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Penalty Fare from that most arrogant of companies: National Express

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Hi fellow sufferers and readers,

I recently made a journey from Stratford train station, after an interview there, to Ilford to meet with a friend. After noticing the train map, at Stratford, on the "track" side of the barriers I swiped through with my pay-as-you-go Oyster Card, but as the volume of people passing it was so great and thinking I should check to see if I have enough on the card to make the journey with the ticket controller at the 'oversize barrier' (initiated at Golders Green zone 3 via Overground train from Hampstead Heath).

 

I told him I wanted to go to Ilford and which platform should I to go from and as I was travelling on an Oyster Card how much would it be to make that journey as it would obviously swipe off my credit up to the max for travel within the time period. He seemed helpful enough telling me the platform and the price but mentioned nothing of it not forming part of the TfL network despite being a zone 4 station.

 

So I simply went to the platform and caught the train that had just pulled up. There certainly wasn't any additional time to go looking for obscure notices (if they even exist there) telling me that they are a different network. There certainly wasn't any kind of ticketing barrier to direct you through to confirm compliance.

 

The first I knew of having made a so-called "penalty-fare" journey was when I arrived at Ilford with another gentleman at the swipe barrier but it would not accept either my or his ticket.

We were called aside by a burly ticket controller who simply swiped our Oyster cards and said that we had travelled on a PAYG card type and that was not valid and such we were going to have to pay a penalty fare. I was quite taken aback and explained that I had made inquiries and the originating station but was not told that my Oyster Card was not valid on this part of the overground.

He then proceeded to read from some small National Express East Anglia pamphlet about having contravened travel conditions and then asked for £20 each. The other man was clearly from overseas and he was quite baffled by this and could not clearly verbalise his situation, but it was evident it was similar to mine. I then told him that I did not even have £20 to pay even if I thought this was just..though I would pay for a normal single fare which I just had enough for. He basically said that we could pay the "fine" or give our details. I asked why it was necessary to do this when I for one had no interest in evading a fare and would happily pay the fare (as I have done in the past for additional charges on the underground)

He then said that as we were not forthcoming with our details that he was calling the police, to which I said sure I would love to get to the bottom of this ridiculous situation.

At this point a further 5 people had been queued up next to us to pay their fare. My friend had arrived as well and said to just give the personal details and pay the £3 to exit and deal with the appeal afterwards (as it transpired he had been "done" as well a few weeks earlier). I then asked the other barrier guard how many people get pulled up like this every day and he said "at least 50" (that's from Ilford station alone). The other controller would not let me pay the £3 to leave at that point saying that we were going to be dealt with by the police instead and we had no choice any more.

 

...I must run now and will post again when I get back

Edited by squirlyline

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Your post is a little confusing.

Did you receive a Penalty Fare Notice?

If so, write to the appeals address on it and state what you have here.

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Your post is a little confusing.

Did you receive a Penalty Fare Notice?

If so, write to the appeals address on it and state what you have here.

 

Yes, sorry, I had to leave in a hurry and did not get to finish my post.

I am in fact writing to the IRCAS appeals online tonight as it states that it is to be received no later than 8 July 09; the only thing is that it is not clear as to what part of the day the deadline expires on (at least from the ticket) i.e. is from 0000hrs, the end of standard business hours or 2400hrs? (at the moment I am looking to submit it before midnight, but do I have more time?)

 

At any rate the reason I am posting here is that I had wanted to state as part of my appeal a form of complaint in the way that the matter was handled (over and beyond the simple facts) and was wondering whether this is advisable (as well as adding information about the situation for others to read)?

To finish the sequence of events, a policeman arrived to find a group of about 8 people amassed for the penalty fare, so I said to him that it seemed that there was something wrong with National Express policy if it is extracting high fee fares from so many people, who evidently seem to have no interest in fare evasion (many seemed to be baffled by what was going on and a few of them looked as though their grasp of English was limited).

The policeman agreed with me and said that although he could not express his personal view on the matter, that his police unit and commissioner had already had many meetings with National Express imploring them to take a more lenient stance on the issuing of these so-called fares; but National Express had simply refused to as they deemed it within their rights under the 2002 Penalty Fares Rules. He had intimated that this was using up unnecessary police resources as they were regularly called out for this situation and it was sadly beyond their control.

