Mixing Oyster and Paper Tickets (old)

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

If the Olympics has taught me one thing it is that there is a lot of confusion about how to use both Oyster and a paper ticket on a journey from outside London.

When you want to use a PAYG Oyster card

With PAYG there are no ifs and no buts, you have to get out at the station where you switch from paper to Oyster or vice versa.  This doesn’t necessarily make it useless, but it’s certainly a disadvantage where services are infrequent and/or there are no validators on the platform.  It can be useful when using some major stations as a gateway to the world beyond Oyster, like Watford Junction, East Croydon, Orpington, Surbiton, Amersham, Upminster and Romford.  Other potentially useful stations are just one stop outside the Oyster area (eg Dartford, Epsom and Potters Bar).

When you want to use a Travelcard on Oyster

A travelcard on Oyster is exactly the same as a travelcard on paper.  There is no penalty for not touching in or out providing the whole journey (on the Oyster card) is within the zones covered by the travelcard.  While this means that you don’t have to get off the train, you do need to be aware whether the train has to call at the station where you switch from one ticket to another.  This is defined by condition 19 in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage as follows:

19. Using a combination of tickets
You may use two or more tickets for one journey as long as together they cover the entire journey and one of the following applies:

(a) they are both Zonal Tickets unless special conditions prohibit their use in this way. The Ticket Seller will, if you ask, advise you whether you can use a Zonal Ticket in combination with another ticket.
(b) the train you are in calls at a station where you change from one ticket to another;
(c) one of the tickets is a Season Ticket (which for this purpose does not include Season Tickets or travel passes issued on behalf of a passenger transport executive or local authority) or a leisure travel pass, and the other ticket(s) is/ are not.

You must comply with any restriction shown on the tickets relating to travel in the trains of a particular Train Company or Train Companies (see Condition 10).
If you do not comply with this Condition, you will be treated as having joined the train without a ticket and Condition 2 or 4 will apply, either to the entire journey, or from the last station where the train stopped at which at least one of the tickets was valid.
For the purposes of this Condition, a “leisure travel pass” means any multi-journey ticket (excluding Season Tickets) valid for:
(i) at least 7 consecutive days; or
(ii) at least 3 days in a period of at least 7 consecutive days
and includes rover tickets, travel passes, flexipass tickets and BritRail passes.

A travelcard on an Oyster card is both a season ticket and a zonal ticket.  Travelcards are not considered to be issued on behalf of a PTE or LA.  Therefore, as long as you are not using any other season tickets, part (c) applies and the train does not need to call.  If the ticket adjoining the travelcard is to a boundary zone or includes some zones itself, part (a) applies and again the train does not need to call where you changeover.  There are no gaps between London zones so a travelcard for zones 1-3 and a ticket including zones 4-6 will cover the whole journey in the zones.

However, a season ticket to a named station along with a travelcard on Oyster will require the train to stop at the changeover station as per part (b).

1,133 thoughts on “Mixing Oyster and Paper Tickets (old)”

  1. Hi Mike,

    I’ve got an annual season ticket from Milton Keynes to Travelcard Zones 1-6 and I’ve been trying to find out online whether I can add the travelcard portion of this ticket to my Oyster card so that I can touch in/out through the barriers instead of having to get my paper ticket out of its holder each time. Information on the Oyster/National Rail website is terrible on this, can you tell me if this can be done, and how I go about it?

    • Hi Sarah,

      Unfortunately you can’t put an out boundary travelcard onto an Oyster card. If you are prepared to spend a bit more then you can split the ticket into two. A paper MKC-zones4-6 is £104.80/week and a zones1-3 is £35.50/week making £140.30 compared to £137.50 for the MKC-zones1-6. That way you can still use fast trains and not have to take your ticket out in London.

  2. Hi Mike,
    I’m a student who travels from Eastbourne to London Bridge during the week. Normally I buy a standard monthly paper ticket for this journey. However, I now have a student Oyster card. I’d prefer to buy as cheap a paper ticket as possible to cover me from Eastbourne to East Croydon, and also use my Oyster card prepaid from East Croydon to London Bridge. I wouldn’t be touching in anywhere as I would only get one train for this journey.

    Is this a valid method? Or do I have to get out at East Croydon and tap in somewhere?


    • Hi Gavin,

      As long as the train stops at East Croydon then it’s perfectly valid, assuming you mean you’ll buy a discounted zone 1-5 travelcard on Oyster for the last bit. Prepaid is one of the words used to describe pay as you go, which is not what you want.

  3. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the response. I would be buying a travel card (1-5) on the Oyster. The train ticket from Eastbourne would be to somewhere that stops at East Croydon, though I myself would be going direct from Eastbourne to London Bridge. I’m just not sure if the Oyster would let me out at London Bridge, considering I hadn’t tapped in anywhere on route.

    • Hi Gavin,

      As long as you are only using the Oyster card within the zones covered by the travelcard (which you will be doing here) there is no need to worry about not touching in at one end of the journey. Thousands of people do it every day. The main thing to be sure is that you have a valid ticket for every part of the journey, which you will have as long as the train stops where the two seasons change over.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I have a pretty similar query but just wanted to make sure a Hatfield-Finsbury Park FCC season ticket + Zones 1-2 Travelcard on Oyster 18+ combination is valid for the following scenario:

    1. Use Season ticket at Hatfield station, touch out with Oyster at Finsbury Park NR station [what happens if I use my season ticket here instead, is there any difference?]
    2. Touch in at Finsbury Park tube station, touch out at Bond Street

    For the return journey:
    3. Touch in at Bond Street, touch out at King’s Cross – St Pancras tube station
    4. Touch in at King’s Cross NR station
    5. Use season ticket in Hatfield


    • Hi Alex,

      That’s all fine. Technically you should use the season ticket to leave Finsbury Park NR as that is what you’ve been travelling on, but it really doesn’t matter either way.

  5. Hi Mike. Travelling in from Huntingdon on FCC, is the travelcard supplement better value than an Oyster cap for a lot of short trips during a day? Many thanks

  6. Hi Mike,

    I’m travelling from Hounslow Overground station to Huntingdon so I’ve purchased a National Rail single Journey ticket
    Route :
    Hounslow [HOU] to Vauxhall [VXH]
    Vauxhall [VXH] to London Kings Cross [KGX]
    London Kings Cross [KGX] to Huntingdon [HUN]

    Hounslow [HOU] – ZONE 5 , London Kings Cross [KGX] – ZONE 1

    Can you please tell me if this national rail ticket can be used on the Tube ?
    Route :
    Hounslow East to Kings Cross St Pancras Underground Station (ZONE 4 – 1)


    • Hi Paya,

      The ticket is valid on the tube between Vauxhall and Finsbury Park for cross London interchange. It would not be valid out to Hounslow East.

  7. Hi Mike,
    I need to get to Milton Keynes from Central London. I haev a zone 1-5 rail (oyster) annual railcard (which includes a Gold Annula discount card) – do you know how far I can get on my 1-5 railcard and what additional charge there will be for the rest of the journey? Thanks, Alex.

    • Hi Alex,

      Zone 1-5 gets you to Harrow and Wealdstone or Headstone Lane. You will need to buy a Boundary Zone 5 to Milton Keynes ticket which is £11.50 off-peak day return. You can use that and your travelcard on any service between Euston and Milton Keynes, even non-stop ones.

  8. Hi Mike, thank you for the excellent and interesting site.

    I recently got clobbered for a £20 penalty fare arriving at Hertford North on a Zone 1-3 Travelcard + PAYG – oops, idiot. I was travelling on my usual line to get home via Bowes Park and had forgotten to make special provision for the excursion to Hertford, right up until I was confronted by the (absolutely charming) ticket inspector at Hertford. I was playing in a big band concert in the theatre there so it made it an expensive hobby that day!

    OK, so I’m an idiot, fair enough. BUT to avoid this happening to me again what are my options? I see these:

    1. Use my Oyster to go to Crews Hill, got off the train there to touch out, miss it (grrrr), get on next train, use paper ticket CWH-HFN.
    2. Buy a paper ticket Bowes Park-HFN (which will it seems cost me £2.20 more than [1]) and stay on the same train. PAYG is not invoked; I have travelled to BOP on my Travelcard so don’t have to touch in or out, then the paper ticket takes over. More £ but same train.

    Matters arising (sorry this is so long!):
    A. Am I right in 1 and 2 above? Rightish? Totally deluded??
    B. In 2, do I *really* need an “Edge of Zone 3 – HFN” paper ticket (or something) to avoid complications if that particular train does not stop at BOP?? (I am very very confused about this bit.)
    C. If your superb site did not exist, is all the information I need actually sitting there on the TfL site and I have just failed to find it? I thought perhaps not – it seems unclear to me, but maybe I have not looked hard enough.

    Thanks and best wishes, Neville

    • Hi Neville,

      Yes, you are right. Option 1 will cost £2.50/£1.90 PAYG depending on peak/off-peak so is probably not worth the hassle if you are going to miss the same train. If the train doesn’t call at Bowes Park then you really do need a Boundary zone 3 ticket. It does cost more unfortunately, and FCC are quite strict if you are found with a gap in your tickets.

      The information is all out there, though not necessarily on the TfL site. The rules for combining tickets is contained in the NRCoC as that is a National Rail thing rather than anything to do with TfL/Oyster.

      Hope that helps,


  9. Hi Mike

    That’s very helpful thanks. It’s great to know – but I wish they would get it all a bit more integrated: the current situation is a valiant attempt but seems a bit clunky. And if I want to use FCC to Hertford North in a “metro-style” manner then I will have to buy a BZ3-HFN ticket so I can just jump on *any* train that’s going there without worrying about whether it actually stops at BOP or not. If I want to save money by buying BOP-HFN then I have to make sure the train actually stops there.

    I know it has its own internal logic but from the point of view of the innocent (or in my case clueless) passenger it does seem to have a bit more complexity than is good. I hope the rumours about extending Oyster further out there are true!

    Thanks again – this was a very very useful thing to be able to read about.


  10. Hi Mike.

    Excellent site. Loads of info. Great work!
    Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find the answer to my specific question so I hope you don’t mind me adding to the many queries you have already responded to.

    My daily commute is between Basildon, Essex and Kings Cross. I use the C2C line to Fenchurch Street and then the Metropolitan Line from Aldgate to Kings Cross. I am currently buying monthly All Zones Travelcards and intend to buy an annual Gold Travelcard next month.

    Can I add this Travelcard to an Oyster Card to reduce the number of times I have to use the paper ticket? The only station that doesn’t have a contactless reader is at Basildon so I’m hoping to be able to go through Fenchurch Street, Aldgate and Kings Cross using my Travelcard via an Oyster.

    Unfortunately I’ve not had much luck by phoning either C2C or TFL customer services.

    Thanks in advance for your help


    • Hi Jason,

      Sorry for the delay replying. You cannot load an out-boundary travelcard onto an Oyster unless it is still within the extended Oyster area. You will need to split your season into two tickets such that the London end is a travelcard. Unfortunately this means paying a little more. The cheapest way of doing it is to buy a season from Basildon to Upminster for £35.30/week and a zone 1-6 travelcard for £55.60/week, total £90.90/week compared with £90.80/week for the combined ticket. Annually that 10p/week turns into £4. There is a big but though. Your train from Basildon MUST CALL AT UPMINSTER.

      Alternatively you can buy a season from Basildon to Zones 4-6 for £58.20/week and a zones 1-3 travelcard for £35.60/week totalling £93.80. Annually the £3 difference becomes £120. Because both tickets are zonal there is no requirement for the train to stop where they changeover. London zones do not have gaps so you don’t have to cover a zone twice. The drawback is that if you go anywhere else within London by train you will have to know what zone you are in to ensure that you use the right ticket to open gates. Using the Oyster outside zones 1-3 will incur a PAYG extension charge.

      Hope that helps.

  11. Hi Mike
    Thanks for such a thorough (and really helpful reply!). Food for thought before I renew my ticket I think.
    Thanks again and Happy Easter!!
    All the best

  12. Hi Mike,

    Trying to work out best ticket to buy when I renew my season ticket. I normally buy a season ticket from Basingstoke to London any route with zone 1 to 6 travelcard. I am now only really travelling Basingstoke to Waterloo and zones 1 and some times 2 during the week. I am looking to reduce cost but trying to work out if it would be a cost saving to have paper ticket for part of journey and then having oyster for train in london.

    look forward to you advice.



    • Hi Katy,

      Sortry for the delay. Unfortunately the add-on for zones 1-6 from places like Basingstoke is less than the value of ten zone 1 tube journeys, so it is unlikely that you would save much. If you can tell me exactly where you need to get to in London then I might be able to suggest a saving.

    • Hi Katy,

      I don’t think there’s much that you can do then, unfortunately. There are two travelcard options from Basingstoke: one which must involve travel via Woking and the other which is any permitted and also allows travel via Reading. If you don’t need to arrive at Paddington then go for the Woking option which saves £3.40 on a weekly or £24 on an annual.

  13. Hi Mike,
    I wonder if you could help me try and get the best fare when I move next month. I have an 18+ student Oyster card. From May I will be travelling from Epsom to London during the week and sometimes at weekends. I see that a 1-6 monthly pass on my Oyster would be £149.40. With Epsom falling one stop outside the fare zone and a Monthly season ticket with SWT costing in excess of £240, I wonder if you might advise on the best way for me to do this?
    Would I be able to get a travelcard to cover the portion of the journey from Epsom to Zone 6 and add this to my Oyster? At Epsom I guess I would have to use a paper ticket to enter the station. Then at Waterloo I would touch out with my Oyster?
    Thanks in advance for your help,

    • Hi Lindsay,

      You can’t load an outboundary travelcard on Oyster unless it is from one of the stations already accepting Oyster (like Watford, Shenfield). You basically have two options. Either purchase a season from Epsom to Ewell West and use that with your zone 1-6 season. Your train would need to stop at Ewell West with this option. Or, purchase returns from Epsom to Ewell West which would cost a bit more but the train doesn’t need to call where the tickets changeover. With the daily returns option you could also choose to go via Ewell East one day, though you would need to return the same way.

      You are correct that you would use the paper tickets at Epsom and the Oyster at Waterloo.

  14. Hi Mike

    I will be travelling every weekday from Staines to Waterloo. Is it possible to buy a season ticket from Staines to Feltham and then use annual student oyster the rest of the way as i will not be tapping in at feltham as i would stay on the same train?


  15. Hi*

    I’m a newby to using Oyster. I think it’s a great idea.

    OK, the story…

    I live in Kent and wanted to travel to Sheffield the other week. I used to get a day travelcard that would allow travel from Kent to London Bridge then to St. Pancras. My train arrives on platform 7 London Bridge and I just wait for the Thameslink departing from the same platform. Simple.

    Armed with my new Oyster, I thought I’d just buy a cheap day return to London, touch in at London Bridge, hop on the Thameslink and touch out at St. Pancras.

    I was sure that I had seen Oyster card readers at London Bridge on the platforms.. Could I find a card reader on the platforms at London Bridge? No.

    I ended up missing the Thameslink and had to resort to exiting NR with my paper ticket and touching in on LU and make my journey by underground.

    When returning from Sheffield, I again used the Underground instead of Thameslink.

    Having read through the forums on here, the only way seems to be to:-
    quickly go down the London Bridge concourse (no running)
    exit NR using the paper ticket
    touch back in with Oyster
    quickly go back up the concourse (no running)
    then use Thameslink.

    Did I not look hard enough for the readers on the platform at London Bridge or is this something that many people fall foul of?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Paul,

      The readers on platforms 5/6 at London Bridge were disabled and subsequently removed after Southern and Southeastern joined the Oyster scheme in 2010. There is no platform 7 at present, although it will exist in the rebuilt station in a few years time.

  16. Hi Mike

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, you’re right – platform 7 doesn’t exist. I meant to say platform 6 🙂

    It’s a shame that SouthEastern forgot that a lot of Oyster customers start their journeys outside of the Oyster area and therefore need to touch in without leaving the platforms if they need to take a local overground service to Greenwich etc.


    • Hi Paul,

      Unfortunately it is a trade-off between convenience for honest customers and opportunity for fare evaders.

  17. ITSO on Prestige has now been launched between Merstham and Purley on Southern, so if you have a Southern “The Key” ITSO smartcard you can load weekly and monthly seasons which will work on the Oyster readers at Coulsdon South and Purley.

  18. There is a working standalone Oyster reader near the bottom of the ramp to platforms 1 and 2 at London Bridge. Saves a little faff with the gates.

  19. Hi there, can anyone help as even greater anglia seem a little confused by my request. I am starting work in London, and they (work) are providing (read paying for) an all zones season oyster card.
    I live near Kelvedon in Essex. Now, zone 6 on the oyster covers me all the way out to Shenfield. In my mind, I should be able to purchase a season ticket from Kelvedon to Shenfield, and call it job done? The ticket office say zone 6 only goes as far as Harold Wood (which is different to their website). Do I have to get out at Shenfield to register the end of the Oyster journey, as that’s going to be a PITA if I do? Thanks in advance, Mike

    • Hi,

      I’m afraid you are a little confused. Although the Oyster area now extends out to Shenfield, zone 6 is still only as far as Harold Wood. You will need to buy a season ticket from Kelvedon to Harold Wood (or Romford) and the train must call at whichever station you change from the paper season to the Oyster at. You don’t need to get off to validate the Oyster card, however.

    • Hi,

      The Greater Anglia map shows the extent of the Oyster PAYG area. It does not claim that it is all in zones 1-6. The TfL site also lists Shenfield as being outside the zonal area. The joint TfL and ATOC map shows the zones clearly and also shows the stations which are outside the zones but still accept Oyster.

  20. Ok – thanks, looks like I’ll have to stump up for a season ticket between Kelvedon and Liverpool Street in that case 🙁 – strikes me as a bit of a con, seen as the oyster technically covers me way further out than LST. Any cheaper solution you can think of? Season ticket Kelvedon to zones 1-6 inc = £5036 a year, Kelvedon to Liverpool street = £4124. Oyster 1-6 £2224. So, equivalent of the 2 is £6348.

    • I think the con could be your work only providing a zone 1-6 travelcard on Oyster. Could they provide equivalent funding towards a paper season ticket for your whole journey? Or if they insist on it being loaded on an Oyster card then if they could contribute to a Shenfield to London zones 1-6 travelcard and you purchase a Kelvedon to Shenfield season. It looks like most trains from Kelvedon call at Shenfield, or you might have to change at Chelmsford. Whatever train you are on as you pass through Shenfield will have to stop there, but you don’t need to get off.

  21. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel from CanningTown – Waterloo – West ByFleet. Can I use the travel card I wanna buy from Waterloo-West Byfleet to get canning town (Zone 3)?

    If not, is there any possibility to use my monthly/Weekly National rail card in zone 1-3 if I pay extra?

    • Hi Vinay,

      An out-boundary travelcard is valid between the out station (West Byfleet) and zone 6 then on all rail/tube/dlr/bus/tram services within zones 1-6. If it is a day ticket then you get one return from the out station to the zones and back. If it’s a season then you can make unlimited trips along that section.

  22. Hi there – some really helpful content here.

    I’m having a nightmate with national rail, first capital connect and tfl. I’m moving jobs to work in Stevenage and need an annual season ticket that goes from finsbury park to stevenage, in conjunction with bus travel from green lanes to finsbury park. I’ll be reverse commuting, and sometimes going from hornsey to stevenage.

    National rail quoted £3584 for FP – STV with a zones 2-6 travelcard, but having spoken to FCC I’m worried that this doesn’t allow for me to go on the faster direct train to Stevenage.

    It would also be a paper ticket which would play havoc with my travel on the bus, underground, and if I were to travel to zone 1 I would have a nightmare reconciling the two.

    Tfl and FCC are citing each other as the problem, and I cannot face the prospect of an annual bus pass (£800) or a travelcard (£1500) on top of the FP – STV £3300, especially when I am reverse commuting and I’d previously been quoted £3584.

    Any advice or insight is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Stewball,

      Firstly, your Stevenage to zones 2-6 ticket will not allow you to travel via Kings Cross. Secondly, you cannot get a ticket beyond the Oyster area issued on Oyster, so yes, it would be paper. Is walking from Green Lanes to Harringay out of the question? If you can then you could just buy the Finsbury Park to Stevenage season, or if you didn’t mind slow trains only you could save a little with a Harringay to Stevenage season. Also, at current rates each bus is £1.40 single, or £14 for 10 weekly journeys or about £700 for 50 weeks. As long as you only get one bus each way you may consider only using PAYG rather than a season ticket. Bus seasons are aimed at people who use 3-4 buses a day.

      As to the problem, there used to be a reduced season on FCC which didn’t allow travel towards London in the morning peak, but FCC scrapped it either this or last January. I think they are more of the problem than TfL on that basis.

      Hope this might help in some way.

  23. Thanks Mike, that’s really helpful. National rail have come back to me and said I could you use the FP-stevenage +zones1-6 on the fast train from Finsbury Park, but guess you’re just saying that I couldn’t get that from kingsX?

    Still some more dialogue to be had with FCC and TFL unfortunately!


    • Hi stewball,

      Yes, I misunderstood. As long as the train doesn’t go into zone 1 then you can use a season including zones 2-6. The season is all one ticket (Stevenage to London zones 2-6) so there are no split ticketing implications.

      There is one way to make a slight reduction without losing the travelcard flexibility in zones 2-3 which would also allow travel into zone 1 on Oyster without having to also pay for zone 2. It does severely restrict the number of services you can use for your main commute though. You need a paper season from Stevenage to Bowes Park and a travelcard season for zones 2-3. The severe restriction is that any train you use between Stevenage and south of Bowes Park MUST call at Bowes Park. Also, if you wanted to use the Oyster all the way from North of Bowes Park to Kings Cross then you would need to get off to touch the Oyster in. It’s not a problem if you only use the Oyster in zones 2 and 3, but if you want to go beyond those zones either way you have to touch in at the start and out at the end of the journey.

  24. hi. i need to get from manor house to walton-on-thames. i could use my oyster payg for the tube and then buy a train ticket from vauxhall / waterloo to walton (£14). instead, i was planning to buy, in advance, a return from surbiton to walton (£4), and use my oyster payg between manor house and surbiton (at minimal extra charge for outer london zones). but what happens at surbiton – should i get off the train and exit the station and then re-enter using my paper ticket, or am i ok to sit tight on the train and simply switch over to my paper ticket? i suppose there would be an incomplete journey on my oyster payg on the way out (i could sort this out when i got back to vauxhall) and also would the barriers open at waterloo / vauxhall on the way back, if i haven’t opened a journey at surbiton?

    • Hi Raj,

      I refer you to the very top of this page under the heading “When you want to use a PAYG Oyster card”. Fortunately Surbiton is one of the useful boundary stations where there are frequent trains so with the right timing you won’t have too long to wait. Your problems could be much more serious than an incomplete journey if you were to be stopped by an inspector with an unvalidated Oyster card.

  25. hi mike. re the section at the top, i was confused as to whether an oyster route validator would have the same effect as actually exiting and re-entering the station. if it does have the same effect do you know if the validator at surbiton is placed to allow me to get off the train, touch my oyster and get on board the same train? re any potential problems with inspectors and unvalidated oysters, wouldn’t my oyster still be validated from the journey out, it would just show an anomoly in that i entered at waterloo or vauxhall, and then exited at the same point several hours later, which i would have to sort out at a kiosk?

    • Hi Raj,

      Most stations do not have route validators, and they will not have the same effect as touching out in any case. At Surbiton you have to use the gates from the bridge so it is unlikely that you could get the same train.

      As to the inspectors, the card ceases to be valid after a time and would be unlikely to still be valid unless return from Walton was very quick. I wouldn’t like to comment on how easy it would be to get an adjustment, but you’d have to call the helpline and explain what happened. They usually refund overcharges where mistakes have happened, but may not do so if it is clear that someone is trying to get both the benefit of Oyster’s lower fares without the requirement to touch in/out at each end.

  26. thanks for your help mike. i’m thinking that the savings probably aren’t worth the hassle this will involve, especially having to hang around for the next train at walton. appreciate your advice though. raj

    p.s. just thought of something. how about if i bought a zones 1-6 travelcard for the day, or a return from manor house to surbiton? would that mean that i wouldn’t have to get off the train at walton on either the way out or the way back? i’m not just thinking of this strategy for this journey, but for similar future journeys, so the savings would add up, they just have to be relatively painless savings, which don’t require hanging around on rain and windswept platforms for the next train! 🙂

    • Hi Raj,

      Yes, if you have two tickets and the train calls at the station where you switch from one to the other, you don’t have to get off. The problem with Oyster in this scenario is that a PAYG journey has to be validated at each end.

  27. Hello. I have a question. I have a 1-4 annual travel card and a WinchmoreHill to Hertford annual gold card. This covers my commute. However, my national rail gold card never scans. It has error 124. Code on gold card is std disad season-12m00d. Any views on the problem? Thanks!

    • Hi Susan,

      Yes, code 124 means passenger type. The station will set the gates to reject some tickets so that discount entitlement can be manually checked.

      Also, did you know you could reduce your travelcard down to zones 1-3 by changing your split point to Bowes Park. It’s the same price from Hertford but sits in both zones 3 and 4. The downside is that you then can’t use trains which don’t call at Bowes Park, although a lot of those only go to Gordon Hill anyway.

  28. Hi there,

    I bought an annual zone 1 to 3 railcard at the end of last year at Wimbledon Railway Station, and received an oystercard with the annual season ticket on it, plus a gold record card. I’ve just changed jobs and asked for it to be swapped to a zone 2 to 5 railcard, which has been done. However, Wimbledon told me that they had to issue me with a paper annual season ticket, which has the remaining months specified on it – 7 months, as they’re unable to issue part year season tickets on oystercard.

    So now, it’s a pain because I have to take out the paper ticket each time I go through barriers. Is it possible to get the season ticket put on the oystercard (which they handed back to me) at a tube station perhaps?

