MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Finally, after a long campaign to get Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG) to work from tube to overground trains – we have lift off. To test the reality of Oyster being extended on Haringey’s train services, I went to Alexandra Palace Station to have a go (before the snow!). It worked – I tapped in and I tapped out! Here’s the clip:
So that’s the very good news at long last. However, the bad news is that if you have a Travelcard with limited zones and you want to go beyond them, you will need another electronic card – an Oyster Extension Permit.
This is unnecessarily complicated and First Capital Connect should have been able to come up with another solution. But given it is the system – and whilst I don’t wish to be overtly rude – First Capital Connect must be mad. You have to purchase an Oyster Extension Permit, but they are not going to be sold from ticket offices at overland stations!
Yes, that’s right – if you want this sort of ticket to use the trains, the train company won’t sell it to you.
Instead you will have to buy them at tube stations or at corner shops which carry the Oyster sign. It’s as if First Capital Connect doesn’t actually want people to get hold of the card!
Anyway it’s a New Year, and this is basically a good news story, so I will temporarily stop railing at First Capital Connect and end on that bad pun.
After a long-running campaign to enable local residents to use their Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG) cards on overland trains in Haringey, local Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that the scheme will finally go live from the 2nd January 2010.
Although welcoming the long-awaited news, local MP Lynne Featherstone has today raised concern over the complicated details of the scheme. From January travelcard holders will need to get an extra electronic permit if travelling outside their travelcard zone making the scheme “unwieldy and overcomplicated” Lib Dems say.
The Oyster Extension Permit (OEP) system means that any residents with an Oyster travelcard, who need to travel outside their travelcard zone, will have to obtain an OEP before travelling to avoid having to pay a penalty fare. The OEP will not be available at train stations, but only from Oyster card retailers, like local shops, and from the ticket office at tube station.
The Hornsey and Wood Green MP has written to the London Mayor, Transport for London and First Capital Connect, to demand that the OEP system be dropped and for a simpler system to be introduced.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“It’s great that we will finally be able to swipe in with Oyster Pay As You Go from January. This is long-awaited news and will make it easier for residents to use the trains.
“But sadly the system that the Mayor has negotiated with the train companies is unwieldy, confusing and overcomplicated. The idea of this Oyster Extension Permit is frankly ludicrous.
“I have raised this issue with the Mayor, TfL and the train company. Hopefully this absurd idea can be dropped.”
Cllr Martin Newton, Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, adds:
“If you have to travel outside the zones paid for with your Oyster travel-card, you first need to go to a shop or a tube station to get this electronic permit. That means an extra trip and extra complication, and goes against the logic of using Oyster – which is meant to provide easier ticketing.”
Was out campaigning in Wood Green over the Bank Holiday as part of a London-wide Liberal Democrat campaign to get a one hour Oyster bus ticket introduced – the idea being, you pay for one hour travel and can hop on and hop off as many different buses as you need during that one hour without having to pay for a new ticket each time:
(You can also watch this video on the YouTube website.)
It’s the sort of thing that’s popular and effective in many other cities. It’s also just the sort of policy that’s win all round: it would stop people being put off those journeys where at the moment you run up the costs by having to change a lot, so encouraging more bus use, but also by taking a little bit of traffic off our roads, it would help everyone else needing to use the roads too.
If you agree – do sign our petition at ourcampaign.org.uk/1hourbusticket
Not such good news:
You can also watch the film on the YouTube website here.
One – during the week my Liberal Democrat colleagues on Haringey Council got a motion through for Haringey Council to opt-in to the Sustainable Communities Act. The act in itself is really only a tool to open up future possibilities – but now we’re well on the way to being able to do that.
Two – parking permit problems for residents in Clarendon Road sorted out.
Three – Transport for London (TfL) have now promised that we will be able to use Oyster Pay As You Go on trains by September. Easier train travel, here we come!
Many thanks to everyone who backed the campaign on this – I’ve no doubt the public pressure make a big, big difference.
After months of dithering and half-promises, Transport for London (TfL) bosses this week gave Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone cast iron guarantees that residents will be able to use Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG) on trains by September.
