We are meant to be intelligent life forms, so surely we can make a trip to Gatwick work without it costing billions of pounds (that we don’t have) to get it wrong over and over again?

Gatwick London Express Train service

This morning I had to leave at 5am to get the train from West Norwood to Gatwick via Clapham Junction. The journey via Victoria is £22 (going via Zone 1), so it makes sense to knock £10 off the cost and go this route. Naturally with Oyster touch in and out points at both ends I assumed I could use my Oyster card for this journey. It makes perfect sense for a city like London to offer easy access to its international travel terminals. At least, that what I thought.

After a pretty seamless journey turning up at Gatwick perfectly on train having caught the connection at Clapham Junction, I was informed by a lady guard that the Oyster touch did not work. I was then redirected to the guard at the back where I was charged a £20 penalty. Thus so far, I had paid £15 on to my Oyster and touched in and was now being billed an extra unknown amount for not closing off my journey on the Oyster.

The guard was sympathetic but said quietly that the problem was that Southern rail and Transport For London (TFL) could not come to an agreement on how to divide up the revenue. The sadness in this is that two organisations who ultimately are trusted with making our lives run smoothly feel that it is acceptable to delay a solution that is logical, practical and in the interests of travellers. The end result is that the small things in life amount to ineptitude on the side of those that could do better.

Come on TFL and Southern rail…. raise your game!

Twitter: @InDulwich


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