Charged Heathrow Express when using TFL Rail

kingston

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15 Feb 2016
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I travelled recently on the 05:02 TfL Rail service Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5.

This left from Platform 4 (which it seems to do daily from BRTimes): I touched in and touched out at the barriers as normal.

I was charged the Heathrow Express fare for this journey, I guess in retrospect because I touched in at the 'High-speed platforms' barriers' at Paddington.

I assumed this would be an easy fix for a refund by calling TfL - but despite explaining the above, the fundamentals of different platform banks at Paddington, the longer journey time, or the simple fact I touched in at the barriers between me and the train - I was just told no refund is due as I touched in at the 'Heathrow Express' platforms.

Not sure what to do except a charge-back of the Oyster top-up?

Also I guess this is happening to other users of this service?
 
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hkstudent

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I travelled recently on the 05:02 TfL Rail service Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5.

This left from Platform 4 (which it seems to do daily from BRTimes): I touched in and touched out at the barriers as normal.

I was charged the Heathrow Express fare for this journey, I guess in retrospect because I touched in at the 'High-speed platforms' barriers' at Paddington.

I assumed this would be an easy fix for a refund by calling TfL - but despite explaining the above, the fundamentals of different platform banks at Paddington, the longer journey time, or the simple fact I touched in at the barriers between me and the train - I was just told no refund is due as I touched in at the 'Heathrow Express' platforms.

Not sure what to do except a charge-back of the Oyster top-up?

Also I guess this is happening to other users of this service?
I don't think there will be a high chance of Oyster charge-back, as I don't even think TfL Customer Service know that TfL Rail train was diverted to other platform.
What I would suggest is, get a screenshot from realtimetrains / recenttraintimes / any train departure history page, stating which platform that the TfL Rail train departed, and send it in a web form to TfL Oyster team, asking for a refund of the difference in fare.
If they refuse to acknowledge that, I would suggest escalating the case to London Travelwatch
 

bb21

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I travelled recently on the 05:02 TfL Rail service Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5.

This left from Platform 4 (which it seems to do daily from BRTimes): I touched in and touched out at the barriers as normal.

I was charged the Heathrow Express fare for this journey, I guess in retrospect because I touched in at the 'High-speed platforms' barriers' at Paddington.

I assumed this would be an easy fix for a refund by calling TfL - but despite explaining the above, the fundamentals of different platform banks at Paddington, the longer journey time, or the simple fact I touched in at the barriers between me and the train - I was just told no refund is due as I touched in at the 'Heathrow Express' platforms.

Not sure what to do except a charge-back of the Oyster top-up?

Also I guess this is happening to other users of this service?
I think you can potentially take it further with strong evidence in your case. Did you touch out immediately on arrival at T5?

The first Heathrow Express doesn't seem to be running until 0525 (T5 0546) on weekdays, so if you touched out immediately on arrival at T5, eg. around 0540, it isn't possible for you to have travelled on HX.
 
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HEX go from 6/7 anyway - wouldn't they have their own gateline?

PS The 0502 left from 4 today. You'd have to go through the GW gateline to access it.
 

Cdd89

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Re the low gates element, this was raised in an article on Oyster Rail back in February. It appears the low numbered gates are all configured the same way. @MikeWh might be able to comment further.
 

MikeWh

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I travelled recently on the 05:02 TfL Rail service Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5.

This left from Platform 4 (which it seems to do daily from BRTimes): I touched in and touched out at the barriers as normal.

I was charged the Heathrow Express fare for this journey, I guess in retrospect because I touched in at the 'High-speed platforms' barriers' at Paddington.

I assumed this would be an easy fix for a refund by calling TfL - but despite explaining the above, the fundamentals of different platform banks at Paddington, the longer journey time, or the simple fact I touched in at the barriers between me and the train - I was just told no refund is due as I touched in at the 'Heathrow Express' platforms.

Not sure what to do except a charge-back of the Oyster top-up?

Also I guess this is happening to other users of this service?
It's one of a number of problems that catering for the HEx fares has produced. I'll include your story in a new article on my site and follow it up with TfL as they really need to do something.
I think you can potentially take it further with strong evidence in your case. Did you touch out immediately on arrival at T5?

The first Heathrow Express doesn't seem to be running until 0525 (T5 0546) on weekdays, so if you touched out immediately on arrival at T5, eg. around 0540, it isn't possible for you to have travelled on HX.
Brilliant spot.
HEX go from 6/7 anyway - wouldn't they have their own gateline?