The long awaited assurances came as the local MP presented the TfL bosses with hundreds of postcard petitions returned by local residents in support of the Liberal Democrat campaign. Ian Brown, Managing Director for London Rail emphasised that the scheme would not have gone ahead, had it not been for pressure from Lynne Featherstone, Haringey residents and other campaigners across London.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Oyster Pay As You Go will definitely go ahead by September. This has been such a long-running saga and too many half promises have gone unfulfilled.
“Being able to use Oyster on the trains will make it so much easier for people to hop on the train when going into town. I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the campaign. We did it, and it’s really down to the strong support from local residents.”
Started the day campaigning at Alexandra Park Station to bring in Oyster Pay As You Go as soon as possible.
As well as Nigel Scott (our candidate for the by-election in Alexandra ward) and Alexandra Councillors Susan Oatway, Dave Beacham – we also had Caroline Pidgeon who is our Transport Spokesperson on the London Assembly and Denys Robinson Chair of London Region – so it was a big do!
Loads of people took our little petition postcard – so we will be able to keep up pressure on Transport for London (and the Train Operator) who have been a bit tardy with stations north of Finsbury Park in terms of Oyster PAYG. And other Liberal Democrat councillors were out at other stations like Harringay, Hornsey, Bowes Park etc. Onward and upward.
Then visited a delightful supported housing scheme in Wood Green – Raj Kunj – for residents of Asian community. They were so nice and raised lots and lots of issues – chief amongst which is the very short time the lights at the crossing outside their building allows them to get across the main road. Traffic comes whizzing down the main road – very dangerous I think.
Full marks to Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, for raising the issue of pay as you go Oyster Card use on rail networks in Haringey. At the moment they can’t be used on the line from Finsbury Park through to Hornsey and beyond, although the train operator First Group seems to be happy for this to take place on its services out of Paddington.
Meanwhile on the other side of the borough, recent changes means that Oyster can be used on services out of Liverpool Street to stations in Hackney which includes Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale, but not beyond.
How visitors and tourists make sense of this glorious mess one can only wonder.
- Keith Flett, Mitchley Road, N17.
Extending the use of Oyster to First Capital Connect’s overground train services running north out of Finsbury Park is the subject of my latest local column:
To us public transport users in London it seems as plain as the nose on our faces that Oyster should be extended to our local overground rail (and everywhere actually) – so we can go boldly and easily wherever we choose! But no – we still have to put up with a two-tier ticket system if we want to use our local overground stations like Alexandra Palace and Haringey.
We are stalled because First Capital Connect are holding back from extending Oyster north of Finsbury Park station. Having to get separate tickets to travel in the same city is akin to Soviet-style bureaucracy – not what you expect in a world-class city like London.
These days we’re no long train travellers but customers – but whatever then happened to putting the customer first? This sort of bureaucratic small mindedness does rather make a mockery of their slogan, “Your Journey, Your Choice, Your Railway” – but not “Your Convenience” or “Your choice of ticketing” it would seem.
Other train operators like First Great Western and South West Trains have already committed to making their passengers happy and will install the Oyster pay-as-you-go system in the next year – and they are putting First Capital Connect to shame.
Recently I met with the Oyster specialists Cubic – who delivered Oyster for our tubes and buses – at Alexandra Palace overground station and they are keen as mustard to get on with it. So I’ve written to First Capital Connect calling on them to get on with it – and you can too at Freepost RRBR-REEJ-KTKY, First Capital Connect, Customer Relations Department, PO Box 443, Plymouth, PL4 6WP.
But before you do – you can read the rest of the piece here.
Met with Cubic – the company who deliver Oyster – yesterday. I met them at Alexandra Park Station where they said that Oyster compatibility for such train services would be coming to in mid 2009. Hurrah! Having a joined up system will bring much benefit to local travellers!
But their bigger quest is to get Oyster-compatible ticketing across the nation. Their problem – it is low on the Government’s priority list – and no one in the Government transport team seems to want to champion it, even though it would be cheaper and more effective in the long run to do it as a complete scheme now – rather than piecemeal as and when franchises come up.
Of course – Cubic have their own interests in seeing Oyster go national, but seeing the benefits it has brought to public transport use in London, it is in all our interests to see it spread.