this included the time when the statements are generated. Hopefully they will now arrange to re-run the job.

Spam protection measures

With a heavy heart I have decided to add a captcha test on registrations and comments on this site.  The number of spam comments received each day had risen dramatically over the last few months although they were being properly detected by the Akismet plugin.  Unfortunately the last few days has seen a meteoric rise in the number of registrations and pretty much all of them were created by automatic bots.

So, from today users will have to complete part of a simple maths sum before either registering or commenting.  I have tried to avoid the awful blurred and distorted words which are sometimes just as impossible for humans to read as they are for computers.  In the future I may relax the moderation rules so that others can see questions as soon as they are posted rather than waiting for me to approve them.  I also hope to continue integrating the forum as a more appropriate place to discuss issues.

Oyster Smart – Videos on YouTube

TfL have just uploaded three videos to YouTube about being Oyster Smart.  I’ve got to say they are quite succinct in explaining the basics and well worth a watch.  Here they are:

Read the rest of this entry »

New address for single fare finder

TfL have made a bit of a boob when switching between the 2012 and 2013 fares.  The old link with “current” in the address still points at the 2012 fares.  What’s worse is that if you search for “single fares” on the TfL home page, the first result takes you to the 2012 fare finder.  Ooops!

For the right data you either need to click on “Tickets” then choose under the “Fares” heading, or use this address instead.

TfL admit ELLX overcharging

I’ve been informed by a site visitor that changes are on the way for people who travel between the Morden end of the Northern line and stations east of Clapham High Street on the Overground extension.  He enlisted the help of his London Assembly member and received the following response:

Read the rest of this entry »

Pink Route Validator Change

On Sunday I travelled round the new overground orbital route starting with the newest link from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction.  I also tried out exceeding the normal one zone journey time but not the extended time allowed near Central London.  Somewhat disappointingly this worked, meaning that the issues some people have had with Whitechapel to Balham might be restricted to certain routes only.

However, while at Willesden Junction I noticed an important change to the signage on the pink route validators.  Rather than just inviting PAYG users to touch them, the notice now instructs those with a travelcard not including zone 1 to do so as well.  I think this probably means an end to the loopholes where you could travel across zone 1 on some journeys with a travelcard ending at zone 2 and not be charged a zone 1 fare.  It’s a shame, though I can’t fault the justification for doing it as long as queues don’t build up at key interchange points.

Site updates

Over the next few weeks many of the pages on the site will receive significant updates to reflect the changes to the system, especially the difference between the daily caps and paper travelcards.  In many cases the existing page will be archived so that both versions are available.

Auto top up balance increasing

I’ve just had an email from TfL informing me that the trigger for auto top-up is increasing to £10 from January 2013.  This is not entirely surprising given that there will be more fares above the £8 level with the expansion of PAYG to Shenfield and Broxbourne.

New 2013 Fares – Caps Frozen

I’ve just been alerted to the new fares scales for Oyster from January 2013.  The big news is that while paper day travelcard prices are increased, the comparable Oyster caps are frozen at 2012 levels.  This is to encourage more people to make the switch from paper to Oyster.

I’ll post more details once I’ve had a chance to digest the information.

Changes to OSIs from October

I’ve just received the latest update to OSIs which appears to have been introduced in October. There are a few housekeeping changes including deletion of the now redundant OSIs between Blackfriars NR and Temple/Mansion House. They’ve also deleted the OSI between the parts of Wembley Central as you no longer have to leave the station to get to the Southern platforms.

On the plus side they have introduced a new OSI between Ickenham and West Ruislip Read the rest of this entry »

Successfully added railcard

Along with thousands of others, my eldest has just made the transition from 11-15 zip to 16+ zip.  Prompted by the letter received in late August I applied online for the new card.  As his school is just outside London I had to print a letter for the school to sign and stamp, then take the letter and payment to the post office.  However, the photo and age verification were completed online which no doubt sped up the process.  Less than two weeks later Read the rest of this entry »

Games Maker Oyster extensions

Continuing the farce that is the provision of free travel around London for volunteers, officials and competitors, I keep hearing about extensions to the validity of the zones 1-6 travelcard that most people have.  Before it’s too late, this post will attempt to keep track of those that I can verify.

