PASSENGERS have slammed a decision not to install Oyster card readers at three Waltham Forest stations on a major rail route into central London.

Wood Street in Walthamstow, Highams Park and Chingford on the Chingford to Liverpool Street line are now the only stations in the borough which do not currently have Oyster card readers.

Train operator one' railway has admitted they will not be upgraded until 2009, despite Oyster machines being installed in stations from Liverpool Street to Walthamstow Central on the same line.

Ivor Chapman, 73, of the Chingford Line Users Association, said: "I think it is bureaucratic incompetence and I don't see why work can't be started tomorrow.

"The whole thing seems ludicrous. This is not a way of encouraging people to leave their cars and use public transport."

Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith said: "This is ridiculous. My constituents are being short changed. I will take it up with TfL as they can't penalise people from Chingford and Highams Park just because they can't be bothered to do the work.

"It's meant to be a public transport system for everyone and not just for some."

London Travel Watch campaigns for the rights of passengers using the capital's transport network.

A spokeswoman said: "Waltham Forest compares well to south London boroughs because many of them have no Oyster card readers at all.

"But that doesn't make if fair or right if passengers are having to pay more or are being inconvenienced."

She added that prices on the trains are set by central Government, while Underground and bus fares are regulated by the London Mayor.

A one' Railway spokesman said: "From January 2, Oyster pay-as-you-go was extended to other stations on the Liverpool Street to Walthamstow Central route.

"The Association of Train Operating Companies is working with TfL and train operators with the objective to further extend Oyster pay-as-you-go facilities at stations."

A TfL spokeswoman added: "We are investing £40 million so that all of London's train operating companies can accept Oyster cards.

"Since the start of this year passengers have been able to use Oyster cards at London stations served by Chiltern, c2c, and certain areas served by one' railway."