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Inspired by Tyne and Wear metro: Tynemouth to Airport; only 2 zones?.

Earls Court is in zones 1 and 2:

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  • Say if I travel from Waterloo (zone 1) to Earls Court (zone 1 and 2) and then to another station in zone 1, what zones will I be charged for?

  • What about if I travel onwards in zone 2?

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For stations that span zones, the station will be treated as the zone in the direction from which you arrived — effectively meaning it'll always be the cheapest option. So if you travel from Waterloo to, say, High Street Kensington, via Earl's Court, that will just be a zone 1 single fare. I'm not sure entirely what you mean by "travel onwards in Zone 2" — if you're going from Zone 1 and end up in a Zone 2 station you'll obviously be charged the Zone 1+2 single fare, but if you start at Earl's Court and travel to a Zone 2 station without going through Zone 1 (let's say, Earl's Court to Fulham Broadway) you'll be charged a Zone 2 fare.

You can verify all this by using the TfL Single Fare Finder or perhaps easier unofficial alternatives like LTFares.

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In principle the fare you are charged depends on the zones you traveled through and the types of transportation you use (at least some rail services attract different fares from a pure tube journey). Stations on the boundary can count as either depending on which direction you travel to/from them from.

In practice though, the system doesn't actually know what route you took, it only knows which readers/gatelines you used. So the fare you get charged will depend on the route the system assumes you took, which may sometimes be different from the route you actually took, this is mostly an issue when avoiding zone 1. In some cases there are "pink readers" which you can use to indicate that you took a route other than the default route.

So if you travelled from waterloo to earls court that would be a zone 1 fare. If you turned round (without leaving the station) and travelled to say high street kensington, that would still be a zone 1 fare. On the other hand if you continued to west kensington that would be a zone 1+2 fare.

Looking at another journey in that area, if you traveled from Earls Court to Notting hill gate via the direct route, that would be a Zone 1 only journey. However it is also possible to travel between those stations via Hammersmith, West Brompton or Kensington (olympia), which would be a cheaper Zone 2 only journey. In the hammersmith case there is an out of station interchange* involved, which will tell the system what route you took. In the case of West Brompton or Kensington (olympia) you must use a pink reader to tell the system what route you took to get the cheaper fare.

* For those unfamiliar with the system, normally an oyster/contactless PAYG train/tube/DLR journey ends when you touch out. However there are some locations where you can touch out and back in at nearby stations or different parts of the same station without it ending your journey.

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