    • Hi James,

      I can see that that would be a big pain. I don’t know whether a tube station could put it back on the Oyster. They might be able to, but I’d try a bigger station in Central London. If they can, please let us know.

  29. May I just say this website puts TFL to shame! I’ve got a fairly complex issue that I’m struggling to get any answers to so wondered if anyone on here may be able to help.

    I live in Croydon and have just started working in Oxted (frustratingly just outside zone 6). I’ve been trying to work out the best way to organise my travel to and from work each day. A monthly East Croydon to Oxted is £106.40, the only issue is I need a bus to get to and from East croydon station, which would not be included on this ticket, so that’s an extra £2.80 a day which adds up over a month!

    The alternative is to get a zone 5-6 to Oxted, which I’ve been quoted £161.70 a month for, now this would included the buses to and from the station which appeals to me. If my maths is correct it would actually work out cheaper for me to get zone 5-6 to Oxted, plus if I use Z5-6 travel at home at the weekend which I often do, that’ll effectively be free!

    The only issue I have is that I have PAYG on my oyster card and I’ll occasionaly be using that on trains to get from East Croydon (Z5), potentially, all the way to Z1. Is there any way I can get the Z5-6 portion of the oxted ticket, transferred to my oyster card? Thus allowing me to touch in at East Croydon and it using the Z5 portion of the travelcard and then the PAYG for the rest? I really don’t want to have to queue for a paper extension before I travel, it would be so much easier to use oyster, plus occasionaly I don’t know where I’ll be getting off to PAYG on oyster gives me added flexibility.

    I really hope that makes sense, any advice would be greatly appreciated!


    • Hi Steve,

      It all makes perfect sense, but sadly the answer is anything but perfect.

      You cannot load any travelcard which includes travel outside the Oyster area onto an Oyster card. In almost all cases it is not possible to buy extension tickets from inner boundaries towards zone 1, so you’d always be needing to duplicate one zone. I really wish zone boundaries crossed stations in almost all cases so that you get a station in both zones on every boundary. It would be a major change though, so I can’t see it happening.

  30. It’s worse than that Mike. I’ve discovered that if I go to zone 1 now, I either have to pay a cash fare – £4.50, or tap in at Wimbledon using my PAYG oystercard and tap out in Zone 1 which will charge me a Zone 1 to 3 fare rather than a Zone 1 only fare, which would have happened if my zone 2 to 5 season ticket was on an oystercard rather than a paper ticket. The problem now is that I have a National Rail paper season ticket. I will try to see if a tube station will add that to my oystercard but knowing how National Rail and the Tube hate each other, I don’t hold out much hope. I rang up oystercard and they told me that National Rail should have advised me to swap my zone 1 to 3 season ticket on the oystercard to a zone 2 to 5 season ticket on the oystercard at a tube station. Tube stations have the software which would allow that and can do it for an admin fee of just £5. National Rail don’t have the software, so have to issue a paper ticket. Oystercard told me to complain to South West Trains about them giving me poor advice, but the end result is it’s going to cost me a lot of extra money whenever I go to zone 1. The only good news is that I at least got the goldcard entitlement added to my Oystercard, so get 34% reduction for off peak travel, which means that it will be less than the standard zone 1 to 3 fare, but still more than standard zone 1 fare minus 34%.

    This system still really sucks, in my opinion. I thought National Rail, the Tube and Oystercard had resolved all their spats by now, but nope they still hate each other and it’s the customer that suffers.

    • Hi again James,

      In your case you do have a cheaper solution. Vauxhall is dual zoned (1/2) so if you exit with your paper ticket and enter with your Oyster you will only be charged a zone 1 fare. If you use Vauxhall as your gateway to the Underground then you can combine switching tickets with switching modes. You also won’t get stung for the premium of mixing NR and TfL in zone 1. I agree it’s not ideal, but should save you money. Even if you only want to travel to Waterloo NR, getting off, touching in and getting on the next train should only add around 5 minutes to your journey as the trains are so frequent.

      As for spats between NR and TfL, it’s not quite as simple as just hating each other. Neither side is prepared to pay for the other sides costs/losses to make the system uniform across all modes. It would be extremely difficult to do in a revenue neutral way because many TfL fares would have to rise significantly to meet reducing NR fares half way. You can imagine how popular that would be among the many commuters who would be hit.

  31. Hi Mike,
    I commute to central london from rayleigh each day and currently purchase a monthly season ticket for £419.

    I have recently found that the Oyster Card now stretches as far as Shenfield.

    A monthly season ticket from Rayleigh to Shenfield is £126.00 and a monthly Oyster Travel card is £213.60. A total of £339.60 therefore a saving of £79.40 per month.

    Is this correct? And are there any pitfalls I should be aware of?

    • Sorry Mark,

      £213.60 is the price of a zone 1-6 monthly travelcard which extends to Harold Wood. The Shenfield version is £360.20.

  32. Hey there,
    I usually get my monthly on my oyster. Now I bought one yday from the ticket office instead of renewing my oyster on the machine. I tap in and then tap out at th end of my journey and realised that I got charged although I had my monthly on it. I check on the machine and I was charged the whole journey and I had no monthly on my oyster. I search for my reciept which I found and realised the guy gave me a paper ticket instead of putting it on my oyster. All the other to let office told me I have to go back to the ticket office I put it from and try and change it. Is it possible to get a refund and then I would be able to put the monthly myself from the machine on my oyster. I tap In from zone 6 and get monthly for 1-2 because of work. Zones 3-6 I always do payg. But now with the paper ticket I cAnt even top of up for the other zones. It is really annoying and I’m wondering why the guy didn’t tell me.

    • Hi Shannel,

      It’s a bit difficult to advise without knowing any detail about where this happened. The original ticket office would be the best bet to get it fixed. If the can’t then you might need to get out at a zone 2 station and touch out to minimise your costs. If there is a station on the boundary of zones 2 and 3 then that is best as it won’t cost you any more.

      For the future, consider ordering your travelcard online. It can be ordered in advance and picked up at any zone 1 or 2 station. It will start to work on the start date. Your Oyster card will need to be registered.

  33. Hi, hope you can help as I am a little confused!
    I have a monthly travelcard from Westenhanger (kent) that is to Zones 2-6 and includes HS1.

    I would like to use the slow train to Charing Cross (zone 1) but am unsure what ticket to buy as an extension from my zone 2-6 travelcard into zone 1.

    I still have a visitor oyster card, so could I some sort of extension onto that?

    • Hi Markus,

      You’ll need to buy a paper ticket from New Cross to London to go with your season ticket. There is no requirement for the train to stop at New Cross. If you wanted to do other travel within zone 1 then make it a zones 1-2 travelcard instead. You can’t load travelcards onto visitor Oyster cards, and in any case you probably don’t want to slow down enough to get off at New Cross and touch in, so paper tickets will be best.

  34. Hi Mike,

    Great website! Must admit!

    Next Wednesday, I’m staying in Twickenham for the night. I am getting the Megabus from Cardiff (where I live) to Victoria, and I am planning on buying a Travelcard as I want to do several things in and around London so I’ll be hopping on and off tubes all day. However, Twickenham is on the National Rail network, and I’m not sure if Travelcards are valid on trains. If this is the case, will I need to buy a Waterloo to Twickenham return ON TOP of the Travelcard?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hi Dan,

      Yes, travelcards cover NR, LU and DLR within the zones allowed apart from HS1 and the NR trains at Heathrow.

  35. Hi Mike,

    My young persons railcard runs out at the end of July. I shall be traveling from Luton Airport Parkway and using the Tube to get to bank station . Can you confirm the cheapest option I have using a paper ticket and oyster card and also what do you recommend?

    Thanks in Advance,


    • Hi Jody,

      You’ve got too many variables there. Is it one way or return? Will you still have the railcard? or be getting another? What day(s) will you be travelling and at what time?

  36. Hi Mike
    Amazing site – has convinced me to make my husband get an oyster card. He travels from Brentwood to Canary Wharf usually via Stratford then DLR but sometimes Stratford then Jubilee line. Occassionally he travels into Zone 1 for business. So he has a travelcard Brentwood to Zone 2 and cash PAYG for the odd Zone 1 trip. When should he touch in/out or validate as his osyster has been charged for Zone 1 when it was just normal travel? Taken ages to convince him now not so sure. Thanks for your help Rose

    • Hi Rose,

      Assuming the Brentwood to zones 2-6 ticket is on the Oyster card then it shouldn’t charge zone 1 unless it believes zone 1 has been used. Can you be more specific about what the journey was when he had the problem? Where did he touch in and out? What route did he take? Did he touch any pink readers?

  37. Thanks Mike
    I think he touch in at Brentwood then again at Stratford before DLR and then again at Canary Wharf. On one occassion DLR was too busy so he touched in at Brentwood again at Stratford Jubilee entrance and again at Canada Square. No pink readers to my knowledge. On way home the reverse. I will check with him again tonight but thats what I would do too.

    • Argh! Those confusing signs at Stratford strike again!

      You don’t need to touch in on the validators on the way to or from the DLR at platform 4 if you are already touched in. If you can check journey history and paste an example it would be good, as you still shouldn’t have got a zone 1 charge. It does leave you open to an interesting conversation if your card is checked after the touch at Stratford.

  38. Great site – I think I nearly understand!

    I am getting frustrated by the fact that my expensive (£4500) season ticket from West Malling to London (travelcard zones 1 -6) as I commute to Green Park but travel around the network too so need more than just zone 1, doesn’t last longer than 10 days at a time before failing at the barriers, entailing another trip to the ticket office for a replacement and, no, I do not keep it anywhere close to my phone.

    I am fed up with trouble at the barrier (normally when I am running late e to catch the train!) so am prepared to pay a little extra for the convenience of an Oyster. From what I can work out the train nearly always stops at Bromley South so could I change the gold card to run to Bromley South (St Mary’s Cray is on the boundary but the train doesn’t always stop there) and then have a travelcard season ticket on an Oyster? Any idea on a comparative price? Thanks.

    • Hi Cathie,

      Yes you can do that, but due to a quirk in the pricing you don’t want to. West Malling to Bromley South actually costs more than West Malling to zones 5-6 and the latter gives you the whole of zone 5 too. That means that you only need to put a zones 1-4 travelcard on the Oyster. There is absolutely no gap between adjacent zones, so don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. It also means that you can still go anywhere within zones 1-6 and the train doesn’t need to call anywhere because both tickets are zonal.

      West Malling to zones 5-6 is £3056/year and zones 1-4 is £1744/year making a total of £4800. The question is, is £300/year too much for the convenience of an Oyster card? The only minor drawback is that you’ll need to know which zone you are in when using the tickets so you use the right one to exit the station. The paper travelcard won’t work in zones 1-4, which won’t be a disaster as you do have the valid travelcard on the Oyster; but the Oyster will work in zones 5-6 where it will try to deduct an extra fare from your PAYG balance.

      Hope that helps.

  39. Sorry, but the Train Travel system is terribly (and unnecessarily) complicated in UK! OY!
    I have an Oyster card, and in September, coming back from Scotland, need to get from London to Lenham in Kent. Single fare is £23 (more than I will have paid on a train from Scotland!!) HOW can I use my Oyster card up to zone 9 and then pay for the 2nd half? Buy paper ticket for the 2nd half and get off at last station in Zone 9, tap my Oyster, then wait for next train? THANKS fr any advice.

    • Hi Darin,

      Zone 9 only exists to the North and West of London. St Mary Cray is the last station in zone 6 on the line you need to use, but I don’t think it will save you much, if anything. It would certainly cost a lot in time because not many trains stop at St Mary Cray, and those that do are all-stoppers.

  40. Hi Mike

    I have an oyster annual zones 2-5 season ticket but have just found out that I will be required to travel to Woking once a week from Clapham. Am I able to buy a boundary zone 5 to Woking ticket and then touch in at Clapham with my Oyster, take the fast train to Woking and exit with a paper ticket or do I need to buy a Clapham to Woking paper ticket?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  41. Hi Mike,

    Great website,
    I have been living in Surbiton and purchased an annual six zone travelcard which covers me to Surbiton. I have now moved to Weybridge and have bought a monthly paper season ticket to cover the portion between Weybridge and Surbiton. I travel from Weybridge into Waterloo everyday. Do I need to get off the train at Surbiton and touch in with my Oyster Card?

    • Hi Penny,

      No, you don’t need to touch in if using a travelcard, but the train MUST call at Surbiton to satisfy NR ticketing rules on using two season tickets together.

  42. Hi Mike,

    Great website. I think I’ve got it worked out but want to check.

    I’m going to be traveling from Stratford in London Zone 3 to Sevenoaks, which will involve getting the tube to London Bridge and then getting a train to Sevenoaks.

    Most LBG-SEV trains stop at Orpington on the way, which is in zone 6. Could I therefore buy a Zone 1-6 annual travelcard on my Oyster and a separate Orpington-Sevenoaks annual paper season ticket? Not only would this save me £100 a year, I could use my Oyster when travelling on evenings/weekends in London without messing around with a paper ticket.

    Would it be a problem to touch in at London Bridge with an Oyster for the train and then to use a paper ticket to exit at Sevenoaks? And then do the opposite on the way back?

    Another option I considered is buying a London Zones 1-4 travelcard on my Oyster and then a Sevenoaks to Zones 5-6 paperticket, although I don’t know if this would work as Orpington is in zone 6 and therefore there isn’t a point my train stops at the interchange of the two tickets.


    • Hi Jon,

      Both would work. The Orpington to Sevenoaks season would require the train to stop at Orpington while the two travelcards do not because they are both zonal tickets. My experience of trains to Sevenoaks says that there are quite a few which don’t stop at Orpington, especially in the peak hours.

      Have you considered getting the DLR to Lewisham and Southeastern to Sevenoaks (possibly changing at Orpington) from there? I know they’d be slower trains, but by losing zone 1 you would save considerably on the price.

  43. Hi Mike,

    I’ve just started working in London and am trying to get my head around commuting. I have a question about using my oyster card. I start outside London and use train tickets to commute from Arlesey to Finsbury Park station. I arrive on platform 6 and the catch another FCC train to Old Street from platform 5. I then use my oyster card to check out at Old Street. This is then charging me more than it should i think as I do not touch in at finsbury park as I do not pass through any barriers. How would I touch my oyster card in to register a journey from finsbury park to old street ? A lot of others do the same journey and I never see them do anything different either so im slightly confused. Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Chris,

      They may well have a season ticket on the Oyster as well. If you are using PAYG then you must touch in where you switch from paper to Oyster. Fortunately the gatelines on platforms 1/2 and 5/6 are on the platform level so you can use your ticket to exit and your Oyster to come back in. You’ll just need to be near the barriers if time is short.

  44. Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I think the via Lewisham option wouldn’t really work for me due to time but thanks though.

    Since it’s possible I’ll go for option two then, and get a Z1-4 on my Oyster and a Z5-6 to Sevenoaks paper ticket. It would mean more options in the morning for my commute as I wouldn’t have to go via Orpington.

    Have you ever encountered rail staff having a problem with this kind of thing? I’ve spoken to other people about similar situations and how staff wouldn’t issue tickets; for example in my case they would say I needed a Z1-5 and a Z5-6 to Sevenoaks, since travel between Z4 and Z5 wasn’t covered by my option.

    thanks again!

    • Hi Jon,

      I am aware of occasional issues of the sort that you describe, but there is no gap between any London fare zone and it’s adjacent neighbour. Any extra amount you may be charged will definitely be refunded. Indeed you could ask how much it costs to get from one end of Lewisham to the other given that it is in both zones 2 and 3.

  45. Hi Mike,

    I hope you can help!

    I travel to work from Woking to Waterloo and get the W&C line to Bank and exit from there.

    I usually purchase the monthly Woking to Waterloo Zones 1-6 season card (approx £346).

    I hardly ever change my route to and from work, except on the infrequent occasion when I get another tube line to see friends etc.

    I’m trying to work out what is the cheapest method for me to travel and wondered if just obtaining a monthly from Woking to London terminals and using an Oyster PAYG or the Travelcard, would work out any cheaper?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Hi Shane,

      The difference between Woking to London and Woking to zones 1-6 is less than the price of daily zone 1 singles, so that won’t save you any money I’m afraid. There is a potential alternative though. Your London terminals ticket is valid to Cannon Street via Waterloo East and London Bridge, and Cannon Street is a very short walk from Bank.

  46. Thank you for the prompt reply. So a ticket to London terminals, allows me to travel between any overground London stations?

    • Between any appropriate London terminals by National Rail services, yes. From the south all of Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Vauxhall, Victoria, Waterloo and Waterloo East are valid.

  47. Hi mike
    Please help! Am looking for the best ticket to purchase (monthly) from Barnes to Eastbourne. Not sure whether oyster is visible or if paper ticket is better which one?

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Oyster is only available in the London area and the smart card in the south is not compatible (yet) with the Oyster readers in London. Assuming you’ll travel via Clapham Junction I think an Eastbourne to London zones 2-6 paper travelcard season is best.

  48. Hi there, I’ve moved offices and will now be traveling to Peckham rye a lot, therefore if I was to by a paper monthly season ticket for Sevenoaks to st Mary Cray and then a zones 1-6 travel card on my oyster I would only need to tap out at Peckham? The train stops at st Mary Cray every morning which is z6 so am I right in assuming both tickets cross over?

    • Hi James,

      Yes, that’s fine. My only question is do you need zone 1? You’ll probably find that a Sevenoaks to zones 2-6 paper travelcard is cheaper than Sevenoaks to St Mary Cray and zones 2-6 separately.

  49. Hi Mike, quick question and I apologize if this has already been asked/answered.

    For my new job I need to travel a lot and as such my employer reimburses my travel costs outside zone 4. This week I’m travelling to Enfield Lock in zone 6 probably using a combination of bus and rail/tube. I plan on using my PAYG Oyster to get me most of the way, but I need to get a paper ticket for zones 5 and 6 so I can claim it back.

    What would the process be in this instance? Should I get a day travel card for the two zones and if so when (if at all) would I need to tap out/in?

    *today will likely be bus from inside zone 3, otherwise I will be travelling predominantly by rail.

    • Hi Adam,

      You can’t get day travelcards which don’t include zone 1. Will your employer not accept a journey history statement to prove what you’ve done? If they won’t it’s going to cost them much more.

  50. Hi Mike,

    Just a quick one, and I’m pretty sure you’ve already answered this, but it seems a bit of an awkward way of doing things so I just wanted to confirm. I’m also new to commuting.

    I travel daily from Chelmsford to Liverpool St on a season ticket (fine), but once or twice a week I will need to travel to Custom House on the DLR. Do I therefore need to get off at Stratford, leave the station on my season ticket, come straight back in on my Oyster, and continue my journey – touching out when I reach my destination (Via Canning Town on Jubilee line)? Or is there somewhere in Stratford station I can touch in without actually exiting?

    This site is awesome by the way. And apologies if you’ve answered this countless times.

    • Hi Ben,

      You don’t need to exit at Stratford because there is a validator in the concourse in front of the Jubilee line platforms.

  51. Hi Mike,

    I am currently commuting on a gold card from Kent but am moving house to zone 3 at the end of the month. I have handed my gold card into work for a refund for the remaining months (season ticket loan) and have asked them to buy me an annual zones 1-3 travelcard instead. If I take this travelcard (which I assume will be paper) to a Tfl ticket office, will they add it to my Oyster card for me and destroy the paper ticket? Or am I stuck with a paper one?


    • Hi Lottie,

      It would be better if your work bought the travelcard already loaded onto an Oyster, or issued you with a company cheque to buy it yourself.

  52. Apologies if this is already covered on your indispensable site, and I’ve failed to find it. To travel from Shepherds Bush to Brighton I used Oyster PAYG toClapham Junction and then paper ticket. As far as I could see, I had to touch out at the barrier at the end of the tunnel, and then use my paper ticket to get back into the tunnel. I couldn’t see any Oyster readers on platform 1. But I happened to notice that platform 17 (I think – the one used by Southern trains MK to wherever) is crawling with Oyster readers. Is there a method in this apparent madness?

    • Hi Nicholas,

      It is mad, isn’t it? I have heard that SWT asked for most platform validators to be removed because they are too easy to use for dough-nutting. Platform 17 is only used by the through MK-SC trains so was probably seen as not much of a problem given that the exit is next door. I think the platform 1 and 2 validators were removed to make way for pink route validators to show that zone 1 is being avoided. They are supposed to be arriving soon.

  53. Hi Mike
    Many thanks for your reply. Glad to know I wasn’t just being thick! Can you throw any light on why Clapham Junct isn’t like Wimbledon? There too (I guess) ‘dough-nutting’ is possible, eg paper ticket Guildford to London Road, and Oyster Wimbledon to Shepherds Bush (or wherever). Do I suppose correctly that SWT (and others?) would prefer that you always have to enter and leave by a gateline if you are using a paper ticket? But if so, why the exceptions at Wimbledon, Clapham Junct platform 17 (and elsewhere?)
    When pink readers come to Clapham Junct platform 1, how many people arriving on, for example, a Southern advance paper ticket from Brighton are going to climb the stairs to platform 1, spot the pink readers, know they can’t use them to touch in their PAYG Oyster card, and go back down the stairs to the gateline? Presumably, only those wise enough to consult your site!

    • Wimbledon is a completely unique scenario with the tram stop inside the station and the tube station being like a station within a station. The fact that there are no validators on the SWT platforms speaks volumes. I can only speculate and form opinions based on what I see and read in other places though. I don’t know the official reasons.

  54. Hi Mike,

    I’m about to start a new job working in Epsom. I currently live in Stockwell, so will need to get the tube to Waterloo then the train out to Epsom. As Epsom doesn’t seem to be in a zone, I think I have to buy a monthly rail card – but can’t work out if this includes the cost of the tube/bus in London as well. What is the cheapest way for me to get the rail pass from Waterloo to Epsom, plus getting zones 1-2 tube pass in London? Thanks!

    • Hi Megan,

      Epsom is frustrating. The extra cost of a zones 1-6 travelcard on top of a rail-only season from Epsom to London is less than a zone 1-2 travelcard and means that it is the cheapest way to cover what you want. However, if you can travel via Vauxhall instead of Waterloo you can reduce your ticket to Epsom to zones 2-6. Unfortunately it will have to be a paper ticket which means it isn’t so easy to make occasional trips into zone 1, though as both Vauxhall and Elephant and Castle are dual zoned stations you do at least have the option to use an Oyster just in zone 1.

  55. Hi Mike,

    You may have an answer to my question. I want to get an annual season railcard next week, between Bromley and all London terminals. Since there is a chance to move in a couple of months, I was wondering if I can change my rail card for an Annual Travelcard (Zone 1-2) with the same expiration date (September 2014).

    Great site btw!


    • Hi George,

      That would be a season ticket changeover and is fine. They work out the pro-rata difference which is either refunded or you pay depending on which way it is.

  56. Hi Mike,
    Hoping you can offer some advice. I commute between South Acton and Apsley for work and use a paper ticket (my route is via Willesden Junction and Harrow and Wealdstone). Once a week after work, I need to travel from Apsley to Barbican. I am wondering how I will make the journey from Apsley to Barbican using my paper ticket and oyster PAYG? Its seems from earlier posts that I will need to get off the train at either Watford Junction or Harrow and Wealdstone so that I could ‘touch in’ using my oyster card (and then touch out at Barbican)?
    Thank you for your help and time.
    Best, Anna

    • Hi Anna,

      So, South Acton to Apsley is a paper season ticket? How do you get back from Barbican, and to where? I’ll assume yes, train and South Acton.

      The cheapest method will be to get a train all the way to Willesden Junction and then touch in there and get the Bakerloo and Metropolitan to Barbican. You can then get back to South Acton using the trains whichever way you want. I appreciate that getting to Willesden is going to take quite a bit of time.

      The fastest method is to buy a zone 1-2 off-peak travelcard and use that on a train direct to Euston along with your season ticket. This is a valid combination as long as one ticket is a season and the other is not. Although the fast trains don’t actually go through Willesden Junction, the station is shown on the routeing maps between Watford and Euston. For the return you would need to go back to Willesden Junction as that is conveniently on the boundary of zones 2 and 3. You can then use the rest of your season to get to South Acton.

  57. Hi Mike

    Fairly new Oyster card user and normally just use underground or buses but I’m travelling to Brighton soon and understand I can use my Oyster card up to East Croydon and then use a travel card for Southern or First Connect for the rest of the journey. Will I have to disembark at East Croydon to tap out? Is there a tap put point on the platform I can use or do I need to actually leave the station and then re-enter?

    Alternatively i can buy my ticket to go from Farringdon straight through to Brighton but same question applies about tapping out.



    • Hi Gina,

      There are no platform validators at East Croydon. You will need to go up the exit ramp at the country end of the station to go through the gateline and back again. Farringdon has validators on the southbound platform, but I’m not sure about the northbound as that isn’t adjacent to the Underground.

  58. Hi Mike, I bought a paper return ticket from Royden to Liverpool Street this morning but absent mindedly used my Oyster by mistake at Liverpool Street to get through the barriers instead of my paper ticket. By the time I realised what I’d done it was too late. How will this show up on my statement and what should I do about it? I imagine this happens a lot when people are used to using their Oyster card but occasionally find themselves outside the Oyster zone and have to buy a paper ticket.

    • Hi Steve,

      It will be an incomplete journey ending at Liverpool Street. If you call the helpline and explain what happened they should arrange a refund.

  59. Hi Mike,

    I am studying in Egham and am having to commute from Westcombe Park every day. My journey is Wetcombe park to Waterloo east, then Waterloo to Egham.
    Is the best way to get a zones 1-6 travelcard (I can get it cheaper with my 18+ Oyster card), then a season pass from Staines-Egham? Or should the season pass be from Feltham (the zone 6 station) to Egham?
    Also from reading above I understand that I wouldn’t have to get off and tap out my oyster anywhere?
    Many thanks for your help! Will

    • Hi Will,

      Yes, buy the season ticket from Feltham to Egham. You don’t need to get off, but the train must call at Feltham for it to be valid.

