Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Remember to touch in and touch out...

You've probably heard that announcement so often it doesn't even register anymore.  But the Islington Gazette, that bastion of the free press, recently published a short article that shows why it pays to do so.
"Passengers were charged about £4million in maximum fares for incomplete journeys – when people fail to touch their cards in and out – at 20 Tube and train stations in the borough or on its boundaries, according to a freedom of information request submitted by councillors."
Ouch!  It's worse at King's Cross, where Oyster users have been charged £1.3m for the same offence.  TfL of course points out that figure includes the full amount of the ticket price, not just the penalty portion, which makes a difference (though it seems they're keeping schtum on how much of a difference).

I tend to agree with Cllr Greg Foxsmith in that there's got to be something pretty basic wrong with the system to see such levels of overcharging.  I certainly don't find it helpful to have some stations operating closed barriers, which are also left open at random times, and some stations having an understated reader and no gating.  I've never tried to fare-dodge, but have certainly fallen victim to occasionally forgetting to touch in and out, mostly because I sometimes have pay as you go and sometimes a season ticket, and sometimes want to travel outside my season ticket's limits but forget that quaint touchy-feely business when I do.  Well, not so much now, but in my 11+ year history as a TfL abuse victim.

I somehow doubt all this money has been collected from legitimate fare-evaders (some, for sure) rather than busy and forgetful loyal customers.  What do you think?  Ever fallen foul of the system in this way?  Did you appeal?  Did you get a sympathetic ear?

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