A petition has been set up calling on the Mayor of London and TfL to move Woolwich from Zone 4 to Zone 3 on the tube map travel zones. As the petition states, Woolwich DLR is the only DLR station in Zone 4, while it notes that most of the zone 3 stations north of the river are of equal distance from Central London.

The financial impact on passengers would be significant as a monthly zones 1-4 travelcard currently costs £204, but this could fall to just £167 if Woolwich was moved into Zone 3.

TfL tube map

Woolwich is undergoing a major redevelopment, thanks largely to the pending arrival of the Elizabeth line, and the petition argues that rezoneing Woolwich will “help to increase the speed of this regeneration by attracting new residents and tourists to the new amenities such as the Woolwich Works, and upcoming improved high street and the much-anticipated indoor market.”

The petition adds that when the Elizabeth line opens, “it will take equal time (of 14minutes) to travel from Woolwich or Manor Park to Liverpool Street. The only difference appears to be that Woolwich is south of the river.”

However, while the journey times are the same, the distance travelled is not as Manor Park is 6 miles from Liverpool Street while Woolwich is around 7 miles from Liverpool Street. They can take the same time to travel different distances because are three stops on the Woolwich branch but four stops on the Manor Park branch. Fewer stops means shorter journey times, but as the Woolwich train has to travel further in mileage, it’ll cost more to run that service.

This is also not the first attempt to rezone Woolwich on the grounds of future developments being supported by the change of zone.

In 2014, a petition was rejected as it would cost over £1 million a year in lost income. This was at the same time a similar rezoning of Stratford was expected to lose TfL some £7 million a year in revenue, although it was justified at the time by expectations that increased economic activity in the Olympic part development would raise around £99 million a year in taxes.

While Woolwich is also undergoing redevelopment, it’s mainly residential and the smaller portion of commercial developments are unlikely to generate enough taxes to offset the train ticket revenue loss.

More recently, in 2017, the Mayor responded to another petition calling for Woolwich to be moved to Zone 3, rejecting the request. At the time it was noted that in addition to the lower fares revenue for TfL, it would also have to pay Southeastern around £5 million a year in compensation for its loss of revenue as well.

A double-hit to TfL’s finances that was untenable at the time, and pretty much impossible to countenance today.

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7 comments
  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    I suspect that we should probably get around, sometime soon, to making the Zones fare. The look, on real map, like those Gerrymandered US election districts!

    https://ukfree.tv/styles/images/2021/tubemapzones.jpg

    Or perhaps a dying reef…

  2. MW says:

    If tfl take over the running of metro southeastern lines than that argument goes out the window

    • ianVisits says:

      Not really, as then TfL is still out of pocket to around £5 million from lower fares on the mainline railway it’s running.

  3. Chris says:

    Stupid zone system. Make it a flat fare anywhere, like most every other metro system.

    • Tony Mansell says:

      So if I’m going from marble arch to bond street it should be the same price as Heathrow to Cockfosters.

      Lol good job you’re not in charge

  4. Vatche Gulbekian says:

    However, the old North Woolwich rail station and the current King George V DLR station are both in zone 3 and about the same distance from central London as Woolwich which is in zone 4.

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