TfL overcharging due to engineering works! REFUND now agreed

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by silvercar, 28 May 2019.

  1. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    Engineering works on Sunday meant that Thameslink line from Bedford terminated at St Pancras (higher level platforms) and those wanting to continue their journey southbound had to tap out at the higher level and then tap in again to access the lower level platforms.

    Very badly organised as the barriers upstairs were kept open with staff telling people who wanted to tap to go to the readers on the far right and those that didn't to walk through. So those trying to access the readers were crossing the onward sweep of passengers rushing for the north bound trains. Compounded by people trying to tap on the readers by the open gates which were switched off, then "reversing" to reach the readers.

    I digress, the fare for Elstree & Borehamwood to Blackfriars off peak should be £4.10, instead I was charged £4.10 E & B to St Pancras plus £2.10 St Pancras to Blackfriars. I've complained and no doubt I will be refunded eventually, but this overcharge will have occurred for many people who won't know to check and complain.
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not quite sure I understand why that isn't set up as an out of station interchange as a matter of course.
     
  4. londonbridge

    londonbridge Member

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    Setting it as an OSI would be too simple and obvious......I remember way back when PAYG was first introduced on National Rail, I was going from East Croydon to Kings Cross, the Thameslink core was shut, had to go London Bridge plus Northern Line which obviously incurred a higher charge, complained, never got refunded.
     
  5. Qwerty133

    Qwerty133 Established Member

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    Would the barriers for the upper platforms at St Pancras barriers even be set up to accept Oyster as no EMT services stop within the Oyster area?
     
  6. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Thameslink do on Sunday mornings
     
  7. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Part of the problem is that the barriers are not set up for Oyster, hence why passengers are directed to some validators. Things may change when Contactless (but not Oyster) is accepted to Luton Airport Parkway.

    Usually when Thameslink are diverted to the EMT platforms it means that the core section is shut so the issue of an OSI is moot. If the tracks from Finsbury Park were still operating then this does suggest that an OSI needs to be set.
     
  8. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Agreed about an OSI should be set when the Thameslink services are diverted into the EMT platforms, as even if the core is closed some passengers might still continue their trip on LU [and without the OSI will be paying more]. I believe the work this bank holiday weekend was down to the track around Kentish Town getting replaced with a half hourly service terminating in the low level platforms from the Brighton direction [with an hourly Brighton - Cambridge service].
     
  9. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I think the usual OSIs between STP and other stations all work with those validators. What's missing is a Same-NLC OSI.
     
  10. Western Sunset

    Western Sunset Member

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    My zone 1-6 Travelcard opened the barriers at St Pan High Level on Saturday. Would it open the barriers on "normal" days when Thameslink wasn't using plats 1-4?
     
  11. island

    island Established Member

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    I am not sure, but there are standalone Oyster validators next to the wide gate on the left as you enter the platforms.
     
  12. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    TfL have refused a refund:
    "Although I understand why you feel you have been overcharged, a refund of the fares that you paid for travelling on 26 May would not be paid in this case of planned engineering works."
     
  13. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I've raised this with TfL and hope to hear a response in a few days. I've also raised a FOI request to find out how many other people are in the same situation.

    Whilst the general rule is that refunds are not paid when planned works require a diversion via a different route, this is clearly not the same issue as the diversion was simply a walk between gatelines.
     
  14. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    The TOC should be requesting changes to the oyster people for relevant journies in advance for this sort of thing, did GTR?
     
  15. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    To be honest this is almost certainly an oversight. As I said, previously if TL used 1-4 then A-B were also closed. This is probably the first time that an OSI has been required.
     
  16. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    But even if there are planned engineering works, why should people pay more for being inconvenienced?
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Particularly given that the journey made actually doesn't differ from the normal one other than in terms of the ticket barriers passed through. This is the kind of thing someone with a few quid, a bit of time and some legal expertise could do with dragging through the Courts.
     
  18. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Particularly as a paper ticket would cost exactly the same and be just as valid as it would if there were no engineering work. I'm sure it's not done on purpose - just the staff programming the Oyster routes don't know service patterns, and the staff on the Oyster helpline who are usually helpful probably have very little knowledge of National Rail
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Indeed, but it's rather ridiculous that this has simply been dismissed rather than (a) a refund paid, (b) a batch job run to do automatic refunds for everyone else affected, and (c) a problem ticket raised to sort out the root cause, namely the missing OSI which should be added for any future instance of this.
     
  20. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    In an ideal world they shouldn't, but if the TOC don't agree to fund the refunds then TfL can't be expected to provide them.
    Please! Give TfL a chance to resolve this first before talking about courts.
    Actually a paper ticket costs £7.40 whereas Oyster is £6.60 peak or £4.10 off-peak. You're right that someone in customer services has misunderstood what's happened here. Rather than changing the route or zones used, the only effect has been to introduce an extra interchange in the journey. They've picked up the standing instruction that planned engineering work overcharges will not be refunded and acted accordingly.
    As I've said before, I believe that this is the first time that passengers will have used the validators (1-4) and gateline (A-B) as part of a journey. It's an oversight. I have raised the issue with an appropriate person in TfL and I have every confidence that the correct resolution will be applied.
     
  21. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    It happened previously on the bank holiday weekend at the start of May.
     
  22. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Interesting. Was it exactly the same arrangements? All three days? Any historical help greatly appreciated.
     
  23. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    So do I respond to the email rejecting my complaint?

    Assuming it is resolved, will it be resolved for everyone, irrespective of whether they have an account?

    I'm happy to respond to their email if it helps.
     
  24. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    You can respond if you want to. If you do then stress that you made a fully National Rail journey on exactly the same route as usual, apart from the need to change trains at St Pancras. Say that in other places where this happens an out-of-station interchange joins the two journeys into one. You can give examples of Richmond, Lewisham, Oxford Circus, Farringdon and West Harrow, all of which have same-station OSIs where a passenger might be forced to leave the paid area.

    If the issue is resolved in the way that I expect then everyone should get refunds, even if they don't have an account.
     
  25. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I believe the same arrangements were in place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
     
  26. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    I've sent a response along those lines - will report back.
     
  27. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Update: Should be good news.

    After posting the full story last night on my site, including the FOI results showing hundreds of potential victims, I've had a response from GTR. https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/2019/06/st-pancras-resolution-of-overcharge/
    @silvercar - It would be good to know when you get your refund.
     
  28. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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  29. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    So I have had a reply to my complaint on tfl ruling that I wasn't entitled to a refund:

    "
    Thank you very much for contacting us on 1 June about your out of station interchange at St Pancras International.

    I have had a look at your case and I can see that this is just a very clear out of station interchange that failed for some reason. Just like you explained yourself.

    You will normally have 15 minutes to change platform at St Pancras International as a bare minimum before the journey should divide in two, but this happened after just 3 minutes on your journey.

    I am really, really sorry but it seems like my colleague has misunderstood this case and provided you with the wrong information.

    You should of course not pay that extra £2.40 for this out of station interchange, that is very clear. I do apologise for this misunderstanding and any confusion caused.

    The refund will be back on your account within five working days. "

    I'm guessing my complaint hasn't been linked to MikeWh's general one. I will ask my husband to keep an eye out for a refund on his account, as he travelled with me on the same journey and didn't make a claim.
     
  30. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I tend to agree, it's not as a result of my intervention. I'd be very keen to know when/if your husband gets a refund. Thanks for keeping us updated.
     
  31. silvercar

    silvercar Member

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    Nothing as yet! It's now 6 weeks from the date of travel and 17 days since my refund, so I'm not holding out much hope.
     

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