Same station re-entry problems

Several visitors have reported problems when touching out and back in again at the same station.  The system tries to combine the two journeys into one, often resulting in a pair of incomplete journeys when you get back to your starting station.  But if your journey included an OSI en-route then you may well end up out of the system altogether and be given a penalty fare!

I’ve had reports of this happening at Marylebone, Tower Hill, Stratford, Lewisham, and most recently Blackfriars NR where my 16-year old son had an issue which put him at the mercy of Southeastern RPIs later on in the day.  I sent TfL a FOI request to try and work out what was going on, but all they can say is that it’s probably emergency OSIs which by default allow re-entry and continuation of journey.  The trouble is that in some of these cases there was no obvious emergency to justify an EOSI.

I have fed back a response to the FOI request saying that it is very worrying when unexpected behaviour ends up with a penalty fare being issued.  I will also be following up my son’s experience with the helpdesk trying to find out exactly what went wrong.

14 thoughts on “Same station re-entry problems”

  1. I had the same problem going through Paddington station yesterday, took the train from Ealing to Paddington, went through the new exit barriers next to the Hammersmith & City line, was charged for Z1, re-entered to catch the Hammersmith & City to continue my journey, upon exit, was charged for Z1 again.

  2. I had the same problem about a month ago, going from Blackfriars to Cannon Street, doing some shopping and then doing the reverse journey. it took ages to get the thing corrected as I ended up with one uncompleted journey deduction.

  3. Here’s a turn up for the books… Oyster actually UNDERcharged me for a day’s travel. Last month I made three separate journeys, all within zones 1/2 and using Tube/ Overground. My cost for the day was just £1.70 instead of £6.00. Why? My last journey involved tapping in at Gospel Oak. By sheer coincidence at the same time that I reached the platform the North London Line was starting to snarl up (both ways) – no trains! My only alternative was to walk to Kentish Town and take the Tube. So I went back to the ticket barrier and asked for my journey (tap in) to be cancelled. This was duly done, but the system credited me £4.30 more than it should have done. Makes a welcome change!

    • It does happen, Colin. Whenever TfL have to automatically refund because of operational issues they tend to keep the calculations simple. This does mean that they sometimes err on the side of caution and refund too much. In your case they will have been looking for people using North London line stations who didn’t complete a journey and will have refunded the entire entry charge. I like to think of it as a goodwill gesture in lieu of the inconvenience suffered.

  4. I have an Oyster PAYG and often travel from Walthamstow Central to Euston and then return to Walthamstow fairly quickly. (10-15 min. at Euston)
    I now realise, thanks to your great site, that this has caused problems with incomplete journeys and being overcharged.
    Today I exited Euston at 16:19 hrs, ran my errand, and had to wait by the ticket gates until 16:45 hrs before touching in for my return. This was enough time to avoid the re-entry problem
    Is there anything I can do to speed up this process or will I have to wait at least 20-25 minutes before re-entering the tube? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Siri,

      Thanks for raising this and I’m sorry to hear you have been experiencing problems. I’m assuming that you exit and enter via the same gateline at Euston, though as long as it’s all Euston Underground it shouldn’t matter. Suffice to say that you shouldn’t have any problems and shouldn’t have to wait a minimum time before starting a new journey.

      If your card is registered to an online account then you can get up to 8 weeks history displayed on the journey history option. If it hasn’t got online access then you can request a statement either online or via the helpdesk. Details are on the Journey History page of this site, although be aware that the online history output has improved significantly since the page was written. Anyway, get hold of your history as soon as you can and then ask the helpdesk to refund the overcharges in the last 8 weeks.

      If you can also send me a copy of your history I’d be very grateful. If it’s the online journey history then please select the expand all details link first so that I can see the individual touches. I have a feeling that there is a big problem lurking here and I’d like to help expose it, and if possible help TfL to rectify it.

      As for now, I believe that the time required is the shortest OSI from that station. In the case of Euston LU that is 20 minutes. If you are only making one return journey then regretably there is very little you can do apart from waiting 20 minutes. However, if your travel for the day is going to trigger the appropriate price cap then there is a little trick. Just touch into a bus and get off straight away. That will cost £1.35 unless you have already capped, but it will count towards the cap later on in the day. Most importantly it will ensure that the previous rail journey is definitely ended.

      I’ll send you a quick email in a minute so you can send me any history you can get.

  5. Hey Mike!

    Do you have any idea what’s happened to the Oyster readers on London Bridge platforms 1 to 6, please? I came in from Gatwick on a paper ticket the other day and wanted to touch in for my onward journey. The signs are all there but not the readers themselves. As I only had 5mins to change and a heavy bag with me, I didn’t fancy going out and coming back in through the gates.

    • Hi Jeff,

      They were only there when the only Oyster services were the cross London Thameslink trains at London Bridge. They were deactivated in 2010.

  6. Thanks for your reply. But they were only physically removed recently, right?

    Does that mean on my journey (as described earlier), I’m expected to exit and re-enter through the gates?

  7. I recently travelled from West Kensington to Dagenham East. I reentered Dagenham East after 5 minutes and then travelled to Kings Cross. I was charged £1.70 (off peak, railcard) for the first journey and £0.00 for the second journey.

    • Hi Chris,

      I think you’ve capped for the day. West Ken to Dag East with railcard should be £1.90. Had your daily total exceeded £5.60 after 0930?

  8. Nope, those were the only journeys I made that day (Saturday), except for the number 10 bus to get home later. I had no travelcard. Strange, but I’m not complaining.

    • Well I’m stumped then. I’d need to see your full journey history for the day with all touches expanded to understand what was happening.

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