London

New system aims to reduce Oyster card overcharging

Moves to tackle overcharging of London travellers who forget to touch out with their Oyster card have been unveiled.

Currently those who do not scan their pay-as-you-go card at the end of a journey are charged the maximum Zone 1-6 fare of £7.90.

But a new system will calculate the likely journey based on the individual's travel history and charge the appropriate fare, it is claimed.

Transport for London (TfL) said about 1,500 passengers a day would benefit.

Shashi Verma, from TfL said the vast majority of passengers used their Oyster cards correctly but that a "small minority of rail journeys are still not being touched in and out correctly and are being charged maximum fares".

He added: "We don't want to penalise customers who normally touch in and out for occasionally forgetting, so, for such customers, we are looking at ways of correcting journeys that have been left open without a final touch at the destination."

In January figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly showed mistakes at ticket gates had resulted in Oyster card users being overcharged by £60m last year.

And in August 2010 BBC London revealed TfL had refunded £40,000 in eight months to customers who had been overcharged by faulty machines when topping up their Oyster cards.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly group, said: "The mayor and TfL must address the much bigger problem of Oyster overcharging caused by the system not always working properly, for example when barriers are left open, or the machines are not working at the start of the journey.

"We still have a long way to go in tackling the scandal of Oyster overcharging."

TfL has also said that from next year commuters will be able to use contactless debit and credit cards instead of the Oyster card.

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