I thought I should update the forum on where I am with TfL on the subject of MJTs.
I asked TfL, via their contact form and subsequent emails, to explain the MJTs further than that given at https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/how-to-pay-and-where-to-buy-tickets-and-oyster/pay-as-you-go/keep-within-maximum-journey-times as I consider that, although the basic premise seems clear, some sections are certainly not.
I received four replies from TfL customer service: two of them thought I was requesting a refund and couldn’t help because my contactless payment card wasn’t registered, neither of which I’d mentioned; one merely referred me to the link above which I’d quoted to them in my request; and the fourth pointed me to the journey planner and single fares guide. Clearly, TFL customer service wasn’t going to help.
So I submitted a FOI request asking for the MJT from every station to every other station or, if that was too onerous, for certain sample journeys which would explain the unclear sections of the web page.
The first response was simply, once again, to point me at the MJT web page which I’d already said was lacking clarity. So I repeated the request.
The second FOI response was, at last, complete, considered, and helpful but declined to provide the information, exercising the commercial confidentiality exemption. The full response can be seen at https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transparency/freedom-of-information/foi-request-detail?referenceId=FOI-2537-2324
A worrying aspect of the response – beyond the refusal to supply the information – is that TfL describe their MJT web page as “indicative” and “a rough guide”. In other words, one can’t even be sure that the information given there is accurate and complete.
I must now consider how to proceed. There are three things which concern me about TfL’s stance on the request. Firstly, TfL is imposing a condition on travel without fully explaining to the customer what that condition is for the circumstance of the particular journey being undertaken. Secondly, TfL has concluded that the public interest test of the exemption falls in TfL’s favour. I don’t agree: I believe that the public interest lies in the public being informed about the conditions of their travel. Thirdly, given TfL’s involvement in the rollout of contactless PAYG travel to the south-east and possibly the whole country, I think it’s important that the flaws in TfL’s system (MJT, OSI – also unpublished except by FOI, and errors at gatelines) are not propagated to the national system.
The best thing that can be said at the moment is that the continuance of the One Day Travelcard means that the need to understand MJTs is less than it would have been had the Travelcard been withdrawn.