A campaign to re-zone several railway stations in the southern part of Lewisham has been launched by the Conservative candidate for the borough Mayoral elections next year.
Ross Archer, a public affairs and policy manager, began the petition three weeks ago which has since gained 1,223 signatures, with the last 700 in the last week.
The stations include Grove Park, Lower Sydenham and Beckenham Hill, which are currently in Travelcard Zone 4; Archer wants them to be re-classified as Zone 3, where fares are lower. A weekly travel card between zones 1-4 is £47.30 compared to the £38.70 between zone 1-3. Archer claims that the re-zoning will save commuters around £300 a year in travel costs
Lewisham is considered part of inner London but there is much divide within the borough over travel zones. Stations in areas north of the borough, such as New Cross are in Zone 2 whereas Lower Sydenham and others are in Zone 4.
Archer told ELL: “Lewisham is an inner London borough and yet the Zone 4 charges reflect those of an outer London borough. In north London, around Islington, the charges are only Zone 3 and below. I think that the south receives a raw deal from TfL in comparison to the north.”
In January 2016, TfL re-zoned stations in and surrounding Stratford, including Canning Town and West Ham. The area has in recent years undergone massive redevelopment, especially since it hosted the 2012 London Olympics. It was then granted the re-zoning from Zone 3 to Zone 2/3. This enables those travelling into London to be charged the Zone 2 fare and those commuting outside of the city to be charged according to Zone 3.
Archer told ELL: “The redevelopment in Stratford has seen more jobs, more housing, and more opportunities and I think this has been encouraged by their re-zoning. Lewisham needs more jobs and needs more housing but there needs to be some encouragement.”
However, while Stratford benefitted from the re-zoning, there was already a boom of investors prior to 2016, partly due to the Olympics and partly because of Stratford International and accessibility on the central line, thereby making it an area where people already want to go.
Despite being an inner city borough, there are no London Underground stations in Lewisham but instead, three DLR stations, London Overground services and National Rail lines. In a report to Lewisham council last month, the Lewisham Poverty Commission said: “One of the key challenges across the south of the borough is poor transport connectivity, with low public transport ccessibility. There is a significant overlap between poor transport accessibility and concentrations of deprivation in the borough.”
The report also proposed a potential solution to poor transport links in the borough by backing the idea of extending the Bakerloo Underground line into the borough: “Transport for London should extend the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle beyond Lewisham to Hayes as a minimum but also to Bromley Town Centre to improve access to job opportunities across London for residents living in the areas of concentrated deprivation in the south of the borough.”
TFL were approached for comment but failed to respond.