I’m assuming from Southeastern’s silence in response to my enquiry about whether the after-work return fare to London for Gold Card holders in outer London had truly risen by 43%, and their Public Affairs Manager’s total avoidance of this point too, that it really is the case.
The utterly hopeless system which the train operating companies have negotiated, including the ridiculous OEPs which they themselves don’t even seem bothered about enforcing, means that Gold Card holders now have a tough time figuring out what on earth is the cheapest way to get from A to B – the exact opposite of what Oyster should achieve!
So, to save time laboriously looking things up in future, I recently pulled together the various fare information from the TfL Fare Finder and National Rail Enquiries web site, compiling a quick reference Excel file containing one sheet for single journeys and one for returns.
It speaks volumes about the train companies’ disregard for their passengers that so many columns are needed, but hopefully it does contain all the information you need for any railway journey within London. Simply check which zones the stations you are travelling between are in (PDF) and find the zone you’re going from in the first column and to in the second. That row then contains all the prices for your journey with the various different ways of paying.
One extra point to bear in mind is that if your journey includes a transfer onto TfL’s Tube or DLR services and doesn’t include Zone 1, there is no extra cost for this if you are using Oyster, so this will mean Oyster will beat Gold Card in all cases, except where the total cost of your travel after 10am would exceed £5, in which case you’re better off getting an off-peak Gold Card-discounted travelcard! (If the journey does include Zone 1, there is an additional charge of, I think, £1.50, so, er… I give up.)
Anyway, below you can look at screenshots of the two sheets (click to enlarge), or you can simply download the whole file, best viewed in Excel 2007 (or later version).
(If anyone can host the file somewhere less annoying and with none of MediaFire’s occasionally borderline-worksafe ads, please comment to let me know!)
And if you agree it would all be a great deal simpler if the train companies just allowed Gold Card-holders to load their Gold Card discount entitlement onto the Oyster card in exactly the same way as holders of nearly all other Railcard types can do, why not join this Facebook group, or indeed do something useful by writing to your elected representatives and/or your train operating company?
Filed under: Transport