Concerns regarding the use of concessionary Oyster cards in the London area

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by AlbertBeale, 27 Dec 2019.

  1. CrispyUK

    CrispyUK Member

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    And that they switch between a variety of disguises whilst travelling around London to prevent their movements being pieced together from CCTV footage (admittedly a bit more work than pulling up a journey history but if they’re a person of interest...)
     
  2. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    Who on earth decides what is a right? If a society decides that it is a right then it's a right.
     
  3. RitishBrail

    RitishBrail Member

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    That's not quite how it works. A right is something which is protected by law. We have a right to privacy in the UK because it is stipulated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is (currently) incorporated into UK law by virtue of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

    There's no provision in either the Human Rights Act or the ECHR (or any other British legislation) for 'a right to concessionary travel for pensioners', so it's not a "right" by law.
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2019
  4. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    The idea of such a pensioner not using a mobile phone, and - when using the internet - keeping well away from the likes of Google and Facebook, etc, is not at all far-fetched! Seems quite sensible to me... I know someone who that applies to, and who doesn't use ATMs.
     
  5. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    But if their treatment - ie having their movements tracked if they want to go anywhere beyond walking distance of their home - is similar to that of a criminal who has to sear a tracking device, then it's not unreasonable for them to feel as though they're being treated (in that respect) in a way similar to the way some criminals are treated.

    You might think there's nothing wrong with people's movements being tracked, but I don't think the analogy is unreasonable.
     
  6. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    It's not an explicit right in the ECHR or domestic HRA sense - that's true of course; but it is a right accepted by local authorities all over the UK; and in the situation I'm referring to it's a right being granted only on condition you forgo another more general right (privacy).
     
  7. MarlowDonkey

    MarlowDonkey Member

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    That gang of veterans who were accused of a jewellery raid. Weren't their movements traced as part of the prosecution because they used their concessionary cards to travel? Arguably anyone with criminal intent should take the precaution of travelling on anonymous Oyster cards.
     
  8. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Sometimes rights spring from an assertion based on an individual's conscience. To give an example - if I am a conscientious objector to ever taking up arms and killing someone, and live somewhere where there is military conscription, and I refuse to co-operate with the conscription system, I might consider my right to refuse is a fundamental aspect of my conscientious belief. But I might live in a society which does not - at that stage - accept the right to be a CO. I'm not then going to say, "OK - the view of the government, or the view of a majority, overrides my conscience and I'll no longer claim that right". I would suggest that what is or isn't "a right" isn't as simple as "what society decides" - though it's certainly the case that how easy it is to exercise a particular right can depend on the surrounding society. (COs have been imprisoned, and sometimes executed, for their assertion of their right to refuse to kill; indeed there are many countries in the world today with imprisoned COs.)
     
  9. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    Unfortunately, a number of Freedom Passes are used by people who are not entitled to them (ie.they are lent by or stolen from their owners) and, although TfL inspections are extremely rare, they continue to find passes being misused in this way. Doubtless it is only a tiny minority of freedom pass holders that permit their use by others, but data on usage of these cards helps build evidence for convictions, where TfL decides to prosecute. Given that they are nearly equivalent to an all-zones annual pass, they are valuable so the temptation is there.
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    It isn't. In almost all places you need to swipe your ENCTS card on the ticket machine when boarding the bus.
     
  11. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Quite frankly your "arguments" are becoming more preposterous.
    I presume this imaginary pensioner gets their pension at the Post Office in cash, therefore they are tracked there.
    Even in my little town they will be tracked in a couple of shops, even using cash. I presume they never drive, since they will be tracked if they do.
    And if they use their WELSH bus pass they will be tracked.t
    If they are so concerned about "tracking" then tough, they will have to put up with paying more.
     
  12. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    You get loads of people accused of committing crimes whose movements are tracked by non concessionary oyster, establish a travel pattern using the non registered oyster card and you can get the police to meet them at a station even if you don't know their identity
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If you make a choice like that you are choosing to shut yourself out of society. Your choice. If you make that choice, obtain an unregistered Oyster card and pay for your travel.

    Doesn't use ATMs? Seriously? How does he get the cash to buy his tinfoil hat from the nearby shop? :D
     
  14. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    This is normal oyster cards, you are not being discriminated against because you have a freedom pass.
     
    Last edited: 29 Dec 2019
  15. CrispyUK

    CrispyUK Member

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    Using counter service at their local/trusted bank branch or Post Office, rather than a machine they’re not familiar/savvy enough with to know if it’s been tampered/modified and they’re worried about having their life’s savings drained by fraudsters. In an environment where they feel a bit safer and less likely to be mugged for their weekly pension money.
     
  16. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    I have such a pass given to me by TfL through my partner who works for them and i have no issues about them tracking me - hell i have the extra stage further of being stopped every so often being stopped to present my card + photo to them - this is far worse than what an oldiewonk has to do and i feel no way about it as i get something free in exchange for having to show it once in a while. Bonus to me

    Its not really any different to those who have to pay with oyster/contactless which is registered so why would an elderly person feel like a criminal ?
     
