TfL Rail to Reading - no Oyster so no Railcards?

mrmartin

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http://www.crossrail.co.uk/news/articles/tfl-rail-to-operate-services-to-reading-from-15-december

Pay as you go with Oyster will not be extended to services beyond West Drayton, due to limitations with the system, which is now more than 15 years old. Millions of journeys in and around London are already being made using contactless every day; with 60 per cent of rail pay as you go journeys made using contactless.
So this means there is no way to get a railcard discounted 'tfl' fare to reading now? Pretty poor - anyone know if railcards will come to contactless at some point?
 
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hkstudent

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Skimpot flyer

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http://www.crossrail.co.uk/news/articles/tfl-rail-to-operate-services-to-reading-from-15-december



So this means there is no way to get a railcard discounted 'tfl' fare to reading now? Pretty poor - anyone know if railcards will come to contactless at some point?
Yes, this does mean there will be no way to get a railcard-discounted contactless 'tfl' fare to Reading. I think, from memory of other discussions on here, it is unlikely that the railcard 'flag' can be added to a contactless card. With an Oyster, the card is owned by TfL. Your contactless card is owned by you.
Paper tickets are still available, thankfully.
 

swt_passenger

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So with hindsight, were the various previous discussions pointing out that such and such a zone had been reserved for certain of the Reading extension stations just wishful thinking, or has something significant changed?
 

MarlowDonkey

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So this means there is no way to get a railcard discounted 'tfl' fare to reading now?
Contactless has never included railcard discounts. You would load the discount to a personalised Oyster card, or just buy a normal paper ticket or travelcard.

I see the problem though, they aren't extending the use of Oyster beyond West Drayton.

It's showing a lack of joined up thinking by the "railway" as a whole. With one hand they extend discounts to ages up to 30 while with the other they remove a facility to not use paper tickets but retain discounts.

It still leaves open the question as to how it will work on the Windsor, Marlow and Henley branches. You can touch in, but how and where do you touch out?
 
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PeterC

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Significant change? Well Oyster / Contactless seems to be getting extensions in all directions.

A railcard would be flagged on the TfL account to which the card is registered in their backend system not on the payment card. Why they haven't done this yet only TfL know.
 

Indigo2

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A railcard would be flagged on the TfL account to which the card is registered in their backend system not on the payment card. Why they haven't done this yet only TfL know.
The point that has been made on here before is that it would not be possible to check against the back-end database quickly enough in real time during an inspection, in order for an inspector to realise that a railcard is added to the card and that they must ask the passenger to show it. Maybe this will change as technology (e.g. memory capacity on inspection devices) and/or real-time connectivity improves?
 

tom73

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A contactless debit card legally belongs to the bank who issued it (with the bank also having the right to close the account associated with a card at any time without giving a reason).
Seems totally illogical to even believe that there could be some way to apply a rail related discount to a contactless card as the card is nothing whatsoever to do with the railway.
 

hkstudent

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Well, unless DfT agreed to establish a new South East Region ITSO-standard Smartcard in response to the South East Pay As You Go consultation, it would be rather difficult to apply smartcard fares beyond existing zones due to memory capacity of the old Oyster Card system.
 

mattdickinson

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"TfL expects that GWR will also offer pay as you go with contactless on their services from 2 January 2020"

seems to be a statement of hope rather than a formal agreement..
 

hkstudent

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"TfL expects that GWR will also offer pay as you go with contactless on their services from 2 January 2020"

seems to be a statement of hope rather than a formal agreement..
Which means that inter-availability of tickets are not yet negotiated.
I am kind of concerned on 2nd January 2020, passengers maybe Penalty Fared at Paddington Station GWR platforms/barriers for using contactless payment.
 

mattdickinson

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An unsurprising update to the article:

"Pay as you go will not be valid on South Western services between London Waterloo and Reading via Virginia Water"
 

JonathanH

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It still leaves open the question as to how it will work on the Windsor, Marlow and Henley branches. You can touch in, but how and where do you touch out
It doesn't leave that question open at all. There is no reason why these lines need to be in scope of Contactless - touch out at Slough, Maidenhead or Twyford and buy a paper ticket for the branch, just like you have to on a Victoria to Reigate train where Contactless isn't valid beyond Redhill.
 

