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From the Blog

The London Oyster Card – Mind the Trap!

You’ve purchased your oyster card and think you’ve got it all sussed out now to travel the length and breadth of London.

You want an alfresco experience of the Capital so decide to travel PAY AS YOU GO with your oyster card but lo and behold you forget to touch in or out somewhere between the start and finish of your journey.

You check your oyster card only to find that you have been charged a no touch out maximum fee for your lack of foresight or mistake. Then you get to an underground station and find no staff, no ticket office, and no help point. How do you freaking get your oyster reset after that debacle?

It seems the Gods are looking down from above, you find a TRANSPORT FOR LONDON underground staff but unfortunately, they cannot override the system and return your money. You are then asked to contact customer services to get your refund for an accidental mistake you made on London underground. You call Customer service, the number you are given and it is engaged and forever busy. You give up! No refund on that mistake.

My friends, Transport for London (TfL) are ripping us all off.  It is now almost virtually impossible to get a refund for a touch in/out oyster mistake so many travellers are being penalised/charged up to £3-6 per trip depending on the underground route for these mistakes daily. Yes daily thousands of Londoners and tourists are paying these extra charges for mistakes such as not touching a yellow reader (this happens a lot in the big connection stations such as Stratford, London Bridge and the like.   Not finding a yellow reader (happens to us all), touching a pink reader instead of a yellow reader (happens to the best of us), or walking through an open gate thinking you’ve touched out only to find out that the system has been turned off so you never did ( oh dear). Oh and if you didn’t know your travel in London is time capped so if it takes you longer than normal to travel between stops you will get charged for this too.

Basically my point is that Travelling in London is fraught with many traps that tourists and Londoners cannot avoid and are not informed of. It seems the system is rigged against us to take our money at first instance then expect us to fight back to get it back AND unfortunately many fail to claim their journey refunds due to lack of staffing and nonexistent customer service.

You can just imagine how much Transport for London make on a daily basis from our travel woes.

Things get even murkier if you are one of the brave souls that use your contactless debit cards to travel. PLEASE THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE DOING THIS on the underground.

I asked a member of staff whether the public were ever consulted before TFL decided to close most of all their underground ticket offices; I was told that they were but no one bothered to protest so the ‘cost cutting ‘ plans just went ahead and in so doing we all lost almost every right to have our voice heard.

Yes, we Londoners allowed our ticket offices to be closed without even battering an eyelid. Yet we feel happy to march against TRUMP (a visitor to London). It would seem TfL condone daylight robbery of Tourists, Londoners and visitors who lose loads of their money by virtue of travelling on the underground and making a travel mistake.

The system seems broken.

My best advice is to use the OVERGROUND. It’s cheaper and has air-conditioned trains. I would say that’s value for your money.

Londoners need to get their heads out of the QUICK sand or else face losing many many more vital services we need.

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