You may have noticed that next year’s rail increases were recently announced. Increases of 3.4% are to be implemented on regulated fares such as season tickets. Oyster fares will rise by even higher amounts for some – as has been the norm for years. Rises of up to 5-10% have been occurring on some routes with little comment for some time.
Many decried the train companies when rises are announced though it’s central government and the Department for Transport that sets the majority of fares, like so much else on the railway network.
Let’s take a look at what the cost increases will be for an Oyster Pay As You Go fare from Zone 4 to Zone 1. See which are the more expensive and do not allow free transfer to the tube. You can probably guess.
DLR: Woolwich Arsenal (Zone 4) to Bank (Zone 1) £3.90 peak or £2.80 off-peak. No additional fee to transfer to the tube.
Southeastern: Woolwich Arsenal to Cannon Street £4.10 peak or £3.00 off-peak. Extra £1.70 to transfer to tube so a single trip with one change to the tube will cost £5.80 at peak times.
Tube: £3.90 peak or £2.80 off-peak. Changes to other tube lines included without fees of course.
C2C: £3.90 peak or £2.80 off-peak. Free tube transfer.
Great Western: Southall (Zone 4) to London Paddington (Zone 1) £3.90 peak or £2.80 off-peak. Free tube transfer.
Southern: Penge West (Z4) to London Bridge(Z1) – £3.90 or £2.80. Free tube transfer
South West Rail: New Malden (Zone 4) to Waterloo (Zone 1) £4.10 peak or £3 off-peak. No free tube transfer. Higher SE level fares.
London Overground/TfL Rail: Same as most of London. £3.90 peak or £2.80 off-peak. No extra fees for changing.
What we see is franchises that aren’t on the TfL fare scale have rises whilst TfL fares, and those of privatised franchises that adopt the same fare scale, are frozen hence the price difference in London increases. It appears this will continue for years to come.
South West Trains and Southeastern have the most expensive fares. SWT passengers can at least point to trains that are cleaner and better maintained plus staffed compared to Southeastern Metro.
Southeastern fares could change if the DfT stipulate in the new franchise that they align with TfL levels as happens in West London with Great Western Rail and East London with c2c, to give two examples. They show no sign of doing this.
And local authorities in South East London show no sign of even being aware of the wide fare disparity that is set to continue widening in future years. As shown above, a Southeastern train trip with a change to the tube during the morning peak with be £5.80 after another rise. Live in west London and it’s £3.90 for a similar trip.
Like other issues with the future franchise such as station staffing, most South East London politicians have been distracted by other issues and not said a thing for fare parity, let alone included it in franchise responses. You’d expect those in charge of transport in borough’s like Greenwich to highlight this and fight to end it, but no such luck.