Post by Paul Corfield Post by email@example.com
I thought when the Mayor wanted to extend Oyster to National Rail
route in London ATOC insisted that railcards had to be recognised
and discounts given. So the system to register railcards on Oyster
cards was somewhat haphazardly introduced. For example you couldn't
check railcard registration status at a ticket machine. It was only
when they decided to close all the ticket offices that they had to
make it possible as it now is.
But for people living outside London who aren't regular visitors
contactless became a much better option when introduced unless you
are a railcard holder because, although Oyster cards have to be
registered to get railcard discounts, they have not enabled
railcard discounts against Contactless travel.
So NR passengers can't get their railcard discounts using
contactless. My question is why ATOC put up with this? It seems to
go completely against their agreement to allow Oyster to NR routes.
Since when can Rail Delivery Group dictate how TfL establish their
own ticketing technology? It was up to the TOCs as to whether they
accepted the use of Contactless technology on their services in
Greater London. If you recall they initially refused. I can only
assume they expected to repeat their trick of not accepting Oyster
and waiting for the Mayor to deposit a wheelbarrow of money on their
doorsteps. Unfortunately this time there were no wheelbarrows of
cash just a load of very predictable (and probably partly
orchestrated) criticism in the London media and from a range of
London politicians. After suffering a barrage of negative publicity
and social media commentary they changed their minds.
So that's how it happened then. Thanks.
Post by Paul Corfield
There is a very practical issue that there is absolutely no way to
verify a railcard holder is in possession of any given contactless
payment card (CPC). The discount also cannot be set in the chip on
any CPC. With Oyster the discount can be set at a station and on the
Oyster card. I suspect the banks do not want any TfL staff having to
handle bank cards in respect of online accounts or discounts. In the
event of any payment issues people are directed to their banks and
not TfL. I do understand your complaint but this is a difficult area
to resolve when you place the "travel medium" in the hands of a third
party as TfL have opted to do with contactless. The non existence of
ticket offices also creates a further issue not that they (AFAIK) had
direct access into the customer Oyster card database. All that ever
happened were transactions that were later verified and consolidated
against customer accounts (where they exist).
It's the same as for Oyster but the flag would be placed on the Oyster
account instead of on the individual card. The railcard holder still has to
present the railcard to LUL for them to place the flag on (actually a card
number and expiry date rather than a simple flag as with Oyster cards). I
can see that might not be so simple if all that is available to staff is a
ticket machine but in these tablet-infested days they should have a way.The
point of Contactless (and Oyster in the future) is that all the transactions
take place in the back office, as you well know.
Post by Paul Corfield
I wonder whether railcard discounts are available for mobile
ticketing or the various TOC specific smartcard schemes that exist?
I've not specifically checked but I am sceptical that RDG have
ensured railcard acceptance even on rail industry only smart / mobile
technology like the Key.
Railcard discounts are given on Greater Anglia m-Tickets which I use
regularly. Very handy they are too if I'm going to Liverpool St or Tottenham
Hale. Greater Anglia use the Masabi app also used by Virgin Trains.
Post by Paul Corfield
If they can't manage their own affairs then
it's a stretch to expect them to force TfL to do anything when TfL is
under no obligation to accept railcards anyway. The offer of
discounted PAYG fares for Railcard holders on TfL services is a
fairly recent and generous concession which was never part of the
scheme in the days of magnetic or paper ticketing (except ODTCs and a
few specific flows where LU sold tickets on NR routes).
They had to force the pace because railcard discounts were available on NR
routes within London where the Mayor wanted Oyster accepted. For example the
change saved me money on Vauxhall-Putney single journeys, I recall. As so
often happens, South London is being forgotten.
I can't speak for The Key because, despite their trains taking and bringing
most of Cambridge's 11 million passengers annually, GTR don't allow The Key
to be used here. What was the point of a standard (ITSO) if different cards
can't use other TOCs' gatelines and other systems?