Railcards on TFL Rail

Surreytraveller

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What about if you want to lend your Oyster card to someone who has their own railcard? Should be no different to them making use of a discounted national rail ticket.
Technically, the only Oystercard that is transferable is a full adult PAYG one. Not one with any form of discount or season on it, even if the other person has a railcard also.
 
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Surreytraveller

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It is madness isn’t it?
I think they tried to combine long standing conditions with a new concept. They wanted to make it transferable to make it convenient, but that can only happen with pure full price PAYG. If it was only Underground ticketing, it would probably be easier, but to enable flexibility with National Rail it is far more complicated
 

Watershed

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But its no easy solution, unless there's the realtime ability for the system to know that any card has a Railcard discount applied to it
People don't exactly apply or remove a Railcard discount frequently. TfL is happy for contactless cards to be validated for revenue inspections not even based on having touched in, but merely on whether the card is in locally held database of blocked cards. That database itself inevitably being a few hours or days old at the time of inspection.

And if they couldn't possibly accept the risk of people travelling without a Railcard, having set their discount up on their contactless card just hours or days earlier, then surely a 24-48 hour waiting period would be doable?

The suggestion that there is a technical reason why Railcards can't be applied to contactless cards doesn't appear to hold up to scrutiny. It seems a purely financial question - TfL were reluctant to allow Railcard discounts on Oyster in the first place, and as contactless has now overtaken Oyster usage, they don't want to continue that discounted legacy. Eventually Oyster cards will probably be phased out.
 

Bletchleyite

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The suggestion that there is a technical reason why Railcards can't be applied to contactless cards doesn't appear to hold up to scrutiny. It seems a purely financial question - TfL were reluctant to allow Railcard discounts on Oyster in the first place, and as contactless has now overtaken Oyster usage, they don't want to continue that discounted legacy. Eventually Oyster cards will probably be phased out.

I'd have thought unlikely, they are needed for children, Basic Bank Account users etc. What the plan is is to move them onto the contactless back end where they would be a "dumb" card. That's the decision point - build Railcards onto the contactless platform or stop accepting them entirely. There's precedent for doing the latter (Merseyrail's day tickets which are applicable to almost every off-peak journey), and that's on a TOC that is nominally still National Rail.
 

Horizon22

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The only way to police this would be to only allow the discount to be used by the person whose name is on the bank card. As in more cases than not, a bank card should only be used by it’s owner. Anyone caught with someone else’s card may have more to worry about than using a discount if they “borrowed” it.

Yes but how would you "police" it? Supposed you'd have to show ID to whichever TfL staff would issue the discount. But there'd have to be some sort of interface to allow staff to be putting discounts onto bankcards and that sounds like a hugely complex and regulatory minefield to get through.

Eventually Oyster cards will probably be phased out.

Not sure, there's all sorts of edge cases (staff travel for instance) that will require some sort of in-house system, much like may TOCs have "The Key" or similar. Ideally this would be a nationwide ITSO scheme or whatever, but there would still be an in-house system alongside contactless cards.

For a long time they were playing the "Why not use contactless today?" announcements across the LU network - I remember speaking to a LU employee I know about this and said sure, if I could apply my discount to it but I can't can I? He just shrugged.
 

Cdd89

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As I understand it one of the main issues is how revenue can identify that a contactless card has got a discount attached to it so that they can ask for the railcard.
The encrypted (hashed) card numbers registered for discounts could be downloaded onto the RPI devices to check against.

I’m personally sick of the excuses on this...
 

Horizon22

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The encrypted (hashed) card numbers registered for discounts could be downloaded onto the RPI devices to check against.

I’m personally sick of the excuses on this...

I don't know anything on the subject but wouldn't banks be wary of giving rail employees access to information like this? Genuinely interested as to a layperson I can imagine there being lots of legislative and data security issues with allowing rail companies access to those sort of card details.
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't know anything on the subject but wouldn't banks be wary of giving rail employees access to information like this? Genuinely interested as to a layperson I can imagine there being lots of legislative and data security issues with allowing rail companies access to those sort of card details.

They wouldn't have access to it. First of all it'd be hidden inside the device, secondly it's a one way hash - you can go from the card number to the hash but not the other way - which means you can verify the card but not read its details.
 

Horizon22

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They wouldn't have access to it. First of all it'd be hidden inside the device, secondly it's a one way hash - you can go from the card number to the hash but not the other way - which means you can verify the card but not read its details.

Ok thanks for that. There will be some need to obtain personal information though if say, verifying a discount? Or would the hash information give you the journey undertaken?

What I'm getting at is that an Oyster can be interrogated there and then to see journey history and a physical ticket obviously prints the details of the discount. So I suppose there's two issues 1) verifying personal information and 2) verifying journey info. They might be resolved with one system I don't know.

I'd love to have discounts on contactless, but I imagine the reason it hasn't been implemented is partly down to the complexity - as well as TfL wanting to keep Oyster (despite its high back-end cost) - and banks being wary.
 

Cdd89

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There will be some need to obtain personal information though if say, verifying a discount? Or would the hash information give you the journey undertaken?
The RPI devices already capture, store and upload the PAN (account number) of the card. That is arguably high risk but presumably there are controls such as encryption that mitigate it.

Compared to that, storing a list of numbers to check against on all devices is low risk. All the RPI would see is “railcard required” and know to ask for it. If it isn’t produced then the RPI could report the incident against the revenue check ID, and the back-end already has the master entitlement for the purposes of any further dispute, prosecution etc.
 

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