Which journeys are defined as requiring travel via Zone 1?

George Danker made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Transport for London,

According to your website, http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/tickets/faresa... "some journeys have been defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and are charged accordingly, irrespective of the route taken". Please would you provide me with a way of determining whether a particular journey falls under this category.

As an example, I have found that if I use the TFL Single Fare Finder for the journey: Highgate - Hampton NR, it tells me that the fare will be £4.60, however if I break down the journey as follows: Highgate - Camden Town -OSI- Camden Road - Clapham Junction - Hampton then the correct fare should be £2.30 since I would not have travelled through Zone 1. Is this a journey that is defined as requiring Zone 1 travel, or is your Single Fare Finder wrong on this occasion?

Yours faithfully,

George Danker

FOI, Transport for London

 

 

Dear Mr Dankar

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0795-1213

 

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 14
August 2012 asking for information about journeys defined as requiring
travel via Zone 1.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. 

 

A response will be provided to you by 12 September.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

 

 

Dear Mr Danker

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0795-1213

 

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 14
August 2012 asking for information about TfL’s online Single Fare Finder.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. I can
confirm TfL does hold the information you require. You asked for:

 

According to your website,
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/tickets/faresa...
"some journeys have been defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and are
charged accordingly, irrespective of the route taken". Please would you
provide me with a way of determining whether a particular journey falls
under this category.

    

As an example, I have found that if I use the TFL Single Fare Finder for
the journey: Highgate - Hampton NR, it tells me that the fare will be
£4.60, however if I break down the journey as follows: Highgate - Camden
Town -OSI- Camden Road - Clapham Junction - Hampton then the correct fare
should be £2.30 since I would not have travelled through Zone 1. Is this a
journey that is defined as requiring Zone 1 travel, or is your Single Fare
Finder wrong on this occasion?

 

TfL’s Single Fare Finder is indeed the best way to check the fares
available between any pair of stations. This application is linked to the
same fares dataset as used by the Oyster system in the live environment.
Therefore if the Single Fare Finder does not display a non-Zone 1 fare
(either directly or under the “Alternative Fares” button where displayed)
then the system is unable to charge one. The example journey given is one
where the fare charged assumes travel via Zone 1, regardless of actual
route taken.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

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Glen Turnbull left an annotation ()

I think you need to mention that the route you mention does not show up on the fare finder webpage I agree with you 100% this fare is cheaper if you use Camden Road. But as you have pointed their web site is at fault here

Dear Lee,

Thank you very much for responding to my enquiry. I do not understand why TFL has decided to define some journeys as requiring zone 1 travel regardless of the route taken. Please would you provide me with the logic behind this decision.

If there is no logic behind it, as I suspect is the case, please would you set about correcting the system.

Yours sincerely,

George Danker

cjemery left an annotation ()

If you don't travel in Zone 1 you should not be charged for Zone 1. I suggest you forward your complaint to London Travel Watch

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Danker,

London has a complex inter-connected rail network with orbital links such that it is theoretically possible to take route which avoids Zone 1 between any pair of stations which are both outside Zone 1. In many such cases, a route avoiding zone 1 is extremely unlikely, but nonetheless still possible.

For journeys between stations which are both outside Zone 1, TfL defines the journey as requiring Zone 1 if both of the following apply:

(i) a route via Zone 1 is considered clearly to be more likely than one avoiding Zone 1
(ii) For the journey concerned the Oyster system (which for technical reasons, and to avoid undue complexity for customers, necessarily has limited opportunities for intermediate validation) cannot tell on exit whether customers have been through Zone 1 or not.

I hope this clarifies the matter.

Yours Sincerely

Lee Hill
FOI Case Officer

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Dear Lee,

Thank you very much for getting back to me, I do appreciate it. Of course I understand that London has a "complex inter-connected rail network with orbital links such that it is theoretically possible to take route which avoids Zone 1 between any pair of stations which are both outside Zone 1", as you say.

Rather than this being a good excuse, it is actually a strong argument AGAINST the policy of defining some non-zone 1 journeys as requiring zone 1 travel! Customers wishing to travel through zone 1 pay a 'premium' for doing so, and those who are happy to take advantage of the 'orbital links', which do not contribute to congestion in Central London, receive a relative discount.

Please would you explain exactly how it benefits TFL to charge some orbital journeys as requiring zone 1 travel when this discourages customers from taking orbital routes, thereby encouraging more travel through zone 1.

Lee, please will you also recognise, not as an FOI representative but as a human being, that this is a lose-lose situation. Customers have to spend more than they ought to and congestion in Zone 1 is increased.

Secondly, I thank you for providing me with the details of how TFL define whether a journey requires Zone 1 travel. I must however ask for further details with regards to point (i). You stated that, for the journeys in question, "a route via Zone 1 is considered clearly to be more likely than one avoiding Zone 1". Please provide me with the details of how TFL calculates its 'likelihoods' for any particular journey.

