Huge overcharging on Oyster cards
I was in the local newsagent yesterday, and a customer was getting very angry, swearing at the shopkeeper about her Oyster card. She said she had been overcharged on a journey; the shopkeeper explained that she simply sold them and couldn't deal with any complaints, but showed her the TfL number to call. I tried to back up the shopkeeper and say that it wasn't her fault, and that I'd heard other people had the same problem, but the customer stormed out.
I looked back at the emails I'd received when I was on holiday and saw that Caroline Pigeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, had challenged the Mayor of London on this. She managed to dig out the figures by which travellers were overcharged on their Oyster cards last year, station by station across London. Travellers arriving at stations in Kingston were overcharged by these staggering amounts:
Kingston - £109,000
Surbiton - £89,000
Norbiton - £41,000
New Malden - £40,000
Tolworth - £9,000
The remaining smaller stations - Chessington North, Chessington South, Malden Manor and Berrylands - racked up £18,000 between them.
In total, travellers ending their journeys in Waterloo from anywhere in London are overcharged on their Oyster cards by a nearly £2.5 million each year. TfL tries to claim that this happens because people don't touch out their cards properly, and they then get charged the maximum amount for the journey, but Caroline thinks it highly unlikely that all the overcharging is due to human error. Faulty machines are a much more plausible explanation.
It is not that easy to claim back either. Tfl really needs to get its act together.
BBC London News put up a detailed item on this while I was away. You can view it here.