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Tube change: ALL Heathrow trips via Zone 1 priced at peak rates from today

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Transport for London has snuck out a low key price rise for travel on London Underground, as part of its pandemic bailout deal with the Government.

From today, all trips to or from Heathrow on the London Underground or Elizabeth Line from Zone 1 will be charged at peak rates.

It doesn’t matter what day you travel or what time of day. You will pay the peak rate fare if your journey starts in Zone 1 or passes through Zone 1.

Tube change: ALL Heathrow trips via Zone 1 priced at peak rates from today

If you trip starts or ends before Heathrow, such as at Hatton Cross, standard fares will apply. Standard fares will also apply if you avoid Zone 1, although you would need to touch intermediate Oyster readers whenever you changed trains so the system knows your route.

The daily price caps are not changing, so you may not be impacted by this increase if you take multiple other TfL trips on the same day.

The new prices are:

  • Piccadilly Line from/to Heathrow – now £5.50 for all trips touching Zone 1 (was £3.50 off peak)
  • Elizabeth Line from/to Heathrow – now £12.80 for all trips touching Zone 1 (was £10.80 off peak)

There are no changes to Heathrow Express fares. Interestingly, the Piccadilly Line fare is now the same price as the 90 Day Advanced Purchase Heathrow Express fare.

The change, along with a £2 increase in the cost of a new Oyster card from £5 to £7 (and which is now non-refundable) is expected to raise £27m per year for TfL. By restricting the rise to those passing through Zone 1, it is hoped to minimise the impact on people working at the airport.

You can read more on Bloomberg here.

Comments (97)

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  • DG reader says:

    Diamond Geezer suggests that Hatton Cross has entered the Heathrow Free Travel Area, and his blog commenter Messiah suggests that time-rich, cash-poor travellers could travel to Hatton Cross for an unchanged off-peak fare, touch out, then touch in on a different card (*) to complete the Hatton Cross to Heathrow leg for free. I don’t know if this has been confirmed in practice or whether this is just a clever theory, but the idea of doing so for the sake of penny-pinching, system-beating cussedness is very appealing.

    (*) or the same card, but waiting at Hatton Cross sufficiently long that the Oyster system thinks it’s a different journey.

    • Nick says:

      There’s no OSI at Hatton Cross so there’s no need to wait, you can touch in and out easily.
      TfL do know it’s the same person even on a different card if you’ve registered both to your account.

      • Anthony says:

        Whats OSI? I tried tapping out and tapping back in at Paddington to avoid the peak train fares on a different journey, and the system joined up the journey for me and charged me a peak fare for the whole journey as if I didnt tap out.

        • John says:

          Out of station interchange. That’s what you described, there is an OSI from Paddington-Paddington so journeys will be joined unless you use a different card, pay for a bus and get off immediately (many bus drivers do know what you’re doing), or wait up to 40 minutes (Google OSI list to find out all the stations and times).

          There is no OSI at Hatton Cross so you don’t need to wait or pay for a bus

          • Anthony says:

            40 minutes?! Jesssssszzzzzz

          • John says:

            When you do want your journeys to be joined together you might not be happy if it was less than 40 minutes. Blame the TfL definition of peak and be happy there is a way to get around it now that you know.

    • lumma says:

      There’s a similar East Croydon shuffle you can do when going to Gatwick. Peak Zone 1 to Gatwick is £16.50, but if you exit and re-enter at East Croydon you can save £4.10.

      Another Gatwick anomaly is that if you live east of zone one and use Thameslink and change to tube at Farringdon, you don’t go through any barriers so it charges you a non zone 1 fare.

    • vol says:

      You don’t need to do it on a different Oyster, the journeys are not joined.

      It will also work on contactless

  • Nick says:

    Lol it definitely does affect people working at the airport, who often use the tube into London after work. But they’ve already been screwed over by removal of HAL and TfL discounts/free bus zone so no one will be surprised.

    What would be helpful to add to the article (as mentioned in previous comments) is that Hatton Cross is now included for entry/exit in the heathrow zone, so you don’t pay to get to or from the terminals. It will be removed again if too many people use it as a way to dodge the peak/off peak restriction but will be helpful for a while at least.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Why on earth, if free, wouldn’t people just swap to a different card for the Hatton to Heathrow leg, and thus reduce the ability of TfL to tell it is the same person? Am I missing something?

      • Rob says:

        Given the gap between trains sometimes you’d need a very low value on your time to do this.

        • lumma says:

          However, if you need a T5 train and you’re on a T4 service it’s not a great hardship to do this while you wait for the next train

        • tony says:

          Whilst that is indeed correct, this must surely add a whole new exciting dimension for those looking at the best way of moving from the District line to the Piccadilly line. Or indeed do any of the stations on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly line have an easy route to & from the gate line, allowing you to jump on the first tube (which is inevitably not going to the destination you want) then make a judgement call as to whether you have enough time to nip out the station and back in again?

