New research from London TravelWatch suggests that overcharges from London’s Oyster transit cards could undermine public trust in the system, reports Rail.co.
According to London TravelWatch, incorrect use of the cards, i.e. not tapping in or out of a station, and a general lack of understanding of the Oyster system has resulted in passengers paying up to £60 million to transport companies in 2010 – 40% of which was essentially overpayment, says Rail.co.
“The Oyster smart card is immensely popular, but it is clear that passengers have big knowledge and information gaps about how to get value for money, and how to claim refunds,” Sharon Grant, chair of London TravelWatch, told Rail.co. “Not only does this result in overpayment, but it threatens to undermine Oyster’s success as passengers start to lose trust in the system.”
The research firm has found that many travelers find the Oyster system difficult to understand and have trouble accessing and comprehending the refund system. These travelers are also unaware how to navigate the system to their advantage, i.e. avoiding peak traffic times and taking cheaper routes.
According to Grant, many passengers don’t even know how exactly much they should be charged for their trips vs. how much money is stored on their card, often resulting in an overcharge.
“There needs to be another concerted education and information campaign to fill the gaps in knowledge and understanding of Oyster, and the difficulties in resolving ‘incomplete’ journeys need to be looked at and removed,” Grant continued. “We need operators to do better if they want to retain people’s trust. Oyster is a good product, offering convenience to passengers, and we would hate to see passengers’ faith in it undermined and damaged.”
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