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Autumn Fare Changes

This Sunday (3rd September) will see a number of changes to Oyster fares. They affect people travelling via Stratford and Highbury & Islington, from Watford Junction and in the Charing Cross and London Bridge areas. Here are the details:

Stratford and Highbury & Islington. If you have a travelcard on your Oyster which doesn’t include zone 1, and you travel between East of Stratford on the Central Line or TfL Rail and north from Highbury & Islington on the Piccadilly line (Vic to Finsbury Park) or Great Northern, then you will need to touch the pink readers at both Stratford and Highbury & Islington. If you don’t then you’ll be charged a zone 1 single fare and if that puts your PAYG balance negative your whole card will be disabled until the deficit is cleared by a topup.

This has been the case for many pink validators for a number of years so this is just bringing these routes into line. TfL have emailed registered card holders who they believe make these journeys and are putting up posters at affected stations that they control. This doesn’t affect PAYG users who already have to touch both pink validators to get the cheaper fare.

Watford Junction. Off-peak fares from this station to zone 1 are controlled by London Midland who usually make changes in September rather than January. The adult singles to Euston NR and other zone 1 destinations are both going up by 20p while the off-peak cap for zones 1-9+W and the equivalent off-peak day travelcard are going up by 30p.

Charing Cross and London Bridge. The work at London Bridge NR has now reached the point where all trains to and from Charing Cross will be able to stop at London Bridge. This means that ticket acceptance will no longer be in place at Southwark, Waterloo, Embankment and Charing Cross. It also means that full TfL+NR fares will again be charged in conjunction with NR journeys via those stations.

Arrangements will still be available for travel between London Bridge and Cannon Street until the end of the year while those services are unable to call at London Bridge.

10 Responses

  1. TfL seem to have quietly removed the peak surcharge on PAYG single fares from a number of north west London Zone 2 underground stations into zone 1 (including St. John’s Wood, Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, confirmed on single fare finder and in practical use with an Oyster). I did a google to try and find some sort of press release and I couldn’t find anything (and not on this article either). Swiss Cottage still has the peak surcharge, however

    So, several stations now have a anytime fare into zone 1 of now £2.40 anytime (same as off peak, and same as Zone 1).

    In effect this makes these stations into zone 1/2 station for single PAYG journeys although officially is still in Zone 2 (not clear how this impacts charging for weekly tickets and caps).

    Makes sense sense since many of these stations also have frequent busses (although recently significantly reduced), such that a bus journey was not that much longer door to door than the tube at almost half the price in peak meant that some people were using the bus instead for some local journeys.

  2. Hi Miles,

    It’s a little more complicated, but it isn’t a recent thing. Basically there is a dispensation for short journeys on the Underground which cross the zone 1/2 boundary. So you can do St Johns Wood to Baker Street for £2.40 anytime, but St Johns Wood to Waterloo is the usual £2.90/£2.40. It happens all round the edge of zone 1.

  3. Thanks for the update. Out of curiosity, where is this dispensation documented (other than here)?. Spent some time searching online and couldn’t find another reference.

    I wonder why some of the stations that are on the edge of zone 1 were set up as zone boundary stations rather than with this dispensation, seems like quite a bit of lost revenue. Or vise versa, and what is the criteria used to decide to make a station a zone boundary?

    Also, the dispensation isn’t always to the first station into Zone 1, in some cases it covers a change of lines. I haven’t exhaustively checked this, but it would seem that you can’t get to a “Terminal” railway station with this dispensation except Marylebone (in an number of other cases the relevant station that might have the dispensation is set up as a boundary station anyway).

  4. It’s based on distance. On the Bank branch of the Northern line you get a flat fare for Kennington to London Bridge and also for Oval to Borough, but not for Oval to London Bridge. As for documentation, this dates back well before 2010, maybe even before Oyster itself. It therefore wouldn’t surprise me if you can’t find anything now.

  5. Thanks for the further updates. Presumably if the majority of our journeys depend on the dispensation it wouldn’t be worth buying a peak travelcard, and maybe you don’t hit the daily/weekly cap as soon as you might because the travelcards and caps are zonal but the dispensation breaks the zonal concept.

