please empty your brain below

We were told at Ashfield House that the time limit was a standard 2 hours for any journey. Although that was nearly 20 years ago.

dg writes: I assumed I had 2 hours.
Turned out I didn't have 2 hours.

There is a really weird potential situation where you can make the first leg of a journey and be just over the limit but you make good time on your second leg and that brings you back within your limit.

Also, I once had the situation where my overnight train (hourly service) from London was delayed by a points failure at East Croydon due to snow. The computer decided I hadn't completed my journey on the first day and then, to add insult to injury, also charged me the maximum fare because I touched out at around 5.00 a.m. and, as far as it was concerned, I hadn't touched in that day.
If you exceed the limit, but then phone the oyster hotline and explain yourself, do they refund you?

dg quotes: "You cannot get a refund."
You haven't said at what time of day you were traveling. On the realistic assumption that your journey was off-peak, then why isn't the penalty fare capped at the one day Travelcard rate.

Oh, and since you didn't explain what caused you to spend such an extensive amount of time on this journey, will the reason feature in a forthcoming post?

dg writes: Scroll down, Ken, scroll down.
I take it your annual travel card has now expired. Welcome to the world that is possibly not your Oyster!
No refund?!

So better to avoid touching out, and then lie...

In fact, you wouldn’t even have to lie. The report form for missed touches asks you where you touched, not when you touched.
Don't forget Out of Station Interchanges... just forgetting about one of these could whack you with some serious penalties!!

Head slowly round the Overground (on a Z2 only fare to save money) and down to New Cross for a bit, drop in to the Amersham Arms or suchlike, touch back in at New Cross Gate within 25 minutes, head slowly home back round the Overground - stung for two maximum journey fares for taking too long and a penalty for touching in and out at the same station more than 30 minutes apart.

Yeah, it's excruciating...
Perhaps explaining you were an anorak doing i-spy stuff might have resulted in being put on some sort of register.
Reminds me of the time when I was a kid I went to Epping and back... and was charged the maximum fare.

Still don’t understand why I was charged a maximum fare! Ran out of money in central London and had to get my dad to pick me up!!
Are the times different for Oyster and Contactless??? Two different web pages but I can’t see any obvious differences (I’m sure I’ve missed it)...

dg writes: No, they're identical.
For lots of people it would seem, this would be of no concern.

I was on a Thameslink train heading south from Elephant and Castle to Bromley. Suddenly l notice a teenager talking on the phone giving advice. He was saying to someone who lived in Wembley who was short of money and wanted to do the same journey into south London to Bromley "all you have your do is pay for the tube. Just touch in Wembley and touch out at Elephant ' there are no barriers after that. Just get on the train and then make sure you get off at Shortland - DON'T get off account Bromley South." That way, be said, "you only pay for your tube journey". Interesting l thought, people making annually hundreds (or thousands?) of journeys have worked out a way to do half their trip across London without paying.

So for them, making just a short tube journey means they are completely unaffected by overall travel times like the ones described in the article.
Interesting. It does show that for some there could be a significant drawback to using pay as you go with daily/weekly fare-caping compared to a Travelcard.

I presume they have some mechanism that doesn't apply the maximum fare - or extends it - if there's engineering work or service issues.
I'm dismayed and offended to see your use of the gender-specific, male shaming terms 'dicking about' and 'dick about'. Perhaps in the interests of balance you could change one to 'fanny(ing) about'.
This is why most enthusiasts I know prefer to use paper travelcards when dicking and/or fannying about on London's railways.
"No refunds" is of course when everything's operating normally. They're pretty good about refunding anything around major upsets; and usually automatically, in my experience. (at least for tube upsets - you're on your own with NR)

Still a bit harsh, I think. But then under normal conditions, 99.99% of journeys shouldn't trigger it. The system's fairly robust and I find you can skip touching in and out at the rail termini and still get the correct fare so long as you get your start and end points correct.
I was recently on crutches and walking very, very slowly with lots of breaks to catch my breath and then had to wait 15 minutes on my connecting tube as the train was held due to a passenger alarm further down the line.

All in all ‘too slow’.

I was whacked this penalty charge and stonewalled with ‘no refund!’ Fairly shameful...
Loved that advice to scream,it came just as I was going cross-eyed reading and trying to understand the explanation of time allowed for travel.
Once again,I give hearty thanks for my freedom pass and its continued support by London councils. Signed a grateful old gal! 😉
Ps.why a gender based description at all? What's wrong with arsing about? I believe all genders have one? 😏
Although Oyster and such do have some nice benefits, this does make me a bit nostalgic for the good old days on the tube, when the only way to travel (legally) was pay a fixed, distance-related price for the exact journey you intend to make. Then make it in your own time.

