Oyster Refund Scheme Planned

Ealing commuters paid out an extra million pounds last year

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Thousands of tube and train passengers overcharged by the Oyster system will benefit from a £15 million annual refund.

Commuters who accidentally forget to touch out will soon escape penalty fares in a major change to Oyster technology.

A new tracking system will now "remember" the journeys passengers usually take - and make sure they are not overcharged.

Commuters at train stations throughout Ealing have been among those most likely to be overcharged.

The change follows growing concern over Transport for London's annual £60 million income from excess fares.

Figures showed passengers in Ealing were overcharged £1,014,000 last year because their Oyster cards had maximum fares deducted for 'incomplete' journeys.

Ealing Broadway, recorded £404,000 worth of extra charges - five times as much as any other station in the borough.

Richard Tracey, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth welcomed the move. He said: "I have campaigned for this for several years after I incurred an overcharge through no fault of mine. I am pleased success has come at last."

But Liberal Democrats argue there is more to be done, as this tackles just one aspect of the problem - people forgetting to touch out.

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group said: "After many months of campaigning to highlight the scandal of Oyster overcharging it is good news that they are at last beginning to accept that a problem even exists.

“It is however regrettable that the new system only addresses just one form of Oyster overcharging caused by people who occasionally forget to touch out.

"The Mayor and TfL must address the much bigger problem of Oyster overcharging caused by the system not always working properly, for example when barriers are left open, or the machines are not working at the start of the journey.

"There is a huge problem in particular when there are large crowds at stations and TfL open the barriers and implement a system called ‘autocomplete’ leading to passengers automatically facing a maximum fare, irrespective of the length of their journey. We still have a long way to go in tackling the scandal of Oyster overcharging."



6 September 2011