Oyster card, bad hair day!

  rickf 11:10 09 Oct 2014

Thought I would share this here as I had to laugh at myself after the incident. I drive to a particular tube station and use the ncp carpark next to it for the day. When I arrived on Tuesday it was full. So drove some 10 mins away from the station where there were some free parking spaces on the road. Took a bus back to the station, touched in and whilst on the platform tried to text work that I would be slightly late. Could'nt find my mobile, then realised I had left it on the car passenger seat. Touched out oyster card, took bus back to car, retrieved phone, took bus back to station. On touching in my oyster, tfl cleared my balance so had to top up. Apparently this was because I had touched in and touched out without using the journey and the staff at the station tried but could'nt make me a refund. Although I can laugh about it now it seems totally nonsensical that TFL should claer my balance. I am sure some would not bother to ask for a refund thereby increasing their coffers each year. Surely its not too difficult to programmed in this contingency?? I suspect its left out for the purpose I suggested.

  BillSers 12:24 09 Oct 2014

I found them to be less than informative when I used an oyster for the first few times years ago. There was all this information about having to touch in and out, but the instructions were quite ambiguous. Wimbledon has an entrance for overground and tramlink. So I touched in twice then touched out again at the end of the tram journey. I got charged for two journeys. I queried this and was sent a uniformed letter explaining the procedure. Because of the nature of this circular letter it told me that many more people had been confused the same way, maybe 1000s. Sneeky or inefficient? Who knows.

  BT 12:48 09 Oct 2014

Not living in London now I've not had the pleasure of Oyster Cards, but here in Norfolk you have to swipe your Bus Pass, even on the Park & Ride to get your reduced fare, or a free ride if you're using the Hospital Shuttle from the P&R. They use old London 'Bendy' Buses for the shuttle. Its quite an experience doing 50/60mph in one of these along the bye-pass, the sort of speed only dreamt of in London.

Is it right that you can only use Oyster now in London? No more cash fares.

  kad292 14:57 09 Oct 2014


Correct,on the buses no more cash fares are accepted which gives rise to other problems.One problem is you can only swipe your card once for that particular journey so if your partner or friend has no credit then you cannot use again, same with the latest contact less fare,chip in credit/debit card, only one swipe per person per journey,seems it would be too hard to alter that arrangement.

Passes,bought from stations and other outlets are also used.The biggest issue with this is that overnight you cannot top up your Oyster because the system is closed,as a night driver i find that is a stupid idea,a period for maintenance is fine but not an all night closure.

The decision to allow a passenger to travel is up to driver discretion,i personally will not leave a woman/child stranded and in certain circumstances an emergency pass is issued on payment later.

  Forum Editor 15:40 09 Oct 2014

The oyster system is incredibly complex, and the addition of national rail has added yet more complexity on top. There are different price caps for buses and trams, peak and off-peak travel as well as different routes for many journeys on national rail. If you regularly check your journey history you can spot if any errors have been made. You’ll also see whether you have been charged any maximum fares and can work out why.

If there is a good reason you can ask TFL for an adjustment to be made. Why don't you try doing that?

  caccy 18:18 09 Oct 2014

Never had any of these problems when I paid the "clippy" in cash. Progress is wonderful!

  bumpkin 18:58 09 Oct 2014

The oyster system is incredibly complex,

Why? What was wrong with someone just buying a ticket with money.

  Forum Editor 19:28 09 Oct 2014

"What was wrong with someone just buying a ticket with money."

Think about it. Transport For London (TFL) carry 1.2 billion passengers a year. Waterloo station alone handles 89 million passengers. Imagine the logistics of taking cash from that number of passengers.

With Oyster cards 40 people a minute can pass the entry/exit readers, compared with 25 using paper tickets. At peak times that makes a big difference - over 7 million Oyster cards are in regular use. Their use on buses mean faster journey times - drivers don't have to fiddle with money.

Travel on buses or tubes in London during the peak hours and you'll soon see the commonsense in using an Oyster card.

  bumpkin 20:49 09 Oct 2014

FE, I was not suggesting the everyone pays cash just that there should be that option. Having read your reply then I agree that the Oyster card makes more sense. A long time since I have used a train, apparently some of the newer ones are diesel:-)

  kad292 21:48 09 Oct 2014

"Why? What was wrong with someone just buying a ticket with money".

There was always arguments about cash fares with the driver/passenger having no or not enough change plus holdups caused by that and the time taken to pay and receive tickets.

The other issue was the robbery of drivers,fairly rare but one issue taken on board,this would happen off the bus as the driver was carrying his cash box.

A while ago in the West End of London street side ticket machines were placed but these were either robbed or failed plus more often no ticket was issued leading to complaints from passengers and drivers alike.

As with all or most systems set up there will always be issues,nothing is fail safe.

  simonjary 06:45 10 Oct 2014

The best way to use Oyster is with auto topup, set online. You can get a weekly travel statement and if there are any problems (like the one you describe) they are very good at giving refunds.

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