Overcharging at Farringdon

Further to earlier posts about Farringdon and the initial lack of validators to start/end a PAYG journey on the Elizabeth line when using a ticket on Thameslink services, a new issue has cropped up which results in some users being charged for an incomplete journey.

Between the southern (back) end of the northbound Thameslink platform and the top of the escalator down to the Elizabeth line are two validators. One is actually on the Thameslink platform and the other is opposite the stairs down from the overbridge and the National Rail ticket hall.  Both of them have posters saying that you should touch them if you are changing between National Rail and the Elizabeth line. Of course this is only true if you have a ticket (paper or e-Ticket) for National Rail and wish to start/end a PAYG journey. If you are using PAYG throughout then there is no need to touch either of them.  If you do touch one of them in the middle of a PAYG journey you will not be overcharged* thanks to the continuation exit marker.

However, some people are puzzled about touching a yellow validator in the middle of a journey. When they’ve touched one of them and then see the other they think that maybe one is a touch out and the other a touch in.  It shouldn’t matter because they’re both set to continuation exit, but if you touch both using a contactless card or device the system will record one as an actual exit and the exit from your eventual destination will be an unstarted incomplete journey. Remember also that incomplete journeys do not count towards the cap and it could be an expensive day.  Oyster cards are not affected by this issue.

I’m waiting for a response from TfL about this issue, but if you have suffered in this way then you should contact the helpdesk and request that they issue a refund. Contactless journey history remains accessible for a year so any overcharges of this nature will still be identifiable and should get sorted out.

*Whilst the system will cope with a continuation exit in the middle of a journey, it will confuse Revenue Inspectors on National Rail and has been known to result in them issuing a penalty fare when using Oyster.  This is why you should avoid touching a yellow reader in the middle of your journey unless you know you’ll need to touch another one on a gateline before continuing your journey. Lewisham is a prime example where the Southeastern platforms are gated but the DLR platforms just have validators.  Always touch both sets and the two parts of the journey will be joined together by the Out of Station Interchange.

1 thought on “Overcharging at Farringdon”

  1. I’d be interested in the response.

    There’s really no excuse for treating different payment card types in different ways so that is hopefully an oversight that can be corrected. The posters upset me more because that just appears to be an unthinking error. I find that there’s an attempt to keep the displayed messages around Oyster very simple in a way that just doesn’t match the reality of the charging system. I sometimes wonder if the PR and Comms teams understand the complexities of the system they’re trying to promote.

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