Zone 1 peak fare charge in the evening peak

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  • This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Mike.
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  • #4714

    I once made a journey from North Greenwich (zone 2) to Leicester Square (zone 1) during the evening peak at around 5pm. My route was the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, Elizabeth Line to Tottenham Court Road and then the Northern line to Leicester Square. At Canary Wharf (zone 2), you do an OSI from the Jubilee line to the Elizabeth Line. You know that if you start a journey outside zone 1 and finish it in zone 1 during evening peak, you would usually get charged the off-peak fare. Now when I made the OSI at Canary Wharf (zone 2), it therefore charged me the peak fare and when I tapped out at Leicester Square (zone 1), it still said the peak fare. Is this meant to happen when you do OSI’s during this time?

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Duncan.

    It’s a limitation of Oyster, which won’t refund a previously charged fare earlier in the journey. If you’re using an adult Oyster, then it will refund the difference if there is one when the days touches are run through the back office overnight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t yet happen with zip cards or other discounted Oysters.

    In this particular case, you wouldn’t be overcharged using an adult card as the zone 2 peak single is less than the zone 1-2 off-peak single. It’s only an issue for 11-15 zip cards because of the flat fare system.

    Finally, if you wanted to save the 10p then you could change once at Waterloo.


    Hi Mike,
    Can you help me understand the rationale for evening peak fares to boundary stations that lie in both zones 1 and 2 (Notting Hill Gate, Elephant & Castle, Hoxton, Vauxhall etc.)? If I travel from an outer zone without going into zone 1 before the final station (e.g. West Ruislip to Notting Hill Gate) I get charged a peak fare to zone 2. If I travel via zone 1 (e.g. Epping to Notting Hill Gate) I get charged an off peak fare to zone 1. While in many cases the peak fare to z2 is cheaper, this is not always the case, especially for NR railcard holders. Shouldn’t the system offer whichever is the cheapest?
    If the purpose of evening peak fares is to discourage travel out of zone 1, I have never understood why a journey from an outer zone to zone 2 is greater than travelling to zone 1 (e.g. Epping – Bethnal Green is £3.40; Epping – Notting Hill Gate is £2.35 despite travelling on a heavily congested section of the line west of Liverpool Street). The difference is even more marked with a discounted Oyster.

    Mike (admin)

    Hi Adam,

    £2.35 is the discounted fare. Without the railcard it is £3.60. Sadly this is a known disadvantage for railcard holders travelling to boundary zone 1/2 stations in the evening peak. Changing the programming to allow some users to be charged to the extra zone would potentially increase the calculation time allowed to process the touch while the card is still touching the reader.

    The purpose of offering off-peak fares ending in zone 1 in the evening peak is to encourage people travelling into London for evening entertainment to use public transport.


    I did some more investigation using your fare finder, and some routes shown an alternative via z1 which is cheaper in the evening peak with a railcard (e.g. East Croydon to Elephant & Castle). Others don’t such as Ealing Broadway to Notting Hill Gate where the routing via Paddington using the EL is probably faster than the Central line and I assume would be charges at the z1 fare. Am I right then that approaching a boundary station from the z1 end will trigger a z1 fare? So I could go West Ruislip – Marylebone – Paddington – Notting Hill Gate, or West Ruislip – Queensway (OSI) Bayswater – Notting Hill Gate in order to get the z1 fare?
    What happens if I travel West Ruislip to Lancaster Gate touch out and immediately in then return to Notting Hill gate – I assume that would be seen as 2 journeys, would it?


    Yes, if the system detects that you have approached from the zone 1 side then it will charge the fare to zone 1. However, as with all journeys there has to be a defined fare. There is only one fare for West Ruislip to Notting Hill Gate (not surprising as it’s a direct train). Therefore, if you use OSIs to include zone 1 it won’t make a difference when you touch out at Notting Hill Gate. And yes, via Lancaster Gate would be two journeys.

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