Railcard Discounts

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

Holders of certain National Rail discount railcards can have their entitlement registered on their Oyster card.  This then gives them 1/3 off the price of single off-peak rail fares and also the off-peak price cap.  Remember that the off-peak cap applies during the evening peak between 1600-1900.  Previously it only applied to rail journeys where at least one part involved a national rail service, but from January 2011 the discount has been extended to all rail journeys in the Oyster area, be they National Rail, Underground or DLR.  There are no discounts for bus or tram journeys.  The railcards which can be linked to an Oyster card are:

  • 16-25 Railcard
  • Disabled Railcard
  • Gold Card
  • HM Forces Railcard
  • Senior Railcard

Note also that while the railcard will only discount the purchase of zone 1-6 and 1-9 paper travelacrds, on Oyster you also get reductions on the zone 1-2 and 1-4 caps as well.

How to get the discount

You need to take your Oyster card and your National Rail dicount card to an Underground ticket office, Overground ticket office or some National Rail ticket offices.  You then ask the clerk to add your discount entitlement to your Oyster card.  It will be valid until the expiry of the railcard.  Once your Oyster has a discount attached to it you can no longer share it with other people as it is only valid with the associated discount card.  We have had reports that some ticket office staff don’t understand how to set the discount, but I’ve managed to learn what the procedure is at an Underground ticket office, so if you get problems you can pass this to the clerk.

Press F12 (returns to main menu)
Press F7 (Oyster Administration)
Press F1 (Edit On Card/Off Card personal details)
If the card is not registered, enter the station NLC in the Photocard field
Tab down to the first empty discount field*
Select “NR Railcard”
Enter expiration date

Please print a mini-statement:
F12 Main Menu
F7 Oyster Administration
F4 Interrogate Oyster
Touch Card
F1 Print

Customer, check top of mini-statement, should show “NR Railcard [expiry date]”

* This is especially important for Zip 16+ and Student 18+ Oyster cards where the first discount field will contain the travelcard or bus discount entitlement.

And that’s all there is to it. Logic says that if you buy an annual travelcard season the Gold card discount flag should automatically be set, but it won’t be. Just ask the clerk to ensure that it’s set.

282 thoughts on “Railcard Discounts”

  1. If I do a mix of journies after 9.30am and also in the new peak hours of 4-7pm with a Gold card registered on my Oyster; Will it give me a third off the OFF-PEAK price cap or a third off the PEAK price cap.

    I think its probably best to use the gold card to buy a paper Off-Peak one day travelcard (ODT).
    Even with a Goldcard they will not sell paper ODT mon-Frid at my N.R station. They will issue you with a discounted ODT at a tube station though.

    Does it effect single fares on the bus?

    Thanks Terry

  2. After seeing a news item on BBC London News about the avaiablility of adding a Gold Card railcard to an Oyster card I went to Clapham Common underground station to get my Gold Card Railcard loaded on to my Oyster card… and that’s were the fun began!

    To cut a long story short all three members of staff in the ticket office, one whom was a staff trainer (!), all told me that Gold Cards cannot be loaded on to Oyster card. I even presented to them all a printed copy of the “Terms & Conditions of Issue for Reduced Price Tickets issued in conjunction with an Annual Gold Card and Annual Gold Card Travelcard – Effective 03 May 2010” document which I’d printed from the NR website. I was asked by the ticket clerk where had I got these terms & conditions from. I replied “from the National Rail website”… and the reply I got back was “Oh well then it’s nothing to do with us [TfL], it only applies to National Rail” !!!

    After 15-20 minutes trying to convince Angelina, the ticket clerk at the window, to load my Gold Card railcard on to my Oyster card I gave up as I was getting know where!

  3. Hi Terry,

    I’ve made some small changes to the text to answer your queries. The railcard discount is not available during the morning peak which is when the peak cap applies. At all other times the off-peak cap applies and you do get discounts off that. There are no discounts on single fares on the bus.

    Your other comment concerns me. Off-peak day travelcards should be available in paper form from all stations. Only shops (Oyster Ticket Stops) have stopped selling them. Can you tell me which station it is? Also remember that the cheapest discounted paper off-peak day travelcard is the zones 1-6 version. On Oyster you can also get discounts off the cheaper zone 1-2 and zone 1-4 off-peak caps.

  4. Hi Paul,

    Sorry to hear about this trouble. Sadly it doesn’t surprise me that much. Try taking the instructions above along and see if that does the trick.

  5. Hi Mike,
    In the end I went to London Bridge station where the ticket clerk knew exactly what I needed and loaded my Gold Card railcard straight on to my Oyster card in less than 10 seconds! Just have to try it now and see if it works…

  6. Ah yes, London Bridge are good. They’ve sorted a few things out for me too. Pleased to hear it’s sorted.

  7. On the TFL website the references to money off ‘ single off peak fares’ has gone. Has it been scrapped already?

    • Hi Alex,

      I think some pages have been edited in error, possibly by reversing recent changes. What matters is that the discounts are still applied in the single fare finder, so I can confidently say that they haven’t been scrapped.

  8. It is worth noting that railcard holders making National Rail journeys during the evening peak may save money by buying a paper ticket instead. This is because there is no Railcard discount off peak fares. For example, a ticket from Erith to London in the evening peak costs £5.20 on Oyster, but a paper ticket with Railcard discount is only £3.65.

    I say “may” because if they will get a daily cap, then it’s better to use Oyster!

  9. Does anyone know whether a Partner’s Network Card which has ‘Gold Network Card’ written on it, afford any more discounts than a normal Network Card? Thanks.

    • Hi Angie,

      The Gold Card Partner’s Card is just a normal Network Card at a special reduced price. The price of the card is the only extra benefit above the standard Network Card benefits.

  10. Thanks Mike. It’s a shame it doesn’t attract the same benefits, especially considering the cost of my husband’s annual season ticket!

  11. Do you know whether a Network Railcard can still be used to purchase a discounted all-zones Travelcard? Until recently, this information was included in the TFL fares booklets, together with details of Gold Card benefits, but I cannot find that info in any TFL literature now.

    • Yes, you can buy a discounted all-zones travelcard with a Network Railcard on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.

  12. To Mike,

    I have a 16-25 Railcard added onto my Oyster Card. I recently made 3 journeys in Z1 at off peak times (although I did make one in the evening peak) but I was charged £5.70 instead of the reduced Off peak cap of £4.40.

    How can I get them to refund the money? How can I check whether my railcard is still on my Oyster Card/ get it re-added? I live 3 hours from London so I can’t go to a LU station – won’t be going to London again for months.

    Many thanks in advance,


    • Hi Will,

      Assuming that all three journeys were on the Underground then I think it unlikely that your railcard is correctly logged against that card. The all day zone 1 fare is £1.90, so £5.70 is the total for 3 journeys. If you had a railcard and 2 of them were outside the peak then they would have been charged at £1.25 each.

      Has the railcard recently been renewed? When you get a railcard added to an Oyster card it only lasts as long as the railcard itself. If you check online (if your card is associated with an online account) then it will tell you if you have a railcard added. Unfortunately you can only get a railcard added at a station selling Oyster products.

  13. Where do you check online whether you have a railcard loaded to your card?

    • I believe that it will appear on the summary page when logged in to Oyster online. Your card would need to be linked to your online account to be able to see that.

  14. Hello,
    I have an annual Gold Card taking me from Wokingham to Waterloo and it includes tube travel zones 1-6. Do you know if its possible to get this onto an Oyster Card. Basically I just want to avoid taking the paper card out its wallet and inserting into machine. The oyster card is so much less hassle. So this is not about cost, I just want to avoid fiddling with the card and trying to avoid losing/dropping it etc.
    Thanks, John

    • Unfortunately you can’t put an out-boundary travelcard on an Oyster unless it is one of the stations (like Watford Junction) included within the Oyster area. You can get the Gold Card discount registered, but as your season covers almost the whole Oyster area already there may not be much point.

  15. Mike a question for you, as you seem very helpsful answering everyone’s questions. Or anyone else, please I need some help!

    I live in Amersham (zone 9) and travel into London about twice a week. I buy my ticket a one day travelcard (offpeak) for £7.20, this would normally cost me £11.00 but I have a 16 – 25 railcard so it costs me £7.20 I travel around London but sometimes just go to lets say into Zone 1 and then to zone 3 and then back again. Would it be wroth getting one, I mean is it cheaper then a paper ticket.

    Also yesturday I went to parsons green (zone 2) I just wanted a single it was peak I had to be there at 9.00am and it cost me £7.00 with an oyster would this have been cheaper?

    Some help would be great thanks John

    • Hi John,

      For the journeys you are talking about Oyster will be no more expensive than the appropriate travelcard. You’ll need to get your railcard added to your Oyster card if it isn’t already, but they can do that at Amersham. A simple return journey from zone 9 to zone 1 and back is likely to be cheaper than an off-peak travelcard unless one of the journeys is in the afternoon peak. If it is then you’ll simply cap at the travelcard rate. Obviously the railcard will not affect morning peak journeys, but a straightforward return journey will again be less than the anytime cap/travelcard.

      The single fare finder on the TfL site is a great tool for working out how much journeys will cost.

  16. Hello,

    I am currently having problems with my oyster and rail cards. I went to Chesham station and had my railcard applied to my oyster card which was fine. I then made an off peak journey and the cap remained the same, no discount was applied. I then made two more journies a few days apart during the off peak hours and no cap was applied. I made sure to start all journies after 9:30am despite the off peak hours at Chesham beginning at 9am.

    After three journies where the discount had failed to apply I went back to the ticket office and they told me that the railcard had definitely been applied and printed me off a ***Personal Details*** section on paper which shows that there is a student discount applied.

    I have a 16-25 (Young Persons) Rail card.

    Can you perhaps shed some light on this for me please? Your help/opinion would be most welcomed.

    Thank you very much.


    • Hi Alex,

      Can you confirm what each journey was (start and finish) and how much was charged?

  17. Hello again,

    Very sorry for such a long time with out posting back to you. It turns out that the ticket office clerk had applied the wrong discount. He applied one which said “Student” rather than the one which said “NR Railcard”. The problem is now fixed fingers crossed.

    This information was only found out after emailing oyster online four times and then calling the oyster helpline twice….. what a fantastic service. Hahahaha.


    • Thanks for letting us know, Alex. I should have guessed when you said that the printout said “Student Discount” rather than NR Railcard. Glad it’s sorted out now though.

  18. I think I ought to have picked up on that myself but I have heard people refer to them at “Student” railcards so I didn’t question it. Although when three different members of Underground staff at Chesham didn’t notice it when I asked them what was wrong how are people such as me supposed to? Hahaha. Thank you.

  19. Just tried to get the ticket clerk at Gants Hill to add the railcard discount (I have a Annunal Travelcard) to my Oyster. He tried to tell me it didn’t exist, he then phoned the oyster helpline, who also said it didn’t exist.
    Guess I need to try a busier station who might have had other people ask for one, or one with better trained staff.

    • Hi Jacord,

      If you can, please try giving the staff at Gants Hill the instructions above. If that fails then yes, perhaps a busier station might have better luck. I would definitely complain if Gants Hill still refuse. Please let us know how you get on.

  20. Hi Mike,
    How soon after having the Gold card discount loaded onto my Oyster should this appear on Oyster Online? I only had the discount loaded this morning (I hope!) so might I have to wait until tomorrow for Oyster online to be updated?

    Thomas Ralph,
    Did you manage to find it online?


    • Hi Kim,

      After checking my Mum’s card after putting her senior railcard on it, I don’t think it appears anywhere online. This is actually quite disappointing. You should be given a longish printout by the person who added it and that clearly shows it has been done.

  21. Thanks Mike,
    I wasn’t given any sort of print-out or receipt and it all happened so quickly that I’m doubting it was done correctly! I might try checking my Oyster card on a Oyster ticket machine to see if the discount shows.

    • In the hands of an experienced operator who knows what they are doing it probably takes about 10-15 seconds to do. They should provide the printout as well though. If you go to a tube station then just ask them for a printout at that time. Say you need to check that the railcard is loaded if they ask why.