  17. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    The Freedom Pass offers a far greater benefit to the holder than national bus passes. It costs a huge amount of money to run, and not all holders could be described as "old folks" who couldn't otherwise afford public transport. There is no means testing in the provision.

    Those that pay for the concession want to know how much they are being used, where they are being used, what mode(s) of travel are involved and less obviously, when cards are never used. That data is gathered and analysed in anonymous form.

    The pass is very valuable, so loss or theft is an issue. The issuers need to be able to identify and cancel passes which are no longer in the possession of the holder, especially if the holder is asking for a replacement. That would be impossible unless the pass is registered.

    Eligibility for travel and the funding model is complicated. One pass includes statutory concessions that the boroughs fund, discretionary concessions that TfL and the boroughs fund and pass validity and who the payments go to depend on mode and operator.

    Historically the costs were apportioned by London Councils agreeing a payment to London Transport/Transport for London, one to non-TfL bus operators, and one to the relevant organisation representing the national rail system. The amounts agreed were based on educated guesswork, including surveys of passholders to estimate individual levels of use.

    The cost to boroughs of providing the Freedom Pass is huge - £343 million in 2019/20. Historically this cost was apportioned between them based on the total number of passes issued to residents of each borough - which not surprisingly caused conflict as it assumed all residents were making equal use of all elements of the public transport system.

    Oysterisation (including registration) not only allowed per-mode costs to be calculated, it also allowed the usage of each mode by a particular borough's residents to be calculated.

    The boroughs are in fact sent a bill for their resident's travel, albeit not directly charged. The boroughs have agreed a methodology for apportioning costs and each December a meeting of London Councils agrees the amount each borough will be billed. Appendix 1 on this link https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/node/34832 shows the 'bill' for each borough for 2019/20. Notice, for example, that the costs of the Tramlink concession mainly fall on Croydon borough. Similarly the boroughs north of the river typically pay more for LUL services than those to the south.

    Without registration of Freedom Passes that track individual use then this kind of analysis would be impossible. And I believe that if this fairer system of apportionment hadn't been introduced then the Freedom Pass scheme as it currently is would not exist.
     
  18. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Over the counter with a book - Still a lot of old folk who use this method.
     
  19. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    Out of interest, would you also argue that motorists should not be required to attach an unobscured tracking device (a number plate) to their vehicle which serves to assist the authorities in tracking their vehicle to determine whether or not the law is being broken (e.g. speeding) or contravened (e.g. bus lanes)? Are they not being treated as (potential) criminals being forced to 'wear' a visible identification mark?

    [/DevilsAdvocate]
     
  20. sprunt

    sprunt Member

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    It's a concession. That's why it's being described here as a conceessionary pass. Concessions aren't rights, and can have conditions attached.
     
  21. DaveB10780

    DaveB10780 Member

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    What a laugh people moaning about given free travel over a vast area and getting bigger all the time. Some of us just get buses after 0930.
     
  22. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    There are no Pension Books any more. They were made obselete in 2005, and all pensions are now either paid direct into a Bank/Building Society account or into a Post Office Card account.
     
  23. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    I assumed Clip meant people can withdraw cash over the counter (of a bank) using a (cheque) book, rather than obtaining money from a post Office with a pension book.

    I don't think I've ever written a cheque for cash, but I remember it being quite common and I assume it is still possible, even if the bank staff are told to persuade customers to use the ATM instead.
     
  24. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Yes of course it's still possible. Your signature validates the cheque - and more reliably, in some ways, than a 4-digit number. (My signature, for instance, is probably difficult to imitate!) I don't suppose, if you go into your own branch of your own bank, they would have any grounds to refuse to cash a cheque (if there's sufficient money in your account).
     
  25. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    If this is a serious question, then no, of course not. Being allowed by society to take charge of a large and potentially lethal piece of machinery in a public space self-evidently (I would say) requires the ability to make checks on how that person uses that equipment. An individual citizen peacefully going about their private business, on foot, or cycling, or by using public transport, shouldn't be routinely monitored, which is what's happening with Oyster cards linked to the particular user.
     
  26. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    A bit of precision is probably appropriate here. I will accept that collecting this data allows the possibility of monitoring someone's movements, but I have not yet seen anything that suggests that their movements are being monitored - at all, let alone routinely.
     
  27. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    That's one of the main arguments Tesco had against the idea of a Clubcard in the 1990s, until a private company showed them that they could just process 10% of the data and still gain useful insights into general customer shopping patterns.

    And the complexity of tracking and analysing one arbitrary customer/passenger (if someone decided to do so) is trivial in comparison.
     
  28. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Who mentioned pensions? I do believe some of the building societys offer passbook accounts
     
  29. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Depends on definition of "monitoring" - it's routinely collected (isn't that monitoring?). It's of course not always made use of on an individual basis. But see https://www.theguardian.com/governm...b/09/met-police-oyster-card-data-requests-tfl as referenced above.
     
  30. Clip

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