On a more specific note, I would like to point out that your criterion (ii) actually does not apply to all journeys that are defined as requiring Zone 1 travel. For example, the journey Highgate - Hampton (NR) via Camden Town/Camden Road is a journey which cannot possibly be ambiguous - one must touch out at Camden Town and in again at Camden Road. From Camden Road, the next time you touch out is at Hampton, which means that the only interchange was at Clapham Junction. Therefore the Oyster system can tell with certainty that the journey was Highgate - Camden Town/Camden Road - Clapham Junction - Hampton (NR) which does not include any zone 1 travel.

I therefore reject your reply (it has been proved incorrect in the paragraph above), and if you are unable to correct it, I will be forced to request an internal review.

I do appreciate your efforts on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

George Danker

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Danker,

 

I am only able to deal with correspondence to the extent that it
constitutes an FOI request and, therefore, I will be forwarding your email
to Customer Experience to reply on the issues you raise.

 

However, paragraph 5 does contain a valid FOI request, though I’m not yet
in a position to say whether such information (specific calculations on
this point) actually exists. This has been logged under case reference
FOI-0939-1213 and a response will be provided to you by 5 October.

 

Any expression of discontent should be considered to be a request for an
internal review, so this will be forwarded to be dealt with as such.
However, you may like to note that, just because you do not consider that
one of those criteria applies to one identified journey that does not
follow that the FOI response was inaccurate and the review may well find
this. Note that we are only able to supply recorded information and are
not able to answer general customer queries nor deal with complaints
concerning journey charges.

 

Therefore, to summarise, I have logged a new request based on Paragraph 5
and logged an Internal Review, which will be acknowledged separately. I
have also passed this email over to Customer Experience to address the
issues you have raised.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

Our ref: IRV-081-1213

 

 

 

Dear Mr Danker

 

Request for internal review

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received by
Transport for London (TfL) on 7 September 2012.

 

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance
with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following
URL:

 

[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/f...

 

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 5 October.
However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will contact
you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as possible.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me on the number given below.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

E-mail: [2][TfL request email]

 

 

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Dear Lee,

Thank you very much for your reply. However I am unsure as to how this will be proceeding. You have said that you forwarded my complaint to the Customer Experience team, but they do not have my contact details so how will they be able to reply to me? And when will they reply by?

Thank you for logging FOI-0939-1213 as a new FOI request. However, I am again unclear how I will be able to track the status of this request, since it does not appear on the WDTK website. Please let me know how to track it.

Finally, with regards to the internal review, I am yet again unclear how I can track the process of this. Please do let me know, as I would be delighted to hear how TFL can justify its illogical decisions.

Yours sincerely,

George Danker

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

 

 

Dear Mr Danker

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0939-1213

 

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 7
September 2012 asking for information about Oyster fare policy.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. I can
confirm TfL holds some of the information you require. You asked for:

 

1. Please would you explain exactly how it benefits TFL to charge some
orbital journeys as requiring zone 1 travel when this discourages
customers from taking orbital routes, thereby encouraging more travel
through zone 1.

 

TfL benefits from having the higher revenue associated with Zone 1 travel
in circumstances where customers are overwhelmingly travelling via Zone 1.
In the circumstances in question, where the fare is necessarily the same
for routes including and excluding Zone 1, customer choice between orbital
or central routes will not be affected by the fare level.

    

2. Lee, please will you also recognise, not as an FOI representative but
as a human being, that this is a lose-lose situation. Customers have to
spend more than they ought to and congestion in Zone 1 is increased.

 

It is a “win-lose” situation as there are also some journeys that are
charged as not via Zone 1 regardless of routeing. Also where a particular
customer “loses” by being charged as via Zone 1 having taken an orbital
route, the revenue impact that would otherwise not be present would have
to be generated by some other means such as a fare rise elsewhere, so
there may be indirect “winners” elsewhere.

  

3. Secondly, I thank you for providing me with the details of how TFL
define whether a journey requires Zone 1 travel. I must however ask for
further details with regards to point (i). You stated that, for the
journeys in question, "a route via Zone 1 is considered clearly to be more
likely than one avoiding Zone 1". Please provide me with the details of
how TFL calculates its 'likelihoods' for any particular journey.

 

We account for journey times and service frequencies when choosing between
either (i) charging as via Zone 1 regardless of route or (ii) charging as
not via Zone 1 regardless of route. As far as possible we also aim to
ensure consistency of policy between adjacent stations. There are no
specific calculations involved.

  

4. On a more specific note, I would like to point out that your criterion
(ii) actually does not apply to all journeys that are defined as requiring
Zone 1 travel. For example, the journey Highgate - Hampton (NR) via Camden
Town/Camden Road is a journey which cannot possibly be ambiguous - one
must touch out at Camden Town and in again at Camden Road. From Camden
Road, the next time you touch out is at Hampton, which means that the only
interchange was at Clapham Junction. Therefore the Oyster system can tell
with certainty that the journey was Highgate - Camden Town/Camden Road -
Clapham Junction - Hampton (NR) which does not include any zone 1 travel.

  

Unfortunately, when a customer exits at the end of a journey, the Oyster
system is currently unable to distinguish between a Camden Town/Camden
Road interchange and one between Clapham North and Clapham High Street.
The validation pattern is indeed therefore ambiguous, and thus does not
confirm Zone 1 avoidance. Our Journey planner advises the best routes as
being via Waterloo or Vauxhall in zone 1.

