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Archive for the ‘OSI Issues’ Category

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.

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.

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 »

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 »

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 »

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.

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.

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.

Blackfriars to Southwark OSI

During the last week I’ve had a chance to test out the new OSI between Blackfriars and Southwark.  This has been described as a temporary one while the work at London Bridge moves forward, although I think a case could be made for keeping it permanently.  The walk took 7-10 minutes depending on how busy the traffic was on Blackfriars Bridge which is quite reasonable.  There is unfortunately a flaw which means caution should be exercised when making journeys across zone 1.

Read the rest of this entry »

Updated Journey Times & OSIs

I’ve recently received responses to two FOI requests which have provided useful information. The method of calculation of maximum journey times is now known where part of the journey is outside the zones numbered 1-9. The OSI list has also been updated with the only change being an increase to 30 minutes when walking from Kings Cross St Pancras LU to St Pancras Intl NR.

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.

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 »

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 »

Gate problems at London Bridge

I’ve just got back from a night out in town and had a major problem at London Bridge on the way home.  All the gates were locked open (nothing unusual in that, I know) but rather than have some Oyster readers working as entry and others as exit, EVERY gate was set to exit only.  This even included the wide gates with a validator attached as that had been set to exit only.

I wonder how many people just touched on the wide gate validator and received an unstarted journey charge?  It certainly caught my brother out, so I’ll have some sorting out to do with the helpdesk later in the week.

I also wonder whether Southeastern get a cut of incomplete journey charges where the unmatched touch is made at one of their stations?  You can bet that many people won’t realise they’ve been over charged.

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.

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.

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 »

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.

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.

Coming Soon – Cannon St->Bank

Yes, it’s really happening this time.  According to a response from a freedom of information request, TfL have confirmed that this long ignored out-of-station interchange will be introduced from 22nd May 2011.  You can read the full Read the rest of this entry »

A Visit To Finsbury Park

Other travel during the day had almost applied an off-peak cap to my card so I took the opportunity to investigate reports of problems, both current and future, at Finsbury Park.  Before I outline the full story though, the important message here is that at the moment you do NOT need to touch out or in if interchanging between Underground and National Rail.  In fact, if you try to touch out you will hit serious problems.

As usual I started my journey at Crayford.  Read the rest of this entry »

Cannon Street to Mansion House

I have just been made aware about an update to the OSI list dating back to last November. There is one new OSI between Cannon Street NR and Mansion House LU. Sadly there still isn’t an OSI between Cannon Street and Bank which is a much more popular route. The one they’ve added is only really useful on Saturdays.

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 »

Touching in twice

I’ve recently become aware of an issue at some National Rail stations, e.g. Stratford, Barking.  These are stations where people will often arrive from outside the Oyster area on a paper ticket and wish to continue using their Oystercard without visiting the gateline.  These stations sometimes have yellow standalone readers which record either entry or exit, often with a sign telling PAYG users to touch in here.  You might not want to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

Maximum Journey Loophole

I picked up this little gem on another website this week.  If you have over run the maximum journey time by just a few minutes and you are at an out of station interchange then there might be a way out of the incomplete journey penalty.  Thanks to Phil for allowing me to share his story: Read the rest of this entry »

OSI may not end journey

Yesterday I discovered another little anomaly with the Oyster system.  I ventured out with one of my kids on a circular route taking in the DLR and Overground.  We touched in at Crayford and took the rounder service to Woolwich Arsenal.  Then it was the DLR to Shadwell with the obligatory sitting in the front seat pretending to drive the train. Read the rest of this entry »

London Bridge OSI fixed

The possibility of proving two points in one trip proved too hard to resist today, so once again I ventured out on the trains.  On the way back I exited via the Southern gateline at London Bridge and re-entered via the Southeastern gateline.  This time the system correctly charged me just one journey, so it looks like they have finally sorted out this issue.

An Unusual Refund

A couple of weeks ago I had a surprising email from Transport for London.  It told me that I was due a refund of £4 because of an ‘operational issue’.  It said that the refund was ready to be picked up from London Bridge Underground station.  This was just the start of a whole new discovery.  Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t use the bus (part 2)

I’ve had a reply to my letter about breaking an OSI by using a bus.  The person answering the letter has not understood what I was trying to say, so I’ve sent back an email reply explaining it in a different way.  At least this letter has been answered, unlike the earlier ones concerning the broken OSI at London Bridge.

And a reply arrives the same day to this followup email.  They do understand what I’m saying, but there is no way to allow a bus to be used in the middle of a rail journey.  At least we now know.

Don’t Use The Bus!

I’ve managed to break the oyster system again!  I’ll admit that this time it was a deliberate attempt to try something out-of-the-ordinary, but not impossible.  I was returning from Balham to Crayford and I changed at New Cross Gate to avoid using zone 1.  It was raining, so rather than walk Read the rest of this entry »

The Double Journey (Part 4)

To complete the picture I tried one more time to use the concourse at London Bridge while exiting from Southeastern (P1-6) and entering to Southern (P8-16).  Again I was charged for two journeys.  Whilst I await a response from either ATOC or the Oyster Helpline I have flagged these two OSIs as not working on the list here.

The Double Journey (Part 3)

Well, the explanation from ATOC seemed to make sense, but in fact it was incorrect.  Yesterday I made another journey from Crayford to Norwood Junction.  Just for variety I tried travelling via Victoria on the outward journey because engineering works meant that the trains from Dartford were diverted via Sidcup.  It all worked correctly this time, until I came to go home. Read the rest of this entry »

The Double Journey (Part 2)

There have been some more developments with the double journey I made at the beginning of the month.  I wrote to the fares correspondant at Rail Magazine, Barry Doe, and he managed to get a reply from a contact at the association of train operating companies.  To cut a long and complicated story short, I made the mistake of following out-dated signage at London Bridge and confused the system. Read the rest of this entry »

A Double Journey?

I’ve just checked my journey history and noticed that Tuesday night’s journey to Norwood Junction has been charged as two separate journeys, one from Crayford to London Bridge and the other from London Bridge to Norwood Junction.  Surely that can’t be right?  True, I could have used the footbridge to change platforms, but I was hungry Read the rest of this entry »