-- It is this sentiment that I want to add into the appeal letter as I feel that it should be expressed somewhere where it may count; but I don't know if it is appropriate to add it on. Let me know what you think

Edited by squirlyline

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IRCAS have a strict procedure for assessing appeals, they will not take into consideration the fact that you were not happy with the 'service' you received.

Simplified, they will make a judgement whether or not it was reasonable to expect you to have purchased a ticket prior to travel.

The fact that you used PAYG is not an excuse, you have a legal & strict liability to ensure your ticket is valid for your journey.

If the appeal has to be received by 8th july then I would suggest thats midnight tonight, however I have no experirnce of online appeals.

 

Your complaint should be addressed in the first instance to the TOC concerned, then if you are not happy with the response try the various passenger groups who have a lot of influence.

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IRCAS have a strict procedure for assessing appeals, they will not take into consideration the fact that you were not happy with the 'service' you received.

Simplified, they will make a judgement whether or not it was reasonable to expect you to have purchased a ticket prior to travel.

The fact that you used PAYG is not an excuse, you have a legal & strict liability to ensure your ticket is valid for your journey.

If the appeal has to be received by 8th july then I would suggest thats midnight tonight, however I have no experirnce of online appeals.

 

Your complaint should be addressed in the first instance to the TOC concerned, then if you are not happy with the response try the various passenger groups who have a lot of influence.

 

Thanks I thought as much (the trick is not to take the advice of someone who works for TfL or any other line of transport but make a beeline to the nearest Internet cafe and look up the information [including T&Cs incase something goes wrong] online of all travel providers that you're likely to pass through)

 

So on the face of it is my appeal doomed as I took the advice of railways employee on how to make my journey? (I did notice on another post that being allowed to proceed through a barrier not carrying a valid ticket, under direction of a member of staff, may be grounds for having the penalty fare waived; does this reasoning hold in this case or am I back to my above statement)

 

BTW which passsenger groups are you referring to?

 

thanks

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I suggest SRPO is right in that the best course of action is to submit your appeal in due time and await the response

 

If you are not happy with the outcome, you have the option of referring the matter to a further, independent arbitor.

 

What does surprise me is why so many people leave the appeal to the very last minute?

 

You have 21 days from the date of issue in which to make the appeal or pay and I note that a poster on another thread says 'I left it to the last possible date.'

 

Why??

 

The only person that is inconvenienced by leaving it is yourself, because any postal or other delivery delay will mean the appeal risks being dismissed as 'out of time' and the staff dealing with these matters have hundreds to process all of the time.

 

As far as the comments of the Police Officer are concened, I wouldn't put too much store by that helping your case unless you have that officers name or collar number and can quote that in your letter, otherwise it has no more real value than the opinion of any un-involved third party.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds unhelpful, it is intended to be exactly the opposite because if your appeal is to stand any chance of success, you should concentrate on the facts rather than introducing third party opinion. This might be seen as an attempt to avoid addressing the reasons why you had no valid ticket.

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I suggest SRPO is right in that the best course of action is to submit your appeal in due time and await the response

 

If you are not happy with the outcome, you have the option of referring the matter to a further, independent arbitor.

 

What does surprise me is why so many people leave the appeal to the very last minute?

 

You have 21 days from the date of issue in which to make the appeal or pay and I note that a poster on another thread says 'I left it to the last possible date.'

 

Why??

 

The only person that is inconvenienced by leaving it is yourself, because any postal or other delivery delay will mean the appeal risks being dismissed as 'out of time' and the staff dealing with these matters have hundreds to process all of the time.

 

As far as the comments of the Police Officer are concened, I wouldn't put too much store by that helping your case unless you have that officers name or collar number and can quote that in your letter, otherwise it has no more real value than the opinion of any un-involved third party.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds unhelpful, it is intended to be exactly the opposite because if your appeal is to stand any chance of success, you should concentrate on the facts rather than introducing third party opinion. This might be seen as an attempt to avoid addressing the reasons why you had no valid ticket.

