TFL price anomolies- tough luck.

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by hungover, 13 Aug 2015.

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  1. hungover

    hungover Member

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    Hi all

    I recently travelled off peak from Ruislip Gardens (Zone 5) to North Sheen (Zone 3) (via Zone 2 and avoiding Zone 1).

    As an occasional/semi-regular user of the FGW Greenford branch I assumed that the last leg of my journey on SW Trains would be charged at the same rate as my tube trains.

    To that end, I expected a PAYG Oyster fare of £1.50, and definitely not the eventual charge £4.60.

    Someone in the money savings expert forum pointed me in the direction of the TFL single Fare Finder webpage.

    It seems that the correct fare should be £2.10 (the extra £0.60 because of using SW Trains).

    I then rang TFL who told me that because my route deviated from the one listed on the fare finder page (read:database?) I was charged correctly (ie £4.60 rather than £2.10). I was being charged £4.60 for travelling via Zone 1. He conceded that I had swiped in and out correctly at all interchanges and that I had not entered Zone 1, as such was willing to make a one off good-will refund (£2.50) but that in future I must not deviate from any route dictated by the fare finder page. If I make the same journey again I will definitely not be entitled to a refund

    My route from Ruislip Gardens to North Sheen was as follows

    1. Central Line- Ruislip Gardens (Zone 5) to White City (Zone 2)
    2. Hammersmith And City line- Wood Lane (Zone 2) to Hammersmith (Zone 2)
    3. District Line Hammersmith (Zone 2) to Richmond (Zone 4).
    4. SW Trains- Richmond (Zone 4) to North Sheen (Zone 3)
    (All stations used are interchange stations and I swiped correctly as required) Cost=£4.60

    The route that I should have taken according to the single fare page

    1. Central Line- Ruislip Gardens (Zone 5) to North Acton (Zone 2/3)
    2. Central Line- North Acton (Zone 2/3) to Ealing Broadway (Zone 3).
    3. District line- Ealing Broadway (Zone 3) to Turnham Green (Zone 2/3)
    4. District line- Turnham Green (Zone 2/3) to Richmond (Zone 4).
    5. SW Trains- Richmond (Zone 4) to North Sheen (Zone 3)
    Cost £2.10

    Now this is where TFL's esoteric pricing system gets even sillier.

    A. Had I exited the tube system at Richmond, my fare would have been £1.50. Enter Richmond again and take the SW Train one stop to North Sheen, cost £1.90. Total cost £3.40 rather than £4.60 for exactly the same route.

    B. Had I exited at Hammersmith and taken a bus, the total cost would have been £3.00. The same fare applies if I got a bus from Richmond (again via the same zone 2 interchanges

    And to muddy the waters even more, the customer services agent said that i was being charged extra for travelling in to zone 1, but an off peak tube Zone 5 to 2 fare is £2.80 (according to their PDF fares sheet). Add the £1.90 and we end up with £4.70.

    But I if travelled alllllll the way from Ruislip Gardens to Waterloo (Zone 1) and then took the SW train from Waterloo to North Sheen, we eventually reach the magical £4.60. Of course I am using a combination of the TFL fare sheet, which I have been advised by TFL to disregard in favour of the web only single fare finder, so I don't even know if that price is accurate.

    If I applied a similar pricing structure in my own line of work, I would soon have no clients left.

    I guess that the moral is- ignore the tube's own zone map and published zone prices and their route finder web page only accept prices and routes dictated by their single fares page (the very page that the vast majority of their users don't even know exist).

    It's times like this that I think that I really should learn how to drive.

    Apologies for the rant...
     
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  3. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Unfortunately a route has to exist in the database for a fare to be correctly charged. The journey you took, while certainly reasonable, may not be one TfL thought about, in which case the default fare would be charged.

    One path that is open to you is to contact Customer Service and lobby them for the route to be added. I have successfully done that before and they are generally quite responsive to sensible suggestions.
     