  60. Hi Mike,

    Could you kindly advise me the cheapest route from woodside park to Fulham broadway? I travel only 5 days a week (peak times) and was wondering if I could get a zone 2-4 travel card as fuham broadway is in zone 2, instead of the zone 1-4 travel card.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Beatrice,

      Yes you can, but only if you avoid zone 1 in your journey. That means changing at either Camden Town/Road or Kentish Town/West, Wilesden Junction (possibly) and West Brompton. You must touch the pink reader at West Brompton to show you’ve avoided zone 1.

  61. Hi Mike,

    I asked a question earlier on here and you were very helpful. Currently I have a zones 1-4 on my oyster and zones 5&6-sevenoaks on a paper ticket which is working great and saving money.

    I’m planning on making a trip from Sevenoaks down to Littlehampton, but since I already have Zones 1-6 covered by my travelcards, do you know if it is possible for me to buy a ticket from East Croydon to Littlehampton and then use my travelcards for the Sevenoaks to East Croydon (via London Bridge) journey?

    Many thanks again.

  62. Hi Mike

    Thanks, really helpful website. Sorry if you’ve already covered this but I was just checking whether you can confirm.

    If I purchase an zone1-9 travelcard on my oyster and a ticket from Amersham to Wendover then will this cover me for a journey from Marylebone to Wendover and mean I will not need to get off the train to touch in Oyster at Amersham?


    • Hi Tom,

      It does, but the travelcard will have to be a weekly one. You can’t put daily travelcards on Oyster, the daily cap ensures that you don’t pay more, but you do have to touch in and out.

  63. Hi Mike,

    On 14th August you wrote:

    “Between any appropriate London terminals by National Rail services, yes. From the south all of Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Vauxhall, Victoria, Waterloo and Waterloo East are valid”

    I travel from Woking to Picadilly Circus everyday. Does your comment suggest I could get a London Terminals ticket and alght at Charring Cross?

  64. Hi Mike,

    I am thinking of buying an annual season from Ewell West to Vauxhall (Z2-6). If I should occasionally decide to travel one more stop for example into Epsom on the return journey, how would I go about paying for the additional fare?

    Would I need to buy a single from Ewell West to Epsom for example before boarding at London?

  65. Hi Mike,
    Apologies if you have covered this already, but I travel from mile end to gatwick station and back most weekdays. (I normally go through blackfriars, and have to date avoided southern services to save money on an fcc only ticket, but would love more flexibility if its possible for not much more cost). I also have an easit card that gives me 20% discount from zone 5 to gatwick, which doesnt work on the 1-6 plus gatwick. i cant figure out if splitting my ticket is possible or gives me any cost advantage at all? Do you have any advice on the most cost effective ticket for this route?

    • Hi Kim,

      The Easit card will cover you from East Croydon to Gatwick so you could definitely split there as everything calls at East Croydon from Blackfriars. To save more consider travelling via Whitechapel and New Cross Gate to avoid zone 1 completely.

  66. Hi Mike,
    Sorry if this has already been covered too. I’m new to this site.
    I need to travel later on from Charing Cross to Greenhithe (for Bluewater) and currently have a weekly Zone 1-3 Oyster Travel card. As far as I’m aware, Greenhithe doesn’t have an Oyster reader so I would just like some advice on what ticket to buy. In the past, when I had a travelcard, I used to buy a paper ticket from the boundary, Zone 3 to Greenhithe. However, as I need to touch in with my Oyster Card at Charing Cross, I’m unsure about what should happen when I arrive at Greenhithe. Sorry I probably haven’t explained myself very well. Hope this makes sense.

    • Hi Susie,

      It makes perfect sense. Oyster is an alternative medium to paper, you still have a zones 1-3 travelcard. As such there is no penalty for not touching in or out within the zones covered by your travelcard. Just buy a BZ3-Greenhithe ticket and use it to exit at Greenhithe.

  67. Hi Mike, it’d be great if you were able to solve this conundrum for me!

    I have a Brighton – to London Zones 1-6 season ticket, but tonight I’m going to Amersham (Zone 9) and tomorrow I’ll be returning from Amersham.

    From what I understand, I need to get off the tube at Moor Park (Zone 6-7 boundary), touch my Oyster card, and get back on the next train 10-20 minutes later to complete my journey. I’m hoping this isn’t the case, and that there’s some way of doing it without leaving a perfectly good train and getting on the next one.


    • Hi Cliff,

      I don’t know the layout of Moor Park, but you may be right. If there are any validators on the platforms then you may be able to jump off, touch in, and jump back on the same train. Otherwise it will be the next train.

  68. Hi Mike,

    I’m hoping you can help me with this please?

    I travel from Raynes Park to Oxted via Clapham Junction.

    Raynes Park to Clapham Junction (South West Trains)
    then change at Clapham Junction
    then Clapham Junction to Oxted (Southern Trains) which passes through and usually stops at East Croydon

    Could I buy a season ticket for the bit on Southern Trains that goes from East Croydon to Oxted and then use Oyster for the Raynes Park to Clapham and Clapham Junction to East Croydon bits?

    I don’t always travel to work by train 5 days a week so im hoping it could save me some money this way.

    many thanks

    • Hi Joby,

      Yes it will work, but if you are using PAYG on the Oyster then you will have to get off at East Croydon to touch out or in. The validators are on the gateline at the top of the ramp at the country end of the station.

  69. Additionally I intend to travel from Hayes to Gatwick Airport tomorrow.

    The TfL single fare finder suggests that using Oyster from Hayes & Harlington Station to East Croydon Rail Station off-peak would cost £4.30 if I use the default journey via Victoria. (I’m willing to absorb the £2.10 additional cost to travel via Zone 1 if it means I don’t have to drag my carry-on across from the train to the Central line at Ealing Broadway, then from the Central line to the Overground at Shepherd’s Bush, and finally across platforms at Clapham Junction.)

    Getting a paper ticket for the same route seems to be £7.70 off-peak (which makes very little sense to me, but I’ve long learned that it doesn’t have to make sense).

    A paper ticket from East Croydon to Gatwick Airport is £4.90, anytime.

    However, a paper ticket for the whole route (Hayes & Harlington to Gatwick Airport) is an eye-watering £20.60 (or £30 for an off-peak return).

    I figure my best option might be to purchase a paper ticket for ECR-GTW, then use PAYG from Hayes (bus, then H&H to Paddington, then Circle line from Paddington to Victoria Underground, then Victoria NR to East Croydon), but rather than getting off the train at East Croydon to go validate my Oyster card for touch-out, up the ramp and at the gates, just continue on the same train, leaving the journey incomplete. East Croydon is at the Zone 6 boundary anyway so I imagine I wouldn’t get anything credited back on. I’m planning on flying out anyway so daily fare caps wouldn’t matter.

    Do you see anything particularly wrong regarding this plan?

    • Hi again,

      East Croydon, like Hayes & Harlington, is in zone 5, so you would get something back by touching out. However, if you are prepared to take the hit then you won’t get into any trouble doing that. You might find it slightly less hassle to change to the Hammersmith and City or Circle at Paddington to go to Farringdon and then take FCC from there.

      Whatever happens, when you come back you must touch in at East Croydon if doing the reverse because your Oyster card won’t be valid if you haven’t.

  70. Yeah, I’d intended on getting off at ECR and doing the up-and-down-the-ramp dance on the way back when the pressure to catch a flight was off.

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice ECR wasn’t Zone 6! I might just exit and rejoin the next service, as it seems train services from East Croydon to Gatwick are fairly frequent.

    You’re right, traveling via Farringdon may be better as it appears to have some form of step-free access (as I’ll be carrying luggage) where Victoria does not.

  71. Hi Mike,

    I have an annual paper National Rail season ticket from London bridge to Elmstead woods. Sometimes I have to travel to and from Petts Wood to London bridge instead for which I buy a paper ticket to cover the difference at the cost of £4.80 per time Is it possible for me to get my season ticket on an Oyster card if it doesn’t include London Underground? I do have an oster card with auto top up which I use whenever I do need to use the tube or London buses but it seems silly to keep both a paper ticket and an Oyster card!

  72. Hi Mike,

    I split my time between Blackheath (zone 3) and Rochester, Kent, throughout the week. I have a London Zone 1-3 weekly travelcard (on my oyster card) and I purchase a single from Rochester to boundary zone 4 when i go into London from Kent. I have been doing this for the past few weeks, until this morning. I was told at Rochester that this is not allowed as they have no way of proving whether or not i have a travelcard on the oyster. I therefore was expected to pay for the entire cost of the journey into London (£16.80) even though i am already covered for 3 zones. My train in the morning is direct from Rochester to London Bridge. Please could you let me know what the actual rules are. I am constantly having issues with South Eastern and i cant deal with it anymore! If this is the case, what are my options? Thanks

    • Hi Shannon,

      Firstly, you need boundary zone 3 to Rochester because the boundary is the outer one furthest from Charing Cross. However …

      If staff at Rochester can’t read the Oyster card then that is their problem, not yours. It is 100% valid. If it happens again when you have the ‘right’ combination of tickets then I suggest you write and complain to Southeastern.

  73. Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much for your response. So i have every right to be sold the ticket i need? despite the fact that my train does not stop anywhere? Because if she wont let me buy the ticket, i cant get to work. I wish I could quote something official from South Eastern’s terms and conditions when arguing with this awful woman at the ticket office…


    • The extract above is from the National Rail Conditions of Carriage which all train companies have to adhere to. A travelcard is a travelcard whether it is issued on paper or stored on an Oyster card. You could ask an Underground station to print out a statement of your Oyster card which will show your card number and the fact that you have a travelcard. It shouldn’t be necessary, but might avoid hassle. I would definitely write to Southeastern and complain. If you don’t get a satisfactory response then take it further to Passenger Focus.

  74. Hi , I am moving to London and will be living in London but commuting to greenhithe a couple of days a week… I understand that my train will be from London bridge but I will be commuting from stockwell. I wonder what the best method of ticket is oyster/travel card etc? I also have a 16-25 rail card. Does this mean I will get any discount?


    • Hi Faye,

      I need a few more details before I can give an authoritative answer. Firstly, which two days a week, and if Mon-Fri what times will you be travelling? And when you say Greenhithe, do you actually mean Bluewater? If yes, how much more important is cost over time? Would you be prepared to use a bus from Crayford to Bluewater?

  75. Hi Mike,

    I am travelling into Stratford on Greater Anglia with a paper ticket but then want to switch to Oyster PAYG for the Central Line. Do I need to exit the station at Stratford with my paper ticket and come back in on Oyster or is there somewhere between platforms to swipe in?

    • Hi Clive,

      There might be validators on the platforms between the GA lines and the Central Line, but I’m not sure. There are validators on the walkway to the DLR (via Pudding Mill Lane) and in the Jubiliee line concourse.

  76. Hi Mike
    I started reading all the comments above but there are a load so, sorry if you’ve already covered this scenario. I’m looking into the cheapest way of commuting into London from Sevenoaks (Kent). All journeys will need to allow for peak times. Sevenoaks is not a London Zone, the nearest station in zone 6 on the same line is Knockholt or Chelsfield. Could I, on that basis purchase a weekly / monthly season ticket from Sevenoaks to either Knockholt and Chelsfield and then use a weekly / monthly Oyster 1-6 for the remainder of the journey? It’s much cheaper than a straight out Sevenoaks season ticket (I also have the extra part of Charing Cross to St James Park I have to add on to my fare). So if I were to buy a straight out NR season ticket from Sevenoaks, I would have to include a travel card (albeit in zone 1). Help please!!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Unfortunately, if you want to combine two seasons on a fast train (which you will from Sevenoaks) then it either has to call at the changeover (which it won’t) or both seasons have to be zonal. Fortunately the prices actually favour splitting zones rather than getting a Sevenoaks to zones 1-6, which is unusual. You must have at least 2 zones on any travelcard season, which gives you four options:

      Sevenoaks to zones 1-6: £93.40/week
      Sevenoaks to zones 3-6: £60.70; Zones 1-2: £30.40; Total: £91.10/week.
      Sevenoaks to zones 4-6: £52.50; Zones 1-3: £35.60; Total: £88.10/week.
      Sevenoaks to zones 5-6: £46.40; Zones 1-4: £43.60; Total: £90.00/week.

      Note: There is absolutely no gap between adjacent London zones so you do not need to cover a zone twice.

      There is one other option which might appeal depending on where your final destination is. If you can walk from Victoria station then you only need a Sevenoaks to London terminals ticket at £77.80/week. You either catch a Blackfriars train to Bromley South and change there for a fast to Victoria, or catch any train to Orpington and change there for a stopper to Victoria (or you could sometimes change again at Bromley South).

  77. Hi Mike

    I use Zone 1 – 6 weekly travel card costing £55.60 on my commute between Harold Wood and the City.

    Ideally I want to use the quick Shenfield trains from Liverpool Street of an evening and then double-back to Harold Wood

    Is there a more cost effective way other than paying an additional £4 each way on pay as you go (by tapping out and then in again at Shenfield)


    • Hi Matt,

      Do you have to touch out and back in again to get between platforms at Shenfield?

  78. Hello,

    I have a season ticket from Hatfield (HERTS) to London (zone 1 to 6).

    I work in Hammersmith and follow this journey

    FIRST CAPITAL CONNECT -Hatfield to Kings cross

    Kings Cross to Green Park
    Green Park to Hammersmith

    Only passing through zones 1 and 2.

    This is the season ticket they advised me to get at the train station, however it is costing a fortune and I only ever travel through zones 1 and 2 and could use an oyster if I ever had to go outside these zones.

    Can you advise of another season ticket I can get, or is this the only one?

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Emma,

      The price of a zone 1-6 travelcard on top of the season to London Terminals is less than the extra required to make your journey, so for that route it is the best value.

      What you could explore doing is avoiding zone 1. If you catch a Moorgate service and change at Highbury & Islington onto the overground to Shepherds Bush and then to Hammersmith from there; you could reduce your ticket to just include zones 2-6.

  79. Hello Mike,

    Some great advice here, but I’m still looking for a definitive answer to an idea I’ve had.

    I’m going to be commuting to London daily soon, so looking to get a season ticket from Warwick Parkway to Marylebone. I will be using direct services (there are no stopper services that get me into/out of London during peak hours).

    Can I buy a season ticket from Warwick to West Ruislip (Chiltern Railways outer boundary), then use an Oystercard for the remainder of the journey into London, even though none of the services I will use will actually stop at West Ruislip? Potentially this would save me £900 a year on a season ticket for the whole journey!

    Any advice greatly appreciated! Many thanks,


    • Hi Neil,

      The last sentence in the article above covers what you seem to be trying to do:

      However, a season ticket to a named station along with a travelcard on Oyster will require the train to stop at the changeover station as per part (b).

      Unfortunately there are no seasons to the outer zones (5-6, 4-6) which might help, so you will have to buy the through ticket.

  80. Hi Mike on 4/12 you asked me:

    Do you have to touch out and back in again to get between platforms at Shenfield?

    The answer would be no – the card reader is by the station exit – not seen them on platforms. Regards Matt

    • Hi Matt,

      Then in that case you shouldn’t have to pay extra. The Oyster rules state that you must touch in at the start of the journey and out at the end and complete it within the maximum journey time. For peace of mind I would have sufficient PAYG balance to enable you to touch out at Shenfield should that be required.

  81. Thanks Mike – I am not concerned about leaving zone 6 for Shenfield on the fast train from Liverpool St as I always have spare PAYG funds on my Oyster. But my concern is falling foul of a ticket inspector when heading back from Shenfield into zone 6 on the metro service if I haven’t tapped out/in at Shenfield. Of course if I tap out/in a Shenfield before getting metro train back it will cost me £8 per day PAYG on top of my 1 – 6 travelcard and that was what I was trying to mitigate.

    • Hi Matt,

      I’d sort of realised that. What I’m trying to say is that according to the conditions of use of Oyster on NR services there is nothing to prohibit you going too far and coming back as long as you remain within the Oyster area and reach your eventual destination within the maximum journey time from your origin.

  82. So much great information on here. Thanks Mike

    I currently have an annual paper ticket for tube 1-6 which end this month, the great thing about this is it does not really matter if I tap in or our correctly, I can just go as i please and never worry. If i go to an oyster card (annual zones 1-6) and forget to tap out, will I be charged a fare or does they system know I have unlimited travel so there is no need to charge.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Chris,

      As long as you only travel within the zones covered by your travelcard then there is no penalty for failing to touch in or out.

  83. Thanks Mike, I had hoped that would be the case. That would make my life so much easier.

  84. Hi Mike,

    Great, informative website!

    To save money, I split my annual season ticket as follows: The first ticket covers Brighton to Croydon while the second ticket is an annual travel card covering Zones 1-5. On paper tickets, this has always worked fine as every journey I make stops at the intersecting station (East Croydon).

    However, I am now looking into loading my Zone 1-5 paper ticket onto an Oyster card. The snag is that I would not be tapping in at East Croydon but would need to use my Oyster Card to tap out at London Bridge. The person I spoke to on the Oyster helpline says this would make me liable for a penalty fare as I need to “prove” to the Oyster system that my journey began within the zones on the ticket (rather than say, in zone 6, or at some random National Rail station).

    This seems to contradict some of the responses above as well as imposing an unfair burden on Oyster card users (as using an identical paper ticket in the same way incurs no such penalty).

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Alex,

      There is no problem with your proposal. The Oyster system will be quite happy to let you out in London. If you meet an RPI then you simply show whichever ticket is appropriate. If they know you didn’t join the train at East Croydon then you can show both tickets.

  85. Hi Mike,

    I’ve always had a paper annual gold card for my journey from Streatham (zone 3) to London Paddington (rail into Victoria and then either tube or bus to Paddington), but have been considering switching to an Oyster card. Is there any advantage in me doing so ?

    Great site by the way.


    • Hi Chet,

      Yes there is. The major one being if you want to go outside zones 1-3 but still within the Oyster area you don’t need to worry about extra tickets as long as you have PAYG balance to cover the fares. You will only be charged from the start of zone 4.

  86. Hi Mike
    Can you advise best way to do Staines – Waterloo on a monthly basis. Could I get an oyster from Feltham?

    • Hi Elaine,

      If you only use the train to Waterloo and no buses or tubes then a point-to-point season will be best value. If you also require other travel then a Staines to London zones 1-6 travelcard is just cheaper than splitting, either at Feltham or one of the other zone boundaries. If cost really is a problem then you can get a zones 1-6 travelcard and use the TfL bus between Staines and Feltham.

  87. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the advise. So I should buy a season ticket as normal and transfer it onto an Oyster card ? Sorry but clueless about Oyster so not sure on process.


    • Hi Chet,

      You need to get the travelcard season at an Underground or London Overground station or one of the few National Rail stations which handle Oyster transactions at the ticket office. You’ll get a gold record card as proof of your discount entitlement when buying off-peak tickets for travel outside London. Make sure that the clerk adds the railcard discount to your Oyster for when you travel outside zones 1-3 using PAYG.

  88. Hi

    Getting more confused by the minute. I’m relocating to St. Albans and work in zone 1.

    I want the quickest and cheapest plan. I’m informed my annual ticket is apx 3k, but does this inc my oyster in nominated zones?


    • Hi Jonny,

      No, I don’t think so. St Albans to London Thameslink is £3112 per year. To include a travelcard all the way to zone 1 is £3908 per year. Neither ticket can be put on an Oyster card as St Albans is outside the Oyster area.

  89. Hi Mike,

    Still a bit confused about Oyster Cards. I travel into London from Woking for a meeting once a fortnight – paying £16.80 for an off-peak Travelcard. I understand that I can’t use an Oyster card for the Woking to Waterloo section of the journey. What would be the benefits/drawbacks of paying for a simple return ticket for Woking to Waterloo, and then using an Oyster Card by Tube journeys?

    • Hi Ben,

      You’ll probably end up paying more by splitting. The price increase for a travelcard over a rail-only return is slightly less than 2 zone 1 tube journeys.

  90. Hello again, Mike, and HNY to you.

    I’ve just found out (the hard way) that point-to-point annual tickets on NR cannot be loaded on to my Oyster card for some reason. This has come as a bit of a shock.

    I wanted a season from Crayford and Farrindgon but FCC would only give me a cardboard ticket, which is inconvenient because:

    1 Cardboard tickets last about three months.

    2 Even more annoyingly, what if I were to enter Farringdon using my paper ticket and find that FCC has cancelled my London Bridge train? I naturally take the Tube instead but find when I get to the barriers at LB Tube station that I should have touched in with my Oyster card, so I’m stuck.

    There seems to be no technological reason why point-to-point season tickets can’t be loaded on to an Oyster. Do you happen to know why, because I’m getting no joy from TfL and FCC on this query?



    • Hi Neil,

      Basically it’s to do with routes versus zones. Oyster travelcard seasons are valid for a number of zones. This is fairly simple since each station is in one (or possibly two) zones so checking validity is straightforward. There are only a finite number of zones available which is one reason why expansion is taking so long. I believe it’s 15 or 16: zones 1-9, Watford Junction, Broxbourne, Brentwood, Shenfield and Grays area are already taken and there must be some things reserved for when Crossrail extends Oyster to Maidenhead.

      Your Crayford to Farringdon ticket would need to be valid at all stations between Crayford and London Bridge (via any of the 3 lines) plus Blackfriars, City Thameslink and Farringdon. It would not be valid at other stations though. The complexity that this would involve would mean touch times would be extended significantly with the impact on queues that that would cause.

      In your scenario there is a solution. Between the FCC and Met platforms there are a number of validators which can be used to start or end an Oyster journey. If you find yourself needing to switch once you are in the station then you just need to touch one of these validators while changing platforms.

  91. Hi Mike

    I am travelling from High Barnet to Egham return during peak travelling times 4 days a week(mon-thu). What would you suggest as the cheapest way to ticket this journey

    • Hi Patsy,

      It depends how you want to go. If it’s via Waterloo then you’ll want an Egham to zones 1-6 travelcard. To save some money you can get Egham to zones 2-6 and change at Richmond or Clapham Junction, Kentish Town West and walk to Kentish Town for the Northern line.

  92. Ah, many thanks, Mike.

    As ever, you’re about a gazillion times more helpful than TfL/whichever TOC I’m dealing with…

    So basically I’m stuck with the cardboard ticket for the foreseeable future, then! (Oddly enough, the barriers at intermediate stations don’t seem to want to let me through on it – eg, when I’m changing from Waterloo E to Blackfriars, I always need assistance at the Blackfriars gateline to get in.)

    On a related note, I quite often go out in Kentish Town of an evening (The Pineapple is a lovely pub – highly recommended if you’re ever in the area). Anyway, this is the first occasion I’ve had an annual season ticket, so the next time I’m heading back to Crayford from KT, I’d touch in using my Oyster PAYG at Kentish Town, naturally. I’ll always try to get a Thameslink rather than the Northern line to London Bridge, but do I need to jump off the train when it stops at Farringdon, find a platform validator, touch out and jump back on again? Or can I wait until I get to London Bridge, where I’ve seen Oyster validators on the platforms there? (I’ve heard that these have been deactivated for some unknown reason, but I really hope they aren’t.)



    • Hi Neil,

      If you get the Thaneslink train then I’d probably jump out at Farringdon because the platform validators at London Bridge are no longer active (possibly no longer there even). If you get the Northern line then just touch out at London Bridge and use your season ticket to get back in to the NR station.

      As for operating gates at intermediate stations, it depends how the gates are programmed. Whether or not they let you through has no bearing on validity though.

  93. Hi Mike,
    Another St Albans journey question please!
    Like Jonny on 30 Dec, I also need St Albans to Zone 1 (Liverpool Street) travel which means changing platform at Farringdon to switch from FCC train to the tube.

    St Albans to Zones 1-6 is now £4028, but I was told by ticket office staff that it’s fine to get St Albans to Z5-6 (£2068) plus a separate Z1-4 (£1744 currently), so saving over £200.

    My questions are:
    1. The actual tickets I have been sold are St A to 5&6, and Hendon with Z1-4. Is this still OK for trains that don’t stop at Hendon as I still have all zones covered?

    2. Buying the separate Z1-4 gives the option to have it on Oyster. If I do this and touch in at Liverpool Street but then don’t touch out at Farringdon when changing platforms to the FCC train, would I be charged a PAYG max fare for an incomplete journey, or would the system assume I’m honest and only travelling within my zones? Touching out between platforms can take a while and mean missing a train, making a paper ticket more attractive!

    Many thanks in advance and for all the great information you’ve already provided here!


    • Hi Mark,

      Yes, as both tickets are zonal there is no need for the train to stop anywhere. If you touch in or out within your zones you will not be charged an incomplete journey charge, even if you don’t/didn’t touch at the other end.

  94. Thanks once again, Mike. As ever, you provide an invaluable info service, which puts that offered by TfL and the TOCs to shame.

  95. Hi Mike

    I have a gold card that covers Romford to Liverpool Street and expires 19th June 2014. I am moving offices in March and will no longer be using the card. Is there a way that I could transfer the remainder to an Oyster card or transferring it to my partner?


    • Hi Lauren,

      Will you be using trains at all? If yes then ask for a changeover to a new season which will be calculated pro-rata at last years rates with a refund (or charge) for the difference. If no you will have to apply for a refund of the unused portion. This is calculated by deducting the cost of monthly tickets from what you paid. The nearer to the end of the ticket you get the less you’ll get back. You certainly can’t transfer the ticket to your partner.

  96. Sorry, Mike – Neil here again!

    I’ve just had a bit of a row with a ticket-barrier jockey at Cannon Street this morning. As the Thameslink I usually take from London Bridge to Farringdon was running nearly 30 mins late, I decided to go to Cannon Street instead and hoof it into work.