 

Thanks for your insight. In fact I quite agree that in terms of making a judgement the information provided by the police officer is of no significance without any means of identification and verification and then it is only one of the greater issues surrounding this problem. However as a layperson describing events that's what I was wanting to convey; I realise it may not add to my own case, however if it will be seen as being impertinent to the issue then it is not what I want to mention.

 

This was a last minute submission because I simply have not had the time to do anything about it earlier. Moreover as I am also dealing with other similar issues and the few moment of the day I can spend I have to be able to find a 'space' to recall the information clearly and put it down. Not something that's easy when tired and juggling young kids, so I processed it because I had no more time left.

 

At any rate it's all academic now as I have submitted and mentioned the police arrival (no doubt this is also in the ticket controller's notes too) at the end, but of course I made all the important facts known first. Either way I still think that the application of this rule is being used too indiscriminately because it is financially convenient and I am more interested, in some ways, in broadcasting that message, with the hope that it will be seen for what it is and maybe there will be pressure for change. I truly feel sorry for those people standing in line with me that felt confused and vilified by the whole process

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Thanks for your insight. In fact I quite agree that in terms of making a judgement the information provided by the police officer is of no significance without any means of identification and verification and then it is only one of the greater issues surrounding this problem. However as a layperson describing events that's what I was wanting to convey; I realise it may not add to my own case, however if it will be seen as being impertinent to the issue then it is not what I want to mention.

 

This was a last minute submission because I simply have not had the time to do anything about it earlier. Moreover as I am also dealing with other similar issues and the few moment of the day I can spend I have to be able to find a 'space' to recall the information clearly and put it down. Not something that's easy when tired and juggling young kids, so I processed it because I had no more time left.

 

At any rate it's all academic now as I have submitted and mentioned the police arrival (no doubt this is also in the ticket controller's notes too) at the end, but of course I made all the important facts known first. Either way I still think that the application of this rule is being used too indiscriminately because it is financially convenient and I am more interested, in some ways, in broadcasting that message, with the hope that it will be seen for what it is and maybe there will be pressure for change. I truly feel sorry for those people standing in line with me that felt confused and vilified by the whole process

 

All I can add is to point out in your appeal how horribly confusing using Oyster PAYG on that part of the line is!. Its almost impossible to get your head around which stations you may or may not use oyster, I note that on their website they mention adding more stations, but even this is rather confusing too.

 

Andy

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Some times I feel that I want to go out and buy a personal audio recording device. One with a remote "record" button that I can run down to a trouser pocket. Then, every time I buy sometime, every time I ask advice at a station or when boarding a bus, lots of other situations, I record the conversation for later reference. So that in situations the OP finds him/herself, I could at least produce evidence of what was said to me. A small badge to wear saying "I am recording this conversation" might help too :)

 

In the case of the OP, s/he might go back to the original station with a witness, ask exactly the same question, and see if s/he gets the same answer. If the station worker gives a misleading and/or incorrect answer, that might help, no?

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All I can add is to point out in your appeal how horribly confusing using Oyster PAYG on that part of the line is!. Its almost impossible to get your head around which stations you may or may not use oyster, I note that on their website they mention adding more stations, but even this is rather confusing too.

 

Andy

 

Cheers Andy. It is a good point and one I did not unfortunately label in my appeal; you have a limit of 2000 characters (about a 1/3 of a page of A4) to make online appeal submission to IRCAS. So I was a bit short of being able to express enough of what I wanted anyway.

You would have thought that it would be glaringly obvious to IRCAS, National Express, TfL and associated bodies and rail networks that there are problems with the clarity and management of the Oyster system for joe public; based on the ridiculous numbers of people alone (50 per day at Ilford Station alone; according to the 'other' barrier controller) having this unnecessarily hiked fee applied, when, I suggest, the majority, are totally unaware that they are contravening any regulation.

Where are reasonableness and fairness in this world where punishment and catching people out is becoming all the vogue? There will always be henchmen for these large corporations who seek to rigorously catch anyone they can under the broad banner that anyone failing to comply with the system must have done it deliberately or simply can't be 'bothered' to search for, know of or look up the minutiae of legal jargon that apply these rules prior to buying a ticket and making a journey.