Read the rest of this entry »

Temporary OSIs for the Olympics

I have heard via a site visitor that there are two new OSIs in place for the period of the Olympics and Paralympics.  The first one is between Aldgate and Aldgate East and works as long as you touch back in within 20 minutes, either way round.  The second one is between London Bridge NR and Monument allowing 30 minutes to walk across the river.  In both cases the OSIs are active between July 22nd and August 12th, and again between August 29th and September 9th.

Oyster, the Olympics and HS1

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.  Read the rest of this entry »

Olympic Volunteer Oyster Cards

I’ve now managed to get some official information about the various cards being issued to volunteers at the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Firstly, it appears that the Mayor’s ambassadors Read the rest of this entry »

Olympic Ambassador Travelcards

This post has largely been superceeded by this revised version.

I’ve had a couple of questions about these Oyster cards which are being supplied to volunteers who are helping visitors to London and the games during the Olympics.  Read the rest of this entry »

£4.60 error at Paddington?

In the last week both BBC London and the Evening Standard have run stories about passengers being charged £4.60 to walk through part of Paddington station.  The reporter from the Evening Standard even phoned me up and talked through what was happening.  I suggested to him that this was a simple Same Station Exit, but sadly that didn’t explicitly make it into the article.  More alarmingly, TfL staff didn’t seem to know what was going on and promised to investigate what was happening.  In an effort to understand the issue clearly I went to Paddington myself last Thursday evening.

Read the rest of this entry »

Journey history time wrong

I noticed yesterday that the times reported on the journey history screen are all out by an hour since the clocks went forward last Sunday.  The times shown are a further hour ahead so it looks like something is compensating for summer time when it doesn’t need to.  The Oyster system clock is correct so you do get charged the right peak or off-peak fares.

Same station re-entry problems

Several visitors have reported problems when touching out and back in again at the same station.  The system tries to combine the two journeys into one, often resulting in a pair of incomplete journeys when you get back to your starting station.  But if your journey included an OSI en-route then you may well end up out of the system altogether and be given a penalty fare!

Read the rest of this entry »

New OSI list from Jan 2012

I have received a new list of OSIs which is dated January 2012.  Not much has changed, but there are new OSIs between Aldgate and Tower Gateway, the two Edgware Road stations and different gatelines at Farringdon and Oxford Circus.  The temporary ones between Blackfriars NR and alternate District line stations are still active at the moment, though how long that will remain is unclear.

Journey history – 2nd update

The next stage of the journey history modifications has just gone live.  The old, very difficult to understand, version has been discontinued in favour of an option to expand details for every journey.  You no longer need to have bought online credit to access journey history and you can also see touches on pink validators and journeys covered by your travelcard.  It even shows you when a journey is part travelcard and part pay-as-you-go.  There are also buttons to produce a printer-friendly version and a CSV format file to load into spreadsheets.  Unfortunately these additional formats do not seem to include the charging detail, but hopefully this can be added in a future release.

They are still collecting feedback and actively responding to it.  There are even some features which are already earmarked for a future version, including more detail about how the charges are calculated, ability to sort and/or filter journeys, download to a PDF file and request a statement via email – presumably instantaneous rather than the current 2-3 day delay.

Perhaps the most useful addition is left to a single line at the bottom of the future improvements list.  It says “Option to request adjustments to some pay as you go charges”.  If this reduces the need to call the helpdesk to resolve issues then it will be a very worthwhile addition.  I’ll be watching this one very closely.

The journey history page on this site will be updated shortly once I’ve had a chance to grab screen prints.

