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Author Topic: Oyster - a deposit becomes a fee - or still a deposit now described as a fee?  (Read 3975 times)
grahame
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« on: March 06, 2020, 08:20:52 am »

From Diamond Geezer


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Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) cards have been with us since 2003. Initially they were provided free, but in 2009 a refundable deposit of £3 was introduced, and in £2011 this was increased to £5.

Should you ever want to cancel your Oyster card, TfL» (Transport for London - about) have always been happy to give you a refund. This can be done at any tube station ticket machine so long as your remaining credit is £10 or less. The machine returns your £5 deposit and your spare credit, in cash, then cancels your card. Refunds of over £10 PAYG (Pay as you go) have to be completed by post.

It's been estimated that over 60 million Oyster cards haven't been used in the last twelve months, and that TfL are sitting on £400m of our money. A lot of people keep an old card lying around in case they ever need it, even though the relentless march of contactless makes it less likely that they ever will. But the real issue isn't obsolescence, or forgetfulness, it's disposability.

Of the 9 million Oyster cards issued each year, less than a quarter are still being used four weeks later and only 10% are still in play after a year. That's a significant level of card churn, and can't simply be explained by tourists going home.

So last week TfL introduced a significant change to encourage people to hold on to their Oyster cards for longer. They changed the £5 refundable deposit to a £5 fee.

Article continues ...
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stuving
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2020, 08:53:38 am »

TfL» (Transport for London - about)'s website is a bit more concise:
on https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/refunds-and-replacements/oyster-pay-as-you-go-credit-no-longer-needed
Quote
Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) pay as you go credit no longer needed

You can get a refund.

Claim a refund in person

If your remaining credit is £10 or less, you can get a refund for the credit, and any deposit, from a Tube station ticket machine.

You Oyster card will be cancelled when we process this refund.

and on https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/how-to-pay-and-where-to-buy-tickets-and-oyster/buying-tickets-and-oyster
Quote
You need to pay £5 for an Oyster card.

If you got your Oyster card before 23 February 2020, you can get your £5 refunded when you don't need your card anymore. If you got your Oyster card on or after this date, you can get your £5 refunded once you've used it for one year.

Oyster cards aren't accepted at stations between Reading and Iver.

But I suspect I can't get £5 back on mine because I only paid £3 for it.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2020, 09:16:14 am »

I'm totally confused now.  I have had an OYSTER Card for a few years now, but probably only use it once or at most twice a year, not living within 250 miles of London.  Can I still use it, and if neccessary top it up online or would it be more sensible to cancel it completely and just pay contactless when I need to?
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didcotdean
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2020, 09:19:57 am »

The number of valid Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) cards is still growing by 5-6 million per year - the rate of issuing has declined since contactless payment was introduced but only by 25% or so.

At the end of 2019 of nearly 87 million cards out there that are still valid, 68 million have not been used in the last 12 months. On a typical weekday around 2.5 million different cards are used at least once.

The advantage of Oyster is the ability to have seasons on it plus railcard discounts.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 09:25:30 am by didcotdean » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2020, 09:29:43 am »

I'm totally confused now.  I have had an OYSTER Card for a few years now, but probably only use it once or at most twice a year, not living within 250 miles of London.  Can I still use it, and if neccessary top it up online or would it be more sensible to cancel it completely and just pay contactless when I need to?

You're asking a question that isn't answered by TfL» (Transport for London - about) because nothing has changed - as far as I know, all Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) cards ever issued are still valid, and the latest change is not retrospective.

The advantage of an Oyster card over contactless is that you can link a railcard onto it and get discounted fares. For very occasional use (less than once per railcard renewal) this is hard to do, as you need to find a staff member at a TfL station and get them to do the linkage at a ticket machine.
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Celestial
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2020, 09:59:04 am »

I cancelled 4 oysters online last year and got the £3 refund on each, without having to return the cards.

Personally I don't see the issue. A lot of international cities charge a small non-returnable fee, and moreover the cards expire after a year if not used. Seems sensible to me, as it avoids an ever increasing number of cards being registered on their system and an inability to take credit for any funds unused after  many years. I expect TfL» (Transport for London - about) could do with that £400m, if that's the amount they genuinely think will never be used again.

 
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 10:07:43 am »

I'm totally confused now.  I have had an OYSTER Card for a few years now, but probably only use it once or at most twice a year, not living within 250 miles of London.  Can I still use it, and if neccessary top it up online or would it be more sensible to cancel it completely and just pay contactless when I need to?

