Dos and Don’ts

This is an old page.  The current version can be found here.

Touch In and Touch Out

The single most important rule with Oyster pay-as-you-go is to remember to touch in and touch out wherever you go.  That doesn’t apply on buses or trams, but is always required on tubes, national rail and DLR.  If you forget to do it then you will be charged a maximum fare for that journey and it won’t count towards any price cap for that day.

Register your card and Top-up online

When you get an oyster card it is highly recommended that you register it.  This can be done at the same time by filling in a form and handing it to the vendor.  Part of the registration process involves setting a password which can then be used to prove your identity when asking for a refund of any pay-as-you-go balance in the event of loss or damage to your card.  You’ll also need it to set up an account on the TfL website.  Using that account you can order top-up and optionally set up auto top-up.

Check your Journey History regularly

The oyster system is incredibly complex, and the addition of national rail has added yet more complexity on top.  There are different price caps for buses and trams, peak and off-peak travel as well as different routes for many journeys on national rail.  If you regularly check your journey history you can spot if any errors have been made.  You’ll also see whether you have been charged any maximum fares and can work out why.  If there is a good reason you can ask for an adjustment to be made.

331 thoughts on “Dos and Don’ts”

  1. Just found this site, courtesy of Barry Doe in “Rail” magazine; great site and loads of info – keep up the good work! With regards to “Dos and Don’ts – Touch In and Out” is it worth adding to always check the validator/ reader for a green light. Recently my wife didn’t tap out correctly at Shadwell and this resulted in an uncompleted journey.

  2. Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree, touching in and out without the reassurance of an opening gate can be problematic. It’s something I will be expanding on in the future when time allows.

  3. Whilst changing at Clapham Junction to Platform 16 to join northbound Milton Keynes Southern service I needed to tap in at the Reader indicated by an overhead sign on this Platform and found it not installed. Fortunately the Guard held the train at Kensington Olympia whilst I tapped in at the reader at the station entrance (my ‘paper’ ticket was valid to Kensington (O)) but had I not found this co-operative Guard, I should no doubt have been penalised at Watford Junction which acquired a bad reputation for itself when availablity of Oyster was extended to NR – insisting Oystercard Users should have used London Overground to travel from Euston NOT London Midland. A return journey from Watford High St. to London Euston could have been quicker via Watford Jn. but I was uncertain what effect it would have on my balance if I had tapped in at Watford Junction, as its not a ‘straightforward ‘ journey but is charged at a higher fare than ‘direct’ from Watford High St. Any opinions please?
    Thanks for a great Site.

  4. Hi Ian,

    Quite a few points there. First, at Clapham Junction the reader on platform 16 was there to enable the vast majority of users to join the Oyster system when it was only valid towards Kensington Olympia. Unfortunately they seem to have forgotten that some trains from the South West make their first stop within the Oyster area there and so it would still be useful to have readers sited on the platforms. I think there might still be one on platform 2 for the overground, but I’m not 100% sure.

    I can’t comment at all on the reputation or otherwise of Watford Junction, other than to say that it’s annoying that one of the inconsistencies in the peak vs off-peak charging is that London Midland insist on allowing off-peak fares when travelling against the peak flow between Euston and Watford Junction.

    Finally, I don’t know specifics, but would changing at Bushey provide an alternative to going via Watford Junction from Watford High Street? You are then not doubling back. If you wanted to go via the Junction then I think you should probably touch out and touch back in again there to make it two separate journeys. An encounter with an RPI on a non-stop train might otherwise lead to a penalty fare.

    Hope this helps.

  5. On the subject of touching in and touching out, what about when they open the gates because there’s a crowd? According to this (read the comments as well) then TFL institute what they call autocomplete by which the sensors possibly detect cards coming through, although this is disputed. PAYG users will get charged a maximum fare, but apparently if they touch in at the same station within 3 days will get an automatic refund. All this has not been made public & depends totally on people returning soon to the station they left from. Notice how Waterloo is staion where most overcharging has taken place.

  6. Hi Alun,

    Sorry for the delay approving this, the BBC link seems to have caused it to wind up in the spam queue!

    I’ve read that article and I must admit that it does seem quite confusing what is going on. I think that they’re saying that when you touch in within 3 days at the same station then it will auto complete any unfinished journeys which could have ended there. It does seem quite hit and miss and I’d certainly be scrutinising my journey history and statement with a fine tooth comb if that ever applied to me.

    If I get any more information I will be adding it to the site.

  7. If you read Comment 25 on the article it does go into more detail on Selective Auto Complete (SAC). Appears that they can put it on more than one adjacent station (in the same zone) to the one where you’ve been told to get out without touching, and that you must return to one of those stations the same day as your uncompleted journey was made in which case it will be automatically completed.

  8. Perhaps here is the place to mention “same station exit” which is what happens if you touch in and then touch out at the same station on PAYG. Basically, if under 2 minutes between touches a maximum Oyster fare which is repaid if you re-enter, 2-30 minutes a minimum Oyster fare, more than 30 minutes two maximum Oyster fares!
    TFL comment that this is to combat fare evasion, but I wonder how much cash they make on this?

    • Hi Alun,

      I’ll be writing further about this shortly, but thanks for mentioning it.

  9. i have finally login online to check my oyster usage. i had to call in a refund for yesterday’s delays in clapham junction and the very helpful staff got my profile up-to-date. when i he was explaining how it works he said that if i want to see my oyster history online i need to make a purchase online first, which was fine with me, i top-up my PAYG 3 times a week anyway. I have a registered oyster with young person’s railcard loaded onto it, but now when i was about to buy £5 PAYG credit it also added refundable card charge of £5 to my basket, £10 altogether! Why should I pay £5 extra? I have been using this oyster for 3 years and it’s registered and with another TFL product on it. Any help will be much appreciated. It used to be my student photocard btw, now using it as adult oyster

    • Hello again!

      £5 deposit + £5 PAYG balance looks to me like you are obtaining a new card. The deposit is paid when the card is issued and refunded when it is surrendered. Have you attached your existing card to your online account yet?

  10. yes it’s attached, i can actually select between the two oysters on the account. one of them is -0.40. is that the problem?

    • OK. If you only had one card before then it looks like you’ve just bought another one which will arrive in the post. A negative balance shouldn’t stop you ordering top-up. I’ve just gone in on my card. When you select “add/renew/topup ticket” it offers you the chance to “buy a new Oyster card” at the end of the first paragraph. I think you must have clicked on that. Further down that page is the selection to either add a travelcard or PAYG credit to the already selected card.

      If you don’t want the new card when it arrives then you’ll need to take it back to a tube station. You might be able to send it back, but I’ve not yet had to give up an Oyster card so I’m not sure of the options.

  11. you’re right! it didn’t associate the purchase with my existing oyster card. i tried it again and it just charged me for the top up and that’s all. thanks a lot 🙂

  12. My journey from Honor Oak Park to Kensington Olympia is £10.90 on a normal weekly rail ticket so long as I do not go via london.

    When using Oyster pre pay the daily journey was £6.50 again when I was not traveling via London.

    The advertised fare is from £1.50 on oyster. Yet every time I query this with TFL I never get a reply.

    It is a joke that such a discrepancy exists on these fares.

    • Hi Bob,

      I think I know what is happening here. Are you looking at your journey history? When you touch in on PAYG (pre-pay) the system makes a deduction. This is £6.50 in the peak hours and £4.40 off-peak. When you touch out it will credit back the required amount which in your case will be £4.60 peak and £2.90 off-peak so that you end up being charged £1.90 peak or £1.50 off-peak. The journey history screen shows every deduction and credit separately which can often cause confusion.

      However, if what you are saying is that you are actually being charged £6.50 then that means that you are not touching in and out correctly. £6.50 is the incomplete journey charge in the peak hours and is deducted when you touch in, or when you touch out without having touched in. I don’t know what the situation is with gates at your two stations. I do know that Kensington Olympia has a little complication in that it has pink route validators on the platforms. These should only be used when interchanging at Kensington Olympia. They will not register touch in or touch out.

      I hope this helps.

  13. Mike, I regularly travel Balham LU to Harrow on the Hill NR via Marylebone (off peak). Oyster Card Fare = £2.70 I have a company season M-ticket which carries me from Harrow on the Hill to Aylesbury. Two weeks ago there was no Victoria or Metropolitan line. I traveled Balham to Marylebone LU expecting to join the NR link up to Harrow on the Hill, there was no Chiltern Line. I was advised on the concourse to rejoin the Bakerloo Line travel on to Paddington and take the alternative Chiltern Line train running from Platform 13, change at Beaconsfield, join a replacement bus service to Amersham and rejoin the existing Chiltern Line train to Aylesbury. My statement looks like this: Balham (In) -£4.40 Marylebone (Exit) +£1.90; Marylebone (In) -£4.40 Paddington (Exit) +£2.50; Paddington (In) -£2.50; Amersham (In) -£4.40: A total fare of £11.30 on my Oyster Card for a £2.70 journey. Where do I start ? Thanks !

    • Hi DuCaneDeco,

      It looks horrific, but ultimately explainable. You ended a journey at Marylebone and started a new one there. This was carried on at Paddington, but because you took too long to get to Amersham it recorded two incomplete journeys. You could have saved the last £4.40 being deducted by insisting to be let into Amersham with your M-ticket, which was what you should have been using by that point. Anyway, if you call the helpdesk and explain what you had to do they will arrange a refund of the overcharge. They may well offer a bit extra for the phone call, but if they don’t then ask yourself. I’m not really sure what more you could have done differently, this is just one of those situations where it would be impossible for the Oyster system to work out what you were trying to do.

  14. Just to confirm as it all seems unclear:

    With Oyster Travelcards is it OK to not tuochin and out all the time, as long as the station zones you do touch on are within the travelcard zones?


    • Hi Natalie,

      The Oyster rules say that you should always touch in and touch out. However, there is no penalty for forgetting to do so as long as you are within your zones. My personal advice would be to always touch in, unless it is impossible, because then you are covered if for some reason you change your plans and go outside your zones. At the end of the journey if there are no gates then it’s less of a problem if you don’t touch out, unless you started the journey outside your zones.

      Hope that helps.

  15. Hey, great site with wealth of information. Perhaps you can help with an ‘overground’ route question I have. I live at Gospel Oak and work in Croydon.

    Journey starting at 7:45 to 8:43 gospel oak to East Croydon costs £2.90

    Journey starting at 17:50 to 19:06 West Croydon to Gospel Oak costs £4.10. This is more odd as it’s all overground.

    That’s the same number of zones. I have been told that there is no transfer point at clapham. 

    How am I meant to confirm my Journey is just zone 2-5? Jump off and hit the transfer on one the pink points between clapham and gospel oak, hopeful getting back on same train.

    Can you please explain this difference? London overground staff or southern have not been any help. Although i have sent them an email. 

    Or let me know what I can do to reduce my travel costs? 

    Could there be some flaw in how you calculate fares from west 

    Thanks again

    • Hi Tim,

      That’s an interesting anomaly. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you describe the journey home as “all overground”, but not in the way you intended. When deciding the default route TfL take various factors into consideration including journey time and availability of direct trains and/or the fewest number of changes. With East Croydon it routes you via Clapham Junction because of the large number of fast trains from there to East Croydon. With West Croydon it decides that the shorter journey will be by London Overground to Highbury & Islington and then on to Gospel Oak. Thanks to Shoreditch High Street that becomes a zone 1-5 journey.

      In the short term the only way to reduce your travel costs is to use East Croydon. Longer term you could try writing to/emailing the Oyster helpdesk asking them to consider adding pink validators at Clapham Junction and an alternative route for that journey.

  16. I was travelling from Greenwich (745pm train) to London Bridge yesterday. I had to catch a train from London Bridge to Sittingbourne on the southeastern services. However, when crossing the platforms and using the footbridge, I did not see any machines for me to tap out ( I have tapped in in Greenwich Station to use the overground).
    What would happen when I next use my oyster again and how much would the penalty fare be? is there anyway for me to tap out ‘electronically’ using tfl website and oyster card ref number?


    • Hi Sue,

      There are no validators on the footbridge at London Bridge. You would have needed to go down the subway at the London end of the platforms. As it was off-peak you will have been charged £4.40 on touch in. Next time you use your Oyster it will work as usual. There is no way to touch out other than at the station where you end your journey. If you had touched out at London Bridge it would have refunded £2.70 so that the overall charge was £1.70.

      Hope that helps.

  17. Hiya Mike, Great job.

    Am lovely londoner from Streatham. On a recent night out I was coming home from Stanmore and usually i take the tube to brixton and the bus home from there. But then i thought why not change at london bridge and take the train straight home.

    So on my pAYG oyster i tap in at stanmore and get to london brigde without realising i had to tap out at london bridge walk up tp the national rail and then tap in again at london bridge for the train to streatham.

    I thik I was charged twice for going thru zone1. What can I do? I sthere a way to avoide thsi in future?

    • Hi Anna,

      You haven’t been charged twice, but you have suffered from the premium charged when you mix National Rail and TfL Rail on a journey that includes zone 1. When you go to Brixton it is all Underground, but as soon as you join NR at London Bridge it adds another £1.10 off-peak. Unfortunately there is no way around this on that journey.

  18. aaargh thanks Mike. Can I call Oyster Helpline to ge a refund if I explain my route perhaps.

    If not I guess I’ll just stick to underground and bus next time.

    • Not worth trying to be honest. You’ve paid the correct fare for the route you actually took that day. Chalk it up to experience.

  19. Just a quick query, If i am travelling from Surbiton to Shepherds Bush via Clapham Junction, Will I need to tap in and out for each train i get?
    (National Rail Surbiton to CJ and Overground from CJ to SB)

  20. Thanks Mike!
    Not sure if i was just being stupid but i couldn’t seem to find the answer on TFL nor their helpline, they told me i had to check in and out twice because of the OSI but i knew i didn’t have to leave CJ station!

    • Oh dear. I’m disappointed that the helpline should suggest that there’s an OSI at Clapham Junction. There isn’t.

  21. I am making a journey from Hove to Wembley Central during the day. It works out cheaper for me to get a ticket from Hove to Clapham Junction, then to use the Southern train to wembley central using my oyster card. Is there a oyster card reader on the platform at CJ as i will only be changing platforms and not exiting the station.