  22. Hello mike, I m going to work in Woking but I have never used train to travel regularly for work. I m bit worried about travelling cost so can u help me what is the best ticket to minimise my cost? Working hour9-5 m travelling Aldershot to Woking. M eligible for Hm force railcard if that help. I asked the counter woman in Aldershot station she was behaving so rude to me I feel she was making fun of me.

    • Hi Sasha,

      This is a bit outside my area of expertise, but I’ll try to help. The forces railcard does not give you any discount on season tickets. It also has a £12 minimum fare when used before 10am apart from in July and August. Therefore I think that a season ticket will be your cheapest option most of the time. You might find that individual Anytime returns with the railcard are cheaper than a season ticket in July and August.

      Hope that helps.

  23. Hi Mike,
    I did mean to update you earlier but didn’t get round to it. The next day I was close to Mile End so got them to add the Railcard discount. Which they did very quickly and without any questions. I also wasn’t given any kind of print out.

  24. Hi Mike, many thanks for this amazing tip! Got it activated second go at East Putney (the ticket clerk at Wimbledon sort of knew what I wanted but said I had to go to a tube station). The guy at East Putney was beyond helpful – he was amazing, did it within 15 seconds, gave me the print out without me asking and even gave me a refund for a wrongly incomplete journey (the result of changing from tram to National Rail at Wimbledon and touching in at the wrong reader… another story). To my delight, not only do I get my off-peak discount on National Rail PAYG, I also now find that I get a discount on tube fares! Very happy indeed!

    On a totally unrelated point, do you know if I can get a refund for a single cash fare I had to pay when I left my Oyster travelcard at home?

    Thanks for a great site!

    • Hi George,

      I’m not sure. With NR paper seasons of monthly or longer duration you can get a refund on two occasions in any one year. Take it to the station you purchased your travelcard at and see what they say.

  25. Hi Mike,

    This has been an incredibly helpful blog and I’ve picked up some good tips from it.

    Just wondering if you can help explain something else to me though. I have been making a lot of journeys using Oyster on National Rail (I have a 16-25 railcard loaded). One such is Balham to Kingswood which according to NR website should cost £2.20 (with railcard) yet on my Oyster it comes to £2.90. On my return journey I went to London Bridge which should cost £3.20 but came to something like £5.10. On the other hand, I do Paddington to Hayes and NR website says that should cost £4.10 but comes to £1.90 on my Oyster!

    Can you shed any light on this?!


    • Hi David,

      The NR website has not really cracked the interpretation of the Oyster fares. I always recommend using the TfL single fare finder instead. According to that site, Balham to Kingswood with Railcard is £2.90 in the peak (0630-0930 and 1600-1900 Mon-Fri) and £1.30 at other times. Remember that there is no discount on single fares in the afternoon peak, although the off-peak cap is still reduced and applies all day after 0930. Kingswood to London Bridge is £5.20 peak, £2.10 off-peak with Railcard, while Paddington to Hayes should be £4.10 peak and £1.80 off-peak with Railcard.

      Hope that helps.

  26. Today I tried to add my Senior Railcard to my Oystercard at two tube stations, even showing them the procedure at the top of this article with the F1 F7 etc.

    At Balham they tried valiantly but they said the system would not let them get to the page where the station NLC is entered. I’d like to try again but am not sure what to say.

    At London Bridge they told me that my Oystercard must first be registered before rail discounts can be added.

    Is that correct? I can’t see why Oystercards need to be registered because the railcard itself identifies the holder. I don’t want to register the Oystercard if I don’t have to.

    If not, could you suggest where Balham may have been going wrong in trying to carry out the procedure described above?

    • Hi Ian,

      I had a search through the Oyster help pages and nowhere does it say that the card has to be registered. The person I got the information from certainly believes that it can be done. However, when I asked London Bridge to do my Mum’s card they did ask if it was registered. Fortunately hers is so there was no problem. It is possible that the system has been changed to require registration which might explain why Balham couldn’t do it. I’ll see if I can make enquiries.

      I must admit that I always recommend registering the card anyway. It protects the balance if the card is lost or stolen. I appreciate that there is the big brother aspect of knowing where you are travelling, but they only keep the data for 8 weeks. Other than the police in exceptional circumstances, no-one else could get access to the information without knowing your security answer. The last 8 journeys are viewable on the card, but that is true of any card whether registered or not.

  27. I agree that nowhere does it say that the card must be registered in order for railcards to be added, but I could not find a way for their system to add my railcard today. I never keep a large balance.

    Thanks for responding and please do let me know if you can come up with a solution.

  28. I hold an annual gold card from Albany Park to London. I want to travel to Sittingbourne from Cannon Street on Friday evening – single. Am I entitled to a discount to the off-peak fare?

    • Yes, definitely. Just show your season ticket at the booking office and ask for a single to Sittingbourne with Gold Card discount. If your season is actually a travelcard loaded onto your Oyster then you will need to show the Gold Record Card which would have been issued when you bought the travelcard. Assuming it would be a zone 1-5 travelcard then you only need to ask for a boundary zone 5 to Sittingbourne single.

  29. Hi Mike,
    I have a 18+ student Oyster card with 30% discount of price when I top up monthly ticket. In case, If I buy a 16-25 railcard and link it to my Oyster card, can I have 1/3 off the monthly price of my Oyster card? It’s mean I can have about 50% off the undiscounted price.
    Can you let me be clear?

    • Hi Bui,

      Sorry for the delay replying. The NR railcard discount only applies to off-peak single fares and the off-peak daily cap. It does not affect season tickets or peak fares.

  30. Hi Mike,

    What is the cost of Network card on Oyster? I believe I was charged 28 for the paper network card whereas same costs 26 on Oyster card? Can you pls confirm the same and how can I get the refund?

    Also, Is Group discount not valid on Zone 1-6 travel card? Pls confirm.



    • Hi Rahul,

      I think there’s a little confusion here. The Network Card cannot be linked to an Oyster Card because there is a minimum fare restriction on Mondays to Fridays which renders the card useless in London. There is a reference to the Network Card on the TfL site, but unfortunately they haven’t updated the price since it increased in May this year. You don’t actually buy a railcard on Oyster, you just record the fact that you have one so that discounts can be applied to pay-as-you-go journeys. You still have to buy the railcard itself from NR.

      See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx for details of group travelcards.

      Hope that helps.

  31. Hi Mike
    What a great web site! So helpful!
    I have a Senior Railcard just registered on my Oyster Card. Worked straight away – no problem.
    I also have a NR annual season ticket to London Liverpool Street from outside the Oyster zonal area (NOT a travelcard). It is an annual GOLD CARD. Angel Station siad it could not be registered on my Oyster Card but did do my Senior Railcard.
    My question is should I be able to register my annual (NON travelcard) GOLD CARD or not? Also is there actually any advantage to this as I have the Senior Railcard?


    My wife has an Oystercard which I registered on line as an additional card on my account for top-up purposes. To get her Senior Railcard registered on her Oystercard will she have to register the Oystercard on line on her own account first.

    Thank you

    • Hi Mike,

      The annual gold card is allowed to be added to an Oyster card, but there is no benefit if you already have a senior railcard on it. I would be inclined to send an email to TfL alerting them to the fact that Angel don’t know the rules.

      For your wife, I don’t know. I have done the same, but I’ve not got any railcard that could be added. I think that the only thing that they will ask is what the security answer is. You could go along with her in case they query that the name is different. Please report back how you get on.

  32. Mike
    Thanks for the feed back – excellent ‘service’!!
    I will let you know how I get on.

  33. Hi Mike

    I have a 16-25 railcard and want to purchase a paper ticket (i.e. non oyster) off peak day travelcard for zones 1-2 at a tube station. Would I get a discount on this jouney and if so how much?

    • Hi Catriona,

      I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think tube station ticket offices can issue discounted travelcards. Even if they can, the cheapest discounted paper travelcard is the zones 1-6 at £5.30. The only way to get the discounted zone 1-2 rate is to use an Oyster card with the discount entitlement registered.

      Hope that helps.

  34. Hi Mike

    Great effort on the blog. I have had my YP railcard on my oyster for some time. In the last month I have noticed some irregularities in my fares (all times are ‘entry’ times, as per TFL):

    I have travelled zones 2-1 for 1.25 at 5.10pm, zones 1-1 at 5.30pm for 1.90. Also zones 1-1 at 4.20pm for 1.25 and zones 1-1 at 4.32pm for 1.90.

    Usually I would trust the computer system absolutely, but I am sure there is some glitch here. Either the fares are discounted in the afternoon peak (still 4-7pm?) or they aren’t! But am slightly afraid that by telling TFL they’ll correct it and it’ll be back to full fare in the afternoon peak. Has anyone noticed a similar issue?


    • Hi Will,

      Three of those I agree with. When using TfL rail services to come into zone 1 from outside zone 1 in the afternoon peak, off peak fares apply. The one I’m not sure about is the 1-1 at 4.20pm for £1.25. Can you expand on the specifics of that journey, and whether there were any other journeys made during the day. I’m wondering whether you might actually have capped that day, or whether the start station was dual zoned.

  35. Mike

    You’re right, 4.20pm was my exit time. All makes sense after reading your (excellent) page on off-peak times. Still slightly bemused by the logic for a zones 2-1 being cheaper than zone 1 only (between 4-7) but never mind!


    • Hi Will,

      Thanks for clearing that up. Zone 2-1 is only cheaper in the evening peak because you have a railcard which discounts off-peak fares. Without the discount it’s the same price (£1.90).

  36. Hi Mike

    Can you clear something up for me. What is this evening peak period people keep mentioning but isn’t mentioned any where on the tfl site? It says off peak during the week is 0930 – 0429


    • Hi Carl,

      I’m not sure where you’re looking, but it is mentioned in several places. As far as Oyster is concerned it is between 1600 and 1900 on Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays. Although peak single fares are charged, the off-peak cap applies unless you trigger the peak cap with travel before 0930. See the peak or off-peak page on this site for more details.

  37. Mike

    Got you, I just revisited and yes I saw the peak times under the single fares. Thanks for pointing it out.


  38. Hi,

    Does anybody know if you can use your Oyster card loaded with the national railcard to purchase a one week travelcard for Zones 1-4 (or whatever zone, it doesn’t matter)? If you can, does this mean you can get a third of the price?


    • Sadly not. Railcard discounts apply to PAYG only, off-peak single fares and the off-peak price caps.

  39. heyyyy just got a question.. A £12 minimum fare applies for journeys made at or before 10am Monday to Friday… i dont get that ..for example if i travel before 10am from mitcham to hendon it will normally cost me 2.80 on my adult oyster card… so when will i be charged 12 pounds..?

    thanks and have a great day

    • Hi Naina,

      You won’t be charged that on Oyster. The 16-25 railcard has that restriction for paper tickets, but in reality, if the undiscounted fare is less than £12 then you would be sold the undiscounted fare. With Oyster there are no discounts before 0930 so you would be charged the full adult fare at that time. The Oyster system treats all National Railcards the same so in this case you benefit from the discount a little earlier than you would on paper tickets.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  40. hey Mike sry but another stupid question do I have to link the rail card wiv my oyster card.? ..is it not possible to get discount on a paper ticket…for example if i just want a single ticket ..will i not get discount on the paper ticket or is it cheaper with an oyster card..??

    • Yes, you can get discounts on paper tickets without linking the railcard to your Oyster. Oyster will usually be far cheaper for single tickets when linked to a railcard. The only time when it isn’t is when touching in between 1600 and 1900 Monday to Friday. If you only travel at that time then discounted paper tickets may be cheaper.

  41. Confused over the 1600-1900 peak with a senior railcard registered on my PAYG. If just using the tube in zones 1-2 do I need to use a paper ticket rather than oyster, if I use oyster will it affect my daily price cap

    • Hi Ken,

      Firstly, I don’t think you can get discounts on Underground paper tickets so you don’t want to go down that route. In the afternoon peak you will pay full fare peak prices, but the discounted off-peak cap applies. For zones 1-2 that is £4.30. If you make two tube journeys in that time they would cost £2.50 each, but the second one will be capped at £1.80 and any further journeys will not charge, as long as you touch in and out correctly, of course.