How many foreigners/visitors/those not-of-mother-tongue-English travelling here get caught out unwittingly (I would guess a fair few). And don't forget that the management of these large corporations are responsible for the attitudes and culture they breed within the work place (banks are prime recent examples of this); it is easy for National Express to be dismissive, even in the face of police advice, they have the right of legal regulation on their side: it's their brand new, convenient money-making scheme!

Edited by squirlyline

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Some times I feel that I want to go out and buy a personal audio recording device. One with a remote "record" button that I can run down to a trouser pocket. Then, every time I buy sometime, every time I ask advice at a station or when boarding a bus, lots of other situations, I record the conversation for later reference. So that in situations the OP finds him/herself, I could at least produce evidence of what was said to me. A small badge to wear saying "I am recording this conversation" might help too :)

 

In the case of the OP, s/he might go back to the original station with a witness, ask exactly the same question, and see if s/he gets the same answer. If the station worker gives a misleading and/or incorrect answer, that might help, no?

 

Haha:D... you know why I laugh? that is exactly what I did when I lived in Italy, though I am yet to have organised myself enough to carry it on here/. But boy oh boy do I have cause to do it. Just about any dealings with any large company here that I have had I have later discovered that I have needed some evidence of what was said to me or me to them that was not recorded in any way on system notes (in fact I have had to get in to the habit of asking and then telling people on the phone to take notes of my conversation). I had to do it in Italy because so much of my time and earnings were being lost by governmental, bureaucratic incompetence; I would be sent from the town I lived in to the provincial capital and back again as no one knew who was to be processing my official papers etc but would adamantly say that it was the other authority. No one knew what the proper regulations were in my case either and when we finally discovered the correct, official regulation, even a friend, working as a top officer in the Questura (police department), was unaware of it (and it was his job to keep abreast of the regulations).

So, I carried an mp3 player that could record around my neck, and recorded all the conversations I had with government officers; it certainly made some of them nervous, as they usually weren’t sure whether the mp3 player was recording them or not. I still have those recordings on computer store , the only thing that you quite rightly point out, as I don’t know what the admissibility in court would be, is to have the “your being recorded” badge on.

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I do understand and sympathise with some aspects of the various complaints made regarding public transport in general, but don’t you get a little fed up with always hearing that it is someone else’s responsibility to point out the rules?

 

Before someone jumps down my throat for saying that, I’d just like to point out how easy it is to find the relevant information in this case and although it is a fact, I’m not going to hide behind the hoary old ‘it’s in the conditions mate!’

 

I accept that some people may not be IT literate, but all the users of this forum clearly are and all anyone needs to do is to go to National Rail Enquiries home page, type in Ilford Station and read the entry on ticketing buying & collection.

 

Here’s the link: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/ifd/details.html#Current_Station_Information

 

I don’t really think this can be a lot clearer than the entry reproduced here in relation to ticket validity at Ilford and National Express in particular and I don't say that to defend NXEA in any sense, it's just to illustrate that the information is there if we care to look.

 

Oyster PrePay

No

 

Penalty Fares

Penalty Fares apply to journeys from Ilford station when travelling with:

  • National Express East Anglia

Of course, that doesn't alter the OP's claim that wrong information was given and that should still form the basis for appeal, but it will make clear the position re National Express and Oyster pre-pay

 

On the subject of recording conversations, my purely personal opinion is that it is a very good idea, becaue it works both ways.

 

Provided that you verbally advise the person you are speaking to that you intend to record their answer to your question and ensure that your warning is included and audible in the recording, I cannot see any problem

 

Of course, the other party might object, because they have a right to, but then it is entirely up to you whether you accept as accurate the advice that you have been given.

 

I think if someone objected to me recording their answer to my question, I'd make the judgement that I probably should not trust their advice and ought to ask someone else.

 

As for wearing a badge with the warning on it, I don't think that will wash.

 

After all, in general terms we can hardly complain as a defence for not having a ticket by saying 'someone should have told me', or 'I didn't see any sign' if we are not prepared to extend the same courtesy to others can we?

Edited by Old-CodJA

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I do understand and sympathise with some aspects of the various complaints made regarding public transport in general, but don’t you get a little fed up with always hearing that it is someone else’s responsibility to point out the rules?

