Documents relating to potential acceptance of Oyster or contactless on HS1

Frankie Roberto made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

This request has been withdrawn by the person who made it. There may be an explanation in the correspondence below.

Dear Transport for London,

I'm writing to request any documents or correspondence relating to the proposed acceptance of Oyster, travelcards or contactless cards on the HS1 line between St Pancras and Stratford International (aka the 'javelin service').

I note that this was expressed as a desire by the Mayor at Mayor's Question Time on 18 December 2013 in response to a question from Richard Tracey AM (http://questions.london.gov.uk/QuestionS...).

The documents may take the form of proposals, or correspondence between TfL (or the Mayor's office) and Southeastern or the Secretary of State.

Yours faithfully,

Frankie Roberto

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Roberto

 

Our ref:  FOI-0882-1415

 

Thank you for your email received on 1 September 2014 asking for
information about the potential acceptance of Oyster or contactless on
HS1.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

 

A response will be provided to you by 29 September 2014.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team | Transport for London

Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

 

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Dear Graham Hurt,

Would you mind letting me have an update on this request?

Yours sincerely,

Frankie Roberto

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Roberto

Our ref:  FOI-0882-1415

Thank you for your email received on 1 September 2014 asking for
information about the potential acceptance of Oyster or contactless
payment on HS1. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

In the spring of 2013, TfL and Southeastern opened discussions about
introducing Oyster pay as you go on train services between Stratford
International and St Pancras. Southeastern control the service and any
such proposal can only be on terms acceptable to them. We have continued
to work together to find a solution. I understand that my colleagues in
the Press Office have been in touch with you and offered you the
opportunity to talk to TfL's Director of Customer Experience, Shashi
Verma, about this.

 

In the meantime, we have considered your original request and we have
concluded that section14(1) of the Act is engaged, as the amount of time
required to review and prepare the information you have requested would
impose a grossly disproportionate burden on TfL staff and resources. 
Section 14(1) of the Act states that public authorities do not have to
respond to vexatious requests. Vexatiousness is not defined in the FOI
Act, but the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has provided
extensive guidance in determining whether or not a request is vexatious
and we have considered your request against this guidance in determining
whether your request could legitimately be considered to be vexatious.

We consider that it is clear that answering the request you made would
create a significant burden in both expense and distraction as this
information will be held on the email accounts and hard drives of many
individuals across the organisation. Additionally, a large proportion of
the information is likely to be of a commercially sensitive nature and
potentially subject to exemption under section 43(2) of the Act
(Commercial Interests).  This information cannot be easily isolated and
redacted from the volume of potential documentation held without diverting
significant staff time and resources, preventing them from carrying out
their core duties.

 

If you do wish to re-submit a request after your conversation with Shashi,
it may be helpful for you to discuss how you might narrow the scope of
your request so that we can more easily locate and retrieve the
information you are seeking. If you want to refine your request or make a
Freedom of Information Act request in future, please bear in mind that the
Freedom of Information Act allows you to request recorded information held
by us. You should identify the information that you want as clearly and
concisely as you can, specifying the types of document that you are
looking for. You might also consider limiting your request to a particular
period of time, geographical area or specific departments of the
organisation.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

Yours sincerely

 

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team | Transport for London

Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

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Matthew Dickinson left an annotation ()

Oyster Pay As You Go and Contactless Payment card acceptance on HS1 between St Pancras International and Stratford International started on 31st July 2015.

M Clary left an annotation ()

I find the reasons for refusing this request odd, or more accurately, put oddly.

I understand that a request can legitimately be refused because it would cost too much to answer, or too much to check for what needs to be redacted, or withheld on commercial sensitivity grounds.

But the answer seems to imply that the cost is in itself a reason for declaring it vexatious. I cannot see anything in the individual request which looks potentially vexatious, nor is there any reference to a history of obscure inquiries, which I thought was the usual reason for declaring somebody persona non answerable-to.

Even more odd is one of the reasons for the claimed excess cost, that information will be held on the e-mail accounts and hard drives of many individuals across the organisation. I worked in a government department which basically banned local storage over ten years ago, in part to enable them to fulfil obligations under the FOI Act properly, and in part to avoid important information and knowledge being squirreled away privately and lost when someone moved on. I am extremely surprised to find that a public sector organisation has not brought together its information base, and even more surprised that it appears to be using its failure to do so as a reason for refusing FOI requests.

The refusal itself may be quite reasonable in this case, but the arguments used seem to me to raise important issues of principle.

Frankie Roberto left an annotation ()

@M Clary and others:

Transport for London contacted me privately after I made this request and offered that, rather than trawl through their email archives, I could come into their offices and interview their Director of Customer experience Shashi Verma about this issue directly, which I was happy to do.

Shashi talked me through their ongoing negotiations around acceptance of Oyster / contactless on HS1, including that they hoped to launch it this year, and that it was held up by a decision (not by them) to offer Peak and Off-Peak fares.

I Madder left an annotation ()

According to internal documents released by TfL and southeastern contactless was started to be accepted from 31st July 15.

I have no idea why TfL could not have released those documents to you.

Adult single
Peak £5.40
Off Peak £3.80

Adult return
Peak £10.80
1 way peak and 1 way off-peak £9.20
Off Peak £7.60

Child single
Peak £2.70
£1.90

Child return
Peak £5.40
1 way peak and 1 way off-peak £4.60
Off Peak £3.80

Capping
Oyster/Contactless journeys between Stratford International and St Pancras International will
not contribute towards daily or weekly capping.