During the last week I’ve had a chance to test out the new OSI between Blackfriars and Southwark. This has been described as a temporary one while the work at London Bridge moves forward, although I think a case could be made for keeping it permanently. The walk took 7-10 minutes depending on how busy the traffic was on Blackfriars Bridge which is quite reasonable. There is unfortunately a flaw which means caution should be exercised when making journeys across zone 1.
As many of you know you are allowed to walk through Southwark station to get to/from the country entrance of Waterloo East. This is made possible by adding an alternative route to Southwark station from SE London NR stations via Waterloo East, resulting in a NR only journey even though the end is an Underground station. This was fine when Southwark was guaranteed to be one end of the journey, but now it might not be. They haven’t added any fares from North London FCC stations to Southwark via Blackfriars.
So, my first journey was from St Pancras to Crayford. On exit at Blackfriars I was charged a zone 1 TfL fare which was right, and this didn’t change on exit from Southwark. On exit at Crayford the journey was converted into a NR zone 1-6 fare with the difference deducted. So far so good!
The next day I needed to meet my son off a train from York at about 1645. Trying to be crafty I decided to start early from Alexandra Palace at 1559. I found a train from Finsbury Park which terminated in the main trainshed at Kings Cross so I could wait inside the barriers for my son. When I touched out at Kings Cross I had a zone 1-3 NR fare deducted as expected. Then I went from St Pancras to Blackfriars where no further deduction was made, again as expected. But when I exited Southwark the fare became a zone 1-3 mixed NR+TfL fare. In the context of my journey it is only a 20p surcharge, but if I hadn’t been going all the way to zone 6 it would have been worse.
Fortunately for me I managed to exceed the maximum journey time for an 8 zone journey so the helpdesk has refunded all the overcharge above a zone 1-6 NR journey. I have yet to try going the other way.