 

Before someone jumps down my throat for saying that, I’d just like to point out how easy it is to find the relevant information in this case and although it is a fact, I’m not going to hide behind the hoary old ‘it’s in the conditions mate!’

 

I accept that some people may not be IT literate, but all the users of this forum clearly are and all anyone needs to do is to go to National Rail Enquiries home page, type in Ilford Station and read the entry on ticketing buying & collection.

 

Here’s the link: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/ifd/details.html#Current_Station_Information

 

I don’t really think this can be a lot clearer than the entry reproduced here in relation to ticket validity at Ilford and National Express in particular and I don't say that to defend NXEA in any sense, it's just to illustrate that the information is there if we care to look.

 

Oyster PrePay

No

 

Penalty Fares

 

 

Penalty Fares apply to journeys from Ilford station when travelling with:

  • National Express East Anglia

Of course, that doesn't alter the OP's claim that wrong information was given and that should still form the basis for appeal, but it will make clear the position re National Express and Oyster pre-pay

 

On the subject of recording conversations, my purely personal opinion is that it is a very good idea, becaue it works both ways.

 

Provided that you verbally advise the person you are speaking to that you intend to record their answer to your question and ensure that your warning is included and audible in the recording, I cannot see any problem

 

Of course, the other party might object, because they have a right to, but then it is entirely up to you whether you accept as accurate the advice that you have been given.

 

I think if someone objected to me recording their answer to my question, I'd make the judgement that I probably should not trust their advice and ought to ask someone else.

 

As for wearing a badge with the warning on it, I don't think that will wash.

 

After all, in general terms we can hardly complain as a defence for not having a ticket by saying 'someone should have told me', or 'I didn't see any sign' if we are not prepared to extend the same courtesy to others can we?

 

I agree it is clear BUT thats from the comfort of sitting at home with access to the map etc, in the reality of travelling it isnt quite so clear.

 

The validity of RAIL journeys within the London area is and also has been confusing with regards to oyster, of course all the rail companies could easily accept Oyster pay as you go but they have been dragging their feet in this respect for many years, Ken tried very hard to sort out this problem and force them to accept oyster PAYG with partial success, Boris seems less interested in providiing an all over easy to understand transport sytem.

 

I work for a transport consultancy but even i have at times found myself on a train line within london without a properally vaild ticket, i.e an Oyster PAYG instead of an oyster pre-pay, im sure there are many reading this who are unaware that there are 2 different types.

 

Even the companies themselves get confused..the following is from the C2C site.

 

."Please be aware that contrary to information contained in other publications, Oyster PAYG is not valid on c2c outside of the area shown above."

 

The other publication refers to some info from TfL !. There was a period when the info from the two companies contradicted each other ! So its hardly suprising that occasionally Joe Public gets confused.

 

Andy

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As for wearing a badge with the warning on it, I don't think that will wash.

 

After all, in general terms we can hardly complain as a defence for not having a ticket by saying 'someone should have told me', or 'I didn't see any sign' if we are not prepared to extend the same courtesy to others can we?

 

That's entirely my point! (Thinly veiled sarcasm):wink:

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Provided that you verbally advise the person you are speaking to that you intend to record their answer to your question and ensure that your warning is included and audible in the recording, I cannot see any problem

 

Of course, the other party might object, because they have a right to, but then it is entirely up to you whether you accept as accurate the advice that you have been given.

 

I think if someone objected to me recording their answer to my question, I'd make the judgement that I probably should not trust their advice and ought to ask someone else.

 

As for wearing a badge with the warning on it, I don't think that will wash.

 

Actually, there are quite a few cases where recorded evidence, where only one person was aware of the recording, was ruled admissible. The "you are being recorded" badge can only add to this. But, the law on admissibility of recorded evidence obtained like this is not clear, and it will be accepted as admissible or not on a case by case basis, it appears.

 

But, my point in making the recording is not just for admissibility in court. It's a matter of knowing who is right and who is wrong. And to be able to produce evidence to show that, admissible or not. One of the pages that I quickly revised before posting mentioned that recorded evidence can be very effective in actually preventing cases coming to court. As someone who knows that they are in the wrong will often not take the risk of going to court, but settle. Particularly when to fight the case they would have to perjure themselves, knowing that there's evidence (which might be ruled admissible) directly conflicting with what they'd need to say.

