Transport for London has picked up criticism after data revealed that it pocketed £277 million from passengers making incomplete journeys between 2011 and 2015. Just £72 million was refunded over the same period.
Consumer rights group Revolver has accused the transport body of taking advantage of uncertainty amongst customers, with a spokesperson saying, “This is another example of the transport industry profiting from consumer confusion. Excessive effort is put into excess fares and charging but not into ensuring pricing is plain and simple, or that we get back what we are owed.”
Incomplete journeys can incur a penalty fare of up to £8.90 per rail journey, and tend to happen when customers fail to tap in out with their Oyster card (or contactless payment card, or smartphone, or smartwatch, or homemade wand).
However, while some people no doubt deliberately try to dodge fairs, others can simply be caught out through no fault of their own. Open ticket barriers are the scourge of hundreds of tourists every day, while technical faults can also cheat travellers out of their money.
TfL, meanwhile, has argued that it resolves between 50% and 60% of incomplete journeys, with the remainder being fraud or systematic abuse. “Where we can, we give customers automatic refunds where they have incurred a maximum fare by mistake,” said Shashi Verma, the director of customer experience at TfL. “We also make it easy to contact us for a refund on-line and through our local rate telephone number and regularly remind our customers to touch in and out to guarantee paying the right fare.”
The stations that made the most money from incomplete journeys over the period are Waterloo (National Rail), Victoria (National Rail), London Bridge (National Rail), Stratford (National Rail) and Bank (London Underground). [Telegraph]