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Gatwick Simplification

I’ve just discovered that a partial simplification occured back in May with fares on the Merstham to Gatwick section. Originally Govia (backed by the DfT) had mandated that fares avoiding zone 1 should often be more expensive than the equivalent via zone 1 fare. This had the particularly nasty side effect that sometimes touching a pink reader (eg at Surrey Quays) might charge more than if you didn’t bother. That definitely contradicts the message TfL want to make about pink readers.

However, since May these fares have been revised downwards to the same level as the via zone 1 fare. One can only guess which side was the driving force behind this change, and I don’t think it was either Govia or the DfT. Better late than never, and a shame no announcement was made, from either side.

The opportunity to save money on most fares by splitting at East Croydon still exists though.

9 Responses

  1. Great website…

    I have a zone 2-3 annual travelcard, and so I get an oyster gold card too.

    In June I went off peak from Lewisham to Gatwick via London Bridge, though I did not need to touch my card at London Bridge as I just change platform. I was charged £3.90 for this journey. I returned off peak on Southern via Victoria, where I did have to touch out and back in at Victoria as I changed from Southern to Southeastern. This was charged at £5.10.

    Last week I again went off peak from Lewisham to Gatwick, same as before, and was again charged £3.90. Returning this week at 18.00 at Gatwick (peak time) I went to Lewisham via London Bridge, where I do not have to touch my card, as it is a direct platform change. This cost £14.10 on entry, and £5.80 was refunded on touching out at Lewisham, so cost £8.30.

    None of these fares seems to resemble what TfL say, even allowing for my discount card, which I assume only works off peak (??). Is there a pink reader at London Bridge between platforms 7 and 11?? Am I supposed to go out and then back in again?? Will this change when London Bridge Thameslink is fully operational next year ie through trains from Bedford are stopping there again?? All seems a bit random at the moment…any idea what it should cost??

  2. Hi Neil,

    You are paying for a zone 1 to Gatwick journey with an allowance for having zones 2-3 paid via your travelcard. If you look at the mixing payg and travelcard page you’ll see that the fare is calculated one of two ways, whichever is cheapest. It’s either the full fare as if you didn’t have a travelcard, or the sum of the two unpaid parts. In your case that would be zone 1 plus zone 4 to Gatwick.

    Your railcard does only discount off-peak fares and caps, there is no pink reader at London Bridge and things shouldn’t change when London Bridge is fully operational.

  3. OK, makes sense. But why is it a different fare if I go to Gatwick off peak touching out and in via Victoria than going via London Bridge where I don’t have to use the card??

  4. Hi Neil,

    That’s a funny one. When you travel via London Bridge you are only being charged for zone 4 to Gatwick. I think this is because the default route for Lewisham to much of South London is via Peckham Rye. It won’t work on PAYG as the default route for the whole journey is via London.

    As for the return via Victoria, when you touch out there you will be charged for the Gatwick to London fare. I think that is the split fare
    so add on the zone 1 NR fare of £1.40 to the other zone 4 to Gatwick fare.

  5. I’ve had a similar experience recently on a journey to Gatwick. I hold a zone 1-2 annual travelcard and have the gold card railcard discount registered on my oystercard. Both journeys made at off-peak times.

    On Friday 6th October I made the journey Bow Church DLR – Gatwick Airport, touching out at London Bridge (Jubilee Line) and touching back in at London Bridge (National Rail). The charge was £5.10.

    On Monday 9th October I simply made a journey from Gatwick Airport to London Bridge and was charged £3.90.

    I can’t understand why the journey from Bow Church incurred a higher charge, as that portion is covered entirely by my travelcard.

  6. Hi Al,

    That’s down to the fact that Gatwick to Bow Church is a mixed NR+TfL journey. You were charged the Gatwick to zone 3 mixed fare which is more than the Gatwick to zone 3 NR only fare. When a travelcard is present it doesn’t change the journey being made, just how much of it is charged.

    In this case there is a workaround, but it will take some time. You need to touch in on a bus outside London Bridge between touching out from the Underground and touching in to National Rail. The bus is covered by your travelcard and splits the rail journey in two. Thus the journey outside the travelcard is only a National Rail one.

  7. Hi Mike,

    Great website btw. I’m currently traveling on the from Redhill to Warren St about 3 days a week at the moment, given that this route now has Oyster /Contactless, whats the cheapest way to travel in and out of London Z1 (tube) during peak hours?

    I note that a daily travelcard for this journey will cost £30 per day = £90 per week i.e. more than the cost of an equivalent week travelcard. Are there any combinations/tips that i could use to bring this cost down? you mention the ECR split above?

    As it stands it doesn’t seem very fair to part-time travelers paying effectively the same as full time travelers especially given some of the benefits capping gives on almost all other Oyster routes.

    Many Thanks, Al

  8. Hi Al,

    The East Croydon split is really the only sensible way of reducing the cost. The fares to and from Redhill and Gatwick Airport are not intended to be value for money in the same way as other Oyster routes. They are solely there to add convenience to users of the Airport. TfL has pretty much no say over the way fares are set on that line, it’s all decided by GTR, and effectively signed off by the DfT.

  9. For Redhill-East Croydon it may be worth looking at National Rail fares for one or both directions.!fares?orig=RDH&dest=ECR

    At weekends, Gatwick to East Croydon Thameslink-only day return is cheaper, and can be used for journeys starting/ending at Redhill.

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