A new petition has been set up to get Woolwich Arsenal station rezoned, three years after former mayor Boris Johnson turned down calls to the station moved into zone 3.
Woolwich Arsenal currently sits in zone 4, even though equivalent Docklands Light Railway stations north of the Thames – King George V, Gallions Reach and Beckton – sit inside zone 3.
This new petition calls on Sadiq Khan and transport secretary Chris Grayling to place Woolwich Arsenal on the zone 3/4 boundary, to “help make Woolwich even more attractive and slightly less expensive for workers commuting west, without penalising those coming into Woolwich from the east”.
A rezoning would also make the area more attractive to visitors, which would boost Greenwich Council’s plans for a Woolwich cultural quarter in Berkeley Homes’s Royal Arsenal development. The council backed a 2014 campaign but have since gone quiet on the idea.
The current zonal system dates back to 1983 and was conceived ahead of the regeneration of docklands areas. DLR stations at the eastern end of its Beckton branch were placed in zone 4 when it opened in 1994, but moved to zone 3 six years later.
Johnson refused the last petition, saying rezoning would be a matter for Southeastern and the Department of Transport, as Woolwich Arsenal was run as a National Rail station. With a new franchise soon to be awarded for the rail service, a rezoning could, in theory, be written into any new deal.
Three of Stratford’s four stations, as well as other stations in the west of the borough of Newham, were switched from zone 3 to zones 2 and 3 in 2016 in an £8 million move to assist redevelopment plans for the area. At the time, Johnson said City Hall would make the money back in increased land values in the area – the Olympic Park comes under the mayor’s remit.
But so far, Khan has ruled out any more rezoning beyond the Northern Line extension to Battersea being in zone 1 when it opens in 2020.
When asked about a similar campaign to get Stratford’s other station, Maryland, moved, he responded: “I have made it clear my policy is to freeze all TfL fares for the benefit of all Londoners and I have no plans for any further rezoning with the exception of the new Northern line extension to Battersea.”
However, the partial fare freeze does not benefit those who use Southeastern from Woolwich, who will still face fare hikes in January.
Woolwich commuters are not alone in seeking a change of zone – the Stratford change has sparked calls to move Bermondsey into zone 1, Seven Sisters into zone 2, Wembley Park into zone 3 and Dagenham East into zone 4.
The petition can be found at Change.org.