£55m: the huge pile of money stashed away on unused Oyster cards

Once again the combination of a good campaigner and a good question has turned up trumps. Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has dug out the information that there is a staggering total of £55m on unused Oyster cards held by the public. It is money they have paid out to Transport for London but which isn’t being used to pay for fares.

As with bank accounts which contain money but are forgotten about, there is meant to be a system for people to reclaim their ‘lost’ funds. However, all is not right with it:

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: “Transport for London (TfL) is now sitting on a cash pile of £55m which should be returned to passengers.

“They [TfL] claim people can easily reclaim their money from dormant Oyster cards but the evidence suggests otherwise. If it really was simple for passengers to reclaim their money, why has the amount left on dormant Oyster cards doubled in the last two years?”

She accused TfL of being “shy” about publicising how people can get their own money back. (BBC)

For advice on how to reclaim unused funds see here. As for the TfL website, note how the section on refunds for unused credits on this page [now defunct] doesn’t actually tell you how to get them nor has a link to further information.

UPDATE: This cash pile is now even bigger.

3 responses to “£55m: the huge pile of money stashed away on unused Oyster cards”

  1. I agree that TfL is very bad at telling people how to get their money back. Caroline Pidgeon asked an even more interesting question a month or so ago about how many people claim refunds when their journeys are delayed by 15 minutes or more. Turns out around 10 million people didn't claim when eligible last year alone.

    I'm not sure how amazing it is that there's £55 million pounds sitting on unused Oyster Cards. There's probably a lot of tourists who get Oyster Cards then take them home, and I know a lot of people who either have spares for themselves or for relatives.

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