Hackney/Dalston to Northern Line

A visitor to this site has highlighted some missing fares between stations on the North London Line and the northern branches of the Northern line.  I have sent the following email Read the rest of this entry »

Wimbledon Improvements

I visited Wimbledon again briefly yesterday.  While sitting on the tram waiting for it to leave I noticed that they’ve stuck additional signage on the sides of the validators facing the steps.  One says only to be used for National Rail journeys while the other says only to be used for tram journeys.  Credit where it’s due, this is a big improvement, so well done to the station team at Wimbledon!

Afternoon Peak and Zone 6

I’ve recently discovered a potential saving when making return journeys on National Rail in the afternoon peak where the journey starts or finishes in zone 6.  Full details are on the When not to use Oyster page.  It turns out that I’ve been overpaying for my regular trip from Crayford to Sidcup for the kids’ band practices.

1,000 Comments

Last night the number of comments on the site passed the 1000 mark.  Many of them are my replies, but it’s still a significant milestone.  I’d like to thank all my visitors for their support and comments and I hope everyone has a good Christmas. Don’t forget that the fares go up on January 2nd, so if you are considering investing in an annual season you can get 2011 prices as long as the ticket starts on or before January 1st.

New fares live – and wrong?

TfL have added the new fares to their website, but they’ve made a couple of errors.  The first one is a useability issue; rather than have the new fares on special pages linked to from the current live pages, they have instead copied the current fares onto special pages and made the new fares live.  I guess it’s not too bad given that you’ll think you’ve got a bargain when you’re charged less, but they really ought to keep the current fares in the default place.

The other error is far more serious. Read the rest of this entry »

Helpdesk/Online Closure

The Oyster website will be unavailable between 2100 on Friday 2nd December and 1300 on Sunday 4th December for essential maintenance work. During this time the helpdesk will not have access to customer data either.

Tottenham Court Road Reopen

Now that Tottenham Court Road has re-opened on the Northern line, and interchange is once more possible with the Central line, the temporary OSIs between Goodge Street, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road have been removed.

Ken to restore Z2-6 travelcards?

I tend to avoid getting too involved in the politics and the fare changes on this site, but earlier this week Ken Livingstone dangled a frankly huge carrot in front of potential voters in the suburbs, promising to resurrect the much missed “avoiding zone 1” travelcard if he is elected Mayor next year.  The story can be read Read the rest of this entry »

Fare errors from Crayford, Bexley

I’m beginning to get a little annoyed about this now.  Someone seems to have forgotten to tell the fares manager that you can take direct trains from Crayford and Bexley to Woolwich Arsenal via Slade Green, and thus take the DLR under the river to Canning Town, West Ham and Stratford.  This means that there is no earthly Read the rest of this entry »

Early off-peak changes

Thanks to Malcolm who spotted that TfL have added some more stations to the list of early starts to the off-peak daily price cap.  They are stations north of Hatch End, but NOT Watford Junction.  Remember that although the off-peak cap applies early at all these stations, peak fares are still charged when touch in is before 09:30.  Full details are on the Peak or Off-peak page.

The Southwark Pass-through

I thought it was time for another snippet from my own Oyster travels.  Today I had to get into Farringdon for a meeting.  With no services there or at Barbican I decided to use the bus from Southwark Jubilee line station.  This meant that I had to exit Waterloo East via the Southwark connection and walk straight through the Underground station without travelling.  There is a special setting Read the rest of this entry »

Latest Comments List

I have added a new section in the left sidebar called Latest Comments.  This gives a snippet of the last eight comments (not posted by me) from anywhere on the site.  I have ignored my comments as they are usually responses to questions raised and thus best read with the previous comment.

New Journey History with pictures

Further to the earlier post I am now able to comment further about the new journey history, and include a screenprint so that others who might not have any recent history can still comment.  Oysteronline is very keen to recieve feedback on this project, good or bad.  What we are currently seeing is the first beta version which was released at the beginning of August.  There is an update due next month which will address some of the issues highlighted in feedback so far.  Please keep it coming though, either directly from the Oyster online website, or by replying to this post.

