When not to use Oyster (Old)

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

Oyster is a very flexible, intelligent payment system that tries to ensure that you always only pay what you need to for the journeys you make in one day.  Most of the time it works very well, but there are certain circumstances where a paper ticket (usually a day travelcard) is either cheaper or more appropriate.  These are some of the times to consider leaving the Oyster at home:

  1. When exploring or roving around London. Oyster is designed for reasonably straightforward journeys, usually with a gap between each one.  If you want to make lots of rail journeys one after the other, without doing something else between each one, especially if arriving at one station and leaving from another nearby, then a travelcard is probably a better bet.  The reason is that many nearby stations are linked by out of station interchanges which will join your journeys together and cause you to exceed the maximum time allowed for a journey between two points because you went via somewhere a long way away.  If you must use Oyster then consider touching into a bus between stations (and getting off straight away);  that will break any OSI.
  2. When travelling as a family. An Oyster card is for individuals only, it cannot be linked with others to form a group.  Therefore it is not possible to offer the discounts available with a Family and Friends Railcard when using Oyster.  Most off peak and especially afternoon peak travel will be cheaper using the railcard and paper tickets.  See also point 5 if travel includes zone 6.
  3. When travelling in a group. Off-peak day travelcards are available with large discounts if 10 or more people are travelling together.
  4. Afternoon Peak with Railcard. If you have a railcard attached to your Oyster card you will get discounted off-peak single fares and also a discounted off-peak cap.  However, if you only plan to use trains in the afternoon peak and not enough to trigger the price cap, it may be cheaper to use your railcard and paper tickets instead.  But remember that the cheaper zones 1-2 and 1-4 caps are fully discounted on Oyster with a railcard attached, while only the 1-6 and 1-9 paper travelcards can be discounted.  A discounted 1-6 travelcard is still cheaper than a full price 1-2 or 1-4, but more expensive than the Oyster discounted equivalent.
  5. Afternoon Peak to/from zone 6. If you make a return journey where touch in for both legs is in the afternoon peak and you travel between zone 6 and another zone up to zone 2 then it may be cheaper to buy off-peak return tickets from the first station outside zone 6.  For example, Dartford to Sidcup off-peak return is £3.80 compared to £2.00 oyster single each way from Crayford or Bexley to Sidcup.  This doesn’t work for child tickets because the off-peak cap for children is only £1.40, but it does work with a family railcard.  If travelling to zone 1 the travelcard becomes cheaper which is also the oyster cap.

There may be other instances where paper tickets are cheaper, but we haven’t found them yet!  Remember that the ability to cap at the right rate for the zones used, or not to cap if you haven’t travelled enough, is the big advantage that Oyster has over day travelcards.

293 thoughts on “When not to use Oyster (Old)”

  1. I’m going London Bridge to Erith on a Sunday. I think it’s cheaper to get a ticket than use my Oyster. Do you know?

    • I would doubt it would be cheaper. Paper tickets cost £5.50 single, £10.80 return. Oyster PAYG is £3.20 each way. Even if you have a railcard which isn’t attached to your Oystercard the reduced paper tickets cost £3.65 single, £7.15 return.

  2. If I am visiting London for a day and have no plan, but know I will be making a few short-ish journys, but spending perhaps 30 minutes at various points (sometimes longer). Maybe getting off at one station, then getting on at another maybe 1/4 of a mile away, would you say Oyster is worth it?

    • Hi Joey,

      Yes, it probably is. What I would do is check the out of station interchanges page to see if any of the places where you might walk between stations are classed as an OSI. If any are then try to exceed the time allowed for the OSI if you want it to see two journeys. There are very few OSIs over 30 minutes anyway, usually going into a National Rail terminus where you have to wait on the concourse for your platform to be announced.

      The sort of thing which will cause a problem is making lots of random journeys with very little gap between them and without touching out and in again between the journeys (basically roving around for the fun of it). As long as you touch out at the end of each journey and touch back in before starting the new one you will be fine.

  3. Group travel. A group of 10 or more people can get Z1-6 off-peak day travelcards for £4 each.

  4. When starting your day’s journeys between 0000 and 0429 (and making a large enough number of them).

    e.g. If you buy an off-peak paper one day travelcard dated for a Saturday, it is valid from 0000 on Saturday to 0429 on Sunday. The equivalent Oyster cap only applies from 0430 on Saturday to 0429 on Sunday, but is the same price.

  5. I would like to know if I can combine a tram journey from Birkbeck to East Croydon with an overground rail journey to Gatwick airport, using my oyster card. Will this be price capped? I’m travelling on a week day at 8am. Thanks

    • Hi Carol,

      Oyster only covers the route as far as Coulsdon South, so unfortunately you would not be able to use it for the rail journey. Also, tram journeys are treated like bus journeys on Oyster, so they cannot be combined with a train journey. The bus or tram fare will still count towards the cap though.

  6. I want to travel with my wife and daughter on a weekday off peak from Watford Junc to Baker St and then to Charing Cross and return to Watford Junc. There will be gaps of over 30 mins. We both have Oyster card (not for child though) and also a family & friends travel card. Is paper or PAYG cheaper?
    How do I attach my family & friends travel card to our Oyster cards? Thanks

    • Hi JN,

      Unfortunately you cannot link a family and friends railcard to an Oyster card because the Oyster is only for a single person while the railcard is only valid with a group. It looks like paper tickets will be cheapest in this case. Two adults and one child off-peak day travelcards from Watford Junction cost £21.85 with the family railcard. Using Oyster, the adults cost £5 each, each way off-peak while a child paper off-peak day travelcard is £7.25 so a total of £27.25. However, if your child is under 11 then they can travel free on this route as long as they have a 5-10 Zip Oyster Card. The card costs £10 to get and is valid until the 11th birthday. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14554.aspx for further details.

  7. Hi there

    I’ve only recently discovered this site, and find it most interesting.

    I have a specific question about child fares. I don’t live in London, but will be visiting later this month with my family, including a 7 year old. Now, you say above that children travel free with a 5-10 zip card, but according to the TFL site at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx (click on 5-10 tab) it says ree when with an adult (up to four children per adult) or when using a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard . Specifically the OR in the middle of that sentence, which suggests to me they only need a zip if travelling alone. So as long as we stick to tube/bus/dlr, the child won’t need any sort of ticket (presumably gets carried through the ticket gates!)

    It gets more complicated with National Rail, so for those days I think the best option is to buy paper travel cards using my network railcard (this will be weekend so the minimum fare will not apply)


  8. Yes, you are correct. Under 11s only need a zip Oyster card if travelling alone on TfL rail lines.

  9. Hi, i’m coming to London as a visitor for 3 days doing the usual sights and shopping. I will probably be using the tube to get around quite alot each day, is it worth me getting an oyster card or a day travel card each day? If the journeys take 2/3 to catch up will i end up being out of credit on the last day then back within credit a few days later? hope this makes sense!!

    • Hi Joanne,

      There is no delay recording journeys on your card, that is all instantaneous, as is adding more credit. An Oyster card is ideal for what you plan to do because I imagine there will be a reasonable gap between each tube journey. If you end up not making very many journeys on one day then you won’t get charged for a full travelcard with Oyster (ie 3 zone 1&2 tube journeys is £5.70 while the off-peak daily cap is £6.30). Remember not to start before 9.30am (M-F) or those journeys won’t count towards the off-peak cap.

      The 2/3 day delay is for journeys to show up on the online journey history, although they are currently improving that so most journeys show up the next day now. However, you only get to see that if you’ve ordered top-up (or the actual Oyster card) online.

      Hope that helps.

  10. I got my Network card renewed yesterday and come across from LUL that it cannot be attached to my Oyster card as my last one.

    I am living in Zone 5 and train is the main transportation for me to travel London centre. This means that I can’t get discount during off peak travel during weekday, and over weekend I have to buy day travel card instead of just day return fare pay via Oyster card.

    There are few things I couldn’t get my head around. The LUL said Network card is not a photocard, the system cannot put it into the system. What about the card no then, can’t it be used? Other said Network card can’t be used on LUL system. How come Young Person Rail card is capable to do so, and how come Netowrk Card was working properly before and prior to my card expire, with all fares paid in accordance with the system?

    I thought the main pupose of LUL to populate the Oyster card because it can reduces queuing issue and minimise paper ticket etc. The action of LUL about Network card now doesn’t seem in line with it original remit, and casuing a lot of inconvenience to people, in particular who is living outside of central London. My question, what is the point of extended the use of Oyster card to Zone 6 if this simply issue could not be achieved/resolved?

    • Hi Kevin,

      If you managed to get your Network Card linked to your Oyster last time then you were extremely lucky. The problem with the Network Card is that there is a minimum fare Monday to Friday which is more than any off-peak Oyster fare, so it is useless on weekdays. The extra logic that would be needed to allow discounts at weekends only would put a strain on the time allowed to complete all the calculations when touching out. Therefore the Network Card has never been allowed to be linked to an Oyster Card.

      The 16-25, Senior, Disabled, Forces and Gold Cards all have similar restrictions which more-or-less match the off-peak times for Oyster so they are allowed to be linked. National Rail (ATOC) are happy to allow the minor differences to exist.

  11. Hi. Just found this great site.

    I have a question about peak travel. I will be starting a new job soon and will be travelling from east croydon to Holborn. I am planning on getting the train to Farringdon, then tube to Holborn. Would it be cheaper to get a monthly rail card and pay for the tube journey with my oyster, or use the oyster for the whole journey?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Rico,

      You may be able to get a season from Croydon to Zone 1 which would cover all your journey, or you might consider a travelcard for zones 5 to 1 which could be loaded on your Oyster. I wouldn’t recommend using Oyster PAYG for any part of regular commuting as season tickets will almost certainly be cheaper.

    • Hi Martin,

      That is just wrong. Write to the customer relations department of the TOC who runs the station concerned and ask them why they couldn’t follow the published concession.

  12. Brilliant resource Mike!

    Right now I have been travelling around town a fair amount on buses today and already capped at 4.00.

    I need to travel to Otford and back this evening. Return fare from Victoria £10.00 but is there any way I can use an oyster cap for the z1-6 portion of the journey? First stop is Bromley South, I believe.

    To/from Victoria will cost me 1.90 each way, plus the 4.00 already spent means that any further z1-6 travel would cap me at £6.60. So paying in effect twice for a portion of the Victoria-Otford journey, be good to avoid it!

    • Hi Vik,

      The zone 1-6 cap is £8. You can travel from Victoria as far as St Mary Cray within the zones, but for ease of not having to wait too long I suggest taking a fast train to Bromley South then buying the ticket to Otford from there.

      Hope that helps

  13. Thanks Mike. Yes I meant 8.00 for the cap!

    If I touch in at VIC national rail and then don’t touch out ie am incomplete journey would that be a 4.40 penalty on top of the cap? Or does a max fare incomplete journey get included in the cap?

    I like the idea of buying a Bromley S-Otford ticket but will u have to touch at BMS and hang around for the next train?

    • Yes, an incomplete journey does not count towards the cap, you will need to touch out at Bromley. The point being that there are fast trains to Bromley South so you can time it so you have enough time to buy the new ticket and not too much extra to wait. On the way back you’ll need to change again, but with the number of trains from Bromley South it shouldn’t be too long to wait.

      If you must do Victoria to Otford in one go then you’ll need to buy a paper ticket for the whole journey.

  14. Mike, thank you very much of your clarification.

    I accepted the constrain of the Network Card. However, after all, isn’t it is just a set of formulae written in Java or VB within the programme that enable the constrains to be applied within an Oyster card?

    This will not only to make the card holder (Oyster with Network Rail cards) life much easy, at the same time it is in fact paperless, in line with the purpose of Oyster card and would also help London to reduce its carbon footprint.

    • I actually agree with your arguements, Kevin. I wish the Network Card could be added to an Oyster card. I’m not technical enough to know how the programming works, but I do know that I have been told that there is a limit to the number of OSIs that can be programmed into the system. I’m guessing that that also relates to the time issue at touching. Maybe someone will come up with a better formula or algorithm at some stage and allow the use of Network cards at weekends.

