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Why getting to Oxford Circus by the 25 bus from east London will cost you double fare

PUBLISHED: 15:05 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:47 29 March 2019

John Darnell ... timing how long the journey to Oxford Circus takes from east London. Picture: SOB campaign

John Darnell ... timing how long the journey to Oxford Circus takes from east London. Picture: SOB campaign

SOB

Bus passengers are finding themselves “out of pocket” in east London because they now have to change buses to get to Oxford Circus after the 25 route was shortened, campaigners have found.

The 25 in Bow Road outside Thames Magistrates' Court that used to run to Oxford Circus, now only going as far as Holborn. Picture: GoogleThe 25 in Bow Road outside Thames Magistrates' Court that used to run to Oxford Circus, now only going as far as Holborn. Picture: Google

It didn’t matter before when the 25 went all the way because using ‘Hopper’ one-hour flat fare began at the start of the journey and allowed you to continue if it took longer.

But now the 25 only goes as far as Holborn Circus which means passengers getting on at Bow, Stratford, Manor Park, Forest Gate and Ilford won’t be in time to switch to the No 8 at St Paul’s and have to pay again.

“That doubles fares using contactless ‘pay as you go’ or Oyster cards,” campaign coordinator John Darnell said. “It’s impossible to use the ‘hopper’ fare to reach Oxford Circus from most of east London within the time. Even from Mile End it’s a struggle having to make the connects.”

His campaign group has carried out a test run to check out just how far the time-limit ‘hopper’ fare stretches from east London.

They got on at Ilford, recording departure times at all main stops along the way, and found many passengers had no chance of beating the ‘hopper’ one hour, which doubled their fares to £3 by having to switch buses and start another journey after St Paul’s.

Two buses are needed to get to Oxford Circus, but wasn’t possible to get to Oxford Circus within the hour from Ilford, Manor Park, Forest Gate, Stratford or even Bow Church—it was only just possible from Mile End or Stepney Green. The findings have been sent to City Hall this week.

“We gave the Mayor a bit of an advantage by doing the trip on a Saturday,” Mr Darrell explained. “The weekday rush hour would limit the ‘hopper’ fare even further.”

TfL reckoned only one per cent of passengers get on before Whitechapel going all the way to Oxford Circus.

A TfL spokesman explained: “Fewer passengers were using the 25 to reach the West End, with a 20 per cent reduction over the last five years. Ending the route at Holborn improves reliability and reduces bus congestion.”

The N25 night service still runs the full length from Ilford to Oxford Street, TfL points out.

But daytime passengers getting on before Mile End are the ones “paying the price” of the shorter route, campaigners insist, because having to change buses puts them outside the one hour ‘hopper’ fare.

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