      Hope that helps.

  42. Hi Mike, remarkably informative site, thanks for your efforts. I have a Gold Card annual season from Epsom to London terminals. Sometimes I want to go ‘off piste’: e.g. to Shoreditch High Street. My season is valid to New Cross Gate. If I get off at NXG and touch in, it seems an off peak journey would cost just £1.25 with Gold Card discount: very reasonable. Obviously, I don’t want to do that. But if I pre-book at Epsom a paper single ticket from NXG to Shoreditch HS, it’s £2.65 with Gold Card discount. So it’s either hop off at NXG and waste 10mins, or pay £1.50 more. Yet if I had an Oyster season ticket, I would always be charged just the £1.25? If so, that seems a bit harsh.

    • Hi Hugh,

      It’s not even that simple, unfortunately. You cannot put point-to-point season tickets on Oyster, only travelcards. So if you had a season including zone 1 then you wouldn’t pay anything to get from New Cross Gate to Shoreditch High Street. However, with your Gold Card discount on your Oyster you can make zone 1 and 2 tube journeys off-peak for £1.25 as well. So you could take the fast train to London Bridge then the Jubilee line to Canada Water and the Overground from there. Just be wary of the evening peak where the full fare is charged on single journeys.

  43. Mike, at the moment, I have a paper annual season only to London terminals, which is as much as I need. I know I can get to SHS via London Bridge and Canada Water, but that means two additional changes, vice one travelling via West Croydon (cross platform too). The problem is the excess fare: the journey from West Croydon is on my season ticket, but once the train leaves the main line at NXG I would be liable to a penalty fare. If I book an excess in advance at Epsom, it’s £2.65, but would be £1.25 if I were able to use my Oyster – that seems to mean getting out at NXG and finding a terminal to touch in to. That’s what seems unfair: book your excess fare in advance, and you’re financially penalised.

    • Hugh, I understand completely where you are coming from. The fault is the abolition of off-peak paper tickets within the Oyster area to encourage people to use Oyster. There is another way of looking at it though: you are paying more for the convenience of not having to change at New Cross Gate.

  44. Hi Mike. I wonder if you can help. I’m confused as to what my daughter should be paying for her journeys. She travels to school from Grays to Upminster and pays £1.15 on the way there (gets the 7.55) and £1.00 on the ways home (gets the 3.45 which gets in at 3.57). She has an oyster card and a 16-25 railcard(which Upminster station assures me has been added to her oyster card). Am i correct in thinking she should be getting a third off her homeward bound journey because of having the railcard?(ie she should be paying 70p on the way home)

    • Hi Diana,

      The fares that your daughter is paying are the TfL 16-17 discounted fares at all times. These are half the normal adult fares of £2.30 peak, £2.00 off-peak. I don’t think that the railcard has any effect on those fares. If you were to use National Rail services where they don’t use the TfL fare scale (ie south of the river mainly) then there would be no discount in the peak, but the third off would apply off-peak.

  45. Hi Mike,

    I have a network railcard which I’m planning to tie up with my oyster card. Can the same netwrok Railcard be tied to a second persons oyster card (say my wife’s oyster)? Thanks for all your valuable advice in this fourm.

    • Hi Ibs,

      Unfortunately the Network Railcard cannot be attached to any Oyster Card. This is mainly due to the minimum fare which applies on Monday to Friday and renders the card useless within the Oyster area.

  46. Thanks Mike, but i have seen here (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx) that we can get Discounted Off-Peak Day Travelcards (also for Network Railcard and Family and Friends Railcard holders). My usage of Oyster card will only be on the weekends & Public holidays. Can you please advice.

    • Yes, you can get discounted paper travelcards at weekends. You cannot link either the Network Railcard or the Family and Friends Railcard to an Oyster card.

  47. It’s bad enough not being able to link a Network Railcard with Oyster PAYG to get the discounted Day Travelcard rate cap at weekends & public holidays but even worse if you are not within walking distance of a station as you cannot buy paper Travelcards anywhere else. It’s crazy having to pay additionally for a bus journey that should be covered by the Travelcard, and reduces the saving.

    • Hi Christine,

      I sympathise with your situation. The sad fact is that the Network Railcard is primarily designed for rail travel, so niceties like being able to use it on buses with a discounted travelcard are a bit of a bonus. There is a way around the problem if you know you will need the ticket in advance. You can order tickets online with any train operating company and a few other third party retailers. Some of them will post tickets by first class post free of charge, including southeasternrailway.co.uk. Alternatively if you are going to a station a day or more before you want to use the travelcard then you can order online and pick them up from a machine. Or you could buy from the ticket office and some ticket machines will sell tickets for the next day.

  48. Hi Mike – fabulously useful and informative site – thank you.

    Is it possible to buy tickets from zone boundaries (e.g. Boundary Zone 5) online in advance anywhere?

    I have a Zone 1-5 annual travelcard on Oyster with a paper Gold Card. I’ve already learned that travelling from London to Norfolk is cheaper if I go from KGX and break the journey at Cambs. than if I go on the direct service from Liverpool Street. I also know that I need to buy a ticket from Boundary Zone 5 to Cambridge to get the Gold Card discount on that part of the journey, but it seems I can only do that at KGX on the day, which means I miss out on advance fares. Is that right?



    • Hi Charlie,

      You cannot buy Advance tickets (as opposed to tickets in advance) for boundary zone X flows. You may therefore find that an Advance ticket for the whole journey is cheaper than the walkup fare from the boundary. You can use railcards on Advance tickets as well, which is one reason why splitting at Cambridge is beneficial when you have a Network Gold Card.

      The reason why you can’t buy boundary zone tickets online is because the booking office has to have sight of the travelcard which validates the travel to the boundary.

      Hope that helps.

  49. Hi Mike
    If I make two underground journeys in zones 1&2 and two bus journeys will the daily price cap apply with the senior card discount?

    • As long as the journeys are all after 0930 M-F (ie when the off-peak cap applies) then yes, the reduced off-peak price cap will apply.

  50. thank you mike and all the people who have contributed to this site,nigh on answered any doubts i had about my senior railcard(i only recieved it yesterday 09/11/11)and oyster cardtravel in london.i will definately load them together to get the full discount benefits.however,being a realist i know that somewhere along the way there will be horror stories with unjustifiable monies being taken willy-nilly;but here goes,i’m about to take the plunge knowing that you guys are out there,who’ve done it and survived to tell the tale if only to pose another riddle for the oracle that goes by the name of mike.many thanks and keep on trucking.

  51. Tried to get a Gold Card added at Highbury and Islington today. It they didn’t have a clue. Hopefully tomorrow mornings shift will have a better idea!

    • Let’s hope so. If not, try at an Underground station in zone 1, preferably attached to a national rail terminal. I’ve had experience of London Bridge and heard Kings Cross St Pancras is good too.

  52. to continue where i left off;10.30am,decided to walk the 20 mins to clapham junction,wish i’d walked to tooting bec tube instead;the ticket clerk without a blink said”only the underground station can do it” to tell you the truth i use clapham junction a lot and they’ve got be the worst attitude you’ll ever get.so i took my well intentioned quest on the 219 bus to tooting bec(knew i should have walked straight there;will i ever learn?)ticket clerk at tooting bec had a bemused look on her face when i requested if she could load my senior rail card on to my oyster..bless her,took her a few minutes(tutting queue forming behind me..eeek)but it was done,believe you me she was as pleased as me that it’s been sorted,could have been her first too(got the print out too).now for the ultimate test,have already spent £2.60 for 2 bus journeys and £9.60 left on my oyster.dreading it really,will it cap as it should??off to angel around 5pm via clapham junction, willesden green and paddington;then return from angel to tooting bec on northern line,get 219 bus home.will let you know tomorrow.has been 6 hours card is on tfl system.keep on trucking good people

  53. Hi Mike,
    Very helpful website – thanks! I occasionally travel from Coulsdon into central London off-peak during the week and at weekends and have recently bought an Oyster Card.

    My husband has an annual gold card and therefore I think we are can get a Network railcard for me for £1. From above I see that the Network railcard is useless in the Oyster area, but I don’t really understand why – surely I would still get the Network railcard discount if buying a paper travel card at weekends?

    I have tried to work this out from the Oyster and National Rail websites, but it’s so confusing!

    Thanks, Hilary

    • Hi Hilary,

      You can indeed buy paper travelcards at a discount with a Network Card at weekends and bank holidays. You can’t link an Oyster card and a Network card because the system can’t cope with only allowing discounts at weekends. So the Network card isn’t quite useless at weekends, but it is in the week within the Oyster area because of the minimum fare.

  54. Good evening, is there any way I can tell if I have a railcard loaded onto my oyster card? I have a 16-25 railcard and this was added to my oyster card (I forget when unfortunately but I think it was less than a year ago) yet I’ve been charged £1.90 for a Zone 1 trip on Saturday 5th November 2011 instead of £1.25 the single fare finder quotes me.

    • Hi Lee,

      If you were charged £1.90 on a Saturday then I would say that you haven’t got a railcard linked. Have you recently renewed it? If yes, you’ll need to have the new ticket linked. Otherwise, take it to an Underground station and ask them to check.

  55. I renewed it in July but I seldom visit London so the validity may have lapsed. I’ll check next time, cheers for the reply.

    • I’ll bet it has lapsed then. Just take it to an underground station next time you’re in London and get the new one added.

  56. I have just bought a senior rail card. I make infrequent trips from Aldershot to London Waterloo for days out a mix of weekdays and weekends, in the past buying underground tickets as necessary. Will it pay me to get an oyster card? You notice I said a “senior rail card” and am I feeling a senior now as I find trying to work out the various fairs and best use of an oyster card completely baffling! All help appreciated.

    PS. I find you your website very useful and full of info, good work.

    • Hi Jeffers,

      Yes, an Oyster card will definitely help. Firstly, Oyster fares are much cheaper than cash fares on the Underground. Secondly, if you get your senior railcard linked to your Oyster you will save even more on off-peak fares. Just take your railcard and Oyster to the ticket office at Waterloo Underground station and the will sort it out for you.

  57. hi,

    Could you help? I have a diaabled persons rail card and a student oyster card. Can I link the two?

  58. Hiya,

    This is less of a can you do it question, as I thought I had successfully had my 16-25 linked to my card, but a pair of journeys I did the other day have me confused. The TFL history is as follows:
    22:49 – 23:17 London Bridge [National Rail] to New Beckenham [National Rail] £1.60 £17.80
    22:34 – 22:48 Kings Cross [London Underground / National Rail] to London Bridge [London Underground] £1.90 £19.40
    15:12 – 15:29 London Bridge [London Underground] to Kings Cross [London Underground / National Rail] £1.20 £21.30
    14:42 – 15:11 New Beckenham [National Rail] to London Bridge [National Rail] £2.30 £22.50

    From single finder, a single from NBC to KGX should be £3.50, NBC to LBG £2.30 and LBG to KGX £1.90

    I think that means that I have been charged the £3.50 for the whole journey in each direction and the system just shows it in a bit of a confusing way. But I also think it shows that my railcard hasn’t actually been applied.

    Any Ideas?


    • Hi Matt,

      Yes, you are correct. In each case the second part of the journey charges you what is needed to raise the first part up to the charge for the whole journey. And unfortunately it looks like the railcard hasn’t been correctly added. I would take it to London Bridge Underground next time you are there as they have always seemed to know what they are doing for me.

      Also, in the future if the Thameslink services are running through Central London then it is cheaper to go to St Pancras International rather than Kings Cross Underground. In fact, for that journey you wouldn’t pay any more above the fare for New Beckenham to London Bridge.

  59. Should the senior railcard, that the man at the station said he had added for me, appear on my online account? I can’t find it. I’m wondering if was added correctly. Thanks!

    • Unfortunately it doesn’t appear anywhere online. The only way you can check is if your off-peak journeys start being charged at the discounted rate. If the ticket office gave you a printout when they added it, that should show the discount applied.

