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    G Seaman

    I apologise if this appears to be a daft question but we got/bought our daughter an 18+ Oyster card at the start of her first year at Uni in Sept. We then opted for a travel card to run from when she started in Sept to mid Dec when she comes home, giving specific dates on the online calendar. She has been using her Oyster card for the past two months with no problems BUT last week it refused to let her through the barrier telling her she needed to top it up. We’re somewhat confused because we set the dates we wanted the Travel Card to operate from and to (unlimited travel during that time) and it gave us the price – which we paid. So why has it suddenly stopped working and now asking for a top up when we’ve pre-paid for the period up front? I’ve checked the account online and it shows the list of stations she’s been through and all money balances show ZERO – which makes sense because it’s not a top-up card, and we’ve double checked on the invoice that we had purchased a Travel Card and it shows this to be correct. We’ve since contacted TfL and they simply say we need to top the card up to get it working again? Why do we need to top up a card that has been paid in full for a Travel Card date period? FYI – We paid £25 for the 18+Student PhotoCard and then purchased the TravelCard – assuming this would just be ‘linked’ to the 18+ card. Clearly we’re missing something in all this and wondered if any light can be shed on this please?
    Thank you.

    Alan (28481k)

    The most likely reason why your daughter was asked for a top up is because she traveled to the zones outside the ones set in Travelcard, which she incurred a negative balance that had to be cleared before travelling again.

    For other possible reasons of such glitch I’d defer to Mike.



    Alan has taken the words out of my mouth. Can you confirm which zones were purchased for the travelcard? And has your daughter travelled outside those zones by train? If she has then the card will have tried to deduct the extension fare from the PAYG balance. If there was no credit then the balance will now be negative and that means that the travelcard is invalid.

    There are some hidden gotchas in the system, so if you can’t see what the issue is can you paste the recent journey history here and I’ll see if I can spot anything.

    In the meantime, if she tops up enough to put the balance back to at least zero then the travelcard will work again.

    G Seaman

    Hello Alan and Mike
    Thank you both for such a swift response and excellent suggestions. We’ve now looked into this, following what you’ve pointed out, and it seems highly likely this is exactly what’s happened. We’re going to top up the card tomorrow and when she returns to Uni on Monday (she’s on a few days out at home at the moment), hopefully all will be OK. We can see that the top-up rates start at £5.00 so we’ll probably put a bit more on to avoid this happening again; in case she gets confused over the Zones in future. As you can imagine, it’s all quite new to her and us as we’ve had no experiences of using Oyster before! We’ve been trying to suss this out for a couple of days so really appreciate the help. THANK YOU again. If we have any further related issues I may just pop back on here but fingers crossed. Have a great weekend.

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