    My ticket was rejected at the barrier and she said: “Code 116 means it’s not valid at this station.” I contended that my annual season from Crayford to Farringdon was actually sort of an enhanced “London terminals” ticket, taking into account the fact that Farringdon is run by TfL but she wasn’t having it. She let me through unwillingly in the end, but I suspect she might not be so accommodating next time I’m forced to use Cannon Street.

    The strange thing is, I was allowed in to Charing X on my way home last night after my ticket was rejected, without so much as a murmur of discontent…

    I’d be interested to hear your views on this.

    All the best,


    • Hi Neil,

      At this moment in time it is probably true that the ticket isn’t valid at Cannon Street, but with FCC about to leave London Bridge for a few years while the rebuilding goes on, there will have to be some easements. TfL have added (or are about to add) a new OSI between Southwark and Blackfriars. This means that people will be able to make one journey by alighting at Waterloo East, walking through Southwark and up to Blackfriars, and then continuing north from there.

      It might be prudent to write to Southeastern and FCC and ask what they consider permitted routes to be both now and when FCC leave London Bridge.

  97. Hi,
    Very good website…
    I wonder if you can help. I am trying to assist my brother with the cheapest season ticket combination for his commute. He is currently staying with us in Godstone, he has to go daily (Mon-Fri) to Warren Street. As we live in Godstone he has the option of leaving from / returning to, Caterham / Oxted (We have ruled out Godstone as its even further from our house). Last week he paid £77 for a weekly 1-6 travelcard from Oxted which meant he could travel back to either Caterham / Oxted depending on which train comes first. He could do with this flexibility as the trains are not that frequent and quicker to Oxted, but is there a cheaper way of doing it? His job means he cannot get a set train each day. He also has a 16- 25 railcard but I am not sure if this is any use for his ticket combinations. He can buy weekly / monthly cards but not annual as its a 6 month contract. Would he be better getting just a zone 1-6 travelcard from Caterham? And paying for a boundary extension on the days he returns to Oxted? Although that would be awkward because he would have to buy an addiitonal ticket at Victoria? Thanks very much

    • Hi Jo,

      As you’ve already hinted, best is a very subjective word. All I can really do is highlight the facts. The 16-25 railcard won’t help with season tickets, but it can reduce the price of the extension ticket in the afternoon. I’d guess that this is the time he’s most likely to use it, unless he usually goes to Oxted in the morning. Fortunately he can buy the extension ticket from machines at Victoria because Southern is one of the few train companies whose machines let you buy tickets from other places. As he would be combining a season ticket with another non-season he could also buy a ticket from Upper Warlingham to Oxted without having to worry about the train stopping. Both that and the boundary zone 6 to Oxted tickets cost the same £2.25 per single. The morning price for Oxted to Upper Warlingham is £3.40 because of the railcard minimum fare before 10am.

      So, the main options are: Zones 1-6 Travelcard – £57.20/week (from next week), Oxted to zones 1-6 Travelcard – £73.30/week. With the difference he could by 5 evening singles and one morning single before he’d be better off with the more expensive season. Only you or he can weigh up the pros and cons of each option.

      There are two other things to bear in mind. You can buy monthly seasons for any period between a month and a year. The price is adjusted on a daily basis where a monthly costs 3.84 x the weekly price and each extra day adds 1/30th of the monthly rate. Therefore he could buy a ticket for 5 months and 12 days (or whatever time is left on his contract). This potentially becomes more worthwhile if buying the zones 1-6 travelcard because the price rise doesn’t happen until this Sunday on that. The current weekly rate is £55.60.

  98. Hi. So I want to order a a travelcard on my OYSTER and pick it up at the station (by touching in). Are there oyster facilities at potters bar station and can I pick up the travelcard from there by touching in and going into London?

  99. Hi Mike
    Thanks for the reply.
    So what would be the best option for me then if I was going to be making regular journeys into London from Potters Bar and wanted some kind of annual card. If I already have an annual oyster travelcard for all zones, is it possible to purchase some kind of extension to cover that one stop to Potters Bar, or do I have to purchase an astronomically expensive National Rail travelcard for zones 1-9?

    • Hi Lucy,

      The cheapest annual card for that journey is the Potters Bar to zones 1-6 travelcard. You don’t need zones 7-9 on that line. If you already have a zones 1-6 travelcard then you have two options. Either buy a Patters Bar to Hadley Wood season and make sure that you always take a train which stops at Hadley Wood; or buy a return ticket each day which means you can use any train. Both are going to be more expensive.

      You haven’t said where you commute to in London. Do you actually need a travelcard or would a ticket to London terminals be sufficient? You can use either Kings Cross or Moorgate, including the Underground between the two, but not intermediate stations on the Underground.

  100. Hi Mike, quick question and I apologize if this has already been asked/answered but I’m new to this site and to London apart of the tourist mode. I will be working soon there and by seeing previous posts the issue is complex even for Londoners.

    Getting to the point. I’ll will be travelling every weekday from Maidenhead to Herne Hill (peak times). From what I saw and conclude so far the best choice and faster one would be catching the train from Maidenhead to Paddington (a season ticket from First Great Western), then the circle tube line to London Victoria and then the train (Southeastern) to Herne Hill. And my principal doubts are on those two last journeys. Is better to have an Oyster card to the tube and a season ticket from Southeastern railway or just a Oyster PAYG to both of them. Or if there is some other more pratical and cheapest way.

    • Hi Gonçalo,

      Your best bet will be a Maidenhead to zones 1-6 travelcard season. At the moment this will be on paper, but when the Crossrail link opens you will be able to put it on Oyster.

  101. thanks for the quick reply….you just save me a lot of pounds and It will turn my life a lot easier comparing to what I was thinking to do.

    somebody raise this man… 😀

  102. Hi Mike,

    I was hoping you could be of assistance with a travel conundrum I am currently experiencing. I’m an expat who recently relocated to Kent from London. While in London I travelled around using a 7 day travelcard. Now that I’m in Kent, I will have to use the National Rail/TFL to get to North London (Hendon Central) approx 4 days per week. In an attempt to keep my daily journey time down I’ve decided that the quickest route would be from Dartford to Woolwich Arsenal- Woolwich DLR to Bank-Bank to Hendon Central. Where the problem lies is with TFL fares…should I go the PAYG route to travel within the tube/DLR? or can you suggest a cheaper method? How much will the NR paper ticket + TFL fares cost me per week?

    Thank you,


    • Hi LM,

      Woolwich Arsenal to Hendon Central via Bank is cheaper using PAYG than a travelcard. Each single journey is £3.80. Dartford to Woolwich Arsenal is £27.20/week, so 4 days will cost £57.60.

      The only cheaper alternative will take much longer because you have to avoid zone 1 by travelling via Stratford and Camden Road/Town. However, depending on where you are in Dartford, you could consider taking the bus to Crayford and getting a zone 1-6 travelcard at £57.20/week. You could also go straight to London Bridge and change onto the Northern line there, or carry on to Cannon Street and walk to Bank. I reckon either of those could be quicker than the DLR from Woolwich to Bank.

  103. Thanks for the prompt reply Mike. Wow, I thought my weekly commute would cost no more than £20-£30/week. Since I’ll be travelling during off-peak hrs and I have an Oyster do you reckon the prices you quoted would drop substantially?

    • Ah, it’s all off-peak travel. In that case you are looking at the cap of £8.50/day* if you start with a bus (96, 428, 492) to Crayford. The off-peak day return from Dartford to Woolwich Arsenal is £4.80 and off-peak single fares from Woolwich to Hendon are £2.70 via Bank or £1.50 via Stratford.

      * Assuming you start after 0930.

  104. Hello Mike,

    I need to commute from Kintbury to Hatfield (Herts) and a point to point season ticket does not seem to be an option online. I’ve assumed a Kintbury to Zones 1-6 season ticket plus a daily Boundary Zone 6 – Hatfield Anytime return is the best option. I’d be commuting 4 days a week.

    Would you agree?

    • Hi Stewart,

      That’s quite a long commute! It’s obviously not Oyster related, but I agree that that looks like a good plan.

    • Hi Siobhan,

      I don’t think it’s generally possible. It would have to be somewhere which issues both and there aren’t very many of those. You could try Marylebone, Euston (LM office) or St Pancras (FCC office). I wouldn’t hold out much hope though.

  105. Dear Mike.
    There are oyster points at Walton on Thames, which I understand are different from the LU touching in/out points. If I have a freedom pass, should I start and finish my journey with normal PAYG oyster – as Walton is not in a London Zone?

    • Hi Billie,

      The “oyster” points at Walton are for SWT’s own smartcard system. They do not accept Oyster at all. You will need a paper ticket as far as Surbiton where your freedom pass starts.

  106. Hi Mike,

    My Question,

    Cheepest way to buy a yearly pass from Guildford to Canary Wharf, idealy with Zones 1&2 included.

    From Guildford Central to Canary Wharf, was thinking of getting a Guildford to Wimbledon year season ticket and a year Z 1-3 Oyster card.

    The train is direct from Guildford, to Waterloo Via Woking, but won’t stop at Wimbledon. Then tube to CW.

    Is that allowed and is it the cheapest way to do it?



    • Hi Dave,

      As per the main page above, mixing two season tickets in that way would require the train to stop at Wimbledon. The only potential way to cut that cost is to avoid zone 1. This would require chaning at Clapham Junction onto the Overground to Canada Water and then Jubilee from there. Guildford to zones 2-6 is £3640/year whereas Guildford to zones 1-6 is £4104/year.

  107. Hi Mike,
    Please can you help me? I have been given a payg oyster card. I am travelling from Hersham to Elm Park every other saturday afternoon/evening and going back the same Monday, late evening.

    What is the cheapest way to do this?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Kayleigh,

      Unfortunately the Oyster card is not accepted at Hersham. You would need to have a paper ticket between there and Surbiton. This costs £2.80 single. You can then use Oyster to get to Elm Park via Clapham Junction and Canada Water, Shadwell or Whitechapel for just £2.50 off-peak single because you avoid zone 1. If you do want to go via Waterloo it only costs £5.10 off-peak single. The drawback of course is that you need to get out at Surbiton to touch in and then get on the next train. If you don’t want to do that then you appear to be limited to the anytime single through fare of £12.00.

      You can’t buy returns because they only sell day returns for short-medium journeys. Hope this helps.

  108. Hi Mike

    I travel most days from Sittingbourne to London Victoria and was wondering whether I can use my Oyster card for all or part of this journey.



    • Hi Dylan,

      Oyster is only valid between Victoria and St Mary Cray so it probably won’t help that much.

  109. Hi there!
    I need to travel from Dorking to Hammersmith (changing from train to tube at Wimbledon).
    So can I buy a train ticket from Dorking to Ewell West (which is the first station within the oyster zones) and then cover the rest of the journey on a 2-6 Oyster card? (Even though I won’t be able to touch in until Wimbledon?).

    This system is very confusing – great site BTW

    • Hi Andy,

      Providing the Oyster card has a travelcard loaded on it then you don’t need to touch in when within the zones. If you are using PAYG then you will need to touch in. If your ticket from Dorking to Ewell West is a season then the train must call at Ewell West.

  110. Hi, and thanks for the useful website. I commute daily Clapham junction to Horsham and I have an annual gold card Horsham to zones 2-6. Whenever I had to go to zone 1, I was able to get a paper travelcard Clapham junction to zone 1-2 at 5.90 with a gold card discount. It looks like this option has been removed and I now have to either exit and re-enter with oyster payg at Clapham junction, or spend 9 pounds (50% more) for the same travelcard as they don’t apply the gold card discount any longer. Am I being thick or there isn’t an easy way out of this?

    • Hi Piemme,

      You can still get the discounted off-peak travelcard. What they have removed are the smaller undiscounted travelcards for zones 1-2 and 1-4.

  111. Thanks for the reply. I specifically asked if I could get an off peak but they said they didn’t have that option, is that because I tried to buy at 6pm? Also it looks like the off peak is 8.90 rather than 9…not really an amazing discount!


    • Hi piemme,

      I don’t know where you were asking, but an off-peak travelcard is available anytime after 0930. The undiscounted version costs £8.90, with the discount it is £5.90. You can’t get discounted travelcards from ticket stops, but rail and tube stations should be ok.

  112. Hi there!
    I need to travel from Battersea park station to Hitchin (changing from train to tube at Kings Cross).
    I’m not sure if I need a travelcard and 1-2 zone oyster card or as the travelcard starts at zone 2 I could use the travelcard within zone 2, Kings cross and Battersea Park are in zone 2. This system is very confusing – great site BTW


    • Hi Reyes,

      Kings Cross is in zone 1 so you will need the Hitchin to zones 1-6 travelcard. The price of this ticket per week is less than the weekly from Hitchin to Kings Cross plus a zone 1-2 travelcard. Hope that helps.

  113. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I dont think I have explain myself properly.

    I need to commute from Battersea Park to Hitchin in a monthly/annual basis. I would like to know if I need to pay a season ticket from Kings Cross to Hitchin + 1-2 zones oyster card from Kings Cross to Battersea Park. Unless the zone 1-2 oyster card is included in the season ticket.

    Please be free to help with any alternative or cheap way to do it.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Reyes,

      Season tickets are reversible, but for technical reasons a travelcard from outside the area must be described with the outside station first. Thus, the ticket you need is a Hitchin to zones 1-6 travelcard. You must include zone 6 on any travelcard from outside the zones, but the extra price over a season to London is less than a standalone zones 1-2 travelcard.

  114. Hi Mike, great info thanks.
    I travel in on FCC from St Albans to Blackfriars, then tube to Embankment, currently on a season ticket +1-6 Zones but it’s gone up from this month to £4,090.
    I don’t need to renew until June but thought I’d ask if I can just get the same for a 6 month period and if I should opt out of the 1-6 and use my oyster card.

    • Hi Jay,

      You can buy season tickets for any period between one month and one year. A monthly costs 3.84 * a weekly and every extra month/day(s) is added at the same rate (ie odd days are 1/30 the monthly cost). After 10 and a bit months the price is frozen at 40 * weekly rate and given the extra benefits of an annual gold-card season.

      St Albans to zones 1-6 annual is now £4028. The rail only price to Blackfriars is £3208 and 200 days of zone 1 returns is £880, so more than the combined ticket. However, there is a pricing anomaly which means you can get a bit of a discount. St Albans to zone 5-6 is £2068 and a zones 1-4 travelcard is £1800. There is no gap between zones, so this covers your whole journey.

  115. Hi Mike!

    I’m Portuguese (sorry for possible errors with English ahah) and I’m going to London in April and I have some questions about transports.
    One of the days I’m going to Windsor and I was thinking about buying the Travelcard one day and then buy a Boundary Zone 6 to Windsor ticket. It is possible to do this with the Travelcard on Oyster, or only on paper? And can I buy it in a tube station? I don’t know if the 1 day travelcards purchased in tube are in paper or Oyster.

    Another question is, the £7.70 Off-peak price cap of Oyster (Z1-4) includes London buses? Or if I travel by bus, I have to pay more? The Travelcard I think that buses are included.


    • Hi Paulo,

      Day travelcards can only be issued on paper. You should be able to get one at a tube station, or else ticket stops (shops eg newsagents) or National Rail stations definitely sell them. And yes, buses are included in whichever rail cap you reach, there is nothing extra to pay.

  116. Hi

    I travel from Shenfield to Canary Wharf, I notice the Peak fare for Oyster PAYG Shenfield to Zones 2-6 is £7.50, capped at £27.30.

    Does this mean if I travel directly to and from Shenfield/Canary Wharf it would cost me £15 per day, but if I travelled around within the zones (getting out at other stations) it would cost a maximum of £27.30 per day?


    • Hi Louise,

      That’s correct. However, if you only make your morning commute before 0930 the remainder of your travel will be capped at £18.50. This saves you a minimum of £1.30. Also, because of the way travelcards are priced from outside the zones, you might be better off using two cards. Put your commute (both ways) on one, then if you only travel around zones 1-2 you will be capped at £7.00 off-peak on the other card. Even if you went out to zone 6 it would only be £8.50 making a total of £23.50 on both cards.

      Hope that helps.

  117. Hi Mike

    That is great thanks. I usually travel to London 4 days per week, so once I take out my holidays it seems to work out a lot cheaper to actually use PAYG Oyster rather than the annual travelcard.

    Thanks again

  118. Hi
    Is it possible to travel from Kings Cross to Hatfield with a zone 6 boundary extension, after travelling to Kings Cross with just a PAYG oyster?

    • Hi Matthew,

      Sorry, no it is not. As the page above says, if you are using PAYG then you have to touch in and out with the Oyster.

  119. Hi Mike,
    I currently have an annual ticket for zones 1 – 4. I just got a new job in Staines, and am wondering if it’s possible to pay only for zone 5 to Staines (I realise Staines is outside the zones). How do I go about this, and what would this cost?

    I live at Arnos grove at the moment.
    Also, can I use my oyster on buses in Staines?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ify,

      Yes, you can buy a Staines to zone 5-6 travelcard at £1392/year. You can use your Oyster on TfL buses in Staines but not others. One of the TfL buses runs from Feltham station to Staines so you could get an additional zone 5-6 travelcard for £944/year and use the bus from Feltham. TfL buses are free with any travelcard.

  120. Hi Mike,

    Great site! This is complicated stuff!

    I’m going to be travelling from Vauxhall – Epsom for work and your answers above refer to buying a London 2-6 travel card £1568 and a ticket from Ewell West – Epsom £460 = £2028.

    Is it possible to purchase 2 annual tickets: London 2-4 travel card £1040 and from Worcester park – Epsom £764 =£1804?

    Would this work since the train stops at WP station (zone 4), and i have a ticket from this station and for the rest of the journey? Also would i have to get off the train and touch out there.

    • Hi Tom,

      Yes that would work as long as the train does call at Worcester Park. You don’t have to get off to touch there.

  121. Thanks Mike,

    One more question – i read above that there are no gaps between zones. Does that mean i get a London 2-4 travel card and then a ticket from Stoneleigh (zone 5) – Epsom?

    • Hi Tom,

      No, unfortunately not. Unless the station sits on the boundary of two zones (like Vauxhall in zones 1 and 2) then you will need a ticket from the last station in the zones covered by the travelcard. In your case you would not have a ticket between the boundary of zone 4 and Stoneleigh Park.

  122. Thank you very much for the response Mike. Much appreciated. Great work you’re doing here!

  123. Hi Mike,

    Could you please point me to the website where I can see the costs of a ticket for Staines to Zone5-6 . I checked on national rail website but can’t seem to find it. I want to compare the daily / weekly / monthly costs as I do not want to buy the annual ticket.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Ify,

      You need the season ticket calculator on the National Rail site. Put in Staines and any station in zones 5 or 6 (eg Felthan) and it will show you the prices of a standard season, a travelcard including zones 5-6 and a travelcard including zones 1-6.

  124. Hi Mike, my girlfriend is due to start work at Lewisham soon, we live in dartford which I believe is outside the oyster zone. I can drop her to Barnehurst in the morning which is within the zone, I presume for her journey home she will need to buy a ticket to cover from Barnehurst to Dartford, does this mean she will have to get off at Barnehurst to register her oyster journey finishing and quickly get back on the train ??? I don’t understand ??

    • Hi Tim,

      How will she be paying for zones 3-6? If it’s a travelcard then she doesn’t need to get out, but if it’s PAYG then she does. Also, have you considered using any of the TfL buses between Dartford and Crayford? They are free with a travelcard or £1.45 per journey using PAYG.

  125. Mike, she is going to be part time Mon, Tues and Weds having to be in for 7am. So I presumed it would be cheaper to have an oyster to use from Barnehurst to Lewisham and back to Barnehurst and pay the extra fare to dartford from Barnehurst ??

    • Hi Tim,

      Yes, PAYG will be cheaper then, especially if she can touch in at Barnehurst by 0630 as she’ll then be charged off-peak. On the way home she will have to get off at Barnehurst (or Crayford) to touch out. If she can position herself at the right point of the train it should be possible to touch out and get back on the same train, assuming she has the paper ticket to Dartford already.

  126. Hi Mike,
    One of my friend travelling from stevenage to finsbury park and works in zone 2-3 london underground area,
    Can he buys monthly tickets from stevenage to crews hill and then monthly oyster zone 2-6 which will cover all zone finsbury park too as it might help him to cover all zones –can he travel on fast train? Does he need to touch in and out as it monthly oyster and the last question
    If he travelling the train which is stopping only finsbury park is it ok?
    Cause his ticket ( stevenage+crewshill+ zone2-6) covers finsbury park

    Wat is the best cheap options
    Warm regards, waiting for reply thnks

    • Hi Jay,

      As the page above states, if you are using two season tickets the train must stop at the station where they changeover. Therefore to use the combination you suggest the train must call at Crews Hill, which also means it has to use that route rather than via Potters Bar.

      As it happens, a weekly Stevenage to zones 2-6 travelcard season (£92.30) is actually less than the Stevenage to Crews Hill (£55.10) plus zone 2-6 travelcard (£39.20) so he’ll be better off all round buying the one ticket.

  127. Hi Mike,

    Can I just say what a brilliant site you have, I just found it today and I think you’ve already saved me money in the future.

    I live and work in London and have an annual zone 1 – 3 travelcard on my Oyster and the corrsponding Gold railcard.

    Sometimes I travel back to my home town at the weekend and at the moment I have been having to queue up at Liverpool street to buy a boundary zone 3 to Bishop’s Stortford super off peak return (£8.20) as my starting station (Royal Victoria) doesn’t have a ticket office just a machine.

    But am I correct in saying I could just buy a Tottenham Hale to Bishop’s Stortford ticket (£7.40)? I always thought I would have to get off the train at TH and touch out with my Oyster.

    I’ve been looking all over National Rail, Tfl and Greater Anglia websites for a solution and at no point did I see anywhere that you don’t have to touch out if you have a season ticket travelcard!

    • Hi, Louise,

      You can buy a ticket from Tottenham Hale and there’s no need to touch out. The only point to note is that the train must go through Tottenham Hale. You can’t decide to go via Seven Sisters instead.

  128. Hi Mike,
    Is a season ticket from “London Terminals” to “Staines” also valid on the Underground, since it covers all zones from zone 1 (which is where most london major stations fit) until Staines.

    I also wanted to ask – if I get a Tfl Zone 1 – 6 travelcard, which station could I use to calculate the “Zone 7″ to Staines cost? (if possible).


    • Hi Ify,

      London Terminals to Staines is only valid on National Rail services on permitted routes between London and Staines. The last station on that line within the travelcard zones is Feltham, so you would need a ticket from Feltham to Staines. Zone 7 does not apply in that part of London, zone 6 is the end of the zones.

  129. Hello,
    My husband and son want to travel to Merstham on Saturday. my son has an oyster card and my husband has a freedom pass and I believe they can use these as far as Coulsdon south. Will they then have to get off the train from London Bridge to touch out and have to wait another 30 mins for the next train to continue their journey, even if they have purchased paper tickets from Coulsdon to Merstham?

    • Hi Rae,

      Your husband is fine because the freedom pass is treated like a season ticket. Assuming your son is using PAYG then he will have to get off. The gatelines are on each platform so it might be possible to get off, touch, and jump back on, especially if they are near the gateline when the train arrives.

  130. Hi

    I have to travel from East Croydon to Staines on a daily basis. I was wondering what was the weekly cost? Also, my workplace will cover boundary zone 5 to Staines so what is the best option to buy a weekly ticket? Is it just one East Croydon to Staines weekly ticket or do I need 2 separate tickets i.e. zone 2 to 5 on Oyster and boundary zone 5 to Staines on paper?

    • Hi Khizar,

      There is no direct season ticket from East Croydon to Staines so you would need a Staines to Zones 2-6 season at £57.40 to make the journey in one go. You can’t buy a season ticket from the boundary of zone 5 either, so you also have a problem in that the train needs to call at the station where you change from one ticket to the other. In your case that would either be Hounslow or Whitton depending on which route the train took from Clapham Junction. That would cost £29.70/week but would restrict you to trains calling at your nominated station. Zones 2-5 is £31.20/week. Therefore you’d have a more expensive commute with less flexibility. Could work be persuaded to pay the difference between a Staines to zones 2-6 and the zones 2-5 travelcard of £26.20/week?

  131. Hello Mike,

    Greetings from Venezuela,

    From april to september I will be studying English in Kaplan International Colleges in Leicester Square and I will be residing in Oxted furthermore my daily journey will be using the Southern service Oxted-Leicester Square-Oxted.

    May I use a student 18+ Oyster card to Cover this journey? If not, what would be the cheapest way for this journey.

    Thanks in advanced

    • Hi Alfeo,

      Unfortunately Oxted is outside the Oyster area. The cheapest way to make the journey would be to buy a ticket from Oxted to London Terminals and change at London Bridge onto a train to Charing Cross, then walk to Leicester Square. If you want the flexibility to travel via Victoria and use the Underground then you’ll need one from Oxted to Zones 1-6.

  132. Hi Mike,

    Glad I’ve stumbled across this site, good work! I’m starting work in potter’s bar, travelling from Gidea Park. For my current job I use a zobe 1-6 monthly oyster, whats confusing me is potter’s bar shows ad zone 6 yet I cant use my Oyster, is this correct? What’s my best option?


    • Hi Ben,

      Potters Bar is just outside zone 6. There is a TfL bus which runs from Cockfosters and would allow you to use a travelcard, or you can buy a Potters Bar to zones 1-6 season ticket and be able to take the train all the way.

  133. Hi Mike

    Many thanks for your detailed response.

    Yes I think they will fine paying the difference of £26.20 rather than £29.70, which also restricts flexibility and risk me being late occasionally due to various reasons!

    The only other option is that I buy returns on a daily basis for boundary of zone 5 to Staines – if they really want to keep both products separate. I don’t think they are that bothered about this. How much does such a day return cost?


    • It’s £7.40 for an anytime day return, or if you can be sure not to pass the boundary before 0930 you can use an off-peak day return at £5.00.

