Archive for January, 2016

The 32% cap increase

So I received a call from TfL today which confirmed my fears about the part-time worker refunds for zones 4-6 for railcard holders.  They have been abolished.  This means that young (under 26) and disabled workers using zone 6 who last year enjoyed a cap of £5.90 if all their travel was after 0930 now have to pay up to £7.80 per day.  That’s over 32% higher.  I wonder what the constituents of Uxbridge would make of this?

Zone 4 increases from £5.30 to £6.15 (16%) while zone 5 is £5.90 to £7.25 (23%).

Most Expensive Oyster Journey?

You might be thinking something like Amersham to Shenfield which is £11.00 in the peak time, or perhaps you’ve remembered that Gatwick Express now uses Oyster and charges £19.80 single.  They’re both good guesses and neither can be beaten with a single paper ticket, but the Gatwick Express one is more expensive than paper if you make a return.

However, say you’re in Stratford and want to see a friend off from the airport.  You go to Westfield for some last minute supplies and then want to travel.  One of the ways you can do this is to take Southeastern High Speed to St Pancras then Victoria line to Victoria and finally Gatwick Express.  Journey time is about 1 hour and avoids the slow Thameslink crawl through south London thanks to the London Bridge rebuilding.  Once you’ve seen your friend off you want to come back to Stratford.  How much will this cost?

Stratford Int’l to St Pancras Int’l £3.80 (off-peak)
Kings Cross St Pancras to Victoria £2.40
Victoria to Gatwick using the Express £19.80
Total one way: £26.00, both ways £52.00 assuming off-peak on HS1

or Stratford Int’l to Gatwick Airport off-peak day return £23.30

So that makes Oyster 123% more expensive.

Oyster at Gatwick

Today marks the start of the latest Oyster extension to Gatwick Airport. While there are people who will benefit, this is the most complicated extension yet, and great care will need to be taken to ensure that you aren’t overcharged.  I’ve been shown an internal briefing for Southern and Thameslink staff and some of the details of the implimentation are going to cause lots of problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Part-time workers in 4-6 clobbered

When the details for the January fares increases were published there was a lot of coverage about the average increase being about 1%.  Obviously with the need to keep adult fares rounded to the nearest 10p there were always going to be some increases above that, with the zone 1 single rising 4.3% being the most notable.  The fact that most other TfL single fares didn’t rise kept the average down.

There was, however, one aspect of the fares package that TfL kept very quiet about.  Remember last spring when the abolition of off-peak caps in zones 1-6 was found to adversely affect people regularly travelling from zones 4-6?  The response then was to re-introduce the previous off-peak caps (with a slight increase of course) and apply them to regular travellers*.  Well, guess what? The reason TfL failed to mention the rises for these caps is because they are massive.  £8.00 (zone 1-4) becomes £8.60, a 7.5% increase while £8.80 (zone 1-6) becomes £9.40, a 6.8% increase.  Ouch!  What’s worse is that many of the people relying on these refunds won’t actually realise that they’ve been cut until the first week of 2016 is processed, possibly next week or the week after.

There is also no mention of these caps for railcard discounted users so it’s not clear whether it’s been abolished already for them.  What is clear is that they intend to get rid of the feature for everyone in as short a time as possible.

* Regular travellers are defined as those exceeding the off-peak caps on 2 days in any week, 4 days in any fortnight, or 8 days in any 4 week period.  In each case a week is from Monday to Sunday.

Caution – Hokey-Cokey Issues

So today I’ve been out and about experimenting and encountered a problem with trying to break an OSI.  The OSI was broken alright, but the fare charged for the first leg was not what I expected to see.  I’m trying to track back through my journey history to see where I’ve tested this before but it’s taking a while.  So far I’ve only found where one of my kids used it to break a circular journey.  In that instance it worked just fine, but as kids fares within zones 1-6 are just a flat 75p off-peak it may have masked other effects.

Watch this space for more news.