Passengers “ripped off” through Oyster penalty rises

TRANSPORT bosses are accused of “ripping off” passengers after new figures showed that there was a huge leap in penalty charges last year.

When the Oyster Pay as You Go system extended to National Rail stations across the capital last January, penalty charges across the network rose drastically.

This is thought to be because passengers were not used to the new system of touching in and out at rail stations or because many stations do not have barriers as a physical reminder to register an Oyster card.

Those who did not touch in or out are automatically charged for a zone 1-6 journey, in a system Lib Dem London Assembly leader Caroline Pidgeon has branded “an insult to passengers”.

She said: “If passengers actually knew how much overcharging was taking place at every tube and train station changes would quickly take place.

“It is time that a league table was published showing exactly how much people are being ripped off.”

Overground stations in and close to Tower Hamlets include Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, Bethnal Green station and Cambridge Heath Road station.

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In December 2009, before all National Rail networks joined the system, almost 700,000 incomplete journeys were recorded, raising �2.6million.

That figure rose to more than a million incomplete journeys in January 2010, netting �5.3m for transport networks.

TfL said it is not profiting from maximum fare penalties on National Rail as this money is provided to the Train Operating Companies.

It added it is urging train operators to increase the number of barriers on their stations.

A TfL spokesperson said: “The number of incomplete journeys recorded are only a fraction of the 135m Oyster journeys undertaken on the Tube, DLR and National Rail each month.

“Automatic refunds are already arranged by TfL for passengers who are unable to touch in and out correctly due to service disruptions, including when gates are kept open to manage crowds.”

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