    • Hi Rina,

      There used to be a reader on platform 2 (for Overground trains to Willesden J/Stratford) but I’m not sure if it still works. There isn’t one on the platforms used by Southern trains, but as it’s at the other end of the station you aren’t far from the eastern exit gates. I’d suggest changing platforms via the subway towards the London end of the platform as that leads to the exit. The footbridge at the other end of the platforms is internal to the station only.

      Hope that helps.

  22. Hi

    This is a really great site!

    I have a simple question.

    I have an annual 1-3 travel card loaded onto a oystercard. I get this every year – runs out in October.

    My partner uses public transport not that often, gets a weekly travel card or pay as you go when he does.

    I am taking three weeks to go to Europe to stay with family. He is staying at home.

    Is he able to use my card when I am away- and what happens if he does.

    It’s a full price annual travel card. Neither of us apply for or would get, any discounts.



    • Hi Shubi,

      No, an Oyster card with a travelcard on it is only for use by the one person.

      Also, if you have an annual travelcard then you are eligible for the Network Gold Card discount. This will give you 1/3 off all off-peak fares and the off-peak cap when travelling outside your zones. Just take your card and the gold record card that you should have received at the time of purchase to any Underground station and ask them to make sure that the discount has been added. The gold record card also entitles you to similar discounts on any National Rail services in the Network South East area.

  23. Guys, i did something really stupid this morning.

    My 9 month old son has been ill for a couple of weeks now and last night was a shocker, 2 hours sleep and the rest spent nursing a screaming child.

    I got the early train to Waterloo this morning and jumped on the 521 bus to Holborn.

    When waiting for the bus i called my wife to see how my son was doing and was still talking to her when i got on the bus and guess what…forgot to touch in.

    The inspector was a decent guy and said that i should argue my case when i receive my letter but i am slightly concerned that he said i may have to go tp Court.

    i have forgotten once before a few months ago and paid the £25 fine on the spot.

    Does anyone have an idea what may happen, will TFL be reasonably understanding about the problems with my son, i suspect not as i bet it is a well used excuse, despite being true in this circumstance.

    Thanks for any help


    • Hi Alastair,

      It is likely that the letter will ask for your side of the story. If I were you I would seek to get two important pieces of evidence while you wait for it to arrive. Firstly request a statement of your Oyster usage from the helpdesk. This should show what your usual journey pattern is and hopefully will show you always touch in on the bus. Even if this was an irregular journey it will still show you touching in and out on the train which will go with the second thing, an itemised list of calls from your mobile phone. If you have consulted a doctor recently and they are willing to corroborate the fact that your son is unwell then that could be helpful, though I wouldn’t want to pay for such a letter at this stage.

      In your reply to TfL I would explain exactly what happened and apologise sincerely for making a mistake. Explain that you don’t want to take up any more of their time and would welcome the chance to settle out of court. I would hope that given all the circumstances they will be sympathetic. The most important things to remember are honesty and contrition.

      I hope that helps.

  24. Thanks for your comments Mike,

    I buy my train ticket on a daily basis as i don’t work in London every day and usually walk from Waterloo so my Oyster records will not show checking in every day.

    I took the bus this morning as i wanted to get into the office early.

    With respect to phone records i will be able to obatin these.

    My son has an appointment with the doctors tomorrow morning so i will ensure that we get a copy of the appointment and we had to take him to hospitalon Saturday which again can be proven.

    I am unable to prove that he was ill last night though.

    I am happy to pay the fine as ultimately i was in the wrong and forgot to touch in, however i am concerned that i may have to got to Court as a criminal record would be a major problem as i am a Chartered Accountant and Insolvency Practicioner and my licencing body will have huge issues.

    Do all cases such as this go to Court? TFL’s charter states that people going to Court are those who deliberately avoid payment of fares.

    Many thanks for any guidance

    • Hi Alastair,

      My experience suggests that most people who put their hands up straight away and apologise will not go anywhere near court. I don’t know how much weight will be applied to the fact that you forgot before, but if this is really only the second occasion then I’d hope that an out of court settlement can still be achieved. It can be in both parties interests to settle out of court because they avoid many of the costs associated with going to court and can charge you more, but still less than you would pay to the court. Two close medical appointments suggest one serious problem rather than two unrelated ones, so I don’t think you need to actually prove he was ill last night. At the very least I would hope that your situation would have a fair chance of eliciting a sympathetic response from a magistrate, which might persuade them that it’s better dealt with outside court.

  25. Hi Mike,
    I have an 18+ oyster card and travel in 3 days a week, twice in peak hours and once off peak. When I use the TFL fare finder tool, it shows that Tolworth to Elephant and Castle should cost £3.10 – does this ignore the fact that I travel through waterloo? I get charged £4.90 for Tolworth to Waterloo and £1.40 for Waterloo to Elephant and Castle, which seems like a crazy amount…

    • Hi Rachel,

      The route to Elephant & Castle is an odd one. If you click the alternative fares button on the fare finder you will see the other routes that take you via zone 1. You are actually being charged £4.50 for Tolworth to Waterloo then another £1.40 to take the overall fare up to £5.90. To get the £3.10 fare you need to avoid zone 1. There seem to be two ways of doing this, either change at Wimbledon onto an FCC train to Elephant & Castle NR, or change at Vauxhall and take the Victoria line to Stockwell and the Northern line to Elephant & Castle LU. Both Vauxhall and Elephant & Castle are dual zoned both 1 and 2, but if you travel from the south you are not charged the zone 1 fare.

      Hope that helps,


  26. Here seems to be an inconsistency with my Oyster card and how it is used, and I am having difficulty getting an anwser.
    I travelled from Westcombe Park to London and all around for the day (15/3). I made sure that I got on after 9.30 am. I started the day with (I think) Stg 8.85. After travelling around all day, I touched on at Waterloo East at around 4.20 pm and travelled to Blackheath. Had a beer there and went to get on the 108 bus to Westcombe Park, but was denied entry as I did not have enough on my Oyster card. This was a surprise as I expected that my cap for the day would be Stg 7.70. I put some more money on (balance was – Stg 1.75) and got home.
    I checked the Oyster web-site and it says that “If you make lots of pay as you go journeys in one day, we’ll make sure you never pay more than the price of an equivalent Day Travelcard*.” If I buy a paper Day Travelcard for Stg 7.70, then I can get anywhere and get back anytime that evening. It seems that I was charged the Peak Cap of Stg 10.60 rather than the Off-Peak Cap of Stg 7.70. I know that there is a Peak time of 4-7 pm, but thought that the cap would be Stg 7.70 based on the statement above.
    So, it is better to buy a paper day travelcard for travel such as above rather than use my Oyster card?

    • Hi Pat,

      From what you’ve said I would say that you should have only been charged an off-peak cap. There are two likely scenarios here. Firstly, you said you got on after 0930, but did you touch in at the reader/gate after 0930? It’s the touch in time that is key. However, the fact you said that you travelled around all day suggests that this isn’t the problem because you’d probably have been refused entry earlier. Yes, the off-peak cap applies all afternoon, so travelling between 4 and 7 isn’t the problem. Which leaves me thinking that you didn’t touch in at Waterloo East or out at Blackheath properly on your final rail journey. Either way that would have added £6.90 to your charges and not have counted towards the cap.

      If you have an online account then I suggest you check your journey history later today (16th). When you see what has happened, call the helpdesk and explain the problem and see if they’ll credit back the overcharge.

      Hope that helps.

  27. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the very prompt reply…impressive. We are fairly sure that we touched on properly at Waterloo East (had to go back to find it) and at Blackheath. We did not have online accounts to definitely say what we did, but we have now set them up for the future. At least you have made us do that, tks. Fantastic site. Pat

    • Hi Pat,

      Glad you’ve now got online accounts, they do make things easier. You can still call the helpdesk and say you think you were overcharged yesterday. They can see the history and work out where it went wrong. They can arrange for a credit to be added back to the card next time you touch in or out at a particular station.

  28. Can anyone tell me where the Oyster touch-in points are at Clapham Jct. When I changed there recently I had to run along to Plat 1 and then back again to where I wanted to get on. Thx – Goldfish

    • Hi Goldfish,

      As far as I know the only validator is on platform 1, along with the gatelines of course.

  29. Thanks for your reply Mike. Surely it would make sense to have them on all platforms for the benefit of those passengers who come in from outside the Oyster zone and want to change on to Oyster ?.

    • I agree, Goldfish. Unfortunately I think that the cost of providing that equipment is probably the reason why it won’t happen.

  30. Paper season ticket gets me to Clapham. If I want to go onwards as a one off journey later today, using Oyster, to Shepherds Bush, do I just go to Platform 1 and touch in there to start the journey? TIA.

  31. I haven’t been over there for a while so I don’t know if its still there, but there was a validator on P17 at Clapham Junction by the steps to the footbridge.

  32. Hi Mike,
    Was hoping you may be able to help. I am going to be travelling from Epsom to Zone 3 for work and will probably get a paper monthly ticket. However, if I go into central london for example to Waterloo after work on my Oyster and then travel back to Epsom – I will use my Oyster to get me through the gates at Waterloo, but only in effect to zone 3 when I will already have the monthly ticket. How do I touch out my Oyster when I reach zone 3 if I don’t get off the train as it is a direct service? Annoylingly the Oyster does not go as far as Epsom…!
    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Unfortunately there is nothing you can do. My best suggestion is to get the first train to Wimbledon and hope it isn’t an Epsom one. That should give you enough time to touch out on the overbridge and return to the platform for your train.

  33. Hi Mike,

    Just like everyone else have to say brilliant website I’ve just been browsing for some answers to my query and yours has been most helpful!

    I have recently bought my first ever oyster card I don’t normally travel around london only in and out to work, but today I wanted to travel to Stratford then get on the tube to Westham to get home, I tapped in and out at all the stops except for my final tap out at West Ham it completely skipped my mind, I’ve just returned home and my parents have said I’ll be charged the remainder of the money on my card which was around £7 I think after my other stops before as it is PAYG is this correct is this the maximum far you mention above? Is there any way I can tell this, I won’t be using it for a long while so I don’t know how I can tell?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Terry,

      Don’t panic. Stratford to West Ham is a one zone journey which allows 80 minutes after 1900. Can you get back to West Ham before 80 minutes has elapsed since touch in at Stratford? If yes, you can still touch out and all will be well. If no, you’ll have to contact the helpdesk who should take pity and arrange a refund. If you’re not going to use the card for a long time they can transfer it to a bank instead of refunding it to the card.

      As to what you’ve been charged, it shouldn’t be as much as £7. Off-peak the usual maximum fare is £4.60. That will be adjusted if you touch out down to the fare for the journey (£1.40 I think). If you haven’t touched out in time you will only be £3.20 out of pocket. However, if you try to touch out too late (more than 80 minutes after touch in) it will deduct another £4.60 and start a new unfinished journey, so if you’re not sure just call the helpdesk tomorrow.

      Hope that helps.

  34. Hello, Mike. Your site is an excellent resource – a lot more helpful than TfL. Many thanks for providing it.

    A quick query, if I may, about travelling between the adjacent stations of Slade Green and Crayford in Kent: I believe that it’s perfectly legitimate to use my Oyster card in PAYG or travelcard mode for this journey. But, whenever there is no direct service – as there often isn’t – would I breaking the rules and liable for a penalty fare etc by going one stop to Dartford (outside the zone 6 boundary), changing trains and coming back one stop to Crayford?

    All the best,

    • Hi Neil,

      This is one of my personal bugbears as well. Southeastern say that Oyster is not valid via Dartford. The only olive branch I can offer is that if staff say that you can travel via Dartford because a rounder service is cancelled then you obviously can in that instance. At the moment I would not risk it in other circumstances because I have twice encountered RPIs on the bridge at Dartford. However, if Boris gets his way and SE metro services transfer to London Overground then I’d imagine that there won’t be a problem anymore.

  35. Hiya,

    I would like to know, my journey is from Gidea Park and I normally change in Stratford for my next journey on the tube typically the central line. Do I need to touch my card when I am in Stratford? Or can i just quickly hope on to Central line and touch out at my last stop? Many thanks.

    • Hi Gevany,

      For that journey there is no need to touch at Stratford. In fact, if you did touch there you might be giving yourself problems if stopped by an RPI on the second leg of the journey.

  36. How much cost journey from Woolwich Arsenal (DLR, zone 4) to Camden road (overground station, zone 2) on Sundays by Oyster PAYG??? I was charged
    I was charged 2.60.. Is it correct?

    • Hi Mika,

      There are three fares from Woolwich Arsenal to Camden Road. £2.60 is the default fare and assumes travel via DLR to Shadwell then Overground to Highbury and on to Camden Road. Shoredutch High Street is in zone 1 which is why this fare is so high. A cheaper fare is available at £1.40 by travelling via Stratford. To get the cheaper fare you need to touch on the pink reader at Stratford (Overground platforms). There is also a £3.70 fare if you travel via London Bridge on National Rail.

  37. Thanks for quick reply! If you look at the map – the fastest and easiest way from Woolwich Arsenak to Camden road IS VIA Stratford. There must not be different options! That was my route as well.
    Why of 3 options I should choose the worst??? And that’s why I admit – I am wrongly charged.
    If I go other ways you mentioned, I need to touch out – there are gates!! 2nd confirmation that Oyster made mistake.

    • There is another default journey which doesn’t have gates. Woolwich Arsenal – New Cross – Highbury – Camden Road. Admitedly I’d never think of doing that journey, but it’s probably the same from many Southeastern stations to North London Line stations where there wouldn’t be much difference between using the DLR from Lewisham or ELL from New Cross.

      By the way, just because it’s the cheapest doesn’t mean it’s the worst, just that it avoids zone 1 and/or uses the fewest zones.

  38. 🙂
    The best journey is fastest and most logical.
    Oyster counts everything in wrong way or most expensive way, or realy not understandable way. Exept normal and logical! That hurts! It’s not the first time.
    And useless staff at stations…: call to clients’ service. No comments….