Anyway, onto the screenprint. Read the rest of this entry »

Improved Journey History

An eagle-eyed visitor has spotted that TfL have introduced a new journey history display recently.  It is much improved on the old version.  You can still only see details for the last eight weeks but the history is broken up into week long chunks.  Within each week the entry and exit details for each journey (or part of a multi-leg journey) are matched up so that you only see the fare for that journey. Read the rest of this entry »

Next Generation Oyster Cards?

Tom Edwards has reported on his BBC blog that there are some changes in the pipeline to combat maximum fare overcharging. I have to start though by saying that the article title is possibly a bit misleading. I don’t think they are actually planning to replace all the Oyster cards in circulation.

The main thought seems to be that where people make a regular journey using PAYG and occasionally fail to touch out Read the rest of this entry »

Using Oyster with a Travelcard

In the last week I had to make an unusually high number of evening peak journeys between Crayford and Sidcup, so for the first time I decided to buy a weekly travelcard for zones 5 and 6.  I now have first hand experience of some of the differences that occur when you have a travelcard season loaded on your card.  I’ll be adding stuff to the main site pages in due course, but for now, here is a summary of the best and worst bits: Read the rest of this entry »

The end of the £3 deposit

It seems that the machines which sell Oyster cards for £5 including £2 PAYG credit have all but been withdrawn.  At London Bridge the machine has an “Out of Use” sticker over the money slot.  I enquired with some contacts who confirmed that they are being withdrawn at the moment.  Almost all central London machines have been removed or taken out of service and they will be gone completely by the end of July.

An Email from TfL

I’ve just received an email from TfL about Oyster. I’m presuming it was sent because my card is registered. It’s a real shame that they couldn’t have sent a similar email in December 2009 alerting everyone to the new Oyster Extension Permits. This could have saved so many people from falling victim to those not-very-nice management people at South Eastern who are still imposing penalty fares at their London terminals. I reckon there will be Read the rest of this entry »

Railcards & Oyster – help wanted

The BBC are looking to run a feature about linking National Railcards and Oyster cards on a radio programme next week.  They are looking for people to share their experiences of getting the cards linked (good or bad) and views about the (lack of) publicity telling people that they can do this.  Read the rest of this entry »

New OSIs from May 22nd

I’ve received the latest list from TfL via a Freedom of Information request.  It confirms my suspiscion that the helpdesk didn’t know what they were saying when they told me that the Finsbury Park OSI was 90 minutes.  As I thought, it is actually 10 minutes, which is quite reasonable for the short distance involved.  There are also two new interchanges Read the rest of this entry »

Finsbury Park – Update

I’ve been informed by a visitor that the new gatelines are active on the NR platforms at Finsbury Park.  This means that it is now important to touch out and in again when interchanging between NR and LU.  There are information posters explaining the new system.  I await confirmation with my latest freedom of information request, but I assume that this is now an out-of-station interchange, probably with 10-15 minutes allowed.

Shock – some people will miss OEPs!

There are just 25 and a bit days to go until the OEP is consigned to history.  Most of those who have heard about them will rejoice that they can finally use their travelcard enabled Oyster properly again, just like they used to before January 2010.  But, it seems, there are a small number of people who Read the rest of this entry »

Tram Update – Now ends rail journey

An eagle eyed site visitor has tipped me off that if you change between train and tram at either Elmers End or Wimbledon you do not need to end the rail journey as well as start a tram journey.  You must touch in on the tram boarding validator, but Read the rest of this entry »

Royal Wedding Oyster Card

The Mayor and Transport for London have announced a special commemorative version of the Oyster card will be available in the week leading up to the Royal Wedding.  It will cost the usual £10 (£5 deposit and £5 PAYG balance) and be available from Read the rest of this entry »

South Eastern still targeting OEPs

In a day over two months time the OEP will be no more, but this is not stopping South Eastern from making a fast buck.  They are blatantly targeting people who are about to have the correct fare for their journey deducted from the PAYG balance on their card.  And these are people with travelcards stored on their Oyster card, often expensive annual ones.  The phrase “biting the hand that feeds you” springs to mind here.

