There’s been a bit of excitement since the publication under FOI of an internal staff magazine by TfL. One of the topics covered was upcoming extensions on Thameslink and Great Northern. Sadly the original publication date was quite a while ago (early May) and there was also a shocking geographical error mixing up the positions of Brookmans Park and Potters Bar stations. The article and other sources suggested that extensions to Radlett and Potters Bar would be live imminently. A more cautious approach was being suggested on the Thameslink and Great Northern websites, so I sought clarification from both TfL and Govia Thameslink Railway.
A GTR spokesperson provided the following quote:
Pay as you go with Contactless and Oyster is expected to launch at Radlett and Potters Bar this summer, subject to completion of the installation and testing with Transport for London. Pay as you go with Contactless will be extended to Brookmans Park at a later date.
The TfL staff magazine also mentioned contactless only extensions to St Albans, Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City, including intermediate stations, from later this Autumn. Clearly Brookmans Park is part of this later extension and has only been mentioned now because of the confusion caused by TfL.
At present there are no details of single fares from either Radlett or Potters Bar. All that’s been said is that the daily and weekly caps will be the same as other zone B(11) stations (Broxbourne, Hertford East/North etc). The Anytime cap compares resonably well with the Anytime day travelcard, but the off-peak cap looks like it will be quite a bit more than either off-peak day travelcards or super off-peak day travelcards. I’ll do some more in depth analysis once the single fares have been announced officially and the caps have been confirmed. Watch this space!
The mismatch between caps and travelcard prices on all the recent extensions is sadly the result of the government insisting that certain extensions happen as part of franchise commitments, without understanding the constraints of the Oyster system. It was all very easy in zones 1-6 where fares had been synchronised in anticipation of the acceptance of Oyster. When TfL designed the Oyster system it was intended to work on a purely zonal basis with each zone extending further from Central London in rings. The problem is that beyond zone 6 the prices of travelcards do not follow any organised pattern. I hope that the recent consultation on pay-as-you-go in the wider South East England area results in some smoothing of the anomalies.