  39. Hello Mike, I used my oyster card to take the train from New Malden to Epsom, however there is no touch out machine to process completely. The train staff told me to buy a stander train ticket and claim my money with the train ticket number . I’m not sure how to do? go to which website to claim? thank you

    • Hi Molly,

      Sorry for the delay replying. Epsom is outside the Oyster area and thus you cannot use Oyster to travel there. What I think they are suggesting is to try and get back the entry charge which was levied at New Malden and not matched at Epsom. I suggest you call the Oyster helpline and see if they will help.

  40. Hi Mike,

    I got a weekly pass for Zone 1 & 2 on 8th Sep. While toping up the card, I cancelled the first transaction. The top up happened after the second transaction. However, I was charged twice. Could you please let me know if the cancelled transaction would automatically refunded or would I have to fill the refund form?

    • Hi Pankaj,

      It may be automatically cancelled. If it hasn’t been in a couple of days then contact the helpdesk.

  41. Hi Mike,

    is there any other way of reclaiming a refund for a Network Rail error?? I went to two of their offices and both times was told it had to be dealt with by London Underground. London Underground told me it was Network Rail’s problem.

    I returned to the Network Rail office who told me to call the 0845 number on the reverse of the card. Not having a BT landline this seems a somewhat dubious and illogical method to call a premium rate line to try to rectify a £4.60 overcharge.

    Any advice??

    • 0845 is NOT premium rate. You don’t say what the problem is, but if you’ve had a maximum fare because disruption caused you to exceed the maximum journey time then the helpdesk is who you need to contact. You can also try filling in the form on the Oyster website but that sometimes takes a while to be actioned. You must get the issue resolved before 8 weeks is up because then the history disappears from the database.

  42. Dear Mike
    Thanks for this website first thing. Just wondering can i use your knowledge. I caught the first captial connect and had 3.50 on oyster. Caught the 7.44am train and got to elephant and castle but there was no where i see where i can touch out my Oyster card and had to carry my journey to Clapham common. Thought it be quicker but when i touch in at elephant and castle it said seek assistant, i was chagred over £7 plus another £1.50 between Elephant and Clapham Common. Is there anything i can do to get some of my refund back

    • Hi Neil,

      Call the helpdesk and explain what happened. They should sort out a refund in this case. For the future, Elephant and Castle NR has validators near the exits.

  43. Hi,

    I travel 3 days a week from Slough to Uxbridge, however each ticket costs £6.40!

    Please note that I am only 16 years old, so is there a scheme available for me as I am a student.
    Also I take route 58 by Firstgroup.

    So is the Oyster card applicable to my journey or if not, what buses would I need to take in order to benefit from the Oyster scheme.
    Any help will be much appreciated!

    Thank You.

    • Hi,

      Slough is outside the Oyster area for rail services. The only way you could make the journey using Oyster is to take the 81 bus to Hounslow West then the tube to Uxbridge changing at Acton Town.

  44. Mike

    The faster journey would be to change buses from the 81 to 222 at the Heathrow North / Sipson Road junction.

  45. Hi,

    I recently forgot to touch-out my Oyster card at DLR/City airport (before flying out to my home country). Do I need to do anything before using it next time when coming to London? Or, my card just going to be charged maximum fare for that day when I forgot to touch-out?

    Thanks for some advise.


    • Hi Thierry,

      You will just have been charged a maximum fare. The card will be fine as long as it doesn’t have a negative balance, and if it does you only need to top it up to clear that.

  46. Hi Mike,
    Thanks a lot for this site and the help you’ve provided in the comments.
    I recently got caught on the tube using another person’s 18+ oyster card and was wondering how often you hear about similar cases being settled out of court? This is my first offence and I have ordered a journey statement for my own (expired) 18+ card for which I regularly top up to support the fact that this incident was a one-off, and an uncharacteristic error of judgement.

    • Hi Nate,

      In my experience, a genuine one-off error when accompanied by a suitably apologetic letter and offering to settle with as little fuss as possible will usually succeed in an out of court settlement. It can’t be guaranteed though. It must also be stressed that any further transgression is unlikely to be looked on so leniently.

      In your particular case the slight complication is that two people are involved in wrong-doing. However, I would still suggest a remorseful letter accepting responsibility and promising to have learned your lessons.

      Hope this helps.

  47. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge about Oyster as they are very useful and have answered many of the questions that I have with using the Oyster card!!
    I have one specific question about my journey. Basically I take the Overground from Watford High Street to Euston via Watford Junction. Do I need to touch in again when at Watford Junction? I checked on the National Rail website and this is the route that is shown when I travel at 8am from Watford High Street to Euston, so I presume this is the ‘permissible route’? So I would only have to pay for travelling from Z8 to Z1? I just don’t want to get caught out.

    • Hi Kayleigh,

      I have been assured from a number of sources that it is not possible to be off-route when using Oyster within the constraints of the Oyster area and the maximum journey times. Therefore I believe that your route is valid and would only cost a Z8-Z1 charge.

      Hope that helps.

  48. Thanks for the quick response and thanks so much for clearing that up for me, Mike. Keep up the great site!

  49. Hi Mike,

    In regards to your last answer to Kayleigh:

    Suppose I have a Z1-2 travelcard. I touch in at Hammersmith, travel to Rayners Lane on the Piccadilly line, then take the Metropolitan line down to Baker St. This is doable within the maximum 100 minutes and should result in no charge to the Oyster.

    If an RPI got on at Wembley Park and checked my Oyster, what would the outcome be if:
    a) I had £0 PAYG
    b) I had £2.20 PAYG?
    How about if the RPI got on at Finchley Road (within the zones of my travelcard) and was unable to prove that I had not just boarded the train, perhaps from the Jubilee line?

    • Hi John,

      If you had no PAYG balance then there might be an issue if checked way outside your zones. I would advise always having enough for the worst case journey if travelling temporarily outside your zones in case you suddenly need to change plans. Otherwise I don’t think there would be an issue. At the end of the day you are making a journey from A to B and as long as you do it quickly enough, Oyster doesn’t really care which route you take.

  50. Hi Mike,

    I wondered if you could explain some charges to me.

    I travel form Streatham Common to Cutty Sark 3 times a week for Uni and I use Oyster PAYG.

    My normal route is:
    Streatham Common NR – Balham NR (touch in at Streatham Common and out at Balham NR)
    Balham LU – Bank LU (touch in at Balham LU)
    Bank DLR – Cutty Sark DLR (touch out at Cutty Sark; no touch at Bank)

    Cost: £2 at peak times, £1.60 at off-peak times, as the single fare finder says (BUT £3.10 when I do the return journey leaving at 5-6pm on Fridays for some reason.)

    Could you explain why it’s £3.10 on those Friday evening journeys.

    Also, if I want to take this route it costs me £5.40:
    Streatham Common NR – Balham NR (touch in at Streatham Common and out at Balham NR)
    Balham LU – London Bridge LU (touch in at Balham LU)
    London Bridge LU – Canary Wharf LU (touch out at Canary Wharf LU)
    Heron Quays DLR – Cutty Sark DLR (touch in at Heron Quays and out at Cutty Sark)

    Can you explain why?

    Finally I took this journey today between around 12:30-1:40pm and it cost me £2 when the single fare finder says that journeys from Cutty Sark to Streatham off-peak cost £1.60:
    Cutty Sark DLR – Bank DLR (touch in at Cutty Sark)
    Bank LU – Elephant & Castle LU (touch out at E&C LU)
    Elephant & Castle NR – Streatham NR (touch in at E&C NR and out at Streatham NR)

    I would appreciate your explanation, if you could explain.

    PS. I’m using the 18+Student Oyster card for these journeys

    • Hi Isaac,

      I can explain all of those prices except the £5.40 which I think should be £3.40 or £4.40. In a nutshell, you are using an unexpected route to make the journey and suffering from the fact that the Oyster system doesn’t refund any charges applied mid journey.

      Firstly, the default route for your journey is Streatham Common to Peckham Rye then Lewisham then DLR to Cutty Sark. That is a zone 2-3 journey which is why it is so reasonably priced. There are no alternative fares programmed, which I find strange, so when multi touch journeys are joined together by OSIs the system will try to apply the same fare at the end. But, if an intermediate touch out has levied a higher fare then this will not be reduced.

      So, Streatham Common to Balham is a zone 3 NR journey (£1.60/£1.40) and touch out at Cutty Sark converts it to a zone 2-3 Mixed journey as per the single fare finder. The other way round, Cutty Sark to Balham LU is a zone 1-3 TfL journey (£3.10/£2.60) and touch out at Streatham Common will not reduce that even though the system wants to only charge the zone 2-3 Mixed journey. I’m not sure why you are only seeing this on Friday evenings.

      On your second route you are charged a zone 1-3 Mixed journey on touch out at Canary Wharf LU (£4.40/£3.40). Again when you continue to Cutty Sark it will not reduce this. And on the third route, Cutty Sark to Elephant & Castle LU is a zone 1-2 TfL journey (£2.60/£2.00) which also won’t be reduced at Streatham.

      I hope this helps.

  51. Thanks for that.

    I’m wondering how much these journeys would be would be:

    Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR
    Canary Wharf LU – London Bridge LU
    London Bridge LU – Elephant & Castle LU
    Elephant & Castle NR – Streatham NR


    Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR
    Canary Wharf LU – Westminster LU
    Westminster LU – Victoria LU
    Victoria NR – Streatham Common NR

    and, finally

    Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR
    Canary Wharf LU – Waterloo LU
    Waterloo NR – Clapham Junction NR
    Clapham Junction NR – Streatham Common NR

    • This is what I think will happen:

      Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR ………..£1.50/£1.40
      Canary Wharf LU – London Bridge LU
      London Bridge LU – Elephant & Castle LU ….£2.60/£2.00
      Elephant & Castle NR – Streatham NR ……..£2.60/£2.00

      Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR ………..£1.50/£1.40
      Canary Wharf LU – Westminster LU
      Westminster LU – Victoria LU ……………£2.60/£2.00
      Victoria NR – Streatham Common NR ……….£2.60/£2.00

      Cutty Sark DLR – Heron Quays DLR ………..£1.50/£1.40
      Canary Wharf LU – Waterloo LU …………..£2.60/£2.00
      Waterloo NR – Clapham Junction NR
      Clapham Junction NR – Streatham Common NR ..£2.60/£2.00

      By the way, I expect some changes when the ELL extension to Clapham Junction opens in December. Your best route then may well be Cutty Sark –> Heron Quays –> Canary Wharf –> Canada Water –> Peckham Rye –> Streatham (Common). As long as you touch the pink validator at Canada Water it will be £2.00/£1.60.

  52. Hello Mike, i have a question.. if i have monthly oyster card (zone 1-3), and if i always travel within that zone then every time i will travel do i need to touch and touch out even though there is no gate.. for example i am travelling to forest gate to cutty shark dlr and i have zone 1-3 monthly ticket, if i do not touch in from manor park then, would that be a problem, the reason i dont like to touch in because i might kept my oyster inside my bag and if i search for it then i might be late to catch my train on time as i am in hurry…

    am i bound to touch in or out my monthly oyster (zone 1-3) card from manor park if i am in hurry?

    • Hi Sabbir,

      If your journey is fully covered by a travelcard season then there is no penalty for not touching in or out. There would be problems if you travel beyond your zones and/or your card is checked when outside your zones. If you intend going beyond your zones then you must touch in and out, even when in your zones.

  53. 0845 number ARE charged at premium rates when called from a mobile. If you want a ‘real’ number for oyster it is 0207 222 5600

    • Thanks Bruce,

      Though that number is the TfL main switchboard and only works M-F office hours.

  54. Hi Mike,

    Not sure if this is the right section…but 2 questions please:

    1) if I use a bus on my oyster, using PAYG credit, and then later that same day I buy a travelcard, will I get that earlier bus fare refunded? (I think that happened to me…but not sure!)

    2) if I buy a travelcard online, will I be charged for the bus fare to the station or will it recognise that I have a travelcard on there? Even though it’s not activated I think until I touch in at the station.

    I’ve never done it before but from what I can tell the travelcard isn’t activated until I touch in at the station…but I’m sure you know more!

    • Hi Rana,

      My understanding is that the system will not refund charges already made, so in both cases I would expect the bus fare to remain. However, you can pick up a travelcard a few days early (eg before the previous one runs out) and it will automatically take effect from 0430 on the first day of validity.

      Hope that helps.

  55. hi, my olstyer card is normally 3.60 but past few months its only been taking 90p

    • Do you want the good news or the bad news. Your card has acquired a staff discount code which is giving you 3/4 off fares. If you are checked by an RPI and unable to show a valid staff entitlement card you may be in quite a bit of trouble. In your situation I would take it to an Underground station and innocently query why the fares are so low. It might help if you know what you did to get this discount. Did a shop try to add a bus pass, travelcard or railcard discount? It’s possible they selected the wrong code/field in error.

  56. Hi Mike

    I purchased an Oyster card last year, and I wanted to register the card only to find out it already has been registered and because I didn’t set up any password of any kind, I was told that I had to re-register my card.

    I did just that this morning at my local Oyster Ticket Stop, I filled out the registration form, and I finally decided on a password. I come home to purchase a travelcard online, only for my password to be rejected. I rang up the helpdesk and I was told the details normally get updated within a few hours. Pray tell me, does it take 12 hours to update the details?

    Can you please tell me from your experience whether my cards details were accepted, or not. And if not, do I have to re-register yet again?




    • Hi Val,

      I’m not au-fait with the registration process, although I do remember having trouble registering a shop bought card a few years ago. The password is stored on the card immediately, but it may well have to wait for a preiodic upload to the central database before the new password is recognised online. If that only happens at close of business then it may take a day. I would expect it to be updated by the morning.

  57. I touch in at Eden Park at 0615 each morning and touch out at approximately 0700 at London Cannon Street. Will I be charged peak fare or off peak. Thanks for your time. Pat

  58. Hi Mike,

    I stupidly wasn’t concentrating on route home tonight and tapped my Oyster card in at kings cross when I was supposed to use my paper travel card. I told one of the station guards immediately and he said there was nothing I could do I would just be charged the maximum fayre. I am now worried as was catching a train to st neots so I still haven’t touched my Oyster card back out since tapping out at kings cross and now unsure of what to do and what I will be charged. What is the best thing to do regarding tapping back out?

    Best wishes

    • Hi Keely,

      Don’t worry!

