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Rail Regulator asked to probe London peak fare price trap’

PUBLISHED: 18:00 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 05 October 2010

THE Rail Regulator has been asked to intervene over commuters said to be trapped’ into having to pay for peak hour fares during off-peak travel. Tories on the London Assembly have attacked as “unjust” and “confusing” the ticketing operated by three rail companies

By Mike Brooke

THE Rail Regulator has been asked to intervene over commuters said to be trapped’ into having to pay peak hour’ fares during off-peak travel.

Tories on the London Assembly have attacked as “unjust” and “confusing” the ticketing policy operated by three rail companies with different levels of Oyster card top-up facilities.

They found self-service machines on South Eastern offer top-ups, but staffed ticket counters do not, while there is no Oyster top up’ on SouthWest except at Richmond and Wimbledon and no top-up at stations used by Southern owned by other rail companies except London Underground.

“This confusing situation is a con,” said Tory group transport spokesman Richard Tracey. “To offer Oyster payment without top up’ facilities means those caught with low credit are forced to pay the peak fare, even for off-peak travel. That’s little short of scandalous.”

He has written to the Office of the Rail Regulator pointing out the fares trap’ catching passengers.

The rail companies reached a deal with Boris Johnson to extend pay as you go’ Oyster cards onto their networks from January 2 and scrapped paper’ off-peak fares to switch to magnetic card systems like Oyster, the Tories point out, but haven’t brought in the necessary top-up machines to go with it.


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