Thanks to the London Reconnections blog (and to Boris Watch for pointing it out), here’s some details on what to expect when Oyster pay-as-you-go comes to south-east London’s mainline railways. It’s scheduled to begin from 2 January, to coincide with the 2010 fare changes, although this has still to be confirmed. Here is a document from the Greater London Authority asking the mayor to approve those fare changes, which includes some of the details of how it will work, and the proposed fares.
Basically, there’ll be four sets of fares. At the moment, there’s two sets of fares in operation – one for the Tube and DLR, and one for TFL Rail (London Overground). From January, there’ll be two more – Train Company fares, and Train/TfL fares.
The Train Company fares will affect most SE London travellers – so here’s what you can expect to pay:
Zones 7, 8, 9, W and G don’t apply to us here in south-east London for these journeys – it’s just the 1-6 we need to worry about here.
So if you’re travelling from Charlton, Blackheath, Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, or any other zone 3 station to central London, that’s £2.60 to you in the rush hour, and £2 at other times. That compares with £2.70 or £2.40 for the same three-zone journey by London Underground. It also means that travelling by train will be cheaper than taking the bus to North Greenwich and taking the Tube (which will cost £3.50 or £3 for a single bus ride and a two-zone Tube ride).
From Greenwich or Lewisham, in zone 2, taking the train will also be cheaper than getting the DLR (£2.10 vs £2.30 in the rush hour, £1.70 vs £1.80 off-peak).
From Woolwich Arsenal, stuck in zone 4, the rush-hour train fare will be the same as that on the DLR – £3.10. At all other times, it’ll be slightly cheaper – £2.30 against £2.40 for the DLR equivalent.
If you’re going to use the Tube/DLR on your travels – say, my old commute from Charlton to White City, then this table will apply to you – the train/TfL fares.
If you travel through Zone 1, you’ll be charged an extra £1.10 on your fare. But if you don’t, then your fare will stay the same. So Charlton to West India Quay DLR, via Greenwich, will cost the same as Charlton to Deptford by train. (It’s unclear whether these fares will apply for journeys which use the new East London Line, due to open in May and which will have a Zone 1 stop at Shoreditch High Street – I would assume they will, though, since despite being part of the National Rail network, it’ll be a TfL Rail line. Worth watching if you plan to travel up to Hoxton or Highbury.)
Oyster cards currently have a daily cap on them – set at 50p below the day travelcard rate. From January, this cap will be the same as the day travelcard. Here’s next year’s day travelcard prices – the steep jump between zone 2 and zone 3 stays in place, sadly.
So travellers from Lewisham, Deptford, Greenwich and North Greenwich travelling into central London will pay a maximum of £7.20/day (£5.60 off peak), while us zone 3 passengers will pay £8.60 at most (£6.30 off peak from both zones 3 and 4). Using the overloaded bus service to North Greenwich Tube to get a cheaper fare isn’t going to go out of fashion just yet, especially for rush hour passengers from Woolwich Arsenal and beyond who’ll want to avoid a hefty £10 daily charge from zone 4.
There’s more details in the GLA document, which includes child fares and Travelcard prices, and the TfL Rail fares that’ll apply on the new East London line from Brockley and New Cross Gate. Some health warnings apply here – these haven’t been officially confirmed yet, and there could be errors in the information, so these figures are subject to change. There’s also been talk of a daft-looking idea of Travelcard users having to load an “Oyster extension permit” onto their cards before using mainline services outside their zones, but that’s not been confirmed either. But hopefully this gives you an early idea of how the scheme will work.
One final point of interest is in those extra zones. 7, 8 and 9 go out into Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire; while Zone W is Watford Junction, where Oyster cards can also be used at a different rate.
But Zone G is the area around Grays, Essex – where c2c trains will be accepting Oyster cards to Chafford Hundred, the nearest station to Lakeside Shopping Centre. A smart idea to tempt Londoners onto trains and out of their cars.
But south of the river, though, there’s no sign of any such concession from Southeastern, which is grudgingly accepting Oyster as it is, on its trains to Greenhithe, the nearest stop to Bluewater. A terrible shame, and an indication of where Southeastern’s priorities really lie.
(LATER: Boris Watch has some comment and some graphs to show how, if you live in outer London and have no Tube, this may not be a good thing.)