London

London Oyster users 'charged more' to travel in capital

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Media captionOyster card users could end up paying almost £100 more than contactless card users

Oyster card users are paying almost £100 more for weekly travel on London's transport network compared with contactless card users, research shows.

London Assembly Member Val Shawcross said a discrepancy had arisen between pay as you go (PAYG) Oyster cards and contactless bank cards.

While Transport for London (TfL) has introduced weekly caps on contactless cards, only daily caps apply on Oyster.

TfL said: "The same fares apply to both contactless and Oyster."

Analysis from the Labour party found passengers using PAYG fares travelling between zones 4 and 7 during peak-time seven days a week would pay £121.20.

Passengers travelling between the same zones but using contactless would spend £29.40.

Similarly, commuting through zones 1-4 on a seven-day basis would cost PAYG commuters £68.40 while contactless payment users would be charged £45.

Mayoral 'promises broken'

Ms Shawcross said: "Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel but that simply isn't true.

"When Boris Johnson launched contactless he could have chosen to add weekly caps to the Oyster card.

"Instead he purposely chose to give contactless card users a better deal, despite almost half a million Londoners not having a bank account let alone a contactless card."

A TfL survey found only 26% of Londoners had made a payment with a contactless card and, according to Ffrees Family Finance, 440,000 Londoners do not have bank accounts and would be ineligible for contactless payment cards.

'Complex system'

Transport for London's director of customer experience Shashi Verma said: "The same fares apply to both contactless and Oyster.

"Contactless provides the convenience of Monday to Sunday capping, giving customers the same fare as is available to Oyster customers who buy a weekly Travelcard or bus pass.

"If a customer uses contactless for a week within zones 4 to 7 they will get their fare capped at £29.40.

"If a customer buys a weekly Travelcard on their Oyster card for zones 4 to 7 they will also pay the same fare of £29.40," he added.

"We are looking at introducing weekly capping on Oyster when the current technology can be updated.

"This is a complex process as it requires changes not only to the card readers but also to our back office and retailing systems."

Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said Oyster card users should "never be penalised".

She said: "Over 15 months ago the mayor made a specific commitment that a weekly cap on Oyster pay as you go would start from 2015.

"It is time that the mayor finally honoured that commitment and ensured that the cheapest fares truly can be obtained using Oyster."

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