Anger over Oyster top-up service at Wimbledon station

Wimbledon train station

Wimbledon train station

First published in News
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Cuts to ticket services at Wimbledon station have delayed, disrupted and increased the cost of commuters' journeys since the start of the New Year.

Oyster top-up services were removed from manned ticket offices on January 1, forcing commuters to rely on ticket machines which only sell pay-as-you-go and weekly travelcards.

Commuters, forced to use other outlets for monthly and longer Oyster travelcards, were left with no Oyster services at all when ticket machines broke down on Monday, January 27.

South West Trains (SWT), that operate the station, said a problem with the IT system linked to the machines cancelled all transactions after an anti-fraud limit on purchases set by Transport for London (TfL) was activated.

The failure affected around 20 other London stations.

Both TfL and SWT refused to give the figure required before the anti-fraud limit cut all Oyster services during rush hour, but it believed hundreds could have been affected.

Councillor David Dean, one of the commuters affected by the failure, is demanding full compensation to affected customers and is calling for Oyster services to be returned to manned ticket offices.

Coun Dean said: "Mondays are always difficult but people were exasperated.

"People went to get a paper ticket or went outside to the newsagents to top up their Oysters.

"There were long queues and most people just accepted it, but I'm not prepared to accept it.

"I had to purchase a daily paper travelcard for £11 rather a weekly Oyster which costs me £5.10 a day.

"I will strain every sinew to ensure the next franchise for this train service is run by a company that will adhere to the contract and respect customers."

A spokesperson for SWT said: "The issue was quickly identified and addressed by the external suppliers and there have been no further problems since then."

The company refused to offer compensation as Oyster services were available "nearby".

Stephen Hammond, Wimbledon MP and minister for transport, said: "I have met up with the managing director of London Underground, Mike Brown and I've written to the managing director of SWT, Tim Shoveller, because this has happened several times.

"I have had an assurance from Mr Shoveller that it will be made right and we will continue to make representations to them on a weekly basis if it isn't working."

SW Trains refused to reveal how many complaints they received on Monday, January 27, which other London stations had the same problem and how many people use Oyster services on Wimbledon station ticket machines on normal travel days.

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