Except when, as a birthday treat, you (all right, me) could buy a red rover ticket, and travel around on buses all day.
This, in my opinion, is the biggest disadvantage of Oyster/Contactless, especially for enthusiasts.

I got charged the maximum two or three times, although when I called TfL and told them where I've actually been, they did give me a refund (you can choose to load the refund onto your Oyster or to credit it into your bank account).
Also, you might find this website useful:
I'm surprised about the "no refund" policy.
This happened to my 17 year old daughter last year after she and her boyfriend spent too long saying their fond farewells on the platform, before he continued his journey home after college one afternoon!
I noticed when I next topped up her Oyster that she'd got an £8 charge so had questioned her about it.

Called up the hotline and explained what had happened. I guess the operator must have found it amusing as they refunded the charge without a problem!
@Le Ver
Wembley and Shortlands are both in Zone 4, so not touching in and out for the second leg wouldn't actually save very much - only the "TOC premium" (and he would save even more - legally! - by going via Clapham Junction).

But the point of DG's article is that the Zone 4-Zone 4 journey made is allowed more time than the Zone 4-Zone 1 journey actually paid for. You could be over time at Elephant, and back within time at Bromley South. (although non stop services such as Victoria - Bromley South, London Bridge - East Croydon or Waterloo- Surbiton are better bets for pulling that trick)
A couple of years ago a friend of mine, visiting from abroad, got so badly lost on the tube (doubling back on himself twice) that he managed to exceed the time limit. I rang the helpline on his behalf and was pleasantly surprised that he was offered a refund as soon as I'd explained the situation.

So it would seem that there some discretion to issue refunds, despite the stark "no refund" statement, unless things have changed recently. If there is still some discretion I'm amazed (and appalled) that Anon (10.20) didn't get a refund in those circumstances.
What do buskers do? I assumed they touched in and out like everyone else but that sounds expensive based on this.
Have you put in an appeal?
They may say no refunds, but my experience is that they're not as strict as that. I went for a cab ride with a Tube driving friend, and spent a very long time between tapping in and out again at Liverpool Street. I was charged for two maximum fares, but the helpline happily adjusted it to a single zone 1 journey.
Has TfL recently tightened up its refunds practice?

When Oyster came in, I think many people were pleasantly surprised how helpful the helpline actually was. But perhaps financial pressures (or public acceptance of Oyster and contactless) have shifted TfL’s priority from its reputation to its wallet.
Vulnerable people might well let a few crowded trains go by simply to get a seat... or you might feel unwell on a hot day and need to rest awhile and / or wait until it's cooler or the TfL Rail stock is one with air conditioning.

There should surely be some discretion that would allow Penalty Fare refunds for the occasional unexpectedly long journey but not be wide open to abuse. It doesn't make any sense to have passengers collapsing because they're forced to complete their journeys quickly, despite feeling unwell.

But above all, the 'No Refund' policy must surely be considered to be an Unfair Contract under the Consumer' Rights Act 2015? It bans 'fees and charges hidden in the small print' and 'disproportionate default charges', both of which seem highly relevant here.
is it in part done to discourage rough-sleepers? hence why many now seen on buses
Grumpy Anon, In my experience rough sleepers don't ususally worry about toucing in or out, see Le Ver's comment above.
@Grumpy Anon

I suspect it's done to discourage what would be otherwise very hard to avoid fare dodging - otherwise something like the following may ensue:

Imagine you start from a large station with barriers like West Croydon. You make a long journey via Shoreditch High Street (Zone 1) and changing at Highbury and Islington to Hadley Wood, which has no barriers, and do not touch out there. You spend a day pottering around Barnet doing whatever there is to do up there, then head back into Hadley Wood, without touching in, and back down to Croydon the same way you came up, but electing to touch out at Norwood Junction and walk the rest of the way to avoid being hit by touching in/out at the same location fares. You pay just £1.50 for two long trips across London.

At any point while on the railway, if challenged by revenue inspectors to provide a valid ticket, you simply offer up your validated Oyster, there's a green light and you continue. When you're off the railway, you remain unchallenged of course - and there's never anybody at Hadley Wood to notice you leaving the station without touching out/entering without touching in.
Can someone explain how Amersham to Shenfield is 20 zones? By my reckoning 9 down to 1 up to 9 and then into the special fares apply bit is 18.
I could understand one maximum fare being charged. Presumably the penalty is the second maximum fare added on top. But why isn't it capped?

If I was DG, I would try calling the helpline to see if they could make a refund. £16 is an awful lot, when you could have bought a daily travelcard for much less.