  60. Hi mike

    Why are train fares so expensive from Harpenden? I have recently moved there today I went to buy a travel card as I need to travel in and out of London this morning, I am then returning later this eve only to be told I can’t do this and will have to buy another ticket. I’m sorry but that is is the most rediculous thing I have heard of a travel card is a travel card!!! It’s now costing an absolute fortune. Why can’t stations like harpenden and st albans have oyster like Watford junction. It’s not exactly like its out in the sticks, the amount of people who use this line to travel to London and back I’m sure will agree.

    • Hi Natalie,

      Unfortunately Harpenden is outside the London travelcard zones, so what you are offered is a return to the boundary of zone 6 plus an all zones travelcard. FCC are allowed to put restrictions on the off-peak version for the return from the boundary to Harpenden. Thus you cannot return on trains leaving St Pancras between 1630 and 1901 on the £17.50 off-peak travelcard. There are two ways to get round this. One is to buy the Anytime travelcard at £29.00 which allows travel at any time, even in the morning peak. The other way is to buy an anytime single from the boundary of zone 6 to Harpenden at £6.50 (total £24.00 with the off-peak travelcard). Because both tickets are zonal you can use the combination on trains that don’t stop at the last station in zone 6 (Elstree & Borehamwood).

      Another place where there are quite a few fares experts is the Rail UK forum in their fares, tickets & routeing sub forum. They might have some other ideas. Beyond that, it seems likely that Oyster will be extended sometime next year on some lines to the north of London. I’m not quite sure how the fares will work though.

  61. Hello Mike,
    Could I ask you a question?
    I registered my 16-25 Railcard onto my 18+Oster and now they say there is only Railcard on my oyster, no more student discount..Do you know what causes this problem? And also, do you know how to solve it?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Ana,

      There does seem to be a problem loading two discounts onto one card. Whether this is because whoever adds the railcard discount puts it in the wrong slot, or the system wipes one out when you add another, I don’t know. If you take the card to an Underground station and ask them to produce a full printout of the card details you should see where the discounts are logged.

      I don’t know whether a station can add back the student discount though. You might have to get a fresh card for that. You’ll need to discuss the issue with the helpdesk, who hopefully will waive the fee for a replacement card.

      Please let us know how you get on.

  62. Hello again Mike.
    A question about adding my senior rail card to my oyster card.
    I have just received my oyster PAYG with credit added and need to add my senior rail card. As you suggested earlier on this needs to be done at the appropriate staion and as I am not a regular visitor to London would it be possible to give my rail and oyster card to my nephew to add for me as he commutes regularly to Waterloo, or do you have to apply in person? Just thinking this would save me a bit of time and hassle when I make my first journey with the oyster.

    • As long as your Oyster card is registered and your nephew knows the security answer then there shouldn’t be a problem. I did my Mum’s card for exactly the same reasons at London Bridge Underground ststaion.

  63. Hi Mike, love the blog!

    I will be in london in january. 2 adults + 1 child. Sat – Tues morning. I am a holder of a friends & family railcard. At Euston will I be able to get discounts off 1 day travelcards for all 3 of us? Or is it restricted to 1 child per adult? Im staying in Edmonton so I assume I can use the ticket office there (NXEA) to buy travelcards too? Also on the tuesday morning I assume to take a 7am train from Edmonton to Kings cross the cheapest option would be a single ticket using the F&F railcard?

    thanks in advance!

    • Hi Brian,

      Yes, you can get paper travelcards with a Family & Friend’s Railcard. Each Railcard can get discounts for up to four adults and four children as long as there is at least one child and one of the two cardholders. On a normal working day you cannot use the railcard at all in the morning peak. Generally that is after 9.30am in London but it varies by route from elsewhere in the South East.

  64. Hi Mike,
    Amazing website with lots of information. I also have something to ask.

    I am travelling from Mitcham Eastfileds to Oxford Circus and planning to buy Annual Season Pass(Gold Card). I just want to know few things
    1. Do i need to buy it from National Rail Station or Tube Station and what is the difference between both of them.
    2. Can my wife gets any advantage on daily travel to her office. She use to travel from Mitcham Eastfields to Balham.
    3. I am sure there are so much benefits of having gold card. Can you please highlight few of them as i have seen on so many websites everyone has different opinion.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Kuldeep,

      If it’s a travelcard season then you can buy at either. The NR station will issue it on paper whereas the tube station will issue it on Oyster. When you have a gold card your wife can purchase a Network Card for £1. This gives 1/3 off off-peak fares but there is a minimum fare on Monday to Friday so it probably won’t be much use for work. You get 1/3 off off-peak fares too, but without the minimum fare, and your wife can travel with you under your conditions. For the definitive list of benefits I suggest searching on the National Rail Enquiries website.

  65. Hi Mike,

    Excellent website, much more informative than TfL! I bought a zone 1-2 oyster annual travelcard and they posted me a gold card. However have just noticed when I go outside zones off peak I’m not getting 1/3 off. Is this not loaded automatically? What’s the chance of them refunding the “over charging”?


    • Hi Laurence,

      Unfortunately the discount is not applied automatically. You’ll need to take it to a tube station to have that done. I wouldn’t hold out much hope of them refunding the overcharging, but if you call the helpdesk there is a slight chance that they might consider anything in the last 8 weeks. They can tell when you added the travelcard and your history over the last 8 weeks. It just depends whether they are allowed to calculate how much you might have overpaid in that time.

  66. Just wondering if you could add a disclaimer that London Overground ticket offices south of New Cross Gate are unable to add railcard information to Oyster as they use Shere SMART instead of FasTIS.

    This is a legacy from inheriting those stations from Southern and LOROL have no plans to upgrade the equipment.

    • Thanks Martin,

      I’m trying to compile a list of exceptions to the general rules about what stations can do what at the moment. I’m waiting on a delayed response to a FOI request at present.

  67. My partner renewed their Annual travelcard (plus Goldcard) today. When he requested that the Railcard discount be set, the ticket office staff requested that he provide full address and password. My partner has had an annual travelcard for many years on this oystercard, so the card is clearly registered, but has never had the railcard discount before.

    I renewed my annual travelcard last week and wasn’t asked to provide address and password – I’m not even sure what my password is.

    Does anyone know why he’s been asked for this information, when I wasn’t, or whether the ticket office staff was doing something wrong? It seems wrong that he can buy a ticket at any national rail station now and be given the appropriate discount, but to get the discount added to the oystercard he needs to provide further information (which I did not have to provide for my ticket).

    We will try another station tomorrow – interestingly, having read the procedures at the top of this page there’s a note that says that if the card is not registered, to enter the station NLC code in the Photocard field – for my partner, that field still contained the old photocard number.

    • I’m not sure Bruno. I think if the card is registered then you might well have to provide the password. I’ve never been asked for the address though when I’ve added my Mum’s senior card for her. There does seem to be a lot of confusion amongst ticket office staff over National Rail discount cards.

  68. I have a couple of questions-

    I have just got an annual Zone 2-4 Gold Card season ticket from my local station, but had to get a paper one as it is National Rail. Can this be loaded onto my Oyster retrospectively at a tube station? If not, what do I do if I want to go beyond my zones? Do I have pay the complete fare or break my journey to using my Pay as You Go Oyster?
    Also, I did not get a Partner Network card when I got my travelcard- if I get this say in 6 months, will it still be valid for a year beyond the validity of my Gold Card?

    • Hi Rachel,

      I’m not sure whether a paper travelcard can be converted to an Oyster one. Your best bet is to ask the TOC who runs the station you bought it at. If they have any other stations with Oyster facilities then they may be able to.

      If you want to mix a paper season with PAYG then unfortunately you will need to get off to touch in/out. If you are going out of London then a paper ticket from boundary zone 4 might be better value, but they can only be bought at a station, or possibly over the phone. For zone 1 you’ll just have to pay from the last zone 2 station unless it’s Vauxhall or Elephant & Castle or another dual zoned 1+2 station. Do take your gold card to a tube station to get it logged on your Oyster so you will at least get the 1/3 off off-peak fares.

      Finally, yes, the partner card is valid for one year from purchase regardless of when the season is bought. You can only get one partner card per gold card.

  69. Hi Bruno, My cynical side says that they asked for the password and address as they had no idea how to add the discount and didn’t want to admit it. Hoping you would not remember the password or want to give your address out at a busy station.

    It took me three goes each at different stations before I found someone who would
    a, admit that a gold card discount was possible
    b, Knew how to do it.
    My advice is go to a major tube or NR station as the staff at big stations seem to have more idea than small ones.

  70. Hi Mike

    thanks for this blog, excellent information.

    I have recently added my Network Railcard to my oyster card and I get discounts on my off peak PAYG fares and a discount on the off peak price cap. I notice on the TFL website that the Network Card should only allow the purchase of off peak travelcards at weekends and bank holidays at a discount. Is the website wrong or have I been incorrectly set up at the ticket office? (not that I am complaining if I have been!)

    • You’ve been very lucky. The Network Card cannot be added to an Oyster card. The minimum fare on Mondays to Fridays means it is useless within the Oyster area.

  71. Alright, regarding this minimum-fare business, am I right in understanding that it doesn’t apply to any oyster card travel before 10am, so the railcarrd is not used and I’m charged the normal zone 2-3 charge of £1.40 when I travel to work.

    However, when I leave work, if I take the tube after 7pm (off-peak travel), I get the 1/3 off discount?

    And this discount applies to any weekend or other off-peak travel granted it is after 10am, and any other rail travel after 10am?

    Might have to pick up the 3 year 16-25 card.

    (Leytonstone-Bethnal Green travel)

    • With the 16-25 card the restrictions are slightly different when used with an Oyster. Rather than 10am, the card gives you the discount whenever off-peak fares are charged. It also discounts the off-peak cap which applies throughout the afternoon peak, even though full price singles are charged. The discount also applies to all rail journeys, be they NR, tube or DLR.

  72. Hi Mike,

    Firstly, like so many of your correspondents, can I congratulate and thank you for such an informative site. Your no-nonsense coverage of what is a minefield for so many of us is a great public service.

    May I ask a question of my own? It’s so straightforward that I must be missing something fundamental but I’ll risk the ridicule(!) and ask it anyway!

    I have just had a Gold Card discount added to my PAYG Oyster. Had no idea this was possible without your advice and pleased to report no problems at Liverpool St underground ticket office.

    Today I travelled in the evening peak from Sherpherds Bush to Liverpool Street. I expected this to be at the full Oyster fare of £2.70 but the gate showed I was charged £1.30

    I checked the TFL Single Fare Finder this evening and was surprised to see that this journey has no evening peak restriction. However, the reverse journey of Liv St to Shep Bush is full Oyster fare 1600-1900.

    Why is this? Is the zone of the originating station the key factor?

    Would be grateful if you could explain the anomaly (and apologies if you already have).

    • Hi Anthony,

      Any TfL rail journey from outside zone 1 ending in zone 1 is off-peak in the afternoon peak. I think it’s on the peak or off-peak page.

  73. The cheapest Gold card costs £148 (Annual season rail ticket for travel for Ryde Explanade to Ryde St Johns on the Isle of Wight).

    This means that £148 buys you 1/3 all off-peak travel on trains, tube and DRL in the Network SE every day of the week. Is this correct?

    So people who regularly travel off-peak should consider the Ryde Gold card rather than buying the season ticket for their journey (unless less they are 16-25, seniors, HM forces, or disabled when there are other cheaper discount cards).

    • Hi Penny,

      Otherwise known as the “Ticket to Ryde”. Yes, as an alternative to the Network Card, if you make lots of off-peak journeys below the weekday minimum fare this can be worthwhile. To get the discount on tube and DLR only journeys you will need to get the discount added to your Oyster card.

      Remember there is no discount in the peak, so most commuters won’t benefit from this idea, but if you can commute off-peak then it’s good.

  74. Hi Mike,

    An excellent site, very useful and well designed.

    I have a question, which I’m hoping you will able to help me with.

    I’ve just bought an Annual Z1-3 Travelcard on my Oyster, which includes a network Gold Record Card.

    I regularly travel from Z1 to network railway stations outside of Zone 6. My Gold Card allows me to buy a discounted paper ticket from Boundry Zone 3 to or from my destination station.

