25 March 2010

Oyster PAYG Explained

Oyster is now valid on the trains as well as the tube, buses and trams, which is great news. Indeed an additional 500,000 journeys have been made using Oyster Pay as You Go every week on the National Rail network since 2 January. However, there have been a few teething problems, with a lack of Oyster readers at the local stations and some people have been over charged for their train journeys due to problems touching in and out.

At the moment you cannot buy an Oyster card at the station. LOROL (the people who operate Forest Hill station for TfL) are supposed to be upgrading the ticket counter machines by April so that they will be able to sell PAYG Oyster cards and weekly Travelcards on Oyster, but the machines will not be able to register new Oyster cards so you will not be able to buy Monthly or Annual season Travelcards on a new Oyster card. It is unclear whether you will be able to buy a Monthly or Annual Travelcard on a previously registered Oyster Card

In a series of posts, we will explain how things should work (below), how they may go wrong, how to get the cheapest fare and how daily price capping works.

So how should it work?

An Oyster card can hold a maximum of three Travelcards and £90 pay as you go credit on it. You can also add your Disabled Persons, HM Forces, Senior or 16-25 Railcard if you are eligible.

Bus and tram journeys are charged at £1.20 for adults or 60p if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare. You are charged when you touch-in on the Oyster reader. The amount deducted and the remaining balance are displayed on the reader when you touch in. There is no need to touch out when using buses or trams. The Bus & Tram Discount scheme is available to help Londoners on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and those who have been receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for a minimum of 13 weeks.

When travelling by tube, train or DLR using Oyster PAYG, you need to touch in at the start AND end of your journey. When you touch in, an entry charge is deducted from your Oyster card. This is known as the “maximum fare” which is currently £6 (peak) and £4.30 (off peak) within Zones 1-6. When you touch out at the end of your journey, the correct fare for your journey is calculated
and your PAYG balance is adjusted as appropriate.

You only need sufficient credit on your Oyster card to pay the minimum fare when touching in. In other words, your Oyster PAYG can go overdrawn but it will disable any Travelcard you may have on it until the PAYG balance is back in credit.

If you have a Travelcard on your Oyster, you will want to know how to combine your Oyster with PAYG

Oyster PAYG - What is the cheapest fare?

The Off Peak Day Return which used to be available on the trains has been discontinued with the introduction of Oyster PAYG. You can still buy a paper ticket, and we have tried to work out the various costs for you. There is still some confusion as to what fares will be charged for the East London Line, but at the moment, it looks as though we will be charged TfL rates for stations served by the ELL.

TfL have taken advantage of the flexibility of Oyster to introduce an evening peak period. As a result, the Peak Fare now applies Monday-Friday 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. Off-Peak fares are charged at all other times and on Public Holidays. The fare will be determined by the time the Oyster card is touched in, rather than the time of departure of the train, so be careful when travelling around 0930, 1600 or 1900.

As can be seen from the table below, the cheapest fare currently available is with a Gold Card discount followed by Oyster, with cash fares (Paper tickets) being the most expensive single fare.

JourneyOyster PeakOyster Off-PeakPaper SingleGold Card SinglePaper ReturnGold Card Return
Forest Hill – Underground 1-3£3.70£3.10£5.10£3.50£8.60£5.70
Forest Hill – London Bridge£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – Victoria£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – New Cross Gate£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.15£3.70£1.90
Forest Hill – Honor Oak Park£1.40£1.30£1.70£1.15£2.90£2.90
Forest Hill – Norwood Junction£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.40£3.70£2.45
Forest Hill – West Croydon£2.20£1.70£2.60£1.70£4.50£2.95

If the fares switch to TfL's Zonal system when the East London Line starts operation, then these fares could be reduced by up to £1 (However, fares to Victoria and London Bridge might increase by 10p or 40p, but this is unclear at the moment).

Does Oyster have a One Day Travelcard?

Oyster cards work slightly differently from paper tickets. Instead of buying a One Day Travelcard in advance, with Oyster you simply touch in and out on all your journeys but the amount you are charged each day is capped to the equivalent Travelcard. However, be warned that if you fail to touch out then you will be charged the maximum fare for that journey and it will not count towards your daily cap.

