In the last week I had to make an unusually high number of evening peak journeys between Crayford and Sidcup, so for the first time I decided to buy a weekly travelcard for zones 5 and 6. I now have first hand experience of some of the differences that occur when you have a travelcard season loaded on your card. I’ll be adding stuff to the main site pages in due course, but for now, here is a summary of the best and worst bits:
- Once you have a travelcard you no longer have to touch in or out when travelling within the zones covered by your travelcard. If you do touch in it simply says “Enter” without confirming your PAYG balance. This is a little disconcerting, especially if you intend to go beyond the zones covered.
- When you touch out at a gateline within your zones it will either just say “Exit”, or if you have been outside the zones it will add the usual PAYG balance and fare deducted figures. That much is fine, but …
- When you touch out at a validator it will just say “Exit” regardless of whether you have used any PAYG credit. This is very bad.
- When you touch in or out on gates or validators with less than 3 days left before expiry it warns you that the ticket is about to expire. This is useful, but no substitute for the missing balance and fare deducted figures.
- When you board a bus it simply confirms what the travelcard is and when it expires. Obviously no deduction is made on buses, but you do still have to touch in so the driver knows you have authority to travel.
- And finally the best bit. If the journey you made is not fully covered by the travelcard and there is more than one option (ie avoiding zone 1 or not) for the fare, you are charged the cheapest option whichever way you actually went. I found this by accident on Saturday when I went from Crayford to East Croydon via London Bridge (the PAYG default) but was only charged a zone 2-4 single (the interchange between New Cross and New Cross Gate option). It did remind me of the experiences of some other users which leads me to believe that this is the rule.
There may be more bits added when I get the statement I’ve ordered to cover my weeks travel.