Boris clobbers off-peak travel

TfL has announced their fares for 2015 and there is a big surprise.  Adult anytime and off-peak caps are being combined into a new all-day cap.  This is good news for people travelling in zones 1-3 and anyone travelling a lot and starting before 0930.  But if you live in zones 4-6 and travel off-peak you are going to be clobbered for making a lot of journeys.

Zones 2014 Anytime Cap 2014 Off-peak Cap 2015 All-day Cap Anytime Change Off-peak Change
1-2 £8.40 £7.00 £6.40 -£2.00 -£0.60
1-3 £10.60 £7.70 £7.50 -£3.10 -£0.20
1-4 £10.60 £7.70 £9.20 -£1.40 +£1.50
1-5 £15.80 £8.50 £10.90 -£4.90 +£2.40
1-6 £15.80 £8.50 £11.70 -£4.10 +£3.20

19 thoughts on “Boris clobbers off-peak travel”

  1. Hi,
    I’m wondering what’ll happen to railcard discounts now that there are no off-peak daily caps? I have been using my railcard to get a 34% discount on off-peak travel and that also brought down the off-peak daily cap. I’ll be paying a lot more for my travel if that won’t be the case from next year. For example, a railcard off-peak daily zone 1-2 cap is £4.60 now (3 journeys and a bit). £6.40 is a lot more!

    • Hi Ben,

      The normal railcard discount will probably apply to the all day cap, but only after 0930 as now. However, I gather disabled railcards will be getting the discount all day long to bring it into line with the concession on National Rail. There’s going to be lots to get my head round in the next eight weeks.

  2. Mike,
    Thanks for the info. I hope you are correct. I’m trying to figure out whether I should get myself an annual zone 1-2 student 18+ travelcard. On average I have spent £82.50 pcm over the past 12 months (with 16-25 railcard discount applied to off-peak caps) I often reach the daily cap, hence the above question. The monthly equivalent price of an annual travelcard is £70, which is cheaper, however I make twice weekly roundtrip journeys to zone 4 on TfL+NR. At the moment I avoid zone 1 for the journey which doesn’t cost me much (£1.30 off-peak, £2.20 peak) and most often capped due to earlier travel during the day. However, as far as I understand I’ll need to pay a top-up fare with a zonal travelcard and a zone 3-4 railcard PAYG fare stands at £1.50 off-peak; far off the £5.10 cap. Won’t it be marginally more expensive to buy a travelcard in this situation? I’m now trying to do the same calculations with next year prices. Let me know if I have missed something.

    Oh, and my 18+ Oyster card is only valid till 31/10/2015. I’m imagining I can still buy an annual travelcard on it?


    • Hi Ben,

      The 18+ student card only provides discounts on travelcard season tickets. These can only be issued during the validity of the 18+ card, so you can’t buy annual seasons if there is less than a year left. As for what you’re trying to do, I’d need details of exact stations and routes used to be able to offer any further advice.

  3. Interesting I use a Senior Railcard and usuually travel using zones 1-5 with a morning start before 0930. It seems I am more likely to benefit from the reduced standard daily cap if I go out in the evening and gain little benefit from the railcard itself now. Swings and roundabouts as ever!

    • Hi Dave,

      The detail of what will happen to railcard discounted caps has still to be revealed.

  4. Hi Mike,

    There’s a footnote at the bottom of the press release on which mentions that railcard holders will benefit from the 34% reduction…

    2. A 34 per cent discount on off peak Day Travelcards will be introduced for visitor groups of 10 or more. This will cost £8 for adults and £4 for under 16s (currently off-peak Day Travelcards cost £8.90 for adults and £3.60 for under 16s). These discounts will also be available to Railcard holders. Under 11s accompanied by an adult will continue to travel free on all TfL services.

  5. Sadly, the Network Card restriction on a minimum fare is not being lifted and is likely to be raised for the 2015 fare increase. The discount will continue to apply but still means a hefty increase for the one day Z16 Travelcard. It will now be very rare for us to buy a one day Travelcards as we will be minimising the number of train and tube journeys, such as walking from zone 2 station into Zone 1.

