Every Londoner loves an Aperol Spritz, but free travel is even better.
So we were proper gobsmacked when we discovered the tube has a Hidden Secret Fare Zone, and you could be paying a lot less for your journey than you think!
The magic happens across the Zone One/Two boundary, in what we've creatively decided to call Zone One And A Half. And it only happens at peak times because, well, here comes the full rundown.
Every tube journey within Zone 1 costs £2.40, tops. Every journey between Zone 1 and Zone 2 also costs £2.40 during the off peak. But at peak times that Zone 1→2 journey shoots up to £2.90, a massive 20% extra... UNLESS your journey is in the hidden secret zone.
Imagine, for example, you're at Euston in the rush hour and you want to go to Mornington Crescent. The negronis at La Patagonia are enough reason for anyone, huh? Euston's in Zone 1 and Mornington Crescent's in Zone 2, so you'd expect the trip to cost £2.90. But TfL are kind because they know it's only one stop, so here's the rub, THEY ONLY CHARGE YOU £2.40.
They call these cheaper trips Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys. Brief hops of a station or two, from one side of the dividing line to the other, which secretly cost you less. And £2.40 rather than £2.90's not to be sniffed at. That's a potential saving of £1 a day, or £20 a month, which is easily enough to pay for your next Contactless Cheese Festival, or whatever.
Here's a map of the Secret Hidden Journeys you can make from Lambeth North.
Kennington in peak hours, £2.40. Oval in peak hours, £2.40. Not £2.90. And nobody tells you that.
Sometimes it's even better than that. Here's a map of the Secret Hidden Journeys you can make from Paddington. Wow.
You can go all the way down the Hammersmith & City line to Wood Lane for £2.40, for a proper full-on splashout at Westfield. You can go all the way up the Bakerloo line to Kilburn Park for £2.40, not that we can imagine why anyone would. And oddly you can zigzag down to Holland Park for £2.40, for a selfie in the Kyoto Garden, because sometimes changing line is OK too. TfL's amazing pricing computer just knocks off the discount automatically, without you even noticing.
And it works the other way round too, from Zone 2 into Zone 1. Here's a map of the Secret Hidden Journeys you can make from Camden Town.
Blimey, who'd have thought? Camden Town to King's Cross and the Eustons you might have expected. But Camden Town to Oxford Circus is miles, and that's only £2.40 in the rush hour, ditto Tottenham Court Road. But not Holborn, because that would be pushing it, nor Angel, which still costs £2.90 even though it's only three stops away. That flash-grilled avocado taco at Wahaca will have to wait!
Finally here's a map of the Secret Hidden Journeys you can make from Whitechapel.
This is amazing. There are SIXTEEN Zone 1 stations you can travel to more cheaply from Whitechapel than TfL admit. All the way down the District line to Mansion House or up the Hammersmith & City to Farringdon. As far as St Paul's or Old Street or London Bridge via a change of train. The Overground and DLR get in on the act too, as cheaper fares to Shoreditch High Street and Tower Gateway confirm. Even a couple of short Crossrail journeys will be cheaper at the end of the year when the purple line kicks in. It's a Hidden Secret Bonanza!
Start one stop further out at Stepney Green and only five of these destinations get the cheaper treatment. Start at Mile End and there's only one, namely Aldgate East, and everywhere else in Zone 1 costs the full £2.90. But hey, that's still a lot better than nothing, and everyone loves something for nothing, QED.
Yes, we know, it's all very complicated. That's because there are 170 Secret Hidden Journeys altogether, so we can't even draw you a simple map. We could link to TfL's database of Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, but patronisingly we doubt you'll be able to understand it. Instead just look at our pretty pictures, and be wowed, and retweet this Utterly Amazeballs News wildly on social media.
TfL could be charging you 50p less for your tube journey this morning than you think. And if that isn't a good excuse for an extra strawberry in your Pimms, you're playing London wrong, right?
n.b. Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys genuinely exist, honest, but are hidden and secret.
n.b. Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys do not apply to stations on the boundary of Zones 1 and 2.
n.b. Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys only exist between Zones 1 and 2, there are none further out.
n.b. Short Distance Cross Boundary Journeys can also be identified via the Single Fare Finder, but only if you think to look.