JonathanH

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Interesting article, especially the fare table for current fares and this quote.

Once introduced, adult pay as you go fares to/from stations between Iver and Reading are anticipated to be cheaper or in line with standard single and return fares along the line.
£25 peak single from Reading to Paddington seems fairly likely. Maybe off-peak single somewhere between £11 and £12.50.
 

Joe Paxton

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Not all that surprising. When the Oyster system was originally specified and designed as part of the Prestige ticketing project - a process which started in the mid-90s - it wasn't devised with endless expansion in mind. I understand London Underground (who was then the client - this is pre-TfL days) tried to see if the 'big railway' was interested in getting involved, but the TOCs were all too engrossed in their brave new post-privatisation world to manage any such thing.


P.S. The title of this thread should really read "TfL Rail to Reading - no railcards on Oyster?"
 
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matt_world2004

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Freedom passes valid over the whole route but over 60 oyster cards wont be.

Maybe for the railcard they will retail a discounted paper ticket thats equivilent to what the discounted pay as you go rate will be.
This is what they do with heathrow commuter tickets.
 
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mrmartin

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The argument that 'the card belongs to the bank not tfl' makes absolutely 0 sense. You're not applying a railcard discount to the physical card, you are flagging the card number has a railcard. Much like it works currently. Your journey history isn't written to your contactless card, it just provides the number to the backend system to know how to bill. It is not a technical challenge at all to add railcards to contactless, just a lack of will in TfL.

This is going to get confusing as it is the only place which accepts only contactless and not oyster.

The point that has been made on here before is that it would not be possible to check against the back-end database quickly enough in real time during an inspection, in order for an inspector to realise that a railcard is added to the card and that they must ask the passenger to show it. Maybe this will change as technology (e.g. memory capacity on inspection devices) and/or real-time connectivity improves?
I don't really buy this argument either. I have never had my railcard checked at any ticket inspector in the past 5 years of living in London, even though it's on my oyster. I don't think it's a priority for tfl revenue protection, especially as you can't add it yourself and a member of staff has to see it is valid and puts the expiry date in, which means you do have a valid railcard, and you've just forgotten/lost it if you don't have it.

Are TfL legally/contractually compelled to provide railcard discounts? This is the first time I've seen TfL offer a fare which cannot be discounted with a railcard AFIAK?
 

Hadders

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I have never had my railcard checked at any ticket inspector in the past 5 years of living in London, even though it's on my oyster.
I have on a couple of occasions. Once on board a Piccadilly Line train in zone 1 and once at Kings Cross St Pancras in the passageway between the tube ticket hall and the SSL platforms.

This is the first time I've seen TfL offer a fare which cannot be discounted with a railcard AFIAK?
Contactless fares have been available on TfL for a number of years. They've never offered any railcard discounts. I think what you meant to say is that this is the first time that TfL have offered a fare which is contactless only, i.e. no Oyster equivalent. Brookmans Park is like this although GTR rather than TfL but it uses TfL ticketing infrastructure.
 

mattdickinson

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I have on a couple of occasions. Once on board a Piccadilly Line train in zone 1 and once at Kings Cross St Pancras in the passageway between the tube ticket hall and the SSL platforms.



Contactless fares have been available on TfL for a number of years. They've never offered any railcard discounts. I think what you meant to say is that this is the first time that TfL have offered a fare which is contactless only, i.e. no Oyster equivalent. Brookmans Park is like this although GTR rather than TfL but it uses TfL ticketing infrastructure.
The GTR extensions to Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City will also be Contactless only.
 

JonathanH

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There is a danger here of a fare structure which is good for peak fares, eg when railcard discounts and cheap returns don't apply, leading to off-peak travel becoming very much more expensive. We keep banging on about this but, as I see it, if Contactless becomes really popular for the convenience it offers, at not much extra cost in the peak, paper tickets and railcard discounts will fall by the wayside, as of course they have done in London for the most part. In London that is fine because the difference in cost, in nominal terms, is generally low, eg less than £1. However, as this extends further out the price differentials are much more.
 