    My question is how do I get through the Oyster barriers in Z1? If I tap in (but am unable to tap out), won’t I get charged for an incomplete journey?. My Gold Card states “NOT VALID FOR TRAVEL” and has no magnetic stripe, so can’t be used as a travelcard in the ticket machine.

    Is it a case of having to explain the situation to a member of staff everytime I encounter an Oyster barrier?

    I’d be grateful for your advice on this scenario.

    Many thanks

    • Hi pinktim,

      Within the zones covered by your travelcard there is no need to worry about incomplete journeys. Just touch in or out with your Oyster card at the zone 1 end of the journey and use the boundary zone 3 ticket at the other end.

      Also, did you get the railcard discount attached to your Oyster card? That gives you 1/3 off all off-peak rail journeys (inc tube and dlr) and the off-peak cap. If you touch in in zone 1 and touch out in zone 5 it will only charge you for zones 4-5.

  75. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your quick response (and, yes, I got the discount).

    Just to clarify that I have understand correctly how it works:

    1) Providing I am within my travelcard Zones, tapping in (without later tapping out) or tapping out (without having earlier tapped in) will not charge me for an incomplete journey

    2) Incomplete journey charges only occur when a completed journey consists of only one tap, and that tap is outside of my travelcard zones


  76. Mike,

    If you have a network card and use it on the weekend, I thought it would still give you 1/3 on paper tickets on national rail trains within the zones. However if you go to the TFL single fare finder, the network card discount doesn’t show, but I assumed this was because the Network card cannot be registered with Oyster. However if you go to the National Rail fare finder, it does allow you to add discount cards, but if you add a network card and specify a weekend date, it still doesn’t give you 1/3 off. It just gives you the off peak price ie the same price as the TLF website. I used the example of Stratford to Romford and it was £2.10 on both systems despite adding the network card, but if you add a different discount card on the national rail fare finder you do get 1/3 off.

    Does this mean that the only benefits of getting a Network Card are for discounted paper zone 1-6 travel cards on the weekend and long distance travel in network SE? The discounted rail travel within the zones on weekends and public holidays no longer exists?

    • Hi Penny,

      It looks like you’ve found a bug in the fare finder on NRE. If you use the journey planner it will work properly.

  77. Mike,

    you kindly assisted me several months ago. I eventually had the goldcard loaded at Liverpool Street NR (having unsuccessfully tried at the following tube stations: St Paul’s, Liverpool Street and Hammersmith). CHX NR staff also didn’t have a clue.

    My annual travelcard expires soon and I’m not looking forward to being branded a liar/idiot by NR and TfL staff again. It’s going to be fun!!!

    • Hmmm,

      Most NR stations won’t be able to do it, but I’m surprised you had problems with Liverpool Street tube. It might be easier if you pay for your new travelcard at a tube station and ask them to load the discount at the same time. Failing that, I’ve not heard of any problems at London Bridge tube and I’ve used it twice myself.

    • Hi Kevin,

      The Network card has a minimum fare of £13 Monday to Fridays which means that it is uneconomic to use it within the Oyster area.

  78. An update to my previous comment (31 December 2011 5:38pm).

    Today we tried registering the NR discount at one of the LU ticket offices at Stratford, and it was completed with no fuss, and without us having to provide address and password. So, thumbs up to Stratford, but a large raspberry to St Pauls (where we tried previously).

    Worryingly though, it highlights the ignorance that exists amongst *some* ticket office staff. The fact that this thread currently has 144 messages shows that the system for registering these discounts is a mess. I just wish that the ‘powers that be’ were reading the comments on this website and taking action to improve the experience for passengers.

  79. Hi Mike

    Thanks for putting together this great source of advice!

    I hadn’t realised before that I needed to specifically ask for my Gold Card discount to be registered on my Oyster, but having seen your advice I went along to both West Bromptom and Earls Court tubes back in October and was told that it couldn’t be done. I then e-mailed tfl and used the Freedom of Information act to get confirmation that the staff there were wrong and that they would be sent a reminder (full details of their reply are posted below in case people are interested). I also asked how I could get a refund for the extra I was having to pay until I managed to find a tube station that knew how to set the discount. I was told to contact the Oyster help desk for the refund but I don’t know how much I should be claiming. I have a zone 2-5 annual card so is it the case that I should have been getting a third off the oyster fare every time I’ve been into zone 1 either by rail, tube or both?

    Many thanks.

    TFL reply:

    1. What training has been given to TfL staff in respect of registering gold card discounts?

    Setting Discount Entitlements on Oyster cards is included in the ticket office training course and in the staff handbook issued to ticket offices. Reminders are also included on occasion in the weekly news bulletin issued to ticket offices.

    2. Whether there is a deliberate policy of not programming the oyster system so that gold card discounts are automatically loaded, not advising customers about how to register for discounts on the literature which is sent out with gold cards, and not training staff adequately in order to make it more difficult for customers to get the discounts.

    TfL does not provide any printed literature in conjunction with the issue of a Gold Card. Detailed information is provided on our website which can be viewed using the following link: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets . There is no deliberate policy to not set the Discount Entitlement on an Oyster card where the holder is eligible. On the contrary, the instructions in the staff handbook issued to ticket offices include the statement “When issuing an adult rate Annual Travelcard on an Oyster card, you must also add a Railcard discount entitlement with the same expiry date as the ticket” (it should be added automatically when the annual Travelcard is added to the Oyster card).

    Holders of 16-25, Senior, Disabled and HM Forces Railcards and Gold Cards are eligible for a National Railcard Discount Entitlement on Oyster, which provides a 34% discount on off-peak Oyster single fares on Tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services (within the National Rail Pay As You Go Area). Individual Discount Entitlements for each type of Railcard/Gold Card do not exist.

    3. What plans you have to improve staff training in this respect?

    Further reminders will be included in the future weekly news bulletin issued to ticket offices.

    4. Where I can go where the staff do know the rules so that I can get the discount loaded?

    All Tube station ticket office staff should know the rules and should be able to set the discount on an Oyster card where the customer is eligible. Details of this specific complaint have been sent to West Brompton and Earl’s Court with a reminder on the rules.

    5. How I can claim back the excess fares that I’m paying until I do manage to get the discount loaded?

    Please contact the Oyster helpline for advice. You can call them on 0845 330 9876 or contact them usingthe following link: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/contact/4417.aspx

    • Thanks for that response, Dav. Let’s hope that the situation improves rapidly as it’s currently a joke.

  80. I have a 3-6 annual travelcard and after a lot of arguing finally got my local tube station to load the discount when I handed them an email from tfl. Went back this morning a year later asking for same as last year and was told they’d never heard of it!! I even mentioned last years email from tfl and was told I would have to go back to tfl then. Great. It is like they really don’t want to give you this discount.

    • Hi Stuart,

      Can you name the station? Try printing out the top of the Railcard tab of http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14414.aspx and also the instructions provided on this page and see if that convinces them. If it doesn’t then you could consider sending TfL a FOI request asking why this station refuses to do it’s job properly.

  81. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply, after all the hassle I had with this last year I have just replied to TFL’s email from then explaining the issue. The problem I think is that the ticket offices fon’t think you are entitled to a discount. I tried showing them the TFL website last year only to be told it was wrong. This was at Elm Park but last year I also tried Leytonstone and a couple in London.

    Really interesting to see how many people have thus issue!


  82. Alright, just educated the friendly TfL employee at St Paul’s and it seems I’ve got the NR discount now. He kindly pointed out that the third step in your mini-statement guide should be: F4 Interrogate Oyster.

  83. I (and my wife) have the new “Two-Together” railcard. This is a trial and only for sale in the West Midlands, but can be used nationally. It can’t be put on to Oyster cards. For rail only journeys it is chaper to use paper tickets, but the oyster is cheaper if using the underground. Of course paper tickets don’t count towards the price cap so you may need to do the maths before setting out.

    • Thanks Peter,

      Unfortunately the two together railcard will never be compatible with Oyster for the same reasons as the family and friends railcard isn’t.

  84. I was at Charing Cross LUL ticket office last Friday when the passenger in front of me had a paper copy of this page with the instructions on, so she could get her Gold Card added to her Oyster. It wasn’t needed and it was added without any fuss.

    It really does seem to depend on which station you use when it comes to getting NR discounts added with those adjacent to NR stations giving you the best chance of getting it added.

    • Hi Martin,

      Pleased to hear my site is getting used. I agree that LU stations attached to NR stations are the best bets, especially the large terminals.

  85. I recenly renewed my Zone 2-4 Annual Travelcard
    In refrence to Davs response from TFL, the Oyster discount was not applied to my card by the counter staff. As it was at a station I have had trouble at before I didnt bother asking for it.
    When I tried at MileEnd where i had been sucessful in the past the ticket often person said he would do it for me. But said he really shouldnt and I would get into trouble if I was ever stopped by a inspector.
    It seems that staff are still not being trained, or are being told to only apply it if asked or to discourge people.
    Is it incompetance or Malice?

    • Thanks for the update, Jacord. I have to say that the best places to get the discount added appear to be LU stations linked to large NR terminals. I’ve never heard of a problem at any of London Bridge, Charing Cross or Kings Cross. If you get a problem then do email the helpdesk so that action can be taken.

  86. Hi Mike,

    I have just bought an annual season ticket (gold card) from Bishops Stortford to London zones 1-6. Is it possible to load the underground part of this onto my Oyster to save my poor card from getting mashed through repeated use in tube barriers? It’d make life so much easier!



  87. Hi Mike,

    Ive got a 16-25 railcard and was wondering how can I add the railcard to my oyster card? the thing is im not living in london so is this only for london residences?

    plus, im planning a journey from london kings cross (national rail) to london palmers green (national rail) and I searched it on oyster website with using single fare finder.

    it says if i pay fare with oyster card as an adult, it costs 2.40 but when i selected the national rail card, it costs 1.60.

    so does it mean i need to touch my oyster card on a yellow card reader at the kings cross station and palmers green? but how does the card reader knows ive got a national rail card?

    can you make it clear for me?


    • Hi Hongseung,

      Railcard discounts are not just for Londoners, but the initial setting has to be done at a London Underground station. Take your Oystercard and Railcard to an Underground ticket office and they will add the setting that applies the discount. You won’t get the discount on any journeys made before adding the setting, but if the off-peak discounted cap has not been reached that will then apply for the rest of the day. Once the discount setting is added you just need to touch in and out as usual.

  88. Hello Mike,

    As I am planning the journey from London Kings Cross to Palmers Green, I searched the oyster fare on oyster official site. It says if I travel with oyster as an adult fare, it costs £2.40 (off peak fare I guess) but when I ticked the National Rail Card box, it costs £1.60. I have got a 16-25 rail card, but how can the oyster card reader know I am an rail card holder? Do I need to add the rail card to my oyster card? but the thing is I am not a London residence. Can I still get a discount with my rail card to oyster card?

    One more question. Even if I add rail card to my oyster, can I still get a discount to one day off peak travel card with my rail card?
    And is there any additional fee when I add rail card to my oyster?
    Thanks for your help 🙂


    • Hi Hongseung,

      OK, I’ll try and keep it simple. If that is your first journey using the Oyster card that day then this is what needs to be done:

      1) Take the Oyster card and the railcard to the ticket office at Kings Cross St Pancras tube and ask the clerk to add the railcard discount to the Oyster card. Kings Cross are very used to doing this so you should have no problems. It takes less than a minute.
      2) You must now always carry the railcard with the Oyster card in case an inspector wishes to check the entitlement. However, as far as the Oyster system is concerned your card charges all off-peak journeys and caps at the railcard discounted rate until the expiry of your railcard.
      3) Yes you can still use the railcard to buy discounted tickets and no, there is no fee to add the railcard discount to the Oyster card.

  89. hi, ive been reseaching all day and finally found your website. i need to know WHERE i can use my oyster card outside london (e.g hemel hamsptead or apsley). i would also like to know how much of a discount it would be if i add my 16-19 rail card to my oyster. thanks

    • Hi Abdu,

      Currently, Oyster is only available outside the 9 London fare zones at Watford Junction and a few stations around Grays in Essex. There are going to be extensions in the future, although I’m not aware of one planned beyond Watford.

