Oyster overcharging by ignoring price caps when interchanging between LU and NR

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by All Line Rover, 9 Dec 2016.

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  1. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    The adult TfL price cap for travel within Zone 1 (peak or off-peak) is £6.50. In other words, the maximum amount that will be charged for one day's travel within Zone 1, regardless of the times of travel and the number of journeys made (and, save for one or two exceptions, the modes of travel used), is £6.50.

    The adult TfL price cap for travel within Zones 1-6 (peak or off-peak) is £11.80.

    A single fare for an off-peak National Rail only journey from Zone 1 to Zone 6 (e.g. Elstree & Borehamwood) is £3.80. Therefore, a passenger who reaches the £6.50 Zone 1 price cap, and then later in the evening makes a single off-peak journey from St Pancras to Elstree & Borehamwood, should be charged £6.50 + £3.80 = £10.30.

    However, a single fare for an off-peak London Underground (LU) and National Rail (NR) journey from Zone 1 (e.g. Bank) to Zone 6 is £5.30. And if a passenger, who has reached the Zone 1 price cap, makes such a journey (Bank to St Pancras on LU, then St Pancras to Elstree & Borehamwood on NR), the Oyster system appears to fail to recognise that the journey as far as St Pancras should cost £0, with the journey from St Pancras to Elstree & Borehamwood costing £3.80. Instead, it charges the through fare from Bank to Elstree & Borehamwood, despite the interchange (which involves exiting LU ticket barriers and entering NR ticket barriers) at St Pancras, up to the amount of the Zones 1-6 price cap. Since £6.50 + £5.30 = £11.80 (the very amount of the Zones 1-6 price cap), the passenger is charged £5.30 for the journey from Bank to Elstree & Borehamwood. They should only have been charged £3.80, so they were overcharged by £1.50.

    Has anyone experienced this problem? Does this problem not occur with the, apparently more accurate, contactless debit/credit card system?
     
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  3. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Is it not that it's seeing the journey as a through journey and the cap doesn't apply?
     
    Last edited: 9 Dec 2016
  4. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    Yes, and it shouldn't. Oyster interchanges (whether in or out of station) are supposed to exist to result in passengers being charged lower fares, not higher fares!

    The passenger does touch out in Zone 1 (St Pancras LU), so it isn't a case of the entire journey being a through journey.
     
    Last edited: 9 Dec 2016
  5. 47513 Severn

    47513 Severn Member

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    Surely the zone 1 only cap no longer applies if you make a journey to zone 6 regardless of any touching in and out along the way? The same thing would happen if the 1-6 journey was made without interchanges.

    I don't think Oyster is able to handle the transaction described any other way. Contactless probably could as it calculates the total of the journeys at the end of the day and works out the best overall fare for them all. Oyster PAYG charges literally 'as you go' and the cap will be lost as soon as you leave zone 1 with the appropriate cap for the zones travelled applied instead.
     
  6. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    If the passenger waits at least 30 minutes between touching out at St Pancras LU and touching in at St Pancras NR (so that the OSI breaks), they will be charged £3.80, not £5.30.

    If the passenger touches out at Euston LU and then walks to, and touches in at, St Pancras NR (even if they are a fast walker and make this interchange in, say, 10 minutes), they will again be charged £3.80, not £5.30.

    There is no justification for charging £5.30 for the journey described in the OP. Limitations of the Oyster system are an excuse (and not a good enough excuse, as this problem would never have occurred with paper tickets).
     
  7. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    Yes, lots of people. It's the only way that was possible with the technology available when Oyster was developed 10-12 years ago. However, you are still being charged less than the paper equivalent fares. Contactless does make a better job of charging, and so will Oyster in a year or so when the next phase is rolled out.
    Sadly OSIs either work or they don't. The Oyster system can't tell whether breaking the journey would be better or not. Thus the journey is charged completely, subject to the new cap.
    Pretty much, yes. Contactless will hold on to the fact that you've capped at zones 1-2 and charge the final journey as a zone 3-6 extension.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Actually it's 40 minutes, but yes the theory is correct. They could also touch in on a bus and break the OSI that way. Having capped the bus would be free.
    Correct, as there is no OSI between Euston LU and St Pancras NR.
    Sadly it is a limitation that we are stuck with until the next phase of Oyster is rolled out. The problem wouldn't occur with paper tickets, but you'd be charged more overall. The Oyster system isn't perfect, but it's a damn site more flexible than paper tickets.
     
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