  6. Can you advise on the cheapest way to pay for travel from Greenhithe Station to North Greenwich early mornings.

    • Hi Jan,

      The cheapest season ticket seems to be Greenhithe to zones 3-6. You would need to change at Woolwich Arsenal onto the DLR and then Canning Town onto the Jubilee line. That would avoid both zones 1 and 2.

  7. Something odd seems to be happening with the caps from next year (unless I’ve misunderstood).

    In some cases the Zone 2- cap is higher than the Zone 1- cap. Compare, for example, the daily cap for Zone 2-3 (£9.20) with the cap for 1-3 (£7.50). Zone 2-5 also has this problem (£11.70 compared to £10.90 for Zone 1-5).

    This is according to the Excel spreadsheet of Adult fares that you can download from the tfl website.

    • Hi Doug,

      I don’t think that spreadsheet has been very well proof-read. In reality there are no daily caps which exclude zone 1. It looks like they have got the wrong figures in some cases, probably caused by the new 1-3 and 1-5 caps.

  8. Mike

    As I have an annual season ticket for zones 2-5 to cover a journey from West Harrow to Earl’s Court via Rayners Lane, I only cursorily glanced at the fare announcement, but now looking at it more closely, I was struck by how much the gap between buying a weekly, monthly or annual Travelcard compared with using PAYG has narrowed. It used to be the case that an annual Travelcard was a reasonable saving (approximately the cost of ten and a half months PAYG). I am no longer sure it is worth buying and I am thinking of using PAYG, and buying a 7 day card at the start of a week when I know I am going to be doing more than the usual commuting journeys. I shall do the calculations more carefully some time in the next couple of weeks. Do you think this is an intentional policy by TfL towards a long term goal of weaning us off Oyster and eventually phasing it out in order to make PAYG via contactless payment the norm? Phasing out Travelcard and Oyster would bring about a simpler and cheaper system to run.

    • Hi Martin,

      The stated aim is that the weekly travelcard is about 5x the daily cap to try and help people who don’t work full time. If your journey doesn’t cap each day then a weekly travelcard is unlikely to be worth it without additional leisure travel. Monthly travelcards still cost 3.84x a weekly while annuals cost 40x a weekly so they may still be worthwhile depending on how much holiday you take versus how much extra travel. If you are considering buying weekly then contactless is probably best as the Monday to Sunday cap only applies if you reach it. Neither Oyster nor Travelcards will be phased out anytime soon, although Oyster cards will change to operate like contactless (ie the money will be stored centrally and journeys calculated at the end of the day) in the not too distant future.

  9. Do I understand these TFL off peak travel card fare increases correctly? An off peak zones 1-6 Travelcard bought with an Annual Gold card discount jumps 25 yes 25% to £7.90 from £5.90 in 2015? Have recently been to Hong Kong. Clean efficient air conditioned wi-fi enabled tube trains, with fares that don’t cost anything like ours. Ditto for Vienna where I visited a couple of years ago. How can TFL/Boris Johnson justify a 25% fare increase, for what is at best a very average service? I will walk a lot more from now on.

    • Hi Patrick,

      It seems you don’t quite understand the increases properly, because it is actually almost a 34% increase. How can they justify such an increase? Well, it’s difficult. The jury is out. If more people switch to Oyster cards or contactless then most of them won’t pay the full daily cap because even a mixed NR+TfL single from zone 6 to zone 1 and back off-peak will be less than the cap. Bear in mind that fares ending in zone 1 will be off-peak in the afternoon peak on NR as well as TfL and the effect reduces further. The stated aim was to improve the lot of people who commute, but not 5 days a week, and with any major change to a fare structure there have to be losers to allow for winners.

      Having said all that, I’m someone who will be hit by increased off-peak fares and I’m not very happy.

  10. Now we have had a few days with the new structure I think I have found a situation where it is cheaper than 2014. My journey involves into Z1 before 09:30 from Z5. Now if I go out in the evening and keep to Z1-2 then make my final journey home from Z2 after 1900 quirkily it works out a little cheaper than 2014! This is a Z1-Z2 cap plus Z2-Z5 home off peak. So when coming home it would be cheaper to get out at a Z2 station and back in again.

    • Hi Dave,

      Good spot. That’s a quirk of the reduction in the daily caps for zones 1-2. Having to remember to get off in zone 2 might prove a pain though.

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