please empty your brain below

If any of this turns out to be wildly inaccurate once the official announcement is made (assuming it is made), I'll come back and change it later.

Dare I speculate that the previous mayor would never have stood for this sort of nonsense?

Somehow, I thought that rolling out Oyster across National Rail would make things more complicated.

My head is spinning.

Perhaps the rail companies should have taken note that PAYG rollout on Overground and DLR *reduced* fare evasion... I love that the people they trust the least are those who've already paid.

Meanwhile off-peak return fares are to be scrapped, forcing Londoners to pay the equivalent of two single Oyster PAYG fares instead

The latter costing less then an off-peak return - by definition -as the single fares have been calculated as half the return prices, rounding down where necessary.

Travel from Finsbury Park to King's Cross, however, and it's claimed the cost will be considerably greater by rail than by tube

This is utter bollocks (which Ms Pidgeon has peddled before and no one's ever corrected her). This journey is considered to be a tube journey whichever mode you use and PAYG has been valid since the start. It's only £4 if you buy a paper ticket (including an NR ticket). Nothing changes in January.

h) If you have an OEP on your card and choose to touch in inside your zones

"Touch out", surely?

Dare I speculate that the previous mayor would never have stood for this sort of nonsense?

Perhaps that's why he conspicuously failed to make any progress whatsoever?

No, Touch In. Or have I misunderstood the whole thing?

No, the combinations are (as I understand them).

1) Touch in within, touch out outside = OEP used
2) Touch in within, don't touch out = OEP used, maximum fare charged
3) Touch in outside, touch out inside = No OEP necessary, no idea what happens if you have one
4) Touch in within, touch out within = OEP not used, ready for use on next journey

I think Mr Thant and PofP are nicely proving DG's point about complexity between them...

This OEP thing is madness. I am an honest (zone 1/2) season ticket holder and - even after reading all of this - I have no idea how I am supposed to use this system.

I live in between two DLR stations, but my walk to either of them does not pass a ticket agent.

So much for making things more convenient. The whole idea is bonkers.

Can I pay by cheque please?

And there is:

5) OEP on card, don't touch in (within zones), touch out within. ??? Penalty, maximum or nothing? OEP cancelled or not?

I feel an Evening Standard campaign brewing. I expect this is what Boris is hoping for, so he can "ride to the rescue of Londoners" and brow-beat the TOCs via the public outcry.

This is ridiculous - but the thing is - I really can't see a way around it either. There is no incentive for someone with a z1-2 travelcard to touch out once they get to a z3 station otherwise.

Unless all ticket inspections happened at stations themselves instead of on the trains, I guess.

I think Mr Thant and PofP are nicely proving DG's point about complexity between them...

The only rule normals need to grasp is "if you have a Travelcard and are making a journey that starts within your zones and uses NR services outside your zones, you need to get an OEP before you start".

Everything else is trainspotter wank.

An extremely valid set of reasons for using the car more.

Quoting Mr Thant:

The latter [2 PAYG singles] costing less then an off-peak return - by definition -as the single fares have been calculated as half the return prices, rounding down where necessary.

Except that suddenly NR has a second peak period - 4-7pm - which didn't exist before, so a journey which would previously have used an off-peak return (e.g. travelling outside zones for leisure after work) may now need one or two *peak* singles to carry out. Unless I've got this wrong. Please tell me I've got this wrong?

Currently for me to travel into London and back for leisure after work out in zone 6 it costs £3.50.

Under the new system, I will still have to queue (but at a newsagent rather than the station) but will then be stung, by my calculation, for £6.50 - that's an astonishing 86\\% increase on a journey I make quite frequently (around ten times a month).

The explanation for this is as follows:

I currently have a Zones 5-6 Travelcard loaded on my Oyster. This enables me to travel freely in my local area and on all buses in London, and gives me a Gold Card discount of one-third on all National Rail travel in the south east.

Currently I can buy an off-peak return from the last station in Zone 5 (Sidcup on my line) to Charing Cross and get the Gold Card discount on this. I can do this any time after 10.00am. It costs £3.50.

Under the new system I would have to queue up to get an OEP added to my Oyster card, requiring me to visit an Oyster retail outlet, which doesn't include any National Rail train stations, so means a newsagent - not really the convenience usually associated with Oyster.

The next problem is that, although you can load a range of discount-entitling cards onto Oyster, such as Young Person's Railcard, and despite the fact that my travelcard is already loaded on my Oyster so it already 'knows' I am entitled to a Gold Card discount, all the announcements and documents about Oyster PAYG on National Rail are silent on the matter of Gold Card discounts, so it appears there is no intention to automatically apply these to travel after 10am, as with Young Person's and others.

The third problem is that, although the National Rail companies have avoided adopting some of the customer-benefitting aspects of Oyster, such as not needing to plan and queue in advance to travel beyond a travelcard's zones, they *have* adopted a new evening 'peak' period which TfL uses to charge higher Tube fares between 4 and 7pm. Of course, when I do go into London in the evening for leisure, my journey into the city is invariably taken between these times.

