The East London Line has re-opened and from this Sunday (23rd May) will provide direct services from Dalston Junction to West Croydon and Crystal Palace. That’s great, but there’s a vital piece of equipment missing at Surrey Quays if you change there when travelling between New Cross and New Cross Gate.
I’m talking about the pink Oyster Route Validator which tells the Oyster system that you’ve travelled via a particular station. This is important because the default route for journeys between south-east London and south London is via London Bridge. The existing options are as follows:
- Travel into and out of London Bridge. Your fare will include National Rail zone 1. You will not need to touch out and in as a footbridge links all platforms.
- Travel into and out of Victoria. Your fare will include National Rail zone 1 and you will need to touch out and in via the different gatelines at Victoria.
- Travel via central London Underground (eg Charing Cross-Victoria). Your fare will include Underground zone 1 and is the most expensive option.
- Travel via either New Cross and New Cross Gate or Clapham High Street and Clapham North. Your fare will be cheaper because you avoid zone 1 completely. In each case you will need to touch out and in again so the system knows which route you have taken.
- And now the new route. Travel via Surrey Quays. No touch out and in is necessary. You don’t go into zone 1, but without a route validator the system won’t know this and you will be charged as if you went via London Bridge.
The particularly galling fact is that as you approach Surrey Quays from New Cross the on-train announcements remind you to change there for London Overground services to New Cross Gate. They don’t tell you that you’ll be overcharged if you do.