Boris, obviously stung by criticism over Snowday, has decided to go all pro-active ahead of the 48 hour Tube strike:

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled a raft of extra services as part of a major effort to help Londoners and commuters get around the Capital, if a planned 48-hour Tube strike goes ahead this week.

Plans include extra buses, access to all Greater London National Rail services with Oyster pay as you go, taxi sharing at major rail stations, escorted commuter cycle rides, additional cycle parking and a free River shuttle service.

PAYG on all Greater London National Rail services, eh?  That’s nice.  However, South West Trains, my local operator, begs to differ:

Members of the RMT union intend to strike on London Underground from 18:59 on Tuesday 9th June 2009 until 18:58 on Thursday 11th June 2009.

During this time South West Trains will be accepting all Transport for London tickets on certain SWT services within the Travelcard boundary. The services are Feltham to Clapham Junction and Waterloo via Kew Bridge or via Richmond; and Wimbledon to Clapham Junction and Waterloo. This includes PAYG and paper tickets.

We shall not be accepting PAYG or paper London Underground tickets at any other SWT station.

By my reckoning that’s quite a few SWT-operated National Rail services in the Z1-6 area which trying your PAYG Oyster at will result in the usual swinging Penalty Fare.  The Strawberry Hill line, or the Shepperton branch as far as Hampton, for instance, or the Hampton Court branch, or the Chessington Branch, or the Dorking line as far as Ewell West.  Etc.

I *think* what they’ve done is agreed to accept PAYG on lines paralleling Tube lines, so the Feltham lines (paralleling District/Piccadilly) are fine, and the Wimbledon line (paralleling the Northern and District lines) is also obviously included.  Further out where there’s no PAYG validity in the area anyway, SWT aren’t accepting it.  Not a great bit of co-ordination, really.  Over on Twitter, BBCTravelNews are trying to get to the bottom of this after we tipped them off.

Just spoke to TfL who are talking to South West Trains. TfL are still saying all Nat Rail stations taking PAYG oyster, SWT saying not #tube

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9 Responses to Tube Strike : Confusion Over Oyster PAYG

  1. Helen says:

    Imagine if it snowed tonight!

  2. Mark Lee says:

    OK, so I’m a pretty vocal critic of SWT’s complete inaction over OPAYG, *but* I do think they are within their rights to decide that they don’t want to accept OPAYG or tube tickets where there are no conceivable alternative tube routes. There’s perhaps an argument that tickets should be valid from Raynes Park to Waterloo (which is a convenient alternative to Morden), but beyond that I think the routes they’ve proposed are pretty sensible.

    I’ve been caught out before by SWT on this during previous Vic line strikes, where TfL people said that ‘tickets are valid on alternative routes’, but SWT staff tried to issue me with a penalty fare for using my OPAYG ‘ticket’ to get from Waterloo to Vauxhall. It seemed then that there was dismal communication between TfL and SWT (i.e. different messages being communicated by both companies), and this doesn’t seem to have been fixed. I don’t know who’s to blame, but I suspect that it may well be the case that SWT have said “no, we’re not accepting it where there’s no parallel tube route,” and TfL have said “tough, we’re going to tell everyone it is valid anyway,” to apply some pressure on SWT to change their tune. Arguably SWT are partly in the wrong for refusing to play ball, but TfL may also be in the wrong if they have been deliberately miscommunicating the validity of OPAYG during the strike.

  3. Tom says:

    I’m not sure it reflects especially well on either of them, and reinforces my opinion that urban/suburban rail services in London should be under TfL operating control, like Overground/DLR.

    The Morden area is also served by Southern, presumably? Not sure what they’re accepting, their only press today is congratulating themselves on being reawarded their franchise (which had IIRC significant TfL input pre-Boris).

  4. Wireman says:

    “The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled a raft”…

    Way to go, Boris! A raft! Thinking outside the box or what?

  5. Tom says:

    I’m thinking a New Raft For London here. Would probably end up like this, though:

    What they need is a bus conductor, chaps!

  6. Helen says:

    As Tom mused elsewhere, why aren’t Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect accepting Oyster? When the Piccadilly Line’s been out between Acton Town and LHR due to engineering works, Z1-6 Travelcards have been accepted on the airport services to Paddington – I’ve had several rides just for the novelty in the past few years!

  7. Helen says:

    Bus news from my neighbour who works for Transdev; last night he was instructed to draw up a schedule incorporating 2 extra buses on the 285 between LHR and Feltham and four extra buses on the H91 between Hounslow West and Hammersmith. The depot only had four spare single deckers (these two routes are single decker operations) but more spare double deckers. However, TfL said no double deckers were to be used – no idea why, no low bridges or other physical impediments. My neighbour’s shift finished in the early hours so he doesn’t know whether they managed to magic two extra single deckers.

  8. Tom says:

    Weirdly enough the H91 is supposed to go double deck soon.

  9. Helen says:

    I remember when the 91 was an RM and went all the way to Wandsworth. It were all airports round here then.

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