And if I was Anon@10:20, I'd try calling again to see if I got a more sympathetic person on the line this time.
Imagine the fun and combinations that will exist when Crossrail (and PAYG) reach Reading in Dec 2019! There's an entire article just waiting to be written!

I've only ever fallen foul of this once and it was semi deliberate on my part. I loitered about in Zone 1 to see the Steam workings for tube 150. I thought I'd manage to trick the system but went over time. No point in challenging it as it was a "fair cop".
This has happened to me a lot (because of the nature of the work I do) but I've always managed to get a refund via the helpline.

One issue is that there are more and more places within the barrier line that encourage you to linger - eg coffee shops with seats such as at Stratford (two Cafe Neros).
How about TFL charging fare dodgers instead of paying customers.

Just a short while ago i clocked a guy cheap black carrier bag in one hand, just knew from the look he was going to ride behind me on the took a side step...he looked rather foolish.... but then went up the ar** of someone else. Then straight into the bookies....£1.50 is it really that much!!

DG phone up and complain, you'll get a refund
@Gregg: The "special fares apply bit" is technically zone 12, I believe. (Zones higher than 9 are used by National Rail)
I remember once being penalised on the Overground, going from Camden Road (I think) to Shepherd's Bush the "scenic" way!

After I explained what I'd done, the surcharge was refunded, though was probably 3 years ago

Because they consider Brentwood as zone 11 (and Shenfield 12) for these purposes. The special fares apply (and Brentwood) bits are given dummy zones. The Oyster-Rail explains it.

1) Amersham 9
2) Chalfont 8
3) Chorleywood 7
4) Northwood 6
5) Pinner 5
6) Northwick Park 4
7) pass through zone 3
8) Finchley Road 2
9) Baker Street 1
10) Stratford 2
11) Maryland 3
12) Ilford 4
13) Chadwell Heath 5
14) Romford 6
15) pass through zone 7
16) pass through zone 8
17) pass through zone 9
18) pass through zone 10
19) Brentwood 11
20) Shenfield 12
Exceeded maximum journey time

You cannot get a refund.

When you use contactless or Oyster to pay as you go, there is a maximum amount of time that you can spend making a single journey on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail.

If you spend longer than the maximum journey time for your journey, you could be charged 2 maximum fares."

(my bolding of 'could' - suggests there is discretion)

Can't ring up now though... you've outed yourself :)
On what basis should DG be ringing up to request a non-application of the terms and conditions in this case?
It's extremely rare that maximum journey time is exceeded so mere humans don't normally need to understand or know about it. Tell TfL what your journey was (or even describe it here) and you may find the limit gets increased eventually. The limit is needed to stop people making several journeys to/from ungated stations but only paoming in or going out.ying once. It also helps the readers at ungated stations work out if you're coming in or going out.

...and that line about no refunds is definitely living on borrowed time. No idea how that got there.
Is it allowed to touch out and then immediately in again?
I have never considered this for Sydney trains.

Opal is the contactless card for public transport in Greater Sydney. A quick search found a page on their website showing that the time limits are basically:

train 5 hours
light rail 3 hours
Circular Quay ferry 1 hour
other ferry 4 hours
bus 4 hours

Thanks for the inspiration, dg.

Generally, yes, but only if the station has entry barriers (not directionless readers as you won't be able to tell them you are entering)

Also see
Messiah - unfair and unclear/hidden terms of contract. 2 minutes over a 90 minute arbitrary time limit. Excessive penalty (100% of the fare). Wouldn't stand up in court - especially with the 'could' word.

Trouble is, as your question shows, people don't understand that they *can* and *should* challenge such moeny-grabbing practices. Hence why they persist.
Unrelated to time limits but... <snip>
So no good reason to challenge then?
If you used a purple validator, would it re-set the clock I wonder ?
Want to scream some more? Out of station interchanges (OSIs). For example when changing from LU to NR at Victoria, even though you touch out and back in again, it counts as one journey. While that's nice to avoid paying 2 standard fares, it also doesn't reset the "maximum journey time". If you really want to reset it, you have to wait 30 minutes.

But TfL isn't as simple as that. OSI times are different for different connections, ranging from 20 to 40 minutes (I think). So now if I want to make sure that I reset the clock, just walk to the next station.
Methods that have successfully reset the clock at "out of station interchanges": [link 1]

"OSI" time limits range from 5 to 40 minutes: [link 2]
It seems that TfL didn't like you publishing a link to "the full tables" as you now get the message "Sorry, that page cannot be found". hmmm
No, they've just changed the URL (to a much longer one):

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