20 Oct 2013, 14:13

The stupidity of TFL

Transport for London take money from you even when you DON’T use their service. It has happened to me twice now. The first time I went to catch the tube at peak hour, walked down to the platform, watched as 3-4 full trains went past, then walked out again. I paid several pounds for the privilege. On the second occasion, the particular line I wanted to catch was shut for maintenance. There were no signs informing me of this until I’d already passed through the electronic gate. When I did see the sign, I turned on my heel and tagged straight off. Again, I was charged several pounds.

Is this boneheaded incompetence on the part of the those who designed the electronic tagging system, or a cynical way of dishonestly extracting more money from honest patrons such as myself? I suspect the latter.

The system knows that I tagged on only moments before AND that I’m tagging off at the SAME STATION….there is simply no good reason for not refunding me on the spot! I’m using an Oyster card which means that I have an account into which the refund can be automatically deposited. Instead of this, I’m told I have to call a hotline or visit a ticket office (which are scarce) to get a refund. TFL know full well that of the people that realise they’ve been charged, very few will bother to seek a refund, and it wouldn’t surprise me if their end-of-year accounts have a special category for this very thing - perhaps with the subtitle: ‘executive Christmas party fund

On the other hand, that eponymous adage comes to mind:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.