Petition launched to move Woolwich Arsenal to Zone 3

A petition’s been launched to ask Transport for London to move Woolwich Arsenal station from zone 4 to zone 3. It’s currently approaching 250 signatures….

“As the opening of Crossrail gets closer and closer, and as the regeneration of Woolwich gains momentum, we think it’s important to help the area further benefit from all these positive changes. The number of commuters is growing and this trend is only going to continue.

“Moving Woolwich Arsenal station from 4 to zone 3 will help make Woolwich even more attractive and slightly less expensive for workers commuting west. There are talks of moving Stratford, a stone’s throws from Woolwich, into zone 2. Also Battersea is poised to be moved from zone 2 to zone 1. Gallions Reach, just north of the river and further east than Woolwich, is already in zone 3.”

I wrote about the absurdity of Woolwich being in zone 4 back in 2010, travelling out to leafy Chigwell, Essex, which is also in zone 4. Last week it was announced that Stratford station is being moved to the boundary of zones 2 and 3 to “boost regeneration” – a similar move would put Woolwich Arsenal on the boundary of zones 3 and 4, so passengers travelling from the east wouldn’t lose out.

Of course, there’s a cost to it and the popularity of the Docklands Light Railway from Woolwich would seem to indicate that the market can bear costly zone 4 fares – but a symbolic change could help attract travel *to* Woolwich, rather than from it.

(There’s a wider argument that London’s fare zones, which date back to 1983 and predate the development of Canary Wharf, need a complete overhaul as perceptions of “central London” have changed over the years – but that seems to be something nobody dare touch.)

It’s a simple change that could end up paying for itself over time if it boosts perceptions of Woolwich – but sadly, local politicians seem to have much more time obsessing over the Thames Clippers service to Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal development instead.


  1. Previously it was possible to head across the river and join the national rail network in zone 3 at North Woolwich (although that was in zone 4 until some point in the 90s – same story for Beckton DLR, I seem to remember, even though the two stops short of Beckton are on a dog-leg bit of line meaning they were physically further east but were in 3). Yes, there are revenue considerations to make, but Woolwich has at least as much of a social & economic case for a zone move as Stratford.

    I think Abbey Wood (for Thamesmead’s sake) could go from 5 to 4/5. If the lower paid retail/ancillary work in Stratford & Canary Wharf is forcing people to live in areas as far away as Thamesmead (a situation which is only likely to grow), the ability to pay for the commute on a two-zone travelcard season would make a lot of difference. Probably a pipe dream, though – you can hear a TfL accountant somewhere letting out a tiny scream at the idea.

  2. Several years ago i emailed TFL to ask why SE London zones were so different from the rest of London, but never had a reply. If you look at how far you can go in any other direction and still be in zone 3, the inequality is clear. To reach City Airport or Stratford from the village it is quicker to take any bus except the 486 to Woolwich Arsenal and join the DLR, than it is to take a 422 or 486 bus to North Greenwich, but one must pay for the convenience.

    I would think TFL would encourage the use of Woolwich Arsenal station over the busier North Greenwich station to ease congestion.

  3. Personally I think it should be renamed Gotham City, walled in and moved to Zone 5.

  4. @Tristan great point. I work in central London zone 1 and had a meeting in Hammersmith, which is Zone 2. It took FOREVER to get there. I looked on a map afterwards and noticed that Hammersmith is 8.5 miles from my office, which is the exact distance my home station (Kidbrooke) is. In fact you can go three stops beyond Hammersmith to the west before you leave Zone 2. So why am I paying Zone 3 fares?

    SE London is for some reason on TFL’s black list, they seem to go out of their way to inconvenience us while providing a minimal service.

  5. Seems like an obvious thing for the council to lead the charge on. What’s the worst that can happen? If it
    gets rejected they get to blame the Tory mayor, if it goes through it’s good news for residents and the all-important property developers. Is the reluctance just because they didn’t think of it first?

  6. I do support the case for Woolwich to be moved to zone 3, but rather than a petition about SE18 , the real issue is the need to reduce the effects of tfl’s pricing policies that act as a massive regressive tax on working age people in London . With a decent salaried role in corporate finance , you can probably live nearer your workplace and the proportion of your income spent on the commute is fairly marginal, whereas those on a minimum wage or in fact an average wage, will be forking out a goodly percentage of their income just to get to work. How about a petition to remove zones entirely and charge a flat rate for an hours travel anywhere on the network .

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