  4. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Just for fun, can anyone say what zones would be charged for:

    Ruislip Gardens to Hammersmith Met
    and
    Hammersmith Dist to North sheen, please
     
  5. Be3G

    Be3G Established Member

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    Hmm. This is a particularly galling example because if the journey had been made with an OSI break at Hammersmith (i.e. more than 20 minutes had been spent getting from the H&C to Piccadilly platforms), then only £3.40 would have been charged: £1.50 followed by £1.90. I wonder if contactless would have charged that combination of two lower fares?
     
  6. hungover

    hungover Member

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    Thanks BB21.

    One would have hoped that on discovering alternative routes, TFL would add then rather than the onus being on customers to lobby them to do so. Additionally one would hope that CAs would be allowed to offer refunds on such routes until they are added to the database. Yes, I was given a refund but the inference was that know that I know that the single fare webpage exists I am stuffed if I ever ask for a non-database refund again.

    I also question why it is that TFL's own route finder does not display prices or allow PAYG users to select price as a field. The implication is that all customers have travel cards. The route that I took is one of the routes offered to customers at certain times of the day, using the default fastest route.

    I frequently travel at relatively short notice. If my phone battery is dead or has no signal, I have to take a leap of faith. The majority of stations that I start from no longer have ticket offices and my experience is that most staff simply refer to TFL's own zonal charging tables, which I now know to be general in nature and not binding or reflective of the actual price.

    Nevertheless I shall follow your advice, cheers.

    As an aside, I believe that my fare was based upon the assumption that I travelled to Waterloo and back out on SW trains. Is it really that difficult for their system to notice that my journey could not have possibly taken place as quickly as it did? The record of my swiping the interchange Oyster at Richmond, if we ignore time as a physical construct would suggest that I travelled from Hammersmith to Waterloo, then failed to swipe to get on SW trains, travelled to Richmond, swiped (for no obvious reason) and the took another SW train back in the other direction to N Sheen. So why was I not charged an incomplete journey.

    There are some pretty serious logic flaws in their system.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2015
  7. Alan White

    Alan White Member

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    TfL certainly has a problem with fares in that area: this is at least the fourth complaint (including my own) I've seen recently. The common theme seems to be Acton and the OSIs at Wood Lane/White City and the Hammersmiths.

    TfL seems to want such journeys to go west via Ealing Broadway or via Shepherd's Bush and Clapham Junction. It makes no sense to me either, as TfL's suggested routes are longer in distance and time.

    Unlike bb21, I've not found TfL responsive to suggestions about alternative routes. My route from East Acton to Feltham via Wood Lane/White City and the Hammersmiths seemed to me to be the obvious one but it costs a z1 fare.

    You can make this cheaper by breaking the OSI at Hammersmith Dis/Pic (you don't need to wait 20 minutes - just touch in/out/in again) but it's still more expensive than via Ealing Broadway and Turnham Green or Shepherd's Bush and Clapham Junction.
     
  8. blakey1152

    blakey1152 Member

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    I had a similar issue (which is on another thread) Where TfL have "decided" that the route I should travel would involve a change of train and a zone which I didn't have on my Oyster instead of the direct train that I did use which had all the zones I needed to make the journey!

    I didn't have any issues getting a refund though.

    It does seem unfair though that even though you were able to tap wherever was required to show your route that TfL still want to charge you via zone 1 and they do have that clause that states that some fares are charged via zone 1 regardless of route taken (or similar wording!)

    And like myself, with a paper ticket I bet this wouldn't have been an issue at all :)

    Blakey
     
  9. hungover

    hungover Member

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    Has you succeeded in getting a refund on the same route more than once though?

    I am concerned that if I make another fine based route (where a fine is punitive charge for not following the "rules"), any appeal will be turned down because I am now aware that they exist.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Ahhh... but sometimes they don't want you to go via ealing broadway.

    I have only just noticed that a journey that I have made dozens of times, South Ruislip to Earl's Court is another screwed fare.

    My route would be the same that I take to Hammersmith. Central line to White City, Hammersmith&City to Hammersmith and then two stops on the district line or Picadilly line. (I like that route and I can have a crafty fag between stations- and it is the fastest to hammersmith).

    Nope not allowed, nor is the Ealing Broadway route. If I want to go to baron's court my route is allowed, but one stop extra to Earl's court- go to prison and do not collect £200.

