I’ve tried to write this post several times over the last 3 months, but each time the complexity of the implications floors me. However, my friend Geoff Marshall has just posted a video which makes a good job of explaining how things could change. His co-presenter, Roger, has also written a blog post which goes into a lot more detail about what is happening. Both are well worth a watch/read.
Geoff has highlighted issues such as starting from different locations outside London and the effect of the amount of travel made when in London. He also touched on differences between the times of day that your ticket starts. Issues which he didn’t mention include using a railcard or travelling with kids, although Roger does touch on those in his blog.
So, the basic facts. As things stand day travelcards will be withdrawn sometime in January next year. Instead people will be expected to buy a normal return ticket to London (from outside the zones) and then use Oyster or contactless PAYG to travel within London. Even within zones 1-6 there are still people who prefer to buy a travelcard for the simplicity, but that option won’t exist under this proposal.
Personally I am worried that a lot more people will be coerced into using PAYG and run into difficulties. Things like arriving at Waterloo on a normal ticket and going down the steps from the mainline platforms towards the Underground and touching their card on the gates down there. Result is an unstarted journey to Waterloo NR. Even worse is the possibilty of inadvertantly missing a touch where a station is not gated and ending up with a penalty fare or prosecution. As Roger says, it’s a gamble by TfL, and if too many people are put off travelling to London by a bad experience with PAYG they may well end up losing money.