If you only travel on buses and trams between 0430 one day and 0429 the next, then your charges will be capped at £3.90 for adults or £1.95 if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare.

When you travel on the tube, trains or DLR, then the daily price cap is the same price as an equivalent One Day Travelcard for adults and 16+. The child fare is capped at half the Adult fare for peak and £1 for off-peak. The current Adult caps are

Zones CoveredPeakOff Peak
Travelcard 1-3, 1-4£8.60£6.30
Travelcard 2-6£9.00£5.10
Travelcard 1-6£14.80£7.50

Once you reach a cap, you must continue to touch your Oyster card on the card reader on every journey, to ensure you pay the correct fare for the zones you travel through. If you do not, you could be charged a maximum cash fare, a Penalty Fare or you may be prosecuted

However, the cheapest way to travel at the weekend or on Public Holidays is with a Network Railcard. This allows you to buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard for only £5.00. The railcard itself costs £25 unless you are lucky enough to know someone with an Annual Gold card, in which case it will only cost £1.

Oyster PAYG - When do things go wrong?

There are a number of circumstances when you might not be charged the amount you expected or are used to paying with your old, trusty paper ticket.
  • If you don't touch in and out correctly, then you will be charged the "maximum fare" as the initial charge is not adjusted. Since the system only registered one touch, it cannot adjust your fare and you may pay more than you should. Your journey will not count towards your daily price cap as you have broken the rules.
  • If your journey takes longer than the maximum time allowed, then you will be charged two "maximum fares"; one when you touch in and the other when you touch out. Your journey will not count towards your daily price cap as you have broken the rules. The maximum journey times are shown below

    Maximum Journey Time (minutes)Mon-Fri 04:30-19:00Mon-Fri from 19:00 and All day SatSunday
    Within Zone 1 or 290100110
    Within zones 1 - 2 or 2 - 3 90100110
    Within 1 zones708085
    across 2 zones8090100
    across 3 zones90100110
    across 4 zones100110120
    across 5 zones110125135
    across 6 zones120132144
    across 7 zones130145160
    across 8 zones140155170
    across 9 zones150165180
  • Some journeys involve you changing station (for example, London Bridge to London Underground or Charing Cross to Embankment). These are known as "Out of Station Interchanges", or OSI, and you are allowed a fixed amount of time to make the change. This can be as little as ten minutes, but is typically longer. For example, when changing between National Rail and the Underground at London Bridge or Charing Cross, you have 20 minutes when transferring from Rail to Underground and 40 minutes when coming home (as you may have to wait for your platform to be announced). A full list can be found on London Reconnections. If you take longer than this, your trip will count as two journeys and it will cost you more.
  • If you decide not to travel having touched in, or your train is cancelled and you decide to take a bus instead, then you will be charged a 'Platform Fee' equivalent to the minimum fare (£1.40 at Forest Hill) provided it is between two and 30 minutes since you touched in. If you call the Oyster helpline, they will refund this at their discretion.
  • For some journeys, there is more than one route option available. For example, if you're going across London you may have the option of avoiding Zone 1. Pink Oyster Validators (rather than the usual yellow readers) have been installed at 11 stations so that you pay the lower fare. Simply touch your Oyster card on the pink validator to prove you used the cheaper route. The 11 stations are
    Blackhorse roadKensington (Olympia)West Brompton
    Gospel OakRayners LaneWillesden Junction
    Highbury & IslingtonStratfordWimbledon

If you feel that you have been unjustly overcharged, you should allow 48 hours before calling the Oyster helpline on 0845 330 9876 between 8am and 8pm. It is also possible to call TfL during office hours on 020 7222 5600 (ask for Oystercard Ticketing & Refunds)to avoid these charges if your calling plan includes geographic numbers.

Oyster PAYG - Can I combine PAYG with a Travelcard on Oyster?

Yes. If you have a Bus & Tram Pass on Oyster you can use Oyster PAYG for rail journeys or if you have a Travelcard then you can use Oyster PAYG to travel outside the area covered by your Travelcard.

