TfL helpline 0843 222 1234

I Madder 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.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Transport for London should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Transport for London,

I wish to request the following information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 'The Act'.

In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible. As you will understand, this may not be a definitive list of relevant information.

You may be aware that the act provides a duty on public authorities such as yourselves to assist requesters.

Information contained within [square brackets] does not form part of my request and is merely there to assist you.

1.0 TfL has recently decided to take it upon it selves to change a well known number (0207 222 1234) to a less known number 0843 222 1234 "the 0843 number".

2.0 How much does it cost for a person who does NOT have a landline telephone (as is becoming more popular based on numerous studies) to call your new 0843 number on....
2.0.1 O2
2.0.2 Vodafone
2.0.3 Orange
2.0.4 T-Mobile
2.0.5 three (3)

2.0.6 and how much does it cost to call your new 0843 number for someone who is on a standard un-discounted or line rental only contract with BT.

3.0 You quote on your website "You pay no more than 5p per minute if calling from a BT landline. There may be a connection charge. Charges from mobiles or other landline providers may vary." What do you base this statement on? BT have several different tarrif's based on discounted and un-discounted contracts.
3.0.1 Do you therefore agree that the statement in 3.0 is misleading and therefore an untruth.

4.0 What other methods do you have for passengers to get timely and accurate information which is free or close to zero.
4.1 What other methods do you have for the hard of hearing or disabled persons to contact your service.

5.0 How much does it cost to operate your 0843 number.
5.1 How much did TfL pay to purchase this 0843 number.
5.2 What provider/supplier are you using, to provide this number.
5.3 What suppliers provide your telephony systems. [i.e. brands, companies.]
5.4 What software are you using to provide the telephony systems. [e.g. Microsoft, Nortel, Siemens, etc]
5.5 When was this number purchased. [day/month/year]

6.0 I also wish to be provided with:
6.1 any and all documents which discuss the tendering process
6.2 and any all documents which discuss the implementation of the 0843 number
6.3 the tender advertisement.
6.4 the tender document.
6.5 any document which discusses the time line of the 0843 number.

7.0 How much revenue does TfL, its suppliers, or providers receive in conjunction with the operation of the 0843 number.
7.1 Does TfL receive anything else 'in-kind' or 'in-lieu' of cash, such as subsidised staffing, telephony or equipment costs in relation to the 0843 number.
7.2 Does TfL profit from the operation of the 0843 number.

8.0 What is the Normal (normal meaning not in an emergency or times of heightened call volumes) underlying geographical number for people to contact your call centres in.
8.1 55 Broadway
8.2 Pitsford
8.3 Laurencekirk
8.4 Northampton [OnePulse]

I would also like to receive said documents in PDF format, and in accordance with the act you must supply the information in the format I have requested.

Yours faithfully,

I Madder

Dave Lindsay left an annotation ()

The call cost from a BT landline for the 0843 222 1234 number is regulated in absolute terms. Your FoI request makes mention of "discounted" and "non-discounted" BT contracts; the use of 0843 number drives a horse and cart through this process.

The provider of the 0843 number (the telco that supplies the 0843 number) has chosen to opt out of such discounts where callers are with BT, which means that the cost of a call from BT lines is always 5 pence per minute (inclusive of VAT at 17.5%), irrespective of the subscriber's tariff.

Call charges in general are determined by the telephone companies who retail calls. The only exception is where the caller's telephone company is BT and the number being called starts 0843, 0844, 0871, 0872 or 09. In these cases.

Like many users of these types of numbers, TfL chooses mention BT's abnormally low call rates. For an explanation of why this is highly misleading, see NHS Patient blog posting BT charges may vary from others:
http://nhspatient.blogspot.com/2009/08/b...

The level of subsidy TfL obtains from callers was decided when it opted for the 0843 number. The inter-operator termination charges are available on the BT Wholesale Carrier Price List and they give a good indication of the market as a whole.

For a "g6" number, of which TfL's 0843 number is, it is in the region of 4 pence per minute. Any revenue payments TfL may get come from that (think of these as cash-back), as do services provided in kind. From this, you can see that BT (as a call provider) puts only a tiny mark-up on calls. It therefore stands to reason, that, generally speaking, call charges will be higher for these numbers than with normal 01/02/03 numbers, and this is indeed the case. BT is the exception rather than the rule!

Feel free to join in the discussion at SAYNOTO0870.COM:
http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum...
http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum...

David Hickson left an annotation ()

I seek to assist by addressing the answer to a slightly modified version of the second question.

