Southern Key card problems on London buses

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MrGum

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Apologies if this point has been made already. Just wanted to get this out there for information of Southern Key card users. I can see that various people in the forum have had issues over the last couple of years..

My new card (with all Travelcard zones) has worked fine 17 times out of 20 on London buses in zone 5 and 6. The other 3 times, the card reader said "Not Valid For Travel". The last driver to turf me off said my card was valid for zone 4 only (oddly).

The call centre (don't email if you want a reply from Southern in this lifetime) told me in the end that "around 1,000 London bus readers don't recognise Southern Key cards. Southern and TFL are aware of this". I was advised to buy a paper ticket on a bus - ho ho - and send it in for a refund. When I said that you can't buy paper tickets, I was advised to use contactless and send in a copy of my bank statement (at my cost, naturally).

I very much doubt that they'll let the world know when / if this is fixed - judging by the level of response to previous emails and calls :D

Just wanted fellow Southern users to be able to find a reference to this issue!
 
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R

RailUK Forums

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6 Mar 2010
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Apologies if this point has been made already. Just wanted to get this out there for information of Southern Key card users. I can see that various people in the forum have had issues over the last couple of years..

My new card (with all Travelcard zones) has worked fine 17 times out of 20 on London buses in zone 5 and 6. The other 3 times, the card reader said "Not Valid For Travel". The last driver to turf me off said my card was valid for zone 4 only (oddly).

The call centre (don't email if you want a reply from Southern in this lifetime) told me in the end that "around 1,000 London bus readers don't recognise Southern Key cards. Southern and TFL are aware of this". I was advised to buy a paper ticket on a bus - ho ho - and send it in for a refund. When I said that you can't buy paper tickets, I was advised to use contactless and send in a copy of my bank statement (at my cost, naturally).

I very much doubt that they'll let the world know when / if this is fixed - judging by the level of response to previous emails and calls :D

Just wanted fellow Southern users to be able to find a reference to this issue!

It applies to Thameslink (and presumably other) key cards as well. They emailed me [but clearly many others as well]:

Due to a technical issue which Transport for London are working to resolve, some of the Oyster readers on London buses are currently not accepting key smartcards and they are showing them as being invalid. Although bus drivers have been briefed to accept the key, we've been made aware this is not always the case.

If you have had to pay for your bus journey with an Oyster or contactless card, please send your journey statement into our Customer Relations team and we will provide a full refund. Please give us as much information you can - which bus route you used, where and at what time you boarded, so that we can share this information with Transport for London.

Please note that this issue is not affecting travel on the London Underground or National Rail services. If you do wish to revert your season ticket back to a paper one, we will do this at no cost; please visit one of our ticket offices.
 

MrGum

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Joined
15 Apr 2016
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It applies to Thameslink (and presumably other) key cards as well. They emailed me [but clearly many others as well]:

Due to a technical issue which Transport for London are working to resolve, some of the Oyster readers on London buses are currently not accepting key smartcards and they are showing them as being invalid. Although bus drivers have been briefed to accept the key, we've been made aware this is not always the case.

If you have had to pay for your bus journey with an Oyster or contactless card, please send your journey statement into our Customer Relations team and we will provide a full refund. Please give us as much information you can - which bus route you used, where and at what time you boarded, so that we can share this information with Transport for London.

Please note that this issue is not affecting travel on the London Underground or National Rail services. If you do wish to revert your season ticket back to a paper one, we will do this at no cost; please visit one of our ticket offices.

Many thanks for the info. Interesting..

The last thing I want to do is get my paper season ticket back - three barriers a day had it conking out by mid-March. Thought a smartcard was a good solution for me.

Have been given the red light by 5 drivers now in the month I've had my card. Haven't yet met one in the Feltham / Heathrow area who knew anything about Key cards - perhaps central London is different?

TBH I think my point about Southern's Key Card phone line is valid, even if my original post generally degenerated into a bit of a moan - for which, my apologies - both advisors I've spoken to would have benefitted from a bit more instruction on how London transport (zones, tickets) works.

Haven't yet had problems on the way home, and haven't felt the need to pay on my old Oyster card to get to work more quickly :D - so I don't yet know how refunds will work. Surely they could process a printed statement rather than needing something to be posted as I was advised?

Many thanks for the reply again. At least the info is out there for other travellers now.
 

WillPS

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18 Nov 2008
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Sheffield
Hmmm. TfL claim there is a fleet of 8500 London Buses; so if 1000 of them aren't working that's a 1 in 8.5 chance of it not working.

Any thoughts on what it might be that causes them to not work? My understanding was that the software on all ticket machines was the same, did the manufacturer of something change at some point?
 

MrGum

Member
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
7
Hmmm. TfL claim there is a fleet of 8500 London Buses; so if 1000 of them aren't working that's a 1 in 8.5 chance of it not working.

Any thoughts on what it might be that causes them to not work? My understanding was that the software on all ticket machines was the same, did the manufacturer of something change at some point?

I hope someone knows, and can tell us!

My fear was that they just haven't programmed buses further away from Victoria, thinking no Southern passenger would be crazy enough to commute out beyond Heathrow, for example. Got the red light again today on a U5 towards Uxbridge (have never yet had my card recognised on a U5).

I would be very interested to know whether people catching buses in north London - say, from Kings X - have these problems too.. :?:
 

mattdickinson

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14 Nov 2010
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I hope someone knows, and can tell us!

My fear was that they just haven't programmed buses further away from Victoria, thinking no Southern passenger would be crazy enough to commute out beyond Heathrow, for example. Got the red light again today on a U5 towards Uxbridge (have never yet had my card recognised on a U5).

I would be very interested to know whether people catching buses in north London - say, from Kings X - have these problems too.. :?:

I think that at one point TfL bus routes with a letter prefix were incompatible with ITSO. I wonder if this problem has anything to do with that?
 

Mike395

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It seems to be a software issue affecting a particular version of the onboard card reader software on London buses. I've been advised similarly re refunds (and have received them without quibble).

It does seem to be reader, rather than bus/route specific as have had one reader reject my card on a Borismaster as it doesnt recognise the card, then one further down the bus accept it without issue!

Thankfully, of the hundred or so times I've used it on my main commuting route, the 91, it's only been rejected once, and that was with a different type of bus to the normal one on the route.

(As an aside, I've also been recently having issues with loading a ticket onto my card at a TVM, with it preauthorising the funds then not loading the card!)
 
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