  15. Hello Mike,

    I will be living near Clapham Junction for the next year and I will have to move probably on a daily basis to South Kensigton since I will be in Imperial College.

    I am trying to find a combination that will get me fast to my destination as well as cheap. I was considering travelcards but I did not fully understand the concept. I think that using a Tube, DLR and overground travelcard I won’t be able to travel from Clapham Junction to Victoria since they are connected via Southern… And I don’t wanna end up buying a monthly travelcard for both Tube and National Rail…

    A little bit of help would be greatly appreciated…

    • Hi George,

      Cheapest way is to use Overground to West Brompton then District Line to South Kensington. As that is TfL only it costs £2.50 peak and £1.90 off-peak. Travelcards offer unlimited travel within zones on all modes of transport (bus, tram, rail [inc overground], tube, dlr). There isn’t a version which excludes other national rail anymore. 5 peak return trips is £25 whereas the zone 1-2 weekly travelcard is £27.60. If you’re going to want to make more than just 5 peak return trips then the travelcard is probably worth it.

      Hope that helps.

  16. This 27,60 pounds will only cover my Tube and overground travelling, right??
    If I wanna use the southern train to Victoria and then the tube to South Kensington will I have to buy 2 travelcards or the Tube travelcard will be alright??

    Thanks in advance Mike!

    • George,

      There is no such thing as a Tube travelcard. A travelcard gives you unlimited travel within the zones purchased on tube, dlr, overground, national rail, bus (and tram if any of zones 3-6 is included). The £27.60 is for a zones 1-2 weekly travelcard and it is all you would need.

  17. Hi there – great website! If you have the time I’d appreciate some advice please. Basically I use a Southern annual ticket from Purley to London Terminals. I also carry an Oyster PAYG for infrequent tube/bus/etc trips. The NR ticket is ~£1500.

    I guess there’s no way I’m going to be able to ditch the paper ticket any time soon? Z1-6 travelcards look to be ~£500 more which is way more than I use currently on my PAYG.

    Shame really because this year’s ticket seems more flimsy and loses its ink far quicker than previous years and touching is rather easier (especially for the sticky paper ticker reader at Purley!)

    I guess the future isn’t quite here yet for NR users, and not likely to be any time soon if the blank look of the guy at Purley is anything to go by when I asked about loading an electronic season ticket onto my oyster…


    • Hi Lane,

      Unfortunately you are correct. Oyster is designed for travelcards, not point-to-point seasons. If you only use it occasionally then I agree that a PAYG Oyster card is the best bet. Note that if your season ticket becomes faded or ceases to operate the barriers then you can get a free replacement at the station where you originally purchesed it.

  18. I’m going to spend a few days in London next week, and was thinking of going, by train, from Gatwick (Gatwick Express?) to London Victoria, and from here to Epsom. I ask you what is the best (cheapest) alternative for a ticket. In the following two days, I’m thinking of visiting the most symbolic sights of London, so I thought about buying a travelcard (so I wouldn’t have to worry about the tickets). Do you advise me some ticket in particular?

    • Hi Hugo,

      I wouldn’t advise the Gatwick Express if you are looking to save money. The Southern standard services only take 2-5 minutes longer and are cheaper. To further save money you can get a through ticket from Gatwick to Epsom not via London where you change at Clapham Junction.

      For the following days I think a travlecard from Epsom to London zones 1-6 is probably the best option.

  19. Thanks Mike – currently on my 5th paper season ticket since December! I’m sure they weren’t this flimsy in the past… Anyway, thanks for the info.

    • I’ve heard of worse than that. If the ticket needs to go through lots of barriers every day it can wear out in little more than a month. But if you can get away with showing it at a manual barrier most of the time then it can still last all year.

  20. Hi again Mike,

    Another question… Railcard holders pay full whack on Oyster PAYG between 4 and 7pm. Does this still apply if the daily price cap has already been hit? In other words, will my £5.30 cap for Z1-6 go up again, and if so, would I be better buying a paper travelcard when I arrive (I believe this would also be £5.30)?

    • After 0930, any travel counts towards the off-peak cap. If that is made using peak fares between 1600 and 1900 then it just means that the cap is reached quicker. If you’ve already capped then you’ll continue to travel for free unless you extend your zonal coverage, but even then it will still be the new reduced off-peak cap.

      Hope this helps.

  21. I currently use Oyster PAYG to travel to work from Honor Oak Park (Zone 3) to Charing Cross (Zone 1) around 4 – 5 days a week. Recently I have needed to travel to Egham on South West trains maybe once or twice a week. I have been buying a paper ticket from Waterloo (£7.90 single) as I’m usually travelling from Zone 1, but wondered whether there is a cheaper option for me? Would it be better to buy a weekly/monthly travel card on the oyster and then a ticket from Zone 3 to Egham? Is this possible? I’ve just found your site which is really helpful but have confused myself reading about the old OEPs?!
    Your advice would be much appreciated.


    • Hi Andy,

      Firstly, everything about OEPs is dead, defunct, obsolete.

      Egham is outside the travelcard zones, as you probably know, so you can’t use Oyster all the way. If you put a zone 1-3 travelcard on your Oyster then you can buy a boundary zone 3 to Egham ticket at Waterloo ticket office. They are £5.50 single, £6.80 off-peak return, £8.50 anytime return.

  22. I know it will hardly break the bank but if you have a network railcard and travel to a national rail station inside zone 6 after 10am or on weekends it can work out cheaper on a paper ticket than PAYG, if you are making *only* the return journey.

    South Acton – Twickenham is an example. In 2012 this will be approx 10% cheaper (35p).

  23. Hiya, I have currently started a job in london and go to grays to the royal albert dlr, so I am using the National rail, Jubliee and also DLR. I have to get the train at 6 ish and finish at 4. I am confused on what would be cheaper… Oyster or a monthly ticket…? HELP! I have read many websites and still have no clue. I work monday to friday…

    • Hi Lou,

      I must admit that I’m a little confused as well. The Oyster fare for your journey is £4.30 if touch in is between 0630-0930 or 1600-1900 and £3.60 at other times. These are the fares from Jan 2nd 2012. If you get a season ticket it would need to be on paper. I believe that you would need a Grays to London zones 3-6 ticket which is £46.10 for a week or £177.10 for a month. This means that the weekly ticket is never worthwhile, whereas the monthly ticket will just about be cheaper if you make two peak journeys a day 22 times in a month. But, if you can touch in before 0630 on the way in to work than you’ll be charged off-peak. Likewise, if there is any way you can touch in on the way home before 1600. So it looks like in your situation it will be cheaper to use Oyster PAYG.

      Hope that helps.

    • Hi Jon,

      Just take the railcard and your Oyster card to a tube station and ask at the ticket office. The large tube stations attached to NR terminals are probably the best options as they generally tend to know what they are doing. Check out my Railcard Discounts page for more information.

  24. Hi Mike, thanks very much for the website. It’s a great resource.

    My question is not strictly speaking about Oyster but thought I would give it a go anyway. I have recently bought an Annual Season Ticket (zones 1-5) and thinking of taking advantage of the Partner Card offer for my wife, primarily to purchase one-day travelcards at weekends. However, I note that the Partner Card or Network Railcard is not currently given as an option on TfL ticket machines. If we select the option for another railcard (e.g. a Gold Card) and purchased a discounted travelcard, would this travelcard be valid with the Partner Card? Or would we have to get the travelcard from the ticket office?

    Many thanks, Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      I have to say I’m not sure. There are some funny rules for buying discounted travelcards at tube stations. The best thing to do would be to ask at the ticket office next time you get one. As long as you only use it at weekends you aren’t defrauding anyone of revenue, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get into a conversation with someone who checks the tickets.

  25. Can a ticket inspector see I have a senior railcard on my Oyster?

    I ask because I travelled home at 4.15pm on National Rail having bought from a machine a single with railcard rather than use my PYG Oyster which for some bizarre reason is more expensive than a paper ticket for such an journey.
    My actual railcard was at home along with my Freedom Pass which I had forgotten that day and I had only my Oyster card.

    • Hi Chris,

      A ticket inspector can see that you have a national rail railcard and when it’s expiry date is. It doesn’t specify which card it is. You should not use the Oyster card without the relevant railcard unless you are sure that you will not receive any discount (basically buses, trams and peak train travel as long as the off-peak cap is not reached). The Oyster card would never be deemed to provide evidence of posessing a railcard.

  26. Quick response. Thanks.
    I guess if there is a next time I forget things I will just have to snarl and bear it!

    • It’s best to check you have your railcard before buying tickets from a machine. If you are stopped by an inspector you can be liable for a penalty fare as a discounted ticket without railcard is treated as no ticket at all.

  27. Hi just wanted to know can I travel from Sidcup to dartford using my oyster because I got told it doesn’t work as far as dartford. Be great to get your response

  28. hi,
    can i go to gatwick airport from central London by my oyster card or day travel card? or do i need to buy rail ticket at victoria or london bridge which is more expensive? many thanks.

    • Hi viet,

      Gatwick Airport is outside the area covered by both Oyster and normal travelcards. There are a variety of different fares available depending on which station you leave from and anything that does not permit travel on the Gatwick Express will be charged far more reasonably. If you already have a travelcard then the cheapest way to get to the airport is to buy a ticket between East Croydon and Gatwick Airport. This can be done in London at a ticket office and allows you to use any direct train apart from the Express.

  29. Hi,

    I am going to London this Friday 17th Feb and will be arriving at Kings Cross Station (is the main one St Pancreas?) at around 2pm and then I will need to get to Greenwich Travelodge which I believe is very near the DLR Greenwich. At about 9:30pm I will need to get from DLR Greenwich to the O2 arena. At about 4:00am or maybe earlier I will then need to get back to Greenwich and then obviously back to Kings Cross in the afternoon. Is it worth buying an Oyster card for this? Help!?


    • Hi Vanessa,

      An Oyster card will be vastly cheaper for all your journeys except possibly the one at 4am. Neither the tube nor DLR operate between about 1am and 5am. I understand that Deptford Bridge DLR is the closest station to Greenwich Travelodge. The tube station called Kings Cross St Pancras is linked to both Kings Cross and St Pancras mainline stations. Take the Northern line from KXSP to Bank then the DLR from there to Deptford Bridge. For the O2 you need to change at Canary Wharf onto the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich. At 4am you’ll either need a taxi or the 108 bus to Blackheath and the 53 to Deptford Bridge. Both buses run all night and you can use Oyster on them.

      Hope that helps.

  30. Hello,

    I have a oyster card with young persons attached to it. Just trying to get my head around one part of the regulations. Normally I only travel in zones 1-3, and have that sorted, however today I will travel from Earlsfield (zone 3) into zone one. After, however, I will travel on peak time from Victoria to East Croydon (zone 5). Would it be cheaper for me to use my YP oyster or by the young persons 1-6 paper ticket at £5.60?

    Thank you, James.

    • Hi James,

      If you make both journeys it will cost the same. Although you will be charged a peak fare in the afternoon peak, the discounted off-peak cap will apply and curtail your charges at the £5.60 rate.

  31. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your help, weekend to London went brilliant no problems, loved the oyster card 🙂 thanks.

  32. Hey. I want to travel off peak time from streatham hill to Woking and return next day on peak time. I was thinking to use my oyster ( I have zones 1-2 travelcard) , but what would be cheaper? Thank you

    • Hi Laura,

      Woking is outside the Oyster area unfortunately. You can either buy singles from/to Boundary zone 2 and Woking (£7.80 each way) and use Oyster to get to Clapham Junction (just a zone 3 fare); or you can use Oyster to get to Surbiton and buy singles from there to Woking (£5.80 each way). You would need to get off to touch in/out at Surbiton but it will avoid double paying for zone 3. The oyster fares are £1.60/£1.40 for zone 3 only and £3.10/£2.10 for zones 3-6. The Woking fares are the same peak or off-peak and you can’t get a return because you are coming back the next day.

      Hope that helps.