 

Certainly, if I was the person in charge of whether or not a penalty case should go ahead, and I was provided with recorded evidence demonstrating that the customer was put wrong by station staff, then I'd stop the case.

 

After all, in general terms we can hardly complain as a defence for not having a ticket by saying 'someone should have told me', or 'I didn't see any sign' if we are not prepared to extend the same courtesy to others can we?

 

Returning to the case at hand, this is not a case of "someone should have told me". Someone did tell the OP, but s/he was told wrong. If somebody turns up to the station and there is no information as to whether they can use their oyster card to a particular destination, that's one thing, and responsibility stays with the traveller. If they ask a station worker, and are told "I don't know", then responsibility stays with the traveller, and lack of help would (in my opinion) not excuse the traveller from blame. But, if the traveller asks someone working at the station if their oyster card is OK for a particular destination, and they are told that it is, then I don't think the traveller should be blamed for the error. It's reasonable to assume that people working on the railways/public transport know what they are talking about if they confidently give advice.

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I work for a transport consultancy but even i have at times found myself on a train line within london without a properally vaild ticket, i.e an Oyster PAYG instead of an oyster pre-pay, im sure there are many reading this who are unaware that there are 2 different types.

 

Andy

 

Don't get me wrong, I too work in this field and have for 30 years. I accept and understand that there are some difficulties, but a great many are easily resolved if we all take a moment or two to check what we are using and where.

 

I deal with revenue protection (and prosecution) of matters concerning Oyster daily.

 

Like all other ticket forms they can only be used in the areas and on routes for which they are specifically valid.

 

It is obvious that some people simply do not understand Oyster.

 

Oyster PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) and Oyster Pre-Pay are one and the same

 

This is what Oyster & TfL say about OYSTER PRE PAY

 

Oyster is a system of pre-paid electronic ticketing that has been used in London since early 2003. The name was chosen in part due to London's connection with Oyster beds in the Thames estuary and the already well know phrase, 'The Worlds Your Oyster'.

This is both a payment system and type of payment in itself. A payment system using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which means you just pass it close to an electronic reader (the range of the system is around 10cm) and the system that debits your card the appropriate fare or logs your point of entry in order to calculate the fare when you touch out of the fare zone (as on the tube network).

Its also a means of payment since paying with an oyster card gives you cheaper fares than if you paid with cash. It can also be loaded with our payment options such as travelcards and used exactly as though you was paying with that travelcard. Oyster pre pay is for use on the tube, bus, dlr, tram and national rail services within the London fare zone areas of 1-9. You can obtain oyster cards at tube station tickets offices, online, oyster ticket shops and London information centres.

Once you obtain your Oyster card you keep that card for life. When its loaded fares run out you simply top up the card again.

 

To expand the explanation of the system a little further I have added the following:

 

The Oyster is uses smartcard technology to hold a variety of formats and the two basic types are:

 

1. Oyster Season tickets covering one or more zones for a specified period of time. These Oysters do not need to be validated by touching in / out on each journey provided that you are travelling wholly within the zones for which you have paid and have an integral photo-ID. These Oysters are classified as a Rail / Bus ticket for the area paid for and can only be used by the person to whom they are issued and who is identified by the photograph.

 

2. Pay-as-you-go Oysters (also known as Pre-Pay Oysters) whereby you lodge a sum of credit to be given up to pay a fare by touching-in and out at the beginning and end of each journey. These Oysters are NOT classified as a ticket and MUST be validated at the start and end of any journey. Once validation has been made at the point of entry to the system they are considered to be evidence of a fare paid for that specific journey. The accepted description of this type of Oyster is that it is an 'electronic purse' and cannot be accepted for travel unless it has been validated at the start of a journey.

These Oysters are transferable so can be used by anyone provided that the card is in credit and is validated at the start of travel.

 

There is a third and for many people, the most convenient basic format, which comines the benefit of both of the former types. With these cards, the holder has a season ticket on an Oyster and also lodges pre-paid credit in another 'slot' in the card's memory.

