Monday, February 1, 2010

Oystercard PAYG comes to Sydenham

The introduction of Oyster PAYG at local stations is great news. But it's not all gone according to plan. The Thorpes Blog asked TfL about some of the problems local travellers have encountered in dealing with the new card systems – and here are their answers:

1. Oyster PAYG was introduced without the necessary machinery to issue and update cards at stations. Why has this happened?
TfL does not manage the majority of National Rail stations in London and therefore the retailing of Oyster is a matter for the individual Train Operating Companies (TOCs). In the case of the Forest Hill and Sydenham stations (which were taken over by London Overground Rail Operations Ltd [LOROL] in September last year), passengers can add credit and purchase day and monthly Travelcards (the latter only if the card is registered) from the Ticket Vending Machines. It will also be available over the next couple of months from the ticket offices, however the ticket office machines have had to be upgraded to retail Oyster and there has been a delay in securing the necessary upgrade.

2. Oyster PAYG depends on customers 'touching in' and 'touching out' at the beginning and end of journeys. But insufficient card readers have been installed at stations to allow efficient 'out of hours' processing of tickets in this way. Take our two local stations as examples: at Forest Hill and Sydenham stations, once the main ticket office has closed in the evening there are no readers on the 'night gate' close to the main station entrance. Are passengers arriving at these stations in the late evening seriously expected to go to the opposite platform to 'touch out'? Why was no thought given to the matter of extra readers when Oyster introduction was planned?
Overall the introduction of Oyster pay as you go has gone very well but with such a major expansion there have been a few local teething problems. TfL has rectified the problem at Forest Hill and Sydenham station where gatelines (with Oyster validators) had been shutting down at 21:00 each evening as station staff closed the ticket hall and handed over to security staff for the remainder of evening service. The booking hall will now be kept open until the end of service each night enabling passengers to touch out on the yellow Oyster readers and complete their journeys. Local customers at these stations who have been affected and overcharged should contact the TfL Oyster customer service help desk on 0845 330 9876  to have their claims looked into. To be charged the correct Oyster fare for their journey passengers must remember to touch in and out on the yellow Oyster readers at the start and end of each journey.

3. Oystercard PAYG has been introduced with no basic information for passengers at stations. Why is this, have you got plans to roll out some information?
Each station was provided with over 2500 leaflets and 3 posters. The posters announced the arrival of Oyster on National Rail and the leaflets provide full information on how to use Oyster pay as you go. Due to the snow there was a delay in getting these posters to the stations, so they arrived on the night of 7th Jan 2010 and were put up either that night or the following day. An additional poster about the Oyster capability of the Ticket Vending Machines which also announced the arrival of Oyster on National Rail was put up on the night of 31st Dec 2009.