Oyster overcharging at a station near you

Do you ever check, let alone complain?

Passengers are being overcharged more than £1 million a week when using Oyster, with overcharging occurring at every tube and train station across the capital, new figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group leader, have revealed.

The top ten stations where passengers were over-charged last year were:

Waterloo National Rail (NR)
London Bridge (NR)
Liverpool Street (NR)
Bank London Underground
King’s Cross London Underground
Victoria London Underground
Stratford (NR)
Wimbledon (NR)
Oxford Circus London Underground
Liverpool Street London Underground

However, even smaller stations saw serious levels of overcharging. For example passengers traveling through Richmond station (National Rail) were ripped off by £323,000, and passengers traveling through Barking (National Rail) by £347,000. At Balham station (National Rail) passengers were overcharged by £318,000 and Finsbury Park (National Rail) by £248,000.

The information, obtained by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly leader through extensive questioning of Boris Johnson, revealed that 14 million journeys in 2010 involved passengers being overcharged and charged the maximum single fare of £7.40, as opposed to the correct fare for their journey. In total passengers were ripped off by £61.8 million last year, with overcharging occurring at all stations where Oystercards were accepted, including stations controlled by National Rail operators and Transport for London.

Since Oyster cards became accepted on national rail stations at the beginning of 2010 rail passengers have been overcharged by £25.8 million. Passengers using the London Underground were overcharged even more – £30.1 million. In addition there was £3.2 million overcharging on the Docklands Light Railway and £2.5 million overcharging on the London Overground. Despite such widespread overcharging just £10 million was refunded to customers.

Commenting on the figures Caroline Pidgeon said, “This level of overcharging is totally unacceptable. There is something very seriously wrong when each and every week of the year Londoners are ripped off by more than £1 million.

“Of course in some cases passengers might forget to touch in and touch out, but such huge levels of overcharging clearly demonstrate that there are some structural problems with how Oyster is operating. It is clear that not enough is being done to ensure the machines and the technology are working properly.

“TfL also need to take immediate steps to make it far easier for people to be able to claim a refund when they have been overcharged.

“Above all else the levels of overcharging occurring need to be regularly published at every station, so that passengers are alerted to this serious problem.”

Read this account from Boris Watch as well as the comments for several examples of Oyster calculations of overcharging, both big and small.

March 1, 2011