Touching in twice

I’ve recently become aware of an issue at some National Rail stations, e.g. Stratford, Barking.  These are stations where people will often arrive from outside the Oyster area on a paper ticket and wish to continue using their Oystercard without visiting the gateline.  These stations sometimes have yellow standalone readers which record either entry or exit, often with a sign telling PAYG users to touch in here.  You might not want to do this. If you are already touched in, either at that station’s gateline or because you are in the middle of a multi-mode journey, then touching in again could cause problems.  You only need to use a yellow validator once at the beginning and once at the end of a journey.  When interchanging within the same station you may need to touch on a pink route validator, but not a standalone yellow validator.  Only when you interchange between two nearby stations (an out of station interchange) do you need to both touch out and touch back in again on yellow validators.

13 thoughts on “Touching in twice”

  1. Not sure if this is the same issue but I made a mistake at Waterloo which I expect many new oyster card owners might also do. I arrived on a paper ticket from Leatherhead and went straight down to the underground and tagged in. I then saw a 2nd set of barriers and had to tag in again. Got charged a full 6 quid plus the 1.80 for the trip I really made. Reason was the first barrier was really national rail exit and I should have put my paper ticket through that.
    I gave up waiting for an answer on the Oyster help phone line and sent an email to asking for a refund. Does anyone know if that is likely to work?

  2. That’s a nasty one. I know the barriers you mean and I can see how you might think they are entry to the underground because you’ve already gone down stairs. As regards your email, my personal experience is that they are very slow to answer emails. It might work, although you might need to provide some proof of your ticket from Leatherhead. The Oyster helpdesk is very good at sorting out issues though, so I expect you will get a refund eventually.

  3. Sorry, only just come across this article. In response to the original blog (27 Sept.) you may need to touch on a yellow validator when changing to a different mode of travel. I travelled from Charlton to Lewisham (DLR), changing at Greenwich, but because I didn’t touch the validator on entering the DLR platform at Greenwich I was charged a penalty fare.

    • Hi Colin,

      That looks a little odd. I did a similar journey recently and didn’t have any problems. If you’ve touched in at Charlton then you don’t need to touch anywhere else until leaving at Lewisham. I think you pass readers at the bottom of the under-bridge between the two DLR platforms but you don’t need to touch there because you are already ‘in’ the system. I’d be interested to see your journey history for that day if you can get it.

  4. Hi,

    Could you please get in touch with me urgently? This issue happened with my Oyster card recently and a rail company are attempting to benefit from it by threatening me with prosecution as I’d touched in with my card and didn’t think that I deserved the penalty fare. So any evidence that you could provide me with regarding this issue would be extremely helful.

    • Assuming that recently is within the last eight weeks I would contact the Oyster helpdesk and request a journey status report. Tell them that you are contesting a penalty fare. This report shows absolutely every action on your card in great detail. Then I’d write to the TOC explaining what you did and enclose the report to back you up. I’ll contact you shortly for some more specific details.

  5. I intend to travel from Petts Wood to London Bridge tomorrow using my Oyster card. I then want to travel from London Bridge to Brighton using a paper ticket. I swipe in at Petts Wood but where do I swipe at London Bridge to be charged the £2.60 fare for Zone 5 to Zone 1? I wont be leaving London Bridge as will be travelling on to Brighton. Is there a reader I swipe on without leaving the platforms?

    • Hi Martin,

      Unfortunately it isn’t possible to swipe on the platforms at London Bridge anymore. The readers on platforms 4-6 which were used when only Thameslink services accepted PAYG have been switched off. You will need to go down the exit ramps at the London end of platforms 1-6 and touch out though one of the gatelines in the subway. You can then use your paper ticket to re-enter through the same gateline.

      Did you look into whether you could start your ticket to Brighton at East Croydon? There would be no further charge to use Oyster all the way to East Croydon, but the paper fare to Brighton may well be cheaper. It’s probably easier to go up the ramp at East Croydon to touch out and use the paper ticket to get back in than it is at London Bridge. There are several fast trains from London Bridge to East Croydon which don’t go to Brighton which would give you enough time to switch tickets before the Brighton train came in.

  6. Hi Mike, thanks for the info. I will look into the change at East Croydon alternative as it may be a better way to do the journey. They certainly don’t like making it easy.

  7. Hi Martin, wondered if you’ve had your issue resolved yet? Have just read this discourse having got off the phone to Oyster Unhelpdesk regards a refund on a season ticket. It has taken me 7 weeks from initial contact (involving a detailed letter and five subsequent telephone calls) to have a second cheque – in the correct amount – put in the post today. If only there was an economical alternative to using Oyster, but the customer really has no option but to risk things going wrong and then entering into an extended and time consuming dialogue with Oyster muppets to put it right. I’ll be fine, the anger management therapy is worth every penny.

  8. Hi Mike,

    Did TfL ever give a reason why they removed the validaters and why on earth it’s good for passengers to have to walk down and back up the ramp ?!

    • Hi Nick,

      I can’t say I’ve actually asked them, and it was probably a decision taken by FCC and/or Southeastern who operate the services on those platforms. I’d guess that the reason is probably revenue protection as it would be very easy to travel without a validated Oyster from ungated stations in the suburbs and only pay for a zone 1 fare when exiting through the gates at Charing Cross.

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