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Radlett, Potters Bar & Brookmans Park

Last Thursday, 29th August, PAYG was extended to Radlett, Potters Bar and Brookmans Park.  Both Oyster and contactless are accepted at the first two, while Brookmans Park is the pilot for a new breed of stations accepting contactless only.  The official launch took place at Radlett in the morning with the local MP, the new transport secretary and other GTR senior staff.  More detail about fares follows, but first some quotes on the day:

Mr Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said:

I am delighted that passengers will now benefit from new contactless Pay As You Go journeys at Potters Bar, Radlett and Brookmans Park. This helps make travel cheaper, easier to purchase and means more flexible and convenient journeys for passengers on a modern transport service. Our smart ticketing roll-out is also set to benefit passengers at Luton Airport and Welwyn Garden City later this year.

Mr Dowden, MP for Hertsmere, said:

I’m delighted that after years of campaigning, we finally have contactless pay as you go travel in Radlett and Potters Bar. I know this will make life easier for commuters and particularly people who travel irregular hours, which more and more people are doing with the increase of part-time working and working from home.

David Gornall, GTR’s Commercial Director, said:

We are delighted to give passengers at Radlett, Potters Bar and Brookmans Park more choice and convenience through the introduction of pay as you go. We have worked closely with Transport for London and the Department for Transport to realise this ambition and look forward to further expansion of pay as you go later this year.

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London said:

Pay as you go has helped revolutionise travel on Tube, rail and bus services across London, with around 60 per cent of all pay as you go journeys in London now made using the convenience of contactless, which means you never need to queue to top up or buy a ticket. We are delighted that more customers will be able to take advantage of pay as you go and we continue to work with the DfT and GTR on expanding it to more stations, making travel more convenient for all.

The key words to take from all of this are choice and convenience.  PAYG is certainly an extra choice alongside paper tickets and the Key smartcard, and it is convenient because you literally just touch and go.  The issue comes with Mr Shapps’ assertion that it will be cheaper.  It might be, particularly for single fares, but there are a lot of cases where it won’t.  Weekends are the big losers because super off-peak fares will almost certainly be cheaper than PAYG.  There are also offers like groupsave and kids for £2 which cannot be offered on PAYG.  Finally, the caps for Radlett and Potters Bar are slightly cheaper than the Anytime travelcard but more expensive than the Off-peak travelcard; and weekly caps on contactless are much more expensive than the existing travelcard season tickets.

Radlett

The fares database has some interesting anomalies from Radlett.  Most surprisingly there are no fares to Kentish Town.  This is clearly a mistake and has been reported to both TfL and GTR.  If you make the journey you will be charged a fare, but it might be more expensive than it should be.  There are also no fares defined to Northern line stations between Chalk Farm and Edgware.  I can see the point here in that the Northern and Thameslink lines run quite close together and you can only interchange at Kentish Town and then Camden Town, but I don’t think they should rule out people making the journey, particularly to the first few stations.  Finally it seems as though Hendon has been priced incorrectly.  It’s dual zoned 3/4 but the fares from Radlett put it in zone 3 instead of 4.

Potters Bar

I can’t see any obvious issues from Potters Bar.

Brookmans Park

At the moment there is no daily or weekly capping when travelling to/from Brookmans Park.  I don’t know what happens if you make lots of journeys in one day, I’m still trying to get official clarification.  The logical situation would be that you’ll be capped within zones 1-9, and possibly to Potters Bar, but then you’ll pay the extension fare for Brookmans Park for each journey you make.  Finally there are some missing fares for avoiding zone 1 when going to Chafford Hundred, Grays, Ockendon and Purfleet.  If you make those journeys you will be charged the via zone 1 fare, even though the cheaper fares are available from Potters Bar.

