Monday, May 27News For London

‘TfL doesn’t help’: Passengers trapped on Elizabeth Line charged up to £26 for chaotic journey

Commuters were charged between £8.80 to £26 for their travel. Image by Mathias Reding from Pexels

Elizabeth Line commuters who were stranded for hours in the dark last week are facing fresh horrors for exceeding Transport for London’s ‘maximum journey time’.

Hundreds of passengers were left in the dark for up to four hours on Thursday 7 December, as damage to overhead cables in Ladbroke Grove severely disrupted trains operated by the Elizabeth Line, Great Western Railway (GWR) and Heathrow Express.

Social media footage from the evening rush hour showed passengers trapped in cold, dark carriages without power. An hour into the chaos, some were urged to jump off the train and use the tracks as lavatories. The commuters were eventually evacuated from the trains and had to walk along the tracks to the nearest station.

While passengers anticipated repairs and further disruptions on the Elizabeth Line the following morning, some were shocked to discover they were being charged between £8.80 and £26 for their travel. “@TfL, can you refund me for my AWFUL journey yesterday?” wrote one X user with a screenshot of his transaction details on 8 December. 

“I was stranded for 5 hours trying to get home,” admitted another. “It was so horrendous, and they’re not refunding me. All lines were severely delayed last night.” Meanwhile, a third passenger added: “They actually charged me £21.95 lol does anyone know how to claim a refund? TfL website doesn’t help at all.”

The standard fare for peak hours between Paddington and Acton Main Line is £3.70 for a journey lasting a total of six minutes. With a four-hour delay, passengers were essentially charged maximum pay-as-you-go fares – given that the trip took longer than the time limit set by TfL.

“If you spend longer than the maximum journey time for your journey, you could be charged two maximum fares,” TfL’s website reads. It also urges passengers to wait at least 48 hours before registering a refund claim. In the case of Oyster cards, TfL insists that it will automatically refund the charge to the cards the next time passengers touch in or out of a rail journey. 

Conversely, the refund for contactless cards will show on the next card statement. TfL claims to otherwise adjust the fares charged on the following trip. “If you do not get an automatic refund, you have up to 8 weeks from your journey to claim,” the website reads.

Following the chaos, a TfL spokesman told the Mirror that the charges were “automatically applied” and “anyone affected by the delays will automatically be refunded and they do not need to contact TfL.”

TfL had yet to respond to a request from Westminster World for clarification by the time this article was published.

Accounts of the incident are still going viral across social media platforms. Singer James Blunt and television presenter Rachel Riley were also among those trapped on the Elizabeth Line.

A TfL spokesperson further told Westminster World: “We are sorry that the damage caused to overhead power lines has caused significant disruption to our Elizabeth Line customers as well as all train operators out of London Paddington.”

“Network Rail is working urgently to repair the power lines, and we encourage all customers to check before they travel over the next few days by using the TfL Go app,” they continued.