It is reasonable to request information about TFL's general awareness of the rates charged by various operators to call its numbers. TFL is however not the best, nor necessarily a reliable, source for actual call cost information. The false suggestion on the TFL website that the BT call setup fee does not apply is one example of its lack of awareness and unreliability as a source of call cost information.

It could be worthwhile to ask TFL to confirm that it understands the costs to be as given below.

The following list is of the weekday daytime rates for calling call type "g6" 0844/3 numbers (including 0843 222 1234) as compared with ("vs.") those for calling a "normal" 01/02/03 number (e.g. 020 7222 1234, or 0343 722 1234 if the in-built features of non-geographic numbers are genuinely required).

The rate information was provided by Ofcom in response to a FOI request and has been updated from tariffs more recently published by the operators themselves.

BT Call Plan: 10.9p + 5p per minute vs. inclusive
Virginmedia Landline: 11.9p + 10.19 per minute vs. inclusive

O2 Contract: 20p per minute vs. inclusive
Vodafone Contract: 35p per minute vs. inclusive
Orange Contract: 20p per minute vs. inclusive
T-Mobile Contract: 40p per minute vs. inclusive
3 UK Contract: 20p + 20p per minute vs. inclusive

O2 PAYG: 25p per minute vs. 15p per minute
Vodafone PAYG: 25p per minute vs. 20p per minute
Orange PAYG: 40p per minute vs. 20p per minute
T-Mobile PAYG: 40p per minute vs. 30p per minute
3 UK PAYG: 20p + 20p per minute vs. 0p + 25p per minute

Public Payphone: 40p + 30 SECONDS per 20p vs. 40p + 30 MINUTES per 20p

N.B. This information covers the "general" case for each of these tariffs. There will be exceptional situations in respect of "normal" calls, e.g. where rarely used tariffs apply, where the terms of an inclusive allowance are breached or where a top-up bundle applies to PAYG.
No other example can however be used in place of any of these, with the suggestion that it may be representative or "typical".

Transport for London

Our Ref : 1007822729

Date : 02.11.2010

Mr/Ms I Madder

[FOI #50739 email]

Dear Mr/Ms I Madder

Thank you for your request for information dated 31 October 2010 which was
received by Transport for London on 31 October 2010 concerning change of
Travel Information number. This request will be dealt with under the
terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We aim to deal with your request promptly and provide you with a response
by 26 November 2010.

In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your
request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Patricia Mitchell

Head of Customer Services, Surface Transport

DO NOT DELETE.............................
{ticketno:[1282623]}
DO NOT DELETE.............................

FOI, Transport for London

Dear I Madder

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 31
October, asking for information relating to the change to the London
Travel Information telephone number.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of
Information Act and I can confirm that TfL holds most of the information
you require. Please find our answers below.

1.0 TfL has recently decided to take it upon itself to change a well
known number (0207 222 1234) to a less known number 0843 222 1234 "the
0843 number".

2.0 How much does it cost for a person who does NOT have a landline
telephone (as is becoming more popular based on numerous studies) to call
your new 0843 number on....
2.0.1 O2
2.0.2 Vodafone
2.0.3 Orange
2.0.4 T-[mobile number].0.5 three (3)
2.0.6 and how much does it cost to call your new 0843 number for someone
who is on a standard un-discounted or line rental only contract with BT.

For information on call charges, you will need to contact the providers
directly. We do not hold information on call charges, and, due to the
range of different tariffs and the fact that charges are subject to
change, this information can best be obtained from the providers.

3.0 You quote on your website "You pay no more than 5p per minute if
calling from a BT landline. There may be a connection charge. Charges from
mobiles or other landline providers may vary." What do you base this
statement on? BT have several different tariffs based on discounted and
un-discounted contracts.

3.0.1 Do you therefore agree that the statement in 3.0 is misleading and
therefore an untruth.

We do not agree that this is misleading or an untruth. Legal and external
advertising bodies advised us on this wording. The wording we provide is
cautionary and implies that the customer should check what they will be
charged with their provider.

4.0 What other methods do you have for passengers to get timely and
accurate information which is free or close to zero.

There are a variety of ways for passengers to access information about our
services.

· We provide comprehensive information on our website
([1]www.tfl.gov.uk), which is available to those with internet access

· Our stations and stops have maps, timetables and information
points. Some of these also have real-time travel information, such as the
Countdown signs at bus stops

· We have six [2]Travel Information Centres where passengers can
receive free advice from our staff.

· We provide a page each weekday in the Metro newspaper with
useful information

· We have a mobile internet site and, provide free mobile travel
alerts to those that sign up

· We offer a free weekly email detailing weekend closures.

