Forgot to touch out? It'll cost you up to £7.80 a time

PA Wire

Pay-as-you-go Oyster card customers are collectively wasting £66.5 million a year by not touching out at the end of their journey, new statistics have revealed.

The figures for the Tube, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground show the total cost for 'incomplete' journeys has risen from £63 million to £66.5 million over the last 12 months.
Thousands of Tube and rail users are still being "ripped off" by 'incomplete' journeys - when the card-holder has not touched out at the end of their travel, and they are charged the maximum fare for the longest journey they could have made. This can be as much as £7.80 for a single zone 1-6 journey.

The news comes amidst fears that commuters could face huge delays during the London 2012 Olympics, and the news that tube drivers have been offered a payment of £850 each to work during the Games.

What is an incomplete journey?

Incomplete journeys can be explained by passengers forgetting to tap out at, barriers being left open to prevent overcrowding, or machines not working properly.

This only applies to those who use the pay-as-you-go Oyster service, travel cards will cap out after a certain amount so are not subject to the same potential fares.

Pay-as-you-go Oyster cards are used to make 7.5 million journeys a week, and Transport for London (TfL) says that the number of these journeys which are incomplete is falling and is down to only 1.6%.

At numerous stations on the network Oyster readers are not at barriers, but on walls close to entrances an exits. Customers, and particularly infrequent users say this makes it easy to forget to tap out at the end of their journey.

Other problems arise after large events when barriers are often kept open to reduce overcrowding. Customers are encouraged to go through without necessarily tapping in, leaving them only tapping out at the end of the journey - effectively an 'incomplete journey'.

What is being done?

Measures to reduce the problem of 'incomplete' journeys were introduced by TfL in September last year. An new piece of software delivers an automatic refund by 'remembering' a usual journey and not overcharging if a user makes an honest mistake.

Customers have a share in the collective annual refund of £15 million and this has reduced Tube and DLR, Oyster "overcharging", which fell slightly to £37.1 million - from £37.3 million in 2010. But critics say that there is still more to be done as the figure remains high.

The leader of the London Assembly's Liberal Democrat group and chairwoman of the Assembly's transport committee, Caroline Pidgeon has repeatedly raised the issue. She has demanded that the Mayor's office reveal the breakdown of overcharging, but despite an answer being expected five weeks ago, she is still waiting for a response.
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