      Assuming you mean a 16-25 National Railcard, it gives you 1/3 off all off-peak fares and the off-peak cap.

  90. Great site. Just FYI Cannon St rail ticket office could not apply my senior railcard to my Oyster – sent me to Bank underground who did it very quickly, didn’t ask any security question, didn’t give me a mini-statement. I then thought it was not working as was not getting any PAYG discount at 0640 from Maze Hill to Cannon Street, and a weekly zones 1-3 showed with no discount also. Took it back to Bank, different man asked colleagues about when discounts apply, they were not sure, he told me peak starts at 0630 (but Maze Hill station info says 0700), and gave me mini-statement which shows the railcard is loaded. Still pretty confused about when I expect it to apply.

    • Hi Nic,

      That’s pretty much as I’d expect. NR ticket offices can’t add railcard discounts, only LU ones can. Peak does indeed start at 0630, but note that it is touch in time that is important. If you can touch in at 0629 and wait for the 0644 you will get the reduced off-peak rate. I’d be interested to know exactly what info at Maze Hill says 0700 as that is clearly wrong.

  91. My Girlfriend go her 16-25 railcard discount added to her Oyster at Ilford station in January, and I am fairly sure the previous year she had it added at the National rail part of Liverpool street station. So some NR stations can and do add the railcard discount to Oysters.

    • Hi Jacord,

      Both Ilford and Liverpool Street are listed as NR stations with Oyster facilities so should be able to add railcards. I have heard that some of them do not do all additional functions though. Thanks for pointing it out though.

  92. Hello,
    I have a zones 1-2 annual travelcard but have not been given a paper Gold ticket- from what I’ve read it seems I’m entitled to one, can I check with you this is the case, and ask how I go about checking if it is on my oyster card already? And if not should I be able to get it added despite my lack of paper Gold ticket?
    Many thanks in advance,

    • Hi Verity,

      You should be given a gold record card which can be used to get your discount entitlement when buying off-peak rail tickets in the South-East. You should also have the discount flag set on the Oyster card so you get discounted off-peak fares when travelling beyond zone 2. In the first instance I would go back to the station where you bought the travelcard and see if they can give you the missing bits.

  93. Can someone who is not the railcard holder use an oyster which is registered to a railcard user, for example a friend’s?

    • Hi Meg,

      Short answer: No!

      Longer answer: Once an Oyster has a discount applied to it only the person whose discount card it belongs to may use it. There wouldn’t be an issue on buses, or on trains in the morning peak, but if there was a chance that an off-peak fare or cap might apply then it would not be valid. You could be asked to show the railcard if stopped by an RPI.

    • Hi Paul,

      Sadly you can’t. You can of course get discounted zone 1-6 or 1-9 paper day travelcards with the Network card at weekends, but you can’t attach it to Oyster.

  94. Re. being asked for personal details when setting a discount and / or buying an Annual Travelcard on Oyster.

    This should be standard. Otherwise you run the risk of loading a season ticket and / or discount onto a card registered to someone else. This happens quite frequently.



  95. Not sure if this has been answered before. Railcards loaded onto oyster cards don’t reduce the cost of single bus journeys but would bus journeys be free if the daily cap had been reached having used the tube. Basically do bus journeys contribute to the reduced daily cap?? Many thanks in advance Alice

    • Hi Alice,

      Yes, bus/tram journeys contribute to whatever cap you are entitled. If that is a railcard reduced cap then that’s the one that will be triggered. Remember that bus journeys on their own cap at £4.20 which is lower than any travelcard cap.

  96. Hi Mike, thanks for the excellent advice you have given all this while. I wanted to ask if a Groupsave off peak day travelcard (bought together with a Groupsave 4 Cambridge-London off-peak day return, which is valid for off peak travel within the zones 1-6 of London) would work during the evening peak (4-7pm) from Heathrow to London (zone 6 into 1)? I an aware that this would constitute an off peak fare but would like to ensure that the travelcard would work for this journey. Thank you!

    • There are no evening restrictions on the zone 1-6 off-peak travelcard, nor on the use within the travelcard area of an out-boundary travelcard which additionally provides one return journey to the zone 6 boundary. However, travelcards are not valid on Heathrow Express, nor on Heathrow Connect between Heathrow and Hayes & Harlington, at any time of day. The only way to use a travelcard at Heathrow is on the Picadilly line.

  97. Hi,
    Im undergoing a 4 month internship in the summer (9-5.30 Mon-Fri), and will be returning to studies in Sept. I have a student oyster card, and can get a young persons railcard if needed, but what is the cheapest option for me to get from broxbourne to goodge street? Would the fare be cheaper to buy a seasonal ticket instead of using my student card and oyster? I can go from Hertford North to moorgate and so on if cheaper? Any help would be appreciated its taking me ages to work out, thank you.

    • Hi Gemma,

      I think your best bet is a paper season from Hertford North to Gordon Hill (£27.20/week) then a travelcard season on your Oyster for zones 1-5 (£34.80/week). As far as I can see all trains from Hertford North stop at Gordon Hill which they need to do to mix two season tickets. The zone 1-5 travelcard is discounted with the 18+ Student Oyster card which makes it cheaper than a Hertford North to London zones 1-6 season (£89.00/week). Trains from Broxbourne tend to be faster and make fewer useful stops, plus they go two different routes which cuts down on flexibility a lot. For your journey I would change at Finsbury Park onto the Victoria line to Warren Street and there to the Northern line to Goodge Street or just walk.

      You can buy seasons for 1 week or any period from 1 month to 1 year. If you are literally working every week without a break then you should probably get a season for the whole 4 months. The prices will be similar proportions but a monthly ticket costs less than 4 weekly tickets. Above a month they cost 1/30th of a month for each day extra. The only slight problem is that TfL don’t make buying odd periods very easy unless you go to a ticket office. You can get 1 month or 3 months online but anything else has to be done manually. Whilst you don’t need to touch in within your zones (so you can stay on the train) you do need to have the travelcard loaded before you first travel. You can’t just pick it up when touching at Finsbury Park. If you want to order online and pick up on the first day then you’ll need to get out at Gordon Hill just that once.

      I hope that helps,


  98. Hi Mike,

    I currently have a 18+ student oyster card. I also have a 16-24 young persons rail card. I know it is possible to put the young person rail card onto a normal adult oyster card but can I put it on my 18+ student oyster card?

    I know the only difference between a student card and adult card is when a travel card of some sort is purchased. The oyster cards do not differ per individual fare unless the young rail card is added, then off-peak travel price is reduced.

    Is it possible to add this young persons rail card to my oyster card to get the reductions for off-peak and keep my current monthly travel discount (due to my 18+ student oyster)?

    I travel into London regularly and use zones 1-4 by using a monthly travel card but sometimes I travel up to zone 6 and of course my monthly travel card is no longer valid. So I was curious to find out if it’s possible to put this card on my oyster for these occasions.

    Thank you in advance.


    • Hi Katie,

      According to the TfL site you can add a 16-25 railcard to an 18+ Student Oyster to get 1/3 off off-peak fares and caps. You should still get your discount on weekly or longer travelcards. There did used to be a problem mixing these two entitlements, but I haven’t heard it reported recently so it may well be fixed.

      Hope that helps.

  99. Thanks Mike, just managed to convince Brixton underground station it was possible with your instructions on my phone. Hate to think how much I’d have saved if I knew this before. Really appreciate it.

  100. i travel from leyton to grays everyday.. what is cheapest journey? im currently using pay as you go… its costing £8.60 per day. can you help?

    • Hi imraan,

      The Grays area is a bit of an Oyster anomaly because the daily capping doesn’t work properly and you can’t buy travelcard seasons on Oyster. About your only other option is to buy a Grays to Zone 3-6 season on paper. These cost £46.10/week or £177.10/month. The monthly will just about be cheaper, especially if you buy it for 5 weeks at a time. Thus you could start one on June 6th and take it up to July 6th which avoids the two bank holidays and gives you 23 working days for £183.00 (each extra day costs 1/30th of a month. You’d then miss the weekend and start the next one on July 9th to August 10th giving you 25 days for £188.90. If you have holiday coming up you could stretch one period to 6 or 7 weeks so you don’t have a season for the whole week off.

  101. Hi Mike,

    I was checking how much my single fare from Tower Gateway to Stratford would be if I had a national railcard and it says it would £1.70 at off-peak times, but at the end it says that If making a single or return journey including travel between 16:00 and 19:00, Monday to Friday, National Railcard holders may find that a discounted cash fare is cheaper, what does this actually mean? How would it be possible to get a discounted cash fare?
    Also what would be the cheapest way to travel in zones 1-3, is it using an oyster with a national railcard added to it, or getting a zone 1-3 paper travelcard, if one exists? Most my journeys are off-peak.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Millie,

      If you have a railcard discount on your Oyster card then it gives you 1/3 off the off-peak cap and off-peak single fares. Between 1600 and 1900 the system charges peak fares in most cases, but the off-peak cap still applies. So, if you only make one journey in the day and it is between 1600 and 1900 then you might be better off using your railcard to get discounted paper tickets.

      However, discounted paper tickets are only applicable to National Rail fares and travelcards, not Underground only or DLR only fares. To get the discount on those fares you need to have it applied to an Oyster card.

      Finally, there is a zone 1-2 travelcard and a zone 1-4 travelcard (which would be needed to use zone 3). In both those cases it is cheaper to use an Oyster card because the railcard gives you a discount on the cap while the paper version has to be the discounted zone 1-6 travelcard.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  102. Hi Mike –

    Are you able to add a network railcard to your oyster, or only the 18-25, senior railcard etc?


    • Hi Jo,

      Only the railcards listed above. The network railcard has the minimum fare restriction on weekdays which means it is useless within the Oyster area. There is no distinction between the railcards as far as Oyster goes, so it was not possible to include it.

  103. Hi,

    I have an oyster PAYG with a 16-25 Railcard loaded on it. As you can use a 16-25 at anytime of the day on NR services during july and august, will my peak time travel using National Rail Services with an oyster card during july and august be discounted? As it may prove cheaper for me to buy a paper ticket with a railcard.



    • Hi Tom,

      Unfortunately there is no relaxation of the rules on Oyster during July and August.

  104. Hi Mike, congratulations for your wonderful and informative website. I bought a 16-25 Railcard as I plan to travel around the country during weekends while doing my internship in the UK.

    However, I wonder whether it can be of any use to me also when I go to work. I live at Aldgate East and must get to Blackfriars. The buses in the morning are so slow midst all traffic that I always take the Tube.

    Any suggestions on what I can do to minimize costs?


    • Hi Tubemaster,

      Railcard discounts have no effect before 0930. Aldgate East to Blackfriars is only £2 single though, so you’re not going to get that down in any way.

  105. Hi Mike

    Just wondering if you think it’s now “safe” to for my son to add his 16-25 Railcard discount to his 16+ Oyster Photocard, to get the (only) additional benefit of 34% discounted off-peak daily price caps? He currently gets HALF price single fares with the 16+ Oyster Photocard, whereas the Railcard normally only gives 34% discount.

    I know in theory he should get the “best of both” discounts and the TFL web site here:
    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/18343.aspx >> Tab: “How much do I save?” >> Section: “16-25 Railcard”
    does state:
    “If you have a 16+ Oyster photocard and a 16-24 [sic] Railcard discount, you will get the better value discount according to the journey you are making.”

    But I’m concerned by suggestions above that a ticket office could accidentally delete the 16+ Photocard discount, which would be disastrous. If that is technically possible, are there any instructions for the ticket office (supplemental to yours above) to guard against this? Also, do we know if anyone has evidence that this discount combination does work as stated?

    The half price single fares that my son already gets are worth far more (as they apply to every TFL journey) and I wouldn’t want to risk losing these for the occasional benefit of the discounted cap.

    • Hi Dave,

      I don’t know whether it is now safe to add the railcard to a 16+ Oyster. What I would suggest is that you take the card and railcard to a large tube station like London Bridge (where I have had good experiences with railcards in the past) and ask them to make sure that the 16+ discount doesn’t get over-written. You might like to ask them for a printout before they start so you can check where the 16+ discount appears. I’m sorry that I can’t be more positive at the moment, but please do let us know how you get on.