4.1 What other methods do you have for the hard of hearing or disabled
persons to contact your service.

A textphone service is provided for London Travel Information on 020 7918
3015. This is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

5.0 How much does it cost to operate your 0843 number.

There are numerous costs associated with delivering the London Travel
Information service, and we would need you to be more specific about the
area you are interested in to answer this. The line rental for the 0843
number is £30 per month.

5.1 How much did TfL pay to purchase this 0843 number.

There was no cost to obtain the 0843 number.

5.2 What provider/supplier are you using, to provide this number.

Telecoms World

5.3 What suppliers provide your telephony systems. [i.e. brands,
companies.]

There are two phone systems within the TfL estate, supplied by Ericsson
and Avaya. The providers are BT and Damovo.

5.4 What software are you using to provide the telephony systems. [e.g.
Microsoft, Nortel, Siemens, etc]

The software is provided by Ericsson and Avaya.

5.5 When was this number purchased. [day/month/year]

TfL signed the contract on 15 December 2009.

6.0 I also wish to be provided with:
6.1 any and all documents which discuss the tendering process
and

6.2 and any all documents which discuss the implementation of the 0843
number

6.3 the tender advertisement.

6.4 the tender document.

6.5 any document which discusses the time line of the 0843 number.

We are unable to provide you with the information for questions 6.1 to 6.5
as it would exceed the `appropriate limit' of £450 set by the Freedom of
Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a
request if the cost of determining whether we hold the information,
locating, retrieving and extracting it from other information would
exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for
every hour spent on the activities described.

We have estimated that it would cost £2400 to provide a response to these
questions. This is based on having to locate and retrieve the requested
information and then extracting the information in order to deal with your
request. If you are able to narrow the scope of these questions we will be
happy to reconsider your this part of your request.

7.0 How much revenue does TfL, its suppliers, or providers receive in
conjunction with the operation of the 0843 number.

TfL receives 1.5p per minute rebate from each call. We do not hold
information on revenue of suppliers and providers.

7.1 Does TfL receive anything else 'in-kind' or 'in-lieu' of cash, such as
subsidised staffing, telephony or equipment costs in relation to the 0843
number.

No.

7.2 Does TfL profit from the operation of the 0843 number.

No. The rebate covers around 60% of the cost of providing the new natural
language service. It is expected to rise to 70-80% in future, however TfL
will not make a profit.

8.0 What is the Normal (normal meaning not in an emergency or times of
heightened call volumes) underlying geographical number for people to
contact your call centres in.
8.1 55 Broadway
8.2 Pitsford
8.3 Laurencekirk
8.4 Northampton [OnePulse]

TfL is not obliged to supply this part of the information you have
requested, as it is subject to the following statutory exemption to the
right of access to information:

· Section 43(2) - commercial interests

TfL is applying this exemption because disclosure would affect our
business with our suppliers (Journeycall Ltd, Novacroft, and Eckoh). We
pay suppliers depending on the number of calls we send them. If the 01 or
02 numbers are distributed, and the public use these numbers to call into
the centres, TfL will need to pay the suppliers for taking a call. If
callers dialled the wrong departments, TfL would pay the supplier for the
initial call, as well as paying other suppliers if that call had to be
re-rerouted or transferred to another company. Without calls coming
through our central numbers, we are not able to tell how many calls our
suppliers should be billing us for.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public
interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. TfL
recognises that publishing the information would be beneficial to callers,
in that they might be able to save on the cost of calls to our service.
However, publishing these numbers would not only affect our business, but
also the service provided to customers. Allowing customer to dial the
geographical numbers directly would mean that they would not receive self
service options or the opportunity to select the type of enquiry they wish
to make. This would mean that calls would require additional transfers,
with additional waiting time and a reduced quality in service. We also
sometimes change the geographic numbers, for example if contact centres
are evacuated or subject to industrial action, and having a single
non-geographic number means that we can ensure that in such circumstances
calls continue to be taken and routed correctly. On the balance of these
factors we consider that the public interest favours withholding the
numbers you have requested.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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

Yours sincerely

James Grant

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

Corporate Governance Directorate

General Counsel

Transport for London

[3][TfL request email]

show quoted sections

Dear Transport for London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'TfL helpline 0843 222 1234'.

I wish to request a formal internal review on your blanket use of the "commercial interests" exemption.
Firstly you have not done a complete public interest test, mainly you have not taken into account the cost of calling your new rip-off number from a mobile or from a BT payphone.
You have also not considered that other departments within TfL (such a dial a ride) provide a geographical 020 number.
I would even go as far as to say you are discriminating on the grounds that I do not have a disability to charge me extra. It maybe positive discrimination, but it is still discrimination.

