The Great Barrier Wrath: GTR move Finsbury Park gates to stop passengers being overcharged

Work is now underway to change the barrier system at Finsbury Park station.

Work is now underway to change the barrier system at Finsbury Park. - Credit: Helen Spiby-Vann

Gates are set to be moved around inside Finsbury Park station after passengers reported being overcharged while changing trains. 

Complainants described alighting Thameslink, or any northbound, service and tapping out through the platform exit gates - and then appearing to have no choice but to scan out a second time if they exit through the new gates at the Wells Terrace / City North development side. 

The issue affects passengers every day.

The issue affects passengers every day. - Credit: Helen Spiby-Vann

There is also an issue of northbound passengers changing at Finsbury Park for the Underground and then tapping out a second time when they arrive at their destination station. 

In both of these cases the Transport for London (TFL) system registers an incomplete journey. 

It has seen unsuspecting passengers charged £8.60 - the maximum amount for the longest possible single journey across zones - on top of the previously incurred journey costs. 

The offending gates in operation at Finsbury Park station.

The offending gates in operation at Finsbury Park station. - Credit: Helen Spiby-Vann

Finsbury Park resident Helen Spiby-Vann, a frequent passenger, has been raising awareness of the issue by protesting outside the station.

“People are struggling to pay their energy bills and make ends meet,” she said. “It shows a callous disregard for the lives of ordinary Londoners.” 

Helen said passengers would need a 'degree in logistics' to understand the sign.

Helen said passengers would need a 'degree in logistics' to understand the sign. - Credit: Helen Spiby-Vann

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Until recently, passengers were only alerted to this issue on a sign in the station, of which Helen said anyone would need a telescope and a “degree in logistics” to understand. 

Helen said that she has heard similar stories of other customers being overcharged on social media and at the station.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and TFL have this week said a solution has been found. As the gates were not reprogrammable, the companies moved them so passengers no longer need to pass through, whichever exit route they choose.  

Customers can be charged £8.60 for the mistake.

Customers can be charged £8.60 for the mistake. - Credit: Helen Spiby-Vann

The gates will now be placed in front of the entrance to the Thameslink portion of the station, rather than the multi-use stairs. At the time of writing, work was in progress on this development. 

A GTR spokesperson said: "We are delighted to have worked with TFL to resolve this problem.”  

Helen says TFL’s system puts the burden of proof on the passenger and that the website can be hard to use. 

“If you exited once a week since Dec 2019, they would have taken almost £1,000 in bogus penalties,” she said.

TFL added: “We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and any customers affected can contact our customer services line on 0343 222 1234 who will investigate and correct as required."