  33. I have just seen that a single Oyster fare from Ladywell to Charing Cross is £3.40, but buying a return is still an outrageous £6.40 but is cheaper than Oyster, what is going on?

    A friend is visiting in May and I was wondering whether to get a couple of Oysters for our use. he is coming from Paris to St Pancras and is leaving from Heathrow six days later. We will be going up to london most days and are also going to go to Stratford by DLR


    I should also have said that a single peak Oyster fare from Ladywell to Charing cross is £4.40. Buying a return is £6.40.

    The £3.40 I mentioned is an off peak fare.

    So if we go from national railway Ladywell or Lewisham to central London and use the tube as well would the cost still be capped at less than a one day travel card?

    • Hi Stephen,

      You’ve looked up the wrong Charing Cross. The fares to London Charing Cross [National Rail] from Ladywell are £3.00/£2.10. The higher fares assume that you’ve changed onto the tube at Waterloo and thus pay the inflated through fares where a journey involves zone 1.

      The cost will always be capped at the same rate as the appropriate day travelcard.

      Hope that helps.

    • Hi Stephen,

      I found all the prices on the single fare finder. If you start typing Charing Cross it presents a dropdown with all the available options after the second character. I do find it easy to select the wrong line sometimes, but if you’re careful it does work. It is impossible to see the higher prices if the destination box correctly says London Charing Cross [National Rail].

  34. Hi, I am a little confused with Oyster for my journey(s). I go to London regularly for work but not 5 days per week – perhaps 2 or 3 days per week. If I buy a peak train return ticket to London Kings Cross, am I better getting an Oyster or train & travelcard combined? I go from LKX to a single destination (my office) either via tube or bus.

    I have an Oyster PAYG and loaded it with £20. Within 3 days it sits at £1.50 remaining!! I don’t understand what’s wrong.


    • Hi Graham,

      It’s difficult to advise without knowing where you start and end your overall journeys and which part of those journeys is made using Oyster.

  35. OK, I start at Huntingdon into LKX and onwards to Borough. Oyster or Travelcard would be used from London KX to Borough. HTH

    • Hi Graham,

      You can either pay £48.70 for an anytime travelcard from Huntingdon which gives you unlimited travel in zones 1-6, or you can pay £39.20 for a standard day return to Kings Cross and then £2 each way on the tube.

      As to how you’ve spent £18.50 in 3 days, I suggest you get hold of journey history or a statement. It sounds like you’ve had an incomplete journey or two. I don’t suppose you’ve been touching out or in at Kings Cross mainline when you should be using your paper ticket?

  36. Thanks Mike. I’ve got it now. I wasn’t entering London Charing Cross and was typing Charing Cross too quickly to get the menu after two characters.

  37. Perhaps yes. One day the barriers didn’t work for my Oyster so the guard had to let me through. I also use the same wallet to hold my Oyster and my train ticket – will this cause any scan issues? Thanks for your brilliant blog.

    • It shouldn’t inadvertantly scan because you do need to hold it flat over the reader for that to happen. The best thing to do is to check your history, either online or ask the helpdesk for an email statement. That should show you where it has gone wrong and if it’s clearly an error then the helpdesk should refund the charge.

  38. Hi Mike
    Apologies if this question has been asked before, I had a look but couldn’t see it.

    I’ll be travelling from Victoria to Gatwick Airport on Saturday. I have a zones 1 to 3 annual travelcard (Oyster). Therefore I should be able to get a rail ticket just for Clapham Junction to Gatwick as the Victoria to CJ part of my journey is covered by my travelcard. But…will there be an issue with me touching in at Victoria and not touching out again (as I won’t be getting off the train at CJ, I’ll be going straight through to Gatwick). Similarly on my return route five days later I’ll end up touching out at Victoria without having touched in anywhere.

    Hope that makes sense! Thanks.

    • Hi Li,

      There are no problems with only touching at Victoria. You actually only need to get a ticket from the boundary of zone 3. These are special tickets which can only be used in conjunction with a travelcard and can only be bought at the station, but they are often cheaper than the fare from a named station.

      Hope that helps.

  39. Hello,

    I hope you will be able to help me. I’m using Oyster card for a buses and National Rail for my daily trips from Zone 2 to 6(Clapham Junction to Feltham) but I’ve noticed that if I would be buying only Travel Card(paper one Clapham to Feltham), I’d save £40 a month? Is that right? And could I use that kind of Travelcard on the buses?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi edy,

      The paper season ticket from Clapham Junction to Feltham is a rail only ticket which is why it is cheaper. It would not be valid on buses.

  40. hi, i need to travel 1 week monday till sunday from streatham hill to woking what i need to by (about the cheapest way) i need to arrive in woking at 09:10 am and left at 6:50 pm. many thanks

    • Hi tin,

      The cheapest ticket is a Streatham Hill to Woking route not via London ticket which costs £63.50 for a weekly. Travel via Clapham Junction.

  41. hi mike thanks a lot!!! where i need to by the ticket? did you mean i need to travel with the bus or train to clapham junction and then with the train from clapham juction to woking?? did i need to put money on my oyster card?thanks a lot!

    • You need to buy the ticket at Streatham Hill. You can’t use Oyster beyond Surbiton. Take the train from Streatham Hill to Clapham Junction then change there for a train to Woking.

  42. Just looking at point 4 above, from looking at the tfl website it seems that the 1-6 and 1-9 oyster caps are discounted and are the same as paper tickets.

    • Hi SS,

      Yes, the paper travelcard and oyster cap for zones 1-6 is the same both full price and discounted. What I was trying to say is that the Oyster discounted 1-2 and 1-4 caps are cheaper than the paper discounted 1-6 travelcard.

  43. Hi,

    I am travelling from Amersham to Orpington and would like to use Oyster, but not sure how it works. When I change at Marylebone to Charing Cross to get train to Orpington, do I need to touch the yellow cards on entering and leaving these stations or just touch in and out at Amersham and Orpington. Fare for this journey coming up as less than £5?
    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Maureen,

      Touch in and out at each interchange. As long as the time between touch out and back in again doesn’t exceed the allowance then the three journeys will be merged into one and charged at £4.60 off-peak. Obviously that is only a single. Check the OSI page to see how long you have each time, but note that it is different depending on which way you travel (LU->NR is usually longer than NR->LU).

  44. Hi Mike, I will shortly be starting work in Brentwood, Monday to Friday, travelling from Lewisham. Am I right in thinking the cheapest fare would be a weekly/monthly oyster card for z2 to 3 then a weekly/monthly travel card between end of z3 and Brentwood? I’m assuming the best route would be DLR to Stratford then change to the overground to Brentwood. Thank you very much

    • Hi Eileen,

      Short answer is ‘No’. There are two issues here. A travelcard season is rarely cost effective if you only make one return rail journey 5 days a week unless you use zone 1 and mix TfL-Rail and NR. Lewisham to Stratford on DLR costs £1.50 each way compared to £22 for a zone 2-3 weekly travelcard. The other issue is that most people commuting between Brentwood and Stratford do it that way round, so to encourage ‘wrong-way travel’ the fares the other way are significantly cheaper than a season.

      The other issue is that at some point in the future Oyster will be extended to Shenfield so you will be able to make the whole journey using PAYG. It is possible though that wrong-way travel might still be cheaper using part paper tickets.

  45. Help please! I am flying into Gatwick, staying at a hotel near there & I want to head into London for a Saturday of shopping/sight seeing. It looks like the closest National Rail station to my hotel is Three Bridges. I have an Oyster Card from a previous trip to London. Is it worth it to top up the Oyster Card at the Gatwick Airport for one Saturday in London? If so, how much will it require? Will I need to purchase a rail ticket to get from Three Bridges to Victoria Station? Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Angela,

      I’m not sure whether you can top up the card at Gatwick, but in any case I don’t think that is the best way to do it. If you ask for a Three Bridges to London zones 1-6 travelcard (FCC only) it will cost £14.30. You will need to ensure that you get a First Capital Connect service between Three Bridges and East Croydon, but once there you can change onto any train for Victoria becasue you are then in the travelcard zones. On the way back you also need to make sure you are on a FCC train before venturing south of East Croydon. The FCC trains go into London Bridge rather than Victoria but there are plenty of fast trains to Victoria from East Croydon.

  46. Hi,

    Just wanted to know whether I could travel from London Bridge to Gatwick on my Oyster card.
    I have a zone 1 to 3 card and have topped up the card for pay as you go for about 15 pounds to cover the rest of the journey…..would look forward to hearing from you.

  47. Hi, please may I know the time limits on traveling on an Oyster payg. As in how much time allowance do I have from touching in to touching out?
    If possible please provide details for journeys from zone 1 to zone 3 and journeys within one zone (zone 3) please. Many thanks.

  48. Hi Mike
    I will be travelling to London with my Mum and two children (12 and 9 yrs old) in October half term, staying at the Greenwich Travelodge for two nights. We will be doing various journies around London as far out as Greenwich, mainly tourist things! We tend to mainly se the underground but we will be using DLR this time also. What is the cheapers way of buying travel passes for the three days?
    Thank you

    • Hi Lesley,

      As long as you don’t use National Rail then the 9-year-old is free on tubes, dlr, buses and London Overground. If you have a family and friends railcard then you would be best buying all-zones travelcards for the adults and 12-year-old. You can’t use the off-peak version before 09.30 weekdays. This costs £5.60 per adult and £2.00 per child. I don’t think you can get them at DLR stations, but you could buy them in advance at any National Rail station for the correct days. Hope that helps.

  49. Hi Mike,

    I currently have a annual season ticket for zones 2-4 and use prepay when travelling into zone 1.
    If I wanted to goto gatwick airport from Archway the best route for is to goto London Bridge and get the first capital connect train to Gatwick.

    Id there a point in gatwick station where I can touch out on my oyster card?

    • Sorry Goonergal,

      The Oyster system does not extend to Gatwick Airport. You may find a benefit if you buy your ticket from East Croydon, especially if it’s an FCC only ticket, and use Oyster to get to East Croydon. That way you’d only be paying for zones 1 and 5. You would have to change trains at East Croydon so you could touch out, but there are Southern fast trains between London Bridge and East Croydon so you wouldn’t necessarily have to wait too long.

  50. Thanks Mike, gonna be a bit of hassel when I will have my luggage with me.
    I may ask at archway if I can buy the extension from their.
    Or would I not be able to buy the extension on the train from London Bridge?

    • You can buy the East Croydon to Gatwick ticket in advance, maybe not from Archway but from London Bridge would be fine. You still need to touch out on the Oyster at East Croydon though, which I agree might be a pain with luggage.

  51. Thanks for the reminder that I will need to touch out at East Croydon.

    Do you know if the oyster touch reader is on the platform or will I need to go up stairs (assuming there are stairs their) to the ticket office?

    • The readers are on the gateline at the top of the ramps at the front end of southbound trains.

  52. Hi Mike,
    Can you advise cheapest way from Stansted Sat morning to Finsbury park followed by afternoon journey to Croydon. I do have an Oyster but should I use it ?

    Thank you

    • Hi Donal,

      You can’t use Oyster at Stansted so your first ticket would be better being a paper one. For the afternoon the cheapest way will be using Oyster and travelling from Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington then on the Overground to West Croydon. This avoids the premium for mixing NR and TfL rail on a journey involving zone 1. If the Thameslink route is open across London then Finsbury Park to Kings Cross and St Pancras International to East Croydon is both quick and 10p cheaper, but the route is not usually open at weekends.

  53. Hi. I am coming to London later in the year with husband and two children age 12 and 8. I understand that the 8 year old will travel free as long as he accompanies an adult with a valid ticket. We also have a family and friends railcard and I wondered the best option for buying cheapest travel tickets. We will be travelling from Mile End mainly into zone 1 for sightseeing, museums, etc. We are staying for a week arriving on a Saturday. Many thanks.

