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New Northern Extensions

There’s been a bit of excitement since the publication under FOI of an internal staff magazine by TfL. One of the topics covered was upcoming extensions on Thameslink and Great Northern. Sadly the original publication date was quite a while ago (early May) and there was also a shocking geographical error mixing up the positions of Brookmans Park and Potters Bar stations. The article and other sources suggested that extensions to Radlett and Potters Bar would be live imminently. A more cautious approach was being suggested on the Thameslink and Great Northern websites, so I sought clarification from both TfL and Govia Thameslink Railway.

A GTR spokesperson provided the following quote:

Pay as you go with Contactless and Oyster is expected to launch at Radlett and Potters Bar this summer, subject to completion of the installation and testing with Transport for London. Pay as you go with Contactless will be extended to Brookmans Park at a later date.

The TfL staff magazine also mentioned contactless only extensions to St Albans, Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City, including intermediate stations, from later this Autumn. Clearly Brookmans Park is part of this later extension and has only been mentioned now because of the confusion caused by TfL.

At present there are no details of single fares from either Radlett or Potters Bar. All that’s been said is that the daily and weekly caps will be the same as other zone B(11) stations (Broxbourne, Hertford East/North etc). The Anytime cap compares resonably well with the Anytime day travelcard, but the off-peak cap looks like it will be quite a bit more than either off-peak day travelcards or super off-peak day travelcards. I’ll do some more in depth analysis once the single fares have been announced officially and the caps have been confirmed. Watch this space!

The mismatch between caps and travelcard prices on all the recent extensions is sadly the result of the government insisting that certain extensions happen as part of franchise commitments, without understanding the constraints of the Oyster system. It was all very easy in zones 1-6 where fares had been synchronised in anticipation of the acceptance of Oyster. When TfL designed the Oyster system it was intended to work on a purely zonal basis with each zone extending further from Central London in rings. The problem is that beyond zone 6 the prices of travelcards do not follow any organised pattern. I hope that the recent consultation on pay-as-you-go in the wider South East England area results in some smoothing of the anomalies.

11 Responses

  1. I m so suprised about Potterrs Bar. In terms of distance from Central Londonit should be in zone 7 maybe 8 but not same as Hertford much further to the north.

  2. Hi Adam,

    I’m inclined to agree. There needs to be a rethink on the fares charged from stations just outside the M25.

  3. Graham Palmer

    Putting aside the zonal issues the original announcements from both DfT and TfL was that BOTH Oyster and Contactless would be extended to WGC and Luton Apt Parkway. And this is certainly the impression that MP Grant Shapps was given and announced in his various Tweets earlier this year.

  4. Hi Graham,

    I’m sure that the original intention was to extend Oyster all the way, although by the beginning of this year it must have been pretty clear that this wouldn’t happen. Oyster can only cope with 15 zones for capping purposes until the back-office software is introduced. Zones 1-14 have already been allocated and I’m assuming that 15 will be for Reading once TfL Rail take over in readiness for the Elizabeth Line opening.

  5. Hi thanks for the information, but Radlett is inside the M25 and a short distance from Borehamwood (zone 6), but is allocated to zone 11- how and why?

  6. Hi Russell,

    As I typed that comment I realised it would cause issues. What I should have said was outside the Greater London boundary. The M25 follows that most of the way, but does creep further away around Watford.

  7. David Sullivn

    Rather unhelpful, I travel to/from New Barnet to Welham Green and currently have to use Paper tickets. As my Oystercard has a gold card discount on it I don’t want to switch to contactless, Ill have to stick with paper.

  8. Hi David,

    Railcards are the big losers with contactless only, sadly.

  9. Hi Mike. Yes Zone 15 will come live in December probably when TfL Rail begin serving Reading. I have been told that TfL are working on the creation of up to 3 more zones. However, distance wise WGC and Luton Apt Parkway could be included in Zones 14 or 15.

  10. Based on this:


    I wonder if a new “contactless only” pay as you go payments will operate using tfl back office systems or maybe something completely different not integrated with oyster tfl account. I cant see clear answers on the article above.

    P. S sorry for my English, I m still learning :-);

  11. Hi Adam,

    Thanks for that article. I can tell you that contactless acceptance will be part of the overall TfL back office system.

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