The Elizabeth Line (or Crossrail if you prefer) may not have opened in December 2018 as planned but new fares for the system still went live. Thanks to reader Uy Hoang for the heads up.
And in great news in appears the cheaper TfL fare scale is in place rather than the more expensive National Rail system.
Folks around Abbey Wood will now be able to save money on certain routes. Abbey Wood to Stratford has reduced to £1.70 peak and £1.50 off-peak.
Yet Plumstead to Stratford is £2.70 peak and £2.30 off-peak – for a shorter journey. You can use other forms of transport aside from Crossrail (well, you’ll have to) and still pay less.
To give another example, under National Rail fare scales a single journey from Abbey Wood to Farringdon on Thameslink would have been £4.20 peak or £3.10 off-peak. As that route will be direct on Crossrail, even if you use existing services you pay lower fares of £3.90 peak and £2.80 off-peak.
It’s a pretty crazy situation that a shorter journey from Abbey Wood to London Bridge now costs more than a longer trip to Farringdon.
Abbey Wood to Whitechapel now drops to £1.70 peak and £1.50 off-peak as this video from the great Geoff Marshall shows, even if using Southeastern and London Overground – though its pretty convoluted rather than the simple four stop, 15 minute trip it will be under Crossrail.
Of course these cheaper fares don’t benefit the vast majority of travelers using contactless or oyster pay-as-you-go fares in south east London who don’t use Abbey Wood station.
Southeastern’s London fares could have reduced to bring them in line with TfL fares as other private rail franchises in London have such as Great Western and c2c – but it’d take the Department for Transport to agree to it. And they havn’t.
They also could stipulate that the next franchise (whenever that happens…) changes from National Rail to TfL fare scales but show no sign of doing so. Sadly none of the local authorities pushed for it under consultation.
So it seems for now only those people around Abbey Wood will be paying cheaper fares to reach east and central London. The rest of the area has to pay more.
When Crossrail opens it’ll be even worse for many as people in Abbey Wood and Woolwich could travel to Liverpool Street, for example, for £2.80 off-peak or £3.90 peak whilst others taking a train to London Bridge then a tube to Liverpool Street would pay £4.60 off peak and £5.90 in the peak.
Again that’d only change if Southeastern adopted the TfL fare scale which would mean no premium to change to the tube. The DfT aren’t likely to and very few politicians have pushed for it.