About Oyster

Oyster is a cashless payment system accepted thoughout public transport in Greater London with just a few exceptions.  An Oyster card can store up to £90 in credit for pay-as-you-go, a travelcard season ticket or a bus/tram pass and a National Rail discount card.  It can be used on buses, trams, the tube, DLR, National Rail services, Thames Clipper boats and the London Cable Car.  You can buy them at tube stations, London Overground and Elizabeth line stations, some other National Rail stations, Oyster Ticket Stops (shops), at Oyster online and over the phone on 0343 222 1234.  A £7 fee is required.

Each Oyster card contains a computer chip which communicates with Oyster readers (validators) when the card is placed flat on/near to the reader, usually called touching.  The card does not actually have to touch the reader though, it can stay in it’s plastic sleeve or even in a handbag or wallet providing there are no other similar contactless cards nearby.

On buses you must touch in when boarding, while on trams you must touch in on a reader just before boarding.  You do not touch out on either buses or trams because they operate on a flat fare.  On the tube, DLR and National Rail you must touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end so that the correct fare can be charged.  Where gates are in operation your card will open the gates if it is valid.  If the gates are not in operation you must still touch in or out, either on the gates if they are locked open or on yellow validators which can be used either for entry or exit.  A valid card will change the orange light to green along with one beep for an adult card or more than two beeps for a child card.  If there is a problem then the light will change to red and you will get two beeps.

557 thoughts on “About Oyster”

  1. The other day I went from Bush Hill Park to Norbury { bus-tube-train } and thanks to this excellent site I discovered that I could switch at Balham { so avoiding the escalator nightmare at Victoria } using a OSI { Tottenham Hale via Balham to Norbury } but at Balham the gates were open and everyone apart from me was streaming though not touching anything – I spoke to the counter clerk and he said the scanner was working correctly so you have to wonder why the gates were open.

    The station was not busy so I could see no reason why the barriers were fully open so I wonder what would happen to all the rest who did not touch in. Any ideas ?

    You have to wonder if the barriers are kept open just to tempt people to walk though them { yes I am aware that if a station is chock a block there may be a good reason for this but this was a normal day }

    Now in this case the scanner was working but lets say it was not working – what should a person do ?

    • Hi Brian,

      The gates were probably open because there were insufficient staff to supervise them. Those who were not touching in or out probably have travelcards or season tickets. If they didn’t and they needed to touch an Oyster card at the other end of their journey then they would get a maximum fare deducted. If all the readers at a gateline were not working then TfL would probably make arrangements to refund overcharges.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Hi, i need some help. I purchased a new card in a newsagents then topped up with ten pounds however the money didn’t go on. What do I do?

    • Hi Casey,

      I think that the simple answer is that you need to go back to the newsagent. They should be able to interrogate the card and see details of recent journeys and top-ups. If your topup isn’t listed then they’ll have to sort it out. It will help if you still have the receipt. If they don’t want to co-operate then you can take the card to any Underground station and ask at the ticket office for a full printout from the card. You may then be able to persuade the shop to sort it out, or you could call the Oyster helpline and ask what the next step should be.

      Hope this helps.

  3. in september i will be getting a student 18+ as im going to university of east london nearest station stratford. however i live 1 rail station out of london theobalds grove. will tfl be able to provide me with a travelcard on my oyster that includes the extra station or will i need to by a season ticket on national rail as well to cover the lot.

    by the way love the site, very informative!

    • Hi Sabrina,

      At the moment you won’t be able to get that on Oyster, unfortunately. If the TOC decide to extend Oyster on their lines then you may well be able to in the future. You do have a number of options depending on how you intend to make your journey. You could get a paper season from Theobalds Grove to Stratford which would allow any permitted route including via Liverpool Street. You could also get a paper travelcard season to zones 1-6 or zones 2-6. The second one will be cheaper but you will be restricted to travel via Hackney or Highbury and Islington. There is also a route via Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale which avoids zone 2 as well, but the trains aren’t very frequent on the Tottenham Hale to Stratford leg.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  4. Just wanted to bring to your attention that the phrase

    Where gates are in operation your card will open the gates if it is valid.

    May not be true in all cases – I travelled from Kings Cross to Welwyn Garden City. Having authorised my card I got on the train and was later threatened with prosecution for fare evasion and actually prosecuted for a Bye Law because I did not have a ticket the stop before WGC was in the zone – WGC being outside the zone.

    Still waiting on the visiting court but it looks like the sentence will be a fine and costs totalling several hundreds of pounds.

    • Hi Nick,

      I’m sorry to hear about your problem. Unfortunately the card was valid to operate the gates at Kings Cross. It is up to you to ensure that you do not travel beyond the validity of the Oyster system when using an Oyster card. In actual fact the last station on that line that accepts Oyster is Hadley Wood, which is five stops before Welwyn Garden City.

      In regards to your pending court action, I’d like to suggest that you register at http://www.railforums.co.uk and post your story in the Fares, Ticketing and Routeing section. There are several people who may be able to assist with suggestions to mitigate the impact of the proceedings. It all depends how far down the line you have got. It would be good to include what made you think Oyster was suitable for a journey to Welwyn Garden City, lack of information warning you otherwise, what happened when you were stopped, what letters you have received, etc etc. The key thing is to be truthful and not change the story with every post. I can’t promise anything, but if it is a first ‘offence’ in regards to the railways then they may be able to suggest ways to maximise the chances of an out of court settlement. It all depends what has already happened.

  5. Hi,
    I purchased an Oyster card from a local grocery shop and recharged it with my forex card at Bank station. However, the recharge point did not reflect any update in the outstanding. Assuming some problem with my forex card, I tried again but no update. Finally, I recharged card by paying cash. However, I see that my forex card indeed reflected two debits. Is there any way that I can check the history of amount loaded on the Oyster card. I tried using the website to get history. But it asks for a security answer which I don’t have/remember. Can you please help?

    • Hi Ruchira,

      The security answer should be the answer to either (a) mother’s maiden name, (b) memorable date (dd/mm/yy), or (c) memorable place. If you still can’t remember it then you’ll need to call the helpdesk and ask them what to do. However, you only get to see journey and top-up history online if you have previously purchased topup online.

      If you can return to Bank station I would ask for advice at the ticket office, and/or I would call the financial institution who issued the forex card.

      Hope this helps a bit.

  6. Mike, i wondered if you know the answer to this. If i begin a journey by national rail using oyster payg at wimbledon say, and change at vauxhall to the Victoria line where you have tap out and back in to get to the tube, when i get to my final destination (say green park) will my trip count as one journey to zone 1 or as 2 separate journeys?

    • Providing you do not exceed the time allowed for the interchange at Vauxhall it will count as one journey. However, because Vauxhall is a dual zoned station, special fares can apply at certain times. If the cost of a NR fare to zone 2 plus a TfL zone 1 fare is less than the usual mixed mode fare then it will charge the same rate as two journeys while still maintaining it as one journey. Using your example, Wimbledon to Green Park using NR to start with is a zone 3 to zone 1 journey which usually costs £4.10 in the peak. However, Wimbledon to Vauxhall is a zone 3 to zone 2 journey costing £1.90 in the peak. A zone 1 TfL single costs £1.90 all day. Thus if you change at Vauxhall it will only charge you £3.80 even though the usual mixed mode fare is £4.10.

      Note: If you use the District and Picadilly lines instead it is even cheaper because that is TfL only.

  7. If you only enter/exit stations in zone 3 and 6, but travel through zone 1 and 2, do you still need to buy a zone 1-6 travel card?
    Does TFL know if people travel through zone 1 or 2 if they dont tap in or out in zone 1 or 2?

    • If the route programmed for the journey you make takes you through zone 1 then the Oyster system will know. If you have a travelcard season without the correct zones then it will try to deduct the difference from your PAYG balance. If there isn’t enough the the travelcard will cease to be valid until you top-up the balance to at least zero again.

    • Yes, Marcin, you need to pay for zones 1-4 because you are travelling through all four zones. At least by using the DLR you avoid the mixed NR+TfL charge which applies if you take Southeastern to London Bridge.

  8. Hi. i tried to top up my oyster by debit card yesterday morning for amount of 60£. transfer went trough but nothing was credited towards oyster. i contacted bank and they told me that transaction went ok . i did not take a transaction print out at the station. how can i take my money back..60 £ its a lot for me …spacialy before xmas :((

    • Hi Pawel,

      I think you have two courses of action. First, contact the Oyster helpline and ask them for advice. If they cannot help then you’ll have to contact your bank and explain that the transaction didn’t get to your oyster card and ask them to charge it back, or at the very least dispute the transaction with the retailer (TfL).

  9. Hi I will soon be living in north London but working in south London if I was to buy a Z5 – Z6 card and got on at elstree through on the same train to east croydon
    (direct train). Would this be subject to a penalty as it will go throgh zone 1.
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi James,

      Yes, definitely. You need a travelcard covering all zones that you pass through. As that is a National Rail only journey you may find that a point-to-point season ticket is better value unless you want to make use of the travelcard sufficiently at other times.

  10. Hi,

    I have renewed my monthly travelcard (oyster) to start Monday as I usually drive my car on weekends, however, I have now found that I need to use my oyster tomorrow (Saturday). Is it possible to change the start date of the oyster?

    • Hi Angela,

      I don’t think it is, but then you’ll only use up to the off-peak cap tomorrow so it probably isn’t worth worrying about. If you only make one return journey then you may not even use up to the cap.

  11. Hiya,
    I topped my oyster card up at Bromley South this morning but didn’t use it as I was travelling further into Kent. The next time I use my oyster card will be on a bus and will be used on only buses all this week. Will my top up be activated if I just use buses or will I have to use it on trains in order to activate it?

    • Hi Amy,

      If you used a ticket machine then the top up is activated immediately as long as you put the card back on the reader when prompted at the end of the process. The only time it matters is if you order the top up online. If that is the case then you need to start or end a journey at the station requested within 8 days or the top up will be automatically refunded.

  12. Hi was just wondering if you could help me today i put on five pounds at the martins shops I then only took a tram and a bus to eastcroydon then put an extra 2 pound on to make sure I had enough for a train journey. Every journey on bus and tram I 1.35 and trains are 2.00, so I clearly had enough when I went to go and get the bus again it said I had no money. I topped up again 5 pounds and when I got the bus and tram back home it said when i had no money left so I had to pay his fair could you. Help?

    • Hi Ella,

      You don’t say how far you went on the train. £2.00 is the single fare on the Underground in zone 1 (or zone 1 and 2 off-peak). If you travel further that that it could well be more. East Croydon to London Bridge is £2.80 off peak or £4.50 peak each way.

      If you didn’t go that far on the train then there might have been a problem with one of your topups. Check your online journey history or call the helpdesk and they should be able to confirm what happened. If it was the topup at Martins then you’ll have to return there to sort it out.

      Hope that helps.

  13. TFL have fairly recently introduced a number of ways of interacting with them via social media http://www.tfl.gov.uk/socialmedia/.
    As can been seen there are twitter accounts for all lines, plus an aggregated feed, also a facebook page. Not mentioned are http://twitter.com/tfloyster & http://twitter.com/gaotg.

    The relevant twitter accounts for the Train Companies that operate with the Oyster area are as far as I know :-


    On an unrelated note, if you want to play a game with your PAYG Oyster look at http://www.chromaroma.com/.

    • Thanks for that Alun,

      The Chromaroma game is the one which nearly died with the abolition of the OEP, but has been resurrected now that online journey history details all journeys whether charged or not.

  14. Hi Mike,
    I’m looking at options for a new season ticket from Hertfordshire to London, including travel in London itself. Are you allowed to use an oyster card (season ticket) and then a paper ticket for the outer zones, and vice versa for the outward journey? What are the issues with touching in and out?

    Say for example I would use the paper ticket to board the train in the morning, switching to the Oyster card for when I depart the train in London, and the opposite for the journey home.

    Will I get charges on my Oyster season ticket for not touching in and out where required? Will the TOC have an issue with me travelling like this? There are many conflicting messages out there and it seems like a bit of a grey area.

    Thanks, Gary

    • Hi Gary,

      If both tickets are season tickets then the train needs to call at the station where you switch from one ticket to the other, unless they are both zonal seasons. As an example, Hatfield to zones 4-6 on paper with zones 1-3 on Oyster is fine on a fast train. There are no penalties for only touching at one end where a travelcard is loaded on your Oyster and you are within the zones covered.

  15. Hi Mike
    I’m visiting London next week and will make daily journeys, using an Oyster, between Hampton Wick (overground) and Old Street (underground) changing at either Waterloo or Vauxhall. When I change from overground to underground, and vice versa, do I need to use the yellow card reader?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Lesley,

      Yes you do in both cases. At Vauxhall you should have to go through two separate gatelines so it will be obvious. At Waterloo you may have to go through two gatelines, but some entrances to the Underground are direct from the mainline platforms. I believe from other visitors that these have validators to record exit from Waterloo NR before a gateline for entry to Waterloo LU. If you miss the validators then you’ll get a nasty incomplete journey charge.

  16. Thanks very much for your help, Mike. And am I right in thinking that if I travel before 9.30am, which I’m going to have to do, my Oyster will be capped at peak travel card rate? Would it be cheaper to buy a single ticket for the journey from Hampton Wick to Waterloo each day and use my Oyster from then on (after 9.30)?

    • Hi Lesley,

      Yes and no, and no. The zones 1-6 caps are £15.00 and £8.50. If you spend at least £6.50 before 0930 then the peak cap will apply; but if you don’t, then your after 0930 travel will trigger the off-peak cap before the peak cap is reached.

      Your journey is potentially an interesting one. If you touch in at Hampton Wick before 0930 then that journey will be classed as peak. If you go straight from NR to LU then the tube bit of the journey will still be classed as part of the peak journey. The fare from Hampton Wick to Waterloo is £5.50 and the Underground adds a further £1.40 to that making £6.90. However, if you change at Vauxhall there are special fares because it is a mixed zone (1 and 2) station. The whole journey is then charged at £5.60 (£3.60 NR and £2.00 LU).

  17. Hi Mike
    I bought a bus pass on saturday morning and I used my oyster card over the weekend with not issues at all.
    However, on today when I got on the bus and it did not beep at all and I have to pay a normal ticket and I think I will have to pay another one to get back home, and the only thing the bus driver cares is that the card should beep no matter if you have your receive with you. Now I do not konow who is going to pay that extra money and what should I do to get my oyster working again.
    Can you give me some suggestions please
    thanks for your time


    • Hi Erwin,

      It sounds like there might be a fault on your card. If you can take it to a tube station then they can check it out and issue a replacement if necessary.

  18. Hi Mike:
    Excellent website. I am in Slough and was wondering whether I can buy a return ticket from Sough to West Drayton (which is about 3.90 off peak) and then use the Oyster Card from West Drayton onwards to go to Central London. Also do you know of any plans to extend the Oyster Card into Slough.

    Thanks for your help.

    Best regards,


    • Hi Vijay,

      Yes, you can mix paper and Oyster, but remember that if using PAYG you will have to get out at West Drayton to touch in. I believe that Oyster is due to be extended westwards when Crossrail starts.

  19. Hi Mike,
    I’ve just got a job in Victoria and will be living in Queenstown Road near the station. I’m new to London and don’t know what type of travel ticket to get. I do have an Oyster card which I use when visiting friends in London as a payasyougo. I also have a 16-25 young person’s rail card- will this be any help? Though I will be working in Victoria it’s likely that I’ll be socialising in central London during the week and weekends too. I’d be really grateful for any advice you can give me! Thanks, Lucy

    • Hi Lucy,

      If you do more than just one return trip 5 days a week then a travelcard season is probably best. You’ll need zones 1-2 and the railcard won’t be any help towards that I’m afraid. However, take it and your Oyster card to a tube station and get them to add the discount to your Oyster. Then if you go beyond zone 2 you’ll get 33% off any off-peak fares and the off-peak cap as well. See the railcard discounts page for more info.

      Hope that helps.

  20. Hi Mike,
    I am new to topping up with a week so unsure when i need to top up next.
    I put the week pass on, at teatime last monday so when do i need to redo it as i rely on it to get my kids to and from school esp in the bad weather and dont want to get on a bus to find i have nothing on my card!

    • Hi Kristina,

      If it started on Monday then it will run until Sunday. You can put the next one on in advance to start from the next Monday.

  21. Hi Mike
    I am a student moved from Norfolk to London so Oyster cards are a complete mystery. I have purchased a 16-25 Network Rail Card so that I can travel home and I have now received my 18+ Student Oyster Card. I will be travelling on the bus daily to Uni. Once a week I will need to go on the overground and occassionally take journeys on the underground. I would like to put a monthly bus ticket on my Oyster and how best would I cover the cost of the other journeys?
    I have read another post on how to get Network/Oyster linked. However, I do not understand what you mean by Register a card. How is that done?
    Sorry to sound like a country bumpkin – but I really am!!

  22. Hello, I live in Enfield Lock and wonder if I can travel on a Oyster to Waltham Cross on national rail. I note that you are not able to use a pay as you Oyster but wonder if this is the case for a travel card (zone 3 to 6)

    Great site by the way…

    • Hi Ashana,

      Waltham Cross is outside both the Oyster area and zone 6, so neither an in-boundary travelcard nor Oyster would be valid. You can buy a Waltham Cross to zone 3-6 travelcard season on paper if that helps.

  23. I currently attending a college at the University of London and (bit late I know!) need to purchase an Oyster Card. I am thinking of doing so tomorrow before I need to board the tube almost immediately in order to attend a lecture. If I purchase an Oyster Card at Russell Square from the ticket desk, A) how long will this take (so I know how long to give me and my friends!) and B) will it be valid immediately? This website is great by the way, so informative! 🙂

    • Hi Beth,

      Once you get to the front of the queue 😉 it can be as little as a minute if you just want a card. If you register it at the same time then you’ll need to fill in a short form and the whole process takes up to about 5 minutes. Once registered you can then have your 16-25 railcard discount (assuming you have one) added which can reduce off-peak fares and/or the off-peak cap. Yes, the card will be valid immediately whether registered or not. You can even get the card from some newer ticket machines.