21 Responses

  1. Hi there is the same price to use oyster or a paper ticket for a weeks travel from Radlett to London not using the tube

  2. I have just bought an annual rail card for my daughter aged 11 to travel on weekdays at peak times from Radlett to Cricklewood and back. This was £930. Would it be cheaper using her oyster and can we receive a refund

  3. Why is it £8.00 more expensive to travel from Radlett to Camden Town than Borehamwood to Camden town.. An extra £8 per day is an extra £160 per four weeks. A lot of money for someone in their first job 🙁

  4. Hi Mark,

    Using Oyster you’d have to pay single fares because you can’t put a rail only season on Oyster. A weekly paper season ticket will save you money over 5 peak return journeys on paper or Oyster. However, if more than 3 of your journeys might be off-peak then paying for single fares on Oyster may well work out cheaper.

  5. Hi Chana,

    As long as your daughter has a zip 11-15 Oyster card then two peak singles will cost £6.20. The season ticket will therefore save money if she travels more than 150 days in the year. Assuming she’s at school then the season ticket is the best bet. If school finishes in time for her to touch in at Cricklewood before 1600 then the daily cost comes down to £5.05 and she’d need to travel 185 days to make the season worthwhile. I think the season still wins just, especially if 1600 might be missed due to after school activities.

  6. Hi H Davies,

    This is a question for Govia Thameslink Railway really. The price difference is similar if you use paper tickets, so it’s not an Oyster issue.

  7. Good news (I think). Used Oyster yesterday for an evening trip from Radlett to Farringdon and return, with a senior railcard. Oyster charged me £6.50 return, Thameslink farefinder shows it as £6.55 – but says that it would have been £11.65 on Oyster! http://tiny.cc/ymwacz

  8. Nicola Kennedy

    My daughter got charged peak fare on her oyster yesterday 5pm going from Radlett to Bond Street as she needed to change trains at West Hampstead. Single fare finder showed £4.80 as off peak as terminating in zone 1 and she has a 16-25 railcard. I have reported it to TFL and they have refunded and asked them to raise the issue. How likely do you think this will be fixed or will it be an ongoing issue?

  9. Hi Nicola,

    Long term it will get fixed, but in the short term there is an issue. When touch out is made at West Hampstead the journey does not end in zone 1 so the full peak fare to that point is charged. When she exits at Bond Street the system would charge the off-peak fare but is unable to refund charges already levied. The long term fix is when Oyster moves to the back-office charging model like contactless it will look at the whole journey. This has been in the pipeline for quite a while, but probably isn’t happening before next year. Whilst it will take longer, the only workaround at present is to travel via St Pancras and the Victoria/Central lines because the first touch out is then in zone 1 and will be discounted. On the way home she can go the direct way as it won’t make a difference to the overall charge.

  10. Hi Mike,

    The £11.65 fare assumes the inward journey is charged at peak rates, which it isn’t because it ends in zone 1.

  11. struggling to find the cheapest way from Potters bar to Canary Wharf. usual oyster fare is 16.20 per day (peak time). surely this cant be the cheapest way?

  12. Hi Nick,

    Potters bar to New Southgate( Zone 4) and then get a zone 1-4 should bring down your cost

  13. Hi Nick, (and thanks Doma)

    I can’t find how you’re getting £16.20 for two peak fares. If you avoid zone 1 via Highbury & Islington and Stratford then it’s £15.80. If it’s a 5-day a week commute then some sort of season ticket will probably be cheaper.

  14. Hi, Thanks for supplying all this information. Do you know how this will work with railcards? National Rail says with a 26-30 railcard leaving Potters Bar at 8am to zone 1 and returning from zone to Potters Bar at 5pm will cost £13.85, with a travelcard fare of £18.60.

    Will this apply to the oyster card too that has the railcard loaded on? A minimum fare has to be £12 for the railcard to take affect which would only happen if you book a return since a single would be £9.90 I believe.

    It may be that those with railcards are better off with paper tickets still?

  15. Hi Tom,

    Railcards on Oyster work differently. They only discount off-peak fares and caps. In the morning peak you’ll pay full adult fares. It’s the same in the afternoon peak if a peak fare is being charged, but you will be limited by the discounted off-peak cap.

