A tweet today about the the “classless” nature of London transport rekindled an issue that I feel again needs highlighting – as few others are including those in power.
Did you know that rail users in south east London pay up to twice as much for single journeys than those over the Thames? Imagine if buses had that same difference: a 472 costing £3 while a 69 bus from Canning Town was £1.50? They’d be uproar – yet the rail gap goes unnoticed.
This difference is due to the fare scale used for pay as you go journeys. There’s the TfL fare scale and a National Rail fare scale used by Southeastern. The TfL rail scale is used by some private franchises in London alongside TfL themselves and is cheaper.
As franchise fares rise each year the gap has grown ever bigger until it’s now double the price for a single journey from Zone 2 to Zone 6.
Head from Slade Green (Z6) to Deptford (Z2) on Southeastern and it’s £3 off-peak.
Do the same trip over the Thames on c2c rail from Upminster (Z6) to Limehouse (Z2) and it’s £1.50.
During peak times it’s £2.40 on c2c and £4.40 on Southeastern.
Do it on London Overground and it’s £1.70 peak. The tube is the same.
This is enough to price some people off rail in south east London.
Other permutations exist but across the board south east Londoners will always pay more. And they then pay more to transfer to other forms of transport such as the tube. Not so for many north of the river.
I’m always surprised this generally goes unnoticed. South east London borough Councillors are hardly shouting from the rooftops about it. In fact i can’t recall one ever mentioning it including those specifically tasked with the Transport brief
Consultation to the DfT Southeastern franchise process (before it was scrapped) didn’t mention it.
There has been some welcome changes for those in Abbey Wood as journeys from there have switched to the TfL fare scale due to Crossrail even before services commence – though it does leave the bizarre situation of Plumstead passengers paying more for shorter trips.
For example, Abbey Wood to Stratford is £1.70 in the peak while from Plumstead it’s £2.70. While good for Abbey Wood, only some trips saw a reduction and it’s not reduced across the board to levels equivalent to journeys north of the Thames.
Yes there’s some TfL fjourneys that creep into south east London (New Cross for London Overground etc) but the vast majority of people will pay more.
Costs will increase further next year for pay as you go journeys next year on Southeastern.