Finsbury Park return incomplete journeys

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  • #259
    David Walters
    Participant

    There seems to be some sort of problem with touching in at Finsbury Park.

    3 times in the last 8 weeks I’ve made a return journey. Started at my local Great Northern station and travelled to Finsbury Park where I touched out using the stand alone validators. About an hour later I’ve returned, touching in at the barriers on platform 7/8 and then finishing at my local station. The touch in on platform 7/8 opened the gate but does not show on the Oyster website.

    Twice I was charged a maximum fare (which TfL refunded/corrected when I spoke to them) but most recently I was charged a lower fare (TfL have refused the 15p I owe them, perhaps I should post them a couple of coins?).

    TfL tell me I’ve touched in on my return journey using a pink validator and need to ‘touch in correctly’. Apparently the station is managed by ‘First Capital Connect’ and I need to speak to their staff to find out what I’m doing wrong…

    I’m expecting to repeat the journey later this week so will keep a record of exactly which gates I use, any barrier codes shown etc. Will I be charged correctly this time? Place bets here!

    #261
    Mike (admin)
    Keymaster

    Hi David,

    OK, Finsbury Park is a particular problem at the moment thanks to the coronavirus one-way system and the special setting on the gates to platforms 7/8.

    The station has what’s known as an EOSI set which means that an attempt to touch in within 45 minutes of a touch out will result in the two journeys being combined. This is needed because the validators at the exit from platforms 1/2 are actually part of the Underground station even though most people using them are Great Northern passengers. The journey needs to be joined so that when people change to the Underground (after walking round to the other entrance) they are not overcharged. Unfortunately it does cause a problem if the return journey starts in under 30 minutes after arrival.

    Now, in normal times it is possible to get from the Underground to National Rail without touching out. To avoid problems the gates to platforms 7/8 are set to continuation entry which means that if you are already in the system you will be allowed through. This touch is recorded as a pink reader because it is a single intermediate touch. All this came about because of the lack of coordination between TfL and First Capital Connect. It will only be resolved when gates are installed at the bus station entrance to the National Rail station so that the whole station is gated.

    So, when you were charged an incomplete journey it was because you tried to touch in too early for the EOSI and you ended up with a circular here-to-here journey from your Great Northern station. I don’t know why you were undercharged on the most recent journey, but I’d keep the pennies as compensation for the inconvenience with other journeys. If you can copy the expanded journey history here then I’d be interested to see what happened.

    Finally, First Capital Connect no longer exist. The National Rail station is run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by Mike (admin). Reason: Correct EOSI time from 45 mins to 30 mins
    #262
    David Walters
    Participant

    The failed journey is:

    ???? – 09:30 [No touch-in] to New Barnet [National Rail] £3.75 £12.75

    I hadn’t thought to look in the previous journey. That is:

    07:41 – 08:01 New Barnet [National Rail] to Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] £3.90 £16.50
    09:11 Touched pink card reader, Finsbury Park [National Rail] £0.00 £16.50
    08:01 Touch out, Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] +£4.40 £16.50
    07:41 Touch in, New Barnet [National Rail] £8.30 £12.10

    So a 70 minute gap. I understand the need for the EOSI but more than an hour at Finsbury Park, especially when if you are waiting for a train you are likely to do that on the platform there, seems too long.

    The times I was charged a maximum fare are 59 and 65 minute gaps.

    What I’m after is a way for this to not happen. I’m expecting to make this journey a couple of times a week for the next few months and I can’t get a refund online when they get it wrong.

    As for FCC/GTR, I’m aware of that. Bit disappointed that the TfL Oyster helpline person had such old information though 🙁

    #263
    Mike (admin)
    Keymaster

    Hi David,

    Thanks for that. I’ve now worked it all out.

    Firstly, the £3.75 is the railcard discounted off-peak incomplete journey which was charged because you touched out at 0930. Before 0927 it would be the full adult incomplete journey.

    Now, the main problem is actually not down to the EOSI, but instead it’s the continuation exit marker on the validators in the subway. As I mentioned, the validators are part of the Underground station, which doesn’t matter normally, but does cause an issue in this case. Continuation exit works within the maximum journey time from the origin station. Weekdays, that is 100 minutes for a zone 5 to zone 2 journey. So, your touch in at platforms 7/8 is 90 minutes after the touch in at New Barnet and platforms 7/8 are part of the National Rail station so the system treats your journey as continuing. By the time you get back to New Barnet you’ve long exceeded the 30 minutes allowed for a here-to-here journey so it charges an incomplete journey instead.

    So, to stop this happening you need to first touch in on the validators by platforms 1/2. As this is the same station as you exited the continuation exit marker will expire after 15 minutes, but with the EOSI you need to leave 30 minutes. You can still touch in on the gates to platforms 7/8 if you need to because the continuation entry setting will allow that.

    I’m going to pass this over to my contact at TfL to see if anything else can be done, but in the meantime I’d be grateful to know whether touching the validator first does cure the problem.

    #265
    David Walters
    Participant

    I’ll try the validators on 1/2 before the barriers and report back.

    Not touching in at 7/8 is complicated as there are usual staff there and I’ll probably be rushing a bit to catch a train and not want to go through this history with them when they ask why I didn’t touch in 😁

    #266
    Mike (admin)
    Keymaster

    Not touching in at 7/8 is complicated as there are usual staff there and I’ll probably be rushing a bit to catch a train and not want to go through this history with them when they ask why I didn’t touch in

    You should be able to touch in again, so no need to explain the story.

    #275
    David Walters
    Participant

    Touching in at platform 1/2 before 7/8 works, thanks:

    (details put into what seems a more logical order to me)

    07:12 Touch in, New Barnet [National Rail] £8.30 £15.85
    07:31 Touch out, Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] +£4.40 £20.25
    07:12 – 07:31 New Barnet [National Rail] to Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] £3.90 £20.25
    08:15 Touch in, Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] £8.30 £11.95
    08:15 Touched pink card reader, Finsbury Park [National Rail] £0.00 £11.95
    08:32 Touch out, New Barnet [National Rail] +£4.40 £16.35
    08:15 – 08:32 Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] to New Barnet [National Rail] £3.90 £16.35

    Later in the week I was continuing into Moorgate. I left at Finsbury Park, got on with my business and then entered Drayton Park to continue to Moorgate. At Drayton Park the validators (no gates there) registered me as exiting, presumably because I was within the 100 minute journey time, so at Moorgate I had an incomplete journey 🙁

    07:11 Touch in, New Barnet [National Rail] £8.30 £28.05
    07:31 Touch out, Finsbury Park [London Underground / National Rail] +£4.40 £32.45
    08:26 Touch out, Drayton Park [National Rail] £0.00 £32.45
    07:11 – 08:26 New Barnet [National Rail] to Drayton Park [National Rail] £3.90 £32.45
    ???? – 08:46 [No touch-in] to Moorgate £8.40 £24.05

    I’m not sure the benefit of continuing from Drayton Park and being charged incorrectly is worth it for me compared to returning to Finsbury Park and touching back in at platforms 1/2, which will presumably work, so I’ll probably do that in the future. Seems a shame to plan journeys around the quirks of a ticketing system like Oyster.

    #278
    Mike (admin)
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the update, David. Good to know the out and back journey worked.

    And yes, going back to Finsbury Park before continuing to Moorgate would have worked correctly. I agree it’s a pain to have to work around the quirks, although as I’ve said earlier, Finsbury Park has special problems going back to FCC days, and the botch job is potentially as much to do with government franchise commitments not taking account of the bigger picture at the station.

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