  16. Hi Mike

    I’ve noticed that TfL has updated their PDF on caps outside Zone 9 which shows that Radlett and Potters Bar now have special status with clearly published daily caps that are different between Oyster and contactless.

    http://content.tfl.gov.uk/national-rail-adult-fares.pdf

    Radlett and Potters Bar benefit from lower caps using contactless than Oyster. Anecdotally this may have always been the case as contactless works out the best fare combination when travelling to/from Radlett or Potters Bar to e.g. central London (although strictly speaking this may have not been a cap in the true sense of the word).

    Now, the published contactless caps show that they are exactly the same as the paper travelcard fare, which for off-peak travel is a good thing as one of the critisms at the start was that the published off-peak cap £19.50 (Oyster and contactless) was much more expensive than the paper equivalent £16.80. Fares above are from Radlett and at today’s rate.

    But what this new PDF does show is that there is a clear disparity between Oyster and contactless. In addition, whilst contactless is usually cheaper than Oyster, at Radlett the peak cap is cheaper on Oyster (£25.30) than contactless and paper (£25.80). However the caveat is that using contactless during peak should still work out cheaper than Oyster as contactless will work out the best fare combination to give an overall cheaper price.

    Note: Potters Bar has a mid-week super off-peak travelcard which is 40p cheaper than the off-peak contactless cap. In addition, super-off-peak weekend travelcards are available from Radlett and Potter Bar which are significantly cheaper than the off-peak contactless cap. And finally, travelcards can be even cheaper still than off-peak caps when a discount card such as a Network Card is used. Some discounts can be applied to Oyster Cards.

  17. Interesting link, thanks.

    I notice that for stations on Thameslink it refers to the station in question plus zones 1-6; whereas for some others it says plus zones 1-8 or 1-9 (presumably the nearest station in a zone in each case per line).

    My head is hurting trying to think it through but would happen if you (say) went Mill Hill Bway (Z4) – Luton Airport Parkway… then back to Mill Hill Broadway then exited. Then went Mill Hill broadway to Cheshunt (z8) and return, via KGX and Tottenham Hale. Any ideas?

  18. Hi Marc and Ian,

    Thanks very much for drawing my attention to that updated page. I was already aware of the differences at Potters Bar because there was the ridiculous situation where the off-peak cap from Brookmans Park would have been cheaper than the off-peak cap from Potters Bar. I didn’t realise that Radlett also had differences. Needless to say the caps for all stations outside the zones are set by the TOC who prices the normal fares. It is a bit of a mess.

    Marc: I can’t see super off-peak caps being introduced anytime soon. The railcard issue is well documented on this site.

    Ian: If more than one journey is made outside zones 1-6 on different lines then contactless will do it’s comparisons and you’ll end up with the cheapest combination. In your case it would either be Luton Airport Parkway to zones 1-6 plus extensions from zone 6 to Cheshunt and back, or zones 1-8 plus extensions from zone 6 to Luton Airport Parkway and back. As to the zones included with each cap, I think some of them are wrong, which I’ll take up with TfL shortly.

  19. Hi Mike

    Thanks for looking into. In addition, my presumption is that if using Oyster from Radlett or Potters Bar the cap would include Z1-11, but contactless would not and would only include Z1-6. What are your thoughts?

    I also think some of the zones in the PDF are wrong. Gatwick and Horley stations should be 1-6 shouldn’t they? As for Epsom and Cuffley, I can’t remember if they used to say 1-9.

    Regarding by comment on super off-peak and discounts, it was merely to highlight to any readers that there are cheaper fares than contactless available 🙂 .

  20. Hi Marc,

    Radlett, Potters Bar and stations to both Hertford North and East are all in Oyster zone 11, so yes, Oyster capping will include them. Given that the contactless caps at Radlett and Potters Bar now override the Oyster caps I can only assume that they will just be zones 1-6. I will be checking this out though. I agree that the zones 1-6/1-8/1-9 designations are a bit strange so I will be checking them out too.

  21. Thanks for your responses Mike, this is very helpful.
    I look forward to trying all this out when things get back to normal!

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