    • Hi Pam,

      It really depends how much you want to do. If you want to be starting before 9.30am on the weekdays then a weekly ticket for zones 1-2 would probably be best at £29.20 per adult and £14.60 for the 12-year-old. As long as you don’t want to use most National Rail services then the 8-year-old will go free. If you can wait until after 9.30am then with the family and friends railcard an adult zones 1-6 off-peak day travelcard is £5.60 and the child is £2.00. You can’t get discounted zone 1-2 travelcards, but the zone 1-6 is cheaper than the full price zone 1-2. It also covers you if you want to go further afield on one or more days.

      Hope that helps.

  54. Hi Mike, I travel on a PrePay As You Go Oyster Card with zones 2-4 as I travel from Streatham Hill BR Station to Richmond BR Station via Clapham Junction each day on a return journey.
    I pay 93 pounds a month into this Oyster card once the month is used up. I top up again with 93 pounds.

    My question is; Is it cheaper for me to;
    1. Top up with a few extra pounds from my wallet to pay for the extra zones 5-6 to travel to Thames Ditton Rail Station for a day and then returning home to Streatham Hill Station or to have a different option?

    • Hi Kai,

      The £93 buys you a monthly travelcard for zones 2-4. That means that any travel wholly within those zones is free, as well as anhy buses or trams within the whole zonal area. If you want to go to Thames Ditton and back then you will need to add some PAYG credit which will be used to buy a zone 5-6 single each way. That is £2.00 peak or £1.60 off-peak. The only cheaper option would be to catch buses from the last station(s) in zone 4 as they will be free.

  55. Hi Mike
    I am planing to visit UK for a week and I will be staying at Horley (my starting station). My travelling time to London will start after 09.30 (off peak) everyday. I will be doing few visit within Z 1-6.
    Can oyster card be used for my journeys. And how much will it cost everyday or for the week.
    Thank you,

    • Hi Del,

      Horley is outside the Oyster area so you will have to buy paper tickets. The off-peak day travelcard from Horley costs £15.00 while a weekly season is £88.30. The season allows travel at any time and multiple journeys from Horley to boundary zone 6 and back while the day travelcard is only one off-peak journey to the boundary and back.

  56. Hi Mike

    Many thanks for your advice. So much easier to understand than to try and pick through all the waffle on various websites!


  57. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel from Clapham Junction to Gatwick airport for 2 weeks Monday through Friday. I must be there for 8.30am. What would be the cheapest rail ticket I could purchase. Thanks

    • Hi Cathy,

      Obviously this is outside of the Oyster area, so I think the cheapest is probably a weekly ticket at £66.10.

  58. Hi Mike
    You are giving some great advice on here so I thought I would ask your advice on my problem.
    I am volunteering for the Olympics. I have been given an oyster card for Travel,BUT, I live in Billericay outside the oyster card zones. What ticket should I buy at Billericay, do I have to buy a return to Stratford and then use the oyster or is there any other way that I can buy a ticket to say Harold Wood which is zone 6? And do I have to get off the train at Harold wood to touch in my oyster card and the same on the way back?
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sheila,

      I’m not familiar with the Oyster card for volunteers, but I assume it will have a travelcard stored for the duration of your work. If that is the case then you will only need a ticket to Harold Wood and you don’t need to worry about touching in or out there. If you buy daily paper tickets then the train does not need to stop at Harold Wood because only one of your tickets is a season (the one stored on Oyster). If you buy a season between Billericay and Harold Wood then unfortunately the train does need to call at the changeover station. You might find it more convenient to buy a season to Romford instead if stopping at Harold Wood is a problem.

      Hope that helps.

  59. Hi I am travelling From orpington to Feltham on Sat and coming back sunday .. What is the cheapest Way.

    • Hi Wendy,

      According to the single fare finder there are three options. The default is to travel via Waterloo East and Waterloo and costs £3.40 off-peak. If you avoid zone 1 by using the Victoria line between Brixton and Vauxhall then it comes down to £2.30, while the third option is the most expensive using the Underground within zone 1 and costing £4.60.

      Hope that helps.

  60. Hi there,

    I already reached daily’s price cap (7£ Zones 1-2). Tonight I’m going to be around and the question is: will the subway cost me 2£ just because its past midnight when I go home? Or does it still count as current day till the subway closes?


    • Hi Alberto,

      The Oyster day ends at 0430 the next morning. In terms of the Underground you won’t be charged extra between midnight and shutdown. There is sometimes a problem on National Rail services that run all night, although not usually until after 0200.

  61. Hi Mike,

    I have the same issue as Shelia, I dont understand your answer to her though. Sorry! if I have not checked in on my Oyster card then how do I get out of the station at Stratford? Will it not flag up that I have not checked the card in at a priviouse station? Help!

    • Hi Jo,

      If you have a travelcard loaded on your Oyster then there is no penalty for not touching in or out within your zones. It will let you out at Stratford even if you didn’t touch in at the boundary of zone 6 and if you touch in at Stratford it won’t deduct anything so there is no need to touch out as you leave zone 6.

      All this is assuming that they are providing a free travelcard for Olympic ambassadors. If you can send me a link to somewhere that details what you will get I can verify exactly what it is.

  62. Hi Mike
    Many thanks for the info.
    I am not an ambassador but a games maker I dont know if this makes any difference to what oyster is given but I believe that the oyster card given to games makers is a pay as you go card, pre loaded with a certain amount of money.
    Does this make a difference to travelling outside the zones, getting off to touch in and out etc?

    • Hi Sheila,

      I’ve had a look around various internet forums and from what I can tell you should be getting Oyster cards with a travelcard just like the ambassadors. Some people have already got theirs and apparently you can check it out at any Oyster enabled ticket machine. I’ll make some further enquiries, but I’d be surprised if they really were just sending cards with pre-loaded credit. The travelcard can be restricted to just the period of time that you are working whereas credit is either there to use immediately or not.

      However, IF you are getting just PAYG credit then yes, you will have to touch in and out at each end of every journey. This would mean that you can’t stay on a through train.

      I hope that helps.

  63. Hello,

    Tomorrow I have to go to Wimbledon from SE1 — I have been taking Northern to District, but it is so long! How much would it cost me to travel from Waterloo to Wimbeldon at 9:30 AM? Also, is it cheaper to use my Oyster card or buy a ticket with my student rail card? Thanks!

    • Sorry that it took so long to reply. As long as you touch in after 09:30 then it would cost £2.10 single on Oyster, or £1.40 if your senior discount entitlement is added to your card. Take the Oyster and Railcard to the Waterloo Underground ticket office and they should do that for you in a few seconds.

  64. Yes, thanks Mike, it was 1.40 with my student discount. I wish I had known about this earlier — I assumed the commuter train was more expensive than the tube and wasted time and money on a much longer and more uncomfortable journey.

    • Hi James,

      If you don’t mix tube with NR in zone 1 then the rates are fairly similar, although TfL rates can be cheaper. The killer is using both TfL Rail and the old NR on a journey involving zone 1, because then you have to pay the premium charge.

  65. Hi,

    I’m staying at a hotel in Horley, Surrey for 2 days, to travel around London and get to know the city. Therefore I will need to take the train from Horley Station to London Victoria Station (I think this is the easiest route) both days. I want to know if I can use oyster on the National Rail? I’m trying to figure out what is the best way (and the cheapest one) to travel around London using public transportation. Also, I will be taking the tube from Heathrow Airport to West Brompton Station. So, is buying an oyster a good option? Thanks!!

    • Hi Melissa,

      This is awkward because Horley is outside the Oyster area. I think that the easiest way might be to get a Horley to London zones 1-6 travelcard. As long as you don’t want to arrive in London before 09:50 this will cost £15 per day. The off-peak day return to London is £11.60 so you are getting the travelcard for £3.40.

      I’m not sure where the tube from Heathrow fits into your itinerary. Is it the day before and are you going to Horley?

  66. Hi

    I’m travelling to London from Yorkshire in a couple of weeks with my sister and 13 year old daughter using a Family and Friends railcard. We’re staying in central London from Sunday to Tuesday. My sister and I both have Oystercards but my daughter doesn’t. Where we’re staying means we’ll probably be using the bus quite a bit. Is it worth paying the £10 for a zip oystercard for my daughter to travel free on buses, or would we be better getting off peak travel cards using the Family and Friends railcard?? It’s such a confusing system! Thanks in advance for your help….

    • Hi Roz,

      Actually you are probably better off just getting a child travelcard and using your oyster cards for the adults. Buses cap at £4.20 per day for adults which is less than the £5.60 discounted travelcard. The child off-peak travelcard is £3.20 per day. If your travel plans start to involve any rail travel though, I would then recommend using the F&F railcard to get travelcards for everyone. The discounted child off-peak travelcard is £2.00.

      Hope that helps.

  67. Hello Mike,

    Myself and my partner were visiting London over this weekend from Edinburgh. We asked at information the best method of payment for travel given that we were to be travelling from Tottenham Court Road and the Excel Centre and then to Gatwick on the Monday at midday. The lovely advisor said that the as we were travelling at all off peak times, oyster would be our best bet and that our £5.00 deposit could be refunded together with any unused prepayment for travel at our last station. We discovered at Gatwick that this was not the case and had to pay for our Journey the full fee £20.00 each.

    We are now concerned that we haven’t “touched out” and wonder what we should do with our cards. Is it worth keeping them to use on our next trip or will a fine be added constantly? I hope you can advise!

    Best wishes


    • Hi Helen,

      The good news is that no more charges will be applied to the Oyster cards. You will have been charged £4.60 each for an incomplete journey. The card will still be valid and if it has any further credit this will remain forever. If the balance went below zero with the incomplete journey then you probably ought to contact the Oyster helpdesk as I believe that cards with unused negative balances may get hotlisted after a while, and this may make getting the deposit back more difficult. The helpdesk will be able to advise what is best to do. You certainly won’t lose any more money though.

      Hope that helps.

  68. I have a Derbyshire Gold Card. Is it possible to have this linked to my Oyster card when I next visit London?

    • Unfortunately not, Ron.

      If this card gives you free travel on buses nationwide then you can show it to bus drivers in London, otherwise, as far as I am aware, it has no benefit in the London area.

  69. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much for your help, you are much better than the people on the Oyster help line and people at the tube stations.

    Thanks again, Jo

  70. Hello Mike, I am going to catch a bus to go to the Twickenham Stadium tomorrow (I’m not sure where I’m catching the bus, near Richmond or near Heathrow, but my husband knows that anyway) my question is: can I use my oyster card on that bus? Am I too far from London?
    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Tere,

      Sorry for the delay replying. Buses at Richmond will be no problem while buses from Heathrow to Twickenham are also likely to be ok. The key is that it must be a route operated on behalf of TfL which means that the bus ought to be red.

  71. Hi Mike,

    I hardly ever use oyster so just wanted to check what I do when travelling from Welling to Twickenham via Waterloo East/Waterloo. Should I touch the oyster at only Welling and Twickenham or do I need to touch at Waterloo as well?

    • Hi Phil,

      You’ll need to touch out on the bridge from Waterloo East and back in at the gateline to the platforms on the main station.

  72. Hello Mike,
    Do you have a suggestion for how a trip from Euston to Surbiton could be made cheaper? As I understand it, because the journey includes National Rail, it is subject to increased prices. The problem is I/we have to make this journey and the reverse several times on separate days so no caps apply.

    Thanks for your time,

    • Hi James,

      The real premium is because you are mixing TfL and NR services on a journey involving zone 1. But yes, there are two reasonable ways to make it a little cheaper. Firstly, walk along the road to St Pancras International; from there either (a) take a train to London Bridge, another one to Waterloo East and then get your train to Surbiton from Waterloo; or (b) take a train to Wimbledon and then to Surbiton from there. Although it looks more complicated, option (a) is probably quicker because the line from St Pancras to Wimbledon is quite roundabout and the trains aren’t very frequent. The other way involves taking the Victoria line to Vauxhall and then to Surbiton from there. This is a special case because Vauxhall is dual zoned so the Underground is treated as a zone 1 journey while the National Rail bit is a zone 2-6 journey. It’s quite a saving in the peak but only a little off-peak, while the NR only options from St Pancras are the cheapest at all times.