Read the rest of this entry »

OEPs to be scrapped

Following a summit at City Hall with the Mayor, TfL and the London TOCs a number of improvements to travel within London have been announced.  The best one is that the Oyster Extension Permit will be killed off from 22nd May 2011, just over 16 months since it’s introduction.  Other measures include Read the rest of this entry »

London Orbital Railway Complete

Just for a change I thought I’d write about some general rail news. This week saw the opening of the missing link in the London Orbital Railway. Note, this isn’t the one that TfL will want you to know about because this one isn’t entirely coloured orange. We’ll have to wait until the end of next year for that version. However, in the meantime Read the rest of this entry »

Get new card with £3 deposit

As part of the fares revision last month, TfL increased the deposit on new Oyster cards from £3 to £5. This is what you’ll pay online, at Oyster ticket stops and at station ticket offices. The deposit is refundable of course, but only when you surrender the card. However, at many underground stations there are small blue vending machines which dispense an Oyster card with £2 PAYG balance in return for £5 in coins. The difference is the deposit, which is logged on the card so you can’t claim £5 if you only paid £3. I guess they’ll get round to changing the machines eventually, but for now they seem an ideal way to avoid having an extra £2 tied up on the card.

Changes for 2011

Over the last few weeks details of several changes to the Oyster charging structure have been announced.  The biggest changes are obviously the actual fares and you can now see what effect the review will have on your fare on the new 2011 single fare finder on the TfL website.  Some of the other changes are summarised below: Read the rest of this entry »

New OSIs (inc Bank-Cannon St)

In late October I was provided with a new list of OSIs which had come from the ATOC fare manual rather than my usual source at TfL.  It looked like there were some useful new OSIs, including the long awaited Bank to Cannon Street interchange.  Later I received my usual update from TfL which showed that the ATOC list was rather inaccurate with most of it’s changes.  Read the rest of this entry »

New Pink Validator at Woolwich

Earlier today I travelled to the Excell Centre via Woolwich Arsenal and was surprised to see a pink route validator has appeared on platform 2 (Southeastern towards Dartford) where the access to the DLR platforms is.  I touched on it in both directions and it certainly seems to be working.  It was surprising because Read the rest of this entry »

OEP should really be OTEP

I’ve decided that TfL have got the name of the OEP wrong. It should actually be called the Oyster Travelcard Extension Permit (or OTEP). This would avoid the first confusion where people think it extends the oyster system so that they can travel beyond oysterisation into the home counties. It still won’t help with the understanding of the travelcard extensions, but at least people might realise that it only applies to those with a stored travelcard.

New Pages for Trams and Wimbledon

I recently needed to visit Wimbledon and decided to use the tram to Croydon in one direction for a bit of variety.  I was struck by how poor the instructions for touching in and out were, especially when interchanging between train or tube and tram.  It seems like they have forgotten to update the instructions since Oyster started being accepted on National Rail from Wimbledon.  The explanation alongside the pink route validators also fail to specify that  they are not appropriate when interchanging with a tram.

In view of this I have set up two new pages, one covering usage of Oyster on Trams and Buses and another explaining the unusual arrangements required at Wimbledon.

Oyster online website shut

The Oyster online section of the TfL website has been shut since Friday evening for important maintenance.  The closure was publicised beforehand, although it didn’t say it would happen before midnight Friday.  While the maintenance is fair enough, what has annoyed me is that all the information pages about Oyster have also been taken offline.  Surely they could have kept that information live, even if they had to copy it to another address on the main TfL site.

Edit: Madness!  Any page on the Oyster website suggests that you can call the Oyster helpline for help, but when you call the helpline it says that it is closed because of 3rd Party maintenance.  I wonder how much money BT will make out of that useless piece of advice?