Transport for London is to abandon its current 0845 contact numbers in favour of a new local rate number, allowing passengers to contact them at little or no cost.
From this week, Oyster users applying for a refund or needing help with an account query can contact TfL on 0343 222 1234.
Unlike 0845 numbers, which can cost as much as 10p per minute to call, local rate (0343) numbers are included in the free call allowances provided by many mobile and fixed-line phone providers.
TfL says the new 0343 number will also replace its other enquiry numbers over the next 18 months, making it easier as well as cheaper for passengers and customers to contact it.
Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, said: “Our online services are enabling customers to avoid the hassle of having to call us, especially for things like arranging refunds. But it is only right that customers with complex queries or complaints can contact us by telephone and at low or even no cost to them.
“Our customers want a ‘one stop shop’ for their travel needs and consolidation of our telephone numbers will help deliver it,” added Shashi Verma.
The move to a new cheaper number has been welcomed by passenger watchdog London TravelWatch.
Chief Executive Janet Cooke said: “The move to a local call rate telephone number for Oyster services is a very positive development and something which London TravelWatch has been advocating for a long time.
“Passengers calling from mobile phones should not have to incur additional charges when they need to resolve Oyster issues. We look forward to other TfL services introducing local call rate numbers in the near future.”