  73. Hello Mike,
    I was wondering if you could share some advice as to how the new Oyster extension affects the Brentwood station. Has it become part of the Greater London travelcard area (the one previously ending one stop earlier) and if so what kind of travelcard would be required to commute from brentwood to London and include unlimited journeys in zone 1 (and maybe 2)?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Hi Andy,

      As far as I am aware, the extension to Shenfield has not happened yet. Equipment might be being installed at stations, but I don’t expect it to go live until after the Olympics. I expect it will work in a similar way to the Grays extension.

  74. Mike, A few weeks ago I bought two visitor Oysters, one for myself and one for my visitor. Today I saw him off on the Picadilly line from Picadilly Circus. Yesterday I topped up my card and had £11.95 credit. I went from Ladywell to Charing Cross, then the underground to Picadilly circus (one stop) back again to Charing Cross and then to Ladywell. I touched in and out at the apropriate places and found I had only had £2.75 credit left. The time of travel was 12.58 from Ladywell and 13.46 return to Ladywell from Charing Cross.

    Is it likely to emmend the credit or do I have to ring tfl?
    Or is it possible that I may have done something wrong?



    • Hi Stephen,

      Going by how you have described your journey I would say that you probably didn’t touch out or in again at Picadilly Circus? The touches at Charing Cross will have conformed to the OSI spec so will simply have joined your journeys together, so it becomes a Ladywell to Ladywell journey. Because the system doesn’t know where you went it charges two incomplete journeys at £4.60 each.

      The Oyster system is supposed to try and work out “here to here” journeys afterwards, and it is possible that the inclusion of the OSIs may mean this will happen. I’m not sure what you’ll get, but an email will explain the amount after a few days (they wait to see if any delayed information comes in which completes the journey). However, it’s also possible that nothing will happen. If you ring the helpdesk and explain what you did they should arrange a credit of the right amount for you.

      Hope this helps.

  75. Thanks for your quick reply. I didn’t touch in or out at Picadilly. I returned on the Bakerloo and touched out there. Seems a bit silly having to go all the way up the esculator to touch out and in, then go back down again.

    • I agree that it’s not intuitive in the scenario you described, but in terms of the over-riding instruction to touch in at the start and out at the end of your journey you can see why it’s necessary. Thankfully you had enough credit to exit at Lee because I’m aware of others who have been issued a penalty fare when the gate refused to let them out.

  76. And I wasn’t going to bother to top up. Ladywell’s exit wasn’t through a gate at that time so I would have been able to get out.

    • Hi Stephen,

      9 times out of ten you would be fine in that situation, but if RPIs were in attendance they would hear the beep accompanying seek assistance. I’m merely pointing out the possible implications to anyone else reading these posts so they can make an informed decision.

  77. Hello Mike,

    This may not be the place for all my information, but I’ve searched the internet so much, I seem to be more confused than less…hoping you could help me with some transportation questions or let me know if current plans are best choice. We arrive Gatwick on Fri morning, June 28th & stay in London until Monday, July 2nd. Staying at Apex Temple Court Hotel {1-2 Serjeant’s Inn, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1LL}. I plan to purchase RT national rail train direct from Gatwick to Blackfriars Station [taxi or walk to hotel]. We plan on doing the normal tourist sightseeing Fri-Sun. Should we purchase the oyster card for these days? On Monday, July 2nd [midday], we are taking a taxi to Waterloo Station & I already purchased Roundtrip tickets on Southwest Train to Fleet Station [my husband has HBS conference @ Four Seasons~Hampshire]. We return London on Fri, July 6th [midday] from Fleet Station to London Waterloo [we arrive London Waterloo @ 13:34]. I plan on taking taxi from Waterloo Station to St. Pancras Station to catch Eurostar train to Paris. My question is how much time do you think I need to get from Waterloo to St. Pancras in taxi on a Friday between 13:45 & 14:00? I wan’t to purchase our RT tickets, but not sure what departure time we can safely make. We return from Paris to London on Monday, July 9th for 1 night. I’ll taxi from St. Pancras to hotel. Our flight home to Vegas is the following morning from Gatwick. I plan to again take a cab or walk to Blackfriars Station for direct train to Gatwick. I was hoping you’d tell me if these choices are okay or if you have any better transportation suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jacqueline,

      Your plans seem fine to me. An Oyster card may help for the sightseeing days, especially if you do most of your travel by bus. If it’s going to be mainly by tube then a paper travelcard is just as good. The zone 1-2 version costs £7.00 and covers pretty much everything in the middle of town. There are zone 1-4 (£7.70) and zone 1-6 (£8.50) versions as well depending on how far out you want to go. Those prices are off-peak which is after 0930 on the Friday, so no problem to you.

      As for the taxi from Waterloo to St Pancras, I’d allow 30 minutes although it could be as quick as 15.

      Hope that helps.

  78. Hi Mike,

    Brilliant resource, the sort of Info TFL should be providing rather than a third party like yourself.
    Here’s the scenario:
    I’m working in London but I am only actually in town 4 days a week. I travel down on Monday morning by BR. Transfer from Kings Cross to Westminster by tube and then go from Westminster to Hampton Court where my week day digs are in the evening. Tuesday and Wednesday I commute from HC to Westminster and Thursday from HC to Westminster in the morning then Westminster to Kings Cross to go home via NR in the evening.
    I *Think* I am better of with PAYG on Oyster rather than a 1-6 season ticket but I’m struggling to work out exactly what fares are involved and what would be cheaper. Help!

    • Hi Dave,

      Kings Cross to Westminster by tube is £2.00 at any time. If you can walk from Westminster to Waterloo then Waterloo to Hampton Court is £5.50 peak or £3.40 off-peak. The Underground adds £1.40 peak or £1.20 off-peak to that fare. There is a halfway house if you change to the Underground at Vauxhall which makes Hampton Court to Westminster £5.60 peak or £4.30 off-peak. I definitely wouldn’t get a travelcard for zones 1-6, but if I was possibly making other central London journeys (eg at lunchtime) then it might be worthwhile getting a zone 1-2 weekly at £29.20 which then cuts the Hampton Court fare down to £3.10 peak or £2.10 off-peak with no difference for the Underground options.

      Hope that helps.

  79. Hi Mike,
    Looks like you’re solving a lot of ticketing queries so hoping you’ll be able to help me with mine…
    I live in Epsom (outside zone 6) and work in Hammersmith. My route will be overground from Epsom (where there are no oyster readers) to Wimbledon, then tube from Wimbledon to Hammersmith. Ideally I’d like a monthly ticket that covers the whole journey – I’ve looked around but am a bit confused, am I able to get an Epsom to zones 1-6 monthly? And if so, would this also allow other journeys e.g. if I wanted to go from Hammersmith into central London one day and then back out to Epsom from there?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Alice,

      There are two options for Epsom to Hammersmith. For your route you would need zones 2-6 which costs £167.50/month. This would only cover you as far as Vauxhall or Earls Court. Zone 1 tube single fares are £2.00 on Oyster so you would need to work out whether you would use it enough to justify the Epsom to zones 1-6 which costs £232.00/month. Hammersmith to zone 1 by tube is also only £2.00 after 0930 and coming home you would go to Vauxhall by tube on Oyster then use your season ticket from there on National Rail. Vauxhall is dual zoned in both 1 and 2 so you are charged the most favourable fare depending on which direction you arrive from.

      Hope that helps.

  80. Thank you so much, Mike!! 🙂 I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your response! Have a great week! 🙂

  81. Hello Mike,
    my husband and 12yr old son are going to the excel centre this weekend (2/3 june) what is the best way for them to get there from kings cross and which would be the best travel ticket to buy ? day tickets or oyster? we have a friends and family railcard. many thanks

    • Hi stella,

      Is this a day trip on one of the days or are they staying at/near the Excel overnight? If it’s a day trip then use the railcard to get one adult and one child all-zones travelcard at a total cost of £7.60. If you are literally making one single trip each day then your husband should get an Oyster card so he will pay £2.60 while your son will need a paper ticket costing £2.10. Unfortunately you can’t make Underground/DLR trips with the railcard unless you buy the travelcard.

      The best route is Northern Line from Kings Cross St Pancras to Bank then DLR to Custom House, but check weekend engineering works.

  82. Hi
    We are coming to stay with family in Woking later this summer and are very confused by the cards and tickets. We plan to travel into London and do the tourist thing on 5 out of 7 days.

    We travel from Newcastle to Kings Cross and return the same way but are unsure about what is covered in getting from King’s cross to woking (overground, underground)

    We have a family and friends railcard and my husband has just been sent a veterans oyster card which we understand entitles him to free travel but are not sure where the border lies. We will be 3 adults (including hubby with oyster) and 4 children aged 4-14.

    What is our best option on a 7 day ticket (oyster/railcard/travelcard) how do the discounts work-(groupsave/family railcard) and where is the boundary so what tickets do we need to buy to get from the valid zones to/from woking?

    I appreciate your help 🙂

    • Hi Aely,

      The Oyster and travelcard extends as far as Surbiton on the line to Woking. Your husband will only need to pay between Surbiton and Woking as long as the train calls at Surbiton. For the rest of you I suggest Woking to London zones 1-6 travelcards which cost £13.40 for adults and £3.85 for children with the family and friends railcard. However, if your travel in Central London can be limited to Underground, DLR, buses and London Overground then children under 11 only need to pay £2.95 for a return to London Waterloo. This is because under 11s are free on TfL operated services. Obviously any under 5s are completely free.

  83. Thanks so much. You have made things much clearer in a very confusing system. 🙂

  84. Hello, I am trying to figure out what is the cheapest way to travel around London. I will be flying into Gatwick Airport and I am staying in Watford. I will be there for three days and I am able to walk to Watford Junction. Will I be able to use the Oyster card to get from Gatwick Airport to Watford Junction and to London, specifically Euston and the Westminster areas? Is this the best option or is there a better option? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Mary,

      Watford to London is no problem. Gatwick is outside the area though. I think the cheapest way to do Gatwick to Watford is to get a FCC only* single from Gatwick to East Croydon, then touch in the Oyster and travel via Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction. There is an hourly direct train from East Croydon to Watford Junction but it’s quite slow up to Clapham Junction.

      * There are 4 FCC trains an hour non-stop between Gatwick and Croydon.

  85. Hi,

    I’m hoping you may be able to give me some advice. I usually buy a monthly season ticket including zones 1-6 from Bedford. I get off at farringdon and then get the H&C line to Aldgate East. I rarely travel any further than this. Would it be cheaper for me to buy the mainline season ticket (which is £95 less) and use an oyster or to pay for the full all zones season ticket (£480)…?


    • Hi Angie,

      I’m not quite sure I can see the specific fares you mention, however, an out-boundary travelcard is always cheaper than the ticket to London plus a z1-6 travelcard. I’d certainly rule that one out therefore. In your case I’d go for a PAYG Oyster for the tube bit as that is all zone 1 and the smallest travelcard season you can buy is two zones. Bedford to London Thameslink is £100.10/week plus 10 x £2.00 Oyster journeys is £120.10/week. Bedford to London zones 1-6 is £122.40/week. The savings will go up proportionately with longer period tickets.

  86. Hi Mike,

    I am coming down to London for 3 days where I will be all over the place. I will be staying in Brockley and going to London Bridge, Sydenham, Waterloo etc Mostly Zones 1 and 2 (except Sydenham Zone 3). Was thinking of getting an oyster card? What do you think?

    Many Thanks!

    • Hi Laura,

      Definitely get an Oyster card. If you have a railcard (16-25, Senior, disabled, forces or gold) then get that added as well to reduce any off-peak fares or caps.

  87. Hi Mike,
    Question for you:
    Wife, child and I are in London for a week and have Oyster cards. We will be using the tube and buses for daily travels. Here is our confusion: if we take the bus to the tube, then the tube to our downtown location are we charged two daily maximums or is the bus ride counted towards are tube daily maximum?

    Thanks for any clarity you can add.