      The only other thing to check – are you eligible for the 18+ student card?

  24. Thankyou so much that’s really helpful! going to head out early to make sure I get one, don’t feel like a Londoner without one 😉 I am eligible for the 18+ but it’s not really worth it for me, the effort of ordering one, the extra flat rate fee and I wouldn’t load it with travelcards only PAYG so there’s no difference 🙂 I am looking to get the railcard to go home to Kent with, so I may order one or buy it then and there? Can I load it on if I purchase it separately from the Oyster card? Thankyou again, so helpful 😀

    • Hi Beth,

      Yes, that’s fine. You can load the railcard discount at any time and it will last until the expiry of the railcard (or Oyster card if it’s a student one).

  25. I went into a tube station and topped up my oyster card at a machine using my card. I was in a rush and forgot to touch my oyster card onto the machine after the card process. When I checked the money hadn’t be added will the money still have been taken from my card or would the process have been cancelled.

    • Hi Stuart,

      It is likely that an authorisation has been made to your credit card, but that the actual charge won’t be made and the authorisation should drop off in 2-3 days. If your statement shows a charge after this time then contact the Oyster helpdesk.

  26. Hello Mike

    I travel from Grays railway station to Pimlico tube station twice a week after 10am. At the moment, I buy a 1 day travel card but a friend has told me that I might be better off getting an oyster card. After looking at the oyster and tfl websires, I am very confused as on the one had, they say that I could use an oyster card for my whole journey but on the other hand, the websites then say not valid at Grays, Chafford Hundred etc when I went to buy a ticket. Could you please confirm whether my friend is correct or not. Many thanks.

    • Hi Lyn,

      Your friend is correct. Oyster is accepted at Grays and there are fares available for all destinations. Off peak the cap applied is £15.20 which is 10p cheaper than the travelcard, but there is a problem in the peak. The peak cap is £20.20 while the anytime day travelcard is £17.30. This is why you cannot buy travelcard seasons on Oyster from Grays (and related stations) and why you may be discouraged from commuting in the peak. It’s a bit of a mess and one that I hope is sorted out before Oyster gets rolled out to other Essex destinations.

      For your specific journey the off-peak single is £6.20 and the peak one (if you return between 1600-1900) is £7.20. Thus you will get a bigger benefit over the travelcard unless you make any other journeys. You certainly won’t lose out.

  27. Hi Mike,

    I’m travelling to Shepperton from Clapham Junction, can I use Oyster PAYG to cover part of my journey? I know Oyster only covers up to Hampton but how to do I pay for the remaining four stops to Shep? Or would it be better to buy a paper ticket instead? It’s a return journey.
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Ann,

      Shepperton is a pain. Whether it’s worthwhile depends on when you make the journey. Off-peak it could be cheaper to switch at Hampton, but if the validators are not on the platform then you’ll probably need to wait for the next train. Personally I’d probably buy a paper ticket.

  28. Hi Mike,

    Fantastic work with the website.

    I got an oystercard a few days ago and am not sure how to use it properly. I do understand that I need to touch in at the beginning of my journey, but I am not sure about the following:

    1. Touching out – Do I need to touch out at every station I alight, to change trains? Most of my journeys are over two or three different trains on the NR. So if I get down at Clapham Jn, Platform 4 and need to take another train from Platform 17, do I need to touch out at Clapham?

    2. Switching modes of transport – In the same example, if I take the tube instead of the NR, do I need to touch out at Clapham while changing to the tube?

    3. Pink card readers – If these are not available at the station I am changing trains, do I need to touch out?

    My apologies if these questions are too basic, but I would really appreciate your help with them 🙂


    • Hi Vivek,

      1) If changing trains within Clapham Junction you do not need to touch out or back in again.
      2) There are no tubes at Clapham Junction. If you mean London Overground then that is the same as any other NR service, so no, you don’t need to touch out.
      3) No. If there are no pink readers then there is no requirement to touch out.

      You only need to touch out and in again in the middle of a journey if you have to go through two gatelines between interchange. This will either be at a main station where the Underground is a seperate gated area, or if two stations are close by but you have to leave one and walk to the other (eg New Cross to New Cross Gate).

  29. Perfect! You cleared my doubts completely. Thank you so much for the prompt response, highly appreciated.

    Have a great week, Mike.


    PS. On a side note, in Q.2 I did not mean Overground. I was unaware that there is no tube at Clapham. What I meant to ask was, if I switch from the NR to the tube within the same station (like Richmond), do I need to touch out and touch back in again? From what you have replied, I think the answer is no, unless the tube is accessible only through a gated interchange.

    • No worries, you’d think Clapham Junction would have a tube station, but the tubes are Common, North and South. And yes, places like Richmond do not require touching in and out while somewhere like London Bridge does.

  30. Hi Mike,

    It’s me again :). Just a quick question on changing ‘lines’ on the underground.

    I need to travel to Canary Wharf from South Wimbledon. This requires one change (at London Bridge).

    If I take the Northern Line from South Wimbledon to London Bridge and switch to the Jubilee line from London Bridge to Canary Wharf, would I need to touch out and touch back in at London Bridge? I think (and hope) not.


    • It depends. What does the letter say? Technically only a court can impose a fine, and they would then chase up payment, so it’s unlikely that the letter is about a fine. It might be a penalty fare, in which case you aren’t being accused of a crime. Penalty fares are issued to passengers who make a mistake. If you can give me more details about what the letter says then I can maybe advise further.

  31. I lost my oyster on my way to uni, and the next day I was in a rush so I took my dad’s, which is an honest mistake, but now I’m scared if they would charge me of a crime. the officer just told me that they will send a letter, I haven’t got it yet.

    • Ah, ok. I’m assuming your dad’s card has a travelcard on it then? Unfortunately that is a serious mistake, both for you and your dad. Only wholly PAYG Oyster cards are transferable, once there is a travelcard or a discount entitlement attached to the card then it can only be used by the registered holder. The letter will explain what they plan to do. It will probably ask for your side of the story. If it’s your first offence on the railways then they may offer you an out-of-court settlement. Even if they don’t, if you respond with a contrite apology and ask to pay their costs to resolve the matter with as little fuss as possible then they are likely to agree. It can’t be guaranteed though.

  32. I’m an international student, and planning to go back to my country for christmas in two weeks,will it affect my traveling? Could you also be kind enough to tell me approximately how long it might take for the letter to come through and how much will an out of court settlement cost?

    • At this stage you have not been convicted of anything so I don’t see how it could affect your travel plans. The letter could take several weeks to arrive. As long as you aren’t planning to stay out of the country for a long time it shouldn’t make any difference. If it comes before you go then I would respond before you go and then enjoy Christmas. If it hasn’t come then you may need to act quickly on your return. Out of court settlements vary considerably so it is not easy to predict what they will want. It is likely to be over £100, but that is pure speculation at this stage.

  33. Hi Mike,
    Can u plz let me know d charges from
    ” Victoria To Raynes Park”
    @ 08:00 on 08-01-2013 Tuesday &
    “Raynes Park To Hounslow East”
    @ 18:00 on same day.
    ” Hounslow East To Raynes Park”
    @ 08:00 on 09-01-2013 Wednesday &
    “Raynes Park To Victoria”
    @ 13:00 on same day.
    I have Oyster Card & I’m international student so I need student oyster but problem is my college is not listed @ oyster site, so kindly know d process abt this matter.
    Thanking You.

    • Hi mehboob,

      Victoria to Raynes Park via Clapham Junction is £3.60 Peak and £2.50 off-peak.
      Raynes Park to Hounslow East via Earls Court and Wimbledon is £2.50 Peak and you must touch the pink validator at Wimbledon.

      The same fares apply both ways and only your 1300 journey would be off-peak. For the student Oyster you’ll need to follow the instructions on the TfL site at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14312.aspx

  34. I have applied for my sons Tfl young oyster and I obviously filled in the application ahh went to the local post office and gave it in with £10 pounds. It has Been 2 weeks and still haven’t received it. I don’t know what to, can some one give me advice on what to do

    • Hi, subz,

      Sorry for the delay replying. 2 weeks is just about what it could take if they are busy. If you still haven’t heard this week then I’d call the Oyster helpdesk with the reference number on the sheet you retained from the Post office.

  35. Mike,
    I have a friend visiting from another part of the country for a few days. I explained about Oyster as best I could and bought her a card and loaded it with £20 of PAYG to get her around whilst here. Met her on arrival in central London yesterday and showed her how to use the card by making the journey to the gig we were attending. Afterwards she couldn’t find the card,went through her handbag several times to no avail so she paid £10 for another one (£5 deposit plus £5 PAYG to get to my place last night). This second card was left with 90p on it.
    Today,of course,after a lot more rummaging,she found the first card! (Which,having only been used for the one journey,still had £17.90 on it). I explained that we could hand the second card back in and get the deposit back but can I do this at the newsagent/ticket stop or does it need to be done at a station (obviously I’ve never had cause to hand my own Oyster back in so I’m not sure). And can I get the 90p remaining on the second card transferred on to the first one?

    • Hi Phil,

      I’m not sure about ticket stops doing refunds. However, an Underground station definitely will, and can transfer the balance as well.

  36. Hi Mike,

    Not sure where to put this. Do you know if a fast train from Liv St to Shenfield then doubling back to Brentwood is allowed, without needing to go through the barriers at Shenfield?

    • Hi Jim,

      Yes it is. As long as you stay within the Oyster area and do not exceed the maximum journey time between your start and end stations then you cannot be off-route with a validated Oyster card.

  37. Hi Mike,

    A silly one but hope you can put my mind at rest. I made a bog standard journey from Uxbridge to Regents Park the other day and touched in with my Oyster as usual. But when I got to the other end I realised I had both my own and my wife’s card in my wallet and had no idea which one I’d touched in with as I normally just touch my closed wallet to the reader. You guessed it, I chose wrong and got a Seek Assistance message. The I touched out as normal. Now my wife is worried she’ll have a problem when she next uses her card. Will her card have an incomplete journey stored on it?

    • Hi Ed,

      Yes she will, but unless it took her balance below zero it won’t affect future use. If she does have a negative balance then a top up will solve the issue. In terms of the journey in question, if you call the helpdesk with both Oyster cards and explain what happened, they may agree to refund the charge.

  38. Hi Mike,
    my question is about if I can ask for a refund in the case that you haven’t touched properly on the yellow reader to get out.

    I was travelling from Canonbury to Perivale and changed at Sheperd’s Bush from the overground to the underground. I didn’t touch out properly on the yellow reader at the overground station and went straight to the underground station (it took me less than 5 minutes). I’ve got a ticket that proves it.

    But I have paid the maximum fare for the journey from Canombury to Sheperd’s Bush overground station and then another fare for the journey from Sheperd’s Bush to Perivale underground station.

    Can I get a refund for this? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Patricia,

      Yes, you should be able to get this back. You may be able to apply online if you have an online account, or just contact the helpdesk and explain what happened. They should refund the whole maximum fare because the overall journey costs the same as Shepherd’s Bush to Perivale.

  39. Hello Mike

    I had a problem with my Oyster card yesterday morning. When I started my journey, I touched my card on the readers at the gates, but the gates wouldn’t open and let me through. (I think the “contactless” debit card in my wallet was interfering with my Oyster card.) I thought that my Oyster card hadn’t registered at the gates, and since there were no staff around to help me, I ended up having to buy a single fare paper ticket from a machine.

    It turns out that my Oyster card *did* register when I touched it at the gates, and I’ve now been charged the maximum fare. Will I be able to get a full refund of the maximum fare since I technically didn’t use my Oyster card to pay for the journey?

    • Hi Simon,

      You’ll need to contact the helpdesk and explain what happened. They should arrange a refund. Obviously it is best to keep your Oyster card separate from any other cards to avoid this problem in the future.

  40. Hi Mike, I will shortly be doing a daily commute from Clapham to Angel, is a monthly travel card from zones 1-4 going to be the cheapest way of doing this during the peak times? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi,

      Absolutely not. You don’t say which Clapham station* you will use but they are all in zone 2 as far as journeys to Angel are concerned. If all you do each week is commute to work and back then PAYG will just be cheaper. If you also make other journeys then you should get a zone 1-2 travelcard. This will cover you on all rail services within zones 1 and 2 and all TfL operated bus services throughout London.

      * If you mean Clapham Junction and intend to use PAYG then make sure you change at Clapham High Street/Clapham North rather than taking NR to Vauxhall, Waterloo or Victoria.

  41. I want to travel from Balham to Wembley Central on a direct Southern Trains service via Kensington Olympia. I’ll be using my Oyster card – do I need to identify my route anywhere?

    • Hi Henry,

      The default route involves no other touches and charges as if a direct train has been used, so you don’t need to identify the route.

  42. We live in South Wales and visit London for holidays and days out. My wife and I have Oyster Cards and my son, now aged 12 insists on having one too. I’m trying to apply online for an 11-15 Zip Oyster Photocard and get as far as this page:-


    But none of the alternatives take you any further except the 18+ Student one.

    I’ve also registered for a Zip Oyster photocard web account and received a Web account number, but if I log in and attempt to order an 11-15 card I can only get as far as a screen which says: ‘New 5-10, 11-15 or 16+ Zip Oyster photocard application?’ – but there is no provision for going any further apart from a box which says: ‘Do you want to link an existing photocard to this web account?’
    ‘Enter/Confirm your application reference or 12 digit Oyster photocard number below to add it to this web account.’
    Which is no good because I haven’t got a photocard number to enter in it, as that’s what I’m trying to apply for! Nor will it accept the web account number.
    Am I going wrong somewhere, or do you know if the website is not working correctly?
    I emailed a query to using the Help & Contact section yesterday but haven’t had a reply yet.

    • Hi Malcolm,

      I’ve had problems with kids cards in the past and usually end up phoning the helpdesk. I’ll be trying again in July shortly before my youngest turns 11. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  43. Hi
    I live in Manchester and occasionally visit London, so have an Oyster card. I was last in London at New Year and am visiting again at Easter.

    I’m not sure if it was stolen out of my pocket or if i dropped it on New Years Day but when I went to find it yesterday evening it wasn’t anywhere to be found. It’s registered so I went online to cancel it and have found someone else has been using it since January!

    Can/Should I cancel it meaning that whoever is using it loses the money on it (which btw is less than I left on it) or just order a new one and leave it as registered to me?


  44. Hi Mike, I am confused about My Oyster card despite trying to find an answer on your informative website. i am new to London and I hope you can you help. I went to Honor Oak Park today, Sunday, from Borough station. on the way out I touched my Oyster card at Borough but had no choice but to touch out at London Bridge and back in for the overground train. I took the train and touched out at Honor Oak Park. On the way back I touched in at HOP and got off an overground trsin at Canada water and took tube to London Bridge. At LB I changed to the northern line and got off at Borough. During this return journey I only had to touch at Honor Oak Park and Borough. But essentially both journeys were the same (they took me between the same teo stations). Why was my outward journey £3.60 and return journey was £2.70? Sorry if this is a daft question but I can’t get my head round it!

    • Hi Jae,

      Borough to Honor Oak Park with no touch out/in in the middle is assumed to go via your return route which is all TfL Rail (Northern/Jubilee/Overground) while your outward route used Southern between London Bridge and Honor Oak Park so was a mixed NR+TfL Rail fare.

  45. I have a zone 1-2 annual travel card on Oyster and frequently travel from East Dulwich to Aldgate East, changing at Peckham Rye and Whitechapel. If I don’t touch in at East Dulwich, do I need to touch the pink interchange at Whitechapel to avoid a penalty fare when I touch out at Aldgate Eaat? What about the return journey? Thanks.

  46. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for maintaining such an amazing treasure trove of tfl & Oyster info!

    My wife uses a monthly Zone 1-3 travelcard on her Oyster and I use payg. I use her card occasionally on weekends. I’ve been checked often on the tube/bus but never been queried about whose name the travelcard is in.

    She is thinking of getting an annual tfl z1-z3 travelcard on her Oyster. I had two questions please –

    1. Is the annual one to be used with an accompanying photocard or is it still just the Oyster?

    2. Am I breaking the law by using her Oyster travelcard?



    • Hi Fred,

      1) I don’t think any travelcard on Oyster requires a photocard because the Oyster has to be registered to add more than a weekly to it. However …
      2) Yes. Only an undiscounted and PAYG only Oyster card can be transfered.

  47. Hi Mike,

    My daily commute is going to be a bus from my flat to Woolwich Arsenal, then on to Rusell Square. If I get Zone 1-4 travelcard, does that cover the Woolwich Arsenal to London Bridge rail journey, or would I have to use the DLR to avoid a charge on top of the travelcard?

    • Hi Eleanor,

      The travelcard covers all rail services within the zones covered (apart from St Pancras Intl to Stratford Intl and Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow) as well as buses throughout London. So using NR to get to London Bridge would be fine.

  48. Hi Mike, I was recently staying in Roydon (that’s in Essex) and expected to be able to use my Oyster card from there to Liverpool Street as I thought Oyster was now good for overground trains. But I couldn’t see an Oyster reader on the platdform and there were no staff to ask, so I finished up buying a NR ticket from the machine. Is Roydon on the Oyster network, and is there an easy way to find out which overground stations are and aren’t? Thanks!

  49. Hi Mike, I recently misplaced my oyster card and ordered a replacement card. But before my new card arrived, I found the old card. Is there any way in which I can get a refund for the new card and carry on using/reactivate the old card as my credit on the old card was not transferred to the new card. Thanks!

    • Hi gemmy,

      If you reported the old card lost then they may well have disabled it. I don’t think that can be undone. However, a tube station would be able to refund the credit and deposit or transfer them to your new card. If your old card wasm’t registered then make sure you register the new one as that makes it easier to protect unused credit.

  50. Hi Mike, thanks for clarifying that Roydon is one stop beyond the Oyster boundary at Broxbourne. I haven’t checked whether this is practical but as I’ll be making the journey a lot is it acceptable to buy a return from Roydon to Broxbourne, then (a) leave the train briefly on the way into London to touch in on the Oyster reader and (b) use Oyster from London to Broxbourne, leave the train briefly to touch out then continue the journey using the second part of my return ticket. I haven’t looked at the possible cost savings compared to buying a normal day return from Roydon to London, but if it’s more than £2 a day or so then it would be worth doing as long as it’s legal and possible.

