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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Caroline Pidgeon calls for greater transparency on Tube overcharging

In the run up to the Mayoral election, Liberal Democrat Deputy Mayoral candidate and Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, Caroline Pidgeon continues to urge both the Mayor and Transport for London to address the issue of Oyster overcharging, which she says still "affects many honest passengers, especially by train and Tube".

2011! We need more lookup tables by Nick Ludlam
We need more lookup tables by Nick Ludlam

In data obtained via a Freedom of Infomation request she found that across London Underground, National Rail network stations, the DLR and London Overground stations the total amount of maximum fares charged reached a staggering £63,950,000 in 2011.

This level of overcharging is totally unacceptable. There is something very seriously wrong when each and every week Londoners are ripped off by so much." said Caroline.

“Why has Boris Johnson, who has been chair of Transport for London, not taken this seriously in the last four years?

“Of course in some cases passengers might forget to touch in and touch out, but such huge levels of overcharging clearly demonstrate that there are structural problems with how Oyster is operating. We know for a fact that at some stations, especially when the stations are very busy, maximum fares are automatically set for everyone passing through.

“It is time TfL stopped putting all the blame for Oyster overcharging on to passengers and started to recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure honest passengers are not ripped off.

“And where Oyster overcharging does take place it must be far easier for people to claim a refund. TfL should stop treating the level of Oyster overcharging as a state secret. The figures should be regularly published at every station, so that passengers are alerted to this serious problem.”

Here are the top ten London Underground stations for overcharging in 2011:

·         Bank £1,398,000
·         Kings Cross £1,126,000
·         Oxford Circus £1,049,000
·         Liverpool Street £1,045,000
·         Victoria £938,000
·         Waterloo £620,000
·         London Bridge £598,000
·         Piccadilly Circus £550,000
·         Euston £547,000  
·         Leicester Square £517,000

The information gathered shows that even smaller stations saw serious levels of overcharging. For example passengers travelling through Richmond station (National Rail) incorrectly faced maximum fares of £350,000, and passengers travelling through Barking (National Rail) by £376,000. At Balham station (National Rail) passengers incorrectly faced maximum fares of £198,000 and Finsbury Park (National Rail) by £150,000. And at Shepherd's Bush London Underground passengers incorrectly faced maximum fares of £251,000 and at Lewisham Dockland Light Railway station incorrect maximum fares totalled £224,000.

What's your experience been with over charging? Do you agree with Caroline's point of the difficulty of getting a refund when you feel you have been over charged?

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