16,000 rail travellers to Stansted fined after believing they could use Oyster card
PUBLISHED: 12:31 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 24 January 2019
The number of people being hit with fines to and from Stansted Airport and London has increased by 16,000 in two years - increasing further pressure on the Government to extend Oyster cards to the Essex airport.
London Travelwatch, which released the figures, says passengers are mistakenly believing payments with Oyster and contactless cards are valid because the destination is badged as London Stansted.
It says the figures proved that Oyster and contactless payments should be extended to the Essex airport.
Their demand follows on from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has also called on the Government to extend the scheme from London Liverpool Street and Stratford to all stations to the airport, especially given it is less than two years until London hosts the semi-finals and finals of Euro 2020.
Tim Bellenger, from London Travelwatch said: “Going up to 16,000 a year from virtually nothing in two years is a very large increase and it just shows how people, travelling to and from what is termed London Stansted, would generally expect the London ticketing and fare system to apply to an airport named with London as a prefix.
“It is particularly important given that Stansted is one of the only airports that has managed to increase the public transport proportion of journeys between 2012 and 2016.
“Those 16,000 people is an awful lot of people travelling by train who don’t realise that an Oyster or contactless bankcard isn’t valid for that journey.”
Although passengers are able to tap onto a Stansted Express train at Liverpool Street, they must exit at Broxbourne or before if they are to avoid a penalty.
Stansted Express advertise advance tickets for as little as £7 – but those who cannot produce a valid ticket for inspection when required have to pay a minimum £20 penalty fare.
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We want all customers to have a positive experience when travelling with us. We are always looking for new ways to improve their journeys and will consider their feedback relating to the use of Oyster and contactless on other areas of our network.”
A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to extending pay-as-you-go across the rail network, and are working with TfL to explore these proposals.”