  51. Mike, I want to travel from Sutton to Hampton Court. Some timetable journeys are shown as changing at Epsom, which is just outside the Oyster zone. Am I allowed to use my Oyster card if I travel by that route?

  52. Hi Mike

    Please can you help here. I want to travel 5days a week from Woolwich Arsenal (DLR Zone 4) to Brent Cross (Zone 3) but will change at Canning Town to go on Jubilee to catch Northern Line from London Bridge to Brent Cross and then Bus from Brent Cross to Shopping Centre. I was thinking of getting Zone 2-4 Travelcard on Oyster as I will touch in at Woolwich Arsenal and Touch out at Brent Cross. Is this the most cost effective way for a month?

    • In a word, No. As you travel through zone 1 you would be charged £2.10 per journey to cover the middle bit.

      However, if you can change your route then it would work. Take the DLR to Stratford, then Overground to Camden Road, walk to Camden Town and take the Northern Line from there. You will need to touch the pink reader on the Overground platforms at Stratford to tell the system that you’ve gone that way.

  53. Hi Mike,
    My wife and I will be in London for a week early Aug. We plan to Oyster Cards for our travels within London. Pl let me know if the card has any other benefits, like skipping the line at museums/cathedrals etc. Thank you.

  54. Mike,

    Impressive posts! After reading your site/posts want to validate I have this correct: 5 day a week commute combination travel on bus and tube from zone 2 to 1 and then recreational travel on weekends primarily on bus and tube. Best option is a one year unlimited Travel Card for zones 2-1 correct?

  55. Hi Mike, yesterday I travelled from Old Street to Euston at 10.41, touching out at 10.56 and was charged £2.10. Then I touched in on the reader at Platform 16 at Euston at about 11.00 and out again at Harrow and Wealdstone at 11.16. For that second journey my statement shows ‘????’ for the time and ‘unspecified location’ for the start point and I was charged 90p. My question is, should the system have treated this as one journey from Old Street to Harrow and Wealdstone and if so what’s the correct fare? And where does it get 90p from?

    • Hi Steve,

      It looks like one bit of your history hasn’t made it to the central database for some reason. £3.00 is the off-peak fare for the whole journey. The deduction at Harrow will have been 90p because the other £2.10 was taken at Euston LU. You may find the history completes itself in a day or so, but you haven’t been overcharged in any case.

  56. Hi Mike

    Thanks for setting up this site, I’d be grateful for any advice you can offer. I’ve been given a penalty fare, which I unsuccessfully appealed. However, I’m unsure whether to appeal again due to events since the first incident.

    To explain: A few weeks ago I touched in at Leytonstone High Road Overground on my daily morning commute to Oxford Circus via Blackhorse Road. At Blackhorse Road I then touched in at the pink interchange reader. Seconds later I was stopped by Overground inspectors who checked my card and said I had not touched in at Leytonstone. A debate followed, they printed out my recent journeys – and it said I had not touched in at Leytonstone.

    Thing is, I knew I had touched in. I appealed the fare and asked that they check the CCTV at Leytonstone to verify I had touched in. A few days ago I was told the appeal had failed. No idea if they bothered to look at the video to verify my account. There was no intent to avoid payment. The cost from Blackhorse Road to Oxford Circus is the same as that from Leytonstone High Road to Oxford Circus.

    Fast forward to yesterday when I tried to touch in on the interchange reader at Blackhorse Road. Red light flashed up. I tried it again. Red light again. I found an Overground supervisor nearby who looked at my card, tried it and got the same response. She said she suspected the chip might be going and I should get the card checked or replaced . The card subsequently worked fine on the validator next to the one that was refusing the Oyster card and I continued on my way.

    Today I touched that same dodgy reader at Blackhorse Road. Red light. Again. Card worked fine — again — on the other reader.

    The reader at Blackhorse Road is not the same as the one that caused the initial issue at Leytonstone – but I’m wondering if the card is hit and miss with certain readers? I bought the card the very first month Oyster was introduced back in 2003: it has been used pretty much every week and every year since then and it is very faded and battered.

    I’d like to discuss this with the rail company or someone else other than station staff to work out what’s going on – but all I can find are appeal websites that send out “no-reply” emails and lack phone contact details. Can you help with the following please?

    – Does the age of an Oyster card may impact its ability to register on certain machines?

    – Are you aware of faulty readers on that stretch of the Overground – how common are faulty readers?

    – The note with my rejected appeal stated that if I was still unhappy I should write to Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, Transport for London (no email nor phone number…). Any idea who they are, what they do and if they can help?

    – General point: How impartial is the appeals service? I sense they make it tough to challenge decisions. At my wits’ end…


    • Hi Nick,

      I’ll deal with your general questions first, then discuss your specific issue.

      I’m not aware of any faulty readers on that stretch of the Overground, or anywhere to be honest. They do sometimes have problems, although usually the reader will be taken out of service if that is the case. The age of an Oyster card may be a factor in causing it to malfunction generally, as is the amount of use it’s had and where it is generally stored. Back pockets are notoriously bad for bending the card and breaking the circuits. Given that your card sounds like it might be going defective, I’d advise taking it to an Underground station and getting them to swap the balance over to a new card. Finally CSEP seems to be explained on this page on the TfL website, though it doesn’t say how to contact them.

      Now onto your case. Strictly speaking you had failed to touch in at the start of your journey. I assume that Leytonstone High Road only has validators and no gates, so you didn’t have the security of seeing gates open. The pink readers have a little side effect that if you aren’t in the system they will act like a yellow reader. In your case this caused the correct fare to be deducted, but if you’d come from Upminster, for example, you would have avoided a chunk of the fare. It’s possible that the inspectors saw that the pink reader touched you in and thus they asked to check your card. Equally they may have checked you anyway, in which case you’d still have had a problem.

      My problem is that you haven’t actually deprived anyone of any revenue. I don’t know what the actual offence is in your case (ie is it strict liability or intent to avoid the fare), but if it’s the latter then they will have a job convincing a court what the losses are. If you haven’t already, get a journey statement for the day in question, plus a few days either side to prove what your usual journey/fare is. I’m going to ask advice from some colleagues as to whether it’s worth calling their bluff or not. No promises at this stage, but if you can confirm that you did pay the fare that day then I’ll see what others think.

  57. Hi Nick,

    I’ve consulted some more knowledgable people and they tell me that a PF is a strict liability matter and your were caught travelling without a validated Oyster card. You could write to the CSEP department if you wished, majoring on how TfL hadn’t lost money, but I’m not sure that it would make a difference. I certainly wouldn’t advise taking it to court because whereas the magistrates may agree that no money was lost in fares, they may not force TfL to pay your costs. It’s frustrating, but I’d pay the PF and ensure that you both get your card changed and make certain that you’ve validated when using readers not attached to gates.

  58. Hi Mike, Yes, it was an £80/£40 penalty fare under code 08 (No validated Oyster card). My natural inclination is to challenge it but given how tough it is to make an appeal I sense the odds are stacked against me, esp if it is strict liability, and it will only add to the ongoing aggravation. And yes, I will retire the 10-year old card and get a new one. Thanks for your help again, Nick

  59. I want to travel from Thornton Heath to Highbury and Islington by going to balham, get the underground to stockwell, then take the Victoria line to Highbury and Islington. My question is can I go this route with a weekly travelcard that has zones 2-4?

    • Hi Niro,

      Short answer, NO!

      Longer answer, if you go via Stratford then you can, but the route you’ve suggested involves travelling through zone 1, so therefore zone 1 must be paid for.

  60. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the previous reply. Am i correct to say that i can go to norbury and get off at balham, take the northern line, get off at stockwell, get victoria line to highbury and islington?
    secondly, if possible, can you tell me by bus how far I can travel in london with a zone 1-3 weekly travelcard?

    • All TfL buses are free with any travelcard. There are no zones with buses. A zone 1-3 travelcard gives you unlimited rail travel throughout zones 1-3.

  61. Dear Mike,
    Thank you very much for your reply. This means I can go to highbury and islington with zone 1-3 provided that I take the train from Norbury.

  62. Dear Mike
    I believe it is cheaper to purchase 2 season tickets from Potters Bar to Central London on a daily basis where I can get on any available train (non-stopping or slow train). Could you advise if this is correct and if so which tickets do I need to buy. Thank you

    • Hi Jacqui,

      The only way that two season tickets can be combined on a non-stop train is if they are both zonal. An example would be Potters Bar to zones 4-6 and a zones 1-3 travelcard season.

  63. Hi Mike,
    I didnt tap out at the tube station since there was alot rush and so i was unable to do so also i was using a 11+ oyster so will i get charged and if so how much?

    • Hi Misha,

      You will be charged, but how much depends on when you touched in. The helpdesk will process a refund if you contact them from tomorrow and explain what happened.

  64. Hi Mike,
    I recently received an email telling me I had to confirm that I was still at university, in order to be able to use my oyster for 2013/2014 – I was told to do this before the 1st of November, otherwise my oyster would stop working, so I did. However, I just checked the status of my application and it says ‘ Waiting for Establishment to approve application’. It is obviously now November, and so I am wondering if the fact that my university has not yet confirmed my attendance means that my oyster no longer works. Is this the case?

    Thank you in advance.

  65. Hi Mike,
    Quoting you:
    “Hi Jacqui,

    The only way that two season tickets can be combined on a non-stop train is if they are both zonal. An example would be Potters Bar to zones 4-6 and a zones 1-3 travelcard season.”

    Why do I have to buy two travelcards? That seems like a rip off. Correct if I am wrong.

  66. I have a monthly student oyster that covers zone 1-6. I want to travel from London Paddington Station to Reading station. I was wondering if I can purchase a monthly train ticket that goes from West Drayton station to Reading station and still be able to board the train at London Paddington instead of travelling all the way to West Drayton to board the train to Reading since it would cost around £50 less compared to a monthly travelcard that covers between Reading stations and London zone 1-6.

    • Hi Sara,

      You can mix two seasons together but the train must call at the station where you switch tickets. You don’t have to get off the train though.

  67. Hello Mike,

    we are a group of 9 travelling to London for a week. We will get 7-day travelcards on Oyster cards. None of us has one yet, so I’ll buy nine of them and load them with travelcards.

    I have a question about the refundable £5 deposit. Is it true that it cannot be refunded in cash if the Oyster card has been bought by credit card? I have also heard that one should present a proof of address when claiming the refund (I can’t imagine why). Would you advise for one person returning all the nine cards together – or should everybody do it on his own?

    I hope you’re able to help me with these questions.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Jan,

      Yes, as far as I know you can only get cash refunds if enough recent top-up has been done with cash. I’m also aware of the proof of address complications. If this might be a problem then I’d check with the helpdesk what they suggest. There is a postal address to send used cards to and I don’t see why one person can’t send all 9 together, especially if they were bought together.

      Hope this helps.

  68. Jan

    You could always each hang on to the Oyster cards; they don’t expire and you (or anyone you give them to) would save time and money on your next visit to London even if you just make one journey.

    Don’t forget also that paper Travelcards are still available from National Rail stations without a deposit, though you will need a Photocard.

    Are you sure anyway that you will be travelling enough to warrant a Travelcard rather than Oyster pay as you go? You might like to have a look at TfL’s website and compare the cost of the journeys you are making against the price of a Travelcard covering the Zones you will be using.

  69. Thank you for clarifying that, Mike and Ralph!

    I have compared the costs (Travelcard vs. PAYG) and it will pay to get the Travelcard.

    Supposing we buy the cards with cash and top them up with cash, would it complicate things if we return them before the Travelcard expires (on day 5)?

    I am beginning to consider buying paper Travelcards (we’ll arrive on Eurostar so this shouldn’t be a problem) as this seems to be the easier option, what do you think? Will we really need photocards?

    • Hi Jan,

      Yes you will need photocards for paper travelcards. It won’t complicate things if you return them after 5 days, though you won’t get anything back on the travelcards. Also, if your travelcards will be zone 1-2 then I agree that they are worthwhile, but if you were buying zone 1-4 or 1-6 versions then it very much depends on whether you want to try and travel before 0930 Monday-Friday. If you don’t then the off-peak cap will make PAYG cheaper over just 5 days. If you can give me an idea of where you will be staying and the sort of places you want to visit I’ll try to suggest the best solution.

  70. Hi Mike,

    thanks for replying. We are staying near Queensway (or Bayswater) station. On the first day, we need to get there from St Pancras (around noon), then go to Westminster, the Tower and back to the hotel. On the next three days, we will make at least five journeys a day (zones 1 & 2). On the fifth day, we need to get to Euston in the morning. A travelcard would cost £1.10 less than using PAYG.

    Now I have found this site selling travelcards in advance http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/travelcards/7-day/product/7-day-travelcard.html There is no mention of a photocard and it would be handy to already hold the tickets when we arrive in London so we won’t have to queue. What do you think?

  71. im travelling to london for a few days and want to get an oyster card. im planning to use it from stanstead airport to central london (pica dilly). i have one full day in london and plan to visit a few sights using mainly the underground. leaving on the third day but will use it again from picadily to victoria. how much on adverage do i need to top up the card with.

    • Hi May,

      First off, you can’t use the Oyster card at Stanstead Airport. The off-peak cap for zones 1 and 2 is £7.00/day (£8.40 if you start before 0930). A single tube journey in zone 1 is £2.20.

  72. hi mike. i recently purchased an oyster card at an overground station and was not given anything to fill out. I went online to register it but it said it was already registered and it asks for a security question answer . i was not given anything to fill out in this box and have tried every pin like number on my receipt as it suggested i might have been given a pin. Any clue what i should do?

    • Hi James,

      It sounds like your card has been returned by it’s original owner and re-issued to you. I would call the helpdesk and ask them what to do. You may have to take it to a tube station where they can swap it for a brand new one, and register you at the same time.

  73. I’ve just tried logging into my Oyster account and it’s asking me to provide all of my security information again.

    ” We are changing our online account area to allow you to do even more online.

    You will need to confirm your account details below. ”

    This sounds like every phishing email I’ve ever seen and has set alarm bells ringing. Do you know what is going on?

    • Hi Simon,

      While it does sound like a phishing email, you haven’t received an email and you haven’t been redirected to a phoney site. It’s been going on for a while now, but I had to reset all mine some time ago. I’d say it’s nothing to worry about. However, if you are still concerned then phone the helpdesk and ask them.

  74. Thanks for that. I did indeed phone them and apparently there is an ongoing programme of changing everybody’s username to their email address. I think the wording on the page could have been rather clearer but there we are.

  75. Hi
    I will be moving soon and the new place is near a National Rail station, but not tube station, in zone 4. I will be taking bus to work, but I do go to central London a lot and I worked out it will make sense for me to get monthly travel card rather than use pay as you go. I have 2 questions:
    – will zone 1-4 travelcard include ‘red’ national rail station or will it charge me extra for using rail?
    – I will use a bus on every weekday morning, not tube or train. Can I activate the travelcard on bus oyster reader? if not, can I just pop into the train station, touch in and out to activate and then take my bus? Or do I have to take a proper journey (which for me would not be practical).

    Thank you

    • Hi Agin,

      You can buy a travelcard at a train station from the machine, but you can’t receive an online ordered travelcard from a bus. As long as the travelcard has started when you collect it, you can just enter a station. You don’t need to touch out because no charge is made for using a travelcard within it’s zones. A travelcard covers all rail services (except NR at Heathrow and HS1 between St Pancras and Stratford International). You will need to make a lot of extra rail travel to make a travelcard worthwhile. Remember that a bus costs £1.45 anywhere with a daily cap of £4.40 (ie 4th journey almost free and after that they are).

  76. Hi Mike

    I’m moving to Grays from London, however I shall be commuting to London to take my children to school. They have their Oyster Cards. Can you advise me as to how much it will cost them each week to travel from Grays to Stratford and Grays to Plaistow return. We’ll be using the C2C and then changing trains when needed.
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Jacqui,

      It’s the same fare for each, and in both cases you can change at West Ham, even though you then go backwards to Plaistow. You can’t get travelcards on Oyster from Grays and they are more expensive than single fares, especially if some of the journeys can start before 1600 to get off-peak. The single fares are:

      Adult: £4.60 peak, £3.80 off-peak
      11-18: £2.30 peak, £1.90 off-peak
      5-10: Free.

      The 11-15 and 16-18 cards can save a little in the peak if you split at a zone 6 station (Upminster or Rainham). Touch out from Grays will charge £1.30 and touch back in to Stratford etc will only be 80p. You would have to get to a gate/validator to do this so you might have to get the next train.

  77. Hi Mike,

    I’m trying to figure out the cheapest way of travelling from Willesden Green to Hampton Wick. I’ve been looking into getting the tube to Waterloo from Willesden green and then Southwest train to Hampton Wick, would that be the best/cheapest? And also if so, would you recommend me buying a monthly travelcard put onto my oyster card to cover the whole journey to hampton wick or buy a weekly or monthy train ticket with southwest trains and just use my oyster card for the journey from Willesden Green to Waterloo on the jubilee line?

    Another thing is, i’m planning on purchasing the tickets today as I will be doing this journey from tomorrow for about 5 months. In this case, do you recommend a season or monthly travelcard/train ticket?

    Be great if you could advise as I’m not sure how to go about this and I need to save as much money as I can on travel!

    Many Thanks,

    • Hi Sinead,

      I hope I’m not too late. If you want to save money, avoid Waterloo like the plague! Your route should be Willesden Green to West Hampstead, then Overground to either Richmond* or Clapham Junction* then SWT to Hampton Wick. Ten peak singles will cost £39.00 while a zone 2-6 travelcard costs £39.20/week. Once you go to a monthly ticket the travelcard wins so that is what you should do. If on any day you want to go into zone 1 then simply have enough PAYG credit for a zone 1 journey (£2.20/£2.30) and make sure you touch in at the start of the journey and out at the end.

      *While changing at Richmond or Clapham Junction you should touch the pink validator to show that you haven’t gone via zone 1.

