Mystery £12.50 cap

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    Help, fare mathematicians. I thought I was a bit of an pro on these kinds of things but this has got me truly stumped.

    I’m trying to work out why I got charged only £12.50 for a recent (August) weekday’s journeys, using contactless. I’ve had a bit of back-and-forth with TfL customer service emails over the last few weeks, and they simply say I’ve been charged the correct fare and offer me links to the regular webpages. I’ve tried various permutations and combinations of zonal caps, extension fares etc but can’t make anything fit the calculation.

    My journeys were:
    1. Morning peak-time tube+train journey from Northwood Hills tube (Zone 6) at 07:49 to East Croydon NR (Zone 5) arriving 09:07, touching out of the tube at London Bridge 08:38 and touching back in to the mainline station at 08:41 – £9.40 (which is what I expected as that’s what the single fare finder says)
    2. Bus at 09:15 – £1.75
    3. Bus at 09:45 – £0.00 (hopper) – actually the same service in the same direction.
    4. Bus at 20:38 – £1.35 (“All Services Daily Cap”) – but I was expecting this to be a £1.75 second bus journey
    5. Bus at 21:23 – £0.00 (hopper)
    6. Bus at 22:02 – £0.00 (“All Services Daily Cap”) – I was expecting this to be a £1.75 third bus journey

    So I thought I’d be hitting the bus+tram cap and, along with the morning journey, paying £14.65 for the day – just below the £14.90 Zones 1-6 daily cap. But instead it was £12.50 for the day.

    I don’t use the network every day so was nowhere near a weekly cap for anything.


    Hi Ollie,

    That’s got me stumped too. Is it possible for you to paste the actual journey history into a reply? If you’d prefer you can send it via email to mike at the site domain name. If you can include the previous travel day as well that would help.


    Hi Mike, here it is:
    free hopper journey, fares capped, , 23/08/2023
    Northwood Hills to East Croydon (National Rail)

    07:49 – 09:07

    Bus Journey, Route 403


    Bus Journey, Route 403


    Bus Journey, Route SL7


    Bus Journey, Route X140


    Bus Journey, Route 282


    Northwood Hills to Finchley Road

    10:05 – 10:35

    St Johns Wood to Northwood Hills

    22:58 – 23:34


    Detail for the first journey:
    Wednesday 23rd August 2023
    Fare for this journey: £9.40
    Northwood Hills

    London Bridge (London Underground)

    London Bridge (National Rail)

    East Croydon (National Rail)


    Your day’s travel can be completely covered by:

    8.10 for a 1-2 peak cap (also covers all bus travel)
    4.40 for a 3-6 Thru extension

    Makes 12.50

    The extension fare doesn’t _need_ to exactly match the fare for a similar zones+farescale _journey_, but in this case it does – for example, a journey from Pontoon Dock to Erith, which is a Thru 3-6 journey, also costs 4.40 peak.

    Even though your rail journey went 6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5, just one extension fare for 3-6 covers you on the way in _and_ the way out.


    Thanks akm, that explains it perfectly. I didn’t realize there was only one extension fare applied, covering a non-contiguous part of the journey, but makes sense as it’s still just one journey in total.


    Thanks akm,

    Kicking myself for not thinking of that.

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