  134. Hi Mike,

    I live in Hurst Green and am applying for a job that would require me to travel to Shepherd’s Bush (I don’t know yet how many times a week). The journey, depending on what time I am traveling, would either be National Rail from Hurst Green to Clapham Junction, Overground to Shepherd’s Bush, or NR from Hurst Green to East Croydon, NR to Clapham Junction, Overground to Shepherd’s Bush.

    Since Hurst Green is outside the Oyster zone I’d therefore either buy a return ticket from Hurst Green to East Croydon or from Hurst Green to Clapham Junction, then do the rest of the journey on a PAYG Oyster card, which I already own.

    My question is: am I right in thinking that on the outward journey I would need to exit the station (either EC or CJ) via my ticket and then re-enter by touching in, then touch out at Shepherd’s Bush, and on the return journey I’d need to touch in at Shepherd’s Bush, touch out at EC or CJ and then re-enter with my ticket? I’m assuming this is the only way to do this as there are no Oyster touch-in pads at either station that aren’t on the barriers (at least I don’t think there are). Am I correct?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Amy,

      Sorry for the delay responding. I have to say I’m astounded at the difference in price between buying paper tickets all the way and mixing paper and Oyster. Having said that, splitting at Clapham Junction doesn’t really save much because it is in the same zone as Shepherd’s Bush.

      If you split at East Croydon then you would have to get off the train, walk up the ramp to exit and come back in, then get the next train. Fortunately there are plentiful trains between East Croydon and Clapham Junction, including a few which go straight to Shepherd’s Bush – they call at all stations but as it’s one train it may well cancel out the potential wait at Clapham Junction.

      The prices look something like this:

      Hurst Green to East Croydon: £9.00 anytime return, £28.50 weekly season.
      Hurst Green to Clapham Junc: £16.00 anytime return, £48.20 weekly season.
      East Croydon to Shepherd’s Bush: £3.30 peak single (£2.30 off-peak single), £23.40 weekly season (paper).
      Clapham Junc to Shepherd’s Bush: £1.60 peak single (£1.50 off-peak single), no season available or worth it.
      Hurst Green to Shepherd’s Bush: £19.50 anytime return, £57.30 weekly season inc zones 2-6 (no plain season available).

      Using that lot, a daily ticket costs £19.50 all-in, £19.20 split at CJ, £15.60 split at EC. Weekly tickets seem to make sense for 4 days or more and cost £57.30 all-in, £51.90 split at EC.

  135. Mike, this may have already been answered but is there a way that either Monthly or Annually I can successfully mix 1-3 or 1-5zone oyster & season from Tunbridge Wells to that border. Simply want to not have to use paper ticket when in town?

    • Hi Iain,

      You can either buy a season to a station (eg Orpington) and then a travelcard on Oyster, but the train MUST call at Orpington. Or you could buy a season from Tunbridge Wells to zones 5-6 and a travelcard for zones 1-4. That would cost a bit more but the train doesn’t have to stop where the tickets change. You may find slight differences between the splits depending on whether you mix 1-2 and 3-6 or 1-3 and 4-6 or 1-4 and 5-6.

  136. Dear Mike.

    Please can u advise. I currently hold an annual season ticket from Hitchin to London terminals. I then walk 20mins from Moorgate to get to work to avoid paying for underground. However, my job has moved to canary wharf. Can you advise what my cheapest option is to get there? Would it be paying for a zone 1 & 2 travelcard or could i walk to zone 2 & travel underground thereafter maybe using my Oyster?

    Thank you for your advice in advance.


    • Hi Vicki,

      I’d recommend doing a season ticket changeover to a Hitchin to zones 2-6 travelcard. This can be done at Hitchin and would involve you paying a little more for the remainder of your ticket, but at the same price as you would have paid last year if it is that old. You may need to fill a form in one day and come back a day or so later once they’ve calculated the amount.

      Once that is done you can change at Highbury and Islington and Stratford to finish up on the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf. Do NOT be tempted to take the Overground train from Highbury to Canada Water because Shoreditch High Street is in zone 1.

  137. Mike,

    Thank you so much for a such a quick reply, it is greatly appreciated.

    Vicki 🙂

  138. Hi Mike

    Can I please check the price of the both Weekly and Monthly Zones 2-6 to Egham Station?
    Can I also please check the price of the monthly Zones 2-6 to Staines Station?
    How can we find out these prices without a trip to the station? The rail company websites only give station to station season costs.

    • Hi Khizar,

      If you go to http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/seasonticket/search and type Egham in the From box and a random zone 2 station (eg Clapham Junction) in the To box you will get several tickets listed. The Egham to zones 2-6 is the second block. Unlike station to station tickets, the travelcards only work if you put the out-boundary station in first, or if both stations are in London.

  139. Thanks Mike.

    I always tried the other way round and never came up with the travel card option! Now I know what to do.

    Thanks very much

  140. In addition, how to find the cost of boundary of zone X to Station outside London ticket? for example boundary zone 5 to Staines.

  141. Hi Mike

    This is a very interesting thread and it looks like my questions have already been answered.

    I want to go from Homerton (London Overground) to Hatfield NR (off peak return). I have a PAYG Oyster card. The options for using my Oyster are as follows:
    1) Homerton to Hadley Wood (Z6) via Highbury & Islington/Finsbury Park. Get off the train, touch out/in, wait for next train, continue to Hatfield with £5.20 paper ticket (return). Total = £10.20
    2) Buy a season ticket for Oyster. However my train from Highbury & Islington or Finsbury Park to Hatfield MUST stop at the station from which my paper ticket starts to Hatfield. E.g. if I have a Z2-6 travelcard, I must take a train that stops at Hadley Wood if my ticket is Hadley Wood-Hatfield. Also, on return from Hatfield I must take a train stopping at Hadley Wood. The benefit of this option is I don’t need to get off the train at Hadley Wood.
    3) PAYG Homerton to Highbury & Islington/Finsbury Park, then return to Hatfield. Total = £1.60 x 2 + £11.20 = £14.40
    4) Just buy a return from Homerton to Hatfield! Total = £11.60.

    Clearly Option 4 is the wisest option. But my goodness it’s complicated! I’m sure that pre-oyster the following was possible:
    a) If you had a paper London Zonal travelcard, you just needed to buy an extension ticket. E.g. if you had a Z1-3 travelcard, you’d buy a ticket from “Boundary Zone 3” to your NR destination.
    b) In the case of the old extension tickets, there was *not* a requirement for your train to stop in your outermost Zone of your travelcard. For example, I used to have a Z1-6 travelcard, and I’m sure I bought “Boundary Zone 6” tickets for non-Zone 6-stopping services.

    Are “Boundary” NR tickets not available at all now? What if someone has a day paper ticket?

    • Hi Doug,

      Yes, boundary zone tickets are still available and can be used with travelcard seasons loaded onto Oyster without the train stopping. You can also mix a travelcard season with individual return tickets between Hadley Wood and Hatfield. You can’t buy boundary zone season tickets and if you use two season tickets the train has to stop unless they both contain travelcard zones. If you use PAYG and a paper return then you need to get off to end/start the PAYG journey.

  142. Ah, OK. Thanks for clarifying. So in my scenario 2) above (combining season on Oyster and paper ticket), I wouldn’t need to travel on a service stopping at my outermost zone.

    So I presume I could go to the ticket office at Homerton Overground and ask for a return ticket from Boundary Zone 3 to Hatfield? (if I had a Zone 2-3 season ticket on my Oyster).

    • As long as the paper ticket isn’t a season itself (so you have two seasons) then the train doesn’t need to call. And yes, Homerton ought to be able to issue that ticket which would be valid.

  143. Hi Mike

    Hoping you can offer some wisdom.

    I have a Borxbourne to Zone 1 season ticket. When buying this I was told there was no difference between a paper ticket and loading it on my oyster card, so loaded it on to the card for convenience. I now need to do a season ticket changeover as I am moving house and my new commute station isn’t inside the oyster zones. TFL have told me that they can’t do this as they can’t issue paper tickets, and the National rail operator can’t remove the oyster season ticket and i’m stuck in limbo. TFL did mention I could surrender the season ticket and get a refund of almost zero as i’m 10 months into the ticket.

    Any ideas on a way to get this to work without me having to just buy a new season ticket from scratch?



    • Hi Simon,

      Have you tried at Liverpool Street National Rail ticket office? If they can’t do it then other places which might be able to help are the FCC ticket office at St Pancras, Chiltern at Marylebone or C2C at Fenchurch Street.

      If all else fails, your ticket is still valid for zones 1-8 so you might be better off getting returns from your new station to the zone boundary until the old season runs out. You could get a season, but the train would then have to call where the two tickets switch over which may not be so convenient. It all depends on where you are moving to.

  144. Hi,

    I was wondering if you could help me. I live in zone 3 currently, and will be travelling to Staines train station from London waterloo for work.
    I also travel around London a lot, so I was wondering if I could buy a zone 1-6 weekly travelcard, to get me as far Feltham, and buy a paper ticket daily from Feltham to Staines.
    As I would be tapping in at London Waterloo and staying on the train until I reached Staines, I would not be able to tap out on my oyster.
    Is it possible to do this?
    Any help appreciated, Thanks

    • Hi Claire,

      Yes, that’s fine. You can even get a season between Feltham and Staines if it’s cheaper, as long as the train calls at Feltham, which I’m pretty sure they all do.

  145. Hi Mike,
    It’s me again 🙁
    I went to the national rail station at Waterloo to confirm the cost of a ticket to Staines (I currently have a Zone 1-4 oyster tfl travelcard). I was told an extension ticket will cost £150 per month and £1568 annual. Unfortunately she said I can’t get the figures for extension tickets online, which I find strange.

    I contacted national rail by email just to verify this & this was their response – “In order to view travelcard fares between Staines and London Zones 5 and 6, you need to enter any National Rail station from Zone 5. You can therefore, plan a journey on our website from Staines to Twickenham and view the travelcard fares.”

    Now who do I believe as these costs differ?

    • Hi Ify,

      That is terrible advice from the person at Waterloo. £150.60/month is the price of a season from Staines to Richmond. That would cover you, but only if the train ran via and called at Richmond. You could not get any train which ran via Hounslow. National Rail have suggested a Staines to zones 5-6 ticket which is fine because there is no gap between any adjacent London zones. As both that and your zone 1-4 travelcard are zonal there is no need for the train to stop, or indeed take any particular route through the zones.

      The problem with seeing prices online is that out boundary seasons which include some zones are only described one way (outside to inside) even though they are completely valid both ways.

  146. Thanks Mike. I’m going to be commuting from Flitwick. Will try at the offices you suggest. I’m guessing I need a Boundary Zone 6 extension? I can’t find anything on the national rail or tfl website that would say that I can travel any further than St Pancras on my season ticket (the next stop on the trains I would be getting is St Albans).


    • Hi Simon,

      You’ll have to do the maths obviously, but it may be worthwhile getting daily returns from Flitwick to Elstree and Borehamwood until your travelcard has run out. As the travelcard is a season and a daily return isn’t the train doesn’t have to call at Elstree. Failing that, if you can’t get a refund and want to use a season from Flitwick to Elstree then you will have to get a stopping service while the season is split. I guess it’s a toss up between cost and time.

  147. Hi Mike,

    Just trying to work out the cost to commute from Potters Bar to Wandsworth Town. I will be getting the train to Finsbury Park and then the tube to Vauxhall and a train to Wandsworth Town. I think that is the fastest option.

    Working out the monthly and annual cost for this,

    Thank you for your help!


    • Hi Lauren,

      Yes, that’s the fastest option, with the added benefit of avoiding the large London terminals at both ends. To make that journey you will need a Potters Bar to zones 1-6 travelcard which is £275/month or £2874/year. If cost is an obstacle and a little more time can be found then you can make the journey avoiding zone 1 altogether. That works out at £208.20/month or £2168/year. The route is change to a Moorgate train at Finsbury Park and alight at Highbury & Islington, then take the Overground to Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction and then SWT to Wandsworth Town.

  148. Hi mike.

    Just trying to figure out if I can get a oyster travelcard from grays to fenchurch street, I currently pay £2116 for an annual ticket which I dont use weekends just want some info on cheapest option. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Ross,

      You won’t get it cheaper than that. An all zones (1-6) travelcard is more expensive, and doesn’t cover beyond Upminster.

  149. Hi Mike

    I’ve just graduated to the 60+ Oyster, having previously used a paper annual ticket. This weekend I need to travel from Surbiton to Brighton, for which I plan to buy a ticket from East Croydon to Brighton, booked via the net and collected from the TVM at Surbiton. What are the consequences of not touching out at East Croydon on the outward journey,when I change from Oyster to paper ticket, and not touching in at East Croydon on the return, when I start using the Oyster again?

    • Hi Alan,

      The 60+ Oyster and Freedom Passes are treated as travelcards so there is no penalty for missing a touch within the zones.

  150. Hi Mike.
    I moving home and will be travelling into Central London from either St Neot’s or Bedford (both equal distance from the house). I already have a Annual Oyster card covering Zones 1-6. Can I get a fare to cover St Neot’s to Finsbury Park and then use the Oyster? I am new to touching in/out, would I have to do this at FP each way? Many thanks.

    • Hi Russell,

      You wouldn’t need to touch in/out at Finsbury Park. If you buy a season ticket then it would need to be to the first calling point within the zones, which looks like Finsbury Park in most cases. If you buy daily return tickets then it can be to the first station in zone 6 (Hadley Wood) or boundary zone 6. As your other ticket is a season ticket the train wouldn’t need to call at the changeover point.

  151. I’ve recently started travelling to Ealing Broadway from out of town for work, and picked up an Oyster card in order to be able to travel into central London in the evenings if I wanted. This is fine on the way in as I’d be coming in from outside the station anyway, however on the way back I guess I’d need to get off the train at Ealing, end my oyster journey, get back on and get the train (maybe feasible if there are validation points on the platform but otherwise I’d be in trouble).

    • Hi David,

      Yes, you would have to get off to touch out your Oyster card. Luckily there are validators on some of the platforms, though it may be the Underground ones.

  152. Hi Mike,

    I’m soon to be starting work in London, commuting from Harpenden to Blackfriars, and think the best way to do this is to get the annual season ticket. However, I’d like to be able to travel in Zones 1-2 annually as well, preferably on an Oyster card.

    Getting these two tickets as separates adds on hundreds of pounds, £4760 for the two versus £4228 for the combined ticket without the oyster.

    Is there any way to do it cheaper, where I can still get an oyster? What would I have to do in terms of touching in/out?

    • Hi Alex,

      The only way to do it cheaper would require you to get stopping trains between St Albans and St Pancras. Then you could buy a season from Harpenden to Hendon and a zone 1-3 travelcard. The train would have to call at Hendon every time you go through it. With a travelcard on your Oyster you don’t have to worry about touching in or out at Hendon.

  153. Hi Mike

    I currently buy a Weekly Zone 1 – 6 Travelcard on my Oyster to commute in from Harold Wood to Paddington (£57.20). However, I might have to do 5-6 weeks work at Maidenhead.

    Given I will already have Zones 1 – 6 covered on my Oyster, I understood I would simply need to buy weekly return tickets from Zone 6 boundary station (maybe West Drayton) to Maidenhead to cover that part of my journey

    However, Great Western say I need to buy a separate weekly Paddington to Maidenhead return ticket costing £71 a week as Oyster does not work to Maidenhead.

    I have explained that I would tap in at Paddington on my Travelcard and then have a separate paper ticket for West Drayton to Maidenhead.

    They say this would not be acceptable. Given a considerable part of my journey is already covered under the Travelcard do I not have a valid case?

    • Hi Matt,

      The problem is that to combine two season tickets the train has to stop where you change from one to the other, unless both are zonal. If you don’t mind getting a train that stops at West Drayton then you are fine, otherwise you would need a season from Paddington (or the last station it stops at in the zones if there is one).

  154. Hi Mike,

    I am going to be travelling from Laindon, (national rail), to Whitechapel, (underground).

    I would like to be able to change at Barking which is in zone 4. Would it be possible to complete this journey if I buy a Laindon and London zone 5 & 6 season ticket and a 2-4 oyster travel card?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Keir,

      Yes, that’s fine. Both seasons are zonal so there’s no need to call at the changeover point. However, you will be paying more than the cost of a Laindon to London zones 2-6 season. Putting one half on Oyster will make it easier to venture into zone 1 as long as you touch in within the zones on your Oyster card. This may outweigh the price difference.

  155. Hi Mike,
    I wrote earlier about having a tfl zone 1-4 annual ticket, and needing to commute to Staines. Although National rail confirmed by email that I could buy a ticket from Twickenham to Staines (along with my zone 1-4) card, I was surprised when I got to Vauxhall station to purchase my ticket and was told I could only buy a ticket from Richmond to Staines £150 a month. I was told this by 2 separate people both in Waterloo and Vauxhall. This conflicts with National Rail confirmation. quite frustrating.

    I also asked about Carnet tickets but was told they do not have any information on that.

    Thank you

    • Hi Ify,

      There seems to be a lot of confusion here. To find out the price of the season you need you have to enter Staines to Twickenham into the season ticket calculator. One of the options it gives you is Staines to Zones 5-6 which is the ticket you actually need. Twickenham is in zone 5 so you cannot combine a season to there with a zone 1-4 ticket as there is a gap between the boundary of zone 4 and Twickenham. However, there is no gap between actual zones, so a Staines to zones 5-6 season can be combined with a zones 1-4 season. If you ask for a Staines to zones 5-6 season ticket at Waterloo then I hope you won’t have any problems.

      Do come back to me if you still have difficulties.

  156. Hi Mike
    I hope you can help me??
    I need to get to walton on thames (Monday-Friday) for 8.30am and wanted to know the quickest and cheapest route. Tomorrow will be my first day and the route I plan to travel is from west brompton to clapham junction and then onto walton on thames. firstly can I use my Oyster card to get me to clapham junction?? next is there a cheaper way than buying a daily return from clapham junction to walton on thames using southwest trains at £14.50 a day??
    many thanks for your advice in advance

    • Hi Laura,

      Yes, you can use Oyster between Clapham Junction and West Brompton. The fare is £1.60 peak or £1.50 off-peak singles. A weekly season between Clapham Junction and Walton on Thames is £50.50 (£10.10/day) or monthly is £194.00 (£9.70/day if you work 20 days in the month).

      Alternatively you could consider putting a zone 2-6 travelcard on your Oyster at £39.20/week and buying a Surbiton to Walton on Thames season at £26.40/week. That would work out slightly cheaper weekly (£65.60 versus £66.50) with bigger savings if you purchase monthly. The train must stop at Surbiton, but I don’t think that’s a problem when going to Walton on Thames. You’d also have unlimited extra travel in zones 2-6 and on all buses/trams, with only a maximum of £2.30 per single fare if you take a train into zone 1.

  157. Hi Mike,

    I am going to be commuting peak time Mon-Fri from Surbiton to Limehouse (dlr) (Via waterloo and bank) Am I better off putting a zone 2-6 travelcard on my oyster and using payg for the extra zone 1 travel…or should I just get the zone 1-6 travelcard on my oyster. I’m new to all this and very confused! I will also be occasionally be travelling to Islington of a weekend, rarely into centre of London.

    • Hi Trisha,

      If you commute through zone 1 then it will be better to have zones 1-6. If you were to change at Clapham Junction and take the Overground to Shadwell then the DLR then a zone 2-6 would be fine. With that you could always go through zone 1 and pay the extra £2.30/£2.20 single fare from PAYG occasionally.

  158. Thank you very much Mike for the clarification, I didn’t realise the other options were displayed on the lower section of the results page. I’ll be sure to print this along and take to the station.

    One other question though, is it possible to also combine a tfl zone 1-4 and buy a Daily Staines to Zones 5-6 ticket (rather that a weekly or monthly). I didn’t see this option either in the season ticket or journey planner pages. I am considering this as I’ve agreed flexible working options and would be going to Staines only 3 times a week.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi Ify,

      Sadly you can’t get daily travelcards for anything excluding zone 1. However, you can get tickets from the boundary of zone 4 which will work the same way.

  159. Hi Mike,

    I think TfL should redirect people to your site since they really suck at providing the right info.

    Anyways, I want to get a zone 2-4 weekly travel card but I want to travel from crouch hill to West Kensington. Although both stations are within the zones covered by the travel card, I have to go through zone 1 for a part of the journey.
    Would I be fined if I do that?

    I’d really appreciate your input.

    • Hi Dorian,

      Fined? No (as long as you have a PAYG balance to cover it). Charged a zone 1 journey from your PAYG balance? Yes. See my FAQ page.

  160. Hi Mike
    I buy a weekly 2-4 travel card foir travel between woolwich and Wimbledon (woolwich > canning town>canadawater>clapham Junction>wimbledon). This route avoids zone 1.

    How much will I be charged on PAYG if accosionaly I travel through zone 1 like so, woowich>waterloo east>waterloo>wimbledon, and also if I return the same way in the same day.

    Is there a daily limit for PAYG if I already hold 2-4 travelcard?

    Many Thanks


    • Hi Khem,

      In your case you will be charged the zone 1 NR fare relevant to the time of touch in at your starting station. That’s either £1.80 (off-peak) or £2.30 (peak). The daily cap in your case is the zone 1-2 cap (there isn’t a zone 1 only cap) which is £8.40 including travel before 0930 or £7.00 if it’s all after 0930.

  161. Hi Mike

    A quick query on behalf of my boss. He travels to London about once every other week, sometimes during peak time, sometimes off peak. He catches the train in from Stevenage or Hitchin and then gets the underground once in London. He currently buys a travelcard from Stevenage or Hitchin station which covers his whole journey and travel anywhere around London zones 1-6. He is wondering if he should get an Oyster card? Then he’d presumably just book a Stevenage/Hitchin – Kings Cross return ticket each time he travels in to London and the rest of his journey would be covered by his Oyster card? Is this a cheaper option than what he currently does? Thanks for any tips you can give us!

    • Hi Jacqui,

      It might be cheaper. It really depends how much use is made in London. If it is just two zone 1 singles on the Underground then he’s better off with the Oyster. If he’s likely to cap at the zone 1-6 rate then the combined travelcard is better.

  162. Hi Mike,

    I currently have a ‘Maze Hill to Zones 1-3’ Annual Travelcard. I bought it from Maze Hill so that I could get a Gold Card to use for a 1/3 off when I travel out of London for leisure.

    I will be starting work at Heathrow Airport in June, but my Gold Card doesn’t expire until October.

    To get to Heathrow I will be getting the Tube from North Greenwich (Zone 2) to Hatton Cross (Zone 5) so I assume I will only need a Zones 2-5 travel card.

    Will I be able to switch my Gold Card over to a ‘Maze Hill to Zones 2-5’ ticket and get a refund on the difference (around £176)? Or will I have to get a pro-rata refund on my Gold Card and then buy a standard Zones 2-5 Travelcard on my Oyster, with no Gold Card discount?

    If I have to go for the latter option, can I still also use my Oyster as PAYG, for the odd time I travel into Zone 1? Or will I need a separate Oyster? So I could tap into Zone 2 (included in Travelcard) and then tap out in Zone 1 (not included in Travelcard), and only be charged the standard for a single journey?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Lottie,

      Whoa! hold on a minute, there are several misconceptions in your post.

      Firstly, if your journey from North Greenwich to Hatton Cross passes through zone 1 you will need a zone 1-5 travelcard. You can make the journey avoiding zone 1 but it is a bit tortuous; you need to go via Stratford, Gunnersbury and Turnham Green.

      Secondly, an annual travelcard season issued on Oyster comes with a gold record card which can be used to get discounts on rail services out of London. You can also get your paper gold card registered on your Oyster card to give you discounts on off-peak Oyster fares and caps.

      Unfortunately Southeastern have ceased offering Oyster products from any of their stations (even Greenwich and Lewisham). However, you can apply to changeover the remaining time on your existing season to a different season, either paying the difference or receiving a refund depending on which applies. If you opt for a refund it will not be made pro-rata and will be subject to an admin fee.

      Finally, if you do opt for a zones 2-5 travelcard on Oyster (either now or in October) then travel in zone 1 is automatically taken from your PAYG balance if you touch in and out at both ends of the whole journey and it includes zone 1 travel. The rate varies depending on the mode but will never be more than the zone 1 National Rail peak fare (currently £2.30).

  163. Hi Mike,
    I travel 3 days a week to Canary Wharf from Wickford, Essex. I buy a return paper ticket each day which costs me £22.70. I am sure there is a cheaper way of doing this which includes an oyster to Shenfield, but I think it involves me getting off the train every night at Shenfield to touch in/out and then catching another train to Wickford. Is this correct? Many thanks …Emma

    • Hi Emma,

      Yes, you can save money doing that, but you do have to get off at Shenfield both ways. The anytime day return from Wickford to Shenfield is £6.70 then the Oyster peak single fare is £7.50, total £21.70 for the day. If you can touch in at Shenfield before 0630 then that fare comes down to £5.40 as it’s classed as off-peak. Similarly on the return if you touch in at Canary Wharf before 1600 or after 1900.

  164. Hi Mike, I plan to go from Canons Park in London to Walton on Thames in off peak time in saturday, returning the same day. I would need to buy a travel card from the tube station? I pay with the Oyster? How it works? Can you advise me, please? Thank you very much! Nathan

    • Hi Nathan,

      Walton on Thames is beyond the Oyster area. You can get a paper travelcard at the tube station and then buy a ticket from Surbiton to Walton on Thames when you change at Waterloo.

  165. Hi Mike,

    I currently have a monthly season paper ticket for Norwood Junction to Three Bridges for work. In the evenings after work I sometimes need to travel to Streatham Common, about 3-4 times a week. When I do that, I have to change at East Croydon, and then use my Oyster card pay-as-you-go to make that particular journey (6:47pm outward, return after 9pm). I’m wondering if there is some way of extending the cover of my paper ticket into zone 3 to make the process a bit cheaper? I know you can get zone 1-4 cover on that ticket by paying an extra 120 pounds, but that’s outside my budget. Thanks, Denis.