  106. Thanks Mike

    I guessed you’d suggest visiting a large central London tube station to get the railcard discount added to a 16+ Oyster – but my son is unlikely to accompany me willingly on such a journey!

    Would a ticket office do it if I took my son’s card and railcard by myself – or must the holder be present? After all, I did sign his Oyster application as parent (and have a copy) and his 16+ Oyster is registered to my online account – but I guess that’s probably not relevant to a ticket office(?) Perhaps I should just take all available ID and hope for the best?

    16+ Oysters are only valid for one year and we have to re-apply in 2m, so I might wait until then. On the other hand, there’s less at stake with only 2m to go so perhaps now is the time to try it! Either way, I’ll let you know if/when I give it a try.

    Also, thanks for the advice to ask them for a printout before they start – I wouldn’t have thought of that.

    • Hi Dave,

      I have got the railcard discount added at London Bridge for my Mum with her senior railcard. I knew the password on her Oyster though I can’t remember if I needed it. If both the 16-25 and the 16+ card have his photo on then I can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t do it. I do understand the issue with 16-year-olds, though if push came to shove I’d suggest that as he pays for the credit on the card it’s in his interest to do whatever is needed to get that reduced. Agree that now is a good time to test it with only 2 months left.

  107. I successfully added my son’s 16-25 Railcard discount to his 16+ Oystercard at Euston LU ticket office tonight. The very competent lady knew exactly what to do (“we do it all the time here”) and gave me a confirmatory printout without even asking. I had copies of your instructions and the relevant page of the TFL website but they weren’t required.

    I tactfully explained that Oakwood weren’t sure how to do it, but I needn’t have worried about diplomacy, for she launched into much stronger criticism of her own: she said she’d experienced Oakwood herself as a customer and “the guy didn’t know what he was doing”! This reinforces your advice to to do this at a principal central London station.

    Here is an extract from the mini-statement, clearly showing the two separate discounts (with the Railcard one expiring after the 16+ Oystercard expires!):

    Discount 16+ FTE 30/09/2012
    Discount NR Railcard 21/06/2013

    It now only remains to confirm that fares and daily caps are applied correctly!

    I didn’t manage to ask whether it was technically possible for her to accidentally delete the 16+ discount, nor whether she would then have been able to reinstate it. Perhaps I’ll find out next time I do this!

    • Thanks for the update, Dave. My guess is that the 16+ discount cannot be set at a tube station because it has to be added to a photo zip card. It’s addition will be part of the manufacture process for those cards.

  108. Hi Mike
    I have a 16-25 rail card and had it added to my oyster card at Harrow on the Hill. I then travelled to Eastcote but was charged the normal adult oyster fair, with no discount. So, I questioned the man at Eastcote station and he said that I am only entitled to get discount on travelcards. Is this correct? I thought I would get a discount on all journeys.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Rebekah,

      You get the discount on all off-peak single fares and the off-peak daily cap (equivalent to a travelcard). If you travelled between 1600 and 1900 then peak fares apply. Unlike the morning peak, the cap is still the off-peak one though, so if you travel enough you will benefit from the reduced cap.

  109. hi mike,

    right now i am using my zone 1-3 weekly/monthly travelcard on my oyster. i am thinking of getting a 16-25 railcard if the 33% discount can be attached to my oyster. All the time i travel after 10 in the morning till late night. So, will i be able to get NR discount attached to my zone 1-3 monthly oyster ? and also what are the off-peak hours and daily cap?

    • Hi faysal,

      The 16-25 railcard does not discount season tickets. It will give you discounts on single fares outside the zones covered by your travelcard, as well as the off-peak cap. Full details of the peak and off-peak hours can be found on the Peak or Off-Peak page on this site.

  110. “Logic says that if you buy an annual [Oyster] travelcard season, the Gold card discount flag should automatically be set, but it won’t be. Just ask the clerk to ensure that it’s set.” —> This is so true. I find it incredible that the Gold Card discount isn’t just automatically applied to the Oyster card when you are given the Gold Card in the first place.

    One question though – what’s there to stop you lending your paper Gold Record Card to your friends so they, too, can go to tube ticket offices and load it onto all their Oyster cards? When might they get challenged to actually show the Gold Record Card?

    • Any time the Oyster is checked by a RPI. I’ve also heard that some bus drivers might ask for it.

  111. Can I take it that when a Senior Railcard is linked to an Oyster and the Senior Railcard then passes its expiry date the Oyster automatically updates to reflect that? Or do you have to explicitly speak to station staff (SWT) to sever the linkage?

    • Hi riaclark,

      Yes, the expiry date is logged on the Oyster card and it stops applying the discount once that date has passed, until you get your next card logged on the Oyster of course.

  112. why cant students out of london get discount its costing fortune for my daughter who is on placement in london for a year.

  113. I’m going to London in September to study at KCL’s medicine campus – London Bridge – but living next to St Pancras. I’ll be travelling by tube to lectures every weekday morning (during peak time) at a fare of £2.00, and travelling home at the same fare (if it’s during 16:00-19:00), or sometimes during off-peak times, in which case it will be less due to my linked Railcard.
    This is the minimum amount of travelling I’ll be doing, likely more with friends for nights out and general travelling etc…should I stick to Oyster PAYG (with Railcard) or do you think it would be more cost-effective for me to invest in an annual Travelcard for Zones 1-2? I’ll have a Student Oyster card so the cost of this will be £816.
    Many thanks for your help Mike, sorry for the long-winded question 🙂

    • Hi Sunny,

      The answer is quite specific to your actual travel needs. I don’t know how long terms are and whether you’d make any use of the card during holidays. I think an annual travelcard may be too much, even with the discount. You would get a weekly discounted travelcard for £20.40 which compares to 5x£2.00 plus 5x£1.30 which equals £16.50. If you had to make a couple of peak evening journeys plus a couple of extra journeys it would be worthwhile. A monthly travelcard may be better as long as you are using it for most of the weekdays, but if your holidays are in any way travel free (or travel light) then the benefits will soon dissipate with longer periods.

  114. Ah yes, I see what you mean – thanks for the advice, I think I’ll see what my costs equate to over the first month or so, and take it from there 🙂

  115. Dear Mike
    I use an Oyster Card and I travel from Raynes park to Tottenhan Court Road 2 days a week. I also travel from Guildford to Waterloo and on to Holloway on 2 days a week. I will shortly be 60 and aim to get a Senior railcard.
    I travel in morning peak most days. Is there a way I can make any savings? In the old days when there was no minimum on railcards the trick was to buy two singele and the return single was discounted. I notice the senior card has no minimum with SWT. Any ideas gratefully welcomed.

    • Hi Keith,

      You can get the senior railcard added to the Oyster at an Underground station. That will give you 1/3 off all off-peak fares and the off-peak daily cap. It won’t reduce single journeys in either peak, although the off-peak cap applies in the afternoon. Also, check out details of a new 60+ London concession being launched by TfL this autumn.

  116. Hi Mike,

    I’m trying to find out if I can PAYG with my oyster card from Broxbourne (zone 7) to Denmark Hill (Zone 2), or whether I need to get a travel card from Broxbourne to Tottenham hale, and then PAYG onwards.
    The NXEA line (Hertford Heath to London Liverpool street) should now be part of the oyster card extention zone, however I have heard that trying to use PAYG as fare out as Broxbourne will result in a penalty fare charge.
    By fare the cheapest fares seem to be using PAYG from zones 7-1, so I would be really grateful to find out if it is possible to travel using PAYG from Broxbourne into London.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Emmy,

      As far as I know, plans to extend Oyster to Hertford East haven’t happened as yet. You would therefore need a paper ticket to at least Enfield Lock.

  117. Hi Mike,
    I’m moving down to London on Sunday, but it’s going to be a couple of weeks until my student Oyster photocard arrives. Until then, I plan to use a standard Oyster card with PAYG fares. Since the NR railcard linking process seems non-specific to a particular railcard number, I’m guessing I could link my railcard to the standard Oyster card to get the discount, and then once the student Oyster card arrives, link the railcard to that too?

    • Hi Sunny,

      Yes, that is correct. Remember that only you can use an Oyster card with railcard discount and that you must also carry the railcard with you at all times.

  118. Oh Mike, I believe you can help me.
    I tried to take initiative and bug my mum to buy me a 16-25 railcard before my oyster card ran out. Unfortunately, until it arrived in the post today I completely forgot I was suppose to get a 16+ Oyster because I get the bus to school everyday! While frantically searching for some consolation on the internet I found out that I can add this discount on to a 16+ Oyster (one I’ll have to buy today if I want it sent to me in time).
    So my question is: How does the PAYG system apply? I don’t usually use National Rail but when I do I let the PAYG take whatever it needs to from the pre-paid money in my card. If I add the 16-25 discount would I be able to continue just topping up whenever I need to or would it be uneconomical? (Also the 16-25 Railcard expires in 3 years)
    Many Thanks,

    • Hi Nicola,

      Yes, you can add your railcard to your 16+ Oyster when it arrives. You then carry on using it as before, but any off-peak rail journey will be discounted and a similar discount will also apply to the off-peak caps. The expiry of the 16-25 railcard shouldn’t matter. I’d expect the clerk to either enter the correct expiry or copy the expiry of the 16+ Oyster. Either way you can add the same railcard to an 18+ Oyster or a normal adult Oyster when the 16+ Oyster runs out.

      Hope that helps.

  119. With a 18+ Oyster do I benefit from a 30% discount on weekly or monthly travelcard? Also, I live in zone 1-4, is the travelcard valid on buses in zone 5-6?

    • Hi Dan,

      Yes and yes. Buses are free with any travelcard covering any zones and trams are free as long as the travelcard covers at least one of zones 3-6.

  120. Hi Mike,

    I have a query regarding price capping on a 16-25 railcard. I live in Zone 6 and frequently use buses and when going in to london use a south west trains service and the underground. Assuming that I am only travelling after 9.30am, I can buy a paper all day travelcard for £5.60. If I use pay as you go oyster card (with discount applied) will it cap it at £5.60?
    Secondly, is there a second peak time in the evening (16:30-19:00) which, if I travel in using oyster will increase the price cap up to peak rates? Or is the price cap dependent upon when you start your days travel?
    And sorry lastly, what are the peak/off peak implications of using my oyster card on a bus before 9:30?



    • Hi James,

      Yes it will cap at £5.60 after 0930. Even better (though maybe not for us residents of zone 6) if travel is confined to zones 1-2 or 1-4 then it will cap even lower. If you get a bus to zone 4 then use rail it will also cap lower because the zonal cap only applies to rail journeys.

      I think the peak or off-peak page should answer your other questions, possibly also refering to when not to use oyster.

  121. Hi Mike,

    After using a pay as you go oyster for while i decided to buy an annual season ticket for zones 2-6 from Southbury Station. When I enquired if i could have this on an oyster to save taking out the Gold card every time i was told they do not issue oyster cards. Can I have my annual season ticket on an oyster as well? As i don’t have an oyster to tap in an out on the buses do i need to show my gold card to the driver on every journey? Thanks

    • Hi Loiz,

      You can’t have the season in two places, I’m afraid. If you take it to Stratford or Liverpool Street you may find that they can transfer it for you, although I’m not 100% sure of the technicalities. In the meantime, yes you need to show the season to bus drivers so they know you have paid.

      Hope that helps.

  122. hi mike
    I got national rail card and 18+oyster
    1.what is the around price for me from waterloo to albany park for off-peak time?
    2.if I go to albany park from waterloo at 8am,is that off-peak or peak time?
    many thanks

    • Hi Lianna,

      Waterloo East to Albany Park is £1.85 off-peak with railcard. 8am weekdays is peak I’m afraid.

  123. Hello Mike,

    I recently linked my YP 16-25 Railcard to a standard Oyster card as I was waiting my for 18+ Student Oyster to arrive. Now it has arrived, do I need to ‘de-link’ my Railcard from my existing Oyster card? What will happen if I try to link my YP Railcard to my new 18+ Student Oyster. Thanks.

