Be Careful With Your Cards On The Buses

'Contactless Payment' causing concern

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An Ealing Today member has complained to Transport For London (TfL) after money was taken from his bank account for a bus journey that should have been free.

Russell Maiden uses a Freedom Pass and discovered he had been mistakenly charged £1.40 due to problems with the new Contactless Payment scheme.

Contactless Payment, introduced on London's 8,500 buses in December, means you use credit, debit or charge cards (which have the symbol) as well as cash and Oyster cards.

Mr Maiden says: '' The website says that if one presents an Oyster card (the Freedom Pass is a type of Oyster card) and there is a credit or debit card in the vicinity of the reader at the time, then the reader will reject both cards.

''This did not happen last night. Even though the Debit card was nowhere near the reader and the Freedom Pass was pressed up against the reader, it still took the debit card in preference to the Pass.''

Shashi Verma, Director of Customer Experience at TfL, said: “When a contactless payment card and an Oyster card or Freedom Pass are presented simultaneously to an Oyster reader, bundled together in a wallet or purse for instance, the reader will reject the tap and no payment will be taken from either card.

“However, if a customer presents a wallet with two or more cards and there is a significant time gap before the second card is detected, this can result in the first card being charged which may not be the card the customer wanted to pay with.

''As we publicised at the time of the launch of the new service, and continue to do so through messages on the ‘Countdown’ dot matrix information system at bus stops across London, our advice to customers remains to choose which card they want to pay with and to keep them separate when touching them on the reader so that they pay with the card they intended to use.

''Since we launched in December over 800,000 bus journeys have been made using a contactless payment card and numbers are continuing to increase each week. Customers are following our advice and presenting their cards separately. We have been contacted by just over one customer per day on average who have had their bus fare taken from their contactless payment card when they intended to use their Oyster card or Freedom Pass and we have given these customers a full refund.”

TfL advise anyone with problems with overpayment to contact them 0343 222 1234 and they can arrange a refund.


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3rd April 2013