diamond geezer

 Friday, September 27, 2019

Yesterday TfL announced that one part of Crossrail will be on time... they will be taking over the line from Paddington to Reading on 15th December 2019. It'll still be branded TfL Rail, because best not attach the Queen's name to an engineering fiasco, but the acquisition will add welcome fares income to the Mayor's coffers.

Not only will this bring central Berkshire onto the tube map, it'll also increase the number of stations Londoners can travel to using Pay As You Go. However, Oyster users will be missing out, as fares to the eight stations from Iver to Reading will be payable by contactless only. It's part of a fresh innovation introduced just four weeks ago, as a National Rail station in Hertfordshire became the first addition to the Contactless-But-Not-Oyster list.

Things were simpler in 2003 when Oyster was introduced. Every London station fell somewhere in zones 1 to 6, and the Herts/Bucks end of the Metropolitan line used zones A, B, C and D, making a total of ten. Those who programmed the system allocated four bits of electronic storage, which in hexadecimal would allow a maximum of 15 zones, hoping that this might be sufficient for the future. It was not. Hence the latest fare zone extension has had to be contactless only, because contactless fares are totted up by TfL overnight so the system can cope with pretty much anything.

Here's a list of all the PAYG stations in all the extra zones currently in use, above and beyond the original 1-6.
Zone 7: Croxley, Watford, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood; Carpenders Park; Theobalds Grove; Waltham Cross
Zone 8: Chalfont & Latimer; Bushey, Watford High Street; Cheshunt; Dartford, Swanley
Zone 9: Amersham, Chesham; Brentwood; Epsom; Cuffley
Zone W: Watford Junction
Zone G: Purfleet, Grays, Chafford Hundred, Ockendon
Zone B: Broxbourne, Rye House, St Margarets, Ware, Hertford East; Potters Bar, Radlett; Bayford, Hertford North
Zone C: Shenfield
Zone D: Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley
Zone E: Gatwick Airport
You won't see Epsom in zone 9 on public-facing rail maps, because a fare anomaly means its actually cheaper to buy a ticket than use Oyster. Neither will you see any of these lettered zones on the tube map, where they tend to be labelled 'Special fares apply' (or left blank). But they do appear on TfL's in-house PAYG map, the May 2019 version of which is available via an FoI request here.

Officially zone W (Watford) and zone G (Grays) are both part of zone A, creating a proper alphabetical sequence from A to E. Meanwhile the underlying electronics assumes that zone A is 10, zone B is 11, zone C is 12, zone D is 13 and zone E is 14, creating a proper hexadecimal sequence from 1 to E.

There is space on an Oyster card for one more zone - that's zone 15, or zone F. It was TfL's intention to reserve this zone for Crossrail stations out to Reading. They said so in an internal ticketing newsletter circulated this time last year (see pages 10 and 11 for lots more background information), but a later edition suggested this might no longer be the case (page 2), and now we know it won't.

Which brings us to TfL's most recent innovation, stations which aren't in any specific zone because you can't use Oyster, only contactless. The first of these was Brookmans Park on 29th August 2019. Radlett and Potters Bar were added to the PAYG list on the same day, Oyster included, but Brookmans Park (one stop beyond Potters Bar) got to be contactless only. TfL would much rather passengers used contactless than Oyster anyway, because the electronic transaction costs them less, so expect this to be the future direction of travel.

St Albans, Harpenden and Luton Airport Parkway have been lined up to go contactless before the end of the year, maybe in October, followed by Welham Green, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City in November, although no dates have yet been confirmed. It's long been suggested that Kempton Park, Sunbury, Upper Halliford and Shepperton should be included, being only just outside Greater London, and Reigate too, given that Redhill is already included.

There's substantial scope to extend Contactless Only to other Home Counties stations, if only rail operators were interested and willing. But for now it's only Brookmans Park in the Contactless Only zone, then a few more Hertfordshire stations, and from 2nd January eight Crossrail stations out to Reading. Get ready, those purple trains really are coming. Just don't take your Oyster with you.

Stations outside Greater London but accessible by PAYG (by county)

4Grange Hill, Chigwell, Roding Valley    
5Buckhurst Hill  Stoneleigh 
6Loughton, Debden, Theydon Bois, EppingMoor Park; Elstree & Borehamwood Thames Ditton, Hampton Court; Ewell West; Ewell East; Banstead, Epsom Downs; Chipstead, Kingswood, Tadworth, Tattenham Corner; Whyteleafe; Whyteleafe South, Caterham; Upper Warlingham 
7 Croxley, Watford, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood; Carpenders Park; Theobalds Grove; Waltham Cross   
8 Bushey, Watford High Street; CheshuntChalfont & Latimer Dartford; Swanley
9BrentwoodCuffleyAmersham, CheshamEpsom 
10 (A)
Purfleet, Grays, Chafford Hundred, OckendonWatford Junction   
11 (B) Radlett; Potters Bar; Bayford, Hertford North; Broxbourne, Rye House, St Margarets, Ware, Hertford East   
12 (C)Shenfield    
13 (D) Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley 
14 (E)   Gatwick Airport (W Sussex) 
 Brookmans Park; St Albans, Harpenden, Luton Airport Parkway; Welham Green, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden CityIver, Langley, Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Twyford, Reading  

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream