Thousands of Tube, rail and DLR passengers risk being accidentally charged for their journey on a contactless credit or debit card according to a briefing document drawn up for the Mayor.
Contactless Tube and rail fares are due to go live across the network on September 16th following a trial involving around 3,000 passengers using credit or debit cards to pay for their journeys.
To facilitate the trials, Oyster readers on ticket gates across the Tube, DLR, Overground and rail network have been updated to read the bank cards.
Although TfL’s billing system can currently only debit funds from cards pre-registered by trial participants, it still records when other cards have been presented at a ticket gate.
Figures presented to the Mayor show that up to 2,000 cards a day are accidentally being presented to the readers by passengers who are travelling with a paper ticket or Oyster card.
While none of the passengers have been charged as a result of their error, the briefing note warns that this won’t be the case once the system becomes fully operative next month.
This could result in passengers being charged for their journey on the wrong card, preventing them benefitting from fare capping and risking some being charged a maximum fare for having an incomplete journey registered on their Oyster card.
TfL has been warning passengers of the need to keep their Oyster card and any contactless cards separate in their wallets and purses and ensure that they only present the card they intend to pay with to the reader.
According to the briefing note, this advice “has been successful in reducing instances of card clash by nearly half.”
However that still leaves thousands of passengers each week risking paying with the wrong card. TfL is working with card issuers to ensure such customers are automatically refunded and alerted by SMS to explain what happened.
TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, Shashi Verma, said: “Customers need to make sure they only present the card they want to pay with. We have been advising customers about how to avoid card clash for several months with in-station announcements, posters across the network, direct emails to customers and radio adverts.
“This will be intensified over the next month before contactless launches on the London transport network. When it launches, we do appreciate there could still be some instances of card clash and we will be working to identify these and provide automatic refunds. Customers are also able to contact us on our low rate number to get a refund.”