Transport for London (TfL) estimate for today

(Simon Tomes) #1

I used my :monzo: card to tap in and tap out of some stations today. I did this the other day too. The “Active card check. TfL journey charges appear in your feed the following day.” message was useful the first time I did this earlier this month. It feels like something’s missing.

I’d like to see something that tells me I have a pending TfL transaction on the day I tapped in. Here’s an idea:

  • A person taps in at least once
  • An entry appears immediately in TODAY. Something like: “Transport for London Estimate”
  • An estimate of the transaction is displayed – calculated based on previous TfL transactions for the last week – in some colour that indicates it doesn’t count towards the spent today total
  • The next day the entry disappears and the actual “Transport for London” entry is available

I’d find this useful, would you? What do you think?

(Rika Raybould) #2

Hmm, an issue here comes in places where TfL creates zero or multiple 10p charges for the day.

As you might have read elsewhere, TfL contactless charges are tricky and weird to work around, you can only be certain that they are correct when the final amount is charged up to four days after travel. With this much uncertainty, it’s difficult to even estimate weekly capping (that itself is another issue to work around!).

The real solution here is to either ask TfL and their partners to change the way they charge cards or to open up the Oyster and contactless service APIs so that banks such as Monzo can receive journey information and charges as soon as the backend receives them, rather than whenever it decides to make a charge.

Another wild solution would be to try and work with Apple and Google to receive information from the Apple Pay and Android Pay processes about the times and locations of TfL touches from the client side. A demo of what is possible when you have this information starts around 22 minutes in to this Google I/O session.

Your suggestion of putting a guess in the feed is interesting though. It would work best for those who make the same journeys as there’s no other information other than past charges that could be used to determine if you traveled more or less than something like a zone 1 or 1–3 daily cap.

(James Smith) #3

My understand was that many TfL gates only download to the central server in the early morning. Therefore, even if you had an api from TfL it would only get updated in the early morning next day as that would be when the information is propogated from gates and bus depots around the capital

(Rika Raybould) #4

This only applies to some gates and used to be very true for Oyster. Nowadays they are mostly all connected up and able to send or receive card data including blacklists and authorisations within a few minutes of an action occurring. They can still fall back to this offline mode if connectivity is disrupted though.

If you attach your Monzo card to a TfL account and refresh the journey history during the day, you can watch it recalculate your charge a few minutes after almost every touch out on the Tube, Overground or TfL Rail. Less confident about how it works on moving readers such as those on the busses and trams though.

(James Smith) #5

Thanks @RichardR for keeping me up to date!

(James Smith) #6

How about buses, are they now online?

(Rika Raybould) #7

I know a lot less about the busses as I use them far less often personally but I have been informed that they have mobile connectivity for operational reasons (live times, seeing the position of every bus in the control centre, etc) and that, at the time I was told, work was being done to connect the Oyster readers.

An easy way to test this would be to make a bus journey and refresh your TfL contactless account until the journey appears. My guess is that it would show up a few minutes after the next time the bus has data connectivity.

This theory appears to be backed up by the claim TfL makes that blacklisted contactless cards can be cleared for travel 30 minutes after paying an unpaid fare (usually when they can’t make the normal end of day charge due to issuer problems or a frozen card).

If you have an unpaid fare on your card and you touch it on a card reader, it will not be accepted for travel, but our system will send a request to your issuer to clear the unpaid fare.

Once an unpaid fare has been cleared, you will be able to use your contactless payment card again to travel after 30 minutes.

(Herp Derp) #8

I have just logged in and the 2 busses I took at 8am have not shown so I don’t think they are live yet.

(Simon Turp) #9

Just to clarify, some busses are live some aren’t. I’ve made a few contactless payments on TfL busses and sometimes it will go up to the online account within 15 minutes (I do see this more often though), and some will go up before what TfL class end of service (04:29).

(Simon Tomes) #10

Thanks for sharing @RichardR, that’s really useful to know.