The process is very simple, unless you are travelling from the zones covered by your Travelcard to a National Rail station outside your zones. In this case, you will need to enable something called an Oyster Extension Permit (OEP) before you travel. You do not need an OEP when travelling to a TfL destination. Bizarrely, we believe that this will mean that someone with a Zone 1-4 Travelcard on their Oyster will need to obtain an OEP to travel from Forest Hill to East Croydon, but not for travel to West Croydon (as it is run by TfL). TfL do not like OEPs and have asked the Rail companies to justify the need for them.

Although OEPs are free, you must have at least £1.50 pay as you go balance on your Oyster card to set an OEP. If you travel beyond the zones covered by your Travelcard without an Oyster Extension Permit you may be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution.

In theory, you can get your OEP at any touch-screen ticket machine, Oyster Ticket Stop, Tube or London Overground station ticket office. However, until they sort out our local ticket counters, you will have to obtain your OEP from one of the local Oyster Ticket stops (newsagent) or the Ticket Machines outside the station. We have found that only one of the local Oyster vendors (Forest Hill Supermarket on Dartmouth Road) understands the process.

TfL recommend that you only obtain your OEP just before you need it as having an OEP enabled effectively turns your Oyster card into a PAYG card, but you can actually set an OEP at any time. However, once you have an OEP on your Oyster, you must touch in and out on every journey until you have touched out outside your Travelcard area in order to avoid paying the maximum fare.

If you fail to touch in and out on once you have set your OEP journey, then you will be charged the maximum fare. If this results in your PAYG balance being overdrawn (since it is possible for your Oyster card to go overdrawn when touching in), your Travelcard will be disabled until the PAYG balance is back in credit.

In summary:

  • If you have an OEP set on your Oyster card, then you must touch in and out on every journey to avoid being charged the maximum fare. OEPs can be removed or disabled at the Ticket Vending machines.
  • When travelling entirely within the area covered by your Travelcard, you do not normally need to touch in and out as you have already paid for your journey. The only exception to this is if you have set an OEP but have not travelled outside your area, in which case you must touch in and out on every journey
  • When travelling entirely outside the area covered by your Travelcard you simply need to touch in and out and do not need an OEP. The system knows that this is a PAYG journey and so will deduct the maximum fare when you touch in and credit your balance when you touch out
  • When travelling from within the area covered by your Travelcard to a TfL station outside your coverage you simply need to touch in and out and do not need an OEP. All TfL stations are gated and so you have to touch out to get through the gate
  • When travelling from within the area covered by your Travelcard to a National Rail station, you must set an OEP on your card before travelling. You must also touch in and out

New eco community building planned for Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Following their successful new gates project, the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve are now setting out on a really grand scheme! They plan to replace the tired old pre-fabricated hut with a really wonderful exemplar of an ecologically designed building - a purpose-built visitor centre to serve the community for education, culture and fitness.

This is a hugely ambitious project and will only happen with your help. They want input on the design from as many people as possible and are organising some fun events to find out what you would like to see on the site, so come and get involved! Starting at Easter and running throughout the summer, they are organising a series of events. The first two will be on the 9th and the 11th April.

Huts, Hives and Habitats

Friday 9th April, 11.00 until 16.00

Aimed specifically at children and families, this is a day of exploration which involves making all kinds of dwellings; beehives, bird-boxes, insect hotels etc. There will be food and drinks available and staff to guide visitors around the reserve, looking at the frogs, newts and tadpoles and talking about all the different types of habitats that the different animals, insects and birds require. Staff will also be on hand to talk about the plans for the new building and to ask for suggestions, comments and ideas to contribute towards the planning process.

Open Day

Sunday 11th April, 13.00 to 19.00

There will be a BBQ, guided tours, guest speakers, music and a variety of activities to engage visitors of all ages and to get them thinking about the new building; it will be a really great day out!

STOP PRESS! The guest speaker has been announced as Dusty Gedge, the UK leading campaigner and promoter of living roofs. Dusty will be holding a great workshop on living roofs.

Please support the events on the 9th and 11th April and contribute to the design process. They need your help to achieve a really valuable building for the whole community.

