Future for London's Rail Fares

JonathanH

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29 May 2011
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Double all fares.
...is probably the sort of thing being thought of.

The obvious fare oddities to get rid of are the Euston - DC line stops and Liverpool Street - Cheshunt peak 'London Terminals' legacy discounts vs Z1 fares (most of the order of 20 or 30 pence, the biggest being 70p).

Brentwood needs rezoning, or Amersham and Chesham become zone 8 (single fares are only 10p cheaper, with a couple of minor exceptions. Though peak time caps/seasons are quite a bit cheaper from Z8) - they have very different fares. Then all that needs changing on the TfL scales to make them just one is the off-peak fares not involving zone 1. Or just keep them different scales - you might as well use different scales outside zone 6 (or 7 or 8) which are controlled by the fare-setting TOC. And then the contactless-only and "Merstham and Horley are in the same zone" nonsense could go.

I believe the flat fares within Z2-6 (and the similar fares from Z7-9) are revenue generating, getting marginal passengers onto trains, so I'd reduce the Anglia fares to those (one would be a 10p raise, but most a reduction), rather than the other way around. You want (except for under the specific unusual circumstances we have at the moment) to encourage outer borough off-peak users onto the tube, even if they are travelling greater distances as inner-London journeys but paying the same fare - you are running the trains, and the marginal cost is little, so the more the merrier!

Gradually reduce the premiums for South London by increasing NR fares slower than TfL, and NR+tube fares even slower, if at all.
The thing is - increasing all £1.50 fares to £2 - buses and underground outside zone 1 - would be a one-off unpopular measure but only because we currently consider these things as percentage increases when they happen in January. But loads of stuff in everyday life outside transport use increases like that - in supermarkets, the price of things changes by 50p and no-one really notices because prices go up and down with seasonal availability, promotions etc.

£2 is possibly what the bus fare would have been anyway from January 2021 without the freeze.

Is the demand that elastic outside Zone 2-6 that charging £2 rather than £1.50 would kill demand? I agree that increasing demand in the outer zones makes sense as that is where there is spare capacity.

It has always struck me as odd, however, that you can ride around Zone 1 and 2 for £7.20 when the single fare is £2.40 and there is limited spare capacity but if you made a large number of journeys in outer London without entering Zone 1 you are charged to enter it. Raising the Zone 1-2 cap would seem an easy way to increase revenue.
 
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RailUK Forums

si404

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28 Dec 2012
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The thing is - increasing all £1.50 fares to £2 - buses and underground outside zone 1 - would be a one-off unpopular measure but only because we currently consider these things as percentage increases when they happen in January. But loads of stuff in everyday life outside transport use increases like that - in supermarkets, the price of things changes by 50p and no-one really notices because prices go up and down with seasonal availability, promotions etc.

£2 is possibly what the bus fare would have been anyway from January 2021 without the freeze.

Is the demand that elastic outside Zone 2-6 that charging £2 rather than £1.50 would kill demand? I agree that increasing demand in the outer zones makes sense as that is where there is spare capacity.
You'll note that I didn't mention £1.50. That was very deliberate as I'm neither wed to that price, nor do I think it will remain that price. £2 seems fine, though I'd suggest locking that in for a few years rather than having it on the fare-price escalator.
It has always struck me as odd, however, that you can ride around Zone 1 and 2 for £7.20 when the single fare is £2.40 and there is limited spare capacity but if you made a large number of journeys in outer London without entering Zone 1 you are charged to enter it. Raising the Zone 1-2 cap would seem an easy way to increase revenue.
Here's how many (to two decimal places) to/from Z1 journeys (TfL-LU scale) you need to do to cap:

Z1-2: £7.20 = 2.48*£2.90 peak or 3.00*£2.40 off-peak
Z1-3: £8.50 = 2.58*£3.30 peak or 3.03*£2.80 off-peak
Z1-4: £10.40 = 2.67*£3.90 peak or 3.71*£2.80 off-peak
Z1-5: £12.30 = 2.62*£4.70 peak or 3.97*£3.10 off-peak
Z1-6: £13.20 = 2.59*£5.10 peak or 4.26*£3.10 off-peak
Z1-7: £14.40 = 2.57*£5.60 peak or £13.30 = 3.33*£4.00 off-peak
Z1-8: £17.00 = 2.46*£6.90 peak or £13.30 = 3.33*£4.00 off-peak
Z1-9: £18.80 = 2.69*£7.00 peak or £13.30 = 3.24*£4.10 off-peak

The caps are fairly equal wrt peak singles (all about 2.5 times the price) - the issues are a lack of caps avoiding zone 1 and cheap off-peak single fares from zones 4, 5 and 6 combining with a lack of off-peak caps involving those zones.
 

