Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Oyster Card 'Gives Passengers a Raw Deal'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Oyster Card 'Gives Passengers a Raw Deal'

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL;ED HARRIS

THEY are the new generation of Travelcards, designed to speed up journeys across the bus and Tube network.

But concern is mounting that the Oyster card could leave passengers paying too much.

More than 600,000 journeys a day are now being made with the plastic "smart card", which was introduced last year as part of a revolutionary [pounds sterling]1.2 billion change to ticketing across London.

The Oyster can be purchased in two ways - like a traditional Travelcard, which allows unlimited travel across selected zones and runs out on a specified date, or in a prepay version.

But since Oyster prepay was introduced on 4 January, users have faced being overcharged if they make a basic mistake as they leave stations. They could be charged [pounds sterling]3.80 - the top fare for a single journey - if they fail to pass the card over a scanner, even if they have only gone two stops.

This could also lead to them being barred from the Underground system until they top up their card.

Transport for London has now launched a campaign warning travellers that they must "click in and click out" of stations even if the barriers have been locked open.

Other Oyster pitfalls include: . Failure to freeze Tube fares at last year's prices as promised for cardholders.

. Prepay Oysters cannot be used on buses until March.

. "Capping" the maximum daily charge for prepay users has been delayed.

. Thousands of rail commuters travelling from outside London are excluded from using the card.

These concerns over Oyster's benefits come amid renewed controversy over the annual rises in Tube and bus fares.

A single Underground journey in central London now costs [pounds sterling]2 - up 25 per cent - while single bus fares in outer London have gone up 43 per cent, from 70p to [pounds sterling]1. Critics say this further highlights the high cost of public transport in London compared with other cities.

According to TfL, passengers are turning to prepay Oyster at a rate of 2,000 cards a day. …

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