For more details contact Jacob Twyford on 020 7851 2211, 020 8291 2272 or through the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve website

23 March 2010

NoToTrainCuts! Petition Presented to DfT

Presentation of Petition
The Forest Hill Society has presented a petition containing 5594 signatures to Chris Mole MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Transport.

Commuters on the Sydenham line are protesting further cuts in their service to London Bridge when the East London Line starts operation on 23 May 2010. Having already seen their morning services reduced from eight to six trains an hour in December 2008 and the cessation of direct services to Charing Cross in December 2009, they face the prospect of a further cut in capacity in May when the afternoon peak service is reduced from six to four trains an hour.

The petition, which was collected by members of various civic societies along the Sydenham line, called on the Department of Transport to maintain the current level of service through Forest Hill and restore the evening service to Charing Cross. When pressed on the matter Mr Mole was unable to confirm when any review would take place, nor when the December timetable would be drafted. However, he did take on board the point that we required leadership from the DfT to resolve the pathways to Charing Cross. A copy of the covering letter presented with the petition can be downloaded from here.

Jim Dowd MP, Caroline Pidgeon AM and Councillors Alex Feakes, John Russell and Phillip Peake joined some of the petitioners at the presentation.


19 March 2010

Two Hours' Free Parking at Sainsbury's

It may have been a long time coming, but starting today we finally have two hours free parking in the car park behind Sainsbury's on Pearcefield Avenue. The final approval was given at Mayor and Cabinet on February 10, 2010 after lengthy discussions between Lewisham and Sainsbury’s on ways in which the car park could operate better. A number of options were considered, however, the council has been clear that any changes should benefit the town centre as a whole, ensuring that the car park remains a facility for everyone to use.

As before, you MUST obtain a ticket from the machine in order to qualify for the free period since charges apply if you stay longer. Failure to display a valid ticket will leave you liable to a £50 Penalty Charge. The charges, which apply from Monday to Saturday from 8am until 6.30pm, are now
  • 0 - 2 Hours Free
  • 2 - 3 Hours 50p
  • Over 3 Hours £3.00

It is expected that at least 1200 people a week will benefit from this change. All we need to do now is sort out the signs so that people can find their way there.

18 March 2010

NoToTrainCuts! Petition

After many requests through various channels, we have finally been able to arrange for Chris Mole, (Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department for Transport) to accept our petition. As we are not allowed to talk directly to ministers, Jim Dowd MP has arranged this handover for us.

With approximately 1666 paper signatories and 3412 online signatories, the total now stands at 5078 which is great news, but keep encouraging friends, neighbours, family and colleagues who may be affected to sign as well.

The handover will occur at 12:30 on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at the Department of Transport on Horseferry Road

16 March 2010

Pool Designs Released to Public

While the Stakeholder's group (of which we are part) have been allowed to see the designs of the pool complex as they progressed, it is only now that the general public have been allowed to see the designs.

The new complex will comprise
  • 6 lane 25m pool
  • 16.7m x 7m learner pool, with limited spectating
  • Mixed changing village and group changing facilities
  • 278m2 Gym with approximately 70 stations
  • Two studios for aerobics or meetings
  • Community Room
  • Cafe with terrace and internal view to the main pool

Outside, there will be a coach drop off, motor cycle and bike parking as well as disabled parking for one vehicle.

You can download a copy of the display from Lewisham's website at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/foresthillpools or our website

Don't forget to have your say in person at the following times:
Wednesday, 17 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 18 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 19 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm
Wednesday, 24 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 25 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 26 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm

We will then have the chance to meet the architects to provide feedback and discuss any concerns on Saturday, 27 March at Forest Hill Station from 10 am -3 pm

12 March 2010

Missing Girl

Police are appealing for any information concerning a missing 12-year-old girl from Brockley according to the News Shopper.

The News Shopper says that Keleigh Brown was last seen leaving her home on Salehurst Road, Crofton Park at 4.40pm on March 10th. She was wearing the Sydenham Girls school uniform, which is navy blue with black tights and black shoes.

Anyone with information should contact Lewisham Police on 07788 916 864, or 0300 123 1212 or Missing People on 0500 700 700.