    • Hi Denis,

      You can extend your season ticket to either Tulse Hill or Balham and that will cover you to both Streatham Common and Norwood Junction. Extra cost is about £23/month.

  166. hi, i’m traveling from London Euston to Hatfield, Could I Use an oyster card?

    • Hi Craig,

      Do you mean Kings Cross? Anyway, Hatfield is beyond the Oyster area so you will need a paper ticket from at least Hadley Wood.

  167. Hi Mike,

    I am looking at getting a season pass from Euston to Milton Keynes (now working in MK). I live in Clapham so will also be needing to get zones 1-2 added in however possible. Could you please let me know the best way in which to do this and how much the differing costs may be?

    I am not eligible for any rail cards.


    • Hi Hugh,

      There are a number of options depending on how much flexibility you need and where in Clapham you live. The cheapest option is a Milton Keynes to East Croydon season at £109.80/week. You have to travel via or pass through Kensington Olympia, then from Clapham Junction you can use pretty much any National Rail route that can end up at East or West Croydon. It will certainly include Clapham High Street. Next up is Milton Keynes to zones 2-6 at £118.70/week. That gives you all rail services outside zone 1, so you could pick up the Northern line at Balham for example. You’d still have to use the Southern or Overground services via Kensington though. Finally, for £141.80 you can get Milton Keynes to zones 1-6 which means you can come in via Euston.

  168. Hi Mike. What a helpful site!

    Hope you can help me with some advice. I travel Mon-Fri from Letchworth to Westminster during peak times and for some years have paid a fortune for to FCC for an All Zones Gold Card paper season ticket (the cost this year would be £5044).

    I would be grateful for your thoughts on what seems to be a cheaper alternative. I could buy a Letchworth – London only paper season ticket for £3868. This would get me to Kings X. I can then use an Oyster PAYG for the daily return Kings X-Westminster-Kings X. This would cost 2x £2.20 = £4.40 per day. Working on the basis of 220 working days per year, the annual PAYG cost would be £968. So adding this to the cost of the London only season this would work out at £3868+£968=£4836, a saving of £208 on the All Zones season ticket. Not a huge saving but good enough to cover any other travel I might want to do while in London.

    There is the inconvenience of having two separate tickets, one Oyster and one paper – is there any way around this? And is it possible to get a discount on the Oyster PAYG journeys using my FCC Gold card? I don’t think so but just wanted to check.

    Does this seem a sensible and feasible alternative? I have never had an Oyster card so would need to get one (and pay the £5 deposit). Can you think of a better alternative or any pitfalls to this option of two tickets? Sorry for lengthy message but very grateful for any advice. Thank you.

    • Hi Lynda,

      OK, yes it is a feasible alternative. The obvious pitfall is forgetting to use your paper ticket to get into or out of Kings Cross NR and getting an incomplete journey on the Oyster instead. As long as you don’t make too much of a habit, the Oyster helpdesk are quite good at refunding mistakes. There is no way round the two tickets unfortunately. You can’t get a discount on peak single fares (0630-0930 and 1600-1900) but if you travel outside those times you will get 1/3 off with the Gold card.

      There is one slightly cheaper alternative, but it is quite restricted so it’s probably only if time isn’t an issue and money is an insurmountable issue. You can buy a season ticket from Letchworth to Bowes Park at £3132/year and a zones 1-3 travelcard at £1472/year for a total outlay of £4604. The restrictions are twofold: 1) you MUST travel via Hertford North, and 2) the train you are on at Bowes Park MUST stop there. Only you know whether that is worth a further £232 saving (£440 in total).

  169. Hi Mike,

    Hoping you can advise. I will be commuting from Hersham to London waterloo everyday then use the buses to get to work. Which ticket(s) would you recommend I purchase?

    The cheapest option ive worked out but I am not sure its feasible is to get a season ticket from hersham to Clapham Junction and then an oyster travelcard zones 1-2. This would also cover the buses. Is this a valid ticket considering not every single train would not call at Clapham Junction?


    • Hi John,

      As this page tries to explain, if you are using two season tickets then the train must stop at the station where you switch over.

  170. Thanks Mike. It’s really helpful to have you sanity check my thoughts on this. Rail travel is so expensive that we need to get the best options available whenever we can. I think the Hertford option might just be a step too far but I’m very grateful for you taking the time out to give me your thoughts and I shall certainly take your advice. Thanks again, Lynda.

  171. Thank you Mike!

    I was under the impression that if I didn’t have to go through any barriers in Zone 1 it didn’t matter, and it was only where you enter and exit that did. After all how would my ticket know which route I had taken after tapping in at North Greenwich and tapping out at Hatton Cross?

    I’m sure you’re correct I just don’t really understand how it would know I changed onto the Piccadilly Line at Green Park and didn’t take an arduous route route the outskirts!

    What a shame, was thinking I’d be saving £100 a month!

    • Hi Lottie,

      It’s a commonly held misconception which is why it is listed as the first item on the FAQs page. The clue is your description of the alternative being arduous. The worse it is the less likely people are to do it.

  172. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this site which explains why the following happened:

    A few back, I used my national rail (paper) season ticket valid from Surbiton to Waterloo to get off at Clapham Junction and take the overground to Imperial Wharf. I had to exit thru the barriers at Clapham Junc. with paper ticket so I could top up PAYG Oyster. Went back thru barriers with Oyster and onto Overground. Exit at Imperial Wharf, no problem.

    But, on the return journey I got back to Clapham and figured that as I was just interchanging onto national rail back to Surbiton (on my paper season ticket) I would just need to touch in on the pink reader at Clapham so my Oyster would know I had got to Clapham an was changing onto national rail (without exiting station).

    I now understand that I should actually have gone up and exited the station on Oyster only to re-enter immediately with my paper season ticket to get back to Surbiton on national rail. Got nailed for full price of an incomplete journey instead of the few quid it should have cost for the return hop to Imperial Wharf.

    The pink readers in that respect are confusing as they appear to deal with the interchange conundrum but even where used as evidence that I was at Clapham Junction and changing, TfL still have to charge as if I traveled to zone six on Oyster because they can’t see me complete the journey. Grrr!

    • Hi Richard,

      If it was within the last 8 weeks then call the helpline and they will probably refund the overcharge. As you’ve found out, pink readers are only for describing a route option in the middle of an Oyster journey.

  173. Hi Mike,
    Very useful site to clear the confusion of so many people like me. I travel everyday from Ilford to London Liverpool Street. So far I am using a Zone 1-4 pass on my oyester card which cost me GBP 172.8 mothly. I recently came across an option for season ticket on national rail site. When I use season ticket calculator it shows me a season ticket for GBP 116.8 per month. I want to understand the diffrence between season ticket and zone 1-4 pass in my case. Why there is a diffrence in cost for both. I read on national rail site that season tickets are also valid on tubes and london buses. is that true?

    • Hi Rajnish,

      The National Rail season ticket is only valid on trains while the travelcard season is also valid on tubes, buses and dlr.

  174. Hi Mike,
    Thank you very much for quick response. Is National rail season monthly ticket valid on London bus service?

  175. Hi Mike.

    I travel from feltham to windsor riverside everyday and buy a Weekley pass. However I still have to pay for bus fare from my house to feltham station. Is there any way to avoid this. Or any cheaper way you can suggest.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Ankur,

      Assuming that the bus is operated on behalf of TfL then you can change your season into a Windsor & Eton Riverside to Zones 5-6 ticket. The extra is £14.10/week where 10 bus journeys costs £14.50. Obviously if you can use it at weekends it may be even more worthwhile. Also, if you want to go to London then you only need to buy a zones 1-4 day travelcard as your season covers you on rail in zones 5-6.

  176. Hi,

    Next month I will travelling from Staines upon Thames to London Victoria 5 times a week foe 3 months. The job im undertaking wont be paying much so I was wondering what is the cheapest option to commute? I know staines station doesnt accept oyster cards so would it be cheaper to use a combination of a paper ticket to Feltham and from the onwards the oyster card? (In this case would I have to exit the station and re enter?) or would a season ticket be best? Any recommendations are welcome. Thank you.

    • Hi John,

      If you literally only want to go from Staines to Clapham Junction and then to Victoria you’ll be better off with a Staines to London Terminals season ticket.

  177. Hi Mike.

    I’ve worked out the following and wonder if you could tell me if I’m right, as I’ve never used the Oyster system before.

    On Saturday I’m travelling between Horley (Surrey) and Custom House (Excel). Am I right in thinking I can:

    Buy a NR return Horley to East Croydon = £5.90
    Use Oyster East Croydon to Custom House = £2.70
    Oyster Custom House to East Croydon = £2.70
    Total £11.20 instead of £16.50 with a Travelcard

    Is that correct? Or does the East Croydon to Custom House part count as more than one journey?

    Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Wayne,

      Yes that will work fine. East Croydon to Custom House is one journey, but to get a cheap price you’ll need to avoid zone 1. The good news is that it is actually only £2.30 each way. Suggested route is via New Cross Gate, Canada Water and Canning Town.

  178. hi,

    I have a annual paper travel card and i have a oyster, i just want to use oyster through out, is it possible?

    • Hi Sudhi,

      If the travelcard is wholly within the Oyster area then it can be put on an Oyster card. If it includes travel from outside the Oyster area then it can’t. You may have to ask at one of the London terminals which handle Oyster transactions, eg Marylebone, Euston, St Pancras or Liverpool Street.

  179. Morning

    I need to go to Eastbourne on Thursday I have a oyster all zones where do I need to start paying from on the journey?
    Thank you

    • Hi Claire,

      You can either get a boundary zone 6 to Eastbourne or East Croydon to Eastbourne. The actual last station is Coulsdon South, but I don’t think there is much if any difference in price.

  180. Hi,
    I am travelling 3 times a week in london to (bank) from byfleet I normally buy a travelcard each time but been told it would be cheaper if I got a oyster card, what I am not sure about is would I buy a byfleet to london waterloo then use my oyster card on the tube to bank? Which is going to be the cheapest option?

    • Hi Emma,

      An Anytime West Byfleet to Zones 1-6 costs £26.00. An Anytime West Byfleet to London Terminals costs £18.70. Two Oyster zone 1 singles cost £4.40. If you have a spare 15 minutes your ticket to London Terminals is also valid to Cannon Street via Waterloo East and London Bridge (at least until the station rebuilding works closes half of London Bridge).

  181. Hi
    I have a monthly Oyster Zones 1-3 travelcard and on occasion travel to Apsley or Hemel Hempstead. Can I buy a boundary Zone 3 to Apsley/Hemel Hempstead train ticket and travel on any train out of Euston to these stations without having to get off and touch out? and how much does a single ticket cost from boundary Zone 3 to Apsley? and boundary Zone 3 to Hemel?
    Thank you

    • Hi Ann,

      Yes, you can use your travelcard and a boundary zone 3 ticket on any train without needing to touch out (or even call in zone 3). BZ3 to Apsley is £9.70 single and £14.60 return, while Hemel is £10.10 and £15.20. All prices quoted are anytime tickets, there are cheaper versions if you can travel off-peak.

  182. Hi,

    I just wanted to get confirmation that I am using the right approach towards a situation. I need to get from Richmond to Staines regularly, however I will also want to use the buses in London too. I was thinking that I could purchase a zone 4 – 6 travelcard on oyster (in order to get the unlimited bus journeys) and then from feltham (which is the last zone en route) I could get a feltham to staines paper travelcard. I have looked and all of my journeys will always pass through felthem, but I wanted to be sure that as I wont be changing trains or getting of at any point to tap out on oyster, that I can touch in using oyster and not have to touch out and use paper ticket to enter at staines. Similarly that I can just touch out at richmond and not touch in when I return?

    Any help is much appreciated.


    • Hi Chloe,

      Yes, you’ve got the right idea, but I don’t think it will save you any money. You can buy a Staines to zones 4-6 travelcard season which will cover everything you want for £42.40/week. Staines to Feltham is £22.70/week and zones 4-6 on their own is £26.00/week. If you are eligible for a student discounted zone 4-6 at £18.20 then splitting will save a little, and in that scenario you are fine to only touch in at Richmond and use the paper ticket only at Staines, as long as the train calls at Feltham. I’m pretty sure that they all do, so that’s not a problem. You don’t need to get off.

  183. Hi Mike

    I have a zones 2-4 monthly. I want to make a journey from Zone 1 to Aylesbury but would like to use Oyster to get me the cheapest fare. I’d leave zone 1 circa 6.30pm.

    How would I do that?

    If I touched in at Zone 1 sat on a train bound for Aylesbury, do I have to nip out at Amersham and tap my Oyster on the readers and get back on the train again before it leaves (where I run the risk of missing the train as it pulls away without me) having bought an Amersham-Aylesbury ticket?

    The first stop the Aylesbury train makes is Harrow in Zone 5.

    Many thanks.


  184. Hi Mike,

    I am moving to East India in a couple of months.

    This sits on the boundary of Zones 2 & 3.

    Would a Zone 1-2 travelcard cover me or would I need to pay the extra to get a Zone 1-3 travelcard instead?

    Please advise,

    • Hi Gavin,

      If you are travelling between East India and zone 1 then you only need zones 1-2.

  185. Hi, I’ve just started commuting from brighton to London. I need to be flexible from going into st pancras, and out of either victoria, st pancras or London bridge on any network provider.
    What would you recommend.
    I only need to travel in zones 1&2. I have an Oyster card.


    • Hi Gordy,

      I think your best bet is a Brighton to zones 1-6 season. It is under £20/week more than the season from Brighton to London and that isn’t actually valid to Farringdon or beyond.

  186. Hi Mike,

    I am considering renting a property in Potters Bar and would be commuting every weekday from there to Canary Wharf. I’m wondering what the cheapest way to do this would be – please can you advise?

    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Dominic,

      Potters Bar to Zones 2-6 travelcard season would be cheapest. Travel via Highbury & Islington and Stratford.

  187. I have a Zone 5-2 travelcard season ticket on my Oyster card and wish to travel from Enfield Town to Chelmsford and return via Liverpool Street (minimum changes hence not through Hackney and Stratford). Can you tell me how this can be achieved through the cheapest combination of tickets. Many thanks.

    • Hi Peter,

      The tickets you’ll need are either Bethnal Green to Stratford return and Boundary zone 5 to Chelmsford return; or London to Chelmsford return and use Oyster to get into Liverpool Street (zone 1 single each way). Assuming you want to travel off-peak then the latter will work out cheaper. If you confirm the actual dates and times I can double check the specific fares.

  188. Many thanks Mike,

    The trip will be on a Saturday around 8.00 AM and return that evening. Also, I would like to make the fewest number of changes and don’t really want to get off the train mid-journey to validate the Oyster Card.

    • Hi Peter,

      I’d forgotten that with a season ticket you can buy a ticket from a named station rather than a boundary zone without the train needing to call, so the ticket you need is the £9.70 Super off-peak return from Chadwell Heath to Chelmsford. Add in the £7.10 return from Bethnal Green to Stratford and you’ve got £16.80. That does make it somewhat cheaper than the zone 1 Oyster singles and a super off-peak return from London to Chelmsford.

      However, notwithstanding your desire to limit changes, I must point out that Gordon Hill to Chelmsford changing at Finsbury Park, Highbury & Islington and Stratford actually takes around the same time as Enfield Town to Chelmsford via Liverpool Street, as long as engineering works don’t affect either journey. As that option doesn’t involve zone 1 you would only need the Chadwell Heath to Chelmsford ticket.

  189. Thanks Mike, you’ve been a great help and your advice about the Zone 1 avoiding option is much appreciated.

  190. Hi, am so glad I found your website. I was hoping you could help me. I would be starting a new job at egham and wondering what would be the best way to get there from seven kings. Do I have to get a zone 1-4 monthly card as well as a card from Waterloo to egham or is there a way I can combine both? Thanks

    • Hi Dinah,

      The cheapest way to pay for this commute is to buy one season ticket from Egham to Zones 1-6. A quirk of the system says that to include an out-boundary station with a travelcard you must use the out-boundary station (Egham) as the origin. Season tickets provide unlimited travel along their route so you can use it the ‘wrong’ way round.

      If cost is more important than time then there are two ways to avoid zone 1. Either change at Stratford and Clapham Junction or Stratford, Canada Water and Clapham Junction. Then you would only need an Egham to zones 2-6 season ticket.

  191. Hello. Thanks for the very informative website. I’ve just relocated to St Albans from London. Next week I need to commute into London every day and I’ll need to make several journeys around zones 1-6 for work. I currently still have a zones 1-2 travelcard on oyster with over a month until it expires. I asked at the ticket office and I was told that I should buy a St Albans to Zones 2-6 weekly ticket to cover me for next week’s travel. Is that right? That seems like I’m paying for zone 2 twice because my oyster-card already covers zone 2. I’d just like to know why my ticket needs to go to zones 2-6.


    • Hi Tim,

      You don’t need zone 2 twice! Buy a St Albans to zone 3-6 travelcard and the combination covers you completely.

      Furthermore, St Albans is one of the wonderful places where you can use a split ticket to reduce the price of a travelcard to zones 1-6. The full ticket costs £100.70/week while St Albans to zone 5-6 costs £51.70/week and zones 1-4 costs £45.00/week. So that’s £4/week saving or £160 on an annual. You also keep the convenience of Oyster for travel around the centre of town.

  192. Hi Mike. Thanks for that – it’s good news. What happens if they insist on selling me the zones 2-6 ticket? Is there a document or regulations I can refer them to about only zones 3-6 and zones 1-2 being sufficient to cover my journey?

    And thanks for the tip about the split ticket. I had no idea!
    Much appreciated, Tim

    • Hi Tim,

      I’d be inclined just to ask for St Albans to zones 3-6 at the ticket office. Don’t actually mention that you’ll be carrying on to London with another travelcard. If you are stopped by an RPI on the train you may have a slightly more interesting conversation. Most RPIs know that there is no gap between adjacent London zones, indeed several stations are on the boundaries so you only pay for the zone you’ve come from if ending a journey there.

      The best written statement I can come up with is on the National Rail fares page on the TfL website where it explains that people with a travelcard starting in zone 2 and going outwards will only pay a zone 1 fare if they use Oyster to go into zone 1.

  193. Hi Mike

    I currently live in London (Finsbury Park) and have just taken a job which will require me to travel to Luton Airport Parkway everyday. Initially the plan was to buy a season ticket from St Pancras to Luton AP and then deal with the Finsbury Park to St Pancras bit via Oyster card. That would require a zone 1-2 oyster which in addition to a monthly pass from St Pancras to Luton AP would be expensive. Is there any way of from Finsbury Park to Luton AP more cheaply?


    • Hi Ben

      Firstly, the Luton Airport Parkway to Zones 1-6 travelcard season only costs £26.80/week more than the Luton Airport Parkway to London Thameslink season. This makes it better value than paying seperately for the travel to Finsbury Park. That ticket is £119.50/week. There are several cheaper options. You can avoid zone 1 by changing at West Hampstead and Highbury & Islington, The travelcard option is £103.40/week or you can get a rail only season for £87.60/week. Finally there’s an option to use a bus between Hatfield and St Albans at £102.00/week.

  194. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel up to Nottingham from Brighton. I have a ticket from Kings Cross to Nottingham, and a monthly season ticket for Brighton to zones 2-6. Do I need to get out at a zone 2 station such as Clapham Junction or Vauxhall and continue my journey to Kings Cross using an Oyster card? If so, do I need to exit the station and re-enter with the Oyster?



    • Hi Joe,

      Yes you do need to get off and touch in. For this reason I’d do it at Vauxhall as it is dual zoned (1/2) and you can change to the Victoria line there for Kings Cross meaning you’ll only pay for zone 1 on the Oyster.

  195. Hi Mike,

    Soon I’ll be working in Leatherhead and need some assistance on the most efficient way on how to reach there from Dagenham Heathway (tfl zone 5) please.

    I understand that there are two main options: 1) zone 1 – 6 travelcard then a separate travel card from Ewell West to Leatherhead or 2) a travelcard going from London 1 – 6 to Leatherhead. I see that the costs vary with these options but what route do you think would be most efficient in terms of changing between paper and oyster card? – especially when I’m travelling within London zones.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Angie,

      The combined Leatherhead to zones 1-6 card will give you the most flexibility. With that you can either travel via Ewell West or Ewell East which may sometimes be helpful. If money is tight you can avoid zone 1 by changing at West Ham and Canada Water. From there you either go to West Croydon and onwards or Clapham Junction and pick up the Leatherhead train there. It will take a little longer, but cost a lot less.

      On that route I wouldn’t recommend splitting season tickets because the train would have to stop at the spilt point.

  196. Please can you confirm the off peak cost from Stratford to shenfield please? i cannot seem to locate these details.
    Many thanks

  197. Hi Mike,
    I’ll be travelling to London Bridge from Laindon and I am looking for an annual season ticket. What is the cheapest possible ticket that I can opt for? Can I use Oyster card?

    • Hi Gopal,

      Oyster is not accepted from Laindon unfortunately. There are two seasons you can buy. Laindon to London Terminals (usually Fenchurch Street) is £2620/year. Laindon to Zones 1-6 is £3748/year. With the first one you could walk across London Bridge from Fenchurch Street, or catch a bus using Oyster. If you want to use the Underground then the second option will alomst certainly work out cheaper.

  198. Hi Mike,
    I’m travelling from Welwyn Garden City to Canary Wharf and trying to find the cheapest way to do this.
    I currently have a WGC to zones 2 – 6 travelcard and travel via Highbury and Islington and Stratford.
    I would like to know whether it is valid to buy a season ticket from WGC to Potters Bar and then a separate Oyster travel card zones 2-6 which covers me from Hadley Wood to Canary Wharf.
    Are there any alternatives if not.
    Thanks, Nick

    • Hi Nick,

      Using that combination would leave a gap between Potters Bar and Hadley Wood. You would need a season from WGC to Hadley Wood. Also, you must ensure you always use the slow trains that stop at Hadley Wood.

  199. Hi Mike,

    I have an annual travel card for zone 1-2 and today I tried to buy an open return from boundary zone 2 to Bishop’s Stortford but the woman at the ticket office told me this ticket doesn’t exist (!?) so I had to pay for London terminals to Bishop’s Stortford. I have had a single before, and a day return to Ware both from boundary zone 2 – so why not an open return? Are they shafting me or is there some sort of restriction?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Louise,

      They’re not shafting you. BZ2 to Bishops Stortford is only available for day tickets. If you want an open return you would need to buy two singles, but the return from London may be cheaper.

  200. Hi Nick,
    I’m currently a Gold Card all zones travel card user. I go from Redhill to Whitechapel every day. However I am moving office and next time will only need a London Terminals card. But I will probably get an Oyster card for the occasional underground trips.

    My question is:

    How does oyster work when you don’t touch out? Eg if I now go from Whitechapel to New Cross Gate on the overground there is nowhere to touch out before I go on Southern for the rest of the journey. UNLESS I actually leave the station – not much fun if the train is coming in!

    As you can see I’ve never used Oyster.


    • Hi Paul,

      If you don’t touch out you will be left with an incomplete journey charge which would not count towards any cap.

  201. Hi Mike,

    I have recently moved to Crofton Park and I work near London Bridge.

    In the Mornings I would like to Travel from Honor Oak Park to London Bridge and would like to get this Season Ticket (Honor Oak to Lodon Terminals) costing £89 per month.

    However my Gym is closer to Blackfriars station which runs a service to Crofton park rather than Honor Oak park. Both are in close walking distance to me but it was wondering if I would be able to do that with the Honor Oak to London Terminals (i.e get off at Crofton Park rather than Honor) or would i need to fork out the extra £60 for Zones 1-3?



    • Hi Steve,

      I can’t see a common route which would allow both your journeys without paying for something much further out, so I think the travelcard might be your best bet. The Honor Oak Park to London Terminals ticket is valid into Blackfriars via London Bridge, but not to Crofton Park. Obviously things are going to get a bit difficult when FCC stops serving London Bridge for a couple of years.

  202. Hi Mike
    I’m almost certain you’ve answered this similar question a trillion times before, but I still don’t get it – DOH!
    I’m travelling to Reading from Ealing B’way. I’ve got a PAYG Oyster card and wondered if can I use this for the section of the journey to West Drayton. Would I have to get off the train at WD before continuing the journey on the paper ticket? I’m not sure if it’s even cheaper to do this. Other coming on here and asking you where can you find this information?

    • Hi Alex,

      You can use it to West Drayton, but as the page above states, you would have to get out to touch out there. It probably isn’t cheaper anyway for a single trip.

  203. Hi Mike.

    I want to travel from Huntingdon to London Kings Cross. Then from Kings Cross to Putney Bridge. What would be the best suggestion?

    • Hi Rory,

      It really depends on when you want to travel and how frequently. Please give as much detail as possible.

  204. Hi Mike

    I would be traveling Monday to Friday.

    I just wanted to know whether Huntington to London Terminals zones 1-6 would cover it?


    • Hi Rory,

      Yes, a Huntingdon to London zones 1-6 season would cover the whole journey. If it’s a commute then that’s likely to be the best option. Don’t include the word terminals when you ask for it because that then isn’t valid on the Underground etc.

  205. Mike – I travel daily from Oxted to London Bridge on Southern, and then onto Canary Wharf on the Underground. I am frustrated with the paper monthly season ticket I have for London 1-6 as it regularly stops working. I have a new Southern Key card which I plan to load an annual season to London Terminals on, and then use an Oyster Card for the tube – would you recommend that approach and what is the best option for the Oyster Card for daily travel LBG/Canary Wharf – pay as you go or some type of travelcard?

    The advice I have is that it is not possible to load a Oxted to London 1-6 season onto the Key card which would of course be the easiest option (they claim it will be possibly to load an additional rail card from Summer 14)?

    Appreciate your assistance, thanks.