    • Hi Mark,

      All bus and tram journeys are charged at the flat rate of £1.35 with a daily cap of £4.20. These charges count towards the daily travelcard cap when using rail services. If you use a bus/tram before 0930 M-F then it will still count towards the daily bus cap, but not towards the off-peak rail cap. It will count towards the peak rail cap should you use it enough before 0930 for that to be triggered.

  88. Thanks Mike.

    I have been advised by others to get a daily travelcard for zones 1-3? Would this maybe be better? Its £7.00 something?

    Not really sure how it works though?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Laura,

      Daily off-peak travelcards are available for zones 1-2 (£7.00), zones 1-4 (£7.70) and zones 1-6 (£8.50). The main advantage to Oyster is that it decides which cap to apply when you actually use a zone, so if you don’t end up in zone 3 one day it woun’t charge you the extra. With a paper travelcard you’d need to buy the extra up front or purchase an extension ticket before leaving the zones covered. Also, if you have a railcard discount applied to the Oyster card then you get fully discounted off-peak caps for all varieties, whereas with paper they only discount the zone 1-6 version.

  89. Hi Mike,
    Thanks so much for the reply! These guys need to hire you to manage their customer service dept.

  90. Hi

    Firstly, great site!

    I’m looking at getting an Oyster card for the latter part of my journeys into London which are anything from 2-5 days per week. I travel from Hastings mainline to London Bridge and then on to sometimes Zone 2, sometimes 3, occasionally 1 – usually off peak but not always. I guess my question is – would it be possible to get a normal season ticket to the nearest Oyster station and then use the Oyster card for journeys into and around London? Would I have to swipe in at the nearest Oyster station every time and continue on or would the fare cap cover it? I’ve also seen that a travelcard can be combined with Oyster so would this be the best way to go in order to minimise swiping?

    A bit convoluted sorry, my journeys vary somewhat 🙂 Just trying to work out if I can save money this way …

    Thanks in advance!


    • Hi Chris,

      Combining a season ticket with Oyster PAYG is not pretty in a lot of cases because you do have to touch in to activate the Oyster journey. If there are validators on the platform where you switch then it can be done without missing the same train. In your case the best station to change at is Orpington. On the way into London you may be able to just nip out and back in again if you position yourself near the exit door on platform 2. On the way back you’ll probably have to aim to get the train before your one to give yourself time to cross to an exit and back again.

      As to whether it would save money or not, it depends on your journey within London. You only pay for each zone once, so going out the other side of London doesn’t add anything to the cost (although if you mix tube and NR on a journey involving zone 1 then it will add a one-off premium). The TfL single fare finder will tell you what the various journeys will cost on your Oyster, you’ll just have to work out whether the cheaper ticket to Orpington rather than London makes it worthwhile.

      Hope that helps.

  91. Hi

    I am moving to Waltham cross and want to know, should I get a max zone oyster season ticket and just get national rail from Wal Cross to the end of the oyster zone or just get a national rail ticket all the way to liverpool street.

    I will rairly use the oyster to travel around London.

    I will be travelling in 5 days a week.


    • Hi David,

      The all zone travelcard costs significantly more than the Waltham Cross to Liverpool Street season ticket so you are probably better off with the national rail ticket, unless you start to make significant use of other services within the zones.

  92. Hi,
    What is the situation when making a journey on the thameslink line from St Pancras to St Albans – a single train journey that involves starting in the oyster area but ending out of the oyster area. I’m guessing I’ll either have to get off the train at Elstree (last station in the oyster area) to validate the oystercard then go to the booking office and buy a single ticket to St Albans then get on the next train to St Albans OR do I just not use my oystercard and just buy a £10.80 single for the whole journey. can anyone advise..thanks

    • Hi Mitchel,

      It’s the old price vs convenience conundrum. Elstree to St Albans single is £4.70 and the off-peak single Oyster fare is £3.40 or £5.50 in the peak. So, Oyster will always be cheaper on this route, but yes, to use it you will have to detrain at Elstree.

  93. Hello,

    I have a Zones 1-6 day travelcard but want to travel onto Kelveden in Essex. Can I buy a National Rail ticket from Stratforf / Romford to cover the last part?

    • Hi Louise,

      If you buy a day ticket from boundary zone 6 to Kelvedon then you can use the combination on any train, even fast ones. If you buy from a named station then the train has to call at that station.

      Hope that helps.

  94. Hi Mike,

    I must say you are doing great job. I’ve come across a little confusion I wonder if you could help me.I’ve zone 3-4 travelcard on my oyster which I renewed 10 days before for a month because I live in zone 4 and have to travel for work to 3. I recently got a new job where I’ll be starting after 4-5 days.The problem is my new workplace is in zone 2 near earls court and I am worried that if I buy new zone 2-4 travelcard I’ll be losing my money for 15 days of travelcard (almost 40-45 pounds)which I am currently having expiring 20 days from now. I don’t earn too much so that amount is quite big for me. Can I transform my current travelcard to zone 2-3 one by paying some extra money or is there any cheaper way I could do it ? please help.

    • Hi Chirag,

      The simplest thing to do would be to add some PAYG credit and carry on using your existing travelcard. You will only be charged for a zone 2 single (as long as you aren’t also going through zone 1) for each journey. Just make sure that you touch in and out at each end of the journey so the system knows what you’ve done. When you next renew you could then buy a zone 2-4 travelcard.

  95. Gamesmaker oyster cards to zone 6 – I travel from Longfield to Victoria and onward by tube to the Olympic Park – Longfield is not in zone 6 – from where on this line does it start and can I buy a return from Longfield to wherever the zone 6 starts and then use my Oyster card for the remainder of the journey.
    Also heard there are special deals for Gamesmakers to use the fast track from Ebbsfleet to Stratford Intl – is this true?

    • Hi Carole,

      As far as I know there is no special deal between Ebbsfleet and Stratford. You certainly won’t be able to use travelcards or Oyster cards on that section. St Mary Cray is the first station in zone 6 on that line. As long as your GM Oyster has a travelcard on it (as opposed to a set PAYG balance) then yes, a return from Longfield to St Mary Cray will be fine, even on trains that don’t stop at St Mary Cray.

  96. Hi Mike, I need to travel from Grays to Fenchurch Street (train only) – is it cheaper to get a day return or use Oyster PAYG? I will be travelling during peak hours, 3 days this week. Many thanks

    • Hi Anh,

      There is no difference with peak returns, but singles and off-peak tickets are cheaper with Oyster. Paper tickets are £7.00 single, £10.40 peak (anytime) return and £9.80 off-peak return. The Oyster single fares are £5.20 peak and £4.40 off-peak.

  97. hi mike i have a freinds and family railcard can i get discount on the tubes and dlr with this

    • Hi Carol,

      You can buy discounted day travelcards for zones 1-6 or 1-9, but not ordinary single tube or dlr fares.

  98. Why is it cheaper to buy a train ticket direct from Waterloo, NOT including my Oyster Zone1-4, which I already pay for?!

    Sorry Mike, let me clarify;

    I have a Zone1-4 Oyster.

    To buy a ticket from Z4 to Aldershot, it would cost me £11.20 (including my 16-25 card)

    Yet if I buy Waterloo to Aldershot, it is only £8.85.

    I’m already paying for a portion of my journey monthly with my Oyster card, so why NOT including this on the journey, is it cheaper?!

    • Hi Amy,

      I’m puzzled. I don’t know where you’ve got those prices from, but they aren’t right – or at least the BZ4 one isn’t. According to my sources a single from BZ4 to Aldershot should cost £9.30, or £6.15 with railcard while London terminals to Aldershot single is £13.40, or £8.85 with railcard.

      Hope that helps.

  99. I was checking online at Trainline and Redspottedhanky…

    Where did you get the £6.15 from? Will go for that!

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Amy,

      Online websites cannot sell the boundary zone X fares so you were probably looking at a different product altogether. You need to buy the extension ticket at a ticket office.

  100. I need to go from central London to Twinckenham, 2 return tickets cost £13 plus the tube (Oyster) to Vauxhall or Waterloo. Is that cheaper than just using the Oyster all the way?


    • Hi Cuatro,

      I need more info. Is the fare you are getting £12.70 and does that include a railcard discount? When are you travelling? Which railcard(s) are you using?

  101. Thanks for replying Mike and sorry for the lack of info. I did the travel yesterday but at the end I learn that we were four people traveling so it was a better option to buy the four train tickets for £19.80. We don’t have any railcard. Thanks

    • Ah yes, if there are four of you then groupsave is likely to make paper tickets better.

  102. Hi
    Would i be better off on a day trip from caryford to charring cross and tubes and bus to get an oyster card or a Day travel card?

    • Hi Juls,

      The travel should cost the same in this case because the Oyster card will cap at the same rate as the day travelcard. If you need to leave before 0930 on a weekday then the Oyster may well be cheaper as only the journey(s) before 0930 will be charged at peak rate and the total may be less than the anytime day travelcard.

  103. Hi my daughter has a child oyster card which we use when in london visiting family … shes at an age where she wants to go out with friends for the day … she would be travelling from southend on sea into london … would it be cheaper for her to buy a return to the first oyster stop (zone 6) then use oyster for the rest of the day or just buy a cheap day return … have tried asking about child rates travel cards in london on the oyster cards and keep getting varying rates … any ideas?

    • Hi Josh,

      It might be better, but it depends on the circumstances. A child zone 1-6 travelcard is £3.20 off-peak while the off-peak daily cap on a child Oyster card is £1.40. She’d have to change at Upminster to touch in, but as that’s where the tube starts it might not be as bad as it can be. If travelling around London by bus rather than tube then I’d recommend a ticket to London then use the Oyster to get free bus travel. This all assumes that she has a Zip 11-15 Oyster card.

  104. Hi,
    I am new in London and I need some information.
    I made an Olyster pay as you go.
    But now I have to take the train to Shenfield (from Goodmayes to Harold Wood) for a job. Is it ok the Olyster?
    I am waiting for an answer.
    Thank you.

    • Hi alexandra,

      Yes, Goodmayes to Harold Wood is just within the Oyster area. It is due to be extended all the way to Shenfield when Crossrail takes over the services on that line in a few years time.

  105. thanks mike … yres she has the 11-15 oyster … this has helped so much thank you ….

  106. Hi Mike – quick question. Does an Oyster card bring you the whole way to Gatwick Airport? Regards.

  107. Thank you Mike.
    One more question please: I am going to take the train to Shenfield almost everyday.
    Is there a monthly subscription that I can do?
    Because it’s going to cost me a lot!!
    I’ll also take the bus and the tube in the weekend.

    • If your regular journey is Shenfield to Goodmayes then you’ll need either a rail-only season for that route (£163.20/month) or a Shenfield to London Zones 4-6 travelcard season (£197.40/month). The second one will include all bus travel in London and rail/tube travel in zones 4-6. If you wanted to go into central London then you’d need to get out at Manor Park and touch in your Oyster PAYG card for the rest of the journey. Manor Park sits on the boundary between zones 3 and 4 so you won’t end up paying for a zone twice. Alternatively, Shenfield to Harold Wood costs £117.60/month and a zone 4-6 travelcard season on your Oyster costs £93/month. With that combination you would have to get a train stopping at Harold Wood on your regular journey (but that may not be an issue) but if you went to Central London from Goodmayes you would only need to touch in and out at each end and it will charge your PAYG balance for the zones not covered by your travelcard. The is no need to get out at Harold Wood to toucb in or out as journeys within the zones covered by a travelcard are allowed to miss touching at one or both ends. The only issue would be if you wanted to travel direct from Shenfield to Central London – then you would need to get off somewhere in zones 4-6 to touch in so that Oyster can correctly charge you for zones 1-3. It can be anywhere in those zones though, so Romford would be fine if convenient.

  108. Hi Mike,

    I have just started to work in London and I live in Leigh-on-Sea. I need to get the train to London Fenchurch Street Daily on the C2C line.
    My company have bought me a monthly oyster card from Zone 1-6.
    Can I use my Oyster card for part of the Journey rather than buying a return ticket from Leigh to Fenchurch Street Daily? As I am aware it is possible to use it further down the line.
    At the moment I have been paying £12 a day for a return (as I have a young persons rail card)
    Sorry if you have already answered a question similar to this I just am very confused with the whole Oyster Card system!
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Marie,

      Don’t worry, it can be confusing as thousands of Olympic volunteers have recently discovered.