  78. Hi Mike,

    I wonder if you could help me please.
    My oyster card got broken where I have a monthly bus pass loaded. I went to the underground ticket office if they could give me a new one….only there relizing when staff told me that the card is registered to a different name (xxx). That name is my flatmate’s from about 3 years ago. We must have accidently swap it without relizing it. Could you please advice?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Kristina,

      That’s an unusual one. Are you still in touch with your flatmate? If you are, and can get their password, then you can sort out a replacement. At some time in the future you ought to swap back, though that might be difficult if you have different seasons loaded onto the cards. If you can’t get hold of your flatmate then you might have to take the loss. Call the Oyster helpline before giving up because they might accept proof that the two of you lived together and sort it out anyway.

  79. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your speedy respond.
    I went to a different underground startion and one of the staff has changed it for me without any problems 🙂
    I guess sometimes depends who you come across there…

    Many thanks again,

    Kind regards,


  80. hi mike! I would like to know what are the different types of travel cards for zone 1-3.
    in some places says the cost is 36.80 pounds in turnpikelane station told me20.20 pounds and I’m confused.
    excellent work the website.
    thank you

  81. Hello,

    At Victoria station, I arrive on platform 13 and then change trains onto one departing from platform 3. This means I have to beep out and then beep back in again. Can you tell me if I am charged two fares for this journey?


    • Hi Cezzabel,

      No, that will just be one fare unless you take longer than 15 minutes between touch out and in again. Note that if one leg covers more zones than the other then you will get two charges when going to the further out station, but they will equal the fare charged the other way.

  82. Hello

    I live in milton keynes and have recently accepted a job in central london which i start next week.
    I will be buying a annual season ticket via network rail from bletchley to london bridge which says covers zones 1-6.
    Does this mean i will only be able to use this for my one journey in the morning straight to London Bridge via Euston and then once again in the evening with the return journey?

    Or will i be able to travel in and around zones 1-6 throughout the day/evening as long as ultimately i start and end my day in Bletchley?

    Hope that makes sense.

    thanks in advance

    • Hi Daniel,

      You can use a season ticket as much as you like over any permitted route. In your case this means between Bletchley and zone 6 and then anywhere within zones 1-6.

  83. Hi, I recently registered my Oyester Card online, as I wanted to view my travel history as I can claim some of my travel back fro work purposes. However it is telling me I cannot view my travel history prior to registering. Is there no way to find this out? Surely with each Oyster having an individual number there must be a way?


    • Hi Kirsty,

      You’ll need to contact the helpdesk and see if they can generate an old-fashioned statement. It is true that you can’t access data before registration from the online screen.

  84. Hi, I live in Slough, and am going to be 18 years old. I would just like to know if I am eligible for the 18+ Oyster card as I attend Uxbridge College and will be until September 2015.

    My current Oyster card expires on the 26th May 2014, so would I be able to use the card with the remaining balance or not, also would the charge be at a adult or student rate? (As I currently pay).

    Thank You.

    • Hi Krishna,

      Unfortunately you have to live at a London address to qualify for the 18+ Student Oyster. I’m confused about your current card expiring on 26th May. If it is a 16+ Zip Oyster card then it usually runs until 30th September each year. I’m not sure about what happens to the balance once the card expires. It may carry on working as an adult card, or you may have to take it to a tube station and get the balance transfered to an adult card. You certainly won’t lose it.

  85. Hi, i live in london and want to apply for an 18+ oyseter card, however i go to school in Woking and my school isn’t listed under the ones they have. What do i do?

  86. Hello Mike,
    I have a question for you. I will be travelling on a regular basis (5 weekdays) at peak times from Wimbledon (zone 3) to Vauxhall (zone 1/2) and back.
    I do have a Railcard (Disabled Adult) and I am wondering what is the cheapest way to do it; I am not sure if weekly Travelcard for 36.80 (1-3 zone) is the best option. I’ll be travelling like this for 2 months only (internship).
    I want to apply for Oyster card today and would be grateful for some advice 🙂
    many thanks

    • Hi Cornelia,

      Don’t include zone 1 if all you do is Wimbledon to Vauxhall. The cost of 5 DSB reduced returns is £16.50 while a standard adult season is £16.60/week and means that you can make other journeys at weekends if you need to. The Oyster railcard discount only applies to off-peak fares and caps so won’t really help you.

  87. Thanks for a quick reply – I will be working in there for 2 months only though, so a season ticket is not possible.
    I am hoping to travel a bit around the weekend too, so thought about 5 dsb returns, plus an oyster with railcard for weekends (or day travelcard if a lot of journeys planned for, eg, saturday). Does it make sense then?
    Oh, and one more thing – we are talking about rail from Wimbledon to Vauxhall rather than tube, right?
    Youre very helpful,

    • Hi Cornelia,

      Season tickets can be purchased for 1 week, 1 month, and any period between 1 month and 1 year. The price I quoted was for a week. Yes, we are talking about using rail from Wimbledon to Vauxhall (you’d need zone 1 if you used the Underground). In your position I think I’d get either a weekly or monthly+ season ticket for the rail, whatever you can afford in one go, and if you want to go to London at the weekends then change at Vauxhall and start using Oyster from there. You’re probably only paying for zone 1 on the Oyster then, and if you take the tube it won’t feel like such a wasted change. The frequency on SWT is great anyway so you wouldn’t have to wait long for the next train. The great thing about Vauxhall being dual zoned is that you don’t pay twice for a zone if you switch tickets there.

  88. Mike,
    thank you so much for explaining this to me. It really simplified everything for me; I will listen to your advice and get tickets mentioned above.
    Many thanks for your help!

  89. Hi Mike,
    I buy a weekly pass on my oyster card for zone 2 and 4, I know I can use the card on Buses and DLR but can I use it on overground Trains within those zones without paying any extra.

  90. Hi again Mike,
    I used your advice today 🙂 however the things turned out a bit different than expected!
    I have been told that there is no discount from disabled adults railcard for peak times – which is confirmed on the website – also, none for the 7days travelcard.
    So Wimbledon – Vauxhall turns out about 23 for 7days travelcard on Oyster.
    I decided to take single travels through an oyster card – but it did charge me 2.20 per way, as if I was travelling through zone 1, rather than 1.60 for 2-3 zone.
    Any idea why is that?

    • Hi Cornelia,

      The disabled railcard does not give discounts on seasons, and nor does it discount peak fares on Oyster. But it does discount peak fares on paper tickets unless I’m reading things wrong. Using National Rail Enquiries it charges me £5 for a return from Wimbledon to Vauxhall at 0715 tomorrow without a railcard, but £3.30 when I add an adult disabled railcard.

      On Oyster, the zone 2-3 National Rail fares are £2.20 peak and £1.80 off-peak (£1.20 off-peak with railcard).

  91. Hi Mike,
    If I want to travel from london bridge to Gunnersbury via Richmond (london bridge – waterloo (tube), waterloo- richmond(national rail), richmond-gunnersbury (district line). Do I need a zone 1-3 travel card or zone 1-4 travelcard?


    • Hi Bea,

      You’d need a zone 1-4 travelcard if you use any of Waterloo, Vauxhall or Victoria National Rail stations as they will cause the system to assume you’ve gone via zone 4. If you do Jubilee from London Bridge to Westminster then District to Gunnersbury you would only need zones 1-3.

  92. Hi

    Can anyone tell me if they find the Oyster card confusing ?

    I am looking at costs, caps and whatever else and seeing different figures for all different things and am so confused by everything.

    Am told there is a cap for buses and then there is also another cap for trains …. I just do not understand.

    I am thinking of applying for the 60+ Oyster and no idea what would cost if I wanted to travel from Highams Park to Southend Victoria.

    Seems I can travel free to Upminster but why would I go that route instead of from Liverpool Street.

    Cannot find anywhere exactly what is furthest station I can travel free to and how to pay for the extra leg of journey (seems I am supposed to ask at beginning of journey but if have to use card to ‘touch in’ on outward leg then how can I ‘touch out’ at destination as would be further than would be allowed ?

    Same scenario as above but if only had a normal Oyster card (my wife who is not 60 yet )?

    Am so confused on this and to be honest am disappointed that it is so complicated, why can someone not come up with a straightforward simple way

    Why did they bring a 60+ Oyster when it does very similar to the Freedom Pass (if it doesn’t do the same well websites need to update their pages as am getting bogged down by everything as no one is explaining it is simple terms), may as well have just let the 60+ people still get the Freedom Pass ?

    • Hi Steve,

      It is confusing, but I’ll try and answer your questions. The cap for buses is a lower cap for if you only use buses (or trams). The rail caps include any bus/tram travel and depend on how far out from zone 1 you go by rail. So for buses each journey is £1.45 with a daily cap of £4.40 (the 4th journey only costs 5p and any others after that are free). Any buses you use also count towards the rail caps where the off-peak zone 1-6 cap is £8.50.

      The Freedom Pass is the London version of the nationally available ENCTS pass. These now give you free bus travel anywhere in England off-peak. The London Freedom Pass also works on trains in London. The ENCTS agreement means that it can only be issued to people over the national retirement age which is gradually being increased from 60 to 65. Boris Johnson wanted to give all 60+ Londoners the same freedom in London, hence the 60+ Oyster to fill in the gap until the Freedom Pass is valid. The only difference is that the 60+ Oyster only works in London where the Freedom pass is valid on buses throughout England.

      Unforunately Southend is particularly complicated because there are three routes and two of them have extra bits which are covered by Oyster but not the 60+ Oyster/Freedom Pass. The fastest way to Southend is via Upminster and Basildon which is the route where the boundary (Upminster) is the same for all cards. Similar to Basildon is the branch(es) via Grays where the 60+/FP extend to Upminster or Rainham but PAYG Oyster is valid to Grays. Finally there is the route via Shenfield where Harold Wood is the boundary of the 60+/FP but Oyster goes out to Shenfield.

      The 60+/FP cards are treated like season tickets so there is no penalty for touching in but not touching out. If travelling from Liverpool Street you would need to purchase a ticket from Harold Wood and the train does not need to stop there. Your wife’s PAYG Oyster will need to be touched out but fortunately she can use it all the way to Shenfield which gives you a bit more freedom. She would need to touch out there so you will need to let one train go (or be on one which doesn’t go to Southend to start with). She can then use a ticket from Shenfield to Southend.

      Finally, you might like to consider an alternative to save your wife some money. If you travel from Highams Park to Walthamstow Queens Road then take the Victoria line to Tottenham Hale and back onto Greater Anglia to Stratford you avoid both zones 1 and 2. Similarly, if you want to use the fast line via Upminster then you can take a short walk between Walthamstow Central and Walthamstow Queen’s Road and take the Overground to Barking. You’d then need tickets from Upminster to Southend Central. You wife would need to touch out at Upminster (and in on the way back).

      Why is it so complicated? Because different companies are responsible for different bits of the system in London. The 60+/FP is paid for by the London Councils so they stipulate that it can’t go outside their boundary. What really needs to happen is control of all suburban rail in London needs to pass to TfL. There are quite a few obstacles to that happening any time soon, but we can dream.

      Hope that helps.

  93. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for fast reply.

    So as I thought it is complicated, how does anyone understand the best way of using these cards ?

    Whichever way I go can only get as far as Upminster (didn’t know if could get similar stop on Liverpool Street line).

    To be honest it looks like it would be cheaper for my wife to purchase a ticket direct from Highams Park to Southend Victoria for £18.40 rather than use her Oyster card and purchase ticket from Upminster to Southend Central (that costs £12.50 plus the £8.50 train cap … total of £21 instead of the £18.40 for not using Oyster card), unless have missed something somewhere ?

    Going by your reply am I correct that there is not a bus AND a train cap when using both, it is one or the other not both (e.g. if use buses and trains on Oyster card in one day then total cap would be £8.50 and not £8.50 plus £4.40 making total of £12.90 cap). Hope that makes sense

    Looks like got to check out all these zones and figure out what the heck is going on with it (might be cheaper to just pay fares in the end instead of all this hassle)

    So, So, So confusing, why so hard why not have all zones same price cap or some other simple option. I do not know when traveling what zones I am going through so how will I know how much I have to pay.

    Something tells me this is not a good idea for the occasional trip out, likely ok for someone who uses every day ?

    Thank you again for your help.

    • Hi Steve,

      Firstly, remember that the cap is just the maximum you could be charged. Highams Park to Upminster avoiding zone 1 and 2 is just £2.30 off-peak single or £4.60 return.

      Yes, you are correct on the bus and train caps. The bus cap only applies to buses and trams, but if you use rail as well then all travel counts towards the rail cap.

      There is a useful map on the TfL site which shows you what zones you’ll go through. You can also check the single fare finder to see what any particular journey should cost.

  94. Hi Mike,

    Sorry but still too confusing for me to even try working it out.

    Whoever came up with the idea should have figured out a much more easier system.

    Looks like will end up keeping my car and forgetting about this Oyster card as way too confusing for me trying to figure out the best way to travel from A – B when all I want is to get on a bus/train and a computer works out the best price and route somehow when I swipe my Oyster card or better still … everything is a fixed price no matter which route I take to get from A – B instead of having to change however many times to achieve cheaper fare.

    Thanks again Mike (I do not know how you can understand it all as just blows my mind away and end up with headache)

  95. Not sure how you got £2.30 Off Peak as just been to this site and seems off peak for zones 3-6 would be £1.50 for this route: Walthamstow Central/Walthamstow Queen’s Road and Barking

    This is what I mean it is so confusing … perhaps I am doing something wrong

    • Hi Steve,

      At the risk of making things even more confusing, the problem is that Highams Park to Walthamstow Central is charged at the National Rail rate where £2.30 is the off-peak zone 3-6 fare.

  96. oh god … it is a nightmare then

    So doesn’t just work on what zones it works on what network using …. 🙁

    Seems a minefield of what and how to work it all out to best advantage regarding route/zones/fares/fees etc etc and anything else that may come into the equation ?

    Have no idea how you can work out so easily all this as I am pulling my hair out just thinking about it

  97. Steve

    Surely one of the advantages of Oyster over paper tickets is that you don’t need to understand all the rules? Just make sure you touch in and out on every journey and it works it out for you.

  98. Ralph,

    As far as I see it doesn’t work it out (not if you want to find cheapest route possible)

    Just so confusing, yes, I know could just get on train using Oyster and let it charge me whatever it may be but if can save £2 here and there then that has to be a better option … or am I wrong ?

    Also, I have no idea when traveling what am being charged so have no idea what have left on Oyster

  99. Hello Mike

    Great site – so many confusing/conflicting ones around so hoping you can help.

    The array of payment options for travelling in and around London is slightly doing my head in. Just moved from the North and will be starting a new job soon.

    The travel is going to be expensive whatever way I do it but could you advise whether there is a cheaper alternative to the £200 I am looking at on the TfL website. I will be travelling by tube/train or whatever (just not bus) from Old Street to Rayners Lane Mon- Fri usual working hours plus maybe weekends?

    I have an Oyster PAYG but do you think a Travelcard would be better value?

    Many thanks in avance for any help you can give.


    • Hi Laines,

      That is an awkward question. As you say, a monthly travelcard is £205.10 while 44 peak single trips at £4.60 is £202.40. Most months you will only need one weekend journey to make a travelcard worthwhile. The only way to make it significantly cheaper would be to use a bus from a nearby zone 2 station to Old Street such that you only need a zone 2-5 travelcard.

  100. Thanks for your very quick response Mike. it looks as though the travelcard will be the option I go for then. I had read your Peak, Off Peak and Caps page where it mentioned in the Exceptions under number 1 – If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail then the off-peak fare applies. I wasnt sure if I would fit into this category as I would start travelling home anytime between 4-6pm. I did look at the the definitions page but cannot tell if the tube I would be using is considered TfL rail or not of whether I had just completely got the wrong end of the stick.

    • Hi Laines,

      No, you’ve got the right end of the stick. I’d missed the fact that your commute is the other way round to normal. Your evening journey will be cheaper which does make PAYG more attractive. The single is £3.00 which would save £35.20 per 22 day month.

  101. Thank you so much Mike, worked out over a year thats a good saving. Really appreciate you help with all this. Hopefully it will get easier :-/

  102. Hi Mike

    I wonder if you could please advise me as the staff at Barking station have not been able to advise fully and your were massively helpful on a previous occasion!

    I currently commute from Barking to Wood Green (or in fact Haringey Green Lanes and then a bus) so have a Zone 2-4 travel card. This is due to expire 5 Jan 2015 and is an annual travel card.

    I am starting a new job on Oct 1 which requires a daily commute from Barking to Brixton (and the return Brixton to Barking). So I need a Zone 1-4 travel card for the remainder of the year and will be buying a Zone 1 – 4 again in the new year before the prices go up.

    What’s the most cost effective way of doing this please?

    I assume it will be purchasing a travel card session ticket extension to include zone 1 for the rest of the year (3 monthly exactly really) as opposed to using PAYG but I would be very grateful if you could confirm this. If so, what exactly do I need to ask for?

    Many thanks again


    • Hi Shelley,

      Hmmm, should I mention that Barking to Harringay GL is only zone 3-4? Sadly, you can only add travelcard zones in blocks of at least two, so you will have to use PAYG to cross zone 1 until the end of the year. Each journey will cost the TfL zone 1 fare of £2.20.

      Alternatively, you could try to avoid zone 1. Barking – West Ham – Canada Water – Clapham High Street and then a 322 bus would do the trick. Or from Clapham High Street walk to Clapham North and go one stop to Stockwell and again one stop to Brixton. Perhaps try to experiment for a few days before deciding what works best.

  103. Spent an hour or so looking round the net and think I know the answer, but is there a way to get a refund / replacement of a stolen Visitors Oyster Card?

    • Hi Neil,

      You certainly can with normal adult Oysters. You’ll need to know the card number so that they can hotlist it. The helpdesk or a central London tube station should be able to confirm if the same applies to visitor cards.

  104. Hi Mike,

    I lost my student oyster around 7.30 pm today and complained about the loss by 7.45pm. Someone found it outside my house and returned to me at 11pm. I was just wondering can I request tfl to not issue me a new card and let me use my old card and if possible to refund my money back. Any advice on this matter would be really helpful. Thanks in advance.

