Fare Finder API: TfL Rail off-peak pricing anomaly?


I’m currently working on the new version of the MTR Crossrail Customer Experience app. One of the upgrades we are making is replacing the in-app link to the TfL Single Fare Finder, because it doesn’t load quickly enough on the iPad Mini 2.

I have written code to use the “API” to the fare finder which allows me to get the data much faster. In the process of this I have been looking at display the data for easy viewing.
I did this originally with peak-time pricing and this works fine.

However, I have come over a situation with off-peak pricing that doesn’t seem right. Under the normal TfL rules, off peak fares are four: Zone 1 only, £2.40; Zone 1 to 2,3,4 is £2.80; Zone 1 to 5,6 is £3.10; any travel not using Zone 1: £1.50. (see https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/fares-freeze )

This does work for TfL Rail from Liverpool Street, or any other Zone 1 station.

But… outside Zone 1 and you see lots of fares that aren’t £1.50.

It looks to me that the Single Fare Finder has not been programmed to use TfL Fares off-peak outside Zone 1. It’s as if the line is still being run by Greater Anglia as a TOC, rather than TfL as a tube line.

I’ve attempted to find out why this is, but TfL (call centre, Twitter DM etc) seems to be locked into telling customers that the Single Fare Finder Is Always Right But We Can’t Ever Explain Why.

I’m sure this may be a mistake.

Here’s the peak-time data…

I’m happy to be wrong, I’m just not sure how I’m supposed to know this looking at the Tube Map

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Hi Brian,

I’ve run this past our Single Fares Finder Team. Will post an update once they respond.



Hi Brian,

Please find response for SFF Team:

Most off-peak adult pay as you go fares for journeys on London Underground within Zones 2-6 are £1.50, but different fares apply for some journeys on TfL Rail and for LU journeys beyond Zone 6. These fares are correctly shown on the Single Fare Finder and in the API data. The Fares Freeze link does not refer to fares on TfL Rail services or to fares not including Zone 1



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Many thanks :smile:.

I’m struggling with “different fares apply for some journeys”. It is an affront to both logic and maths! :confused: (This is the techforum! :nerd_face::nerd_face:)

The reason I ask is that ever since 1983 when the zones were introduced by the GLC, you** have always been able at the LT/TfL Tube Map and work out the single fare from the zones.

But it now seems that this is no longer the case, but there is no mention of this anywhere obvious. Saying “see the single fare finder” (in case it’s different) seems somewhat against the whole spirit of “public transport”.

Why still call them “zones” if the zone fares don’t apply? Why not call them “special fare stations”?

** Let’s assume a non-gender specific person on a unspecified mode of transport in Clapham, rather than a coder…

Hi Brian,

To be fair, you are posting policy questions on a tech forum!

I’ll put your policy questions to our SFF Team and request a fuller explanation why different fares apply for some journeys.

Do you have specific tech questions you’d like us to investigate?



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Sorry, I got a little carried away.

The “tech question” I guess is … can the Single Fare Finder API be modified to return details of the pricing structure used? Perhaps it might just be some form of coding, but it would be useful from a developer point of view to explain to the user why the charge is what it is.

Some examples I can think of are:

  • route always charged as via zone 1
  • use of High Speed 1
  • route is entirely on National Rail
  • route uses National Rail and tube
  • route is on legacy West Anglia route and attracts supplement
  • additional charge for Heathrow Airport access
  • special tram fare
  • GLA does not set fare
  • route assumed via XXXX

At the very least it would be “open data” to let the API know.


I’ll run this request past Single Fare Finder Project Manager.



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Hi Brian,

Thanks for asking for these improvements. As the developer behind oyster-rail.org.uk I would also like more transparency.



Good to make your acquaintance!

I’m very much a fan of your site, and I have seen that has become a often-quoted reference for others.

My “favourite” Oyster strangeness is that Z1/2 Hoxton to Z2/3 Stratford is £1.50 for being one zone, but to Z2/3 Stratford International DLR a couple of hundred meters away is “via zone 1” - unless you pink reader at Z2/3 Stratford!