I am aware of my S50 rights.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tf...

Yours faithfully,

I Madder

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

29 November 2010

Our ref: IRV088-1011

Dear I Madder

Thank you for your email, in which you requested an internal review of TfL’s response to your FOI request.

A review will be conducted in accordance with the attached procedure. A response will be provided as soon as possible and in any event by 28 December 2010.

Kind regards

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

20 December 2010

Our ref: IRV-088-1011

Dear Mr Madder

The internal review of TfL's response to your Freedom of Information
request has been completed.

The review considered TfL’s use of the commercial interests exemption,
which was applied to part 8 of your request for the underlying
geographical number for people to contact call centres at 55 Broadway,
Pitsford, Laurencekirk and Northampton. You have stated that the response
failed to adequately assess the public interest, in particular that
account was not taken of either the cost of calling the new numbers or the
fact that other departments within TfL provide a geographical 020 number.

TfL’s response to your request was reviewed and the use of the exemption
was upheld for the reasons outlined in the response. In terms of the
public interest, the review found that the correct public interest factors
were identified and the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighed the public interest in disclosing the geographic numbers.

The review considered that the points raised in your review request, such
as the cost of calling the numbers from a mobile phone, are not strong
enough to alter the public interest balance. Furthermore, comparisons with
other TfL departments are not instructive given the services they offer -
as with Dial-a-Ride - relate to a single service of a specialised nature
and do not require call routing in the same way as is required when
calling the call centres identified above.  

I hope this information is of assistance. If you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of this internal review, you can refer the matter to the
independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information
Act at the following address.

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

A complaint form is available on the ICO’s website ([1]www.ico.gov.uk).

Yours sincerely

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser

Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport
for London

5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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I Madder left an annotation ()

Complaint sent to ICO.

Sloane Peter, Transport for London

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    RFP and Appendix A F.zip

    5.4M Download

Dear Mr Madder

I am contacting you regarding your request for information concerning the
0843 222 1234 number and your complaint to the Information Commissioner's
Office.

In the interest of attempting to resolve your complaint I have been in
discussion with the ICO concerning the information that was not provided
to you and in particular the information covered by part 6 of your
request:

6.1 Any and all documents which discuss the tendering process

6.2 Any and all documents which discuss the implementation of the 0843
number

6.3 The tender advertisement

6.4 The tender document

6.5 Any document which discusses the time line of the 0843 number

As you will be aware, this part of your request was previously refused as
it would exceed the cost limit to locate and retrieve the requested
information. However, following discussion with the ICO, we have
determined that we can at least provide an answer to parts 6.3 and 6.4 of
your request.

We must clarify that the implementation of the 0843 number was not carried
out as an isolated tender but was part of a wider tender exercise for a
complete integrated Call Centre. I have attached the tender documents for
this exercise, which included the purchase and implementation of the 0843
number. If you have any problems with the attachments, please let me know
and we will seek to provide them by other means.

With regard to part 6.3, I can confirm that we do not hold the tender
advertisement. This is because the tender exercise was conducted through
the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Buying Solutions programme.

[1]http://www.ogc.gov.uk/index.asp

This provides a service across the public sector to support the purchase
of common goods and services whereby accredited suppliers can submit bids
for tenders that are posted online. Suppliers can become approved
Government Procurement Service suppliers by undergoing a rigorous
evaluation process, which is compliant with EU requirements, which aims to
ensure that they are capable of providing particular services in areas
including energy, travel and ICT, thus streamlining the procurement
process and saving time and money.

Please note that the Office of Government Commerce now forms part of the
Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group, so their website is ceasing
to operate from 1 October this year. Information about the Buying
Solutions service can now be found via the following link

[2]http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/aboutus/

I hope that this will assist with resolving your concerns about the
handling of this part of your request. I have copied the ICO in for their
information. If you are now satisfied with the response to this part of
your request, I would be grateful if you could advise the ICO as such.

Yours sincerely

Peter Sloane

Senior Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | General Counsel | Transport for
London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 4912 auto 64912
F: 020 7126 3185
E: [email address]

TfL has recently adopted an `information security classification scheme'
to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its
subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new
[3]Quick Guide or visit [4]Source for more information.

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.ogc.gov.uk/index.asp
2. http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/aboutus/
3. http://source.tfl/pdfs/IA_QG1_Informatio...
4. http://source.tfl/OurCompany/Governance/...

geoff kelly left an annotation ()

Obviously not a customer first company,,more like a profit first...Go get them..