Gordon and Boris’s south London tax

Transport blog London Reconnections has done some digging on the move of the new Shoreditch High Street rail station into zone 1. Part of the revamped East London line, it was originally due to be in zone 2, just like its Tube station predecessor – hiking fares for anyone even passing through the station.

A reader put in a Freedom of Information Act request, and discovered that part of the fare rise will not apply north of the river Thames…

TfL will be offering a local fare for passengers travelling between Dalston Junction and Wapping. Therefore passengers travelling between these stations will pay a fare as if they were travelling through one zone, and not two zones, including zone 1.

…however, if you’re south of the river, including local users of the old Tube service between New Cross, New Cross Gate, Surrey Quays, Canada Water and Rotherhithe, you can bloody well cough up. The reason? According to a letter from the government to TfL released as part of the request, it’s to protect the revenue of Southern, the private monopoly which runs trains from London Bridge and Victoria.

TfL will need to confirm that the new Shoreditch High Street is in Zone 1 – this reduces the revenue loss on South Central services as a result of the new East London Line, and is the reason why I can expect to make savings as high as £24m.

We know the Labour government is happy to make sure south London suffer under private train monopolies – it’s just re-let Southern’s franchise. Mayor Boris Johnson hasn’t fought against this. Sorry to flip into political bore mode here, but I can’t express this any other way – the needs and wishes of south Londoners simply don’t matter to either party. I hope that at the next elections, south Londoners return the sentiment.

(For the record, of course the Conservatives back rail privatisation – but so do the Liberal Democrats. On a personal note, it’s one of the main reasons why I back the Greens.)


  1. Pretty depressing stuff, but perhaps the fact that the parliament seats in the area are safe means we don’t matter? (I live in New Cross Gate, hence ‘we’)

  2. Well, I thought that – more about Simon Hughes at the Rotherhithe end, though.

    You do have a choice in sunny New Cross, mind *unsubtle plug over*.

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