  105. Hi Mike

    Thanks for this site – it has gone a long way to mitigating my distrust of Oyster!

    My commute is from Queenstown Road to London Bridge – as I don’t want to pay the premium for travelling on both tfl and national rail – is the best option to walk to Waterloo East and get on national rail again?

    Other factors – I can leave at just after 9.30, commute back between 6 and 7.30 and the Oyster is linked to my young person’s railcard.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    • Hi dogdog,

      Walking between Waterloo and Waterloo East is certainly cheapest and won’t be much slower than using the Jubilee Line, if at all. I’d use Oyster if you don’t travel every weekday, otherwise a Queenstown Road to London terminals season ticket is cheaper. The season ticket also has the benefit that when direct trains are withdrawn between Charing Cross and London Bridge for a year next year you will be able to use the Jubilee line. It’s not clear yet whether PAYG fares between Waterloo and London Bridge will be adjusted during the closure of platforms 4-6 at London Bridge.

  106. hi Mike,
    I am a student andI have student 18+ oyster card.I live in grays buti have to go to my class in hammersmith . so how can i can use myoyster card cheply when buyong ticketmonthly or weekly. actually Grays is outside of the zone and I don’t know which option is cheaper for me…
    thank you…

  107. At the same time as contactless has come of age so, apparently, has the use of Southern’s smart card ticketing solution been made available for Travelcard use across London.

    I wonder what happens if you try and use it outside your Travelcard zones? Oyster, would revert to PAYG operation but a Southern card doesn’t (yet) have that luxury. Penalty Fare?

  108. Hi Mike,

    I am not a UK resident and purchased oyster card with my forex card (Not debit nor credit card). Few days ago I surrender my oyster card on one of the tube station. I asked for cash refund but they refused the same and told me that they need a debit/creditcard to get the same done. I gave them my forex card as that was in pound currency. They refunded my deposit + unused balance in that forex card. But I did not got the same yet. Please let me know how to get the same. And why they dont give the cash refund to the traveller ? Thanks

    • Hi Manish,

      A combination of money laundering rules and the fact that retailers pay commission to take cards means that most will want to refund to the original method of payment. I don’t understand what a forex card is, so I can’t help you with that side of your problem. I suggest going to whoever issues the forex card.

  109. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the response.
    Have two more queries.
    If you pay by cash for the card, will you get refund by cash or on credit card only? Also how much time it takes for the refunded amount to reflect into your credit card account ?


    • Hi Manish,

      If you pay originally by cash then you would usually get the refund by cash if that was possible, otherwise by cheque. Credit cards can take a few (2-3 working) days to register the refund.

  110. Hi Mike

    Just registered for an oyster card online at TFL and topped up with £10 on pay as you go. I have no immediate plans to use the card but it will be useful in emergency. Do i need to activate the card at a tube train station one i received it. is there a time limit on activation?. What if i only need to use it when the time arises on a bus, do i still need to activate it


    • Hi Kevin,

      If you’ve ordered a new Oyster card with £10 preloaded to arrive in the post then there is no need to activate it. The credit will never expire.

  111. Is there a way to combine upgrade monthly travel card of placed incorrectly on oyster? I have a monthly 2-5 on mine and require a monthly 1-5. The monthly started at the start of this week. Might I be able to upgrade via a tube ticket office?

    • Hi Chris,

      It’s possible that a tube ticket office may be able to extend the area, otherwise you’ll just have to pay zone 1 singles each time you cross the middle.

  112. Hi Mike,

    Is it possible to used a monthly travelcard zone 1-4 when travelling via Highams Park.

    My husband and I are looking for the cheapest option to travel from highams park to oxford circus on a daily basis.

    Thanks Pearl.

  113. Hi, I’v put money onto my Oyster online but I need to change the train station I entered to activate it. I have tried to do so but each time its taken £30 out of my bank when trying to change the station!
    Its still saying the wrong station … What will happen if i use it at a different station?

    • Hi David,

      Once you’ve set up a topup to collect from a station you can’t chnge it or select a different station until the first order is collected or times out (after 8 days).

  114. Hi Mike,

    I have just been fined £40 for reason code ’08 – no validated smartcard’. Let me explain to you my journey up to the point where I was handed a fine:

    1- I put £10 on my oystercard.
    2- Got the tram from Phipps Bridge Tram station to Wimbledon underground station – I didn’t leave Wimbledon station as I went to another platform within the station to go to Clapham Junction.
    3- Then I got an overground train to Willesden Junction from Clapham Junction – again not leaving the train station, I just went to another platform within the station periphery – It was on this train that my oystercard was checked by 2 ticket inspectors and said to be invalid for the reason given above.

    I explained to them the situation and that this is the first I am hearing of this requirement to go out of every station along my journey and touch out and in again. But, they didn’t listen and fined me.

    Do you think I have any serious grounds for appeal?
    I would really appreciate your guidance in this matter!

    Many Thanks.

    • Hi Mohammad,

      Assuming after you added the £10 you also touched in* before getting on the tram then your mistake was to not touch in at Wimbledon before getting the first train. Have a look at my Wimbledon page for full details. Unfortunately the fact that trams use platforms inside stations at Wimbledon and Elmers End doesn’t negate the need to touch in for a train journey after a tram journey.

      * If you didn’t then that’s another error.

  115. Thanks for the swift reply, Mike.

    I touched in at Phipps bridge tramstop and also touched in again when I got off at Wimbledon station – well I guess you’ll call it touching out, but without exiting the station. Then I went to platform 6/7 and then got an overground train to Clapham junction. I didn’t see anywhere to touch in or validate my Oyster card so I proceeded to get another train to Willesden Junction from within Clapham Junction.

    I believe that I touched in and out wherever I saw the option to. I just didn’t touch out of the station and touch in again. It sounds silly for me to touch out and then in for all of the stations that I travel through whilst undertaking a complete journey from Point A to Point B. So, am I at fault for not touching out and touching back in again at all stations that are part of my overall one-way journey?

  116. Having just read your Wimbledon page, I’ve noticed that I mistakenly touched in at the tram boarding validators facing Platform 10 instead of those facing platform 9 when I got off the tram at Wimbledon.

    Adding this into the equation. My question to you is – should I have been fined in your opinion? Should I file an appeal?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Mohammad,

      I did wonder whether you might have done that. I would definitely file an appeal, they can only say no. The signage is a lot better than it was originally at Wimbledon, but if all you’re looking for is a yellow topped validator and the platform is busy then I can see you might not notice the difference. To avoid the penalty going up to £80 I would pay the penalty fare, then write an appeal. You can say that you’ve since found out your mistake by looking at this website and would they consider reducing the fare to the level you would have paid had you touched in properly. Good luck!

  117. I’ve already paid the fine! However, I will now appeal!

    Thank you very much for your advice, Mike. It has been invaluable!

    Have a nice day.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Kane,

      Neither. Shepperton is beyond both the Oyster area and the travelcard area. You’ll need a paper ticket to get from Hampton to Shepperton.

  118. Hello,
    I put a zones 4-6 travelcard on my 18+ oyster to get me from home (SRS) to uni (SUR). I still get money deducted every time i scan out. Do I have to buy a travelcard that includes my travel through CLJ?

  119. Hello,
    Yesterday I was buying weekly ticket for my oyster and after card payment and touching card onto machine, there was an error and I didt have any season ticket on my oyster. I bought my ticket on another station, one more time. After checking my account balance I noticed, that there is some money missing, like I got charged for the first transaction too. My online account view is showing only one transaction from tfl and 57£ just got missing. What should I do now? Wait couple more days, go to ticket office or contact my bank?

  120. Mike

    I rarely apply for delay refunds, only when I have experienced an abnormally long delay to my journey (at least 30 minutes), in order to be sure that my claim meets the criteria. My usual journey is from West Harrow to West Brompton via Rayners Lane which usually takes under an hour. On Monday 13 October, I was delayed on all three lines I use (especially the Metropolitan line) and my journey as recorded on the system was dep West Harrow 0915 – arr West Brompton 1043. However, my online claim was initially rejected. When I called the service helpdesk to ask why, the customer service agent explained that no delays had been recorded by the system, which is why my claim had been turned down. I invited her to look at my journey history and compare that day with my normal journey time to show how severely I was delayed. It took some determination and persistence on my part to obtain a refund (not to mention a 19 minute phone call which probably cost more than the refund I gained!). Is TfL taking a tougher line on claims to save money? I have never before had a clearly evidenced claim like mine questioned. let alone turned down. Without a journey history, I could not have proved my case, so I don’t know what paper ticket holders would have done.



    • Hi Martin,

      It wouldn’t surprise me if they were making more checks. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the delays to any one line were not enough to trigger a refund, but the combination of all three was. This sort of system will always need a manual over-ride for edge cases.

  121. Hai mike, just want to check with you regarding the visitor oyster card. I will be travelling to London in these 3 years to attend quarterly meeting. Each meeting will last for 2 days. Is getting a visitor oyster a better choice since i may travel using tube when i were in London. Also, if i would like to get the journey history before i leave London after each meeting, where could i get the print out of my journey history and the charges for each journey ? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Jimmy,

      Sorry for the delay. A visitor Oyster is actually less flexible than a normal adult Oyster and it costs a fee rather than a returnable deposit. If you get an adult Oyster and register it to an online account then you can see journey history from the next day. You can also get a limited form of recent (8 journeys) history from Underground station ticket offices.

  122. Do you know how much it will cost me on my oyster t go from grays to w10 5be (second avenue stop on bus 18) as well as the cost if i use a travel card.


    • Hi Bukky,

      The c2c + Underground fare is £6.70 off-peak or £7.70 peak. The bus is £1.45 each journey. Weekends and bank holidays you are better off getting a super off-peak travelcard, otherwise the off-peak cap is £16.40.

  123. I’m sorry to bother you with my stupid question, but I just can’t figure it out on the internet (I’m Dutch). When I travel with the underground from St. Pancras to Piccadilly Circus and from there with another line to Lancaster Gate, do I also have to check out and in on Piccadilly Circus or do I only have to check in at St. Pancras and check out at Lancaster gate?
    I apologize but your answer is much appreciated. The definition of ‘journey’ is confusing for me. Thanking you in advance.

  124. Hello Mike,
    I’d like to travel between Colindale and Highbury & Islington.
    I checked single fare finder, and according to it I can avoid zone1 via Camden town/Camden Road station.
    However, when I cheacked pink reader’s list, Camden town/Camden Road station isn’t on the list.
    And also I know the Camden town and Camden Road station is not connected each other. Maybe 5mins walk?
    I’d like to avoid through zone 1 as I want to save my money even it bit time consuming. I’m thinking to take northern line from Colindele to Camden town and walking down to Camden Road and then taking a overground to Highbury & Islington.
    My question is… Even if I touch out from Camden town and then touch in at Camden Road station, are they still counting as a one jerney? Can I travel between Colindale and Highbury & Islington for £2.30(peak)?

  125. Hello Mike,
    Thank you for letting me know!
    I asked to a member of staff at Camden Road station today, and she told we only got 5 mins! so I was bit rush to walk!
    I hope her information was wrong and we have 20 mins between touch out and back in!!

  126. Hi
    Can you tell me what is the most suitable and cheapest way for my 18 year old son to travel into London? He is a part-time student, travelling one day a week (Thursday) from Shenfield to Liverpool Street, after 9.30am. He walks from Liverpool Street to Hoxton, but does so to save money, so would possibly use a bus if he could do so cheaply. The college he is attending (Point Blank) is a recognised educational institution. Currently he is paying full off-peak adult fare. We are confused whether he is eligible for an 18+ rail card, Zip card or Oyster card. Please help us sort out a cheaper way fro him to travel, it is costing him £18 for one days travel!

    • Hi Julie,

      He is eligible for a National Rail 16-25 railcard which will give him a discount on Oyster fares after 0930. While the single fares between 1600-1900 would still be full price, the reduced off-peak cap applies so the most he’d pay in a day would be £12.20. However, there is a much cheaper route. Change at Stratford onto the Overground to Dalston Kingsland, then a short walk to Dalston Junction and another Overground train to Hoxton. This avoids zone 1 so the single fares are £7.50 peak and £3.55 off-peak with railcard. See my railcards page for details of how to link an Oyster card and a railcard.

  127. Hi Mike
    A couple of weeks ago I touched in at the side gate of Elstree & Borehamwood (it’s a standalone validator). The touch was a bit vague, and the device beeped twice. As it was dark and wet I couldn’t see if there was anything useful on the display. When I finished my journey I discovered I had been charged the maximum fare, which I have applied to be refunded. After I heard the two beeps, could I have rectified the problem with a third swipe? Is it possible to get this double beeping with real gates, or do they have software to prevent double entry?

    • Hi Andy,

      Two beeps means that there was a problem and you haven’t been validated. It should have been accompanied by a red light. It is quite possible that trying again would have worked.

  128. Hi,
    I am going to be in London from the evening of the 13th till the night of the 15th next month. I am not exactly sure about how much I will be required to travel by the tube or the bus but I am anticipating about 3-4 rides a day. I am staying in Zone 3 and will be travelling to Zone 1 on a daily basis.

    What is a better option.. the visitor Oyster card or can I just a buy an Oyster card once I reach London? What is the difference between the two? Are the regular Oyster cards available at all stations?

    Also in what situation would a travelcard be a better option?

    • Hi Saumil,

      Visitor Oyster cards can only store pay as you go credit. They can’t hold period travelcards. They cost a small fee whereas normal adult Oyster cards require a deposit. From next year the deposit will not be refunded if the card is returned within 6 months, so the visitor card is probably better value now.

      A daily travelcard is rarely better because it costs more than the daily cap. You also may not reach the cap every day and if you only travel in zones 1-3 the cap is a lot cheaper than the travelcard which covers zones 1-6. Hope that helps.

  129. sorry if you have already answer this, but is it possible to use oyster card from Hayes station to slough station? Or will i need to purchase tickets

  130. Hello,

    just a quick question here. I have two Oyster cards registered to my name on Oyster Online. They both contain PAYG credit only and now I’d like to return them and claim the balance and deposit back (won’t be going to London in the foreseeable future). Will there be any problems with just giving them over the counter at the station (given that they’re registered online). Thank you.

    • Hi Jan,

      If by station you mean a National Rail one then no, they won’t accept them. If you can’t hand them in at an Underground station then you’ll need to call the helpline on 0343 222 1234.

    • Ah, I thought you weren’t coming back to London. Ok, you’ll need proof of address before a tube station will process the refund, so bring your driving licence or a recent bank statement or utility bill. The cards will disappear from your online account shortly after you hand them in.

  131. I have a 60+ Oyster Card. If I touch in at East Croydon before 06.30 is this off peak? If I do this can I travel home again in the peak period?

  132. Hi Mike,

    thanks for the above reply. As a matter of fact I am going to London tomorrow but then won’t be returning for quite some time so I will hand the cards in. Is proof of address needed for everybody or does this have something to do with the cards being registered?


    • Hi Jan,

      Sadly it is required for everyone. Something to do with countering a problem where a refunded card was then reported lost or stolen.

  133. Hi Mike

    I lost my oyster card and hadn’t known it was missing. I logged onto my account to report my card and in the meantime someone used my oyster and gave me a negative balance. Will I have to pay the balance before I can report my card stolen/lost

    • Hi r,

      Without the card you can’t actually clear the negative yourself, but you can certainly report it lost/stolen. Who is liable for useage between you last having it and it being reported is debateable. I’d think that TfL may swallow it if the journey(s) made is very different to your usual journeys.

  134. Hi,

    I sometimes travel between Bexleyheath & Chiswick by train on a Saturday, changing at Waterloo East/Waterloo. Last year this cost me £3 each way. However I’ve noticed that the Single Fare Finder says there is an off-peak fare (Bexleyheath to Chiswick) for £2.30. I’d like to take advantage of this but I can’t see what the route could be. Can you help?

    • Hi Geoff,

      That will be via the South London line. Take a Victoria train to Denmark Hill and then an Overground train to Clapham Junction.

  135. I have just noticed that I have been overcharged on my oyster card for a few months. I travel from zone 2-6 and should be charged £2.70 but I have been charged £3.90, this is peak time. I only noticed this when I was looking at the new fares for 2015 peak fares should only be £2.70. Why have I been over charged and £3.90 is zone 2-7 which I’ve never travelled in zone 7. The stations I use have not changed and I always touch in and out. When I looked on the online it advises me that I can only get refunds for travel within 28 day which I find really unfair.

  136. Hi Mike!

    I have an Oyster card which is a pay as you go system, does this mean that I can travel anywhere around London? It isn’t set to any specific zone limit is it?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Yes, a PAYG Oyster can be used anywhere that Oyster is accepted. Currently that is zones 1-9 plus extensions to Watford Junction, Broxbourne, Shenfield and Grays.

  137. If you have free travel on the tube and bus and you need to travel to Watford Junction which ticket should be purchased. Also please can you tell me how much is a weekly tube ticket for zones 1 and 2.

    • Hi Susan,

      If your free travel is provided by a Freedom Pass or 60+ Oyster then you can travel to Watford Junction for free. The only catch is that you must use the stopping services of London Overground north of Harrow and Wealdstone. If you want to use the fast trains run by London Midland then you’ll need a return ticket between Harrow and Watford. A zone 1-2 travelcard now costs £32.10/week.

  138. Thanks Mike 🙂

    Just had a thought, how will the system know I’ve gone via Denmark Hill & Clapham Junc? Do I need to touch in/out en-route?

    • Hi Geoff,

      No touches required because it is the default route. It knows you’ve gone that way because you don’t touch out or in again at Waterloo (Main/East).

  139. Hi Mike

    I have to get from Honor Oak Park to Hayes & Harlington on Monday, I have a contactless card but am unsure on how much this journey is going to cost me (return). Is there anywhere I can find this out?

    Thank you

    • Hi Nikki,

      The single fare finder gives you two options. The default is anything that doesn’t involve changing to Underground at the NR terminal stations in South London. Realistically that means taking the Overground to Canada Water or Whitechapel and making your way from there.