    Given that you currently “scrape” the TfL single fare finder (or use their open access API/dataset) to produce your more informative fare finder, could you additionally process the fare information into a future article for this website to show the station pairs where this dispensation is available? Would need rules something like “crosses a zone boundary but is not a multi-zone station, and doesn’t apply the crossing zone fare or a peak fare”, and “does not apply a peak fare”

    Could be done manually by plugging likely combinations into fare finder to see which pairs have the dispensation and which don’t, which would take a few hours, and might not pick up dispensations that don’t cross zones unless you did every permutation of station to station up to 3 stations away including changes.

  6. Hi Miles,

    A couple of points. As far as I know this dispensation only affects journeys which cross the zone 1/2 boundary. I don’t think it really breaks the zonal concept as such, and certainly not as much as the sausage between zones 2 and 3 breaks it. You also need to note that a weekly travelcard is never worth it if you only make 10 single journeys on the Underground and/or DLR in a week.

    I’ll have a think about producing a full list, though I have got quite a lot on at the moment. And I definitely DO NOT scrape the TfL fare finder.

  7. Dear Mike,
    Thank you for such a useful and informative website. I wonder if you might be able to help with my query.
    I’ve recently moved from Grove Park to Chesham. I travel from Chesham to Euston Square and back again during peak hours every weekday. I have an annual Z1-4 travelcard, and have been using PAYG for the additional bit of of the journey. My annual season ticket is due to run out soon, and I am wondering what is the best option to replace it. I get a season ticket loan from work, and I like the security of a fixed amount, and also the rail discounts that an annual gold card offers, but I don’t think I would get the value from a full Z1-9. Any advice would be appreciated.

  8. Hi Jo,

    Sorry for the delay replying. You are right that making 10 single journeys would be quite a bit less than a weekly travelcard. Monthly travelcards offer a bigger discount but you’d still need to use the travelcard at other times to make it really worthwhile. An annual ticket is a bigger discount still, though it does anticipate several weeks of annual leave and bank holidays. If you use the discounts for other rail journeys then it’s probably worthwhile getting the annual travelcard. At todays price you need to make 490 peak single journeys to cover the cost, so 245 days or 49 weeks, but every extra leisure journey increases the value.

  9. I’ve started to do a (manual) analysis of the station pairs where there is a peak discount applied for Zone 2 into Zone 1, using the tub map to structure the search based on likely pairs but testing further in both directions across the boundary until the discount stops.

    Using your 2018 Fare finder, and checking Underground, Overground and TFL Rail, I’ve found 132 Station pairs (with a possibility that I may have missed a few). Somewhat more than I expected, for a longer distance (Mornington Crescent seems to especially blessed in terms of number of other stations where the discount applies)

    I might put in a FOI request to get TFL to share official data on this discount.

    I plan to see if I can easily cross-reference the “steps” map and a “true geography” map to assess the distance criteria used to select stations for discounts.

    I have also found that at least one morning peak Zone 2 to Zone 1 rail fare is set to the same £2.40, so I’ll extend the analysis to look at the rail lines next, which will probably add another 10-20 pairs. Same process, start with the map to identify lines and likely pairs and then test using the fare finder.

    I’m not ready to share the results publicly yet but happy to share with you Mike for an additional set of eyes on this. I can email you a link to the working spreadsheet (in google drive)–you can presumably see my email address from the comments system, so drop me an email and I’ll send the link.

    Finally…I think I have found one pair that looks to be an anomaly. Bethnal Green (Overground) to Liverpool Street isn’t discounted (£2.90), but Bethnal Green (Central Line) to Liverpool Street is discounted (£2.40).

  10. Nicholas Markwell

    Miles,

    If you’re after historical data, these “substandard” fares were printed in the National Fares Manual (British Rail) in the preliminary pages to enable BR ticket office clerks to calculate through ticket prices. I worked for BR between 1988 and 1997, and these fares were certainly available during this time.

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