      Anyway, yes you can use it from Upminster to London, so you only need to buy tickets from Leigh-on-Sea to Upminster. Currently the anytime return is £10.10 which is reduced to £6.65 with your railcard during July and August only. You do not need to worry about touching in the Oyster at Upminster, indeed the train doesn’t even need to stop there as long as the tickets from Leigh are daily rather than seasons.

      Finally, I hope you haven’t been paying £12 during the last 5 weeks. If you have then I suggest you contact C2C and request a refund because the £12 minimum fare with 16-25 railcard does not apply in July and August and the fare should be £10.15.

  109. Thank you so much!

    I was previously told at Fenchurch Street by someone that worked there, that you are not allowed to use an Oyster Card and a paper ticket on one journey. Which is why I was worried about not buying a full ticket. But thank you for clearing this up for me!
    Kind Regards

  110. Can I use my Oyster card from Chadwell Heath to High Wycombe or Gt Missendon on Monday leaving approx 9.30

    • Hi Ann,

      Both HW and GM are outside the Oyster area. If you want to use Oyster PAYG then you’ll need to change trains at the boundary station to touch your Oyster card. Having said that, it will make a big difference in price for Great Missenden which is only one stop beyond Amersham. The last Oyster station on the High Wycombe line is West Ruislip so the savings there won’t be as great because you’ll need to pay more for the paper ticket. Also, West Ruislip is less convenient to change trains at than Amersham.

      If you can leave Chadwell Heath at or after 0930 then off-peak fares will apply all the way. These are the figures:

      Chadwell Heath to Great Missenden is £18.90 single, £19.00 return.
      Chadwell Heath to Amersham is £4.60 single via zone 1 or £2.60 single avoiding zone 1.
      Amersham to Great Missenden is £3.90 single, £5.30 return.

      The avoiding zone 1 route involves changing at Stratford (and touching the pink validator) and again at West Hampstead onto the Jubilee line to Wembley Park and then the Met to Amersham. Otherwise you’d change at Liverpool Street onto a Met train direct (or possibly another change at Baker Street). Remember also that peak fares apply to Oyster for journeys starting between 1600 and 1900 which increases the single fares to £6.90 and £4.30. Depending on the exact time(s) of your journeys and how fast you need to make them there is good scope for savings using Oyster.

  111. Hi

    I have currenty started working in London (Near tate modern) want to find the cheapest way to travel from Grays to fenchurch street and including tube (all zones) monday to friday and in peak times

    Would it be best to get a travel card or Oyster PAYG?

    I find it all very confussing so your help would be very much appreciated 🙂

    • Hi,

      You can’t buy travelcards on Oyster from Grays unfortunately. A weekly season from Grays to zones 1-6 would be £75.30 while a single peak journey would be £7.20. If all you need the trains for is 5 commutes a week then PAYG will be cheaper (although if you bought a monthly or longer ticket then the difference would be marginal). However, if you make any more journeys during the day you will lose out because the daily cap for Grays is wrong (£20.20 peak).

  112. Hi,
    I travel between Harrow and Farringdon using Zone 1-5 pass is there any way of using Zone2-5 and reach farringdon

    • Hi Raju,

      As Farringdon is in zone 1 then I fear not. The only possibility is to alight at the last zone 2 station and get the bus.

  113. Hi Mike,

    Great site. I have recently moved and will now travel into Tottenham Court Road from Harrow & Wealdstone daily via National Rail to Euston and then from Euston Underground to Tottenham Court Road via the Northern Line.

    I am tapping in at Harrow & Wealdstone then tapping out to get through the exit barriers at Euston.
    I then tap in again at Euston Underground and then tap out at Tottenham Court Road.

    I then do the reverse to get back home.

    My question is whether I will be charged for 2 journeys (:

    H&W -(£4.10)-> Euston -(£2.00)-> TCR
    as I am tapping out and in at Euston midway

    or will I will only be charged the 1 fare (£4.40)


  114. I recently bought a monthly zone 1-3 travelcard using an oyster card with a 16-25 railcard. Should I have been discounted and what should have been the cost


    • Hi Cal,

      National Railcards do not provide any discount on season tickets. The 18+ student zip card does provide a discount on travelcard seasons, but that is the only one that does. The normal adult price is £131.40 which is reduced to £91.80 on an 18+ card.

  115. Hi, Can I use my Oyster Card on the Southern Trains from Gatwick Airport to Victoria?

    • Hi Denis,

      Simple answer: No!
      Longer answer: Gatwick Airport is well outside the Oyster area, however, you can use Oyster cards between stations at the London end of the journey, as far out as Coulsdon South. Furthermore, if you have a travelcard season on your Oyster card then you can use it in conjunction with a Gatwick Airport to Boundary zone N ticket, where N is the highest zone your travelcard covers.

  116. Hi, I have a complicated situation. My son now aged 16 is doing A levels and attending school in Potters Bar and we live near Kings x. For the last 5 years he has been entitled to a child rate annual season ticket king x to Potters Bar (£922.00 this year as I just bought for 13 yr. old daughter). Now he is not able to get child rate although he can travel on the same train from Kings x to Finsbury Park as a child on Oyster PAYG. He then could get a student connect reduced price season ticket from Finsbury Park. I understand he cannot go further than FP on PAYG but could use zone 1-6 season on child 16-18 zip then get paper season from last station in zone 6. Is this legal? It seams ridiculous that he cannot get student discount from KX but can travel on same train as child on oyster??!! If legal what would be the cheapest way? It’s almost impossible to get the figures from anyone as KX station office is run by different company and the first capital connect office at St Pancras do not cover that route! When my oldest Daughter travelled this route she got 1-4 zone travel card then paper ticket from last station in zone 4 but we were never sure if she was breaking the rules. She only did this when the old scholar scheme was scrapped suddenly, without warning by the greedy rail company. Your site is brilliant by the way. Thanks

    • Hi Tessa,

      I’ll help where I can. Full details of student connect are on FCC’s website. I’m guessing that there are problems issuing the discount for journeys that are not wholly priced by FCC, hence why it cannot be used south of the Thames or from Kings Cross where some tickets are priced by East Coast. The rules for using more than one ticket for a train journey are being added here at the moment (hence the password protection until I know it’s right). Basically you can use two tickets as long as the train stops at the station where you switch from one ticket to another (unless one ticket is a season and the other isn’t, when the train does not need to stop). If you use PAYG between Kings Cross and Finsbury Park then your son would have to touch in and out at both ends, so he’d need to get off. He could of course use the tube instead of FCC for that bit which may cut down on waiting times.

      There is also a left-field solution which may be appropriate. A zone 1-5 travelcard season would get him to Cockfosters on the Underground where he could pick up the TfL operated 298 bus to Potters Bar. TfL buses are free with any travelcard and the 16-18 zip card entitles him to half adult price travelcards. I think that is probably the cheapest way of doing the journey short of making more of it by bus than he is likely to be happy doing.

      Another all-rail alternative is a zone 1-6 travelcard season in conjunction with daily tickets from Hadley Wood to Potters Bar. These can be purchased online and picked up at any NR station ticket machine, several days at a time if it’s more convenient. The train doesn’t have to stop at Hadley Wood, unless you opt for a season between there and Potters Bar which would make two seasons and mean the train did have to stop.

      I hope that makes sense and is of some help.

  117. hi, i am trying to find the cheapest way to travel to and frm gatwick for oct2012. I have an annual pass on my oyster (zone 1-5) and hold a annual gold card.
    Am i right in thinking i can travel upto east croyden on my oyster and then pay single or return from east croydon to gatwick. how much is this for going on sunday 7th oct arrive 7pm and back on 22nd oct leaving gatwick after 9:30 ? also can i use my discount with the gold card for my partner as well??

    also if my partner uses osyter from hayes to victoria what is the off peak cost?

    • Hi Harry,

      Yes, you can switch from travelcard to papr ticket at East Croydon. It looks like the anytime return fare is £6.45 with a railcard which would allow return within a month. You can use your gold card to get discounts for your partner as long as they travel with you (and the railcard) at all times.

      Assuming that Hayes is Hayes & Harlington and Victoria is the Underground station then the off-peak single is £2.90.

  118. Hi great site. I need to travel from Sidcup to gatwick via London bridge. Oyster from Sidcup to LB, FCC LB to Gatwick. If I use oyster to east Croydon and then paper ticket (plan to buy in advance from Sidcup) from east Croydon to gatwick. I will not be able to tap out at East Croydon.
    1. Does this sound feasible?
    2. What will be the implications of not tapping out at east Croydon
    Thanks for the advice

    • Hi Cassie,

      If you don’t touch out at East Croydon you will be overcharged. However, that is the cheapest combination because you effectively get London Bridge to East Croydon for free. Fortunately there are plenty of fast trains between London Bridge and East Croydon, so you shouldn’t need to wait too long for the next one after you have touched out and used your paper ticket to come back in again. Make sure you are at the front of the train to East Croydon as the exit ramp is at that end of the station. If you aim to get one of the Southern trains (they might also call at New Cross Gate and/or Norwood Junction) then you can get the FCC from East Croydon.

      In the reverse direction it is even worse because without touching in you would be liable to a penalty fare. But if you sit at the back of the FCC train you’ll be in pole position to reverse the process.

      Hope that helps.

  119. Hi Mike!

    I’m just about to start uni at Imperial College London and live between Purley Oaks/Sanderstead stations. To get to the campus it appears I can get a train from either station to London Victoria and then the tube to South Kensington. I’m wondering what the best (cheapest!!) way to travel would be – can I get the Zone 1-6 student travelcard (£1,492) or does this not include the southern rail services? I’m incredibly confused as there is a season ticket from purley oaks/sanderstead to london terminals + zone 1-6 travel but I’m not entirely sure I could get the student discount then? I do have a 16-25 railcard as well if that helps!!

    Thanks ever so much in advance !!

    • Hi Kim,

      The £1,492 travelcard is the same as the product from Purley Oaks or Sanderstead. The National Rail site uses a standard template to list seasons between two stations and then additional options including travelcard zones. What isn’t clear is when the stations are entirely within the zones, the ticket is just a standard travelcard, which includes all rail, tube, dlr, buses and trams within the zones (except Heathrow – Hayes&Harlington and St Pancras to Stratford International). The 16-25 railcard does not affect season ticket prices at all.

  120. Hi Mike,
    I will have to travel to work at Canary Wharf (and sadly I am not one of those high flying financiers) from Watford. What would be the best value for money option (High Street station is probably 200m closer than Junction for me)?

    • Hi kah,

      The most expensive option is train from Watford Junction to Euston then tube which is £8.20 peak single. If you start at Watford High Street then it drops to £5.90. If you can avoid zone 1 then you can travel from either Watford station for £4.30 peak single. To get this fare you must change at Willesden Junction and Stratford. Unless you make other journeys above 10 peak singles a week then the relevant travelcard season won’t save you money, except for the most expensive option where it is £76/week.

  121. Hi Mike

    I will be traveling 3 days per week from dartford to goodge street.

    Whats the cheapest ticket option?
    1. Annual season ticket
    2. Daily travel card.
    3. Daily return to london charing cross then oyster PAYG to goodge street and back.

    I also get the fasttrack bus service to and from Dartford startion.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Hi Michelle,

      A season ticket is unlikely to be worthwhile for only 3 days commuting a week. If the only travel within zone 1 is two single tube journeys then the travelcard option from Dartford is also overpriced a little leaving the daily return to London plus Oyster PAYG for the Northern line as the cheapest of those options.

      I don’t know where you come from around Dartford, but a slightly cheaper option is to take a TfL bus (96/428/492) to Crayford and then use Oyster PAYG from there (and on the TfL bus). The daily anytime cap would then apply which would effectively give you the TfL bus for free.