Joe Paxton

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This is going to get confusing as it is the only place which accepts only contactless and not oyster.
Not so - Brookmans Park (on the ECML one station north of Potters Bar) is now enabled for contactless PAYG, but not Oyster PAYG - this is shown on the August update of the London's Rail & Tube services map.

See these pages on the Greater Northern website...
GN - Contactless Pay As You Go (PAYG)
GN - Oyster and Contactless FAQs

In particular see the final FAQ...
Why can’t Oyster cards be used on the extension to Brookmans Park?

Due to limitations with the Oyster system it has not been possible to include the ability to use Oyster cards for journeys to / from Brookmans Park. Although Oyster and Contactless apply broadly the same fares, it uses a completely separate system.

Therefore, children and passengers holding Railcards will for most journeys be better off continuing to buy paper tickets or using the Key Smartcard.
As mattdickinson points out above, Contactless-only PAYG (sans Oyster) is coming to other places too.


Are TfL legally/contractually compelled to provide railcard discounts? This is the first time I've seen TfL offer a fare which cannot be discounted with a railcard AFIAK?
Railcard discounts will presumably remain available for paper tickets.

TfL-rate fares (e.g. for a Tube or DLR journey) on Oyster PAYG were not discounted with a Railcard initially - i.e. for a year or two after Oyster PAYG went live across NR in London in 2010. (Before this, Oyster PAYG offered no Railcard discounts at all - which is unsurprising as it couldn't be used on most of the NR network in London in PAYG mode.)
 

si404

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So zone F was reserved for Elizabeth line stations out to Reading (and as exclusive service provider they can put Iver and Langley in zones 7-9, should they want (using the different fare scales to set the price).

I heard a rumor that Slough might be the same zone as Watford Junction (and TfL will probably bring Burnham and Taplow into the same zone). Reading might be the only station.

The GWR ITSO system is going to come online at the same time - which might serve the branches. It's not like some new thing anyway where there's interchange between services where Oyster isn't valid to services where it is. Stratford, Amersham, Harrow-on-the-Hill, etc have pads on the platforms to deal with this.
 

Hadders

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The problem is the wider public believe that contactless fares are cheaper, aided and abetted by the sort of press release that's been issued today.

Reading doesn't have super off peak tickets to London so thankfully it's not as bad as Brookmans Park but anyone travelling outside the [eaks and using a railcard shouldn't use contactless. I bet there won't be prominent posters displayed at stations stating this.

People will end up thinking there getting a fares cut but in reality it'll end up being a hidden fares increase.

Hopefully Oyster will get extended to Reading when it moves to back office processing but I believe this project is behind schedule.
 

Joe Paxton

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Hopefully Oyster will get extended to Reading when it moves to back office processing but I believe this project is behind schedule.
When this happens it should restore parity between Contactless and Oyster, and so enable Railcard-discounted PAYG fares for those places that have been lacking them.

Anyone have an idea of the revised timetable for this project?
 

mrmartin

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Good point. When oyster moves to back office processing hopefully this issue will be solved. Not too bothered if it is a temporary issue.
 

matt_world2004

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When this happens it should restore parity between Contactless and Oyster, and so enable Railcard-discounted PAYG fares for those places that have been lacking them.

Anyone have an idea of the revised timetable for this project?
My understanding is back office processing is already done for second gen cards and a flag just prevents then from accessing the contactless only zones. But to avoid confusion for second gen cards they are limited to first generation feature sets. With the exception of any station top up collection.
 

matt_world2004

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Londoners are going to be upset when they board a first berkshire bus after getting off the new Elizabeth line and get charged significantly more than £1.50 contactless fare.
 

JonathanH

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Londoners are going to be upset when they board a first berkshire bus after getting off the new Elizabeth line and get charged significantly more than £1.50 contactless fare.
For all you know they might be quite upset when they see what they are charged for going past West Drayton on the train as well.
 

Joe Paxton

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My understanding is back office processing is already done for second gen cards and a flag just prevents then from accessing the contactless only zones. But to avoid confusion for second gen cards they are limited to first generation feature sets. With the exception of any station top up collection.
Interesting, thanks.

I guess the big issue is trying to remove first generation Oyster cards from circulation/use. Easier said than done!
 

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