    • Hi Jack,

      No, you won’t need to. However, you must not give the discounted adult card to anyone else while your railcard is valid.

  124. Just to add to the commentary on which stations are good – I have put my railcard discount on my Oyster at Haggerston overground station this morning and the guy there did it really quickly: I had just missed a train and I managed to register and link my Oyster before the next one. Top station

  125. Hi Mike,

    If I travel from London St Pancreas to Canterbury today at 16.42 with a 16-25 rail card is that off peak? I’ve already bought an off-peak ticket for after 4 but don’t want to get to the station and them say it’s not valid!! Sorry I’ve read so many conflicting views. I understand you can’t use it at peak time in the morning but is the evening peak waived when you have a rail card?
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Laura,

      Sorry I didn’t see this in time. I hope you had no problems because there are no evening restrictions on that ticket.

  126. Hi Mike,

    I have a really basic question, but after some googling I still haven’t found the answer.

    If you have a goldcard on your oyster card, I know you don’t the railcards discounts on buses (and presumably not on trams either). But do off peak bus and tram journeys still count towards the discounted price cap?

    I know there is a separate price cap for bus and tram only days, but what if you use tubes and buses, do the bus journeys counted towards the discounted oyster cap?

    • Hi PP,

      Yes, they do count. You don’t get a discount on the bus only cap, but any bus journeys count towards the full travelcard cap and that is the one which is discounted.

  127. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for a wonderful website. I read everything but I still have a few specific questions I hope you can help with.

    I have a 16-25 Railcard and am wondering if I pay the discounted fare if I travel from South Hampstead to Euston in the evening peak? Is it also discounted if I travel from zone 2 to zone 1 using only london underground and not overground in evening peak? And finally does the travelcard 1-2 cap include bus journeys or would I pay separately for that if for example I made three tube journeys in zone and two bus journeys all in zone 1-2? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yes, the evening peak off-peak fares ending in zone 1 are discounted with the railcard, even those using only the Underground and DLR. And yes, bus journeys throughout the zones contribute to any cap, even those outside the zones that the card is capped in. There are no zones on buses because you don’t touch out, only in on a bus, so there is no way of knowing which zones were travelled through.

  128. Hi,

    Last week, I loaded on a 16-25 railcard onto my new 16+ oyster card. The clerk mumbled something about a system fault that meant it annuled all other discounts on the card (namely free bus travel), but he put it on before any chance to reply. It had both discounts on the reciept. When I used my new oyster on the bus, it charged me half adult rate, not free. This happened twice, so I asked the office to remove my railcard. They did so, but the bus was still charging me money. I called up Tfl who sent out a replacement card. It charges me no money on the bus, but i am still worried about adding the railcard lest the same problem recurr. Have you heard any stories of this, and have you any advice

    • Hi Hussain,

      Sorry for the delay replying to this. I have heard about this problem before. I also have a 16-year-old son who has just added a railcard to his 16+ Zip card. When the station added it they put the railcard discount in the second discount line. I didn’t get a printout, but my son has used the card on buses yesterday and it didn’t charge him. He hasn’t yet used it on a train. Was the reciept a long printout with just about everything on your Oyster card listed (including last 8 journeys, last topups, any incomplete journeys and lots more)? I think that the free bus travel is something that cannot be added at stations, but it can be overwritten when adding the railcard discount.

      As for advice, I used Canada Water to add my son’s railcard and London Bridge Underground has always been good at adding railcards. I think stations with National Rail at the same place probably understand how to do it more confidently than other Underground stations. I’m going to check further into this and will report on here once my son has made a rail journey. The single fare finder has an option for 16+ with railcard so it must be possible to have both together. Maybe ask the clerk to make sure he adds the discount to the second line before he does it if you try again.

      Hope that helps.

  129. Hi i just added my railcard 16-25 to my oyster 18+, i made a weekly zone 1-6 and it cost me £37.70 without railcard added but when i added railcard to my oyster the price was £36.85 so it went down just 85p

    • Hi Zaffer,

      The zone 1-6 weekly travelcard with an 18+ student Oyster costs £37.30. The 16-25 railcard should make no difference to that price.

  130. Oh alright thanks for that so adding my railcard to my oyster 18+ has not made any difference i guess then, what about if i want to get a normal day travelcard zone 1-6 topped up on my oyster, what would that do or would i just have to use my railcard only ?

    • If your railcard has been added to your 18+ Oyster then the off-peak caps will be reduced to the railcard levels. You just need to use the card as usual and it will stop deducting when the off-peak cap has been reached.

  131. Hi Mike
    I am sorry if this has been asked already. Last year I loaded my Network Railcard on my Oyster and would get 1/3 off off peak train and tube fares. This year I’m told that’s not possible. I have also noticed on the TfL fare checker page the Network Railcard option in the scroll down menu is no longer there? Also last year I used to buy discounted travelcards weekdays, now I’m told it’s weekends only! When have all these changes happened, do you know?
    Cheers, Thom

    • Hi Thom,

      It has never been allowed to add a network railcard to an Oyster card. If you managed to get it done then you were lucky. I can understand how it is possible to do, but staff should know that it’s not ok. The weekday minimum fare when using a network card rules out discounts on inboundary travelcards. That restriction has been around for many years.

  132. Hi Mike.

    My friend pays around £5.30 for a paper travel card, off peak, zones 1-6 on using a 16-25 NR discount. If I add my 16-25 card to my oyster card, will my travel around London be capped at this too? assuming all journeys are off peak. Or would I be better off buying a paper ticket?

    Also – do I need any proof my oyster is registered? Or should I just take it to the station, and let them check?

    Thank you very much

    • Hi Nirav,

      The discounted z1-6 travelcard is actually £5.60 and yes, with a railcard attached to the Oyster the same off-peak cap would apply. Indeed if your travel was restricted to just z1-2 or z1-4 then you would be better off as Oyster discounts those caps as well whereas paper tickets can only be discounted at z1-6.

      TfL require the Oyster to be regiustered. The station will know and may well ask what the memorable word associated with the card is.

  133. Hi Mike, I have a Z3-5 yearly travel card. I took my gold card to the ticket office at Kings Cross today and the lady said that I would get no benefit from adding the Gold card(though I think this might have more to do with the fact she didnt know how to do it). She told me to ring the Oystercard helpline who might be able to do it???

    • Oh dear!

      Big stations attached to NR terminals are usually quite good. You were asking at the Underground ticket office, not the National Rail one in the mainline station, weren’t you?

  134. Yes, it was the Underground office. Its all a bit ridiculous, will be in the London Bridge area at the weekend – will try there!

  135. I had my 16-25 young person’s railcard wrongly registered on my oyster card as a student discount and so have missed out on getting the off peak discounted tube fares. I only noticed this now (I bought the card in November 2011) but the oyster enquiries helpline said I can only claim back the money that should have been discounted for the last 8 weeks (since they are the only records they hold). Is this right?

    • Hi Sam,

      Yes, I’m afraid it is right. After 8-weeks the data is disassociated with the specific cards and only held for overall statistical purposes.

  136. Hi Mike,

    I have zone 2-5 monthly card on my oyster and have also got Network Card loaded on it. When I come from East Croydon to London Bridge during off-peak hours, i’m charged £1.05.

    Pls let me know what is the off-peak hours because yesterday my oyster shows entry of 9:29AM and still charged £1.05.



    • Hi Rahul,

      You have been very lucky if it is a normal Network Card (as opposed to the Network Gold Card when an annual season ticket is bought). The Network Card is not eligible to be attached to an Oyster card because the weekday minimum fare renders it useless within the Oyster area other than at weekends.

      In terms of off-peak, this usually starts at 0930, but it appears as though the switch takes place a little before that to avoid a stream of “but my watch said it was after 0930” type queries. I don’t know the exact time but if you do catch the early switchover (or late at the beginning of peak) then treat it as a bonus.

  137. If I load my 16-25 railcard onto my oyster; do I need to keep my railcard with me at all times?


  138. HI,
    I recently did not bring my railcard along with me whilst travelling on the dlr and got a penalty for not doing so. is this written in the terms and conditions saying that I must have my 16-25 railcard with me at all times as it is quite ridiculous when I have to pay a penalty which is same with those who did not touch in their oyster cards.


    • Hi Teng,

      The railcard terms and conditions say that you must always carry the railcard when using discounted tickets, and that includes getting discounted fares/caps with an Oyster. There are only two situations where you could justifiably say that you don’t need to have the railcard with you, one if you only use trains between 0630 and 0930 M-F where you will be charged peak fares counting towards the anytime cap, and two if you only use buses/trams because the daily bus cap will trigger before any discounted daily cap. I’m not sure I’d deliberately set out to prove that though because it’s easier just to have the railcard with you.

  139. Hi Mike,
    Are ‘gold cards’ and ‘gold records cards’ the same thing? I’m getting a bit confused. Does the name of the card depend on whether you buy your annual ticket from an Underground station or a National Rail station?
    Also if I have an annual Z1-4 season ticket on my Oyster and wanted to travel with a friend to London, she could just buy an off-peak Z1-6 travelcard for one third cheaper, using my gold card/gold record card as a railcard discount, right?

    • Hi Amy,

      Gold cards are paper annual season tickets issued within the old Network South East area. Gold Record cards are issued with the electronic version of annual travelcards issued on Oyster. They work the same way when getting discount on tickets for yourself or others.

      Unfortunately there is a small caveat where the gold card does not cover all of zones 1-6. Your friend can get a discount on paper point-to-point tickets within zones 1-4, but to get the all zones travelcard you need to get one too. If your friend has an Oyster card as well then it’ll be cheaper to use it as the zone 1-4 cap is less than two discounted travelcards. It’ll be even more worth it from January when the caps stay at 2012 prices while travelcards increase.

  140. Can you link a 16-25 young persons rail card to a student Oyster card. If so will there be a combined saving.

    • Hi Colette,

      Yes you can link a student Oyster and a 16-25 railcard. You will get whichever discount is more beneficial to the journey being made.

  141. Hi Mike
    I recently linked my young persons railcard to my Oyster card but unfortunately on one of my journey to work I lost my Oyster card on the underground.
    Having spoken to tfl I was informed that I cannot transfer over the money on my lost Oyster card to another Oyster card because it is linked to my railcard. Therefore I am now being charged a £10 admin fee just to get my money back of my card. The lady on the phone could not justify why this admin cost was so high and also could not explain why the railcard has meant I cannot transfer it to another Oyster card.
    I would be grateful if you have any idea why the admin cost is so high and also why I cannot simply transfer the money on my lost oyster card to a new Oyster card
    Thanking you in advance for your time

    • Hi Reem,

      The admin fee is pretty standard for refunds unfortunately. I don’t know why a railcard stops the balance being transfered. If you can, it might be worth asking at a major Underground station ticket office. You’ll need to get the railcard discount re-added, but that shouldn’t be an issue either.

  142. Hi Mike.
    New to this site, sorry if this has been asked before.
    My wife and I both have senior railcards. My daughter has a 16-25 rail card. We live in Manchester and do not vist London very often.
    Many years ago my wife bought an Oystercard (before we had Railcards) and we have used it on a Pay as you Go basis when one of us has been in London.
    If my wife registers her Railcard on this Oyster card is it possible to “unregister” her railcard at a later date so that I would be able to register my card.

    • That’s an interesting question. Technically the answer is yes, although it would be a bit of a faff to keep doing it. However, the only identifying information from the railcard which gets put on the Oyster is the expiry date. It doesn’t even say which sort of railcard it is. On this basis I would say that you could use it with any railcard. There certainly couldn’t be a problem if the expiry dates of the relevant railcards matched. Alternatively you could get another Oyster, although I realise this means another deposit. You’d need that if you both went together anyway.

  143. Thanks for the reply Mike,
    I’m afraid the expiry dates of the railcards do not match.

    Would a Revenue Protection Inspector get upset if the end date recorded on the Oyster card does not match the date on the Rail card?

    • I don’t know. I think the expiry might only be used to know when to stop applying the discount, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to do some digging.

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