Farey tale ending

There’s an epilogue to yesterday’s post about the complexity of fares in London, which has had quite a bit of attention today thanks to some high-profile tweeting of a link to it earlier by BBC London News!

The epilogue relates to how I gathered the information in those tables. On only its first day of existence, SE13URE could already lay claim to being the only site on which you could see all the possible fares between Lewisham and Shoreditch High Street in one place.

To find the possible costs for that single journey, I had to visit National Rail Enquiries, conduct a search for a timed journey, add or subtract a railcard as necessary and finally then see the different prices for the different suggested routes – but only for paper tickets.

Oyster 'loser' cardMeanwhile, to find out the Oyster fares, it was off to the TfL Fare Finder, where I could enter the start and end points of my journey, taking care to include “[DLR]” or “[National Rail]” after “Lewisham” depending on my preferred route, then choose Adult or National Railcard from the dropdown and show fares. And even then, I could click an “Alternative fares” button to see yet more route and fare variants.

Of course, this is symptomatic of the fragmented and confusing fare structure itself, but it did make me wonder why neither National Rail Enquiries nor TfL have implemented a single, simple fare-search engine which shows, well, basically the same information I included in my tables yesterday – all possible applicable fares between two places. TfL do at least hold most of this information already, but presumably lack the paper ticket information.

No-one – aside, evidently, from me – is ever going to bother to research all the variants of a ticket to inform their travel decisions when that much work is involved.

Oh, for the record, we took the post-7pm National Rail-only option to get to Shoreditch, and the no. 47 bus home, which made for the second-cheapest return journey we could possibly have had. And my wife was the first Mario Kart medal-winner of the evening at Nintendisco, so it was worth the trip.

“Oyster loser” adapted from Oyster card by boxman – used under a Creative Commons licence.

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