Gate problems at London Bridge

I’ve just got back from a night out in town and had a major problem at London Bridge on the way home.  All the gates were locked open (nothing unusual in that, I know) but rather than have some Oyster readers working as entry and others as exit, EVERY gate was set to exit only.  This even included the wide gates with a validator attached as that had been set to exit only.

I wonder how many people just touched on the wide gate validator and received an unstarted journey charge?  It certainly caught my brother out, so I’ll have some sorting out to do with the helpdesk later in the week.

I also wonder whether Southeastern get a cut of incomplete journey charges where the unmatched touch is made at one of their stations?  You can bet that many people won’t realise they’ve been over charged.

7 thoughts on “Gate problems at London Bridge”

  1. Hmmmm, Southeastern? The operator that tried to catch out passengers when these confusing and largely unheard of Oyster Extension Permits were still around? Never! 😉

  2. But what are you supposed to do in such a case?

    Touch “out” for in (and probably out again at the other end) and hope that the guard believes you? Then try to get the money back from the helpline.

    Don’t touch at all and hope that the guard believes you? Then, if possible, don’t touch out at the other end and enjoy a free ride (or touch out and try to get the money back from the helpline)?

    Buy a paper ticket and hope they will reimburse you the additional price (especially if Oyster would have been caped anyway)?


  3. Jeff, no comment 😉 but I agree with your point.

    Martin, I don’t know. I’ve just had the following reply from Southeastern:

    “Thank you for your web form dated 29 October.

    I’m sorry to learn that the Oyster validators weren’t available when the ticket gates were left open at London Bridge station on 28 October.

    Ticket gates will be left open for safety reasons when staff aren’t available to assist. However, passengers should still be able to use their Oyster cards at the gates. Therefore, I’ve brought your comments to the attention of the station manager, who will investigate what happened.

    If you’ve overpaid for your journey as a result, we’ll be happy to refund any overpayment. If you need to claim a refund, please send us your Oyster statement showing the payment made.

    Thank you for bringing your experience to our attention. I’m sorry for the problems you had at London Bridge on 28 October. I hope we don’t let you down again.”

    Fortunately for them I have already had my card balance corrected by the helpdesk. Regretably, an earlier oversight meant that the history for that day was badly wrong, so I’m glad I don’t need to explain the story to them.

    Going back to what you do, it’s a mess. I certainly wouldn’t buy a paper ticket. Pretty much all services from London Bridge are DOO so a guard is not going to check tickets. An RPI might be a problem. If they didn’t want to believe that there was a problem then you’d be issued with a penalty fare. In that situation I’d pay the minimum required (paper single ticket for the journey being made) and then appeal the rest.

  4. I had a unstarted journey to Surrey Quays back in September despite the gate at Forest Hill opening the gate for me after touching in, which the Oyster Helpline refunded, yet when I get an Oyster Usage Statement, this journey is still displayed on my recent journey list.

    • Hi Martin,

      I assume you mean the history from the card as displayed on an Underground ticket machine and/or printed at their ticket offices? I’m aware that that report does include the last unfinished journey as well. I don’t think it is ever cleared from the card. The Oyster database only keeps the last 8 weeks data associated with the individual card, so after that time the journey will drop off on the journey history online.

  5. There appears to be a problem at Waterloo East/Southwark Station. I work along Blackfriars Road so I use Southwark Station as a Cut through. There is a LU gate at the entrance to the station and another LU one and a BR Gate one where you go through to Waterloo East. Now the theory is that from Waterloo East LU gate to Southwark LU Gate should be free. Wrong because in the evenings I leave work to get a train on an off peak BR Fare. So I need to walk through Southwark during the ‘Rush Hour’ to get there on time. The part between the LU gates should be free but no it starts charging me as soon as I go through the first LU gate and so the whole journey is charges at Peak not off peak hpurs. I will be contacting Oyster about this and will let you know what they say

    • Hi Paul,

      The way the Southwark cut through works is by treating it as a small journey at no charge. The downside on the way in to Waterloo East is that it does mean that the first touch in is what determines peak or off-peak. I’m not convinced that there is anything they can do about your situation. The actual cut off time is 2-3 minutes in the customers favour to avoid arguments over fast/slow gateline clocks.

      The only thing I can suggest trying is exiting Southwark station and waiting over 10 minutes in the no-mans land between the gatelines. At worst that will result in a zone 1 charge for passing through Southwark without continuing into Waterloo East, but it should make the main journey start at touch in to Waterloo East. If you try this, please come back and let me know what happens.

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