back to article Free for all on London Underground

Commuters are travelling for free on the London Underground this morning after technical problems again brought down the Oyster ticket system. Gates have been left open since early this morning. But at least this failure is not knackering people's cards - the downtime last time meant 35,000 people had to get their cards …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bets on

    the SysAdmin has taken the day off!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    B*gger

    I walked this morning.

  3. Matt

    Another approach

    I think I prefer the way some other cities work: That is there are no barriers as most people aren't thieves. Then tickets are checked on a semi-random basis just to remind people to be honest.

    After all this is a public service and not there to line someone's pockets!

    With the current hysteria about green issues, anyone who's on the tube isn't driving a car, so why not make it a nicer place to be?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    refunds

    OK, so it's quite evident that the Oyster system can do automatic refunds. Why do they leave it to us then to go on-line and claim refunds when trains run late? Couldn't the system detect late-running trains and then refund us automatically?

    Oh, wait, no, it would bankrupt them.

  5. Roger Kynaston
    Flame

    imagine if

    This (and previous crashes) had been the National Identity Card.

    "Errmm, We don't seem to have any data on who you are. Off to Gitmo!"

  6. Steve

    @ Matt

    "After all this is a public service and not there to line someone's pockets!"

    Which trains have you been riding?

  7. Paul Hargreaves

    @Matt

    > After all this is a public service and not there to line someone's pockets!

    Yeah, right.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @ Matt

    I am sure I wont be the only one to say what planet are you living on?

    "After all this is a public service and not there to line someone's pockets!"

    Please read that again and choose the correct (joke) icon next time you post something like that please

  9. Mark

    re: Another approach

    Try Brussels. It's so cheap it's scarcely worth dodging the fare. The price of LU makes me think of Denis Healy's "Squeeze the pips till they squeak".

  10. Andus McCoatover
    Paris Hilton

    Nice...

    <<touch in and out at the beginning and end of their journeys>>

    I'd love to be able to do that! Ain't that a bit like "Muffin the Mule"

    Paris, obviously.

  11. Mr B
    Go

    Transys ... that explains.

    "... incorrect data tables being sent out by our contractor, Transys."

    Transys = EDS + CTS

    With EDS' major cockups and Cubic Transportation Systems worldwide failing ticketing systems that explains.

    The update to patch recently cracked Oyster more and more likely to cause some more free travel ... and lack of revenue ... and future fare hikes.

    Oyster's £ 1.2 bn initial cost was some well spent money.

  12. Stuart
    Unhappy

    Matt said "Most People are not thieves"

    Correct. Sadly a significant minority are. The introduction of Oystergates at our local station increased ticket sales by 16%. This would suggest you would pay 10/20% more to not have barriers ... and subsidise the freetards.

  13. Mike Richards

    @ Roger Kynaston

    'imagine if This (and previous crashes) had been the National Identity Card.'

    More like

    'And tonight Matthew I will be Gordon Brown.'

  14. Robin

    re: Another approach

    Sounds like a nationalisation/privatisation debate...

    I agree though!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Is it just me?

    Or might you think that this run of 'issues' with Oyster is no coincidence?

  16. Darren B

    @ac - refunds

    Train operators stopped auto refunds to season ticket holders years ago, actually about the time of privatisation. At one time they would extend tickets based on past performance. Now they increase the price based on past performance.

    Bad year = Above Inflation Rise

    Good Year = Mega Above Inflation Rise.

  17. Chris

    @refunds By Anonymous Coward

    "OK, so it's quite evident that the Oyster system can do automatic refunds. Why do they leave it to us then to go on-line and claim refunds when trains run late? Couldn't the system detect late-running trains and then refund us automatically?

    Oh, wait, no, it would bankrupt them."

    If I go from A>B>C, and the B>C train is delayed, how does the system know I'm even at B? I might have gone A>D>C...

    Also, what's to stop me going 20 mins early when I know the trains are delayed, reading a paper on the platform and getting a free ride? Absolutely useless suggestion, AC.

  18. paul
    IT Angle

    train companies are the worst

    I'd love to own one. Pay myself + shareholders lots of money , not spend any on development/maintainance - and then moan to govt that I cannot afford to run it and will have to shut down. Govt gives me a few billion pounds for free. Pull same stunt again next year.

    These days its far far cheaper to fly. Says it all really.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Steve

    ""After all this is a public service and not there to line someone's pockets!""

    Which trains have you been riding?

    He's been on the Coke Line... you can see it on any tube map. It's the white line running around the financial district.

    ... and Westminster.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    SORRY BUT

    ANYONE WHO USES THE UNDERGROUND IS A BIT RETARDED REALLY AS THERE IS A PERFECTLY GOOD OVERGROUND AND BUS SYSTEM.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When people think they won't get caught

    The vast majority of people are thieves (see software music piracy).

    If people really were so honest you would see most shops unmanned including the tills.

    People could buy their goods open the till and take the correct change :)

  22. Tawakalna

    stuff the Oyster card..

    ..I use cash. Trains still don't run on time but but at least I preserve a bit of privacy.

  23. Ed Mozley

    Clearly playing catchup with...

    ...the guys who say they are going to publish information on how to clone oyster cards.

    It seems to much of a coincidence to have had the recent court case and these difficulties.

  24. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Oh-yez Oh-yez

    Are they capable of reading MoC CDs? That'll learn 'em.

  25. iSuff44
    Happy

    At Last

    Value for money from public transport at this rate we won't need our cars!!!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Stuart

    Just wondering if your station has reduced the ticketprices accordingly now that you sell 16% more tickets? (obviously a train costs roughly the same to run if it has 1 passenger, 200 passengers (of which 150 have paid) or 200 passengers (of which 198 have paid, and 2 have cloned oyster cards).