 

As previously advised, complaints or issues with Oyster policy should be
addressed to Customer Services as it does not constitute a Freedom of
Information request. However, on this occasion I have answered your
questions as a matter of courtesy. For future reference, please see the
following link for the relevant contact details:
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/contact/4417.aspx

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/contact/4417.aspx

John left an annotation ()

To clarify:

Out of station interchanges (OSIs) and pink route validators apply route validation codes to the card chip during open journeys. The system is technically and contractually limited to a certain number of validation codes. Code numbers are consequently shared between two or more OSI and / or route validator stations.
When a journey is 'closed' on exit, the exit validator checks the start station, the end station and the lowest numbered validation code applied to the card chip during the journey.
If an alternative fare has been programmed for that start station, end station and route validation code, then the aternative fare is charged. If no alternative fare has been programmed, the default fare is charged.
If no code has been applied (for a simple A to B journey) then the default fare is applied.
Additionally, fares charged at the National Rail and combined ('though') scales are by agreement with the train operators and are not solely determined by Transport for London. If no paper ticket sold that excludes zone 1 I believe it is unlikely that an Oyster fare will be programmed to exclude Zone 1, regardless of whether it is technically possible to do so.

Sloane Peter, Transport for London

30 October 2012

 

Our reference: IRV-081-1213

 

Dear Mr Danker

 

The internal review of Transport for London’s (TfL) handling of your
request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) for information
concerning the determination of when a transport route is likely involve
travelling through zone 1 is now complete. Although you did not
specifically state that you wished TfL to carry out an internal review, as
you may be aware, any expression of discontent with the handling of an FOI
request must be considered to be a request for an internal review. Please
note that the remit of this response is limited to considering whether TfL
has complied with its duties under FOI – we are unable to consider broader
complaints about TfL’s fares system. I am sorry about the delay in
providing you with this response.

 

The review has noted that your email of 7 September was the most recent of
a series of requests and queries that were handled by the FOI team,
relating to your concerns about how TfL determines when a transport route
is likely to require travel through zone 1. However, the review has found
that only some parts of your emails actually constituted valid FOI
requests or concerns about the whether the response to your request was
consistent with TfL’s obligations under the FOI Act. Please note that, in
order to be a valid FOI request, a request must be for recorded
information that is held at the time of your request. By contrast, various
parts of your email of 7 September and your previous correspondence could
more accurately be classified as challenges to or complaints about how TfL
has charged for fares.

 

The review has found that the responses to you did provide valid responses
to your FOI requests in that they provided information that was held at
the time and sought to explain how TfL determined the fares that would be
applied to particular journeys. The review also noted that you have
challenged the explanations given, with reference to particular journeys
that can be made without travelling through zone 1, but determined that
this did not alter the fact that an appropriate response had been given.
 Although it may be possible to make certain journeys without travelling
through zone 1, this should more realistically be characterised as a
challenge to how fares are calculated, rather than evidence that TfL’s
handling of and response to your request was incorrect within the
requirements of the FOI Act.

 

The review also noted that, although some parts of your email did not
constitute a valid FOI request, you were still issued with a response
under reference number FOI-0939-1213 as the case officer and Fares Manager
determined that it would be more helpful on this occasion to provide you
with a single response as far as possible. We appreciate that the
calculation of fares is of concern to you, but we consider that TfL has
discharged its duty to provide you with requested information within 20
working days, and the Information Governance team is unable to take
further action with regard to your concerns – we are only able to supply
recorded information and are not able to answer general customer queries
nor deal with complaints concerning journey charges. I am sorry about any
disappointment that this may cause you.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this internal review you can
refer the matter to the independent authority responsible for enforcing
the Freedom of Information Act, at the following address.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website
([1]www.ico.gov.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Peter Sloane | Senior Information Governance Adviser (Enforcement and
Complaints)

Information Governance | General Counsel | Transport for London

Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL

| E: [2][email address]

 

TfL has recently adopted an ‘information security classification scheme’
to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its
subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new
[3]Quick Guide or visit [4]Source for more information.

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://source.tfl/pdfs/IA_QG1_Informatio...
4. http://source.tfl/OurCompany/Governance/...

freddrick london left an annotation ()

So wouldn't the Oyster system just charge 2 separate journeys Highgate-Camden Town & Camden Road-Hampton (although that might be more expensive depending on the times you travel)

freddrick london left an annotation ()

So wouldn't the Oyster system just charge 2 separate journeys Highgate-Camden Town & Camden Road-Hampton (although that might be more expensive depending on the times you travel)

Mike Whitaker left an annotation ()

No frederick,

Whenever touch out and subsequent touch in occurs between two linked stations within the time specified the journeys are combined as one. The page at http://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/out-of-sta... explains this in more detail and lists all the many pairs of stations where this behaviour applies.

freddrick london left an annotation ()

However it does depend on how long you take to go from Camden Town to Camden Road- if you take a detour to the local Sainsbury's or take a bus the OSI won't apply.