please empty your brain below

It does show, though, that however simple a zonal fare structure appears to be, the reality is quite complex.
Those pesky pink Oyster card readers. Whilst I understand why they are necessary, given the fare structure, I am sure that their purpose is unknown to most people—especially tourists.
I feel your dilemma - have you considered investing in a push-bike? With your apparent intimate knowledge of the streets of London I would have thought you could find low-traffic routes.
TfL did some research into the pink readers and there was good awareness amongst regular travellers and especially lower income travellers which is exactly who you want to know they exist.

If tourists end up spending a little extra I don’t think that’s a bad thing… an indirect tourist tax.
Us oldies of course travel for free on the buses. Since my London visits always include a train trip from out of London a day travelcard is by far the cheapest way if you need to do more than one inner zone or two outer zone tube trips.
Would it make sense (break even or better) to get the cheapest gold card season ticket possible (I think there is a pair of stations up the northwest corner of the network southeast map for around £170) to get the off peak tube discount (and other benefits)?

dg writes: That’s the comment in today’s sealed envelope. And no.
As a non-London reader I'm constantly amazed at the level of technical savvy that Londoners seem to need in order to travel. I vaguely understand oystercards, but I've no idea what a pink card reader is for!
We are much less well served in SW London .. my local station is in Z3, and there are a mere 6 other stations I can reach within the same zone.
And all I can think right now is how cynical it is of TfL to put Shoreditch High Street in Zone 1, thereby meaning a complete loop of the Overground can't be done with a z2-6 ticket.
My local station is in Zone 6, I can get to just four other stations without going out of zone. The next nearest station is in Zone 5, but you cannot get to any other station from it without going into another zone.
The Overground makes such a difference in being able to avoid Zone 1, I use the Camden Town/Camden Road interchange all the time

It is frustrating that there is no combined tube/train AND bus ticket though, the ticketing system forces you, if trying to save money, to use the tube/train OR the bus.
That's really interesting. I'm in zone 4, and for a London wandering day, usually travel off-peak to Liverpool St and walk to places like Embankment, Covent Garden, etc, from there. I had no idea about the pink card readers! Looking at the interchanges, I feel I'm probably never going to successfully make use of them with current journey interests, but always good to know.
I've only used a pink reader once, and I'm not sure I even did it right (I was trying to achieve one of the routes on the map here).

I wonder what the percentage of folks (impossible to know, too) just don't know about it or how to use it properly.
If I'm reading this correctly, you also need to complete your z2 journey in 70/80/85 minutes, depending on the time and day, to bag the minimum fare.
wow, down to only £34 in the last 12 months compared to £1800 - I know you're normally frugal anyway DG but that's a heck of a drop
A lot of TfL's financial woes are based on the previous Mayor - 'twas he who ordered (or was told to order it) that Shoreditch HS was to be in Zone 1 to bump up revenue from through travellers on the East London Line. Some other bloke called Osborne ended TfL's annual grant, so income plummeted.

While TfL often leaves a lot to be desired (it not only aims at passengers but also its own staff and pensioners) the money woes aren't all their own making.
Fares for some of the longest cheap journeys must come up for scrutiny before long. The frequent London Overground circle has made such journeys far more viable than they used to be, so a lot of people will be travelling quite long distances for very little.

Most people never go near a pink reader so don't need to know about them. If you do need to use one you are likely to walk close to it and they have a big sign telling you what they're for.

...and Shoreditch being in Zone 1 is definitely a DfT initiative. It's primarily to avoid losing the Zone 1 fares of people heading for the City via Liverpool Street who would walk the short distance from Shoreditch if it were in Zone 2. Charging extra for travelling through on the ELL is an unfortunate side-effect of no interest to the DfT analysts.
A particular evil was TfL's removal of the Z2-6 Travelcard (and associated cap) in 2011, ensuring travellers now pay a zone 1 premium even if they don't enter it.
I think now I understand the pink readers a little better. There’s one I use frequently near home when changing from overground/underground to national rail, and I wonder what difference it would make if I didn’t touch it. Maybe I’ll try one day.

Sadly my closest stations are all national rail (SW) and a return trip to London usually won’t be less than £8 for me. I don’t commute but days out end up expensive as my 11 year old now also pays…
Could you also get to some stations on the western side of the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines by using an out of station interchange at Hammersmith? Go on your route to Turnham Green but change at Hammersmith and go all the way back up to Royal Oak for example?

dg quotes: "...but sometimes it assumes you've gone direct whatever, for example Bow Road to any z2 station between Paddington and Hammersmith is always £2.50."
The Shoreditch exception was a Treasury condition, not DfT.
It’s a shame that the London Cycling Scheme doesn’t go further out from the centre, and that none of the various competing cycle hire schemes in various boroughs (circa 2018) really took off.

Being able to cycle to a station in the correct fare zone to continue the journey from there is a neat money saving trick, but doesn’t work for everyone due to lack of bikes available.

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