Pink Route Validator Change

On Sunday I travelled round the new overground orbital route starting with the newest link from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction.  I also tried out exceeding the normal one zone journey time but not the extended time allowed near Central London.  Somewhat disappointingly this worked, meaning that the issues some people have had with Whitechapel to Balham might be restricted to certain routes only.

However, while at Willesden Junction I noticed an important change to the signage on the pink route validators.  Rather than just inviting PAYG users to touch them, the notice now instructs those with a travelcard not including zone 1 to do so as well.  I think this probably means an end to the loopholes where you could travel across zone 1 on some journeys with a travelcard ending at zone 2 and not be charged a zone 1 fare.  It’s a shame, though I can’t fault the justification for doing it as long as queues don’t build up at key interchange points.

25 thoughts on “Pink Route Validator Change”

  1. This is good news. I can see the Overground being used more and more by people trying to save money. I see fom the single fare finder that they have also made an attempt to close the loophole that, by the contrary, charged the price of a zone 1 journey when not travelling through zone 1. EG Clap Junction to Whitechapel cots £1.50 on peak. However I do not trust this to be the case in practice – will be interested to see if there are now more pink validators around the Overground ring.

  2. The new ELLX is causing plenty of issues with Oyster fares, no OSI TfL fare for changing at Clapham High Street/North between the Overground and Morden branch Northern stations and NR customers being charged the NR/TfL premium when travelling from Southern stations which connect with Peckham Rye to Shoreditch High Street.

  3. i can give you a Clapham example. The route for Morden to Canada Water to avoid Z1 is required to be via Balham and Crystal Palace

  4. Nunhead to Shoreditch High St. is £3.70/£3.10 (actually cheaper via Elephant & Castle). It should be same as St. Johns £2.30/£1.80 surely, if you go via Peckham Rye?

  5. Hi Mike,
    here’s a further example of overcharging problems with the new LO services: Moorgate to Peckham Rye via Whitechapel off-peak is charged at £3.10, not the default £2.10. The Oyster helpline admitted it was because they hadn’t updated their fares database yet, and couldn’t suggest a simpler alternative route, so anybody making this journey using PAYG will be overcharged.

    • Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m compiling a list to be sent to the fares people.

  6. East Dulwich to Shoreditch High St. is wrong as well, no allowance for via Peckham Rye.

  7. I tried out the new Overground link yesterday evening – Imperial Wharf to Barnehurst, changing at Clapham Junction and Denmark Hill (zone 2 to zone 6) – and was somewhat dismayed to be charged the same Oyster PAYG fare (£5.50) that I would have paid if I’d taken my usual route: Imp Wharf – Clapham J – Waterloo – Waterloo E – Barnehurst.

    Normally I’d have to touch out and in if I’m going through Waterloo to Waterloo E or changing platforms at Victoria, so surely the Oyster system should be smart enough to recognise that I didn’t go through zone 1 on this occasion, shouldn’t it, Mike?

    TfL should be taken to task for failing to get their fare system straight before opening the new link. After all, they’ve only had a few years to do so. The TfL web site states clearly that a peak-time journey between zone 2 and zone 6 should cost only £2.50 using a PAYG Oyster.

    • Hi Neil,

      Living in Crayford I share your pain. They also state that some journeys have been defined as requiring zone 1 and will be charged accordingly. It seems to be a complex algorithm depending on number of changes and frequency of trains as to whether a route is deemed likely. I do feel that they have got some of the new fares wrong for the ELLX, though. There will have to be some adjustments, though whether this one counts I’m not sure. You may wish to contact London Travelwatch in any case because they do have some influence over fares charged.

  8. Thanks, Mike (I often use Crayford too – hooray at last for the open gate on the down platform, making the station accessible only 17 years after the Disability Discrimination Act!). I may just consult London Travelwatch, cos I’m getting very little change out of TfL on this matter.

    I wish TfL’s algorithm took into account the fact that travelling via Denmark Hill is an obviously shorter and more direct route, not to mention far less stressful than barging your way through rush-hour Waterloo and that teeth-grindingly tedious wait outside London Bridge. I suspect I’m preaching to the converted here, but TfL should be using the fare system to encourage us to avoid that most overcrowded section of zone 1.

    On a related note, I see from the TfL fare finder web page that, simply by touching out and back in again at Denmark Hill, I can reduce my peak PAYG single from Barnehurst to Imp Wharf to £3.60 + £1.50 = £5.10, rather than £5.50. It’s a good job that few people know about this ludicrous anomaly – the crowding on the stairs at Denmark Hill is dangerous enough at the best of times.

    • Well a few more people know about Denmark Hill now. To be honest, if lots of people started causing chaos at the station by touching out and in again it might just convince TfL to allow the fare. In any case, there are some fares that just have to be corrected (eg Wimbledon to Whitechapel) so we’ll wait a bit and see.

    • Hi Paul,

      Many of the revised fares are already in the system, but the problems that have been highlighted here do not seem to be corrected in the new list. For example Wimbledon to Whitechapel or Nunhead to Shoreditch High Street.

  9. In a bid to draw wider attention to TfL’s failure to update its fares, I wrote a letter to the Evening Standard, which was published – albeit heavily edited – on Friday. It probably won’t shame them into action any more quickly, but at least I got the matter off my chest!

  10. Is there a known date from which Travelcard holders were required to use the pink validators? I presume some time in December 2012? I see the TFL website still refers to PAYG only for the validators.

    • Hi Doug,

      I have no knowledge of when this changed. I saw the updated signage last December, but I’ve no idea when it was changed. They certainly didn’t email me to tell me about the change in the same way that they did email me over the end of OEPs.

  11. They changed it to avoid fare evasion (i.e people with a zone 2 travel card cutting across zone 1- i.e compare Richmond to West Croydon using LO means going all the way round to Stratford to avoid Shoreditch high street(zone1) .

    It’s similar to how people used to be able to travel for free if they scanned in and out immediately..

  12. Interestingly, several Overground-only fares are always charged as Zone 2-3/4 without any pink validator touch-out required e.g. Richmond to Stratford, Willesden Junction to Stratford – even though Underground routes via Zone 1 are perfectly feasible. The same goes for Highbury & Islington or Canonbury to Clapham Junction, where you’ll always be charged Zone 2-3 whether you go clockwise or anti-clockwise.

    As far as I can see there’s no Stratford pink validator option for Richmond to West Croydon (based on Single Journey planner). It’s always £3.20/£2.20 unless National Rail is used. Not sure what zones or route that is supposed to be.

    • Hi Doug,

      Yes, they sometimes err on the side of caution if they think you’re equally likely to go via or avoid zone 1. Unfortunately they haven’t yet taken that approach for Wimbledon to Whitechapel which is always charged via the District Line when via Clapham Junction is just as likely and avoids zone 1.

      You’d be mad to go via Stratford on a Richmond to West Croydon journey. The default route changes at Clapham Junction between SWT and Southern.

  13. Mike

    Well yes I agree that you’d be mad to go Richmond to West Croydon via north London! It was IAMaLONDONER who first mentioned this route.

  14. Mike

    I’m a visitor to London. Do you have any advice on travelling round the orbital route using a PAYG Oyster card? I’ll be starting from Balham. It seems that travelling through Shoreditch does not count as a journey via Zone 1. However, I might take a diversion via the Emirates Air Line, perhaps travelling from Canada Water – Stratford. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Henry,

      Travelling through Shoreditch does count as using zone 1 except in a few special cases where it is deemed plausible that you might have taken either North or South.

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