Heathrow PAYG fares increase and Oyster card fee changes

Two significant changes are being made to PAYG fares and Oyster card fees from tomorrow, September 4th 2022.

Fares to any Heathrow station, either Underground or Elizabeth line, will become peak all day if the journey starts in or travels through zone 1. There will be no change if the journey avoids zone 1; and also no changes to intermediate stations up to Hatton Cross and Hayes & Harlington. Daily caps will still apply as currently, so return journeys using the Elizabeth line will still be capped at the zone 1-6 rate of £14.10.

The change to the Oyster card fee is even more dramatic. From tomorrow the £5 refundable after a year fee will become £7 and cease to be refundable. This will particularly hit new customers who require an Oyster card to load a discount entitlement from a railcard.

In December 2021, the Mayor outlined a number of fares options that were being explored to comply with the Government’s funding conditions and, since then, TfL has undertaken Equality Impact Assessments and engaged with stakeholders. Following this, it has been agreed that the changes to Heathrow fares and Oyster charges should be implemented from 4 September 2022 to help achieve Government requirements and support TfL’s target to achieve financially sustainable operations by April 2023.

The operations of an airport mean that demand for stations at Heathrow does not conform to the usual peak periods seen across the rest of the network. The changes to Tube and Elizabeth line fares to Heathrow and the £2 increase for an Oyster card are expected to generate additional income of up to £27m per year calculated up to 2027-28 and support TfL’s target to achieve financially sustainable operations by April 2023.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“Raising more money from fares was a condition of our funding deal with Government. This fare increase was chosen as one which would have a lower impact on Londoners currently worried about the cost of living, and to ensure that journeys that avoid zone 1 will not be affected, helping to protect those living near and working at the airport.”

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said:

“Changes to the fares to Heathrow and the increase to the Oyster card fee are necessary to comply with the Government’s funding conditions. These will help to ensure that TfL can reach financial sustainability as soon as possible.

“Both TfL and the Mayor remain committed to keeping fares as affordable as possible. The Hopper fare for buses and trams as well as daily and weekly fare capping continue to help keep down the cost of travel across London for everyone.”

6 thoughts on “Heathrow PAYG fares increase and Oyster card fee changes”

  1. The Oyster discount issue is frustrating. While I respect that people on low incomes may not have the ability to have a contactless card (this is changing as most basic bank accounts offer Contactless debit cards now), there needs to be the ability to get the Bus and Tram Photocard/Jobcentre Plus or railcards associated with a debit card which could be validated either on the Oyster helpline or online which would save a lot of time.

    Presumably one of the reasons why it stays on Oyster is they have the technology to add temporary discounts easily and gives Oyster Ticket Stop retailers an incentive to continue selling Oyster cards and products with the added footfall into their stores.

    I was lucky that when my Oyster failed, I was able to pay the current £5 and expect a refund of the deposit in the near future, but £7 with no refund is going to penalise the most vulnerable customers where every penny counts,.

  2. Actually, there is one little change at Hatton Cross that may actually be beneficial, for those willing to do a “touch out and touch back in to break the journey”. Details at https://diamondgeezer.blogspot.com/2022/09/flight-plans.html

    Diamond Geezer also observes that, during off-peak times, another potential “touch out and touch back in to break the journey” may be Earl’s Court.

    This is starting to resemble the situation with buying Advance tickets for long-distance travel (where “split ticketing” saves money surprisingly often).

  3. Does this mean that paper Off-Peak One Day Travelcards are no longer valid to Heathrow at any time? I suppose even if it does, Hatton Cross joining the Heathrow Free Travel Area could create a loophole whereby even if they are theoretically not valid to Heathrow, you could get round it by saying that you were just using your Travelcard as far as Hatton Cross and then travelling free.

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