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Broken Interchange at Finsbury Park

My attention has been drawn to the social distancing one-way system at Finsbury Park which has broken the out-of-station interchange in some cases when changing between National Rail and the Underground.  Access to the National Rail platforms is currently only from the bus station entrance.  Exit from the Underground is also to the bus station, but entry is via the new entrance on the other side of the station, a 3-4 minute walk.

The problem is when passengers arrive on platforms 1-2 from North London and Hertfordshire.  There are no gates on those platforms so you have to touch out using the validators at the bottom of the steps.  When you touch in again at the new Underground entrance your journey is not continued because the OSI has not been set up properly.  This means that your journey is split in two and you are charged two fares rather than the normal one combined fare.  TfL are aware of the issue and I hope to have an update within the next few days.

In the meantime I suggest that to join the Victoria line you should use Highbury & Islington instead where the interchange is cross-platform.  For the Piccadilly line beyond Kings Cross I’d take the Victoria line from Highbury & Islington and change at Kings Cross, or if your National Rail train is going to Kings Cross or St Pancras then stay on it until there.

There are no problems changing between the Underground and National Rail because the OSI works between the two bus station entrances.

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.

Blackfriars – An ‘unhelpful’ OSI

With thanks to Chris for spotting this, there is a problem using the OSI between platforms 2-4 and platform 1 at the north end of Blackfriars NR station.  If the journey being made is entirely on National Rail the system will instead charge as if you’ve used the Underground as well.  Fortunately there is a way around this because you can switch between all platforms at the south end of the station without needing to go through a barrier.

The problem is that the indicator that you’ve changed between NR and LU at London terminals is a touch on either the NR or LU gatelines.  Originally this was not a problem, but since the rebuild of Blackfriars station and the need to exit and re-enter the paid area at the north end it is now possible to need to touch in/out without actually using the tube.

As an example, a journey between Elephant & Castle and Greenwich using National Rail via Blackfriars will be charged £3.10/£2.60 if you use the southbank subway at Blackfriars or £4.70/£4.10 if you use the northbank.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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 »

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