  140. Ok, so if I go Honor Oak to Canada Water then Jubilee etc to Paddington then change for National Rail service to Hayes and Harlington it will be the default amount?

    Thank you!

  141. Hi,
    when trying to purchase a monthly ticket for my oyster card, it shows maximum period I can purchase is 1 week, any idea why ?
    Also, what is the cheapest commute between Ilford and Liverpool street, I am told to take the zone 1-4 ticket and pay 174£ / month, do you have better idea?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Mina,

      If your Oyster card is not registered then 1 week is the longest period you can buy. If you only want to use Greater Anglia trains between Ilford and Liverpool Street then a monthly season between those two named stations is £119.50. It won’t be valid on buses or tubes or DLR though.

  142. Hi Mike

    I live in Chelmsford. I will be travelling to Woolwich Arsenal via Stratford 4 days a week. Once at Stratford I take the jubilee to Canning Town and then the DLR to Woolwich A. 3 of the days I will be leaving Chelmsford at 7am and then leaving Woolwich A at 3pm. On the fourth day I will be travelling both ways off peak. Please help me! What are my best options as to fares and oyster cards etc. I’m in total confusion!
    Many thanks

    • Hi Bev,

      You’re the exact sort of worker that Boris was trying to help when he revised the fare structure in London this year, but sadly his efforts don’t actually help you at all. The biggest problem is that you can’t buy daily travelcard products which don’t include zone 1. Your travel patterns mean that a weekly ticket is probably going to cost more than the daily tickets you would need, and if you don’t use Oyster you’ll end up paying to go via London rather than avoiding zones 1-2. But if you do use Oyster you need to get off somewhere like Shenfield to touch in or out. I can see why you’re confused.

      I think the simplest and not too badly priced option is to have a zone 3-6 weekly travelcard on your Oyster card at £31.90 and to buy day returns from Chelmsford to Harold Wood at £13.30 anytime or £10.50 off-peak if you can leave Chelmsford after 0914. If I’ve read you correctly that should be £31.90 + 3x£13.30 + £10.50 = £82.30. This compares well with the £94.20 weekly travelcard from Chelmsford to zones 3-6. Because your paper tickets are daily and the travelcard on Oyster is a season your train does not need to stop at Harold Wood.

      If cost is more important than time then I think the cheapest method involves getting off at Shenfield to touch in/out and taking the next train. Chelmsford to Shenfield weekly season is £29.40 (just cheaper than 4 day returns). Shenfield to Woolwich Arsenal singles on Oyster are £7.10 peak and £4.90 off-peak. You would need £29.40 + 3x£7.10 + 5x£4.90 = £75.20. Pricing anomalies mean that it might be slightly cheaper to switch from paper to Oyster at somewhere else between Shenfield and Harold Wood, but the frequency of trains calling at those stations would add significant extra time.

      Hope that helps.

  143. Thanks Mike, I could never have worked all that out. Maybe I will suggest to Boris that Chelmsford should be an oyster zone. Would make my life much easier! Thanks again.

  144. Hi Mike,

    I was running for the train this morning as it was on the platform along with everyone else, and it turns out I never touched in on my Oyster Card (£38 on there). Train Inspector Issued me a twenty pound fixed penalty, however I am now of the understanding If i’d just touched out at the other end then it would have just charged me a full fair to travel. This seems slight unfair as I could have paid when I reached my destination.

    My question, Is it worth appealing this or am I waisting my time. ?

    Kindest Regards

    • Hi Ian,

      I’d say you are probably wasting your time. While the system does try to minimise the losses when people forget to touch at one end, you are still breaking the Oyster conditions of carriage so the penalty fare was correctly imposed.

  145. Hi Mike
    My son has just lost his 16+ Oyster on the tube.
    I’m hoping someone hands it in & I have completed a TFL Lost Property form online. If it is handed in does it go to the main lost property depot (which looks like it could take ages to process) or is there a separate Oyster card section?

    Or should I abandon all hope of a speedy recovery, just advise TFL Oyster it is lost so they cancel it & stump up the £10 for a replacement? 🙁

    • Hi Lynn,

      Sorry for the delay responding. My experience of needing to do this with my kids is to just advise the Oyster helpline. You’ll pay more in fares while waiting for lost property. You should be able to apply for the replacement online and pay using a credit card.

  146. Hi
    I bought a weekly oyster on Monday I went through a zone that my oyster did not cover so got charged, so I put £5 on to cover the £2.20 charge, then on my next journey it took the remaining money off the oyster instead of using my weekly is this correct and if so can I get the money back because it should clearly not be taking money if I’m covered with s weekly

    • Hi Eddie,

      You’re going to have to give me a bit more detail if I’m going to help. Let me know what zones the travelcard covers and what the journey you made is. There’s probably a simple explanation.

  147. Hi Mike! 🙂

    We have four Oyster cards with failed refunds. I went to the website to resubmit them, and selected “Liverpool Street [National Rail]” as the pick-up location. Then I noticed that “Liverpool Street [London Underground]” was also available, and now I wonder if I chose the wrong one. 🙁

    We will travel to London by train (already have the tickets printed) and then use the Oyster cards only for the underground. Can I just touch the Oyster card at the electronic reader on the train station to get the refund? Or will that cause a problem, since I won’t use the Oyster for the train travel?


    • Hi Ricardo,

      Some joint NR and LU stations work interchangeably for refunds so it is possible that it might work anyway. How many Underground journeys will you make? If it is 3 or more within zones 1-2 then you will cap anyway so you can activate the refund without making a journey. You’ll need to touch in with the Oyster card and then wait between 2 and 30 minutes before touching out again. This will charge a single fare to the next station but it will count towards the cap which you were going to reach anyway. If you touch out less than 2 minutes after touching in (or don’t touch out at all) you will be charged an incomplete journey which doesn’t count towards the cap.

      If neither of these ideas work then you’ll have to wait for it to fail again and then select another station.

    • Hi Christopher,

      Do you have an online account? Is your card linked? When you log in to the Oyster online system you have three tabs: “My cards”, “My Oyster Details” and “My Refunds”. The change password link is under “My Oyster Details”. If you have only one card linked to your online account then it should show the overview (including balance) under “My Cards”. Otherwise you may have to select the card you have from a dropdown list.

  148. Hello Mike, I am confused about whether Shenfield is in the oyster zones or not? i know you can use your oyster card PYG but is it in zones 1-9 (looks like 7 on the map) and if so is the monthly fee £380 or £244?
    Thanks in advance

  149. Hi Mike,

    I have a week bus pass. And I’d like to get on the train today. How much do I need to top up to give me unlimited travel on the rain?

    • Hi Abby,

      Sadly a weekly bus pass doesn’t count towards rail travel at all. How much you need depends on which zones you want to travel in, but if it’s zones 1-6 then £11.70 will cover everything.

  150. Hi Mike,

    I hope you could help me with my query, I usually travel from Mill Hill Broadway (NW7, GL Zone 4) to Denmark Hill (SE5, GL Zone 2). I have been using PAYG as only use to work 2 days a week but now I am going to be working 5 days but from 9 – 2.

    I want to buy a Travelcard, the cheapest option on the Thameslink site is Mill Hill Broadway to Zone 2 – 4 ticket, coming to £26 a week. But Thameslink, I am sorry to say is a badly run service and often I have to use tube/ bus combination. For e.g. If trains is cancelled, I take a bus from Denmark hill to Oval tube station (Zone 2) or to Elephant and castle (Zone 1) and travel on Northern line to Burnt oak (HA8, Zone 4).

    Now my question is how will this work with the travelcard, can I travel through Zone 2 of South East to Zone 4 of North west London where Tube has to pass through Zone 1 with my Travelcard without paying extra or have to top up PAYG.

    Hope it make sense. Thanks

    • Hi Sabi,

      You will need a ticket covering zones 1-4 as you travel through zone 1. The Oyster system will know this. The only way to avoid it is to circle round London using London Overground from West Hampstead via Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction. This will take a lot longer and involve 3 or 4 trains. If you cross zone 1 with a zone 2-4 travelcard you will be charged £2.30 on every journey from your PAYG balance.

  151. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your response, is the same true if I am traveling on overground on Thameslink from Mill Hill to Denmark Hill?


    • Hi Sabi,

      No. Overground, as opposed to Underground, is another name for National Rail. One of the NR TOCs is called London Overground. They operate outside zone 1 (apart from Euston and Shoreditch High Street). Another TOC is called Thameslink and they operate straight across zone 1.

  152. I’m worried because I just paid for an oyster card through tfl online and the page kept telling me that the payment hadn’t worked but then I looked on at bank account and the money has been taken!! I did this 3 times and the money adds up to £45!! Will they refund me my money because I don’t want 3 oyster cards??? I haven’t received any conformation email either if that helps too.

    • Hi Alice,

      It looks like the amount has been authorised three times but then something has gone wrong. They haven’t actually taken the money yet, and neither will they. The authorisations will drop off in a few days.

  153. I am looking into getting a 60+ oyster card, & was wondering if i can do this without a passport or drivers licence as i do not have either of these. Looking a tthe tfl website suggests this might be possible, but I would like to make certain.

    • Hi Brian,

      Yes, you can still order online, but you’ll need to print off a letter to be taken to a post office with age and address verification.

  154. Hi,

    I Travel from Dalston kingsland overground to finchley road and frognal station (zone 2 to 2) however from there i catch a 113 bus to mill hill (london obersatory).

    Now i have been using my payg oyster card but its costing about 30/40 a week and i presummed after 3 weeks my oyster would automatically turn into a travel card of somesort as its supposed to switch to the most cost effective solution , but am i correct in thinking this is only daily and not what happens during the month?

    can you please recommend what travel card i need to buy instead of using my payg balance for each and every trip?

    I presumme its zones 2-4 but just want to double check as its not really clear on the official website.

    Any input would be appreciated.



    • Hi Carl,

      Zone 2-3 will do. You can use buses with any travelcard, so you only have to cover the zones needed for your train. Unfortunately you have to buy at least two zones, so buy 2-3 as that is cheaper than 1-2. With that travelcard you can actually use the train as far as Hendon or Hendon Central if that makes it quicker for the bus. Change at West Hampsted for Hendon or walk from Camden Road to Camden Town for Hendon Central. You still avoid zone 1.

      And yes, Oyster only caps daily, contactless caps daily and Monday to Sunday. For monthly travel you need a travelcard on Oyster.

  155. Hi,
    Im going to be travelling from Watford junction to reading station and return the same day. I was wondering if i can use my oyster for the whole journey or would i need a ticket from Paddington. Or even some other ticket?
    Thanks for your help

    • Hi David,

      Oyster is not yet valid at Reading. If you use a non-stop train from Paddington then you’ll need a paper ticket from there. It may be chaeper to buy one paper ticket for the whole journey.

  156. Hi,
    I currently travel using Oyster payg peak times from Grays National Rail to London Fenchurch St National Rail zone 1 which costs £5.70 each way. I then walk about 7 mins to work.
    My office is moving to a location 4 mins walk from London Liverpool Street and if I use any tube station and exit through tube in zone 1, I would be charged £7.80.
    I spotted on tfl journey planner if I change at West Ham on to DLR to Stratford and then get Greater Anglia to London Liverpool Street National Rail zone 1, I would be charged only £5.70?
    I would be grateful if you could confirm this for me please?

    • Hi Maureen,

      Yes, that’s absolutely right. Travel from Grays to either Fenchurch Street or Liverpool Street costs the same because sometimes trains are diverted into Liverpool Street. If you go on the Underground you will be charged the increased fare for a through (mixed) journey.

  157. Hi Mike,
    A few weeks ago I was on the way to drop a friends Oyster card back which he had left in my jacket pocket ( this was a 16+ ). At the time, I also had a valid normal adult Oyster card which I showed to the inspector.

    As the two were in very similar cases I accidentally touched the 16+ oyster. I explained to the inspector and he was friendly and asked me to tell the offices what had happened.

    My question is… Will my details be shared with the friend whose oyster I used? For personal reasons I musnt give out my full name or address to people, and was wondering if tfl will share my information with this person?

    • Hi Louise,

      It really depends what they are going to do. There is a very noticeable difference between touching a zip card and an Oyster card, the zip card beeps three times compared to just once for an adult Oyster or contactless payment card. I’m not going to speculate on what you may or may not have done, but if you only used his card once and your own card shows regular use then I’d hope it will be treated as an unfortunate mistake. If, however, it’s clear that you’ve been using his card more frequently then the case will be a lot more serious. He will undoubtedly be asked whether he knew that you had his zip card.

      As for your details, I’m not really sure. If there is a legal reason why you need to remain anonymous then I suggest you contact the police or some other authority involved in that decision.

  158. Hi!
    I just wanted to check – I travel from Victoria to Reigate each day and have an annual oyster (with gold card) for zones 1-2.
    So… can I tap out at Victoria with my oyster and just pay for my paper ticket from Clapham Jctn to Reigate? And then tap back in to Victoria when I get home in the evening?
    Just want to check that I won’t get additional charges.

  159. Hi Mike,

    I wonder if you could help me.

    I lost my oyster card and by the time I reported it, whoever found it had used it. Is there a way for me to recover that money?

  160. Hi i was wondering if you could help me please. My daughter has an oyster zip card and we wanted to travel around london for the day. However we live in elstree and borehamwood and her zip oyster would not let her through the barriers at elstree and borehamwood station for free.Do i have to pay 4 a ticket?? She has a 5-10 zip oyster

    • Hi Lauren,

      The 5-10 zip card only gives free travel on TfL routes. If you need to use the other NR services then the off-peak child single fare of 75p applies with a cap of £1.50. Just top it up at the ticket machine like you would with an adult Oyster card. It’s a lot cheaper than paper tickets or a child travelcard.

  161. Hi Mike,

    I’ve recently started commuting from Clapham Junction to Blackheath. I’ve spent ages looking at the possible routes but I’m still none the wiser on which offers the best value.

    Either journey seems to be a mix of TFL and National Rail and it seems hard to pin down exactly how much a monthly travel card would be.

    I am wondering if PAYG might be the best way as this would give me some flexibility over routes if there are any delays on particular lines. But would this prove much more expensive than a monthly travel card? Or perhaps just the zones 1-3 travelcard, but then would this only allow me to travel through Waterloo?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!


    • Hi Jess,

      I’ve answered most of the questions but there was a delay in the reply appearing. If you have a zone 1-3 travelcard then you can travel anywhere within those zones. You don’t have to go via zone 1.

  162. Hello Mike,
    I live in Slough and I will work next to Hyde Park. Is there a Oyster card from Slough – Paddington or Slough – London Zone 1 and how much will that be?
    Is there any other way to commute in peak time?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Ionut,

      Oyster doesn’t yet extend out to Slough. A weekly season ticket to Paddington is £61.80 and a weekly travelcard season to zones 1-6 is £81.30.

  163. Hi Mike,

    I am a student and I have an 18+ oyster card which is due to expire in August. If I purchase an annual oyster fare on this card will it still be active for the 12 months even after the given expiry date?


  164. Hi Mike
    I would like some advice regarding the most cost effective way of paying for travel between Petts Wood and Canary Wharf 3 days a week. I’ll be arriving at Canary Wharf before 8 am and leaving after 4pm. I currently have an Oyster card.

    • Hi Dotty,

      You need to avoid zone 1, so either change at Lewisham onto the DLR or New Cross onto the Overground then Jubilee line at Canada Water. Then a weekly travelcard for zones 2-5 will cost slightly less than 10 single journeys and a monthly or longer travelcard will offer a further saving as long as you use it on most weekdays in the period of validity. An annual travelcard is the best value and is priced on the basis that you won’t use it every day.

  165. Hi Mike,
    I recently went to top up my card £20 in Amersham station. I tapped my card firstly, entered my debit card and put my pin in. However, I then didn’t confirm the transaction by tapping my Oyster card again. By the time I realised someone else was using the machine!
    Will my £20 have been added to their card when they tapped it after me or will the transaction just be cancelled? The £20 didn’t go onto my Oyster card.

    • Hi Kieran,

      It will be cancelled. The money only gets added if the same card is presented to the reader after payment. The transaction may appear to be on your bank/card account because it has been authorised, but TfL will not collect so it will drop off after a few days to a week.

  166. Hi
    I heard that Epsom is to be included within the Oyster system from September 2015 but can’t find any confirmation of whether that will happen or not. I am moving to Epsom but currently travel from Ewell West which is in Zone 6.

    • Hi Geoff,

      Epsom will join the Oyster system later this year, probably in September. Dartford and Swanley will also join at that stage. What is not clear is what fares will apply, and this may still be under discussion. While not impossible, I would be very surprised if any of the three stations end up in zone 6. One of zones 7, 8 or 9 is more likely.

  167. Hi Mike,

    Great site and looks like you know your stuff regards Oyster travel.

    Wondering if can help with following:

    Wife and I have 60+ Oyster Card and are thinking of going to Southend on Sea from Highams Park and wonder what is best way to do this (notice someone asked similar question about year ago) but we both have 60+ Oyster and wondered best way to get there (you mentioned something about Upminster and seems can go from Highams Park to Liverpool Street then walk to Fenchurch Street for train to Southend on Sea.

    Does this mean have to get off at Upminster and purchase tickets to continue to Southend on Sea or can these be purchased at any station (e.g. Fenchurch Street or Highams Park) and would we need to show 60+ Oyster Card when purchasing or what happens in cases like this and how do we make the arrangements etc ?

    Any help appreciated.

    Hoping you can help

    Thanking in advance

    • Hi Sammy,

      You just need to buy a return ticket from Upminster to Southend. You can buy this from any station. If they ask how you are getting to Upminster then simply show the 60+ Oyster card.

  168. Hi Mike

    I would be very grateful for help with this.

    I have just finished a contract early so won’t be using my annual Oyster zone 1-4 travel card nearly as much or at all. However my partner is starting a new job about the same time. Is it ok to give the card to her to use until it runs out at the end of August? It is a full price card and neither of us qualify for any discounts. I would then switch to payg.

    Best and thanks loads,

    mark Hemmings

    • Hi Mark,

      Sadly not. An Oyster card with either a travelcard or a discount is not transferable. You’ll need to cash yours in and buy a new one using your partners Oyster card.

