Well one of my children went down to London for the day with some friends. On the way back, she decided to use the Thameslink Service from St Pancras to Mill Hill. She touched in at the Thameslink station and the barrier opened. She went and got on the train.At Mill Hill, she was stopped by a ticket inspector. "Where's your ticket" He asked. She produced her pay as you go Oyster card. He said "That's not valid at this station" My child replied "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't know, it let me get on the train and it's in zone 4 so I thought it was". The inspector replied "You should know that Thameslink isn't covered by Pay as you go". My child replied "There were no signs". The inspector was adamanant "You should have checked, I'm giving you a £20 penalty fare notice". My child has never been in trouble and was quite traumatised. As she'd touched in but not touched out, she'd actually been charged more than the cost of the journey, she'd been terrorised by a bully in a uniform and she'd been told she'd have to pay a fine.
My wife wrote a letter of appeal to the appeals service. She explained that my daughter, had made a genuine mistake. Shes not familiar with the ins and outs and arcane payment rules. She didn't realise that Thameslink is not in the scheme. There are even PAYG readers in the station. She explained that for young people, unfamiliar with all of this the system can be confusing. She explained that my daughter had used her Oyster PAYG at ST Pancras, so presumably had actually been charged for her journey. She assumed that as PAYG worked in St Pancras it would work in a Station in zone 4. The fact that Boris can't get the system to work at Mill Hill, despite having the readers installed for nearly a year, is not relevant. The fact that there are no big signs alerting kids. The fact that she'd never done it before. Nothing mattered to the cash hungry vultures. Here's what the reply said. Click on the letter for a readable view.