As if the inconsistencies with pricing along the line between Merstham and Gatwick Airport weren’t already bad enough, it looks like TfL have completely ripped up the rule book with regard to contactless capping once you venture south from zone 6 at Coulsdon South. This means that since May 16th some part-time commuters have seen their daily fares rise by 27%, without any warning at all.
Rather than calculating the best combination of zonal caps and extension fares, it appears as though full single fares are charged until the much higher Oyster cap for either Merstham to Horley or Gatwick Airport is reached. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t gone out to test it and seen the charges with my own eyes.
If anyone from TfL is reading this, and I know some senior people do, I would be more than happy to be corrected and/or explain the situation properly. Sadly, the opaque methods of calculating extension fares have baffled greater minds than mine.
Here are the details of the trips I made yesterday. I started from Lewisham and made several zone 1-2 journeys by both train/tube and “bus” (to break them up). By the time I touched in at London Bridge to go south I had already capped at £6.50. I was charged £5.80 for the off-peak journey to Redhill and the same for the return to Victoria. Neither journey took account of the fact that I’d already capped for zones 1-2 and only needed to pay for extensions from zone 3. After arriving at Victoria I “used” another bus then travelled back to Crayford. This triggered the £19 off-peak cap from Redhill. By my reckoning I should have been charged £6.50 + £3.90 + £3.90 + £2.50, a total of only £16.80.
Another known calculation would have made the fares £9.30 + £3.00 + £3.00 + £2.00, a total of £17.30 using the zone 1-4 cap and extension fares to Horley. I still don’t quite understand why there are different fares for pairs of stations (Merstham, Redhill/Earlswood, Salfords/Horley, Gatwick) but extensions (used to) only offer Horley to Merstham or Gatwick Airport.
I will be pushing as many buttons as I can find to try and get the full story of what is happening, but again, if someone from TfL wants to contact me I am more than willing to listen.