  169. Hi Mike ,
    I travel from Scotland to Lnodon on business regularly so have a Visitor Oystercard. However we are having a family holiday in London shortly so I’ve obtained Visitor cards for all of us. One of the family is 14 years ols and the Tfl website has confused me as it says at one point that Visitor oystercards are for adult use only and that children need a 7 day travelcard but elsewhere appears to suggest that a child discount can be applied at zone 1 underground ticket offices or visitor centres. When we arrive at Kings Cross Mainline what’s my best option.
    Thanks in anticipation-great site.
    Dave Mils

    • Hi Dave,

      Visitor Oyster cards are technically for adults only, but like blue adult Oyster cards they can have the child discount set for up to 14 days. The TfL visitor centre in the Western ticket hall at Kings Cross Underground is probably the best place to go to.

  170. Hi, My wife has purchased a weekly z1-3 card today by accident as we go away for a week on Friday can I get this refunded and just the amount spent on travel today taken on it?

  171. Hi Mike

    Asking this in hope more than anything else. Im currently holidaying in London. Purchased 2 Oyster cards for my partner and I to get from heathrow to our hotel in Kensington, however foolishly purchased a zone 1 – 2 ticket for the purpose of sightseeing. Not realising Heathrow itself wasIin zone 6!
    £87 later we now have a negative balance on our 7 day travel oyster cards.
    Can anything be done about this?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Joseph,

      I’m not quite sure of the relevance of £87, but if you have a negative PAYG balance, all you need to do is top up at a station ticket machine (or Oyster ticket stop/shop) to clear the negative balance.

  172. Hi

    Wife and I are thinking of using our 60+ Oyster to get to Stansted Airport from Chingford E4

    Can you advise the best way to do this (fastest and cheapest) as believe cannot use the Stansted Express with the 60+ card ?

    Thanking in advance


    • Hi Sammy,

      You can use your freedom pass/60+ Oyster on the Stansted Express as long as you have a ticket from Boundary zone 6 to the Airport. The fastest route may vary depending on the time and day. This month you’re probably better off travelling via Liverpool Street, but from the end of this month change at Walthamstow Central onto the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale.

  173. Hello 🙂

    I will be in London next week and I plan to purchase a Visitor Oyster Card. I would like to know if I can purchase on at Pimlico Train Station. Thank you.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      You should certainly be able to get a normal Oyster (£5 refundable deposit) at Pimlico. The visitor Oyster (£3 activation fee) is usually sold online or through travel agents.

  174. Hi,

    I topped up my oyster before starting my journey and, I had enough balance to cover my entire journey. A guard opened the barriers at the first station so I went in, and at end of my journey I touched my oyster car and full fare was debited as indicated on my oyster statement of account. Unfortunately in between my journey was issued PFN by revenue inspector for unvalidated oyster travel card. There was no intention to evade fare. My first appeal was declined even though IAS acknowledged as evident on CCTV that a station guard let me in. I think this is totally unfair. What’s you take on this matter?

    • Hi Rennai,

      It’s unfortunate, yes. But unless the Oyster readers are physically not working you must touch in at the start of your journey. I wouldn’t want to raise your hopes with this one because I don’t see it going away. My best advice is to pay the penalty fare and then write to the customer relations of the TOC involved and ask for a partial refund. You can also contact the TfL Oyster helpline and ask them to refund the maximum journey charge given that you’ve paid a penalty fare. As long as it wasn’t more than 8 weeks ago then this should be possible.

  175. Many thanks Mike for your response but, I thought and have read that an ‘Authorisation to travel by a member of staff of LU’ is a valid ground to appeal and get PFN cancelled?

    • Hi Rennai,

      It is, but, did the staff member usher you through in the full knowledge that you were intending to use PAYG rather than making use of an in zone travelcard? If you were simply running through the ticket hall and they held the gate open then I don’t think that constitutes authority to travel. If you want to contest this on that basis then I strongly advise you to seek professional legal advice. As a first step you may find some of the experts on RailUK of help.

  176. I tried to create an oyster card account but it says that i am already registered and then proceeds to ask me for a security question answer. However I never registered it so I’m not really sure what to do as I need an account to get my oyster card history.

    • Hi Lara,

      I suspect that the card itself is registered. Did you fill in a form at the time you first bought it? You’ll need to contact the helpdesk for advice.

  177. Hi there.
    I live I shepperton and it’s such a pain that oyster stops at Hampton! Is there any plans to extend it to shepperton?
    Also I’ve noticed there is a card reader at shepperton but no one is in the office when I travel and sw trains and NR never answer, is it an oyster/contactless reader?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Laura,

      The Shepperton branch is a classic example of un-joined-up ticketing. The readers there may well be for the SWT smartcard. Oyster will probably get extended along that branch at some point, but it would require too many zones at the moment.

  178. Hello, this is just o hypothetical situation, if i have a ticket for zone 2 and 3 and i travel through zone 1 as well, and don’t have any money with me, what will happen when i will try to go out ? thanks

    • Hi Andrew,

      If you mean no PAYG balance, rather than no money, and you are making a journey from say zone 2 south to zone 3 north, then the system will attempt to take £2.30 from your PAYG balance. Your balance will go negative, the gates will open, but your travelcard will no longer work until the negative balance is cleared by topping up.

  179. Hello,

    I have recently ordered an 11-15 zip oyster card for my son who will be travelling to school on the London Overground. The card has yet to used. I have just topped up £5 pay as you go online and it said that the card can only be validated from tomorrow. Can he still use his card today?

    • Hi Diane,

      Just too late last night, sorry. I’m guessing you ordered the topup after 11pm last night. If that is the case then the topup will not be available until tomorrow, but the card can still be used once manual top up has been applied at a ticket machine or Oyster ticket stop (shop).

  180. Hoping someone on here can answer a couple of questions/clarify a few things. I have spoken to TFL who were quite frankly rude and abusive!!

    The background is that I have always had an annual season ticket (zones 1-6) in the paper ticket format. I now have an 18+ oyster card because I am studying whilst working which entitles me to a discount on my annual season ticket.

    1) Can I use the oyster card to get the discount BUT still get a paper ticket? Or does the ticket HAVE to be loaded on to the Oyster?

    2) If the latter, a lot of the stations I travel through either don’t have barriers or the barriers are never closed. Obviously I never have to use my paper ticket in these circumstances. If I therefore forget to go to the oyster dock to touch in/touch out will I be charged? And if so what/why as I have an annual season ticket on there so should be free to travel wherever I want in zones 1-6? If they will charge, what will they charge as I will never have money on it – no need to when I have a ticket that enables travel across all of zones 1-6.

    3) Technology goes wrong. If there is a glitch with the oyster card readers how do you PROVE it is valid. A paper ticket has the expiry date of the ticket in black and white.

    • Hi Harriet,

      1) I think you can still get paper tickets at National Rail stations, but this is not an area I’ve been involved in.
      2) There is no penalty for failing to touch in or out within the zones covered by your travelcard. You do need to ensure you are touched in when travelling beyond zone 6 (eg Dartford, Brentwood, Watford, etc, this list is growing every month or so).
      3) If there is a genuine fault with the readers then you don’t have to prove anything. If your card fails at more than one reader/station then you may need to get a replacement. Your travelcard can be swapped over in this instance.

  181. Hi Mike,

    I am going to start my PhD soon at KCL in london , planning to get an accommodation at Zone4 ( close to Finchley central station ). I have already ordered a student Oyster card 18+ in order to transport in London. My question , When I monthly top up this card to travel between Z1 and Z2 tubes ( £ 86.2 per month ) , could I take buses at Z3 and Z4 without charging my with extra fees ? Or both buses and tubes should be within the selected zones otherwise you will be charged .

    Best wishes

  182. Hi,
    I live in Hayes and have recently applied for a job in Ealing. If i get the job i will be travelling by both train and bus, depending on what time i have to get to work. As this would soon add up, is there a ticket which allows me to get unlimited number of trains/buses within a certain period.
    Thanks for any help 🙂

    • Hi Natasha,

      Presuming you mean Hayes & Harlington then a zone 3-6 travelcard would cover the trains to Ealing and any buses throughout London.

  183. Hi,
    I’m 18 and my 16-18 oyster card is about to run out,
    however, I had to resit year 12 due to my grades not being quite good enough. As I am still in full time education, am I still entitled to free bus travel, to get to school?

  184. Hello Mike, i have just ordered a 18+ oyster card for uni and i also have a 16-25 railcard. i was wondering, if i wanted a day travelcard, is there anyway for the day travelcard to be on my oyster instead of me to use the travelcard itself. Also will i be able to use the railcard discount?

    • Hi Gideon,

      You can’t put day travel cards on Oyster. The daily cap will keep your costs at less than a travelcard anyway, and your railcard discounts the off-peak cap.

  185. Hi Mike, thanks for the brilliant advice. I have an international guest arriving at St Pancras and needing to get to Sunbury Court. He will get the tube and then a train to Hampton and then a bus to Sunbury. As Hampton is zone 6 and buses are not zoned will a zone 1-6 one day travel card be the best option? I’m a bit confused about the difference between a visitor’s pass and a one day travel card – thanks.

    • Hi Jade,

      Sorry for the delay replying properly. A zone 1-6 day travelcard will be fine, though the daily Oyster cap will be less if that is an option, and they may not even reach the cap. Even cheaper will be to take Thameslink from St Pancras to Wimbledon and change for the Hampton train there because it is all National Rail then.

  186. Hi Mike
    My son has been enrolled at university in London. His 16+zip card is due to expire. He is getting student finance. Is he able to get an 18+ zip card? Not sure where to find out.

  187. I am wondering if I put 10 pounds on an Oyster card, how much does it deduct for each journey? Also I will be travelling from Victoria to Amersham.

  188. My 11-15 ouster ends tomorrow 30/09 I was just wondering if I can still use it on that day & what are my travel options till my 16+ oyster arrives? Will I have to pay adult fares on buses till it arrives or can I top up my 11-15 oyster & get discounted fares

    • Hi Aisha,

      Yes you can use your 11-15 Oyster tomorrow. If your 16+ Oyster hasn’t arrived by Friday then I think you may well have to pay on buses. However, they are usually quite good at dispatching new Oyster cards so I wouldn’t give up hope yet. Having said that, this is the peak week for issuing new cards.

  189. Hi again 🙂

    Sorry to ask but I’m confused by the TFL website as what my child needs.

    Is the 11 – 15 Zip photo card an Oyster card that can be topped up and used as PAYG on all TFL services or is it just a photo ID card to be used in conjunction with a PAYG Oyster card? If it is a PAYG Oyster card for children, can it be used to tap in and out on the National rail ‘Red route’ services within Greater London?

    Sorry for the ramble


    • Hi Adam,

      Yes, the 11-15 zip Oyster card can have PAYG credit applied and can then be used to charge child fares on all rail services where Oyster is accepted.

  190. hello, I have applied for 18+ student oyster card, and an email said the card will arrive in 5 working days from 24th of september. my friends have received theirs but I havent. Is there any way for me to find out what is the status of my student oyster card ?

    • Hi Meera,

      Yes, if you log back into your account on the TfL website where you applied for the card you should be able to see the status of the application.

  191. hi mike,
    I have check my account on the website and it says the card has been despatched on the 28th september. if by next week I wont be getting the card, what do I do ?

    thank you

    • Hi Meera,

      I don’t believe you can track the envelope once it has been posted. Have you contacted the helpline? My instinct tells me that they should cancel the missing card and issue a new one at this stage.

  192. Hi Mike,
    I went to top up my oyster with a zones 1-4 weekly pass and forgot to tap my oyster after paying by card and so the payment time ran out and it said it had been cancelled. I then topped up again, this time tapping out and the top up had been administered. However, looking at my bank statement today, one of the two payments has been processed and another is still pending. Does this mean that I will be charged for both top ups even though I was made to think that the first had not been processed or does this simply just show that the transaction had been tried to be made and now it is just pending until the transaction period expires? Not sure if this is something you can help me with or whether it’s more of a banking matter but surely this is common?
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Lauren,

      It is common, and featured on my FAQ page. You won’t be charged twice, but it may take a few days for the pending charge to drop off.

  193. Hi Mike,

    My monthly travelcard ran out yesterday and I stupidly forgot to top up this morning so it has charged a single journey to work. If I add a travelcard today, is there any way I can claim that single journey this morning back?


    • Hi Chris,

      I don’t think so. You might be better off using PAYG this evening and renewing the travelcard on Monday, unless you actually need it over the weekend.

  194. Hi,

    My daughter will be starting secondary school next september and will be 11 years old. She will be travelling from Shepperton to Twickenham on the train (direct) and then getting a bus from Twickenham to isleworth. Do I buy a travel card from Shepperton to Hampton and add that to her oyster card, and can she stay on the train from shepperton to Twickenham without having to get off to get the Hampton-Twickenham part of the journey free??

    Also I assume the bus from Twickenham to isleworth is free for her too with an oyster card?

    This is all new to me.


    • Hi Kelly,

      I think there’s a bit of confusion here. Children aged 11 do not get free travel on trains, only buses and trams. My recommendation for that journey is a rail only season ticket for Shepperton to Twickenham and then use the Oyster for free travel on the bus.

  195. Hi Mike!
    so today i forgot to tap in because i was rushing for my train and the ticket man came on of course and saw i hadn’t tapped in, i explained i simply forgot and he took my details down and said they would write a letter to me? just wondering what the letter will say considering i haven’t done it before, will it just be a fine or a warning?

    • Hi Asha,

      You’ll have to wait for the letter, I’m afraid. It’s likely to ask for your side of the story and may offer an administrative payment to resolve the issue. You can only actually be fined by a court. If you respond expressing regret at your mistake and ask to pay the outstanding fare plus an amount to cover their costs investigating the matter then it is likely that it won’t go to court. If this isn’t the first time you’ve come to their attention then the chances of a settlement are reduced.

      The letter may take a few weeks to arrive, depending on their current workload. It would be a good idea to make some notes now about what actually happened so you don’t have trouble remembering. You also ought to start saving some money.

  196. oh okay thank you that put my mind at rest! I will start to make notes, how much will the administrative payment be do you think? This will be the first time i have done it so hopefully it won’t go as far as going to court!

    • Hi Asher,

      You’ll have to give more details before I can suggest further. What sort of train were you on? Who did the RPI work for? Were you offered a penalty fare? How did the conversation go? Were you given any paperwork?

  197. It was a thameslink service towards St. Albans! Nope they literally just asked what happened and he got off the train with me as I was getting off the next stop and I just said I ran for my train and completely forgot to tap in, although when we was on the train I wasn’t saying much because it was crowded! I signed something saying that it was my real name and address but nothing to take home with Me?

    • Hi Asha,

      Well, I’m slightly surprised that they didn’t offer a penalty fare in that situation. Perhaps they had reason to doubt your story about not having time to touch in. You will need to wait for the letter which will almost certainly ask for your side of the story. If you express remorse at the trouble you have caused, explain that you understand why it is important to get things right and offer to settle the outstanding fare and their costs investigating the matter then, as long as this is a first offence, they are likely to ask for a sum to close the matter. Thameslink are relatively new so their policy is difficult to predict, but you may be asked to pay between £50-£150 plus the fare.

      If you don’t accept what they offer then you can always go to court, but the offence you have committed is likely to be strict liability (failure to produce a valid ticket or validated smart card on request) so there is pretty much no defence. The costs at court will be significantly higher than any settlement that they might offer beforehand.

  198. Hi Mike,
    I own a yearly travelcard zone 1-3 and I will soon be moving to Charrofd Hundred. What is the cheapest way to travel from there to Marble arch station on a daily basis. Can I use pay as you go for the rest of zones not covered by my travelcard (3-7)…if yes how much will that be please?thanks a lot!

    • Hi Anca,

      Yes you can use PAYG. Zone 4 to Grays area is £4.10 peak single and £3.00 off-peak. You could also buy a Chafford Hundred to zones 4-6 paper travelcard at £44.00/week. The monthly version is £169.00 and would save you money above 20 peak returns per month. It really depends how much other travel you might make.

  199. Hi Mike, Coming to London at the weekend. Looking at staying in Enfield Sunday night. Rather than driving into London on monday morning was wondering whether if the family all get oyster cards they would suffice for a days travel on Monday from Enfield Lock ? seeing the typical London sites… Not sure if this is enough info to supply an answer any advice would be beneficial. THANKS

  200. Hi Mike,
    Thanks very much for the above.
    Can the weekly/monthly paper travel card can be used to travel by bus in Chafford hundred? ( as Oyster not accepted).

  201. Hi Mike
    My son lost his Zip card and we bought a new one some time ago.
    Yesterday his card snapped and he had a nightmare getting home.

    I have found his old card which he’d lost and wonder if it can be reactivated? If so how would we go about this.
    Kind regards,

  202. Hi Mike

    I just get new job that has to travel from East Putney to Heathrow T5 5 days a week. The job is shift pattern and some days I have to take night bus as it can start from 6 am.

    If I travel from East Putney (Zone 2/3) to Heathrow T5 (Zone 6) , can I buy only zone 3-6 or I have to buy zone 2-6 as I have to change picaddilly line at Earl court.


  203. Sorry, I posted this before, but it seems to have disappeared. I read in a newspaper that from September you would be able to use the Oyster card to and from Luton Airport – but this doesn’t seem to be the case yet. Was the report true? Thanks!

    • Hi Steve,

      I hadn’t approved it yet, but this is a better page to ask the question on anyway. Using Oyster to both Luton and Gatwick Airports is an aspiration that the DfT wants to see as soon as possible. Unfortunately, to do it properly requires the rollout of the back office Oyster system. That was supposed to be live already but has been delayed.

  204. Hello
    I will be staying in London for 21 days minimum also I will be a regular visitor in the future. I will be staying with friends in Chigwell does the oyster card go that far ?
    I read that the great thing about an Oyster card is that it deducts a maximum of under £7 per 24 hours regardless of the amount or cost of trips is this true?

    • Hi Coral,

      Yes, the Oyster card is accepted at Chigwell. The daily cap varies depending on how many zones you use. Only the zone 1-2 cap is below £7.00 and as Chigwell is in zone 4 the maximum would be £9.20 as long as you don’t go further out than zone 4 by rail.

