OK, I’ll come clean, I had forgotten about this. In part 1 I explained how difficult it must have been to get agreement between the various companies involved. I’m now going to express my frustration in trying to get information. For both the Epsom and Hertford North extensions TfL pass pretty much every query over to GTR. This includes infrastructure questions like will gates at a station operate with a particular travelcard loaded on an Oyster card. Now to me the answer is either yes or no, and I’m sure someone at TfL can confirm that. It’s not breaking any confidentiality because it’s confirming what will actually happen in a technical scenario. With Epsom it’s even worse because while GTR lead the project, the fares are set by SWR. So, rant over, on with the story.
Someone, at one or more of the companies involved, has made a pretty huge error when setting or inputting the fares for zip Oyster card holders. So far no-one is owning up to it, nor explaining when it might be fixed. The error is that for many journeys the fare for 11-15 cards is more expensive than the fare for 16+ cards. And where this happens the 11-15 fare is more than half the adult fare, while the 16+ fare is half the adult fare.
As an example take the fare for Epsom to Victoria NR in the morning peak. The adult fare is £7.30 and the 16+ fare is £3.65. But use a zip 11-15 card and you’ll be charged £4.70. Thankfully in the afternoon peak the 11-15 fare will be capped at £1.50, so not so much damage, but I am left wondering whether the morning peak fare is actually overcharged. We might find out in a few weeks if the fares get changed as part of the May fares revision.
Whilst talking about Epsom to Victoria, the off-peak fare for 11-15 cards is £1.80. The fare is cheaper than the 16+ (£2.55) which is half the adult off-peak fare, but it is only actually charged between 0430-0630 on Mondays to Fridays. The reason is that after 0930 the off-peak cap will limit it to £1.50. It all seems a bit pointless to me.