    • Hi Andrew,

      The implimentation of the various smart card schemes is a bit of a mess really. If you split tickets you are going to end up paying more, or losing flexibility. The prices are as follows:

      Oxted to zones 1-6: £281.50/month
      Oxted to London Term: £201.30/month
      Zones 1-2 Travelcard: £120.60/month
      Oxted to Norwood Jun: £154.00/month
      Zones 2-4 Travelcard: £99.90/month

      The last pair of prices would require changing at East Croydon and Norwood Junction, then using London Overground to Canada Water and Jubilee line to Canary Wharf. You might find that the reduction in gates means that the paper Oxted to Zones 2-6 ticket at £220/month lasts a bit longer.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  206. Hi Mike,

    I currently live in Gidea Park and have an annual zone 1-6 travel card (on my oyster) as I work in Bond Street.

    I’m moving to Billericay in two weeks, I enquired at the station to how I would extend my ticket, as there are no oyster readers at Billericay. The cashier said the easier way would be to purchase a paper ticket from billericay to Harold wood, however from reading an earlier reply from yourself, is the train required to stop at Harold wood in order for this to work ok?

    • Hi Billy,

      If the paper ticket is a season ticket then yes, it would need to stop at Harold Wood. If the paper ticket was a day return then it wouldn’t.

  207. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Basildon to Westminster 3 days a week and wanted to know what the most cost effective way would be. I normally buy an annual season ticket but was wondering if it would be cheaper to travel this way – Basildon to Upminster on season ticket and then use an Oyster to get to Westminster?

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Robin,

      To be honest, a season ticket is overkill for 3 days a week. However, it would definitely be cheaper to split at Upminster and use Oyster PAYG between there and Westminster. If you make good use of the Gold Card benefits then an annual season between Basildon and Upminster might be worthwhile, otherwise I’d just buy daily return tickets.

  208. Thanks Mike, I have the Oxted to London Term ticket at 201.30 p/m … if I travel from London Bridge to Canary Wharf and back again daily, on Oyster PAYG, do you know what that would cost monthly (assuming 22 days a month for travel during the work week)?

  209. Thanks Mike, that is helpful Can you please let me know what the monthly cost (around 15 days a month) would be if I travel to and fro from Basildon to Westminster using an Oyster PAYG from Upminster? I was finding it difficult to understand the PAYG cost. Also, I will be travelling at peak times. Would I need to get down at Upminster to swipe the card or catch a train which calls at Upminster? Any help will be appreciated.

    • Hi Robin,

      As the page above says, you will need to get off to touch in the Oyster at Upminster if using PAYG. Upminster to Westminster is £5 peak single so £10/day or £150/month by your figures. Basildon to Upminster is £8.70 anytime return, so £130.50/month.

  210. Hello Mike,
    I’m interested to know if I have worked out the following correctly. If I buy a zone 2-4 monthly oyster, I will be able to travel from Westferry to Goodmayes, changing at Stratford? Many Thanks.

  211. Hi Mike – incredible service here. Thank you!

    I’ve just moved to St Albans. I’m looking for a paper annual season ticket to get me through the barriers at St Albans and a zone 1-2, 1-4 or 1-6 annual oyster card for the tube.

    Is this allowed and if so, what the most cost effective option?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Mike,

      St Albans is one of the places where this works rather well. The price for St Albans to zones 5-6 and a zones 1-4 inboundary travelcard is actually less than the combined St Albans to zones 1-6. Because the tickets are both zonal the train does not need to call where you change from one to the other. There is no gap between adjacent London zones so you are covered for the whole journey.

  212. Hi Mike,

    I have a zone 1 – 6 monthly travelcard on my oyster card.
    Twice a week I commute to and from London Liverpool Street (zone 1 ) to Wickford (Greater anaglia) in essex.
    I understand that Harold Wood is the last stop in zone 6. Am I right in saying that my travel card will cover me from london liverpool street to harold wood and then i would need a single from harold wood to wickford and vice versa. Are you able to help? how do I go about doing this?

    • Hi Lucy,

      Just buy a single (or return) from Harold Wood to Wickford. The train doesn’t need to call at Harold Wood because one ticket is a season (your travelcard) and the other is not. You can buy them at Liverpool Street, or online to pick up from Liverpool Street.

  213. Hi Mike,

    I have just got a job in London and will be commuting from Milton Keynes Central every day. I have been looking at season tickets as they seem to be the best option for me price wise.

    I have worked out that if I was to buy the MKC to London Terminals ticket, and just use my oyster for the tubes then it would work out a lot more expensive than if I was to buy the ticket that says MKC to London Zones 1-6. (As the tube is £4.40 per day, and that’s just Euston to Angel return and no where else!).

    However the bit I am confused about is the MKC to London zones 1-6 ticket. With that ticket, can I make more than one journey on the tube in a day? For example, I am based near Angel tube station, so will be going from Euston to Angel on the tube every day. However if I needed to go somewhere else during the day on the tube, can I still use my season ticket for that? Basically what I mean to say is can I use the tube whenever I like with that ticket?

    Does that ticket also include weekends too? So can I go into London on the weekends using my season ticket? If so, it basically means I can go into London and around on the tube 24/7 during the period my ticket is valid for (e.g. one month?).

    One last thing – I read on above comments about having to get your ticket out every time… is that still the cheapest option rather than using oyster for the tubes? The machines won’t swallow it up will they!  And would you just have to put the season ticket in the tube machines?

    I hope that isn’t too confusing!

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Alice,

      Yes, a Milton Keynes to London zones 1-6 travelcard gives you unlimited travel between Milton Keynes and zone 6 as well as unlimited travel within zones 1-6 on all rail services (except St Pancras International to Stratford International and Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow), plus all TfL operated bus services and trams in Croydon too.

      The ticket machines won’t swallow the ticket but you will need to use it to open gates wherever you go in London.

  214. Hello, I will be travelling from Tolworth (Surbition) to Bond street through Surbiton station (overground) and Waterloo (Underground). What type of Travel card i need? Is it between Zone 1, 2 & 3?
    Please help…..

    Thanks, Karthi

    • Hi Karthi,

      Assuming you mean using SWT between Surbiton and Waterloo then you’ll need zones 1-6.

  215. Hi Mike

    I travel from Rayleigh to waterloo or tower hill. Sometimes during rush hour and sometimes not. Usually I buy a return to Stratford and then use oyster. Do I have any other options?

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, you could buy a Rayleigh to zones 1-6 travelcard but this does seem to be more expensive unless you are commuting 5 days a week at peak times. Your split will also be cheaper in 2016 when Stratford moves to the boundary of zone 2 and 3.

  216. Hi Mike,

    I am looking at purchasing a southern “Key” season ticket from Burgess Hill to London zones 1-6. Will this ticket on my “Southern Key” card work by touching my Southern Key on the london underground oyster readers? Or am I better off getting a paper ticket instead?

  217. Hi Mike

    I have been quoted almost £400 for a monthly ticket between London and London Road Guildford. However, would a split ticket to include monthly Oyster for zones 1-6 and then a monthly from zone 6 to London Road Guildford be possible and cheaper?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Pru,

      Yes it’s possible but it won’t be cheaper. Where is your journey to in London? There might be other ways to reduce the cost.

  218. Hi Mike,
    I travel between Billericay and central London. Different times and days each week, sometimes off peak so a season ticket isn’t worth it, and I usually buy a day travelcard – I also have a 16-25 railcard. But it looks like I might save some money by getting a return ticket to Stratford and then using Oyster.
    My question is – can I get off at Stratford, touch in with my oyster using one of the platform machines, and get back on a NR train to Liverpool street (either the same one if I’m fast enough or the next one), then change at Liverpool street for underground? This would be substantially quicker than taking the underground from Stratford.
    Also when I touch out at Liverpool street NR, and in again at Liverpool street underground, will that only count as one journey to my final destination of Euston square, or will I be charged for two oyster journeys?
    Also, seems like I could use Oyster from Shenfield, but looks like that may be more expensive, I can’t find the fare cap for London to Shenfield anywhere.
    Your help much appreciated, Lorna

    • Hi Lorna,

      I’m not sure whether there are any platform validators at Stratford now, but if there are, yes you can do that. As long as you touch in at the Underground within 20 minutes of touching out at the NR station it will be combined as one journey. Full details are under Interchanging trains.

      Fares for Oyster at Shenfield are on this page. One big saving would be if you need to touch in at Shenfield before 0630 as the Oyster fare would then be off-peak and discounted.

  219. Hello Mike

    Just by reading through your feed it is clear you know your stuff!

    I start a new job and will be travelling from BKG to BSO on a daily basis. I currently possess a staff nominee pass which enables me to travel free on London Underground and adjacent routes (I.e BKG to UPM will be free for me as it runs adjacent to the District line).

    As I am under 25, will I be able to combine my staff nominee entitlement with a 16-25 railcard as I will have to pay for my journey from UPM to BSO? (I am yet to purchase one and will purchase dependent on your answer)

    Many Thanks


    • Hi James,

      Yes you can combine your staff nominee entitlement with a valid ticket from Upminster to Basildon. The railcard will only discount single and return tickets (not seasons) and there is a minimum fare of £12 before 10am M-F excluding July and August. So depending on when you travel it might not make a difference.

  220. Hi Mike. Yes that answers my question about what type of ticket I need, but I am still unclear as to whether my southern keycard will work on the underground stations that are not run by southern, e.g. my final destination which is fulham broadway.

    • Well it says it will work on Underground, DLR and buses, none of which are operated by Southern.

  221. Hi Mike.

    I commute from Hampton Court to Waterloo and then on the Waterloo and City line to Bank four mornings a week.

    At the moment I get a monthly zones 1-6 travelcard (£219) but I’m wondering if it would be cheaper to go PAYG.

    Is it possible for the journey to be treated as one continuous run? I.e would it cost me a single fare? Or would I be charged for the train journey and tube journey separately?


    • Hi Tom,

      As long as you touch out and in again at Waterloo within the allowed time then it will be classed as one journey. However, because you are mixing NR and LU in a journey involving zone 1 it will cost more than just the NR fare, but less than the NR fare plus a zone 1 TfL fare.

      You say you commute four mornings a week. If your return journey is also in the afternoon peak then a monthly travelcard is probably still worthwhile, especially if you ever make any other journeys when not at work. However, if your return journey is off-peak then PAYG should be cheaper unless you make lots of other journeys.

  222. Thanks.

    Hampton Court is Zone 6 on travelcard. When you say cost “more than NR fare but less that NR fare plus a zone 1 fare”, what do you mean?

    Will I not just pay the single peak zone 1-6 oyster fare of £5?

    Also, apologies but I’m not sure I understand the “allowed time” table. Does this mean I should tocuh out when I leave the southwest train and then touch in when I board W&C? How long do I have between out and in?

    • Hi Tom,

      There are three fare scales. If your journey was solely on TfL rail then you would pay £5. If it was just to Waterloo then it would be the NR fare of £5.90. Because it’s using both NR and TfL including zone 1 the overall fare is £7.50. The zone 1 TfL fare is £2.20 meaning that two separate journeys would be £8.10.

      Yes, you’ll need to touch out on leaving the SWT platforms and you need to touch in either on the Underground gateline or the validator on the way to the Waterloo and City Line. How long is what the table tells you – NR to LU is 20 minutes while LU to NR is 40 minutes because you might wait on the concourse for your train to be advertised.

  223. Hi Mike
    Thanks for your prompt reply. Sorry for my tardy reply but I had forgotten where I left my message. The whole journey would be from either Langdon Park DLR or Canary Wharf Jubilee to London Road Guildford and a short bus ride from there. Bit of a shlep I know and may have to get a room there if it gets too much but meanwhile need to get train.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Pru,

      That is quite a journey. You can get the price down a bit by buying a London Road Guildford to zones 2-6 travelcard at £330/month. Your journey would then be Langdon Park > Canary Wharf > Canada Water > Clapham Junction > London Road Guildford. It will probably take a little longer so only you will know if the cost saving is worth it.

  224. Mike,

    By accident today I used my oyster to go through barriers at charing cross, but actually have a return ticket for this journey which I bought a few days back. Is there any chance I can get a refund for this if I have proof?


  225. Hi Mike,
    I need to travel from Staines, just outside Oyster Zones, to Waterloo then by tube to Collindale and back during the week. I cant seem to figure out the best/cheapest way to do this. Can I use my oyster from Feltham – would I need to get off the train and touch in – and just buy a return train ticket from Staines to Feltham? I was looking at annual tickets but they are running into thousands and want to do it cheap as possible. Any ideas?
    Thanks! Helen.

    • Hi Helen,

      An annual season ticket for that sort of distance is going to cost thousands, but it will still be cheaper than daily returns. If you have a season ticket on your Oyster (zones 1-6) and another season for Staines to Feltham then you don’t need to get off to touch at Feltham. The train must stop at Feltham, but I don’t think that’s a problem.

      Another cost saving you could consider is using the TfL bus from Staines to Feltham. You can use your travelcard on the bus so you’d only need to buy the zone 1-6 season. It would take longer of course, but it’s something to consider if money is tight.

  226. Hi Mike

    I am new to London and all these websites are making no sense to me. I start a new job in September and I have to travel from Liverpool Street Station to Ponders End – what kind of monthly Oyster Card do I need to purchase. I am confused with the zones/National Rail thing…

    Thanks in advance!


    • Hi Meg,

      If your journey is just between Liverpool Street and Ponders End at peak times then you actually want to buy a paper season ticket from National Rail. If you also need to use either buses or the Underground/DLR then you’ll need a zone 1-5 travelcard which can be loaded onto an Oyster card. Finally, if your commute can be made at off-peak times at least half of the time then you may be better off using PAYG on Oyster. If you can touch in at the start of your journey before 0630 or before 1600 then that journey is charged at off-peak rates, even if it ends after the peak has started.

  227. Hi Mike, I’ve recently accepted a job with Ford Motor Co.
    And as part of this it means travelling to their Dunton centre 4 days a week, I live in Luton and I need the cheapest way possible to get there by train. After searching I found that i would need to make it to London Fenchurch Street from Blackfriars to get the connecting train to Laindon Station. However I cannot seem to find a season ticket or any reliable prices for this journey. Thank you for any help you maybe able to give me in advance

    • Hi Callum,

      You’re right, there doesn’t seem to be a season ticket for that flow. I believe that you could buy a constructed travelcard by taking the prices for Luton to zones 1-6 plus Laindon to zones 1-6 then deducting the inboundary zones 1-6, but that works out at just less than 5 days travel at the anytime return rate. As you are only doing 4 days you will probably be better off using daily returns.

  228. Hi Mike

    I am about to become a rail commuter for the first time since the introduction of oyster. I live outside the London zones, local station is Swanscombe in Kent and i will be travelling to South Quay, i have worked out the that the cheapest option is to buy a paper annual season ticket to cover me between Swanscombe and Slade Green, then get an annual travel card covering zones 2-6. Minor disadvantages if i need to get home via a different over ground route, but i have done the maths and happier to make the saving.

    My question is, with the above ticket combination, are there any issues with service delay refunds? I mean if a train is delayed or cancelled from Swanscombe to Greenwich which means i am delayed by more than 30 mins i would claim a part refund from Southeastern for the paper ticket, but they would only refund me till Slade Green, for the Slade Green to Greenwich part i would have to claim from oyster, could they (would they) decline on the basis there were other trains going through Slade Green reducing the time of delay below 30 mins?


    • Hi Ambrish,

      Yes, there may be issues with delay compensation. Southeastern will pay for delays on travelcards where it is their service that is at fault, but they won’t pay if the DLR has issues. In the case of a delay from Swanscombe you should be covered because your journey is all the way to Greenwich. You’ll need proof of your travelcard on the Oyster (ie receipt or statement). However, I wouldn’t underestimate the issues with your chosen split. As long as the train calls at either Crayford or Barnehurst then they are both on permitted routes to Slade Green, but if the train you caught was fast from Abbey Wood to Dartford then your combination wouldn’t be valid. You might then be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution if checked onboard.

  229. Hi Mike,

    I have a very simply question for you – am I able to purchase a monthly zones 2 – 6 Travel Card in order to travel from Clapham Junction to Feltham and back (during peak times on a daily basis) with the 18+ Student Oyster photocard (which I am eligible for as a full-time student)? I am not sure if the 30% discount on all travel cards is valid for peak times with the 18+ Student Oyster photocard or if it is only off-peak which is valid with this photocard.

    Thank you very much for you help in advance.


    • Hi Tom,

      The 30% discount is applied to travelcard seasons which by their nature are valid at all times.

  230. Hi Mike,

    I have recently purchased a Zone 2-4 Season on Oyster, so using PAYG when in Zone 1 (have loaded Gold Card discount). Will be doing the odd journey on weekends from East Finchley to Waterloo then onwards on SWT to outside Zone 6 buying tickets from Boundary Zone 4. Can I do this from Waterloo or will I get charged an oyster maximum fare?

    • Hi Eric,

      You’ll be charged a maximum fare. Just take the first train to Clapham Junction and touch out and in again before getting your train from there. For a little more you can buy a ticket to Vauxhall and combine that with your travelcard and BZ ticket without worrying where the train stops.

  231. Hi Mike

    I currently have zone 3-6 travel card. Will I be able to travel from Leytonstone (zone 3) to Surbiton station (zone 6). I need to change at waterloo underground which is in zone 1. I am not sure if I need to touch out before I board the train to Surbiton station.

    • Hi Farhan,

      Assuming that the travelcard is on your Oyster card then you will need enough PAYG balance for a mixed mode NR+TfL zone 1-2 single. You will need to touch out and in again at Waterloo, but even if you didn’t, the system would still charge the extra.

  232. Hi Mike
    My normal journey is Reading-Hayes & Harlington, then a bus connection. I have a Reading-z5-6 season ticket. Occasionally I go to Central London instead and buy a one day all zone travelcard. I’m unclear whether I need to get a train that stops in z5/6 to do this, or whether I can use a non stop train from Reading to Paddington? The terms don’t seem clear on this!

    • Hi Andrew,

      Both tickets are zonal at the point of overlap so there is no need for the train to stop.

  233. Hi Mike,

    I have an Oyster card as I am a London resident but frequently commute to Stansted Mountfitchet. The Stansted Express doesn’t stop at Broxbourne, but it would be cheaper to use Oyster up to the Broxbourne boundary limit for an Oyster and then a ticket from Broxbourne to Stansted Mountfitchet – is this allowed even if the Stansted Express doesn’t stop in Broxbourne?


    • Hi Billy,

      As the page above states, if you want to mix paper and Oyster PAYG then the train not only needs to call where you switch, you also have to touch out/in to end/start the Oyster part of the journey.

  234. Hi Mike

    I live in North London and have an oyster season ticket covering zones 2-6 only. I want to make occasional monthly journeys to Guildford, boarding a fast train at London Waterloo which doesn’t stop anywhere within zones 1-6.

    Do you have any suggestions for combining the zone 2-6 element of my oyster card with paper ticket extensions that would be a cheaper alternative to buying a national rail ticket all the way from Waterloo to Guildford?

    When I had a zone 1-6 travelcard it was simply a case of getting an extension from boundary zone 6 but the fact my current travelcard excludes zone 1 has me wondering what the best option is.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer, and what a great site you run!


    • Hi Chris,

      You’ll need a ticket from Waterloo to Vauxhall and another from Surbiton to Guildford. The train doesn’t need to call at either station because your travelcard is a season ticket. Unfortunately the saving isn’t that much over a ticket for the whole journey, but that’s the downside to needing two separate tickets.

  235. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel from Brent Cross to Leatherhead daily. I have worked out that the cheapest option would be a travel card Z1-3 oyster and a Wimbledon-Leatherhead SW trains paper travelcard. Oyster would take me from Brent Cross to Waterloo on the tube and then, when on SW trains from Waterloo, I could change to my ticket as the train passes through Wimbledon. However, will it matter that I don’t check out the Oyster at Wimbledon? Worried about problems as I will check in at Waterloo in the morning with Oyster and will only use Oyster again when I check back in to Waterloo to get on the tube in the afternoon! Is this ok?

    I hope that makes sense….

    Many thanks for all your advice.

    • Hi Paul,

      No it is not ok, but not for the reason you think. You would be using two season tickets and only one of them is zonal, so the train has to stop where they changeover. If the train does stop at Wimbledon then you are fine because there is no penalty for not touching in or out when travelling exclusively within the zones of a travelcard.

  236. Hi Mike

    I wounded of you can give me the easiest and best combo. It raven from Stevenage to penge east and back every day. I go in via frndsbury park and home via kings cross this is due to train times. Many thanks

    • Hi Jules,

      Best is very subjective, however, I don’t think you’ve got any serious option other than a Stevenage to zones 1-6 travelcard. You could possibly avoid zone 1, but it would add a lot to your journey time.

  237. Hi Mike ,

    I am going to begin commuting from rayleigh station to kings cross and back again at the end of this month , its been a while since i’ve been on the trains and was wondering what was the cheapest way to go about it , either by getting a season ticket direct or by getting a season ticket to shenfield and then using the oyster cap ive just read about from shenfield to kings cross.

    Many Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi Tony,

      Splitting at Shenfield can be beneficial, especially if you can touch in there before 0630 as you’ll then pay off-peak fares. If you won’t be that early then you’re probably better off with a travelcard from Rayleigh as you then won’t need to get off the train to touch your Oyster in or out.

  238. Hi Mike,

    I have recently moved and now live in Guildford. Each day I travel in to Waterloo and then travel on to Bank via the Waterloo and City Line. Is there a season ticket I can buy that will allow me to just add the Waterloo to Bank portion of the journey onto a standard Guildford to Waterloo season ticket without having to add all of the zones 1-6.
    If so what is the cost? If not what is my best option?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Adam,

      The difference between a Guildford to London season and one which includes all 6 zones is less than the cost of 10 zone 1 singles per week, so basically you’re best off with the Guildford to zones 1-6 travelcard.

  239. Hi Mike,

    I will be commuting everyday from Wickford to Hammersmith (zone 2). I have a 16-25 Young Person’s Railcard. I’ve read about a ‘Season Direct’ offer by Abellio Greater Anglia that offers cheaper monthly tickets via direct debit (excludes travelcard).
    My plan is to change at Stratford in the morning to take the underground, but board at Liverpool Street on the return journey. I am thinking to get a monthly travelcard zone 1-3 on my oyster too.

    What would be my best/cheapest option for my commute without having to use a paper ticket when I arrive in London? Should I use the ‘Season Direct’ to get a Wickford to Stratford Monthly ticket? Can I use my railcard for any discounts? Will there be any issues at the barriers? and will my paper ticket need to cover zones 4-6?

    I would be very grateful if you could help!
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Maria,

      I’m not familiar with the Season Direct offer, but if that saves you money it should be fine. Your railcard won’t help with season ticket costs. As long as your train calls at Stratford there is no need to have zones 4-6 on the other ticket. There won’t be any issues at the barriers as long as you use the right ticket each time. Hope that helps.

  240. Hi Mike,
    I was just wondering if I can use my Oyster Card to get from Waterloo to get to Staines to get to Thorpe Park. Or would I have to buy train tickets?

    • Hi Tina,

      Sadly Staines is outside the area covered by Oyster so you’ll need a paper ticket. If you are using Oyster to get to Waterloo then you may find it cheaper to split at Feltham, just getting the paper ticket from there. You’d need to get off the train to touch out or in but the readers are on the platform at Feltham, so you might get the same train.

  241. Hi,

    Quick question for you Mike. If I travel from Amersham to Brighton is it possible to use oyster pay as you go to Farringdon and then use a paper ticket from Farringdon to Brighton on FCC?

    Can you touch out at Farringdon and where are the readers?

    Many thanks for your help.

    • Hi Claire,

      Yes, that is fine. There are readers between the westbound tube platform and the southbound FCC platform. You might save some money if you use Oyster all the way to East Croydon. There the gates are at the top of the ramp at the country end of the platforms. You may have to get the next train though, so it’s up to you what your priorities are.

  242. Hi Mike
    I am working full time in London at Green Park and travel from Watford on the met line change at finchley road and get jubliee line to green park . I have been topping up my oyster card but someone told me it would be cheaper to get a monthly travel card as I would be saving is this correct and can I load it onto my oyster card

    • Hi Anna,

      You can load a travelcard onto your Oyster card and a monthly one might save you money. The peak single fare is £5.50, so £11/day. The monthly travelcard is £238.90 which means that you save money if you use it 22 days in any month. If all you use your Oyster for is commuting then I probably wouldn’t bother as months have between 20 and 23 working days. But if you regularly use buses or trains in the evening or at weekends then it will make sense. Hope this helps.

  243. is it cheaper to use my oyster to travel from Byfleet (not west byfleet) to london waterloo monday to friday peak times?. how much will it cost on the oyster, is it the same as paper ticket. i prefer to use oyster as i can jump on a bus from waterloo. will that be at capped rate

    • Hi Mimi,

      Byfleet (either station) is well outside the Oyster area which ends at Surbiton. It isn’t cheaper to split either. If you only use one bus each way then you are better off using your Oyster for that separately.

  244. Hi all,

    I will be commencing a job in Central London starting on the 6th of October and will probably be living in Bedford for the first six months due to it only being an hour or so commute, as well as living commitments.

    I was wondering, when asking about a Bedford to Monument (the closest tube station to my work), is it possible to get a season ticket that covers this journey.

    The available options are “BEDFORD to LONDON ZONES 1 – 6” and “BEDFORD to LONDON THAMESLINK”. Regarding the former, would this also incorporate the tube travel as well as the National Rail travel to Blackfriars which would be my stop on the Thameslink National Rail rain before needing to get a tube between Blackfriars and Monument?

    Would this season ticket off the National Rail website cover this?

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Kevin,

      Yes, the Bedford to zones 1-6 travelcard will cover the whole journey. The one to London Thameslink only works on the National Rail route. If money is tight you could consider walking from Blackfriars or City Thameslink. It’s not too far.

  245. Hi Mike,

    Thank you very much. Unfortunately the National Rail Enquiries website does not confirm this. Money is not too tight thank you but I understand that the Thameslink to Monument area is only a 20 minute walk so I shall probably go for this latter option!