  122. Hi Mike,

    My wife and I are staying in Croydon from 27 Dec to 1st Jan, nearest station is Purley Oaks.
    We will spend most of our time looking round the shops..Stratford, Oxford St , Covent Garden etc and we will be joined by our 14yr old on the 30th and will to do much the same. Any suggestions for the best ticketing structure to remain fairly flexible would be much appreciated. P.s travel after 9.30am is fine.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Terry,

      If all travel is off-peak then a weekly travelcard is not worth it, so I think Oyster is probably the best bet. Most days you will probably cap at the travelcard rate anyway, but if you just make a return to Stratford and avoid zone 1 by touching on the pink validator at Canada Water then you’ll save money that day. I understand it’s quite easy to spend the whole day at Westfield. If your 14yo has a child Oyster then that is easily the cheapest way as the child off-peak cap is £1.40. With a £10 application fee though it’s not worth getting one for just one trip. If you have a family and friends railcard then use that to get discounted day travelcards for all of you as the child pays £2 and adults pay £5.60 each. If you haven’t got a railcard then the child paper one day travelcard is £3.20 and you might as well carry on using your Oysters.

  123. Hi Mike
    I am coming down to London with my family for the first time since the Oyster card has been in place and don’t understand the system that much. We are staying at Bromley North and wanted to travel back and forth into London can we use the Oyster card to travel through all the way from St Pancras to Bromley North? Also I have my 8 year old son coming with me can he travel on my card and will I have to pay for him to travel?
    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Paula,

      Yes, the Oyster card can be used between St Pancras and Bromley North. Your eight-year-old needs his own zip card or paper tickets. The zip card is for 5-10 year olds and costs £10. It is usually worthwhile if you intend travelling for around 5+ days before his 11th birthday. Basically the daily off-peak cap for a child is just £1.40 compared to an off-peak travelcard at £3.20 (or £2.00 if bought with an adult and a family and friends railcard). Note however that under 11s do not need to pay on TfL rail services (tube, dlr and some National Rail), but do need to pay on most south London National Rail (including to Bromley North).

  124. Hi Mike,
    My husband and I are moving to Epsom. I work in central London and he works at Canary Wharf. We found out that we can’t use our Oyster card there in Epsom. What would be our cheapest option??

    Many Thanks


    • Hi Juliana,

      It depends what else you want to do. If you just want to travel on National Rail services then an Epsom to London season ticket may be your best option. Your husband may get away with an Epsom to zones 2-6 travelcard if he avoids zone 1 when getting to Canary Wharf (eg Epsom to West Croydon, West Croydon to Canada Water and Canada Water to Canary Wharf). If he wants speed then it would need to be an Epsom to zones 1-6 travelcard. Finally, you can use Oyster on TfL buses in Epsom, and they are free with a travelcard. Therefore you could get a zone 1-6 travelcard and cover the last bit by bus. In fact if you were prepared to bus as far as Sutton you would only need the travelcard to go out to zone 5; while Morden is in zone 4. It all really depends on your priorities between cost and time.

  125. This is a great site, Mike. I hope you can help me. If I purchase a zone 2-6 travel card would this be valid for buses in zone 1? Or do I have to be sure not to cross over the zone lines?

    Also, if I have the travel card loaded on my 18+ Student Oyster and I do travel into zone 1 by national rail or tube, can I just keep some money loaded on the same card to cover the difference with Pay as You Go?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Hi Tara,

      Yes, any travelcard covers all TfL bus routes regardless of the zones covered by the travelcard. There are no zones as far as buses are concerned. And yes, with a zone 2-6 travelcard any rail travel in zone 1 will be deducted from your PAYG balance.

  126. Travelling to and from Orpington via zone 1 a friend is consistently being charged £11.60 odd on Oyster – is there a catch somewhere that might make this possible? Or is it an error?

    Great pages, thanks

    • Hi John,

      You don’t say where in zone 1 so it’s difficult to be more precise. £11.50 is the sum of a peak single and an off-peak single from Orpington to an Underground station in zone 1. If that doesn’t explain it then please give further details of the actual journey and times of day.

  127. Hi Mike,
    Im trying to work out cheapest fares for my travelcard from Staines to London. As far as Im aware, Feltham is the last stop on the line that works with Oyster and then its Ashford and Staines.

    So my questions is – if I have a monthly travelcard from Staines – Feltham and a zones 1-6 including Feltham on Oyster, am I covered?

    Thanks in advance for the reply.


    • Hi Tony,

      Yes you are covered as long as the train calls at Feltham, which I think they all do. Your zone 1-6 travelcard also covers you on the TfL bus between Feltham and Staines if you don’t mind a little bit of extra time to save on the Staines to Feltham season ticket.

  128. I am travelling from Corfu, Greece to London on November 7th arriving Gatwick North. I will then travel to Barnes via Clapham Junction. For the next three days I will travel in zones 1-3. I have a very early start from Clapham back to Gatwick November 11th. I was planning on getting normal tickets to/from Gatwick and travelcards for the other days but have been advised Oyster is best. Please advise as am rather confused.

    • Hi Maria,

      If all you are doing is travelling after 0930 within zones 1-4 then there probably isn’t much difference between using Oyster and using a travelcard. Indeed the Oyster will require a deposit which can be refunded on surrender but this may be an inconvenience. Where Oyster has an advantage is that if you want to start before 0930 on the Thursday or Friday it will only charge for the actual peak journeys made before 0930 and this may well be cheaper than getting an anytime travelcard.

      Hope this helps a bit.

  129. Thanks Mike

    I thought Orpington was in zone 6, so a travel card would be £8.50, not £11.50.
    Specifically Walthamstow to say Oxford Circus then Charing Cross to Orpington… something like that!

    Many thanks

    • Hi John,

      Orpington is in zone 5 and the off-peak travelcard/cap is indeed £8.50. Are all journeys being undertaken after 0930? Please quote specific journey history details if you want to query this further.

  130. I am going to London next week on my own to see a couple of shows, i have purchased an oyster card with £15 on and need it to get me from Victoria to Blackfriars then a train from there to Bedford train station, then bedford to kings cross & back. just wondering if i should or can use the oyster for the train at bedford or if its cheaper to purchase a railcard or ticket? hope this makes sense?

    • Hi Dom,

      The Oyster card is not valid north of Elstree & Borehamwood on the line to Bedford, so you will have to buy paper tickets for that part of your itinerary.

  131. Hi Mike

    Many thanks for the info. I had thought the travelcard would suit my requirements but the lady where I’ll be staying said she thought Oyster was better. I think I’ll stick with your advice and my original plan

  132. Hi Mike, I am the very happy holder of a 60+ Oyster card which I recieved on Wednesday and have used for travel on London buses and underground. I need to travel from London Victoria to Woking on Tues the 6th November- arriving in Woking at about 11am- my question is : can I use my 60+ Oyster for any part of the journey- can my card be of benefit to me for this journey ?

    • Hi Lorraine,

      As long as you leave Victoria after 0930 then your card will cover you as far as Surbiton. You’ll then need a ticket from Surbiton to Woking. The 60+ Oyster card is treated as a season ticket for the purposes of split ticketing, so the train doesn’t need to call at Surbiton. If 0930 is cutting it fine at Victoria, remember that direct trains to Woking depart from Waterloo. Another option is using the Victoria line between Victoria and Vauxhall as your card is valid at any time on tube services.

  133. Hi,

    So I now live in Brixton and want to get to Epsom. I was reading some of the comments earlier in this thread saying about getting a bus to Epsom. If I buy a weekly Zone 2-4 travelcard for 24.90 and then get the bus the remainder from Morden to Epsom, do I get charged separately for the bus?

    • Hi Chris,

      As long as the bus is a TfL service accepting Oyster then no, it is included in the travelcard.

  134. Hi Mike,
    I am a regular traveller (mostly before 9 am) from Kingston to Egham return around 6 pm, Monday to Friday. Just wondering whether I can use oyster card in someway along the journey or its cheaper to use weekly railcards. I am a student so I hold 16-25 railcard, not using them to often since my lectures usually before 10. Thanks!

    • Hi Andreas,

      If you live in London and qualify for a Student 18+ Oyster then you can buy travelcards at a reduced rate. You may find it worthwhile to get a zone 5-6 travelcard on Oyster to get you to Feltham and then use a paper season to go from Feltham to Egham. Hope that helps.

  135. Hi Mike, did some calculation and found out that weekly/monthly railcard from kingston to egham is cheaper than combination of oyster zone5-6 + paper from feltham. Just wondering whe any cheaper option than this. Thanks!

  136. Hello everybody.

    My sister and her husband are visiting me. They arrive at Gatwick and will drop their suitcases at my house in Egham. Then we will visit London doing multiple trips on the Tube. At night we will return to Egham.
    What is the best ticket option? Is it better to get a single ticket to Clapham Junction and then get a travelcard to Feltham, extended for travel to Egham?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Mike,

      Sorry for the delay replying. You’ve almost got it. A single to East Croydon plus a zones 1-6 travelcard plus a single to Egham from Feltham and a return to get back and home again will be best for the first day. After that get a return from Egham to Feltham plus a zone 1-6 travelcard. Bear in mind that you will pay more to travel before 0930, although the difference if only the return from Egham to Feltham is at Anytime rates is not much; just make sure that the train is timed to depart Feltham after 0930. The combined Egham to zones 1-6 travelcard looks overpriced to me as it only includes one return trip from Egham to Feltham. Note that when combining tickets the train must call at the place where you change from one ticket to another. This won’t be a problem at either East Croydon or Feltham. Just don’t catch the non-stop Gatwick Express to Victoria.

      Hope this helps.

  137. Thank you so much Mike.

    Please allow me one more question. For the next few days that we will travel from Egham to London, is it better to get a group ticket like GroupSave?
    The only limitation is that we have to travel after 09:30?

    • As long as you always travel together in the same group then groupsave Egham to Zones 1-6 travelcards may well be the cheapest option.

  138. I have a question. It is regarding Paper Travelcard vs Oyster. AFAIU Travelcard validity starts 0:00 day T and lasts to 4:29 day T+1, Oyster Daily is only 4:30 T 4:29 T+1.
    So it is 28h vs 24h. Am I right?

    • Hi Simon,

      Yes you are, almost. It’s 24hr vs 28.5hr! However, the off-peak cap and card are both 0930-0430 except at weekends, There are very few through the night services and most people wouldn’t want to start a single days travel between midnight and 0430. And of course from next year the Oyster caps will be less than the daily travelcard prices which will redress the balance partly.

  139. how much would it cost, on a zip card, to go from wimbledon station all the way to padington, and back?

  140. Hi
    Can I use my zone 3 oyster for train from gatwick to Clapham junction? I think I get discount on southern due to having a years travel card? H

    • Hi Rachel,

      Assuming you mean can you get the gold card discount with your annual travelcard on Oyster, then yes you can. You will need the gold record card supplied at the time of purchase of the travelcard.

  141. Hi Mike, I have to say this is a very helpful website. I live in SE London and have got the train from Denmark Hill to Egham for work for the last few years. I only travel once or twice a week so it doesn’t make sense to get a travelcard. Now that the Overground has arrived at Denmark Hill do you have any advice for using an Oyster/train ticket combo, or is it best just to buy a train ticket for the whole journey? Thanks for your help. M

    • Hi Mark,

      If you want to mix paper and Oyster then you’ll need to detrain at Feltham. If there are validators on the platform and you position yourself correctly then you may be able to get on the same train again. However, depending on when you travel, you may find the paper ticket better value because the Anytime return not via London is extremely competitively priced.

  142. Hello,

    I need to travel from watford junction to vauxhall every day. I have an Oyster card.

    Is it cheaper to go to Clapham Jnc and change or Via London Euston and the underground?


  143. Hi Mike, I need to travel twice a week from Stratford to Brentwood, mostly off peak and sometimes during peak hourse. What will be the best ticket to buy. Will oyster card be useful?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Abdul,

      Oyster will be useful from Jan 2nd 2013. Until then Brentwood is outside the Oyster area so you would be better off with paper tickets.

  144. Thanks very much Mike. I am starting in Jan 2013, so it’s very useful. Thanks again.

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