London rail travellers 'ripped off by £60m'

Rail passengers in London have been overcharged by more than £60m because of problems with pay-as-you-go travel card payments, it was claimed yesterday.

The Liberal Democrat leader on the London Assembly, Caroline Pidgeon, said she had been told that mistakes at ticket barriers at Tube and railway stations in the capital were to blame for Oyster card users being overcharged.

Where barriers are not working properly, are left open or where the card isn't swiped accurately, Oyster cards are automatically charged the maximum single fare of 6, irrespective of what journey is made by passengers.

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Ms Pidgeon said: "The rise in Oyster overcharging throughout 2010 is just one further insult to passengers who are now being hit for six by steep fare rises from both the Mayor of London and the railway operating companies.

"If passengers actually knew how much overcharging was taking place at every Tube and train station, changes would quickly take place. It is time that a league table was published showing exactly how much people are being ripped off at each and every Tube and train station.

"It is simply not good enough for the Mayor and Transport for London to wash their hands and just blame the rise in Oyster overcharging on the train operating companies."

A TfL spokesman said: "The number of incomplete journeys recorded are only a fraction of the 135 million Oyster journeys undertaken on the Tube, DLR and National Rail each month. The vast majority of Oyster pay-as-you-go customers pay the correct fare as they touch out at the end of every journey.

"We would urge all customers to touch out at the end of their Tube, DLR or rail journeys to ensure they pay the correct fare."