      You will be charged £7.20 (assuming it was after 4pm). You can’t now do anything as the maximum journey time from Kings Cross has been passed. If you have an online account then you should be offered the chance to apply for a refund sometime in the next couple of days. Otherwise you can phone the Oyster helpline and they should arrange a refund. In both cases you’ll need to specify a station to pick up the refund from as part of a journey. If you are not planning to use the Oyster in the near future then they may offer to send the refund dircet to a bank.

      I have to admit to being slightly puzzled why you have an Oyster if you also have a paper travelcard. Assuming the travelcard is from St Neots to Zones 1-6 then there is very little that you can use the Oyster for which isn’t already covered by the travelcard.

      However, there is even better news potentially. St Neots to London Zones 1-6 costs £142.40/week. St Neots to London Zones 4-6 costs £99.40/week and a Zones 1-3 travelcard costs £35.60/week making a total of £135.00. Other lengths of season ticket will be similarly priced as they all use the weekly price as a base. Don’t be put off by anyone saying that there’s a gap between zones 3 and 4 because there definitely isn’t. Because both tickets are zonal the train doesn’t have to stop anywhere specific. The only thing you have to remember is which ticket to use in which zones. The zones 1-3 one can go on your Oyster for convenience using buses and tubes while you’ll need the paper one for anything from zone 4 outwards.

      Hope that helps.

  59. On the subject of checking journey history, worth noting that tfl will email you your journey history now. You have to set the service up on your account and can choose how often you want the mail.

  60. Hi Mike,

    if I had a zone 1 oyster travel card and travelled within my zones and forgot to touch out one day.
    when I touch in/out the next day would I get charged?

    • Hi Sunny,

      Firstly you can only have travelcards for at lewast two zones. However, there is no penalty for not touching in or out providing travel is entirely within the zones of the travelcard.

  61. Hi Mike,

    follow up question to that.
    say I don’t touch out on my travel-card and the next day don’t touch in as well.
    will I be charged when I get to the end of my journey.

  62. Hi Mike,

    I ‘ve just found this wonderful site! I’m quite new to London and i’m wondering if you can offer me some advice. I will be travelling from seven sisters to Welwyn Garden City via Finsbury park Monday to Friday. What would be the most cost effective way of doing this?


    • Hi Catherine,

      A Welwyn Garden City to London zones 2-6 season would be the cheapest option for that journey in the peak hours. You could save a little by changing at Harringay and walking to Harringay Green Lanes then on to South Tottenham as that cuts out zone 2.

  63. Hey, When changing at Stratford from DLR to Central line eastbound, do i need to tap out when leaving DLR? I ask because at bank you don’t need to tap out when transferring to Central line. Thanks.

    • Hi Bobby,

      No you don’t need to touch out. The signage at that location leaves a lot to be desired.

  64. Thanks Mike, and I assume its the same for tapping in from Central line to DLR?

    • Yes. Despite any other signage, if you remain inside a station while interchanging then you do not need to touch a yellow validator. You might benefit from touching a pink validator if you pass one, but a yellow one will put you out of the Oyster system and may cause problems with RPIs etc later on.

  65. Hi Mike,

    I need to buy a annual season ticket from watford high street to gunnersbury. I was hoping to go from watford to Willesden junction to Gunnersbury, via East Ldn line. I understand Watford (zone 7) can be counted as zone 6 with oyster.

    Would a travel card zones 2 – 6 be alright for me?


    • Hi Ethan,

      There are three different stations in Watford and they are all in different zones. Watford (Met) is in zone 7, Watford High Street (LO) is in zone 8 and Watford Junction is in zone W. You will need a travelcard covering the zone of your station of choice, and none of them can be considered in zone 6 with Oyster. For Watford High Street to Gunnersbury you would need a zone 3-8 travelcard and to touch on the pink validator at Willesden Junction while changing trains.

  66. Hi Mike

    I need to travel from Brentwood to baker street a 5am returing after 7pm. What is the best option should I use an oyster all the way or buy a day pass. I tried a similar route ealier in the work with 2 family members and the balance on our oysters was different despite starting with the same amount and travelling the exact same route.


    • Hi Anesh,

      Oyster is definitely better for that journey because at 5am you will get off-peak fares which are not available in paper form until 0930. The same applies after 7pm, but only the evening counts towards the off-peak cap so you might still pay more than that overall. It will be less than the Anytime fares though.

      To answer the query about different balances I will need details of the journey history from each card. There are quite a few things which might have caused different amounts but it will be clear with the history.

  67. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel from Reigate to St Pauls Monday-Friday, getting there before 9am & leaving after 5pm. Would it be worth getting a Season Ticket for the train that includes the tube..? What’s your best recommendation?


    • Hi Punam,

      Obviously Reigate is outside the Oyster area, but I should still be able to help. The travelcard option costs £17.90/week more than the rail only option to London Terminals so it is worthwhile if you need the tube for every journey. If you can travel instead to City Thameslink (not that far from St Pauls) then you will only need a London Terminals ticket.

  68. Hi Mike,
    I’m new to London and I’m trying to get on top of this touch in/out or else I’ll-charge-you-an-arm-and-a-leg madness.
    The other day I was attempting to get from Putney to Shoreditch High Street. I took the SW rail to Clapham Junction and then transferred to the Overground. However, while transferring at Clapham J I didn’t touch in or out because I didn’t see any of the oyster machines on the platform (I believe it was on platform 2). It was clearly an error on my part to assume that I didn’t need to touch in/out because I was charged a maximum fare for the journey. Where in the world should I have touched in/out while transferring between rail and overground at Clapham?
    Also, if I’m transferring between two connected tubes, lets say central to the northern line at Tottenham do I also need to touch in and out? Thanks.

    • Hi Natalie,

      Putney to Shoreditch High Street is a very long zone 2-1 journey, particularly if you end up waiting a long time after touch in at Putney or while changing at Clapham Junction. Is it possible that the whole journey exceeded 100 minutes? If yes then you should call the helpdesk and request an adjustment. The default fare (no extra touches at all) is the route you took, so it should have worked.

      And with interchanges within the same station (like Tottenham Court Road) you do not need to touch out and back in again.

  69. I seem to have been charged for an incomplete journey this morning. I was at Paddington station and I filled up by balance from £0.50 to £10.50. I went through the barriers and ended up at Oxford Circus where I touched out no trouble. I checked my Oyster Balance and it said £3.30.
    I assume that my card did not touch in properly and I ended up sneaking behind the person in front (Station was very busy). I think it may be a problem with my card, because when I was topping it up I had to try a couple of times before it read my card.
    My online account doesn’t show any incomplete journeys, shall I go to a station to get it refunded?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Matt,

      The online account won’t update until tomorrow. You can ask at a tube station today, as they can read the details on your card, or call the helpdesk from tomorrow as they will need the online records updated first.

  70. Hi Mike, I will be commuting from clapham junction or clapham south to angel everyday at peak times. Am I correct in thinking a travel card- monthly/yearly is the best way to do it? Is that still the case from Clapham junction? thanks

    • Hi Jerry,

      If you only make 10 single peak journeys from Clapham South to Angel in a week then a travelcard will cost more than single fares. If you make other journeys as well then it becomes worthwhile. The same applies to Clapham Junction IF you change at Clapham High Street/Clapham North, but if you change at Waterloo instead then a travelcard will be much better value.

      As to what length of travelcard to get, it’s down to your circumstances. Obviously an annual travelcard is best value, but only if you can afford the money up front.

  71. Hi Mike
    I bought and loaded an oyster card last saturday. I started my journey from London Victoria via westminster and west ham using the District and Jubilee line respectively. From West Ham, I took the rail service to Purfleet.
    I touched in at Victoria and while touching out at Purfleet, I touched my card about 3 times (I am not used to the oyster card as I am visiting London). While checking my balance today, I was surprised £13 was been removed. Was that the cost of travel or I am being penalised for touching wrongly?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Teetee,

      Was £13 deducted for just the one journey, or did you return later on? £6.50 is the off-peak single fare from Zone 1 to Purfleet or vice-versa.

    • In which case you have been overcharged. If you contact the helpdesk they should be able to arrange a refund.

  72. Hi!

    I’m going to be heading from St Pancras to Elstree and Borehamwood (Zone 6), can I make this trip by oyster, and if I travel the return journey later as well, how much will it cost my Oyster in total?

    • Hi John,

      Yes, Elsetree and Borehamwood is the last station on that line within the Oyster area. Fares from St Pancras Intl are £5.70 peak or £3.50 off-peak. If you travel both ways after 0930 but make either (or both) journey(s) between 1600-1900 then the off-peak cap of £8.50 would apply.

  73. Would it therefore be cheaper to buy a paper ‘off peak day travelcard’ using my 16-25 railcard? Would there be any restrictions that apply to me there or would that not be an option at all? Sorry, new to London and its strange double network system!

    • No. Take the Oyster card and railcard to the ticket office at Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station and they’ll add a discount flag to the Oyster. That will make the off-peak cap £5.60 (as opposed to £5.90 for the paper travelcard). The single fare off-peak reduces to £2.30 as well, so if you can avoid the afternoon peak you’ll not even hit the cap.

  74. I have owned an Oyster Card for many years but so far have only used it on 3 or 4 occasions (mostly I buy a paper Travelcard from outside London). My 3 or 4 trips were all PAYG, were made on the tube using barriers and were problem free. I have not yet used it on a bus.

    On a recent trip to Amsterdam I used a smartcard for both bus and rail travel. Using the card on the bus at busy periods, when there was a line of passengers rapidly swiping cards over the validator, I became confused as to whether or not the beep was actually associated with my card.

    I do have very poor co-ordination (can’t drive, can’t catch a ball etc.) which may or may not be relevant.

    I wonder how safe it would be for me to use PAYG Oyster on buses. If I am in doubt about whether I have genuinely touched in, is there some way to confirm it? Do TfL have any facility which would allow nervous passengers the opportunity to practise?

    • Hi Ian,

      On a bus there should be no issue as long as you use the validator next to the driver*. The time between the person taking there card away and you putting yours on will be enough to be certain that the beep is yours, plus the driver should call you back if you haven’t touched in properly. We sometimes have a problem at busy Underground station gates where the second card might let the first person through because they hadn’t touched properly and your touch opened the gates for them. The trick is to make sure that the gates are open and the light is yellow before touching in.

      * On most buses that is all there is, but some newer buses with more than one entrance door will have readers that are unsupervised.

  75. Hi Mike
    I am a senior and have invested in a discounted railcard. I’ll shortly be needing to get to hospital appointments up in Gt Portland Street from Watford Met, travelling out at peak times and back at off-peak. Should I get single tickets, hoping to get discount on the return fare, or maybe get an Oyster card? Need to try and get the most cost-effective. Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Trish,

      You can only get railcard discounts on Underground fares using Oyster, so my recommendation would be to get one, link the railcard at an Underground station, then just use it when you need to.

  76. Hi – is there a on-line tool to key in daily PAYG fares to work out where a monthly or weekly ticket would be have been cheaper.

    I always seem to be topping up my card!! Thanks

    • I’m not aware of anything available. Someone did try it a while back, but I think they only coped with Underground and Bus fares, not NR.

  77. Hi – do you know if there is an oyster touch out at platform one/two. I’m making a journey from Peckham Rye to Clapham Junction on the Overground then catching a train to Chichester from Platform 13.

    • Hi Steve,

      Not on the platform, but use the subway to get to platform 13 and there are gates next to platform 1.

  78. hi mike,
    im travelling from st johns wood to horley- via east croydon and coulsdon south.
    the tap in time for my journey using oyster is 3pm.
    firstly if i don’t tap out at coulsdon south will i get charged the off peak rate or the peak time rate?
    my other query is that if i cant tap out at Coulsdon South, will the train conductor have an oyster reader as its a NR train to and from London?

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Chloe,

      An incomplete journey charge is priced at the point of generation. In this case it is touch in and at 3pm it will be off-peak. I would expect a fairly high chance that on-board staff would have an Oyster reader. Why don’t you touch out at East Croydon and buy the ticket to Horley from there? If you are checked after the last stop before the zone 6 boundary without any ticket you will almost certainly get a penalty fare.

  79. I need to travel from Norwood Junction to Victoria on Sunday using PAYG. As there are no direct trains, I intend to travel via East Croydon.

    Assuming I touch in at Norwood Junction, if the conductor on the ECR-VIC train checks my Oyster card between ECR and Clapham Junction, what will he say?

    To be perfectly honest, I’ve done this journey lots of times and never been checked but this time I’m travelling with my mum so an error would prove more expensive than a PF!

    • Hi James,

      It’s fine. As long as you touch in at the start of the journey and out at the end you are following the rules for using Oyster. It’s up to the system to charge what it thinks the fare should be. The conductor will only be interested in checking you have a recent touch in.

  80. Hi Mike, can you clarify if you are making journeys between DLR and tube if you have to tap in out between the 2, for example at Canning Town when switching from Underground to DLR. I am thinking of a journey from Heathrow T5 to Woolwich Arsenal DLR.

    • Hi Annette,

      Canning Town is all one station so there is no need to touch out and in again.

  81. If you have an Oyster Card with a season ticket loaded do you always need to touch in and out if you are only traveling in the zones covered by the season ticket?

    • Hi Rupert,

      No you don’t. Technically you should, but there is no penalty for not doing so.

  82. I have got a oyster monthly travel card for my journey from Caterham to Wimbledon ( zone 6 to 3 ). I also have credit on the card for any additional journeys into London.
    Can you tell me if I tap in at caterham and then get the train to clapham junction change trains and then tap out at Wimbledon , is this legal as I am going into zone 2 at Clapham Junction but not exiting the station ,this is the only direct route via train to get to Wimbledon.
    Thanks for any advice

    • Hi beckyjane,

      Yes it is legal. It will charge you for a zone 2 single from your PAYG balance. You might wish to consider switching to a zone 5-6 travelcard and using the tram between East Croydon and Wimbledon. Tram fares are included in any travelcard as long as it covers at least one of zones 3-6.

  83. How will it charge me if I don’t tap out of clapham junction . Am I not allowed to go into zone 2 to get to Wimbledon now ? I don’t understand that on PA YG I could go around the whole network and it would only charge me from where I tapped in and where I tapped out

    • If you touch in at Caterham and touch out at Wimbledon with no other touches then it will assume that you’ve gone via Clapham Junction. That is a zone 6-2 journey; it will take off zones 6-3 and just charge you for zone 2.

