It’s been brought to my attention that the connection between the NR station and DLR station at Woolwich Arsenal has been closed since June 16th. Passengers wishing to change between the two stations have to exit one and walk along the street to the other entrance. Of course touching out and back in again causes your journey to be split in two and you will definitely be overcharged unless you have or will cap or are using a travelcard.
I visited Woolwich Arsenal earlier in the week to investigate. On the Southeastern side the blue poster to the right is displayed at both the platform entrances (direct and via the footbridge). As I was travelling well after the evening peak there were no staff present on the National Rail side, so it was just as well I didn’t need assistance!
On the DLR side the posters are a little more helpful as shown below. Being a TfL station there are staff present at all times, and it appears as though people who require step free access might be let through.
I asked the staff at the station why the measures were in place and they replied that it was instructions from Southeastern and the DfT. When I pointed out that people would be overcharged when exiting and re-entering they helpfully explained that passengers would be let through the barriers so they didn’t have to break their journey. Unfortunately there is nothing to say that this is allowed so people are being overcharged.
I have to say that the whole arrangement seems to make social distancing harder. Rather than passing through a wide opening (or crossing a wide overbridge and stairs or lifts), passengers are forced through a much narrower bridge alongside the National Rail ticket office.
The whole issue of overcharging could have been resolved with a simple addition of an out of station interchange between the two street entrances. It may not have been possible on day 1, but there is an alternative option of setting an emergency OSI which would have a similar effect.
When I asked TfL about this issue they said that they believed an EOSI had been set up. I’m still waiting for a further response which I hope will include a promise to refund any cards which have been overcharged. I have also asked Southeastern for comment, but so far none has been received.
As a final postscript, the person who alerted me to this issue called the Oyster helpdesk to ask about a refund. They were told that it has never been possible to interchange at Woolwich Arsenal without leaving one station and entering another. I’ve been assured that appropriate reminders have been issued to the helpdesk staff.