PS The 0502 left from 4 today. You'd have to go through the GW gateline to access it.
HEx now only use one platform, but the issue is common to all the gates serving platforms 2-7.
Re the low gates element, this was raised in an article on Oyster Rail back in February. It appears the low numbered gates are all configured the same way. @MikeWh might be able to comment further.
Thanks for the mention.
 

Mag_seven

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Is Paddington unique in that the fare you are charged is dependant on what reader you tap in on? For example if your local service leaves from platform 2-5 and you therefore tap in on one of the Platform 2-5 readers and tap out at say Ealing Broadway, are you charged the HEX fare?
 

Haywain

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Is Paddington unique in that the fare you are charged is dependant on what reader you tap in on? For example if your local service leaves from platform 2-5 and you therefore tap in on one of the Platform 2-5 readers and tap out at say Ealing Broadway, are you charged the HEX fare?
There isn’t a HEx fare from Paddington to Ealing Broadway.
 

Mag_seven

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There isn’t a HEx fare from Paddington to Ealing Broadway.

Yes I know that, however that doesn't appear to stop people being charged "as if" they had travelled to or from Heathrow on HEX, purely due to the fact they have touched in/out on the Platforms 2-5 barriers at Paddington:


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.
It might not be the case for a touch in / touch out at Ealing Broadway though - that is the question I am asking.
 

matt_world2004

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Is Paddington unique in that the fare you are charged is dependant on what reader you tap in on? For example if your local service leaves from platform 2-5 and you therefore tap in on one of the Platform 2-5 readers and tap out at say Ealing Broadway, are you charged the HEX fare?
You get charged the normal fare. But the journey history says that you left from the Heathrow express platforms
 

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Mag_seven

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You get charged the normal fare. But the journey history says that you left from the Heathrow express platforms
Thanks for clearing that up. So it looks like:

Tap in at Padd 2-5, travel on X Rail train to stations up to and including Hayes - charged correct fare
Tap in at Padd 2-5, travel on X Rail train to Heathrow - charged HEX fare not X Rail fare
 

JonathanH

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What is the position on platforms 1, 8 and 9?

Are the barrier staff meant to direct passengers to touch out on the readers elsewhere in the station when a TfL Rail train arrives on platforms 2-7 (like they direct Southern passengers to leave platforms 13/14 at Victoria through the side gate to platforms 9-12)?

I guess the problem is that a lot of TfL Rail use of platforms 1-8 is at the time of day (ie start and end) when there aren't barrier staff.
 

Cdd89

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Re the O-R article isn’t the issue specific to travelcards that haven’t touched in? IE travelcard containing Zone 1, not touched-in as started on paper up to BZ2-6, and touched out at Paddington on a HEX reader. If I understand the example correctly the readers appear to assume in the absence of a touch in that a travelcard holder originated from Heathrow.

Charging £0.00 as would usually happen for a reader touched within zones would be an open door to HEX fare evasion for Travelcard holders so I assume the only solution is for TFL to be more selective as to which barriers are configured for HEX and reroute people away from them in case of unusual platforms - like the GEX at Victoria.
 

swt_passenger

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Is Paddington unique in that the fare you are charged is dependant on what reader you tap in on? For example if your local service leaves from platform 2-5 and you therefore tap in on one of the Platform 2-5 readers and tap out at say Ealing Broadway, are you charged the HEX fare?
Paddington isn’t unique in terms of using certain gatelines to determine (assume?) the service you used, it was also done at Victoria for GatEx...
 

mattdickinson

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There is still a standalone Oyster validatior near these platforms so a solution in future is to use that instead (if that's not an issue with the gate line staff)
 

TFN

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I don't know if they're still around but when a TfL Rail I was on was diverted onto Platform 4 (in the daytime), we were all guided to touch out at a stand-alone reader just past the gateline on the Platform 5 gates, instead of touching at the barriers. I'm assuming it's to avoid being charged a HeX fare?

This happened after contactless and oyster was extended to Heathrow / Reading.
 

JonathanH

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It's quite difficult isn't it. If they make the notice to touch in at a separate reader when using platforms 2-5 too prominent people who have used Heathrow Express will try to use it when the barriers are open.

I don't really get why they removed the barrier between platforms 2-5 and 6/7. I know that some GWR trains use platform 6 but it would be easy to do what they do at Victoria and direct passengers via the 2-5 barriers to/from platform 6 only when necessary.

On 22 November the entire TfL Rail service appears to be scheduled to use platforms 4 and 5 with platforms 11 and 12 unavailable. However, it seems that the Heathrow branch is shut so no Heathrow travellers to be overcharged.
 

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