Oyster flaw at Cannon Street could hurt your Bank

So I went out yesterday and ceremonially touched-in at Charlton station. Several hours later, I touched out again. Job done, Oyster works more or less as advertised, although the ticket machine outside Charlton station still can’t accept the little blue cards yet, although the reader’s been fitted. Nearly there. Not many people using it, though – but I bet the station’s neighbours hate the loud BEEEP! from the readers.

One little catch, though, might sting you if your habits are the same as mine. My old journey to work used to take me to Cannon Street, from where I’d stroll 100 yards up Walbrook to Bank, where I’d take the Central Line west.

The closeness of Bank and Cannon Street isn’t widely advertised, but with most local trains going to Cannon Street, it’s a handy shortcut to the West End and beyond without having to faff around at London Bridge. If I’m heading to the West End in the evening, it’s often easier for me to go via Cannon Street to Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus, and then walk back to Charing Cross later on. In fact, that’s what I did yesterday.

But the new fares system isn’t recognising Cannon Street and Bank as an interchange. Plenty of other non-obvious “out of station interchanges” are – Baker Street and Marylebone, even Bank and Fenchurch Street. But not Bank and Cannon Street, it seems. So instead of the £3.10 through fare I was expecting to be charged, I was stung for the £2 from Charlton to Cannon Street, plus the £1.80 from Bank to Oxford Circus.

Most people will do this kind of journey on travelcards, admittedly. But many will be thinking of trading down to Oyster PAYG – especially with “rail fares go down” publicity elsewhere – or, like me, will be using Oyster instead of buying daily travelcards and would be expecting a small saving. Not so.

This could be an omission by TfL – I don’t know if Charing Cross/Embankment works as an interchange – so I’ve dropped them a line to ask what’s happening. And while on the whole Oyster is an excellent thing, it’s worth keeping an eye out for quirks and snags like this. Otherwise, how else will they be fixed, and how else will we get a fair deal on our new fares?

Elsewhere…

(All Oyster on National Rail information and grumbles on one page.)

UPDATE: 01.00, 5 JANUARY – Finally, here’s what it says on the Oyster journey history screen. My fare hits the Travelcard cap on the way home from Charing Cross, so I’m charged £1.30 instead of £2. The full timings can be seen here for Oyster experts.

13 comments

  1. Looking at the OSI list for 2 Jan 2010 (posted on a blog apparently by staff member rather than as a result of an FOI request) – Cannon Street (NR) to Bank (LU) should have been set as on OSI with a 15 minute time limit.
    What was your interchange time?

  2. Steve –

    The ticket machine at Charlton’s had an Oyster reader fitted, but at the moment it’s not working. The option appears on the index, but it’s not been switched on yet. I remember reading on a newsgroup that it might be a few days yet before that side of it’s working.

    However… you can now select National Rail stations on the Oyster website now to pick up top-ups you’ve added online, and you can pick them up from the platform readers at Charlton (or elsewhere).

  3. Dave – I’m sure I saw that list somewhere as well, but I can’t for the life of me remember where. My interchange time would have been five minutes, maximum. Too cold to hang around an empty City!

    Unfortunately, I’m not going to be anywhere near an Underground ticket machine to take a pic of the Oyster usage screen, but I’ll stick up a journey history screengrab as soon as it appears.

  4. The journey history on screen – knew I should have taken a photo of it now – referred to “Cannon Street CSE”, so perhaps nobody’s looked at it since Connex South Eastern were shoved off stage six years ago.

  5. I have to confess that until I started reading this blog in one of its earlier incarnations, I had never even considered the possibility of getting into the West End via Bank from Cannon St. So a long overdue thank you for minutes saved!

  6. I suspect I will get the same problem next time I try to travel to Vauxhall overground via Waterloo East. It’s classed as a London terminal, so from Deptford the fare is the same as to Charing Cross or Waterloo East, but ever since the ticket barriers were installed on the mainline station, paper tickets to Vauxhall have not worked. Instead you have to ask one of the staff to let you through – which they do without a problem – but I would have thought this glitch would have been fixed by now.

    I successfully Oystered my way around south London’s overground network today, but can confirm that Deptford ticket machine’s Oyster reader is not working yet either.

  7. “I successfully Oystered my way around south London’s overground network today, but can confirm that Deptford ticket machine’s Oyster reader is not working yet either.”

    I can confirm that Chiswick’s machine doesn’t have an Oyster reader, as SWT are the only TOC not upgrading their machines. Instead there’s a helpful poster pointing you across the road to the nearest ticket stop, which is OK if it’s open and you’re not in a hurry. ‘Spose.

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