    Any guesses as to the ONLY official route?

    https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-paymen...+Station&ToId=940GZZLUECT&PassengerType=Adult
     
  10. Alan White

    Alan White Member

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  11. hungover

    hungover Member

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    It is effin' bonkers though.

    I want to travel to Baron's court, I can take any route, go one stop further (whilst staying in the same zone) and price jumps from £1.50 to £3.10 because the system that sees that I am travelling east on the Piccadilly line decides that I approaching from the east.
     
  12. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    The assumption will be that you are approaching from the north, having changed at Notting Hill Gate.
     
  13. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    Both of these routes seem perfectly valid and should both qualify for the "Avoiding Zone 1" fare. TfL's journey planner, in fact, gives your route via Wood Lane and Hammersmith as a valid option. There's also a 3rd alternative, changing at Notting Hill Gate and Earl's Court.

    Did you touch your card on the Pink Oyster validator at Richmond station? See: https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/oyster/using-oyster/pink-card-readers?intcmp=1700
     
  14. hungover

    hungover Member

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    The Notting Hill Gate route suggested by the TFL route finder sends you via zone 1. It assumes that you want the fastest route.

    And yes, I did use the pink validator. If you read one of my earlier posts, you will see that I have since discovered that my journey would have been cheaper if I left the station at Richmond and re-entered at Richmond, additionally I could have saved the same amount by purposely spending20 minutes walking between the two Hammersmith stations.
     
  15. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I must get round to re-crafting the reply I lost on MSE for your original post. However, you don't need to wait 20 minutes between the Hammersmiths. Just touch in, touch out, and touch in again (a move I call the hokey-cokey) at the end of the walk and it will start a new journey.
     
  16. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    Ahh, yes you're right. Notting Hill Gate and Earl's Court are both Zone 2, but of course you pass into Zone 1 to get between them.

    Now, TfL's fare finder suggests the "Avoiding Zones 1 and 2 via Ealing Broadway, Turnham Green and Richmond" route as the cheapest option (£2.10 off peak).

    But here's the thing: As far as I know, there is no way for the Oyster system to differentiate this route from any other Tube-only route between Ruislip Gardens and Richmond. There are no Oyster ticket gates to go through, or pink Oyster validators, at any of these stations. So if you had taken the Zone 1 route via Notting Hill Gate and Earl's Court you would very likely have been charged the cheapest fare!

    Yes, but you shouldn't have to do any of that. Your route is entirely reasonable and there's no reason you should have been charged a "via Zone 1" fare. By touching at Wood Lane and Hammersmith you've pretty much proved you haven't gone via Zone 1. In my opinion, it is a clear bug/limitation in TfL's fare system, and if you are overcharged are entitled to a refund.
     
  17. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Yes you almost certainly would, as long as you touch the pink validator at Richmond. This is one of the areas where the limitations of the Oyster system really impact on their ability to charge appropriate fares.


    OK. The problem here is the difference between direct routes and those involving interchange, especially out-of-station interchanges where you need to walk between stations. The decision whether to allow a route or not depends on multiple factors including the number of trains required, the frequency of those trains and the distance required to walk. It is very rare to see any route described which involves two or more external walking interchanges outside zone 1.

    That's not to say that TfL are right; I believe the combination of White City/Wood Lane and Hammersmith deserves to be treated differently, but this should explain why it isn't allowed at the moment.
     
  18. ji459

    ji459 Member

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    Last Friday I touched in at Greenford (zone 4) and travelled by train to Paddington (zone 1), where I touched out. I then touched in again and took the Bakerloo line from Paddington and touched out at Charing Cross. I was only charged £2.80, which is what the single fare finder said the journey would cost. However, that's the zone 1-4 tube fare rather than the zone 1-4 National Rail through fare, which is £4.20. Price anomolies can certainly work in passengers' favour too! It looks like the single fare finder really is definitive.
     
  19. hassaanhc

    hassaanhc Established Member

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    The FGW routes have always been charged at the TfL rate rather than the National Rail rate!
     
  20. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    This page has more details on which routes are charged on the TfL fare scale.
     
