What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

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TeamHelsinki
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What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by TeamHelsinki » 07 Dec 2017, 12:10

Newbie here. My son and I are planning to attempt an FNC some time next year (just for completion). I am a frequent visitor to London but have not been able to empirically test what happens if you exceed the maximum journey time using Oyster PAYG. The TfL website says that an excess fare is charged, but what actually happens at the ticket barrier? Does the system just chalk up an extra fare and otherwise work as normal? Or do alarms sound and you have to deal with staff to handle the excess fare? Extra cost we can live with; extra delays are obviously not good.

I understand that using a Travelcard avoids this problem, but am curious anyway.

JMan

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Iain
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by Iain » 07 Dec 2017, 13:19

My experience was that if there was more on your Oyster, it would just take it. When supporting the world record route, I racked up over fifty quid, and had to top up (so since I ran out of credit, I did have to deal with staff). I got the excess back via phone, but it's something to watch out for if time is critical.

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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by The Orange One » 07 Dec 2017, 13:49

If you exceed the Oyster time limit, you're hit with two maximum fares as the system assumes you've touched in, failed to touch out, failed to touch back in again and then touched out - which comes to £10.80 in the off-peak and a whopping £15.60 in the peak. Given a Travelcard is £12.something, this is not a good deal.

If you have the money, it gets deducted, if you do not, you have to speak to staff and sort it out.
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by michael_churchill » 07 Dec 2017, 14:04

I recommend https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk, you should find all the answers there. Especially, https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/maximum-journey-times/

If you check the charging details of an Oyster journey on the web site, you'll see that an entry charge / maximum fare (£5.40 off-peak) gets taken off when you touch in (which could leave your balance negative) and when you touch out you get some back according to what the correct fare should be. So, if you don't touch out, you've already been charged the maximum fare. If you touch out and the gate doesn't find evidence of a touch-in, it charges you the maximum fare there.

From https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/an-oyster-rail-journey/
Touch out at the end or at an intermediate station
2. It checks how long has elapsed since touch in at the start of the journey. If you’ve taken too long (or didn’t touch in) then it will discard any previous open journey and record an unstarted journey ending at that point.
I take that to mean that if you exceed the maximum journey time, it ignores the touch-in that was too long ago and charges you another maximum, so two maximum fares in total!

So, basically what The Orange One said. To avoid exceeding the maximum journey time, if you have the opportunity, you can touch-out and touch-in immediately which legally ends one journey and starts another, with no penalty.

I believe that the gates will always let you out, even if you have negative credit, but you must have enough credit for the cheapest possible journey to get in.

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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by The Orange One » 07 Dec 2017, 14:32

One thing to bear in mind is OSIs - there's a full list here (on the Oyster Rail site). If you make one of these out of station interchanges within the time given, TfL strings your two journeys together into one. This may help the casual A to B traveller, but as the fact these journeys are tied together means that the maximum journey time clock does not reset this can be annoying for any Oyster-enabled tube challenger.

There is a way to break OSIs up into two journeys - touch out of the first station as usual, then when you reach the second station touch in, touch back out again and touch in. This will break the OSI, provided that the second station where you're pulling off this manoeuvre has gatelines and not validators. You can see Geoff doing it on one of those Londonist videos here, and I've done it at a number of places myself so can vouch for it working.

I'm not entirely sure whether this would work at stations such as Canary Wharf (LU), where there is an internal OSI between gatelines - if anyone can advise, it would help.
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by tufnellpark » 07 Dec 2017, 15:40

In your Full Network Challenge plan, work out where you can best touch in/out to avoid maximum fares being charged. As has been said above remember to factor in OSIs such as Kenton/Northwick Park or Euston/Euston Square. As a rough guide plan to touch out every 90mins, if you can. Not always possible I know but that way you won't be hit with a maximum fare.

But if you go over the daily cap limit don't worry. You just phone up LU with your Oyster number and ask for the money back. I must have done that 10 times and they are always fine about refunding. Good luck on your FNC.
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by Iain » 07 Dec 2017, 17:41

Yep the daily cap does not get brought in if you exceed the time limit - which seems a bit weird but seems to be deliberate.

It's quite easy to exceed the time limit, I forget what I did but I didn't deviate too far from the direct route once and still got timed out
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by TeamHelsinki » 07 Dec 2017, 22:59

Thanks for the quick and helpful replies. After a more careful read of some of the stuff I'd skimmed through earlier, it does seem that as long as we have a shedload of cash in PAYG, everything should go smoothly, although it will end up costing quite a bit. And I'm not entirely sure how a refund would work, considering we're not resident in the UK. Still, it would probably not cost as much as a 7-day Zone 1-9 Travelcard (£82); the route I'm currently looking at has three instances of exceeding the maximum journey time.

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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by The Orange One » 08 Dec 2017, 02:08

TeamHelsinki wrote:
07 Dec 2017, 22:59
Thanks for the quick and helpful replies. After a more careful read of some of the stuff I'd skimmed through earlier, it does seem that as long as we have a shedload of cash in PAYG, everything should go smoothly, although it will end up costing quite a bit. And I'm not entirely sure how a refund would work, considering we're not resident in the UK. Still, it would probably not cost as much as a 7-day Zone 1-9 Travelcard (£82); the route I'm currently looking at has three instances of exceeding the maximum journey time.

JMan
I'd get a daily Z1-9 travelcard - that's only along the lines of £17?
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by Iain » 08 Dec 2017, 07:04

I think it's just over twenty quid, unless the price has dropped, and unless you're doing it at the weekend.

I can't really see anything against it tbh, unless you give up your run early on.

Just in case you don't know, you'll need to buy the Oyster at a newsagent or similar beforehand. Many stations only allow you to top them up afaik
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Re: What happens when Oyster PAYG times out?

Post by TeamHelsinki » 08 Dec 2017, 08:01

I have an Oyster, as I visit London fairly often. I would prefer to use Oyster for the FNC, as I could do without the added stress of worrying whether a paper Travelcard will survive the day. Though since you cannot get a 1-day Travelcard on an Oyster, the only Travelcard option would be a 7-day Z1-9 Travelcard... but it does seem that even with a worst-case scenario the excess fares on PAYG would not add up to as much as that.

JMan

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