With the Elizabeth line up and running now for some months I’ve still seen and heard of many people using Southeastern to reach Woolwich from Abbey Wood, to which one wonders why?
For those unaware, many passengers on National Rail in London in London have for many years – and still do – paid more than those using Transport for London transport for similar trips, and that remains the case for Crossrail versus Southeastern and Thameslink.
Now though, some lucky parts of south east London have joined much of the capital in seeing lower fares.
That means a single journey on the Elizabeth line from Abbey Wood to Woolwich costs £1.60 off peak and £1.80 peak. Compare that to £2.40 off peak and £2.60 peak on Southeastern from Abbey Wood to Woolwich Arsenal.
The fare discrepancy remains when travelling all over London to boot. Travelling from Abbey Wood to Tottenham Court Road on the Elizabeth line? You’ll pay less than on Southeastern from Abbey Wood to Charing Cross, to give one of many examples.
Though of course from next month you can’t reach Charing Cross direct from Abbey Wood. Perhaps not so bad if not paying more than many in the rest of London.
Is it any wonder many don’t pay and skip fares on the line, with Southeastern making it easy with open stations and a fare structure taking the pee?
On Southeastern you’re often treated to unstaffed stations much of the time, and *very* scruffy trains alongside those higher fares.
One irony in all this is that when rail was privatised, the ethos of private enterprise was supposed to take hold.
No sign of that on Southeastern Metro in 30 years, mind. The Department for Transport and Treasury never really let loose on the service yet bled every penny they could from the area’s rail network while rarely investing.
People talk of a north south divide. Not often do they realise there’s one in London itself. For decades those who had the tube paid less for equivalent point to point journeys.
Don’t’ believe me? Try for yourself here and check similar fares.
Even now there’s no sign – or ability – of Southeastern to compete with the Elizabeth line.
And that’s not just from Abbey Wood to Woolwich but from Abbey Wood and Woolwich to various spots all over London. Again, check the fare finder page to see.
You can take a scuzzy 30 year old train on Southeastern that are almost always filthy, have no air con in summers and dodgy heating in winter, no staff on-board and little staffing at most stations *and* an intercom that’s little but crackle much of the time when problems arise and still pay more for it, or take a brand new line that costs less.
For many in south east London and Kent though who rely on Metro that still isn’t an option, so clapped out Southeastern it remains.
But if you are near Abbey Wood you can now join much of London in paying less for more. Sorry everyone else. Want someone to blame?
Forget Southeastern for a minute and look to their paymasters who pull all the strings in Whitehall.
They’ve deprived funding long before the pandemic, which has now resulted in a derisory environment for passengers.
But if you’re in Abbey Wood or Woolwich, remember you’ll almost certainly pay less to use the Elizabeth line than Southeastern and have a better experience for it.