  21. hungover

    hungover Member

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    .

    Rather than seeing that as a positive, I see the National Rail surcharge as being a negative, and one that travelcard holders are exempt from.

    Journeys from South Ruislip to Marylebone (Chiltern Rail) are additionally charged at normal tube prices.

    Here is a list of fares that are charged at tube rates

    https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares/national-rail

    I might be mistaken but IIRC in the days of paper tickets, the cost to get from Paddington to Ealing Broadway used to be the same if you went by tube or NR, I also seem to remember that you could use the NR ticket on both services but the tube ticket couldn't be used on the NR route (I might be making up that last bit though).
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    Does the hokey-cokey work at all stations though.

    A while back I had a bus operator's nominee card.

    I entered Perivale station. Walked up to the platform, discovered that my train was ages away. Swiped to go out for a cigarette but was not able to swipe back in 5 minutes later (can't remember the code). The station assistant had to swipe me back in.
     
  22. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    If you have a Travelcard on your Oyster, you can't touch in at the same station twice within a short period of time (something like 5-15 minutes). This is to prevent "pass back" fraud. Presumably the same restriction applies to your nominee card.
     
  23. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Routes like FGW, Chiltern and C2C have charged TfL prices for a long time because of the lengths of shared route. The NR surcharge only applies to those TOCS which never went over to TfL pricing and always charged an add-on fare to continue a journey by tube/DLR.

    The hokey-cokey works at any station which has gates. It won't work if you're using a travelcard or other means of free travel. It is actually the same station exit procedure, but has the benefit of breaking an open journey and starting a new one.
     
  24. benk1342

    benk1342 Member

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    That restriction definitely does not apply to TfL Staff Passes - it would be interesting to find out if it applies to Nominee passes (I had assumed they worked by the same mechanism). I will try to remember to test when out with my wife at some point.

    Ben
     
  25. Mojo

    Mojo Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    It is only staff passes that allow you to touch on a gateline multiple times. Nominee passes and retired staff passes will not work in this manner.
     
  26. Skimpot flyer

    Skimpot flyer Member

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    Very true!
    How much should I have been charged for this journey?
    I wanted to sample the 'parliamentary' Chiltern Trains journey between Paddington and South Ruislip.
    As you can see, I started my exploratory trip at Finsbury Park (Zone 2), and went via Zone 1, swapping from Victoria to Circle Line at Kings Cross, touching out / in at Paddington, then rode the once-a-day train to South Ruislip (Zone 5), then took a Chiltern service to Wembley Stadium station (Zone 4)
    Total time taken, for a Zone 2 to Zone 4 journey* was 91 minutes (!), but I was charged only £1.85 (I have a Gold Card discount, otherwise the fare would have been £2.80).

    *in terms of where I touched in, and where I touched out
     

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  27. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    The fare charged was the correct fare for a zone 1-4 TfL scale journey. You travelled 2-1-2-3-4 which is 5 zones, so 110 minutes was allowed for the journey. You cannot be off route when using a PAYG Oyster with sufficient credit while staying within the Oyster charging area, so you were within the rules. Had you taken 20 minutes longer you would have had 2 incomplete journeys which you would then need to explain to the helpdesk.
     
  28. hungover

    hungover Member

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    Both explanations make sense, thanks
     
  29. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    Surely the system won't see two incomplete journeys, since the user had to exit / enter through the gates at Paddington to go from tube to train level. Would be seen as one complete journey (Finsbury Park to Paddington), and then a new journey from Paddington to Wembley Park, with a new maximum journey time, no?
     
  30. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    If you exceed the maximum journey time you are charged two incomplete fares. Using OSIs means it is treated as one journey. To break it you need to do the hokey-cokey, as MikeWh said.
     
  31. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    No. Because exit at Paddington LU and entry at Paddington NR within a set time limit is recognised as an out of station interchange, the two journeys are joined together. The start point reverts to the start of the overall journey and the via point is recorded (very loosely) in case it's needed as a route identifier. When you next exit the system only knows that you've travelled from your initial start at the time of that touch and you've been via an intermediate point at some stage in between.
     
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