Starting/ending on a Pink Validator

New Home Page Forums Using Oyster Starting/ending on a Pink Validator

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  • #957
    Miles Thomas

    Dusting off an topic that was on the old website, but worth a refresh I think for a specific situation. (Ideally this would be cross posted to Contactless section as well, as it is the same for contactless too.)

    The old version of this website clearly notes that you can’t start/end a journey using a pink validator (at least not since 2017, there was a specific case where it worked but was not advertised). Google search found that easily, but maybe needs resurfacing on the header portion if the new website to make it more obvious.

    The TFL website doesn’t explain this very well, certainly not as simply as above.

    One specific (and annoying) situation that could be a “gotcha” for the unwary is Stratford station, if you are transiting from Overground (platforms 1-2) to Greater Anglia on platforms 9-12 (e.g. Tottenham Hale for Stansted or other services such as Great Eastern Main line) and vice versa.

    There are a number of routes between those platforms where you pass pink validators but not yellow ones, and you have to play “hunt the yellow validator” if your rail ticket starts/ends at Stratford (e.g. travelling beyond travelcard zone) and using Oyster PAYG/contactless for inward/onward journey on the Overground.

    Hunting the yellow validator may not be easy if you have heavy luggage, and I wonder if the yellow validators are inaccessible if you need to use lifts (for whatever reason). Certainly there doesn’t seem to be any signage on the platforms to help you find the nearest yellow validator. There may be other stations which are similarly afflicted, but Stratford is certainly the most complex structurally.

    Yes it is possible to buy through rail tickets which include the overground portion (a quirk of the overground) which avoids the problem and is more convenient, but this isn’t likely to be the cheapest option (compared to PAYG/contactless), nor are one day travelcards (if your ultimate destination includes a tube leg as one journey, which can’t be included directly in a single rail ticket, only as an add on or one day travelcard).

    Recently experienced this first hand so thought it was worth posting.

    I wonder if the selected Stratford pink validators could be made into a combination validator i.e. works as a yellow to start/end if there isn’t a journey already started or a journey needing completion but also as a pink. This probably would need a “post hoc” overnight automatic adjustment in some cases, though, as the system might not be able to handle a completion (yellow) versus a waypoint (pink) in real time–may need to assume if the last touch was selected pink validators at Stratford then convert it to a completion, and ditto a first touch for contactless if otherwise it would not be clear.


    Pink Validators are my biggest annoyance. The official line is that you can’t start or end a journey using one. The reality is that if you touch one and you aren’t in the system then it will start a journey at that point. There is absolutely no way that a pink validator can end a journey though.

    What I will say is that there is a yellow validator on platforms 9/10 at Stratford near the London end.

    PS. Your favourite topic has recently resurfaced in respect of Kennington and I may just be about to document it.

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