  84. Hi Mike,

    This looks a really useful website, thanks!

    Quick question. My friend travelling from east london to Liverpool street. I suggested that she take the central line to stratford and then go across and take the overland on platform 5 to liverpool street as that way she doesnt have to deal with escalators etc at liverpool street as she was travelling with baby/pram. There were issues with her oyster being tapped twice on the exit at liverpool st and she went and spoke with one of the rail ticket people there to try and recify it, and not be charged twice. The inspector asked about her journey and then said that as she didn’t tap her oyster to a reader at stratford prior to getting on the overland she was taking an illegal journey and fined her £20. This doesnt make sense to me – i see so many people do that journey every morning (ie get off the central line eastbound and jump onto the mainline to liverpool street, without goiing anywhere near a tap machine) – do you really have to touch the oyster to a reader/was that a legitimate fine by the rail company? BTW she was using a PAYG card.


    • Hi Barry,

      It doesn’t make sense to me either. When changing from the Central Line you will already be touched in so there is no need to touch in again. In some instances it can be advantageous to touch the pink reader on the Overground platform, but the only penalty for not doing so is potentially a slightly higher fare. Can your friend access journey history online? If yes, can she (or you) post a copy so I can examine it. Alternatively, can you describe exactly what touches were made and where. I will then try and work out whether the penalty fare was justified or not.

  85. Hi Mike,

    I’m quite new to London and wondering if you can help me with some advice. I will be travelling from harrow-on-the-hill to Canary Wharf, Monday to Friday. What would be the most cost effective way of doing this?


    • Hi Vitts,

      Take the Metropolitan line to Wembley Park then the Jubilee line to West Hampstead then the Overground to Stratford. Touch the pink route validator on the Overground platform then take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf. This will avoid zone 1 and cost a lot less than taking the Jubilee line straight through the middle.

  86. Hi Mike and Vitts,

    I often make a similar journey, and have noticed that the Journey Planner usually suggests taking the Metropolitan line all the way to Finchley Road before going back a station on the Jubilee Line to West Hampstead. It is worth noting that the change at West Hampstead involves an OSI between the underground and overground stations, which are on opposite sides of a busy road; the JP does not show the OSI.

    I prefer to use the OSI between Finchley Road (LU) and Finchley Road & Frognal (LO), although this involves a five-minute walk, even at my brisk pace. You have to remember to touch in at the LO station since it only has standalone validators.

    It is unfortunate that the journey avoiding zone 1 takes nearly twice as long.

  87. Hey . I was wondering why my oyster card has gone to -3:05p . From ealing station i topped up £2.00 then tapped in, and then when i reached to shepurds bush station i tapped out. When going back home i tapped in from the shepurds station but it said that i have -0.20p i topped up £1.25. From there i got off at Bond street station to catch the Jublie line .. There was no tap in or out .. When i got off at Waterloo i checked my money and it said i had 20p left so i topped up to 80p . Then again i tapped in , to get on my train to tolworth from platform 3. When i reached tolworth i checked my money on oyster card an it said -£3.05 . So im wondering why its gone to that amount .. Sorry for any confusion but if you explain why its gone to – it would be really helpful . Thanks

    • Hi Balveen,

      I’m going to need to know what sort of Oyster card you have and when these journeys took place. If you can view journey history online then that would be ideal. Failing that, can you be clear about exactly what stations you used – i.e. was it Ealing Broadway or Ealing Common etc.

    • Hi Balveen,

      I think I’ve almost got it. Do you also have a 16-25 railcard discount loaded on the 16+ Oyster? Did you touch in at Shepherds Bush on the way back between 1600-1900? Was your first journey from Ealing Broadway after 0930? If yes then this is what should have been deducted:

      Ealing Broadway to Shepherds Bush should have taken 75p. Shepherds Bush to Waterloo should have taken £1.05. Waterloo to Tolworth will have activated the zone 1-6 cap of £5.60 so should have taken £3.80.

      From what you’ve said it looks like you had 80p before touching in at Waterloo, so a £3.80 deduction would have left you with -£3.00. If you added £1.25 when the balance was -20p you would have had £1.05 which was the fare to Waterloo. Are these figures close enough? The only way you could have had -20p after topping up £2.00 and travelling Ealing Broadway to Shepherds Bush is if the top up failed for some reason? Or you didn’t touch in properly at Ealing Broadway?

      My advice will be to contact the helpdesk and ask them to confirm what happened and/or credit an adjustment if there was a missed touch.

  88. Hi Mike.
    I have to travel from Earlsfield to Romford everyday for work. I bought a travelcard for zones 3-6 thinking that would be fine but turns out im being charged for going through central. do you know if theres anyway to not have to pay for all the zones?? Any help would be really appreciated!! Many thanks!

    • Hi Jules,

      You’ll need to add zone 2, but you can avoid zone 1 by changing at Clapham Junction and taking London Overground. Change again at either Canada Water, Shadwell or Whitechapel to use the Jubilee, DLR or District/Central Line to Stratford then change onto Greater Anglia to Romford. If changing at either Canada Water or Whitechapel you need to touch the pink reader to let the system know you’ve avoided zone 1.

  89. Hi, Mike,
    For a prolonged visit to London, we are considering buying a one month National Rail Travelcard (so we get 241 London), but we will carry an Oyster card. Why? The easiest solution I can think of for times when we travel beyond zone 2 (zone 1&2 travelcard) is to just get off the tube and then get back on, touching in with the Oyster card for the rest of the journey. Also, we will need the Oyster card to get from and to Heathrow. My questions: 1) Does this strategy make sense? 2) If we are carrying Oyster cards, but entering a station using the paper travelcard, is there any chance of the Oyster card being sensed remotely and being charged for the trip? 3) When we change from travelcard to Oyster card, leaving zone 2 to zone 3 and beyond, do we need to physically leave the station, or let the travelcard know that we are ending our travelcard journey? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Bob,

      1) It does make sense, although it could cost a bit in fare duplication. Where possible, try to use stations on the boundary between zones 2 and 3 so you only use PAYG from zone 3 onwards.
      2) Not unless you wave it very close to the reader.
      3) You don’t need to let the travelcard know you’re leaving, but if you need to use a gate to get to the other side then it’ll be best to use it. You do need to tell the Oyster card that you’re starting a PAYG journey.

  90. Hi Mike

    My company is relocating to Epsom and I’m trying to work out the best fare, as Epsom is currently outside of London travel zones. I pulled together a matrix of costs which include a combination of London travelcards and Southwest Trains season tickets to Epsom.

    The most cost-effective solution is a Zone 1-4 travelcard + a season ticket between Worcester Park (Zone 4) and Epsom.

    My question is, can I do this? Reason being is I would pick up the Southwest train (at Waterloo station) and during my journey would “switch” from my Travelcard to my season ticket at Worcester Park. At Worcester Park, however, I would NOT get off the train to tap out my Zones 1-4 Travelcard.

    So even though I’d have a valid ticket for the whole of my journey, I would never tap out my Travelcard. Would this be a problem, or is this solution ok?

    Obviously I want the most cost-effective solution, but I’m worried that never tapping out would somehow stop my Travelcard from working (by maximum fare charges if the system assumes I traveled beyond Zone 4, having multiple “incomplete” journeys, etc).

    Any advice or guidance you could give would be appreciated.


    • Hi Ryan,

      Yes you can do that. There is no penalty for not touching in or out with a travelcard within it’s zones. However, because both your tickets are season tickets and only one is zonal, your train must call at Worcester Park.

  91. Hi Mike, I was wondering if you could help me somewhat.
    I recently topped up my oyster PAYG card with £15 at Pudding Mill DLR station and then made my way to Stratford station,with the intention to then at Stratford use the overground to go to Dalston Kingsland.
    Upon getting off at Stratford I was met by a Serco Representative who checked my card with his little machine and was then told that I was to wait and answer his questions because it transpired that I hadn’t touched in at Pudding mill ( which I totally forgot to do)
    He then basically started to issue me with a penalty charge notice.
    After pleading with him to use his discretion and also stating the facts that I was not evading a fare as I had just topped up 10 mins prior to this, and also stating to him the fact that there are signs everywhere stating that if you forget to touch out that you can get a refund so why could it not work the other way around( ie if you forget to touch in) he vehemently ignored my requests and proceeded to issue me with the notice.( BTW he did at no stage offer to give me the opportunity to pay the full fare).
    I gave him my correct name and address details which he asked for and wrote out the notice.To cut a long story short I didn’t sign the notice which he was adamant I do and also did not physically accept the notice off him and told him to keep it to which he replied “we will post it out to you anyway” and then proceeded to continue with my journey.

    Could you please tell me where I stand on this as its not like I intentionally tried to evade a fare as I stipulated to him numerous times to see that I had indeed just topped up and he replied I know that but You still have to be issued with a penalty notice.
    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Sultan,

      I do sympathise with you as I too have forgotten to touch in after topping up before. Unfortunately the DLR is an almost 100% open network so fare evasion is comparitively easy. Granted Stratford is one of the few gated stations, but the fact is that anyone not touching in will very probably not touch out either. Because of this the RPIs have to take a zero tollerance approach. I do hope that the fact you refused to accept the notice doesn’t result in them issuing an intention to prosecute. If they do send you the penalty notice then I’d pay it as soon as possible to get the 50% discount for prompt payment. If they send you a letter about prosecution then you’ll need to apologise and assure them that you’ve learnt your lesson and ask to settle the matter outside court by meeting their administration costs so far.

  92. Hi Mike, I wonder if you can help – maybe there is something I am missing, but one aspect of the Oyster fare from Ewell East to Underground Zone 1 (say Embankment) is really, really bugging me!

    Let’s take the peak time fare – the primary single fare is shown online as £7.20. An alternative one of £5.90 comes up if you ask, provided you change from Rail to Underground at Vauxhall or Elephant & Castle. So the primary fare must be for changing at (say) Victoria, and the cheaper fare must (in my mind) be because only one of the journey legs, rather than both, is in Zone 1.

    My problem comes if I change at Balham (actually the most obvious thing to do). If I do that it charges me the higher fare of £7.20, so the single fare shown online is not a lie!

    But surely this fare is wrong isn’t it? Balham is well away from Zone 1, so shouldn’t it cost the same as changing at Elephant or Vauxhall? Or is there something I haven’t twigged? I can usually figure things out, but this one is doing my head in!

    It would be great if you could explain this!

    • Hi Chris,

      You’re nearly right. There is a premium to pay if a complete journey mixes NR and TfL and involves zone 1. Annoyingly it even applies if the TfL rail bit is wholly outside zone 1 (eg Clapham Junction – Waterloo – Waterloo East – Lewisham – Elverson Road). The only concession they allow is where the interchange between NR and TfL takes place at the zone 1/2 boundary. In that case, the cheaper of the overall fare or the constituent fares for each bit get charged. Thus Ewell East to Elephant & Castle is a zone 6-2 journey on NR while Elephant & Castle to Embankment is a zone 1 TfL journey.

  93. Hi Mike,

    My boyfriend recently made the journey from Portsmouth to Clapham Junction before travelling onto Uxbridge.

    As he couldn’t see anyway to start the journey on the Oyster card once he’d gotten off the Southern train at Platform 12, he swiped out the gates and then back in and caught an Overground and headed to Uxbridge.

    The hoo-ha with the out-then-in has led to the maximum fare being charged because it was an incomplete journey (the initial swipe out had no start). Now my question is, if swiping out then back in is incorrect, how do you navigate this? Because surely when he swipes out the gates at Uxbridge then the journey will have no start point?
    This’ll be a frequent return journey, so how do you also do it in reverse? (getting off an Overground train at Clapham junction and boarding a train to Portsmouth without it appearing as in incomplete journey)

    • Hi Amber,

      What he should do is exit using his paper ticket and then touch in to enter using the Oyster card. On the way back the reverse applies – touch out with the Oyster card and then enter with the paper ticket.

  94. Hello Mike,

    I only come to London one day in a week. Using the national express coach I alight at Golder’s Green station touch in for the next journey to London Bridge, touch in to Canada Water,touch in to Queens Road Peckam when I touch in.
    I am not use to the Oyster system but a friend said to me I have to touch the Oyster machine when i am going back home. On the 23rd i had £2.30 credit on my Oyster card, top it up with a £5 at Queens Road Peckam. I got down at Peckam Rye for my next train to Victoria at Platform 3 without touching the Oyster machines. When I got to Victoria(Just before going to the national express coach station), I checked my balance to find out I have -0.10. I can you give me the reason for that please, the point is I cannot go back and touch out at all the stops i used when coming.

    Thanks Mike.

    • Hi Emmanuel,

      The Oyster system works in single journeys, so there is no need to go back the same way. For each journey you need to touch in at the start and touch out at the end using yellow validators. There is no need to touch when changing trains unless you need to go through gateline(s) between the platforms. If you see pink validators while interchanging (like at Canada Water) then you can touch those as they tell the system which way you have gone. If your station doesn’t have gates then you need to find the yellow validators on small posts and touch there instead.

      On your first journey you should touch in at Golders Green. There is no need to touch anything at London Bridge. At Canada Water you should touch the pink validator to tell the system you’ve gone that way. At Queens Road Peckham you need to touch out to end the journey. The overall charge should be £3.20 if the journey started in peak hours or £2.70 otherwise.

      I think your problem was that you didn’t touch in at Queens Road Peckham after topping up. The yellow readers on ticket machines are not the same as the yellow readers on gatelines or the validation posts. You would have needed to touch out at Victoria to get through the gates, but because it didn’t know where you had come from it has charged you £7.20 which is the incomplete journey charge in the peak. The fare should have been £2.40, or £1.90 if you started before 1600.

      If you contact the Oyster helpdesk and explain what has happened they can arrange for a refund to be sent to your card next time you visit London. If you always come in at Golders Green then I suggest asking for it to be picked up there. It will be added when you touch in to start your journey.