    Something to think about?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re: SHOUTY AC

    "ANYONE WHO USES THE UNDERGROUND IS A BIT RETARDED REALLY AS THERE IS A PERFECTLY GOOD OVERGROUND AND BUS SYSTEM."

    Er....have you taken your pills today?

    Try taking a bus from, for example, Stanmore to Canary Wharf and see how many hours it takes you. It's about fifty minutes on the Tube (except when the Jubilee doesn't have one of its signalling freakouts). Even, say, Putney to Sloane Square, which is a trip down the New Kings Road on the bus, is much quicker on the tube. No traffic, see?

    For all the moaning, the Tube isn't too bad, especially when you consider bits of it are nearly 150 years old. It's not too expensive if you have a travelcard, though single journeys can be shocking.

  28. micheal
    Flame

    If Red Ken were still in

    he'd waive the congestion charge just to stop people taking free rides on the tube, then claw it back by taxing the hell out of small shops and hiking c-tax......oh wait, that was his plan to fund the Olympics overspend, danm i knew i heard it somewhere. really, apart from the Athletes I havent met many Londoners who think the transport system will cope, or that the legacy is worth the cost

  29. Geoff Mackenzie

    @Stuart

    I'd rather subsidise the 'freetards' than EDS and their barrier system. The barriers are only saving you that 20% if you assume they're free and have no maintenance costs.

  30. Rick Silver badge

    Re: When people think they won't get caught

    "The vast majority of people are thieves (see software music piracy)."

    To start with, breach of copyright is not theft. Theft requires something to be taken, not copied. It may be a crime, although many would argue that it shouldn't be, but it is not theft.

    "If people really were so honest you would see most shops unmanned including the tills.

    People could buy their goods open the till and take the correct change"

    Not really comparable situations. If one person sneaks on to a train while everyone else pays, the worst that happen is the train operator loses a few pence. If one person empties the till while everyone else pays honestly, the till is still empty.

  31. dave lawless
    Boffin

    Hacker conspiracy - blegh!

    I don't think for 1 sec it is the card dupers but even if it was if a shoddily duplicated card that returns invalid data crashed the system the blame lies not with the card duplicators but the input validation & verification code.

    If I'd built the card system I would have made sure I'd fuzzed the nuts off it prior to deployment because one can guarantee that if I didn't then someone would be giving it a go down the ine.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Piracy is Theft

    'To start with, breach of copyright is not theft. Theft requires something to be taken, not copied. It may be a crime, although many would argue that it shouldn't be, but it is not theft.'

    In the UK that is exactly what it is theft (no idea what it is in the US). It is as criminal matter which you can be jailed for. (The copyright holder can sue you seperately in the civil courts in addition to this).

    The fact you are stealing a relatively small amount from a large corpoeration makes no legal (or in my opinion moral difference). Theft is theft is you rob a homeless man or mafia crime lord

  33. RW
    Pirate

    Piracy is theft? Cui bono?

    The government pursues those who steal physical goods. Who pays for this? Everyone; it's a social contract between us all, something like a universal insurance policy.

    Who's paying the price of chasing copyright violators? Where is the tit for tat? It's well known that corporations are very good at avoiding taxation, and that media companies in particular are experts in fudging the books to show losses instead of profits. Under the circumstances, It seems to me that holders of copyrights who benefit from government protection should be paying the tab; I suggest a percentage of gross revenue would be the best implementation.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Car owners...

    Didn't used to need the underground.

    There used to be perfectly good roads to drive on.

    Then they clogged them up with bus lanes, nonsensical constrictions, widened pavements and so on, so that they could claim the resultant congestion was the fault of the car drivers, and could charge them extra money to be on the roads.

    Mine's the one with the car keys, oh, and the one-way flight ticket out of UK in the pocket...

  35. Dave
    Black Helicopters

    Duff Patches

    So presumably they're trying to patch the system to overcome some of the hacking problems, and at least two of the patches have been spectacular failures that needed to be backed out.

    Or was it just a trial run of real software designed to disable cards that have been cloned, disguised as a system glitch? I know that mobile phone telcos used to (and maybe still do) disable phones that pop up in multiple places too close together in time to have been the same phone.

  36. John
    Pirate

    public transport

    Just say no kids.

  37. TheHempKnight

    Travelcards

    things like this and the price of a single ticket are the reason I just get a zone 1-6 travelcard whenever I'm in our fair capital... though to be fair I am using it more as a tourist and an everyday commute would be expensive whichever way you use.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Farce

    Total Farce. Before you do anything on a production system you test the changes you're about to make! - and have a back out and recovery plans.

    Looks as if TfL haven't got a smaller working development set up to use.

    Good old British incompetence at work again.

  39. Charles Manning

    Just make the underground free

    Rather than having some very ineffective revenue gathering mechanism, make the underground free and fund it from some other source.

  40. Remy Redert

    @stuart

    Actaully, you forgot to account for the infrastructural costs which will have to be paid for by the passengers. And all the extra maintenance said infrastructure needs. And the costs when it inevitably is cracked wide open and needs to be overhauled entirely.

    I think I'll take the old ticket system where some people would travel without a ticket, because I'm pretty sure that subsidising a few freetards is a lot better than paying for an entire industry branch.

  41. Ascylto

    In a Major European City

    namely, Vienna, I go to a machine and deposit 14 euros (about £11) and for that I get 24 hours a day, 7 days of travel on an extensive Metro system, buses (even night services), a fabulous tram system and regional railways. It's reliable, clean and cheap.

    Oyster? Shmoyster!

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