 

This allows for the occasions when you may wish to travel outside the zones covered by your season ticket and means that you must touch-out at the end of your journey.

 

When you do so the Oyster system calculates the minimum fare from the end of the zone covered by your season and the point at which your journey ends. This is then automatically deducted from the credit stored on your card.

 

This card can allow a negative balance if there is insufficient stored credit at the end of one journey, but will be rejected by the system for any further travel outside the area of the season paid for until it is 'topped-up' by adding more credit.

 

These cards are NOT transferable, they do have integral photo-ID and can only be used by the season holder identified.

 

That is a simplified explanation of the basis of Oyster, there are a wide variety of other cards such as Visitor, Student, Child etc, which allow certain discounts in some cases, but they are all bound by the same operating system and the rules of use and conditions of travel.

 

I hope that has helped anyone who is confused.

Edited by Old-CodJA

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In reply to 'Annoyingtwit' (I love that user name - I wish I'd thought of it!!)

 

YES, I agree with everything you said there and it is why I made the point that 'it works both ways'

 

I realise that this has strayed from the OP, but I think the generalisation is helpful in the wider debate.

 

I would love to have that 100% fail-safe assistance of a clear recording in determining whether or not we go forward, but I have to say I always work on the premis that after having reviewed the report and the traveller's response, if I'm not sure that the traveller knew what they were doing, then there is no case to answer.

 

People do make mistakes and staff are people too.

 

Further action, whether penalty or prosecution, would be unfair where there is any element of doubt.

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I think you would have to be so precise in your question that the person answering would be suspicious and probably give a non commital answer.

I also think it would be pretty straightforward making a recording worthless in court by the nature of its collection and non secure handling.

If you look at the procedures recquired under PACE for taped interviews and subsequent handling of those tapes for example.

Edited by SRPO

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Don't get me wrong, I too work in this field and have for 30 years. I accept and understand that there are some difficulties, but a great many are easily resolved if we all take a moment or two to check what we are using and where.

 

I deal with revenue protection (and prosecution) of matters concerning Oyster daily.

 

Like all other ticket forms they can only be used in the areas and on routes for which they are specifically valid.

 

It is obvious that some people simply do not understand Oyster.

 

Oyster PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) and Oyster Pre-Pay are one and the same

 

This is what Oyster & TfL say about OYSTER PRE PAY

 

Oyster is a system of pre-paid electronic ticketing that has been used in London since early 2003. The name was chosen in part due to London's connection with Oyster beds in the Thames estuary and the already well know phrase, 'The Worlds Your Oyster'.

This is both a payment system and type of payment in itself. A payment system using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which means you just pass it close to an electronic reader (the range of the system is around 10cm) and the system that debits your card the appropriate fare or logs your point of entry in order to calculate the fare when you touch out of the fare zone (as on the tube network).

Its also a means of payment since paying with an oyster card gives you cheaper fares than if you paid with cash. It can also be loaded with our payment options such as travelcards and used exactly as though you was paying with that travelcard. Oyster pre pay is for use on the tube, bus, dlr, tram and national rail services within the London fare zone areas of 1-9. You can obtain oyster cards at tube station tickets offices, online, oyster ticket shops and London information centres.

Once you obtain your Oyster card you keep that card for life. When its loaded fares run out you simply top up the card again.

 

To expand the explanation of the system a little further I have added the following:

 

The Oyster is uses smartcard technology to hold a variety of formats and the two basic types are:

 

1. Oyster Season tickets covering one or more zones for a specified period of time. These Oysters do not need to be validated by touching in / out on each journey provided that you are travelling wholly within the zones for which you have paid and have an integral photo-ID. These Oysters are classified as a Rail / Bus ticket for the area paid for and can only be used by the person to whom they are issued and who is identified by the photograph.

 

2. Pay-as-you-go Oysters (also known as Pre-Pay Oysters) whereby you lodge a sum of credit to be given up to pay a fare by touching-in and out at the beginning and end of each journey. These Oysters are NOT classified as a ticket and MUST be validated at the start and end of any journey. Once validation has been made at the point of entry to the system they are considered to be evidence of a fare paid for that specific journey. The accepted description of this type of Oyster is that it is an 'electronic purse' and cannot be accepted for travel unless it has been validated at the start of a journey.