          Must admit, all sounds a bit much to save £2.50 when you’re heading to the airport and going to hand HAL £50+ just to pass through their shopping mall…

          • Londonsteve says:

            It saves £2.10 and the only place you can do this is at Hatton Cross, as journeys to or from Heathrow from there are free. I don’t think the wait for the next train in the middle of the day is that long, although it might be longer if you got off a T4 train while wanting to go to T4 and then have a 10-15 minute wait for the next train. A total 10 minute delay to your journey to save £2.10 implies £12.60 net hourly income, which is more than about 40% of London workers earn. If you then look at the demographic of workers taking the tube to and from Heathrow each day (e.g. duty free shop staff, security staff, baggage handlers and so on) something like 70% of them will earn less per hour than £12.60 net. If the start or end of my shift coincided with off peak travel times, I would certainly do the Hatton Cross dodge and see it as a 10 minute extension of my working hours. Granted, many workers will live in zones 2-6 near to the airport and therefore won’t be affected, but some will have to travel through zone 1 from more affordable areas of London in the east and north-east and it’s an easy saving for them. The gate line staff at Hatton Cross are going to get dizzy from seeing all this people exiting and doing an immediate u-turn!

      • John says:

        I don’t think TfL cares.

        After mulling over this for a bit, I realise I will now save £1.65 for journeys from Heathrow to home. The bus hopper time limit of 62 minutes is insufficient to pay only once, but I can now take the tube to Hatton Cross for free and get the bus from there.

  • Jamie says:

    Sure Uber will be happy. As usual TfL aggressively increases prices (instead of tackling bloated pay and pensions). Then it’ll be surprised when public transport use falls.
    Cheapest planned heathrow for now from z1 is underground or Crossrail to Paddington then advance purchase £5.50 heathrow express.

    • Amy C says:

      How dare transport workers expect decent pay and pensions! Jumped up no marks, who do they think they are eh?

    • Callum says:

      Has TFL ever expressed surprise over a drop in ridership after fare increases? I’m fairly certain they’re not stupid….

      I’m sure they’d also love your proposal to cut “bloated pay and pensions” too. Who’s salary are we cutting/who are we firing, and by how much?

      • Amy C says:

        He will reply train drivers as that’s who all the wrath is aimed at (even when a strike has nothing to do with them).

    • John says:

      It’s £5.50 from Zone 1 to Heathrow, so how is it cheaper to pay £5.50 for the HEx plus another fare to Paddington?

      • Londonsteve says:

        Plus you need to book the HEX more than 90 days in advance to benefit from that fare. I’m fairly sure that 99% of HEX passengers don’t. It’s an eye-catching figure on a poster, that’s all. And you’re right, the tube fare to get to Paddington will come on top of the £5.50, so it’s only equally priced if you’re walking distance to Paddington.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Yes Uber will be able to lose money at an even faster rate

  • Lady London says:

    When does a day finish these days on passes and tickets? IIRC it used to be something like 4am the following day on either Tfl bus or rail (unsure about the Tube)

    • John says:

      0430-0429, same for all services on the Oyster / TfL contactless system.

      • Lady London says:

        Tx John.

        but if I start my usual journey home from Gatwick at 0030 instead of 2330 because Easyjet is late again, am I in the new day ok through to 0429am following day?

  • vol says:

    Try this if you have time to kill and want to avoid the hike:

    Travel to Hatton Cross (Zone 5)
    Touch out, touch back in, it’s free from Hatton Cross to Heathrow.

    (You can still get Off Peak fares to Hatton Cross)

    It will be the same in reverse too. So travel back to Hatton Cross, touch out, touch in, continue your journey.

    You are welcome 🙃

    • dougzz99 says:

      I think we were welcome when it was suggested at 6:47AM this morning 🙂

      • vol says:

        Ha I didn’t see it – well, good to know people are thinking the same at least 😁

  • Will says:

    LHR to Westminster is 20 miles by car, assuming 40mpg that’s £4.56 in fuel for a car at £2 per litre.

    That’s a 1 person car.

    If the whole point in trains is economies of scale and reduction in congestion and pollution how have we ended up with a train fare being 11 times that of 4 people sharing a car (and yes I understand a car needs parking and buying etc but for a train that should be a lot less per trip than a car)

    • tony says:

      I live about 60 miles North West of Heathrow. Family of 5. To get to the airport we used a train then a taxi for the last few miles. Total cost was nearly £90 and that was the cheapest of all the reasonable options available to me along with the careful use of railcards. Travel time was 2hrs

      To get back from the Airport, I took an Uber XL for £130. Including wait time for the driver, that took us about 90 minutes. The system is truly broken.

    • John says:

      Because Sadiq Khan wanted to keep single fares the same and then the pandemic meant fare revenues plummeted, plus historical mismanagement, so TfL was about to run out of money several times in the past few years, and the government has decided one of the ways is to recoup money is to increase this specific fare.

    • JohnG says:

      You’d struggle to get 40mpg going anywhere staring at Westminster and it’s amazing there’s still people out there who think a car is free to run except for fuel; not least the congestion charges in this case. Even for a car with five people in it you’d spend considerably less on even a same day trip if you go by tube from Westminster.

      Did you know that restaurants have considerable economies of scale when buying ingredients? That must mean them charging more than cooking at home is a rip off right? Ignoring wages, the cost of running the building etc…

  • Brian78 says:

    Surprised no one has called this a London centric article. Doesn’t usually take long

  • The Streets says:

    If TfL was treated like every other public transport organisation in the world and not have to beg for subsidies then there wouldn’t be these kind of fare increases

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