Next generation Oyster cards could stop overcharging

Oyster card Image copyright Other
Image caption Passengers could be paying more for their journey if they forget to, or cannot, touch out

It looks like some good news could be on the way for commuters who use Oyster cards.

As I've reported before, the issue of incomplete journeys or "overcharging" on Oyster is a problem and it costs Londoners millions a year when they are given maximum fares.

It happens when people don't or can't touch out, when for example there's a technical problem with the card readers.

For that you get a maximum fare of up to £7.40.

As I've mentioned before, the "Selective Auto Completion" option - which means you don't have to touch out - that Transport for London (TfL) can use when there are large crowds also has flaws.

The main one is that you have to touch in again within three days at to the same station to make it work.

Frank response

But behind the scenes at TfL, work has been going on to reduce the number of incomplete journeys and that indicates they do acknowledge it is an issue.

This is what they have said in a frank response to a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly:

"We recognise that more can be done and are working to further improve Oyster and the service provided to customers, including improved journey history information and work on a technological solution which we hope to introduce later this year to tackle the issue of incomplete journeys."

It has not been officially confirmed but I've been told that one of the solutions will be a type of "automatic journey complete".

What this means is if you do the same route five times a week and you don't touch out once, then the system will automatically complete the journey for you.

The idea is to limit the number of times the system will be allowed to do that every month. Although it's still early days, many commuters will welcome the move, and it certainly shows there's plenty of potential left in developing the Oyster card system.

There will also undoubtedly be questions around how many times a month is deemed fair and if the system can do it once, why not do it every time?

TfL's press office would only say: "We are working on a technological solution which we hope to introduce later this year to tackle the issue of incomplete journeys, which affect just 2% of the 7.5 million weekly Oyster Pay As You Go journeys on the TfL network."

But will auto journey complete help?

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