TfL Ref: FOI-0400-1718
Thank you for your email received by us on 22 May 2017 asking for information about penalty fares.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm that we hold some of the information you require. You asked:
I would also like to make a freedom of information request under FOI legislation relating to the malfunctioning of TFL's card reading systems. Please include
I. statistics of instances where the card reading systems malfunction,
TfL operates a fleet of 9000 buses in daily operation which contain 12,000 Bus Oyster Readers.
We design Bus Oyster Readers to be as reliable as possible, however like all technology failures will occur. Where a Bus Oyster Reader fails, the bus driver is required to report this fault and steps are then taken to remove the faulty item. Where a bus has more than one Bus Oyster Reader, passengers are requested to validate on an alternate Bus Reader.
Where a Revenue Inspector boards a bus, the driver should make the Revenue Inspector aware that currently a Bus Oyster Reader is faulty and the Revenue Inspector would take this into consideration when checking customers Oyster and contactless cards used for validation purposes. Bus Oyster Readers throughout 2017 have been available on average for 99.2%, whilst in passenger operation.
This equates on average to 31 Bus Oyster Readers each day, being reported as at fault.
II. instances of where penalty notices are issued whilst the system is malfunctioning,
There is no link between the Revenue Protection Inspector’s system for issuing and processing penalty fares and our Bus Oyster Reader system that monitors and reports upon faulty ticketing equipment, therefore we do not hold the information requested.
III. and details of what policies and procedures are in place to make sure that TFL staff do not issue penalty notices when the system is not working. In particular,
a. what checks RPIs are required to take if a passenger flags up the fact that they did swipe their card, but it has not recorded on the system.
In such a scenario Retail Price Indexes (RPIs) are instructed to return to the Bus Electronic Ticket Machine (ETM) and take another download of
Contactless Payment Cards (CPCs) validations and then recheck the customers card against the newly downloaded data.
IV. Finally, I would like information on what safeguards are in place to protect passengers whose cards don't register immediately, but only later.
Same as above.
V. Does the computer system create any warning flag against penalty notices that were issued, but a card reading subsequently appears on the system.
No. Appeals staff dealing with penalty fare appeals are trained to double check all computer systems and identify any potential errors and to automatically allow appeals if such instances were to occur.
If this is not the information you are looking for, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London