Oyster Pay As You Go finally comes to Alexandra Palace Station

Finally, after a long campaign to get Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG) to work from tube to overground trains – we have lift off. To test the reality of Oyster being extended on Haringey’s train services, I went to Alexandra Palace Station to have a go (before the snow!). It worked – I tapped in and I tapped out! Here’s the clip:

(Also on YouTube here.)

So that’s the very good news at long last. However, the bad news is that if you have a Travelcard with limited zones and you want to go beyond them, you will need another electronic card – an Oyster Extension Permit.

This is unnecessarily complicated and First Capital Connect should have been able to come up with another solution. But given it is the system – and whilst I don’t wish to be overtly rude – First Capital Connect must be mad. You have to purchase an Oyster Extension Permit, but they are not going to be sold from ticket offices at overland stations!

Yes, that’s right – if you want this sort of ticket to use the trains, the train company won’t sell it to you.

Instead you will have to buy them at tube stations or at corner shops which carry the Oyster sign. It’s as if First Capital Connect doesn’t actually want people to get hold of the card!

Anyway it’s a New Year, and this is basically a good news story, so I will temporarily stop railing at First Capital Connect and end on that bad pun.

0 thoughts on “Oyster Pay As You Go finally comes to Alexandra Palace Station

  1. I agree this is a big improvement – in fact I used it myself earlier today, and it worked very well indeed (Ally Pally to Catford Bridge and back, for what it’s worth).

    But the Oyster Extension Permit, as bad as it may be (and it does sound pretty poor) isn’t actually FCC’s fault, is it? It’s the same across all of London as I understand it, and therefore is presumably some naff committee decision. Maybe FCC supported it, maybe they hated it but couldn’t get it overturned, but it seems simplisitic, unless you have inside knowledge, to lay the blame so squarely at their feet and call them “mad”.

    What’s the story? Is it indeed FCC’s fault? Or would a more measured tone be appropriate?

  2. Well – even if it’s more Train Operating Companies than just First Capital Connect – First Capital Connect is the one that operates trains in my constituency. But as I said above – Transport for London are supporting my position on this – so if it is wider than First Capital – presumably they will push for change across the board.

    And I thought my tone was pretty measured – as they have been incredibly intransigent for so long over the whole thing and kept local people unable to use their Oyster PAYG for far longer than necessary. In fact, I believe that First Capital were virtually the last Train Operating Company to agree to this.

    So – I am sure they can live with my criticism. The ‘mad’ bit refers to them not selling the Oyster Extension Permits at their rail stations! As I would have thought it might be helpful so to do.

    But as you will see in my piece – I do say that it is a good news story and therefore I am termporarily stopping railing at them!

  3. With Oyster pay-as-you-go coming to tube-less south-east London, my wife decided to go for an Oyster card this year where previously we had both used season tickets.

    Well, we’d never had any need in the past to think much about these Oyster card thingies we’d vaguely heard north Londoners talk about. So we decided to check up TfL’s website to get some idea how they worked, how much it costs etc.

    Now, I don’t think either of us are thick. I work as a lecturer in Computer Science, I read papers on computational theory as part of my job. But neither of us could make head nor tail of what we found on that website. It just didn’t seem to be saying clearly what these things are, how exactly you use them, how much it all costs. Instead, it left important basic things out, while diving into little unimportant details. Both of us left that website feeling enraged and confused. Asking staff at stations didn’t help either, some just gave us “dunno” type answers, others said things that quite clearly contradicted what we thought we’d understood eventually after much effort from the website and literature on the Oyster.

    Look – we have heard there are over a hundred staff working for TfL on salaries of over £100,000. Both of us feel we’d gratefully take on the job, for half of that salary, of writing literature and websites explaining things like Oyster cards, and feel we could do a much better job than whoever it is writes the stuff now. I have to explain far more complex things than that to my students in my job, and half £100,000 is still more than I earn.

  4. Can someone tell me if I have this correct?

    So if I live in Zone 1 and have a Zone 1 and 2 travel card on my oyster and wish to travel to Zone 6 on a National Rail train, I first need to get an OEP. This is easy enough for me to do as there is a nearby tube station.

    BUT for the return journey I must first find a “ticket stop” in an area of town I’m not familiar with and get an OEP added to my card so I can use PAYG Oyster on the way home???

  5. If I have this straight – we have a situation where a train company will supply an Oyster card, and sell product (a Travelcard and PAYG credit) on it, that would be valid for a certain journey on their services (using both) if made valid by doing something (adding an OEP) that they do not provide the means of doing; and then threatens to prosecute you for not having done so (although they provide neither the facility for doing so, or even determining whether it has been done), if you make that journey…

  6. I’ve been given a penalty charge notice at this station before with money on my card so this is a huge relief! The oyster card readers were uncovered and, being new to the area, I assumed I could use them as there were no signs to the contrary. I was made to feel like a criminal by the staff at the station who basically served me with this notice when it was clear I already had a travelcard on my oyster (plus money) and no idea about this.

    Am going to go to a tube station and try this OEP thing tonight. I’ve read on the tfl website it’s free but I’m doubtful!