Reply To: Fares revision March 2024

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I travel regularly from Sevenoaks, Kent to Bletchley, Bucks through central London. I travelled off-peak Wednesday November 29th and paid £25.85 with a Senior Railcard. With little more than a few posters around the station, when I did the same journey again in early January the published fare has increased to £37.55 that is a massive 45% increase almost literally overnight and without any consultation.

The increase is the “Project Oval” scheme smuggled out just before Christmas by the DfT which applies the TfL Contactless charging scheme to 53 stations previously outside the PAYG zone but without any capping or concessions. When contacted both SER and WMT stated that the rules were agreed by TfL and DfT and they were required to implement them.

Subsequently I got a suggestion from a TOC to use an off peak daily Travelcard and a return from the boundary of Zone 6 to Bletchley. This does indeed magically bring the fare very close to the previous off peak fare. However, any luckless traveller who lacks any interest in the details of rail fares will buy a ticket from a TVM or website at the massively inflated new price. It is a rip-off of the innocents!

The penultimate insult is that if I catch the same trains but travel from Tonbridge to Bletchley and back (an extra 14 miles) then I can save myself £7.20 as the Tonbridge-Bletchley fare is only £30.35.

The final insult is that contactless is supposed to make things easier. They clearly haven’t.

We need TfL capping and concessions NOW.