    Thanks for your help.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Kevin,

      I’m not sure exactly what the NRE website doesn’t confirm, but I notice you’ve also asked the question on RailUK and there are many more rail experts there.

  246. Hi,

    I will commuting from Stanmore to Woking via Waterloo. I have purchased a weekly travel card on oyster from stanmore to Waterloo and national rail weekly from Waterloo to Woking, which costs me £125 approx. Is there any way to reduce this.

    • Hi Lalitha,

      Yes! You are paying for nearly half the journey from Waterloo to Woking (Berrylands to be precise) twice. All you need is a Woking to London zones 1-6 travelcard season for £92.60/week. You need to buy it with Woking as the origin, but you get unlimited use so you can travel the other way round.

      There is a cheaper method still, but it will take significantly longer. For £81.90/week you can get a Woking to London zones 2-6 travelcard. From Stanmore take the Jubilee line to West Hampstead. Change to the Overground station for a train to Clapham Junction (you might have to change at Willesden Junction as well), then take a SWT service to Woking from there. Only you will know whether the £10.70/week saving is worth it.

  247. Hi mike,

    I need to commute 2 days a week (at peak time) from romford to homerton.

    Can you explain why the journey costs £3.90 when a zone 6-2 journey costs £2.70?

    • Hi Sam,

      Romford to Stratford is set by NR rather than TfL, so their fare scale applies at the moment. It should change when TfL take over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield service from GA in preparation for Crossrail.

  248. I’ve just gotten a changeover on my annual travelcard from an out of zone to just zones, but they’ve given another paper ticket. Is there any way I can get it put on my oyster card? Who would offer that, NR or TFL?

    • Hi K,

      I think you’ll be very lucky to get that done now. The best place I can suggest is Marylebone NR ticket office, but you’d have been better off asking there originally, before getting the changeover.

  249. Ah, bummer. I was told I could only do changeover at the station it was originally purchased at, but CLJ has different windows for tickets and oyster. Thank you!

    • That shouldn’t be the case, but using a different TOC can make things difficult.

  250. I was going to ask if you knew of any platform Oyster machines at Stratford or whether a change from Oyster to paper is a ‘through the gateline and back’ escapade.

    Recent posts indicate you’re not sure anymore, however, so I’ll tell my wife just to be sure to end her journey at an Oyster machine somewhere in the station before jumping on her train into deepest, darkest Essex!

    (I’m going to Hampton Court with our son to try a contactless trip for the first time)

    • It’s a through the gateline and back escapade as far as I know. If you come in via the DLR from the Pudding Mill Lane direction then you’ll pass some validators on the way to the main station, or if you arrive on the Jubilee line there is one validator in the concourse area. The Central line is a bit of a pain, though the Jubilee line validator might be easier than the gateline. Do let me know if the situation is different.

  251. Hi Mike,
    Im 16 and just started college in Stratford but I come from East Grinstead. I was thinking about buying a season ticket from EGR to Upper Warlingham which is the closest station that uses oyster cards. What would I need to buy to cover the travel from there to London Bridge instead of jumping off and tapping in?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Louisa,

      For some weird reason the season ticket to East Croydon is the same price as the season ticket to Upper Warlingham from East Grinstead, therefore I would get that instead. Don’t mention Upper Warlingham when you buy it because there is a pointless more expensive season to Upper Warlingham via East Croydon. After that you’ll need a travelcard for zones 1 to 5. As long as the train calls at East Croydon you will be fine with that combination (and pretty much everything does). The travelcard covers you all the way to Stratford.

      You can save a bit more by buying a zone 2-5 travelcard. You’ll have to avoid London Bridge so change at Norwood Junction or New Cross Gate onto an Overground train to Canada Water and pick up the Jubilee line there.

  252. Well, it was an eastbound Central Line arrival but I’m told there was an ‘Oyster machine’ on the platform ‘in front of the steps to the bridge (presumably subway) to the National Rail platforms’.

    I wasn’t there to see it myself so can’t personally confirm or deny but it was apparently so straightforward that my wife even asked a member of staff to make sure she wasn’t making a terribly mistaken assumption!

  253. Hi Mike,
    Seeing as my half rate oyster card only applies from upper warlingham and onwards, does that mean i have to get an adults season ticket from EGR to East Croydon?

  254. Hi,
    Just a query about my commuting and possibilities of other options. I live near to Battersea Park Station (BAK) and Queenstown Road (QRB) (both zone 2), I work in Epsom. I currently have a BAK – EPS rail season ticket monthly, costing ~£155.
    I know that Ewell West is the station before Epsom and is in zone 6. I have seen that with my 18+ Student Oyster, it is ~£105 for a zones 2 – 6 monthly travelcard, and for a rail season ticket between Ewell West and Epsom it is ~£40 a month. There for it would cost me £10 less a month, and I get the bonus of using zones 2 – 6 around London where I would usually have to PAYG., and a choice of using either BAK or QRB. Is my thinking correct in this?
    Also in terms of practicality of commuting, I would assume I touch in at Battersea Park with the oyster and I know I would use the rail ticket to exit Epsom, and vice versa for the return. Would I need to get off the train at Ewell West to touch out every journey, and likewise touching in on the way back home?
    I do know there is a card reader a few steps away from the train doors on the platform, with enough time to hop back on, but would prefer to stay on the train to avoid missing it/ forgetting to touch in and out.
    What are your thoughts on this?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Bradley,

      Yes you can do this. You don’t need to touch in or out at Ewell West, but the train MUST stop there. You also couldn’t use Ewell East instead.

  255. I want to meet up at Bluewater after work (City area). The single train fare to Greenhithe is £9.10.
    After a bit of searching I found I could use Oyster to Lewisham for £2.50 and then single to Greenhithe for £5.60. Saving £1.
    Is this the cheapest option other than bus?

    • Hi Jim,

      I don’t know. Lewisham is good because it is dual zoned so you only pay for zones 1-2 on Oyster and for zones 3-6 in the paper ticket. Therefore it’s likely that that is the cheapest rail option. My personal suggestion would be train to Crayford then either 96 or 428 bus. Cannon Street to Crayford is £5.40 peak and the bus is £1.45.

  256. Hi

    I currently have a season ticket from witham to London zones 2-6. My journey is witham to stratford then dlr to Canary Wharf. I currently pay greater anglia over £4,000.

    It seems for my journey I can do a zone 1-7 oyster annual season ticket taking me to shenfield then a Shenfield to witham greater anglia season ticket. Saving is around 900 if my calculations are correct. But does this mean I need to get on a train which stops at Shenfield on the way? Thank you

    • Hi Stuart,

      The one flaw in your plan is that Shenfield is not in zone 7, it’s in a zone all to itself. The two seasons together would cost £400 more than your current Witham to zones 2-6.

  257. Hi Mike

    I currently live and work in zone 2 in London so have a zone 1-2 annual travelcard (on Oyster).

    I’m considering taking a job that will require daily travel to Potters Bar, can you advise the best way of arranging my ticket/travelcard?

    Ideally i’d prefer to still be able to use Oyster when in London, but I’m not sure if that’s possible.



    • Hi Paul,

      It’s possible, but you’d need to pay more. You can buy Potters Bar to zones 4-6 on paper and zones 1-3 on Oyster and they will be valid on non-stop trains. You can either split at 4-5, 3-4 or 2-3 because the travelcard element must have 2 zones. There are some places where pricing anomalies actually make that cheaper at the moment, but Potters Bar isn’t one of them. Obviously if you live north of London and can avoid zone 1 then you actually only need to pay to zone 2. The cheapest way is a Potters Bar to zones 1-6 (or 2-6) paper ticket.

  258. Hi Mike,

    I live in Addleston and work in London. I have a weekly oyster covering zones 1 & 2 paid for by work. What would be the cheapest way to get into town. I normally travel to Weybridge then to Waterloo/vauxhall/clapham junction.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Will,

      A season from Addlestone to Clapham Junction would appear to be the best option, with the clarification that you must be on a train which calls at Clapham Junction if you pass through it. If that is not always possible or desirable then a season from Addlestone to Zones 3-6 is £5.30/week more and gives you complete freedom.

  259. Hello Mike,

    What is the best option for 18+ student: Petts Wood rail station to the Angel tube zone 1-5 annual travel.

    Thank you,


    • Hi Tanya,

      Yes, get zone 1-5 travelcard seasons. You can’t get one beyond the validity of the 18+ Oyster so you probably can’t get an annual, but monthly or quarterly will still get you the 30% discount.

  260. Hi,

    I’ll be travelling between Wanstead & Egham for 4-5 days a week with an 18+ oyster (I usually go via Waterloo). Would I be able to get a zones 1-6 travelcard (to use up till feltham) along with a paper ticket to use between Feltham and Egham? I think that’s the cheapest option that I was able to work out, but am not sure if there’d be an issue with not “tapping out” my oyster at Feltham, and whether this is actually the cheapest/fastest option. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Amera,

      There’s no penalty for not touching in or out where a travelcard covers the journey. It is almost certainly the cheapest option.

  261. Hi Mike,

    I have a zone 2-5 monthly travelcard with National Rail and my home station is Chislehurst. I have to travel from London St. Pancras to Chislehurst on Friday and I have figured out the best route is to take the tube from King’s Cross to London Bridge then train from London Bridge to Chislehurst. But my paper ticket won’t let me in at the barrier at London Bridge and I was told I cannot get an extension as it’s not on Oyster. The ticket office said I have to pay for the single tube journey from King’s Cross to London Bridge (contactless or PAYG) then buy a single ticket from London Bridge to Chislehurst. These all add up and it’s a shame that I get no discount for the travel card I’ve paid for already from zone 2 onwards.

    Is there a better way?


    • Hi Jo,

      Yes. Buy a single from St Pancras to New Cross and start with Thameslink to London Bridge. Your train to Chislehurst doesn’t have to call at New Cross.

  262. hi.
    I need to get from Norbiton station to hatfield return tonight i have used my oyster on 2 buses already today what is the best way for me to do this? And cheapest way also please.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Obviously use Oyster to get to Kings Cross. Then it depends how much you want to save versus how long you want to take. Cheapest will mean getting out at Hadley Wood to touch out and possibly having to wait for the next slow train to finish the journey with a Hadley Wood to Hatfield return ticket. You could split at Finsbury Park where you can still get a fast train to Hatfield, but you won’t save much over the return from London to Hatfield. The choice is yours.

  263. Hi Mike,

    I am a student and am placed in different locations in London Zone 1 mainly (London bridge, Waterloo and Paddington most of the time)

    I have purchased a yearly travelcard from slough – all london zones.

    Is there any way of my putting the travel card part onto oyster? Instead of getting out my paper ticket in london?

    If not would it be better to then get a refund of my yearly pass and by just a yearly ticket from Slough to Paddington and then get a buy a yearly travel card on the student oyster?

    I hope that makes sense.

    • Hi Preet,

      If you buy from Slough to Paddington and a travelcard on top (even at discounted rates) you’ll be paying a lot more. Realistically you have three options. All involve buying a travelcard on your student Oyster. The cheapest one is to get zones 1-5 and use the TfL 81 bus between Hounslow West and Slough. That will take an age though, so the others mean you get a zone 1-6 travelcard and then other tickets between Slough and West Drayton. A season ticket would be cheaper, but you would be limited to slow trains that call at West Drayton. Daily returns would cost a little more but allow you to use fast trains to Paddington.

  264. Dear Mike

    I will be travelling from Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 4 byTube tomorrow.

    I have a Visitor (No Photograph) Green Adult 7 days Travelcard for Zones 1 – 5 (with Code AB) and an Oyster card with a balance of pound 7.30 on it.

    I know that the travel card is valid till Hatton Cross only as Zone 5 ends here.

    Will I be able to use my Oyster card to get out of at the Heathrow Terminal 4 station. (I will not be touching the Oyster card at the Waterloo station as I will use my TravelCard to get in.

    Or should I get out at Hatton Cross using my Travel card and then get in again by touching the Oyster card for onward journey to Heathrow.

    • Hi Vineet,

      You’ll need to get out at Hatton Cross to touch your Oyster card.

  265. Hi Mike,

    I need help in choosing the cheapest travel until I first get paid in my new job. I need to cover 6th October until 30th October (Mon to Friday only and I get paid on the 31st so it’s not an issue after that) and I also have the Jobcentre Plus rail discount card which won’t expire during this period.

    I need to travel between Chatham and Liverpool Street in London, so can get services into Victoria, Cannon St and Charing Cross I believe.

    I’m thinking of the London zones 1-6 travelcard for a month on my oyster, and get daily return tickets to a station in Zone 6 every day until the 30th, possibly St Mary Cray. Preferably with the shortest journeys and less changes too. Do I need to get a train the stops at the specified station on the daily return ticket? or will the zones 1-6 travelcard cover that aspect if the train passes through the station but doesn’t stop there?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Rob,

      That’s fine. The travelcard is a season ticket and daily returns are not so the train doesn’t have to stop at St Mary Cray. If you buy a return to boundary zone 6 instead (it’s the same price) you are free to travel via Gravesend or St Mary Cray.

      Also, from next month you might want to consider a High Speed ticket to London Terminals. This you can use on the Javelin trains to Stratford International, then walk through Westfield to the Regional station and get either a Greater Anglia or Central line train to Liverpool Street. Some of the extra cost of the high speed will be offset by not needing a travelcard.

  266. Hi Mike,
    I have a monthly travelcard paper ticket from Wickford to London zones 1-6. Am I able to load the Zones 1-6 travelcard part of my ticket onto my registered oyster card? (This would save a great deal on hassle of paper tickets!)

    Will this work if I eventually got an annual season Wickford to London travelcard too?

    Thanks in advance!

  267. Hi mike,

    I have a zone 1-4 paper travel card, twice a week I have to travel from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield, essex. Am I ok to use this ticket between London and the zone 4 boundry (goodmays) , then purchase a single paper ticket for the goodmays to Shenfield part of the journey? Would the train need to call at goodmays for this to be within the rules?


    • Hi Will,

      Yes you can do that, but yes, the train should call at Goodmayes. However, if you buy a boundary zone 4 to Shenfield ticket you can use a non-stop train. Of course if the travelcard was on an Oyster card you could use that all the way and it would work out the correct fare.

  268. Hi,

    I am soon to be moving to Charlton and work in Chelmsford. Am struggling to find the best travel ticket option? I will need to get a bus to North Greenwich, jubilee line to Stratford and then out to chelmsford. Can I combine a Stratford to Chelmsford season ticket with zones 1-2?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Holli,

      Quick answer is no, but not for the reason you might think. Stratford is in zone 3 (at the moment). However, you don’t need zone 1 to get from Charlton to Stratford using your route, so buy a zone 2-3 travelcard instead.

  269. Hi Mike

    I work in Crystal Palace and live in Brighton. I generally buy a 7 day season ticket and a travel card if I venture into London after work which allows me to travel home via East Croydon. I’ve just got an Oyster card and wondered what would be the best ticket solution for the following journey? Crystal Palace to Canary Wharf – Canary Wharf to Hammersmith – Hammersmith to London Vic – London Vic to Brighton.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Andy,

      The easiest and hassle free option would be a travelcard letting your season take the strain at East Croydon. A cheaper option would be to use Oyster PAYG, but you’d need to get off at East Croydon to touch out (and use your season to get back in). You can time it so you get a not to Brighton fast train from Victoria, or take a Thameslink train after touching out, so it shouldn’t add too much. Assuming I’ve got your actual journeys right then Crystal Palace to Hammersmith is £3.20 (evening peak) and Hammersmith to East Croydon is £4.50 (off-peak), so £7.70 compared to £8.90 for the travelcard. You can actually do Crystal Palace to Hammersmith cheaper by travelling via Clapham Junction, West Brompton (touch the pink reader) and Earls Court. That’s £2.20 evening peak saving a further quid.

  270. Hi,

    I have a query if anyone can assist. My son travels from East Croydon to Weybridge four days a week via Clapham Jcn. He also needs bus journey to E. Croydon. He has an 18+ Student railcard and 18+ tfl card to get maximum discounts. We’re just not sure how to go about getting the best deal and if he will need to get off a train to tap in and out anywhere. Can anyone help.

    • Hi Nicola,

      The 18+ Student Oyster (tfl card) will allow him to purchase a discounted zone 2-6 travelcard which will cover the bus and trains to Surbiton. As it’s a travelcard there is no need to touch in or out at Surbiton. To advise on the best tickets for Surbiton to Weybridge I really need to know times of travel. The 16-25 Railcard (18+ student railcard) may not provide any benefit for that journey unless it is being made after 10am.

  271. Hi Mike

    Have a quick question. We will be moving to harold wood soon and I am a little confused in regards to the cost of journey from zone one. Will a day return cost £6 as that’s what it shows on the oyster payg chart but when checking on national rail if shows as 9.50 on oyster. Can you please shed some light on this. If we travel from Holborn to harold wood what would be the cost on payg oyster. Thank you

    • Hi Rabia,

      The single fare finder says £7.50 peak single and £5.10 off-peak single. Oyster only deals with singles. If you only travel on NR between Liverpool Street and Harold Wood then the fares are £5.90 and £3.60. I would guess that the times you were looking at meant that one way would be peak and the other off-peak because the sum of the two fares is £9.50.

  272. Hi,
    I want to go from kingston to upminster bridge on a saturday..what is the cheapest way.Thanks

    • Hi Dale,

      Kingston to Clapham Junction to Whitechapel to Upminster Bridge. This avoids zone 1 so is a zone 2-6 NR through journey.

  273. Hello,

    Question 1:

    What is the cheapest way to get from Wimbledon to Egham on a weekday basis? I often travel into Zone2 on my Oyster.

    I worked out that a weekly travelcard was a rip off as it was £70 and that did not include z2 (I go there 3 times/week).

    Currently I worked it out the following:

    WIM-EGH daily: 10.90
    WIM-EGH weekly: 70

    Weekly oyster Z2-4: 26
    Daily Z4 boundary-EGH: 8.60
    (Total for the week £69, I can swipe in/out of the gates with my oyster and can use my oyster in z2-4 as needed. However I have to buy the boundary extension at the ticket office which is time consuming)

    I think I bought a monthly once and it was really cost inefficient as I don’t travel to Egham 7 days/week.

    Q2: ALSO when my boundary extension states “Route: Any Permitted” does this mean I can travel WIM-EGH via Weybridge or is it Clapham Junction only?

    • Hi Kristy,

      I’m not sure where you’ve got your prices from but I’m not seeing the same figures. Full details can be found on brfares.com. You’ll notice that season and daily tickets are available either via Clapham Junction or Weybridge. The Clapham fares are more expensive so they are also valid via Weybridge. If the ticket is Any Permitted then it is also valid via either route. Travelcards from Egham to zones 3-6 are valid via Weybridge only. Seasons usually give you a discount on daily peak travel for 4 days and almost always for 5 days.

      I hope this helps.

  274. Hi,

    I am looking into travelling from Kings Cross to Cambridge. I have an annual zones 1-3 travelcard.

    Can I buy a return ticket Bowes Park to Cambridge and board a fast train at Kings Cross? Also, if the ticket says ‘not via London’, is this still ok given the first segment was using my travelcard? Many thanks.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Yes, that’s fine as long as the train goes via Bowes Park. You might find a boundary zone 3 to Cambridge return is more suitable as that will be valid via either route (and also from Liverpool Street).

  275. Hello – sorry if you have answered this question already, I am trying to get my head around oyster and ever member of staff I’ve asked at my station seems to give me a different answer. I have a paper annual gold card to take me from Brighton to St Pancras. However my office has just moved, and I now need to alight at Charing Cross. I’ve had a payg oyster for years – can I use it to cover the New London Bridge – Charing cross leg of my journey (and if so how), or am I better off buying a second season ticket? Thanks ever so much…

    • Hi Cate,

      If you no longer need to go to stations north of City Thameslink then I suggest exchanging your season ticket to a Brighton to London Terminals one. I’m pretty sure that the price is the same and will allow you to use any south London terminal. This may be especially useful after Christmas when rebuilding work at London Bridge will mean trains to Charing Cross will not call there for 18 months.

  276. Hi, I have an Epsom related question.

    I’m currently commuting to Epsom station from different stations with Zones 3 and 4 e.g Streatham Common, Streatham and Norwood Junction. Can I get a monthly season ticket from say Zone 3 to Epsom? I also looked at getting a Zone 3-6 travel card then paper tickets from Ewell East to Epsom but doesn’t work out much cheaper.

    • Hi Richard,

      The ticket you need is Epsom to zones 3-6. These type of season tickets are only available with the origin outside the zones, but you can use them either way round.

  277. wow you are so helpful, thank you!!

    I wonder what is the cheapest (and fastest) way to travel from Kenley (surrey) to Slough?

    thank you so much for all your help to me and everyone else

    • Hi Jo,

      Unfortunately cheapest and fastest in this case are mutually exclusive. Cheapest would be train to Victoria, tube to Hounslow West, then take the TfL bus to Slough. Fastest is train to Victoria, tube to Paddington, then fast train to Slough.

  278. thank you Mike,
    I had a feeling this was the case but I thought I’d double check with an expert like you.

  279. If I commute from Shenfield to Canary Wharf, leaving Shenfield prior to 6.30 am I am told I would save money on my commute, how is this?

    • Hi Mark,

      Because touching in prior to 0630 means the journey is charged at off-peak rates.

  280. Hello Mike,do you know any other option to travel from Arlesey to finsbury park,cheaper than £366,thanks a lot

  281. Hi Mike,

    Thanks in advance. I am travelling to Leyton station from elephant and castle. I have a 2-5 oyster railcard I noticed I was charged for the journey when touching out. I assume this is for travelling via zone 1.
    My question is if I bought a 2-3 paper travelcard would it be valid for that journey? Also would it i be able to use that on all London buses?

    • Hi Chloe,

      No, a zone 2-3 travelcard is not valid to cross zone 1. It is valid on all TfL buses.

  282. Hi Mike.

    Excellent site. Keep up the good work!

    My daughter commutes from Cambridge to London LS, 3 evenings a week, on AGA (£10.55 Super Off-peak day return with 16-25 Rail Card) then onto Covent Garden on LU with an Oyster card. Sometimes, if she’s in a hurry she may use GN to London KC (£15.65).

    This journey, over the period of a month, is costing upwards of £180.00, depending on which TO she uses.

    Is there any way she could save on this journey?


    • Hi David,

      The £10.55 ticket is absolutely superb value so you aren’t going to beat that. It actually costs more to travel to Tottenham Hale because you’re a captive market for that journey, whereas for Liverpool Street they want to entice you off the Cambridge Flyers. However, there may be some little savings. If she travels 12 times a month then £10.55 + £2.20 + £2.20 is £179.40 which I’m guessing is what you mean by upwards of £180/month. What time are her Oyster journeys? If her railcard is linked to her Oyster card then she can get a discount on off-peak fares and caps. The zone 1 single will cost £1.45 before 1600 and after 1900. If the journey in would mean touching in between 1600-1900 then she can reduce the £2.20 to £1.80 by changing at Tottenham Hale/Seven Sisters and taking the Victoria line to Finsbury Park then Piccadilly line from there (same platform interchange both ways). This is because TfL charge off-peak fares when evening peak journeys start outside zone 1 and end in zone 1. Break of journey is allowed on the £10.55 ticket so she can get off early even though the fare to the early stop is more. On the return journey there is no escaping the peak single fare between 1600-1900 so she’s better off staying in zone 1 and getting the train from Liverpool Street.

      So, assuming peak travel to Covent Garden and off-peak returning it would be £10.55 + £1.80 + £1.45 * 12 = £165.60/month.

      The only way to reduce the Kings Cross version is to get off at Finsbury Park (so can’t get the flyer) so that the Oyster fare is £1.45. The return to Kings Cross would be as for Liverpool Street so £2.20 1600-1900 and £1.45 after that.

      Hope this helps.

  283. Mike,

    Many thanks for that very detailed reply.
    She finally managed to link her railcard and Oyster at Kings X yesterday evening (the queue at the LU ticket counter was quite small for a change) so hopefully we should see a saving there.


  284. Hi Mike

    I am looking to travel from Baldock or Letchworth to Richmond five days a week for work and wondered how I find the cheapest and/or fastest way, the season ticket fares etc have completely confused me!

    Many thanks

    • Hi Victoria,

      Unfortunately cheap and fast don’t always go together. The fastest way will probably be to Finsbury Park (or Kings Cross) then Victoria line Underground to Vauxhall then SWT to Richmond from there. You’ll need a Baldock to zones 1-6 travelcard for that. To reduce the cost you can buy Baldock to zones 2-6 but you must then avoid zone 1. To do that change at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington for the Overground to Richmond.

  285. Hi Mike,
    Thank you so much for this site. I have to get to leatherhead from battersea/clapham junction. Can i do this via oyster zones ? I have to take the bus to clapham junction station. what is the cheapest way
    Thank you

    • Hi Nicky,

      You can’t use Oyster from Leatherhead, but you can buy a Leatherhead to Zones 2-6 season ticket which will also include travel on all TfL operated buses. Although you travel the other way, out-boundary travelcards have to be specified with the named station as the origin. You can travel whenever you want and as much as you want when you have the ticket.

  286. Pls kindly assist me I want to go to southeastern precisely Chatham, kindly help me out with how much I will load on my student Oyster card because it’s not between zone 1-6. And how to get ther

  287. Hi Mike

    Thank you very much for your reply, it’s so helpful. So if I buy a Baldock to Zones 1- 6 ticket which I believe is £5k approx that covers underground transport as well?

    Many thanks


  288. Hi Mike,
    I have a new job starting on Mon, in Elephant & castle/London, and I live in Weybridge.
    Could you please tell me what the cheapest way to do this commute would be?

    • Hi Edward,

      The cheapest season is one between the two stations with a route of Not via London. You change at Wimbledon onto a Thameslink service.

    • </