  95. Hi Mike,
    I’m arriving in Gatwick Airport on the 30th October, going to Vauxhall, staying in zones 1 and 2 until the 4th November and then back to Gatwick. What are my cheapest options for getting into London and getting around whilst there?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Iris,

      If you are staying within zones 1 and 2 while here for 6 days then a weekly travelcard on your Oyster is probably the cheapest solution at £30.40. You won’t have to worry about what time you travel as it is valid all day. For the trips from and to the airport I’d buy singles between Gatwick and Clapham Junction (£11.20 each way) and then use the travelcard to get from Clapham Junction to Vauxhall. Make sure you specify “Not via London” for the airport journey or you may be charged more. You’ll need to take any train calling at East Croydon, Clapham Junction and Victoria. If it calls at any more places it will be overtaken, and don’t get the Express trains which are non-stop to Victoria as your ticket won’t be valid.

  96. Hi mike,

    I own a zone 2 -4 travel card and usually travel to work from woodside park to fulham broadway via the northern line, and then through the national rail and finally changing at west brompton to the district line. I usually do that and was not charged any penalty fees. However, today there was no service for most of the national rail trains and i had no choice but to travel to work via zone 1. I was charged a penalty fare for travelling outside my zones- even though i had no choice and the only was was to travel via zone 1.

    Do u think its possible to get a refund from tfl for this exceptional case?


    • Hi Alice,

      When you say penalty fare, was that a £2.10 charge deducted from your PAYG balance or was it an £80 penalty fare because you had no credit?

      If it’s the £2.10 then you could call the helpdesk and see whether they will refund it in view of the circumstances. I don’t know whether they will, but if you don’t ask you won’t get. I’m not sure whether I’d bother to be honest.

      If it’s an actual penalty fare then I’m quite disappointed. Reply back here and I’ll forward some further advice.

  97. When travelling from Streatham Hill to Stockwell, I scanned out of Balham Nat Rail and down to the Underground – does this action charge for one journey or 2?

    • Hi Robin,

      As long as you don’t take too long between touch out and touch in then it will be one journey. See the Out Of Station Interchanges page for more details.

  98. Hi Mike,
    Just found this website and I’ll be favouriting it! I’m going to be travelling from Epsom to Shepherd’s Bush tomorrow via Clapham Junction. I’m planning on using my normal rail ticket to get to Clapham Junction then use the overground to Shepherd’s Bush. Last time I used the overground from Clapham Junction it looked like all of the Oyster touch-in pads were out of service. Do you know if there are any within the station I can touch-in at?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Glyn,

      Unfortunately there are no on-platform yellow validators apart from on P17. You’ll need to exit and re-enter adjacdent to the Overground platforms.

  99. Hi There,

    I wonder if you can offer some advice.

    I’ve recently started a new job in Bank and travel from Harrow & Wealdstone and back each day.

    I take the London Midland to Euston and then the northern line to Bank. My journey in is never a problem, however I’m having a recurring issue with my journey home.

    Coming into Euston from Bank you have to go through one set of gates at the top of the escalators, however on most days my London Midland train leaves from Platform 16 which means I don’t go through a second set of gates. This means that every day I’m being charged maximum fare for an incomplete journey as I’m not tapping in for a second time at Euston. I’ve had a look to see if there are any oyster touch in pads around platform 16 but nothing jumps out at me. Any advice on where I’m supposed to touch in? It’s getting a little ridiculous having to phone them up every time to get 3/4 refunds a week, and for some reason my online account tells me I have no incomplete journey’s even though there are always several in my journey history even as recently as yesterday.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Hollie,

      You are looking for validators like this: Euston validators

      This looks like it is on the ramp to platforms 16-17, but I’m told most of them have one if they are served by LM trains.

  100. Hi Mike.
    I think I’ve been overcharged for my fare.

    I travelled from Coventry to Euston (LM train). As I was leaving the train i had to tap to get out to get Euston Underground I walked toward the northern/victoria line and I had to tap in again to get past. It says on my statement I was charged £7.20 on the statement it says no touch in to london euston. If I show my ticket from Cov to Euston will i get refund? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Zahra,

      As you’ve probably worked out, you should have used your ticket to exit the gates at Euston NR. If you ask at the London Midland ticket office next to the gateline for platforms 8-11 they may be able to adjust the charge, otherwise you’ll need to contact the helpdesk.

  101. Hi Mike,

    I travel from zones 1-6 using a 18+ travel card and get charged £57.90 a week. I checked tfl and it said it should cost around £38.90. Surely, I’ve been paying more than I should. Is there any way I can get that back plus how much does the oyster take off when tapped at waterloo

    • Hi Shazia,

      You get 30% off travelcard seasons when purchased with an 18+ Oyster card. You cannot purchase the travelcards online, but at a station is fine. If you’ve been overpaying then you could try contacting TfL but I’m not sure whether they would entertain a refund.

      I’m not sure I understand the question about Waterloo. If there is a travelcard on the Oyster then nothing will be deducted (unless you’ve come from further out than the zones covered). If it’s using PAYG then it will be the adult rate for the journey as the discount only applies to travelcards.

  102. Hi Mike,

    I travel between Hendon and Brentford with a Z2-3 travelcard, and use buses, NR (Hendon) and London Overground (West Hampstead and Gunnersbury) for my journey.

    Occasionally, unexpected delays/suspensions on London Overground mean that I am forced to travel through zone 1 and am charged a zone 1 fare.

    This charge feels quite unfair, especially as the TfL website will often state:
    “Valid tickets will be accepted on local buses and London Underground via any reasonable routes.”

    The guidance I have had from station staff has been extremely varied, so hope you can advise on the following:

    1) Am I entitled to a refund on zone 1 journeys where unexpected delays/suspensions force travel through zone 1? For example, the London Overground is part suspended at Gunnersbury, but the District line is operational – I have completed my journey by travelling to Hendon Central instead of Hendon NR.

    2) What is a ‘reasonable route’? For example, if the District line and London Overground are out at Gunnersbury – I could complete my journey by travelling from Northfields to Hendon Central instead of Hendon NR.

    3) Is there a way to complete these one-off journeys without being charged (and therefore avoiding the need to claim a refund)?


    • Hi Dan,

      It’s a difficult one. My best advice would be to contact the helpdesk after a day or so and see what they say.

  103. i have a zone 1 – 3 travelcard although recently due to issues on the National Rail service i have had to get the tube home which is a zone 4. on some instances where i must have forgotten to touch in/out somewhere it is charging me the 6 pound fare for the full journey rather than an additional 1.50 for the additional zone. do you know if i can reclaim the 6 pound fare for these journeys wherei must have forgetten to touch in/out somewhere? Thanks

    • Hi Sarah,

      You can call the helpdesk and they will consider it. They are likely to refund any overcharges in the past 8 weeks max, especially if there is a pattern. For the future, if there’s a chance you may leave the area of your travelcard then you must touch in at the start, even if there are no gates or the gates are open.

  104. Hi,
    I used my Bus operator pass a oxford street staition to exit the station but I had to tap back in to the station to meet someone inside the station when I tried to exit the station it would not let me leave so one of the staff taped me out. Later I used my pass on another station and it worked fine. But I am wondering if anything will happen to pass of not being able to tap out of the station. Any help will be helpful thanks.

    • Hi Alex,

      I don’t know anything about bus operator passes, but it’s quite possible that trying to exit twice in quick succession was picked up on as a potential passback. If it worked later on then I’d guess everything is fine.

  105. Hi Mike,

    I am in canadawater and need to travel to Brentwood daily please could you advise me of the cheapest posisble fare? Many thanks


    • Hi Lakshmi,

      If you only travel 5 days a week at peak times then PAYG (10 x £6.30) is slightly cheaper than a weekly travelcard (£64.60), but for a month or longer the travelcard season is probably best. If you make other journeys, particularly if they are on the same day as a return commute, then the weekly travelcard really comes into it’s own because the anytime daily cap between zone 2 and Brentwood is £22.90.

  106. hi mike
    i have + 18 student oyster card. My story is that i touched in turnpike lane station and i went victoria underground station, i didn’t go out i ‘ve waited my friend for 15 minutes inside the station and i turned back turnpikelane station consequently, i’ve waited more than 30 minutes in underground. in turnpikelane station ,i tried to touch out but the machine didn’t allow me go out. it said seek assistance. i told my story to assistance. he charged me about 3.20 pound but he said something else like fine i don’t understand what he said because my engilish skills isn’t enough and he wanted me to leave.
    i don’t know what to do if there is any penalty fare i would like to pay but i don’t know how to pay and how to learn if there is or not. Could you help me please

    • Hi,

      OK. £3.20 is the peak fare from Victoria to Turnpike Lane on Oyster. Did you have to pay that in cash? Were you given any kind of receipt or notice? Have you had the negative balance on your Oyster card sorted out yet? If not then you ought to call the helpdesk and ask them to refund the overcharge. It doesn’t sound like you’ve been issued with a penalty fare, but if you were you should definitely have been given a notice which acknowledged payment of the fare due.

  107. hi
    yes i paid 3.20 pound via my oyster oyster balance was 2.00 pound, it left -1.10. also he gave me reciept which show oyster usage statement and resolve journey.luckly i can use my osyter now but i’m nervous about penalty fare like 40 pound if there is. i dont know how to check. he didn’t give me another receipt or something

    • In that case, don’t worry. When you tried to exit your balance was negative because of the incomplete outward journey. That is why it wouldn’t create a second incomplete journey. Your card has been resolved and is now fine. Please remember not to make such circular journeys again though, because you could have been liable to a penalty fare.

  108. as far as i understood i don’t need to check if there is a penalty fare for me or not because he didn’t give me anything about it..for sure
    i’ll never do that.. thank you very much Mike for all answers

  109. Hi Mike
    So much to read on your great website! My husband (65) and myself (61) are thinking of buying 60+ railcards now that we are retired. We both have Oystercards and travel up to central London from Epping on average once a month so thought this would save us money. Thought we’d buy the 3 year £70 ones to save even more. Please could you confirm that we will get the 35% discount on all tfl tube fares after 9.30 am. I have read that there is another Peak time in the late afternoon when the discount doesn’t apply but think this applies only to Network Rail journeys – is that right? Also please could you tell me would it be better for one of us to buy the Senior 60+ railcard and one of us to buy the Family and Friends one, rather than us both buying 60+ cards? My thinking was that if one of us had the Friends and Family card (which I think costs the same for 3 years) we could get the benefit of being able to get discount on National Rail journeys (but not Oyster tube journeys) for another adult and up to 4 children. I’d be very grateful if you could let me know if I have understood the above correctly, and also if you have any advice on a better way forward. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Jacqui,

      The railcard discount applies to off-peak fares and off-peak caps. Thus, if you touch in before 0630 you will get a discount but the fare won’t count towards the off-peak cap. After 0930 the off-peak cap applies. Any travel between 1600-1900 will be charged at full fare up to the reduced off-peak cap.

      The family and friends railcard is only valid for travel when accompanied by kids. The minimum group size is one named cardholder and one child-fare paying person. The maximum group size is 4 adults (one must be a named cardholder) and 4 children. There is an alternative railcard for London and the South East called the Network Railcard. No kids required for that one. There is a pretty hefty minimum fare on Mondays to Fridays meaning that short journeys are not discounted. More info on all the main railcards is available at

  110. Thanks Mike. I presume you meant ‘before 9.30’ there and not ‘before 6.30’?
    I understand about the Family and Friends now – probably best for us to have a Senior card each. I find the discounts confusing though. Am I right in thinking that as long as I touch in at Epping after 9.30 to go to Oxford Circus, it doesn’t matter if I touch in at Oxford Circus between 16.00-19.00 to go home, as I will still get a reduced fare if I have a Senior Railcard linked with my Oyster? So I will end up paying £5.60 for the return journey as opposed to £8 if I didn’t have a Railcard? Thanks.

    • Hi Jacqui,

      Yes, touch in after 0930 one way and between 1600-1900 the other way will result in the reduced off peak cap of £5.60. Also, touch in between 0430-0630 will result in a discounted fare, but it won’t go towards the off peak cap. See the page Peak, Off-peak and Caps on this site for more information.

  111. Sorry Mike, this is where I get confused, despite reading the tables. I thought I could touch in at Epping after 9.30 to go to Oxford Circus, but it wouldn’t matter if I had to touch in at Oxford Circus between 16.00-19.00 to go home – I would still get a reduced fare (£5.60) if I have a Senior Railcard linked with my Oyster. Is that not correct?

    • Hi Jacqui,

      If you touch in at Epping after 0930 and touch out at Oxford Circus you will be charged £2.00 as you have a railcard discount. If you then touch in at Oxford Circus between 1600-1900 your charge on touch out at Epping will be £3.60. The normal fare would be £5.00, but you are capped at a total of £5.60 for the day.

  112. Hi. would like to check something. If I start my journey at South Quay DLR and touch in my Oyster, travel to Poplar and do touch out, pick up keys for work across the road (10 mins max), then board a train to Crossharbour without touching back in at Poplar, leave train at Crossharbour and touch out. My journey history shows South Quay to Crossharbour £1.60 charged.My journey has taken approx. 45mins, have I done anything wrong ?

    • Hi Roy,

      I’m assuming that you’ve missed out a ‘not’ when leaving Poplar. If that is the case, then yes, you have done something wrong. If a revenue inspector were to see you either leave or arrive at Poplar without touching then you could be liable for a penalty fare.

  113. Thanks. Mike. I only wondered because having seen the journey times allowed to complete an Oyster journey I was thinking you were allowed to pretty much do whatever as long as it’s in the specified time. Obviously having no gates or barriers on the DLR makes nipping in a shop or the office ‘during’ a journey a lot easier to do. Thanks again.

    • Journey times can seem excessive, but they operate on a largely zonal structure and have to allow for some quite long possibilities using only one zone (eg Caterham to Tattenham Corner via Purley is all zone 6).

  114. Hi Mike

    Im visiting London in a week and is set on using Oyster. I wonder if i take the tube from paddinton to kings cross via circle line, then to chalk farm via northern line, where do i touch in and out? Do i touch out at kings cross or at chalk farm? Also if i start my journey during off peak time, but get on the tube during peak time in the afternoon, will i be charged peak time fares? Thank you in advance for helping me.

    • Hi Nina,

      You don’t leave the station at Kings Cross so there is no need to touch there. The whole fare is decided by touch in time at Paddington.

