Crossrail fares confirmed as lower than Southeastern Railway?

The Mayor of London yesterday announced fare levels for Crossrail containing this statement which bodes well for those in south east London:

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and TfL have today announced that Elizabeth line pay as you go fares within Zones 1-6 will be the same as the fares on existing TfL services

That should mean that a single fare costs £3.90 in the peak and £2.80 off-peak. Southeastern now costs £4.10 in the peak and £3.00 off-peak. A £1.50 surcharge also applies to Southeastern passengers changing to the tube to continue their journey which doesn’t apply on TfL fare scales.

New Abbey Wood station now managed by TfL

Lower TfL fares will work out as substantial savings over time, especially for part time workers for whom a season ticket is not particularly useful.

And that’s not all – TfL single journey fares are frozen until 2020 whilst Southeastern fares – set by the Department for Transport headed by Chris Grayling – are likely to continue rising each year above inflation.

Courtesy Uy Hoang

Whilst each year the headline rail fare increase is well publicised (and was 3.4% this year) Oyster Pay As You Go has often exceeded that.

That fare discrepancy could have been reduced or removed if TfL took over local Southeastern lines to Dartford as originally planned until blocked by Chris Grayling last year.

Crossrail’s covered roundel seen at Abbey Wood station

The DfT could still insist upon doing so in a future franchise award but have so far shown no indication whatsoever of doing so. Local authorities such as Greenwich and Bexley have also been completely silent on this issue which costs some local residents, especially the poor, dearly.

However, some dangers remain that south-east Londoners will pay higher Crossrail fares than others in London. The DfT retain the right to insist on higher fares and who would put it past Grayling?

And this specific announcement was in regard to fares in West London and those to Heathrow as Crossrail takes over Heathrow Connect services. London Reconnections has more on it here. West London already pays less on National Rail than those in south east London.

Though the above quote about future Crossrail fares being the same as TfL within zones 1-6 should offer relief to those planning to use Abbey Wood and Woolwich stations, until explicitly stated it may be wise to hold off celebrating cheaper fares, especially those planning to use Abbey Wood station which doesn’t have a DLR alternative.


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

2 thoughts on “Crossrail fares confirmed as lower than Southeastern Railway?

  • Isn’t a peak fare through TfL £3.90 (zone 1-4), not £3.30 as stated?

  • Please note that TfL are obliged by the relevant legislation (which allows the likes if London Overground to be administered by TfL), not to cause large fare jumps at the boundaries between TfL run stations and stations served by other national rail operators (like Shenfield where fares are set by Grater Anglia).

    Given that the Mayor has instigated fare freeze policy on TfL, but the DfT has continued to raise rail fares above inflation for all other TOCs then it doesn’t take a genius to realise that Crossrail fares from Abbey Wood cannot be any cheaper than SE without going contrary to the legal agreement with the DfT.

    As such there can be no long term divergence in cost terms for passengers from Abbey Wood using Crossrail (nor Sheffield, Stratford, Ealing Broadway, Slough, etc) which will also be served by DfT controlled TOCs. Equally the fares from the likes of Custom house say cannot be frozen as over time that introduces a potential ‘cliff edge’ in pricing – which is also forbidden by the agreement with the DfT.

    Obviously there is some room for tinkering but unlike the Underground, until fares policy changes at the DfT then TfL are heavily restricted as to what they can do with Crossrail fares.


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