JonathanH

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29 May 2011
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4,491
You'll note that I didn't mention £1.50. That was very deliberate as I'm neither wed to that price, nor do I think it will remain that price. £2 seems fine, though I'd suggest locking that in for a few years rather than having it on the fare-price escalator.
Yes, that is a very fair point. The newspapers would run headlines with "33% increase" yet most people would probably feel that £2 was reasonable for what it offers.

Here's how many (to two decimal places) to/from Z1 journeys (TfL-LU scale) you need to do to cap:

Z1-2: £7.20 = 2.48*£2.90 peak or 3.00*£2.40 off-peak
Z1-3: £8.50 = 2.58*£3.30 peak or 3.03*£2.80 off-peak
Z1-4: £10.40 = 2.67*£3.90 peak or 3.71*£2.80 off-peak
Z1-5: £12.30 = 2.62*£4.70 peak or 3.97*£3.10 off-peak
Z1-6: £13.20 = 2.59*£5.10 peak or 4.26*£3.10 off-peak
Z1-7: £14.40 = 2.57*£5.60 peak or £13.30 = 3.33*£4.00 off-peak
Z1-8: £17.00 = 2.46*£6.90 peak or £13.30 = 3.33*£4.00 off-peak
Z1-9: £18.80 = 2.69*£7.00 peak or £13.30 = 3.24*£4.10 off-peak

The caps are fairly equal wrt peak singles (all about 2.5 times the price) - the issues are a lack of caps avoiding zone 1 and cheap off-peak single fares from zones 4, 5 and 6 combining with a lack of off-peak caps involving those zones.
Yes, all of the caps assume travel into Zone 1 which clearly isn't the case and seems to be justified by having the £1.50 fare in the suburbs.
 
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Given that TfL may well run out of cash again in a few months, this is probably not the end of it. The substantial hole that has now opened up in the Rail and TfL income budgets presumably will only increase the pressure to level up, rather than down, TfL and National Rail fares in the London area...

'Simpler' is a word that, unfortunately, has progressively altered its meaning when used in rail fares commentaries: it seems to be widely regarded as a synonym for 'lower', but higher fares can be just as 'simple'....!
 

Bob M

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20 Dec 2008
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Why is it that my out-of-London oldie's bus pass can be read by just about any bus in the country - except London?
 

Vespa

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Why is it that my out-of-London oldie's bus pass can be read by just about any bus in the country - except London?
I've had that with mine some can read some can't read, I asked my local transport authority about that, its down to the software and the driver would have to manually override, its all valid as per the T&C for buses, its just software.
I used concessionary passes no problems in Cornwall, Devon, Oxford but played up in Lowesoft, Cambridge and London it was embarrassing as people were watching me on the bus.
 

30907

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I've had that with mine some can read some can't read, I asked my local transport authority about that, its down to the software and the driver would have to manually override, its all valid as per the T&C for buses, its just software.
I used concessionary passes no problems in Cornwall, Devon, Oxford but played up in Lowesoft, Cambridge and London it was embarrassing as people were watching me on the bus.
London buses aren't equipped with readers. Otherwise, as you say, it's the software which doesn't recognise a specific LA, and that maybe operator specific.
 

PeterC

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29 Sep 2014
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I had a London driver insist that I touch in with my shire county ENCTS card once. He seemed totally unaware that the machine gave an error message and just walked through. Otherwise I always just show the card, about 80% of the time the driver actually remembers to press the button to record it.

The only time I have known an issue with readers outside of London was one which was rejecting tickets at 9:20 when Bucks allows travel from 9:00. The driver seemed unable to grasp that the machine would be wrong despite being shown the T&Cs printed on the cards. (Can't remember if that was Arriva or Carousel).

The only time I have felt embarassed was being called back by a driver in Yorkshire because I hadn't taken a paper ticket!
 
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London buses aren't equipped with readers.
They do have readers: they can read ITSO, bank and Oyster cards. I don't know why they won't read 'foreign' concessionary passes, but as the financial arrangements are so different in London I suppose it doesn't matter - as long as all staff are aware, that is. Perhaps there is no way to easily collects stats about usage without a major software upgrade, and those machines are getting very old now.
 

TUC

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11 Nov 2010
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Whilst the rest of the country is bailing London out, it is difficult to see why anything but the statutory minimum validity should apply to Freedom passes.
 

JonathanH

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29 May 2011
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Whilst the rest of the country is bailing London out, it is difficult to see why anything but the statutory minimum validity should apply to Freedom passes.
Doesn't that depend on where (and how) the money is being generated to pay for it?
 

matt_world2004

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5 Nov 2014
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Whilst the rest of the country is bailing London out, it is difficult to see why anything but the statutory minimum validity should apply to Freedom passes.
Isn't the TOC with the largest fare subsidy in the whole country Northern Rail? In return before the bailout most of TfLs services were recieving no fare subsidy.
 

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