  115. Thanks a lot Mike. Then how about if i travel to Whitechapel and then take the NR to Shoreditch High street? Do i need to tap out and whitechapel LU and tap in again on the NR line?

    • Hi Nina,

      No, the station is all one. In some circumstances you may need to touch a pink validator, but not if you’re going to Shoreditch High Street. If you take a look at the list of out-of-station interchanges you will see where it is necessary to touch out and in when switching between NR and LU.

  116. Hi All,

    I had not registered my oyster card and had an incomplete journey and excess of 5 pounds has been deducted. I have registered my card now. Is there any possibility that I can claim refund?


    • Hi Divya,

      I’m pretty sure that the helpdesk can arrange a refund even if the card is not registered. You won’t be able to do it online if the card wasn’t linked to an online account at the time.

  117. Hi Mike

    I decided to renew my monthly season pass between zones 1-2 at Paddington yesterday. Paid by card on the ticket machine but the machine couldn’t read my card and said it wouldn’t charge my bank account with £120. So, I used another machine and renewed my season pass. However, my bank account says 240 quid is missing! Any help and guidance?

    • Hi Adnan,

      When you insert your payment card the system authorises the transaction to ensure that you have funds available. This is kept on the banks system until the payment is collected, or for about 3 working days. The first payment will not be collected so will drop off later in the week.

  118. Hi Mike

    Are you certain on the 3 working days point? Or should I contact my bank for a certainty?

    Thank you for the help!

    • Hi Adnan,

      It can vary from bank to bank. If it is going to cause you hardship because the bank rejects future transactions thinking that you don’t have funds, you could try calling your bank. They may agree to clear it early if you explain the situation. If you have spare funds then you can rest assured that the amount won’t be collected.

  119. Hi Mike,

    Great site!
    I just have one question – I have a zone 1-3 travel card and traveled to London bridge from Stratford today. At London bridge I bought a zone 3 to dormans (station outside tfl network) ticket and was advised by staff at London bridge to tap in as my ticket from zone 3 said seek assistance. Am I going to be penalised for not tapping out my oyster as I can’t get off the train and tap out on this journey?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Danielle,

      That’s fine. Within your zones there is no penalty for not touching in or out.

  120. So Travelcard users aren’t charged Maximum fares for not touching in/out?

    Or is the caveat that you need to be within the Zones of your travelcard?
    If so ,surely this can encourage fare evasion- i.e using a oyster travelcard to open a barrier in London and travelling to somewhere like Brighton without even incurring a penalty fare!

    • It might facilitate fare evasion in the same way that a holder of a paper zone 1-2 travelcard could do the same thing. But rest assured, if caught without a valid ticket having used a season to get through barriers in London you are likely to be looking at prosecution rather than a penalty fare.

  121. … decided to go on a trip today, got to the station, put £10 on my oyster and touched in… while there looking at the time of arrival I decided it best to not travel at all and so I touched out and left but was charged for this (£1.60). I didn’t go anywhere! What if the train had been delayed and other types of instance where someone might touch in and have to leave the station?

  122. Hi Mike,

    I was wondering how long does it take for penalty (maximum fare) to take effect of not tapping out?

    • Hi Lin,

      When you touch in the maximum fare is deducted. When you touch out the charge is adjusted down to the correct fare.

  123. If I have a Zip card (free) and i forget to touch it out, do I get fined? What do I have to do?

    • When you say the zip card is free, do you mean that it’s a 5-10 zip card and the journey was on TfL rail where the fare is free? If yes, then you won’t get a maximum fare charge. Any other scenario then call the helpdesk.

  124. I have an Oyster Card, which I got with a 7-day Travel Card when I was last in London, several months ago. I didn’t have time to get my balance refunded when I left.

    I have a friend who’s going to London in a few weeks. Am I permitted to give her my Oyster Card? I realize she’d have to activate a new Travelcard.

    • Hi Barbara,

      If your friend will use PAYG then no problem. If they buy a new travelcard then they should also be fine unless the card is registered in your name.

  125. Hi, I’m using PAYG Oyster. Question: if I start my journey at Streatham Common, change at Balham Station from NR to LU and end my journey at Holborn – should I be charged for 2 seperate journeys or just 1 ?

    • Hi Johnny,

      It will be one journey, though both parts will add some of the charge for the overall journey.

  126. Hi Mike
    I have a 11-15 Oyster card and I wish to travel from ockendon to woolwich arsenal, I have been told it will cost £1.50 there and the same back? Also when changing from national rail to DLR at westham must I tap on a wall or something? Finally because of rail work I must get off at canning town to get another DLR to woolwich Arsenal do I tap at canning town or just at Woolwich? Many thanks

    • Hi Alex,

      According to the single fare finder it is £1.90 each way as long as you travel off-peak. You don’t have to touch anything at either West Ham or Canning Town.

  127. Thanks mike much appreciated just wasn’t sure what I had to do
    Do I only have to tap at a station if there is a pink oyster tap between the stations? Thanks for replying

    • Hi Alex,

      If changing trains you should touch a pink validator if one exists, or if the station is in two separate parts with gatelines between then you need to touch out and back in again. The stations you mention are all one and have no pink validators.

  128. Hi Mike, thanks for helping!
    Which Oyster Card should I buy (zone-wise) to include 1) the roundtrip from Heathrow Term. 5 to zone 1 Picadilly line roundtrip AND 2) to cover the roundtrip rail journey from Euston to Watford Junction (WB Studios)? The rest of our travel will be tube travel in zones 1 and 2 for a few days. I’m looking for ease of use over saving a few pounds at this point for less stressful maneuvering.
    Best regards, Dee

    • Hi Dee,

      Unfortunately one product to cover all that will cost significantly more than what you need. My recommendation is to get a weekly zone 1-2 travelcard (assuming few means 4-7 days) and then add PAYG balance to cover the other trips. Heathrow to zone 3 is £2.70 peak or £1.50 off-peak and the same in reverse. Zone 3 to Watford Junction is £3.90 peak or £1.60 off-peak. The weekly travelcard is £31.40.

      As long as your actual journeys to/from Heathrow/Watford start/end in zone 1 then peak is as follows: Heathrow/Watford to zone 1 0630-0930, zone 1 to Watford 1600-1900, zone 1 to Heathrow 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. So, if you are making all 4 journeys outside zones 1-2 in off-peak times you will need £6.20 PAYG credit. A weekly travelcard to cover everything would be a massive £81.70.

  129. Hi Mike!

    What a wonderful site!
    I’ve got a few questions…
    – Is it possible to buy an Oyster card somewhere at the London City Airport?
    – If I am travelling from London City Airport to Wimbledon (DLR to Canning Town then Jubilee to Westminster and then District), will I need to tap in and out for each train I get?
    – If I won’t be able to buy an Oyster card at the airport, could I take this journey only with a single ticket worth £4.70 (zones 1-3)? Or should I buy a travelcard (£8.90 day off-peak)?

    Many thanks in advance for your help!


    • Hi Melinda,

      I would be stunned if you couldn’t get an Oyster card somewhere at London City Airport. You will only have to touch in at LCA and out at Wimbledon. If you have to use cash then the £4.70 fare will cover the whole journey.

  130. Thank you so much Mike for answering all of my questions! Very much appreciated. Know that I will count on you if I have any other questions!!!

    Best regards,


  131. Hi Mike, I use the London City Airport DLR to Canning Town, Jubilee line to Waterloo, then SW Trains to Ewell West, last station in zone 6. I have a railcard link on the Oystercard. The off peak single fare finder shows only £3.35 for the complete single journey, via zone 1. However, when leaving the Underground at Waterloo I was charged £1.80, and the single from Waterloo to Ewell West was charged at £3.35. I didn’t see any pink validators. Why does this journey charge twice?

    • Hi Jules,

      It doesn’t charge twice. At Waterloo Underground it shows you what you would pay if you ended your journey there. When you re-enter Waterloo NR it copies the earlier journey to a new slot and the charge you see at the end is the overall fare. Your balance will only have gone down by £3.35.

  132. Hi Mike,
    I will be moving to London shortly and will be needing to travel from West Ham station to Elephant and Castle each day – could you recommend what I should by to be able to take that route.

    • Hi Steven,

      West Ham is in zone 3 and you will travel through zone 1 so you’ll need a zone 1-3 travelcard. If you only make that journey 5 times a week each way then PAYG may be cheaper.

  133. Hi Mike,
    Good to know you are working for the ease and solutions of the community.
    Well, i have faced ‘incomplete journey situations’ on Saturday, matter was that i started my journey from Gants Hill and ended it to Oxford Circus it went right with £2.70 oyster charge.
    However, for return journey i touched in from Marble Arch and touched out at Gants Hill station it should be charged me £2.70 as well but oyster charged me for 2 incomplete journey’s about £5-6 for each incomplete. (I stayed on Stratford platform for about 30-40 minutes for wait of my friend but didn’t left the station).

    Is it possible can i make a refund claim in this situation of my 2 incomplete journey’s ? because i haven’t any idea before that how TFL would charge me for wait.

    Could you please guide me what can i do in this situation ?

    • Hi Butt,

      I’m not sure whether it was the wait or possibly an EOSI in view of the works at Bond Street. If you touched in at Marble Arch within 30 minutes of touching out at Oxford Circus then that could well be the problem, or if your total journey from Marble Arch to Gants Hill took longer than 125 minutes then that is the problem. Either way, contact the helpdesk and explain what happened and I’m sure that they’ll refund you.

  134. Hi Mike,
    I am trying to apply for a refund using the automatic charter refund page on TFL’s website. I was travelling from Earls Court to Blackfriars and got detrained at South Kensington. It requires you to add your delay but I was taken off the train and told to make alternative journey, which I did on foot. So I have no idea what the final delay was, just that it was “severe”. Is there a way to find out? Or is there a better form to complete? Many thanks, Simon

    • Hi Simon,

      I’ve never been in a position to claim a refund from TfL for delays, so I don’t know. I’d be inclined to use the time of arrival at your destination in place of the time at Blackfriars. In all likelihood the processing team will know what happened that day.

  135. Hi

    I will be travelling from Coulsdon South to South Bermondsey via London Bridge, do I need to tap my oyster at London Bridge?


    • Hi Sarah,

      You shouldn’t have to, but while the station is being rebuilt it might be necessary. You can avoid the additional charge that that would entail by changing at East Croydon or Norwood Junction onto a train going direct to South Bermondsey.

  136. Dear Mike,

    I will need to buy a season ticket traveling from New Malden to Oxford Circus and am a bit confused that, should I purchase to london terminals or to london 1-4zones? I am working in Oxford Circus and travel 5 times a week each way, which way/route is the best and cheapest? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Alastair,

      London Terminals only gets you as far as Waterloo, so a zone 1-4 travelcard is probably the best. To make it cheaper you would need to consider using buses from Vauxhall.

  137. Hi, if travelling from East Croyden to Mottingham via London Bridge with a Visitor Oyster card do I need to tag off in London Bridge and tag on again before embarking on the train to Mottingham? Is this classed as two journeys or one? Thanks.

    • Just one and no need to touch at London Bridge. Be aware that Southern/FCC trains will not serve London Bridge in the last week of August.

  138. Hi Mike, wondering if you would be able to help me out as struggling to find the right answer elsewhere! I have a Gold Season ticket from Croydon to London Terminals (but not underground and not loaded onto my Oyster). Tomorrow I’m travelling from Croydon to Northolt. What will be the cheapest way for me to do so? Travel on season ticket to Clapham, exit the station on season ticket, scan in with Oyster, scan out with Oyster at Northolt and then reverse?

    • Hi Glenn,

      Yes, that looks like the best plan. If you haven’t got your gold card discount on your Oyster yet then make sure you get it added.

  139. Hi Mike,

    I will be moving to surbiton (Z6), but as my university is in Epsom I need to take the bus 416/406. I read that the busses only takes oyster cards. it is possible when I get a 1-6 student oyster card, to use it on the busses from Epsom.
    I`m studying journalism so I will be a lot in central London.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yes, you can use the 18+ Student Oyster on TfL buses. Indeed, with a travelcard loaded on it the bus is free. Note that Oyster is not accepted on the trains at Epsom.

  140. Hi! I’m catching a train from Stanmore on Friday around 7pm and need to get to East Croydon – I have an Oyster card but not sure how much is on it. Could you tell me how much it is, can i top up at Stanmore, which route is best to take, and any tapping in out I need to be aware of. I’m on a tight schedule to get another train to Tadworth! (it has been suggested I get the slow train from Victoria to Tadworth as opposed to trying to get to E Croydon – do you think this is preferable?) thanks

    • Tadworth also accepts Oyster as it’s in the extension of zone 6 covering the whole Tattenham Corner branch. I’d take the Jubilee to London Bridge then a train straight to Tadworth. If one isn’t due then I might change at East Croydon, but I wouldn’t leave the station to touch out or anything – just carry on to Tadworth.

  141. Im curious what is the fine for not tapping on with the oyster card if you forget? I am wanting to compare this with the opal card in Sydney which has cost me 200 dollars, when I had 20 plus dollars on it doing a 2.30 fare. Want to take this to my local MPs office.

    • Hi Natasha,

      A fine would only be imposed by a court. The consequences vary depending on what happens. If you fail to touch at one end of a journey you will be charged an incomplete journey charge. This is up to £8.40. The helpdesk will adjust the charge if you explain what happened. Obviously you can’t make a habit of doing this. If your Oyster card is checked by a revenue officer and found not to be validated then you may be liable for a penalty fare, up to £80 depending on where you are stopped and how quickly you pay. If you are stopped multiple times or more serious fraud is suspected then you can be prosecuted. If found guilty you will be fined, probably several hundred pounds.

  142. Hi Mike,

    Just wanted to ask a quick question. i was really curious to know will I get my oyster card back after being caught lending my 16+ oyster card to my brother? Basically, I lend my oyster card to my brother and he was caught by the inspector and the inspector took my oyster card with him. So, I was wondering will I get my oyster card back?

  143. I am travelling from Motspur park to Watford Junction via Clapham Junction on National Railways. What is the cheapest way to travel using PAYE oyestercard? I get off on Platform 10 on Clapham and taking MiltonKeynes train at platform 16/17. Is there anyway i can make my journey at clapham as transit?
    The pink reader only available at platform1, which is very dificult me to from platform 10 to 1 then 1 to 16 to travel. why the pink reader not available at platform 16 &17?

