Top 10 Oyster Overcharging Stations

By BethPH Last edited 87 months ago
Top 10 Oyster Overcharging Stations

The news that Oyster users are being overcharged at stations across the underground network won’t come as a surprise to many of us though perhaps the scale of it might do. It was revealed yesterday that in 2010, TfL netted a whopping £61.8m from passengers due to broken or open barriers and cards not read or swiped properly.

We reported back in January that the maximum fare was going up and a lack of barriers at some stations meant passengers were being overcharged, but there’s another problem: when stations become overcrowded (as they frequently do during rush hour), staff open the barriers and use the autocomplete system which touches travellers out of the system automatically. Sensors pick up cards going through the barriers but to avoid a maximum fare the user must touch in again at the same station within three days. This is fine if it’s a station you use frequently, but not quite so convenient if it isn’t.

The DLR recently made the news for the same reason and features heavily in the complete list of overcharging stations with a contribution of £3.2m to that £61m total. Caroline Pidgeon of the London Assembly Transport Committee calls the charges ‘unacceptable’ and said; ‘There is something very seriously wrong when each and every week of the year Londoners are ripped off by more than £1m.’

TfL say that maximum fares are not overcharges, which is debatable since they appear to be occurring at least partly as a result of a failure in TfL’s Oyster system. The Shepherd’s Bush blog points out that many users are not aware they’ve been overcharged but urges them to double check every journey.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 stations overcharging Oyster users and the amount overcharged:

  1. Waterloo National Rail - £2,452,000
  2. London Bridge National Rail - £2,300,000
  3. Liverpool Street National Rail - £1,615,000
  4. Bank London Underground - £1,339,000
  5. King’s Cross London Underground - £1,073,000
  6. Victoria London Underground - £982,000
  7. Stratford - £877,000
  8. Wimbledon - £825,000
  9. Oxford Circus London Underground - £862,000
  10. Liverpool Street London Underground - £670,000

Photo by Luke O'Regan

Last Updated 26 February 2011


I am regularly overcharged when travelling from Clapham Junction to Liverpool Street via Waterloo. The Oyster card system cannot cope with the northbound journey, but can cope with the southbound one.

I've noticed that the online journey history does not show incomplete journeys, however if you request a statement from TfL online you receive a version showing you such problems.

No response from TfL from their online system, so I guess I'll have to wait on the phone. Shame I can no longer go to a ticket desk since they're all closed...

diamond geezer

Eight of those stations aren't a surprise, because they're the busiest tube/rail stations in London. You'd expect busier stations to have higher rates of overcharging.
The two exceptions are Stratford (which is a very complex interchange) and Wimbledon (which has a special touch-in rule for tram passengers that applies only here, and which thousands of people must forget).


I'd be interested to know if the overcharging rates went up at Stratford after they removed the barriers to the Jubilee Line platforms. When coming off national rail there, you'd have to touch in to enter the tube network but that's not the case now and there's only a couple of readers off to the side of the concourse.


Good luck getting your money back at the ticket desk, because they won't do that any more. I was overcharged at Waterloo once, going to Liverpool St. I touched in at Waterloo, but it didn't register. The ticket desk lady wouldn't believe me and said I had to call the number on my Oyster card. Well it was after 5 so I couldn't. I had no money to get home AND it was my birthday. Thanks TFL for a really shitty birthday.


...i don't commute, i'm an occasional user of TfL, and it's OBVIOUS how much money they take hand over foot. I'll set of with twelve pounds on the card one day, two weeks later, next time i use the card, it's only got a quid on it! Oysters the easiest way to fleece the general public, and this figure of '£68m' doesn't even come close when you factor in the awesome charge of £5 for the card (£5! Wassit, gold card?), and the fact that if you don't wanna be tracked on some database you have to be anonymous, so you lose the card, you lose the money. And the fact you're required to keep any and all receipts if you're gonna have any chance of getting the money back anyway! Typical 'easy to pay in, impossible to hold to account' plutocratic bureaucracy that makes money for all the wrong sort of people....


In addition to Oyster errors, when there are problems/delays on a tube line people resort to a workaround that may involve buses or overground. In that case you pay more - for 2 or more separate journeys rather than one - AND suffer delays! Multiply by several thousand travellers and you a see a ££££££ big disincentive to make the tubes more reliable!


Don't forget about the ridiculous Oyster Extenstion Permit - I have to get one every time I travel into or out of zone 1 to avoid penalties, which often means standing in a queue to get soemthing that's free anyway. I wonder how many Londoners are even aware of it!?

Peter Hicks

"Sensors pick up cards going through the barriers" - can you please cite your source for this statement, as it doesn't seem right that Oyster cards can be read from afar.


Hi Peter, I originally got this from the BBC but it was reported by a number of other sources too.