The final insult added to the above injuries is that today's announcement on the National Rail web site says that paper off-peak day return tickets will be withdrawn from 2 January. This means that continuing to purchase the £3.50 ticket I currently use will no longer be an option either. Instead I will have to travel into town on a £3.90 Zone 5 to Zone 1 Peak Oyster fare, and out again on a £2.60 Zone 1 to Zone 5 Off-Peak Oyster fare - a total of £6.50.

The combination of all these things means, as I say, the cost to me of travelling into London in the evenings for leisure is set to rise by 86\\% from 2 January - and become less convenient. If you can find any rail fare elsewhere that rises by this much from 2 January I will be very surprised!

Like my wife above me in the comments I'm very much hoping someone here will correct some or all of what I've said here and reassure me I don't actually face an 86\\% rise from January. Anyone?

Pic of Boris + new TfL Oyster map here:

(Be careful not to mistype as titpic).

Very interesting that *none* of the official press releases mention OEPs. Hmmmm

I now think that h) should read:

If you have an OEP on your card and choose to both touch in and touch out inside your zones, then the OEP will be stored away until the next time it's necessary (even if that's six months away) since in these circumstances (and only these circumstances) it knows you didn't actually use your OEP.

Please, please tell me I have got it right this time.

Paul: I think you'll only be charged a Z1-4 fare, which works out as £5.40.

PoP: I believe that's correct. Still waiting for official documentation to appear.

Mr Thant - thanks, that's interesting, and a change from the current way of doing things where I have to buy from Sidcup as the last station in my zones.

Still represents a 54\\% increase.

Since posting my original comment it's also been pointed out to me on Twitter that I could cut the increase down to 43\\% by instead just buying an off-peak Gold Card-discounted all-zones Travelcard, for £5.00.

The fact that this is true and is indeed what I'll end up having to do speaks volumes about how absurd this new system is: to carry out a simple return rail journey in the evening, a third of which I already have a travelcard covering, the cheapest method will be to buy a ticket which allows me unlimited use all day (after 10am) of just about all transport methods in the entire city!

You are right to imply scepticism of Caroline Pidgeon's claim about Finsbury Park - Kings X. These routes will (most likely) remain at TfL rates as per long-standing agreements:

*Amersham to Marylebone
*Finsbury Park to King's Cross/Moorgate
*Stratford to Liverpool Street
*Tottenham Hale/Seven Sisters to Stratford
*Upminster to Fenchurch Street/Liverpool Street via Barking (but not at Forest Gate/Maryland)
*Walthamstow Central/Tottenham Hale/Seven Sisters to Liverpool Street
*Watford Junction to Euston (London Midland services)
*Watford Junction to Clapham Junction (Southern services)
*West Hampstead (Thameslink) to Moorgate/Elephant & Castle/London Bridge
*West Ruislip to South Ruislip

For some of these it wouldn't actually be possible to know if you had travelled by TfL or NR as the gatelines are shared.

Slightly blurry version of the new Oyster tube map here, courtesy of the Evening Standard.
Proper detailed TfL pdf available here.

Interesting to see how off-centre the Circle line (the new Circle line!) now is.

But oh my word how astonishingly complicated it all looks - like exploding rainbow spaghetti. The colour-blind are never going to cope.

Hey dg,

I think I spotted something interesting on that new map. Heathrow National Rail stations are included!

I guess this means we will be able to use PAYG on the Heathrow Connect. Will this finally mean that the final (to Heathrow) leg comes into the travel card zones?

Will we be able to use Oyster on Heathrow Express?

Questions! Questions!

dg writes: Answers, answers. No Oyster on the last leg to Heathrow. Map-based proof here.

Darn! Oh well. At least the ticket machines at Padd should be rather less busy now!

The Romford-Upminster train is greyed out on your map dg. How odd! This is the only non-Oyster, non-premium train service in London now.

Given that Romford and Upminster must already have Oyster equipment installed for their other lines , this is particularly odd.

Hopefully, a mistake.

what a complete shambles, 'world city' my ar*e

Early evening amendments to today's post:
• accusation about Finsbury Park → King's Cross fares deleted.
• in h), "touch in" changed to "touch in and touch out".

Excellent article and comments. It's as good as your blog of 6th January 2008 about fares from Watford Junction to Euston mainline. Pity the comments have disappeared. Will oystercard holders still be barred form the main line trains on this route? How will the card reader know what train they travelled on? As a freedom pass holder will i still have to leave the main line train at Harrow and complete the journey by London Overground. Reckon the freedom really is what it says on the tin, none of this hassle.

dg writes: The comments haven't disappeared, honest - they're still there if you click.

Romford to Upminster is keyed "not serving Central London", and surely must be Oyster enabled by virtue of being on the map? Heathrow Connect has a specific comments box regarding non-validity.

I think both of these maps contain some errors.

The TfL one for example omits Victoria to West Croydon via Crystal Palace services, routing them towards East Croydon instead (services via Norbury are shown however). I can only imagine that this is a simple error and not an indication of some impending timetable change...

Does this affect paper Travelcards bought outside London zones? I'm guessing not, but one can never be sure with these things...


Paper travelcards are completely unaffected by any of this as far as I know, so don't worry!

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