    • Hi Aravinda,

      You don’t need to touch anything at Clapham Junction because the default route is the way you travel.

  144. Thank you very much for your answer. That mean i touch-in at Motspur Park and Touch-out at Watford junction will omit zone-1 and it chargers £2.80 off peak or £4.70 peak?

  145. Hi Mike

    I wonder if you can clear something up for me.

    I travel to London once or twice a year and use my oyster card (not a visitor oyster card) for lots of journeys on the tube while I’m there. I am so afraid of the barrier not opening at the end of my journey though, that I am constantly feeding the machine with money.

    When I touch in at Heathrow, for example, if the barrier opens, will I be ok for journeys for the rest of the day or should I top up more throughout the day? The tfl website doesn’t explain this.



    • Hi Patrick,

      It’s not quite as simple as you are asking, but this is what happens: At the start of a journey you will be let in if you have enough money for the cheapest single fare from that station. At the end you will be let out even if your balance is now negative, unless you have exceeded the maximum journey time. Once you have capped for the day you will always be let in and out, but you must still keep touching at both ends so the system knows that you haven’t gone to a further zone.

      In your scenario I would recommend having enough to cover the daily cap for the zones you are using at the start of the day, then you don’t need to worry as long as you use the system correctly.

  146. Me again (sorry)

    If I travel from Heathrow at around noon to Turnpike then back to Zone 1 later in the day, will I pay 2 caps for that day, i.e Zone 1 to 6 cap then zone 1 to 3 cap, or just 1 cap because I’ve already covered zones 1 to 3?

    • Hi Patrick,

      Taking the new fares from Friday as an example, Heathrow to Turnpike Lane off-peak is £3.10 single. Turnpike Lane to Kings Cross (say) is then £2.80 single. The total for those fares is £5.90 which is well below the daily cap of £11.70. You will generally only pay one cap per day but it will be made up of several fares. If you don’t make enough journeys then you only pay for the fares.

  147. Hello , I am traveling from West Ham to Hendon Central and i purchased a zone 3-4 travel card ,but when i came out from Hendon Central i ve been charged with 2,30 £.My questions is what type of travel card i should buy,to avoid these charges? Thank you.

    • Hi Dany,

      You need a zone 1-4 travelcard to avoid charges if you travel via zone 1, or a zone 2-4 travelcard if you avoid zone 1 via Stratford and Camden Road/Town.

  148. Mike, I am completely bamboozled as to how to combine National Rail ticket and The underground/ Oyster. I’ve just got a new job in Twickenham. I live in London (Canada Water: Zone 2). I’ll be traveling Peak. Can you advise how to best combine Tube & NRail Fares? Many Thanks ! Nick in Canada water, SE16

    • Hi Nick,

      Forget the tube. Take London Overground from Canada Water to Clapham Junction and then SWT to Twickenham from there. £3.40 peak single, £2.40 off-peak.

  149. Hiya,
    just a very quick question: if I have zones 2-5 monthly travelcard and always travel only in between those zones, do I always have to check in and out if the stations I get on and off are gate free?
    And what if I do not check in but happen to check out – would that raise any issues or extra costs?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Kristine,

      Technically you are supposed to touch in and out on all journeys. However, there is no penalty for failing to touch within the zones on your travelcard as long as all travel is within the zones. My advice is that if gates are open or a validator is easily useable then touch as usual, but if 50 people get off a train and there is only one validator then common sense says that you don’t touch if you don’t need to.

  150. Hi Mike,

    I live in Balham and recently bought a monthly travelcard for zones 3-5 as I work in Wallington and New Malden. When travelling from Balham (zone 3) to New Malden (zone 4) I was charged. How can I do this route and not incur a charge? Thanks to

    • Hi Kerri,

      If you travel via Clapham Junction you will be charged for zone 2. You could take the train to Mitcham Junction, change onto a tram to Wimbledon and then pick up the train to New Malden there as that keeps you within zones 3-5.

  151. hi, im comin down crom scotland for a long weekend and ive been trying to find out how much it will cost to use an oyster card from watford junction to clapham junction. I have seen some prices but im just a little confused as where im from we dont have oyster card system so can u please help


    margaret rennie

    • Hi Margaret,

      The single fare finder describes several options, but it boils down to whether you travel through zone 1 or not. Not means taking the direct Southern train or changing at Willesden Junction.

  152. Hello Mike.
    I hope you’d help me.
    Yesterday I took the overground from Harringay Green Lanes to Upper Holloway. It was all fine. But there’s something wrong with the return. I’ve checked in my Journey History and it says: Upper Holloway to [No touch-out]. But it’s impossible because I did touch out at Harringay station. And, of course, I had to pay the maximum fare which was £7.60. What can I do? Can I go at the station and try to touch out again? Will it work?
    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Serena,

      If you contact the helpdesk and explain what happened they will sort it out. You can’t touch out yourself after the end of the maximum journey time.

  153. hi, i recently got a penalty fare issued to me.
    i was running late one early morning and i run for the train as it was pulling in to the station (chadwell Heath). the barriers were opened (TFL state they will be manned from first train to last), i touched in with my ‘oyster’ card and barely made the train. a short while in to my journey i had realized i had touched in my work pass instead of my oyster. having realized this i decided to get off at stratford and touch in there to validate my journey before continuing onto Liverpool St. an inspector called me over as i touched in and said i was not travelling with a valid ticket. i explained my error but all he wanted to do was issue me with the penalty fare, even his colleague stated that it was not worth issuing but he mumbled that he had no choice. i offered the 30 pence difference but he refused but would accept the £40 fine instead. i appealed to IAS that it was a genuine honest mistake and even gave them my oyster number to check its history, but the reply was very template and i don’t think it was looked at properly or even at all.
    How should i proceed in further appeals as IAS says this is a final decision. to me this is a blatant attempt of raising revenue for a genuine and proven honest mistake.


    • Hi Steve,

      The first thing you need to realise is that a penalty fare is a higher than normal fare for people who have made a mistake. TfL would be within their rights to prosecute if they wished. The problem is that people use the validators at Stratford to touch in when they’ve travelled ticketless from many destinations in Essex and beyond. Whilst you were trying to be honest, you have done what many seasoned fare evaders do on a regular basis.

      My advice to you is to pay the penalty fare (if you haven’t already done so) to avoid it increasing to £80. You could then write to TfL customer relations with your Oyster history and ask them if there is record of an invalid card touching in at Chadwell Heath on the morning in question. If there is, then ask whether they might consider reducing the penalty as a goodwill gesture. There’s no guarantee, but they might.

      Finally, I believe that the promise is that the stations will be manned, not necessarily that the gates will be operational.

  154. Hello. I have a travel card between zones 2 and 4. My journey is between Woolwich and Hingham Park but for some reason I am being charged with £2,30 every journey and I am only using the zones that I mentioned. Can you tell me why is this happening. Thank you

    • Hi Tania,

      It depends on which route you are taking. If you travel via Stratford then you must touch the pink validator on platforms 1/2 before getting the overground train. You also need to touch the pink validator at Highbury & Islington or on the walkway between Hackney Central and Downs. If you don’t touch these pink valiadtors the system assumes you’ve gone via zone 1.

  155. Hi, I have a question about incorporating an Oyster card into my journey. At the moment I live in Amersham and can use the Oyster card for all travel around London but I will be moving to Wendover (on the Chiltern rail line) from next month. I only pop into London for the odd day. Would it work out cheaper to get a rail ticket to Amersham then get off to swipe oyster from there? Or can I buy some sort of day travel card to travel from Wendover then around London? Want to try to find a cheap option that’s not too annoying (don’t like the thought of having to get off to swipe Oyster card then wait at least 20 mins for another train!). Thanks for any advise you can give

    • Hi Faye,

      That’s a slightly tricky one. You can buy a Wendover to zones 1-6 travelcard which is valid for one return journey to Moor Park (boundary of zone 6) then unlimited travel within zones 1-6. If that covers you then it’s probably the best option as there’s no getting off to touch in/out. If you only wanted to go into London and back out again then using Oyster may well be cheaper. Off peak, a return from Wendover to Chalfont & Latimer is actually cheaper than Amersham and gives you the option of the Met trains from Chesham as well.

      Wendover to Chalfont & Latimer off-peak return £7.10
      Chalfont to any zone 1 tube station o-p single £4.00
      Total for one return £15.10
      Wendover to zones 1-6 off-peak travelcard £20.10

  156. Hi there
    Im hoping someone can advise, as a country bumpkin with little tube experience!.
    I am travelling through London from Wiltshire to Herfordshire & back again, and although I have my ticket, I also want to spend some time in the city before continuing my journey. I realise I will have to use my oyster card when I split my journey, but what I wondered was if I am changing tubes underground to get to Kings Cross, come up on land then go back underground a couple of hours later to continue my journey, I am effectively tapping out of the underground before I tap back in rather than the other way round, so will that still work re costs?.
    My route will be from Elstree to KingsCross then instead of going straight on to Waterloo, I want to visit friends so will come up and then go back down again. My paper ticket is for any London route, but I was worried it would be swallowed up when I come up at Kings Cross & I need it for the rest of my journey so thought I should touch my Oyster card??.
    Any info would be most welcome!!.
    TIA 🙂

    • Hi Artemis17,

      If your ticket includes a cross in the route field (†) then you are entitled to make one cross London Underground journey relevant to the overall National Rail journey being made. You can break the Underground journey, you may need to be let out if the gates won’t operate but they won’t swallow the ticket, but you’d then need to use an alternative payment method to finish your Underground journey.

      However, in your case, trains from Elstree arrive at St Pancras which is next door to Kings Cross. Your ticket will let you out of the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras for certain. You can then do whatever you want in that area before going into the Underground at Kings Cross St Pancras to go to Waterloo.

      I hope that makes sense.

  157. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the advice, I think I follow what you’re saying, but just to clarify, if I break my underground journey (to visit a friend) & use my paper ticket to get out, then I need to use an oyster to tap back in the underground that im at eg Liverpool St and then back out at Waterloo?

  158. Sorry that sounds muddled, basically I want to go from Elstree to Liverpool St (via Farrindon I think) come up at Lpool St, see friends then go from there back underground to Waterloo where I then go onto South West trains… 🙂

    • No problem, I understand now. Yes, use your paper ticket to exit at Liverpool Street and use Oyster to return from there to Waterloo.

  159. Ah that’s great, thank you Mike, you’re like a ray of sunshine in the dark cloud of negotiating public transport!

  160. Hello Mike,

    Quick question.

    I have a Zone 6-3 oyster travel card and usually go Knigston to Richmond.

    but last night I had to go Richmond to Surbiton via Clapham.

    this didn’t seem to charge me extra on my PAYG even tho i went through Zone 2 Clapham. I even used the journey validator on the overground platform.

    Was wondering if this is a valid route for use with a 6-3 travel card?

    many thanks

    • Hi Peter,

      It is a valid route if the travelcard is on an Oyster card and the Oyster system decides to charge nothing. You should have enough for a zone 2 single in credit just in case. It is not a valid route if the travelcard is on paper unless a Putney to Earlsfield ticket is held.

  161. Thanks Mike,

    Its an Oyster Travel Card that I have. I just didnt want to get stopped by an inspector!

    guessing the system decided not to charge.

    Thanks again for your help

    • Hi Peter,

      There are two ways to make that journey and one of them is covered by your travelcard. In this case the default route is the one covered by your travelcard so it didn’t charge. It can work the other way sometimes. As long as you have some PAYG credit you won’t be in trouble with an inspector, even if you are checked at Clapham Junction.

  162. Hi Mike,

    On my trip last week. I accidentally walked through the national rail gates instead of the tube gates at Victoria station (Forgive me, I had only been in the country for one hour). A staff member helped me in the right direction. I went back through the gates 2mins later to get out and when I saw my statement I had been charged £7.60!

    I am very surprised that there is not a proper reversal system, given that it is clear I did not travel anywhere (tapping off on the same station in 2mins). How does the Oyster system account for this? Should I contact Oyster for a refund?

    • Hi James,

      Did you touch in at the tube station within 45 minutes of touching out from NR? If you did then the £7.60 should have been refunded and a new journey started. Do you know how much you were charged for that day overall? If there is a problem then yes, the Oyster helpline will resolve it. You could also paste your journey history on here and I’ll try and decipher it.

  163. Hi Mike,

    I topped up online my oyster card however I didn’t end up going to London in the end therefore I never got to touch down my card to activate the money I topped up on it. What will happen to this money will I still be charged the full price?

    • Hi Shannon,

      It waits at the station you selected for 8 days and if not collected it is refunded back to the card used for the sale.

  164. Hi Mike,

    We are visiting London for the day over Christmas (Monday 28th December). Looking at parking up at Stanmore and travelling in; Can I buy an Oyster Card from there? Assume Oyster would be cheapest way to travel around all day?

    Also We have a twelve year old travelling with us and i have read the following for 11-15 year olds:

    ‘You can get a half adult rate pay as you go discount valid for up to 14 days set on an Oyster or Visitor Oyster card for them’

    How does this work? Is it a an additional card or does it let two people through the barriers when you use the card?



    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, you should be able to buy an Oyster card at Stanmore. You’ll need a separate card for the 11-15 year old and this will have a discount entitlement loaded. The staff in the ticket hall should be able to assist with all of this.

  165. Hi Mike,

    I am travelling from Liverpool Street station to Norwich station today and I accidentally tapped in my oyester at the gates to the platform instead of using my pre paid valid ticket, realising my mistake I tapped back out again at the same gates and I’m pretty sure it charged me £1.60. Will I be charged extra for travel to Norwich on my oyester even though I tapped out? Do I need to cancel this journey on my oyester somehow?

    Thank you


    • Hi Emma,

      If you call the helpdesk and explain from tomorrow they should be able to arrange a refund. Depending on how quickly you touched back out and at what time you did it, I would expect the charge to vary between £2.20 and £7.70. It’ll either be a zone 1-2 single fare (£2.20 or £2.40) or an incomplete journey charge (£5.30 or £7.70). There’s a full explanation on my same station exits page.

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