Tell me, folks, is it just me or is anyone else suddenly finding that their pay-as-you-go Oyster card regularly fails to acknowledge that they have reached the daily travelcard rate? I’ve been long suspecting it, even though it’s hard to keep track when you touch out at a barrier and all it does is tell you to pass through, rather than telling you how much your journey was (particularly bad at tube stations) but it was blatant the day I went to the National Archives.
I took the train to Cannon Street, then the tube to Kew Gardens, which took me to just under a fiver – the tipping point for automatic top up. When I got back on, Automatic top-up stuck a further twenty quid on my card. I got to Cannon Street, and just had time to nip home before going out again. The train was advertised for Platform 2, so I went there. On Platform 2 it also told me it was a Dartford via Greenwich. I got on. First stop Grove-something – Park, End, Row – I don’t know – somewhere I’d never heard of in deepest South East London.
I was cross with myself – I thought I’d made a mistake. It was only when a small army of similarly disgruntled passengers crossed the platform to go back that I realised it wasn’t just me. Still, I kept calm and carried on.
By this point it was too late to go home and change to my evening boots and cloak, so I went to London Bridge. As I got out, my Oyster card charged me SIX POUNDS for the pleasure of wasting an hour of my life. I hadn’t tapped in or tapped out as I’d just crossed the platform at the mysterious Grove station, so it must have been some kind of fine for taking too long to go between Cannon Street and London Bridge.
Cross, but still just about keeping the Phantom temper, I went to my evening appointment. When I came home, my Oyster card charged me another two pounds. I calculate that I was charged over £15 for travel that day. That would never have happened with a paper travelcard. I’ve talked to three people since, and they’ve all noticed that their Oyster cards seem to continue charging them after the travelcard cut-off, but I’m wondering if it’s getting to be universal, and TfL are just hoping we don’t notice.
I’ve written to Oystercard about it. I’ll let you know their reply.
What’s your experience of Oysters? I was so looking forward to them being on mainline stations too – in Greenwich it does make it much more convenient but it seems we’re paying through the nose for that pleasure. My Oystercard, ONE DAY AFTER I TOPPED IT UP, needs cash again. I am seriously considering going back to travelcards.