These Oysters are transferable so can be used by anyone provided that the card is in credit and is validated at the start of travel.

 

There is a third and for many people, the most convenient basic format, which comines the benefit of both of the former types. With these cards, the holder has a season ticket on an Oyster and also lodges pre-paid credit in another 'slot' in the card's memory.

 

This allows for the occasions when you may wish to travel outside the zones covered by your season ticket and means that you must touch-out at the end of your journey.

 

When you do so the Oyster system calculates the minimum fare from the end of the zone covered by your season and the point at which your journey ends. This is then automatically deducted from the credit stored on your card.

 

This card can allow a negative balance if there is insufficient stored credit at the end of one journey, but will be rejected by the system for any further travel outside the area of the season paid for until it is 'topped-up' by adding more credit.

 

These cards are NOT transferable, they do have integral photo-ID and can only be used by the season holder identified.

 

That is a simplified explanation of the basis of Oyster, there are a wide variety of other cards such as Visitor, Student, Child etc, which allow certain discounts in some cases, but they are all bound by the same operating system and the rules of use and conditions of travel.

 

I hope that has helped anyone who is confused.

 

Whoops..silly me..by pre-pay I actually meant having a season ticket on your oyster card.....Ive never actually owned a season ticket on my oyster and had the phrase pre-pay in my mind for some reason....I note there are quite a few queries on here where someone has been caught trying to use their partners or friends card, but thats beside the point, as i pointed out most confusion does arise on wether the train you are travelling on accepts Oyster PAYG or only Oyster Season Ticket, I certainly doubt wether many people who actually own an oyster are fully aware of all the implications, I ran into an interesting complication recently when i lost my debit card and cancelled it, and then TfL later tried to take some money from me as part of the auto top process, but Ill leave that to another thread !

 

Actually having re-read the quote about Oyster Pre-pay above it should probabbly actually read "Oyster pre pay is for use on the tube, bus, dlr, tram and SOME national rail services within the London fare zone areas of 1-9."

 

Andy

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Deleted.

Edited by SRPO

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Seeing as there is so much confusion, it might be an idea for a poster campaign aimed at passengers, inviting them to ask where they can use the particular oystercard they are buying at the point of sale.

 

True..although the aim (or at least Ken's aim) was to bring all central london trains within TfL's control or at least force them to all accept Oyster PAYG, this would end the confusion, but I'm not sure if this is one of Boris's aims ?

 

Andy

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Deleted.

Edited by SRPO

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Victory! .. for common sense and reason; I have been exonerated of fare 'evasion'. Well at least that's how IAS sees it. I have zero to pay.

 

I am glad that it has been resolved at this level at least; but the shame is that there is really little reason to be taking a 'largish' penalty charge to be applied to each and every passenger that comes up short and treat them all as 'fare-evaders'. The experience for many unwitting travellers, and I am referring to many first-time users of a system or network segment, or overseas visitors already confused by the travel system (taking misleading advice or otherwise) is that of incomprehension and maybe vilification where the police are called (as it was with my situation and the 7-odd other travellers who got pulled up with me).

 

Being stung by an unnecessary penalty, that should be reserved for obvious 'fare-evaders', is just greed in my books, when for many 'first-time-penalised' passengers who are simply misled by this confusing system could just pay their due fare (presuming most of this group people would be honest about their boarding stop) plus some token admin fee (pence not pounds) for the company's trouble. I can't see how that is unreasonable; it used to be the case on many train lines in years gone by, and it would apply to all travellers passing through the gate, otherwise you'd need to hurdle it.

 

Anyway thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, particularly Old-CoJA and SRPO for playing devil's advocate, without which there could be no balance in argument.

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squirlyline you are very lucky to be let off...because as you come off london overground or london underground at stratford to interchange for metro train services to ilford, romford etc there are oysters validators to touch out and ticket machines to buy tickets on the platforms with signs from national express saying that you can not use pre pay oyster cards on there routes. only between stratford and liverpool street

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Congratulations, I'm pleased that your appeal was succesful.

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