You're asking a question that isn't answered by TfL» (Transport for London - about) because nothing has changed - as far as I know, all Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) cards ever issued are still valid, and the latest change is not retrospective.

The advantage of an Oyster card over contactless is that you can link a railcard onto it and get discounted fares. For very occasional use (less than once per railcard renewal) this is hard to do, as you need to find a staff member at a TfL station and get them to do the linkage at a ticket machine.

Thanks.  I think I might just cancel the card as I don't have any discount railcards (and don't need them as I already, being an ex-railwayman, have free travel).
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2020, 10:12:56 am »

Another irritation with Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) is the auto-top-up. Originally set at a £10 top-up when your credit fell below £10, so the most you had on your card was £19.90. Now it is a £20 top-up when your credit falls below £20, so you card can hold between £20.10 and £39.90. Even though I visit London maybe half a dozen times a year, the auto-top-up has been a useful feature. Now, I think it is an expensive luxury. I would just use contactless, except my old-geezer's card won't get recognised!
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2020, 11:26:44 am »

Thanks.  I think I might just cancel the card as I don't have any discount railcards (and don't need them as I already, being an ex-railwayman, have free travel).

Have you got ‘Safeguarded’ free travel status?  If so you can load that onto your Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) as a de-facto railcard for a 75% discount.
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2021, 06:04:18 am »

Another irritation with Oyster (Smartcard system used by passengers on Transport for London services) is the auto-top-up. Originally set at a GBP10 top-up when your credit fell below GBP10, so the most you had on your card was  GBP19.90. Now it is a GBP20 top-up when your credit falls below GBP20, so you card can hold between GBP20.10 and GBP39.90. Even though I visit London maybe half a dozen times a year, the auto-top-up has been a useful feature. Now, I think it is an expensive luxury. I would just use contactless, except my old-geezer's card won't get recognised!

From my news feed this morning ... from Berkshire Live - is this a new element to the story, or regurgitated old news??

Quote
People travelling into London are being urged to avoid using Oyster cards if they are only making a few journeys a week.

Passenger watchdog London TravelWatch has raised concerns over the automatic top-up facility for the cards, which has been raised from GBP10 to GBP20.

It said this could result in someone using an Oyster to pay for a GBP1.50 bus journey - then ending up with a much larger amount being debited from their bank account.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2021, 09:25:04 am »

I'm fortunate that Taplow is now a TfL» (Transport for London - about) station and I could tap in/out with my debit card there and at my destination on the rare trips I made to the office before Xmas - always get the lowest fare that way.

I suspect that will be a system used by the majority of people when the current situation eventually eases and commuting becomes a once or twice a week practice with season tickets no longer necessary or such an attractive option.
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 10:40:15 pm »

TravelWatch are it seems trying to say there's a flaw in the system as the optional auto-topup facility isn't necessarily the best arrangement for anyone who just makes occasional cheap journeys and is on a tight budget so doesn't want the money sitting on the card ready for next time...but that's not who it's aimed at. It has to top up by something approaching the highest fare as it can't know where you are going next so just adding a small amount may not be enough. If that's not what you want then topping up by a smaller amount in person is the best approach, or just use a bank card to travel if you don't have the complication of a linked Railcard.
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stuving
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2021, 11:28:21 pm »

TravelWatch are it seems trying to say there's a flaw in the system as the optional auto-topup facility isn't necessarily the best arrangement for anyone who just makes occasional cheap journeys and is on a tight budget so doesn't want the money sitting on the card ready for next time...but that's not who it's aimed at. It has to top up by something approaching the highest fare as it can't know where you are going next so just adding a small amount may not be enough. If that's not what you want then topping up by a smaller amount in person is the best approach, or just use a bank card to travel if you don't have the complication of a linked Railcard.

TfL» (Transport for London - about) are being pressed to allow an option of auto-top-up by ?10 or even ?5, for those doing only rare bus trips at the moment. They say they (or the system) can't do that.

What happens if you try to go through a gate with too little credit? Does the system detect it fast enough to not open the gate and do whatever else is needed (sound a siren, turn on flashing lights etc.)? If so, then it could be left to the holder to choose a top-up amount based on their usage. While for that to happen at peak flow in a busy station might be bad enough for congestion that TfL would like to avoid it, that is not (or should not be) an issue just now.
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