Ever entered the sprawling labyrinth of London’s tube network and instantly fretted over whether you've tapped your Oyster Card properly? Or felt the sharp prang of paranoia when your contactless debit card doesn't seem to make the right beep?
Well you’d be right to worry. Incomplete journeys, otherwise known as when passengers do not swipe either in or out using their Oyster card or contactless debit card at a station, happen more than you’d think, and it’s padding the pockets of TfL like you wouldn’t believe.
As revealed by The Telegraph, between 2011 and 2016, TfL pocketed £277m from passengers making incomplete journeys - the sort of sum you’d probably need an eight carriage train to transport if ever laid out in cash.
When an incomplete journey is made a maximum fare - up to £8.90 per rail journey - is charged by the rail operator as it is not possible to assess the correct fare without both touch-in and touch-out data. There were 15.1m of these journeys last year alone, and even after the refunds given, TfL still made £58.7m from it.
So what do the TfL chiefs have to say? Not much really, arguing that charging these fees “protects all users of public transport from the cost of fare evasion" - or fare dodging as the rest of us call it.
Speaking to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for consumer rights group Resolver, which has been critical over the money TfL makes from incomplete journeys, said:
“This is another example of the transport industry profiting from consumer confusion. Train companies are making millions from confused consumers buying travel cards for children and making incomplete journeys.
“Excessive effort is put into excess fares and charging but not into ensuring pricing is plain and simple, or that we get back what we are owed.”
It also appears that there is double the chance of having a technical glitch on your Oyster or contactless card if you’re on the overground: stats from last year show that 3.8 per cent of London’s National Rail journeys were incomplete, compared to just 1.5 per cent of Underground and DLR journeys.
Be careful out there.
[Via: The Telegraph]