Sunday, 19 June 2011
Hey, After reading it for 40 years I've had a letter published in "The Guardian" - the proper Guardian that is, not the online version. You probably won't have seen it as it was "only" in the Money section yesterday (18 June). It concerned my favourite topic - transport fares and how to get a bargain without actually breaking the law. The letter was in response to an article in last week's Money section that you can read here.
I wasn't responding to the main thrust of the article - that someone had been threatened with prosecution for using his wife's Oyster Card that, due to her circumstances, allowed her discounted travel to which he wasn't entitled, but to the fact that ANY Oystercard that includes a travelcard cannot be transferred between users.
This doesn't seem to make sense as only one person can use the card at a time and a "travelcard" is merely a bulk advance purchase of travel - the equivalent of buying a tankful of petrol for your car rather than putting in just enough at a time for each journey you make. In many parts of the country bus companies explicity allow - and even encourage - transferable use so why should London be any different?
The Guardian doesn't seem to publish Letters to its Money section-as opposed to mere "comments" - on its website so I can't link to it from here but my argument was that if Transport for London was in charge of petrol retailing it would, presumably, require all cars to be fitted with a separate petrol tank for each user and would carry out spot checks to ensure drivers weren't using petrol that someone else had paid for - and I think that's a fair analogy.
Back to boats next time!