  205. I have a Freedom Card …. yes I’m well over 60 yrs old.

    Does TFL track my journeys on the Freedom Card? Frequently I don’t bother to tap in or out if the gates are left open (typically at Kew Gardens). Does it matter?

    • Hi,

      The freedom card is treated just like an off-peak zones 1-9 season ticket. There is no penalty for not touching in or out if gates aren’t in operation. Journeys may well be tracked where possible, but this is more for usage statistics than anything sinister.

  206. Hi – can you tell me when contactless payment an oyster will be available at hatfield station? What would work best for me travelling 4 days a week as I wish to return my season ticket starting from next year.

    • Hi Kay,

      Extending Oyster to Welwyn GC/Hertford North has been talked about for a while. It is likely to happen, but probably not until the Oyster system is converted to the same back-office processing that contactless uses. That conversion is behind schedule, but it will need to happen before Crossrail starts operating beyond Slough or it will be a PR disaster.

      In the meantime, have you considered carnet tickets? You need to be very careful about dating them (sharpie pens are recommended) and make sure the date doesn’t smudge, but they do offer reasonable discounts. I think it’s 10 tickets for the price of 9.

  207. Hi
    My son keeps telling me that there will be a direct train soon between Finsbury Park and Blackfriars. Have you heard anything about this? No sign on the Web…

  208. Hi, I will be attending Hertfordshire university while living at home in London. I know I can use my oyster from my local station to get to Finsbury Park. But what can I use from Finsbury Park to get to Hatfield station or will I have to pay for a ticket everyday?

    • Hi Natasha,

      You can buy a season ticket between Finsbury Park and Hatfield, but it is only worthwhile if you travel 5 days a week. The reason is that you are travelling against the normal peak flow so the anytime return is priced lower than the equivalent fare in the other direction. The season ticket has to be valid both ways.

  209. Hello,
    I visit London 2-3 times per year & was wondering about getting an Oyster card for my 14 year old son, as the only way we’ve found to travel on buses otherwise seems to be to buy a day travel card at railway stations.

    I see the 11-15 Oyster card incurs a £15~ administration fee: would I need to pay another such fee to update his Oyster card when he turns 16 in 16 months time?
    Many thanks for your help,

    • Hi Andrea,

      Yes, each new card incurs administration fee. The 11-15 card allows free travel on buses and if you were to use it on trains, tubes or dlr then it caps off-peak at £1.50, a significant saving on the child travelcard. The 16-18 card has a £20 administration fee and allows travel on all services at half the adult price. Without one the child would have to pay full adult rates.

  210. Mike

    I’ve got a 60+ Oyster and sometimes go to Stansted.

    You mention (Aug 2015) that you can get a ticket from the Boundary of Zone 6. But could I say get on at Tottenham Hale with my Oyster and Boundary of Zone 6 ticket and just travel to Stansted? I’m guessing I need to get out and tap out somewhere in Zone 6? But the journey to stansted from there would take for ever.

    But what happens if you don’t tap out – there’s no charge on the 60+ Oyster. So presumably there’s no money consequence. Do you know if you are breaking the “Oyster rules”?

    • Hi Istvan,

      Don’t worry. The 60+ Oyster, like the freedom pass, is treated as an off-peak travelcard. There is no penalty for not touching out and indeed no requirement if it is not possible, eg because the train doesn’t stop.

  211. Hi Mike, My husband and I (we are from Australia) are visiting UK in April this year for 9 days. I think the Oyster card is the best way to go ??We will be using it every day for site seeing and also want go to Bletchley Park on a day trip and also Cambridge on a day trip. My question is can I combine Oyster with tickets to these two places or do I just buy separate tickets on the days we wish to travel to these two places?

    • Hi Faye,

      Assuming that you will be using PAYG on your Oyster cards then I’d just buy separate tickets for the long distance journeys. If you decide to buy a travelcard for zones 1-2 for a week, which could well save money if you use it more than 5 days, then you can buy a ticket from boundary zone 2 to Bletchley/Cambridge. With the travelcard you can still use the Oyster in zones 3-9 as long as you have some PAYG balance for the extension fares. If you can let me know whereabouts you will be staying then I can tailor advice to your situation.

  212. Hi Mike,
    What kind of card should i go for if i have to travel to paddington station from Reading station once a month and 3 days a week to Goring&Streatly from Reading.

    • Hi Varun.

      I’m sorry, that’s really out of my area of expertise. You’re probably looking at individual paper tickets rather than a season.

  213. HI. I’m a big rail fan from the USA. I do plan on visiting London in a few months and I’m trying to understand daily capping. In NYC we pay a flat rate on the subway no matter where we go. We can also transfer to a different line or even to bus to complete the journey. However if we use a different railroad to complete the journey (like your national rail) then the cost changes per zone. At any point do I reach a maximum cost per day where any other ride on the tube would be free? Is there a daily pass anywhere? I would be using the tube mainly for all my transportation. I have my visitor oyster card but as I understand I can’t view anything online. I’ve been trying to get a plastic oyster card wallet for a whIle. We don’t have those in the USA and one train I ride has a card just like the oystecard and I have a credit card that’s contactless too and train passes so I think those wallets are awesome. Is there anyplace I can get one online? TFL didn’t send me one with my visitor oyster card and I really want one very bad. They said the card should have come with one and that is the reason I ordered a £15 one so early.

    • Hi Daniel,

      You pay single fares with your Oyster for each journey. Once you reach the cap, all further travel within the zones covered is free. If you go a bit further out then you may have to pay a little more to reach the next cap up. Most tourists stick to zones 1-2 most of the time so you’ll cap quite quickly. You can use TfL red buses anywhere within Greater London, if you’ve capped already then they are free (even if you go further out because buses don’t have zones), or a single bus fare of £1.50 counts towards the cap.

      I’m sorry, I don’t know about card wallets.

  214. A passenger was travelling from Clapham Junction in zone 2 to Dartford which is zone 8. He was stopped by a guardsman stating that he was out of zone and that he did not have a ticket to trave and was issued with a £20 finel. I am aware that they can be used on the the tube, DLR and National Rail and that you must touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end so that the correct fare can be charged. On this occasion the passenger had an Oyster but was told he could not use it. Please advise so if things have changed then I need to advise myself when travelling to Dartford in the future.

    • Hi Sam,

      Oyster is definitely accepted at Dartford. It is possible that the Oyster card in question had a travelcard which didn’t include zone 8 and also had no PAYG balance. If that was the case then the inspector was correct, the passenger did not have a valid ticket to travel.

      If the Oyster card was being used with PAYG then it would appear that the inspector was wrong. If you know the person who was charged you could suggest that they post here. Otherwise, can you say where the exchange took place?

  215. Hi, I just went to update my annual zone 1 and 2 oyster card at Charing Cross and was told that I needed to provide a passport sized photo and would be issued a paper Gold Card instead. I did this and am now in the possession of a new photocard and a paper gold card. There is no way this card will last me 12 months without getting trashed; is it possible for me to transfer it onto my now moribund Oyster card? If so, how, and is there a cost involved?

    • Hi Steve,

      It may be possible to do it at another National Rail station which also handles Oyster. See my page for a list, though it will have to be a zone 1 or 2 station. One of the London terminals on the list is probably best.

  216. Hi, I have just bought the oyster card online, and waiting for Delivery,

    Few questions I have that the email confirmation says it will start from 5/8/16, so does it mean it has an expiry date, the credit iv topped up?

    Also on the initial order confirmation page at the the bottom it had these listed…

    Available from tomorroworrow for 8 days
    Do not collect within the time period order will be cancelled and be refunded,

    Question is I will not be coming to London untill the 11th of august,so does it mean from the start date that’s the 5th I have 8 days from then to use my credit?

    Or does it mean I need to use it atleast once for it to activate?

    I’m sorry for these questions but I’m a bit confused and thinking will I have to cancel.and get a refund and then apply for another card, when im actually in London,


    • Hi Ismail,

      I think that there is some confusion in the system with messages relating to other issues. The start date appears to be 4 days after ordering which gives them time to get the card in the post. It’s possible that the card cannot be used until the start date, but I’ve never ordered a card online before so I’m not sure. The 8 days is the standard window when picking up credit at a station, which you’re not doing. My best guess is that you have 8 days from the start date to use the card at least once and if you don’t they’ll assume it’s been lost in the post and refund it.

      However, to be sure, call the Oyster helpdesk and ask them how it works. And if you can post their reply that would be great as well.

  217. I pay a zone 1-8 monthly travel card at cost £295. Every so often I have to use Watford Junction in zone 9 as there are more regular trains and later service. I am always charged the maximum fair at this station because I didn’t tap in/out on my other journeys. I don’t understand why Oyster cannot recognise my travel card and only charge for journeys out of zone 8. Do you know if this will implemented because its really hard to tap in/out on 2 scanners with people from three 13 coach carriage trains. I am also fed up of applying for refunds as most of the time they fail to upload on the card.

    • Hi Natalie,

      If you want to travel beyond the zones covered by your travelcard then you must touch in before starting your journey. You can use any validator at Euston and it doesn’t have to be just before you get on the train. That is, you could choose a platform where the train is not about to depart, touch there, then make your way to your train. You have over two hours to touch out at Watford after touching in, so it really doesn’t matter if you touch in ten minutes before the train leaves.

      Small points – Watford Junction is outside the zones for fare calculations. And 13 coach trains are likely to be Virgin ones where you are not allowed to travel just between Euston and Watford.

  218. Hi Mike,

    Coming back from London last Saturday (10th) I touched in at Waterloo East at 18-37 to get a train to Bexleyheath. After waiting half an hour, it was apparent that there would be no trains for some time due to the problem (signal failure?) at London Bridge. Deciding to go via another route, I went along the platform and into Southwark Station, touching out of Waterloo East at 19-10. I touched in at Southwark at 19-11 & travelled to North Greenwich to get a bus home.

    My problem is that my journey history shows I have been charged £5-30 twice, as the system seems to think that between 18-37 & 19-10 I went somewhere else – failed to touch out & then returned to Waterloo East – failing to touch in.

    My online account is still saying that I have no incomplete journeys eligible for refund, so I’m wondering how long it will be before these two incomplete journeys appear on my account & I can apply for a refund online? I could phone TFL, but I don’t want to spend money to get money back & I don’t anticipate the chance to visit an Underground ticket office to claim a refund in person before the 24th September. Or Will I be given my money back next time I touch in at my local station, as an automatic refund. Will my account show if I’m due an automatic refund?

    • Hi Geoff,

      You exceeded the limit for same station exit by 3 minutes, unfortunately. Because there are two incomplete journeys the system won’t allow you to resolve them online. Had the station been operated by TfL then it’s possible that they might have organised automatic refunds in the even of serious disruption, but the TOCs don’t usually seem to manage this. An automatic refund will be processed and an email sent to you if you have an address registered to your account.

      In your case I think you will have to contact the helpdesk. You can email them, or you can phone. Unlike in the early days the helpdesk number is now included in any free calling plan with a mobile.

  219. Hi
    If I am going to Stratford from Hertford east and changing train at London Liverpool Street do I need to scan out then back in or just scan out at Stratford

    • Hi Chloe,

      If you can get between the two trains/platforms at Liverpool Street without touching out then you are welcome to do so, but I think it unlikely that this will be the case. You could also change at Hackney Downs/Central or at Tottenham Hale to catch a train to Stratford without worrying about Liverpool Street.

  220. Hi
    I got an annual travelcard for zones 3-5 for my daily journey from Twickenham to Wimbledon but today was charged £2.10 both going out and then on my return journey. Any ideas why this would be the case?


    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, your journey involves zone 2 at Clapham Junction, so the charge is for a zone 2 single. You can avoid that by changing at Putney and East Putney instead.

  221. Hi
    My son’s oyster ZIP card was seized by a ticket /revenue inspector ,because it was misused(found on an relative visiting from abroad )
    I am not sure how to go about retrieving this or applying a new one ,a very tricky case as it was not lost or stolen
    Also the address on the ZIP is our old address
    Any ideas how to approach this
    Thank you

    • Hi Esther,

      I think the best advice is to call the Oyster helpline and come clean. What happens may depend on the age of the zip card – the penalties are likely to be more severe for 16+ cards than 5-10 cards. Older children are deemed to have signed up to the behaviour code.

  222. Hi mike,I mistakenly used my wife’s apprentice photo card to tap in even though my adult Oyster card was in same wallet with a balance of £22.50. An inspector checked and confirmed my wife’s card had registered. He then took my name and address and said they will write me in d next few days.Just want to know what the penalty might be and what my options will be eventually,thanks

    • Hi Yinkuse,

      That could be serious for both you and your wife. How serious will become clear when they do write to you, which may take longer than a few days – several weeks is not uncommon. If you come back when you get the letter then I can advise further, but in the meantime you may want to write down anything that you need to remember from the day. In particular things like why you had your wife’s card, did you take the card out of the wallet to touch in or did you run the mercy of card clash, did your wife know you had her card, etc etc.

  223. Hi Mike, I just wanted to to advise of an OSI Issue I have been having at Seven Sisters, currently there is escalator work and you have to touch out and exit the LU station and continue at street level to the NR station and touch back in, it would appear that no OSI has been set up for this and I and no doubt thousands of others have been double charged for their journey, I spoke to the help desk who advised they were getting numerous calls about it this which begs the question why they have not set up a temporary OSI unless of course this is how they are funding the work on the new escalator.

    • Thanks for the heads up, James. I’ll try and ask some questions about this. Do you know when the escalator work started and when it’s due to finish?

  224. Hi Mike – I’ve just sent this suggestion to TfL.
    Out of interest, do you have comments on why this hasn’t been done or the practicalities of it?

    Thanks for all the good work.


    Hello – would it be reasonably practical to add option(s) to the journey planner:

    “avoiding zone 1”
    “avoid zone 1 if under x (user-specified) minutes extra”?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Matt,

      I think they’re very desirable options. I don’t know enough about the TfL journey planner to know whether they are feasible.

  225. Hi Mike

    Yes – I think there’s a public interest argument as well as benefit to the individual using the planner.

    TfL have replied:

    …thank you for your recent communication asking for an update on including ‘Avoid Zone 1’ filters on Journey Planner searches. …

    I have just had a conversation with an individual who manages the Journey Planner facility and they have said that the option is possible and has been regularly discussed in the past. The reason it has not as yet been included is because it was thought that it would over complicate Journey Planner and mean it isn’t as straight forward and easy as before. …

    There are talks going on at present to also include fares into Journey Planner results and, when this is coming into being the option will be discussed again and, I am told, it is much more likely to be included as there is a better case for it when fares info is also included.

    I do hope this info helps and hope that your suggestion comes into fruition in the very near future.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for coming back to us. If the planner includes fare info then that will be a definite improvement, and yes, avoiding zone 1 routes will then become very relevant.

  226. Hi Mike

    Sometimes I wonder why TfL doesn’t do more to promote avoiding zone 1 (including the very cheap zone 2-6 off-peak fares).

    On a different but perhaps related note, I’ve just noticed something about the way the fares database is queried.

    In both the TfL Single Fare Finder and your version, the systems don’t give the cheaper Thameslink options to Herne Hill from St Pancras or West Hampstead unless the National Rail station is chosen.

    In your version, if I start typing St Pancras it suggests only St Pancras International, which in this case is useful.

    In TfL’s version, the first suggestion is King’s Cross/St Pancras Underground. People may mostly choose that, and then they get the more expensive fare rather than the suggestion to use Thameslink.

    I don’t know if Thameslink is the only instance where the system could be improved to include very short walks to nearby stations, and cases where people reasonably assume that the system would tell them all appropriate routes from stations in the same building.

  227. Hmm. If I choose “West Hampstead NR” the system says there are no fares to Herne Hill. Visitors may not know what Thameslink is, and naturally choose that station.

    The TfL auto-suggestions when I start to type “West Hampstead” only include the underground station.

    • Hi Matt,

      Yes, there are some interesting and unexpected effects where stations have the same or similar names. In TfL’s list the mainline terminals all have London prefixed, which does sometimes hide the station you need. It’s one of the reasons I chose to use my own list of stations and a different suggestion system. I will look at how I handle West Hampstead because I agree that may not be as clear as it could be.

  228. Hello Mike – thank you.

    I think your auto-suggestions are generally much more helpful.

    I think this may be a relatively minor problem, but interesting from the point of view of how organisations work.

    Marylebone to Wembley Stadium has the same problem, which may not surprise you.

    The system says there are no fares from King’s Cross to Sutton or Elstree.

    It’s perhaps interesting that we would expect the TfL database system to include OSIs, but it doesn’t use them for the beginnings or ends of journeys. Sometimes the other station is not only cheaper and quicker for the rail journey, but also more convenient for the passenger to travel to or from.

    I expect others know more about this than me – the fact that fares are sometimes cheaper on National Rail may suggest an official desire for people to use those services more. The practical effect on the other hand may be, as with the “Tube” map, to steer people towards TfL services even if they are more expensive and take longer.

    Train companies may not want people using their services for short journeys, and TfL might take account of that. But it might be odd if that applied for a particular service yet the Oyster fare is cheaper than the TfL route.

    I’m not familiar with any financial implications of this for TfL revenue.

    If many people understand “station” to include those with a similar name or in the same building, then perhaps this misleads:

    Single Fare Finder:

    “Find out the cost of a journey between any two stations on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services where pay as you go (contactless or Oyster) is accepted.”

    Thank you again for all your work.

  229. A journey from Wimbledon to Archway costs £3.30 peak or £2.80 off-peak travelling via Clapham Junction and London Terminals, however a journey from Clapham Junction to Archway via London Terminals costs £4.40 peak or £3.80 off-peak…surely this is unfair on customers making the journey from Clapham Junction!

    • Hi Harry,

      There is a historical issue with fares from Wimbledon station to Underground stations in or via zone 1. There are two ways to travel without touching intermediately, one via the District Line which is TfL only and one via Thameslink and Farringdon which is mixed NR and TfL.

  230. I currently can buy paper monthly travel cards for zones 4-8 but cannot see an equivalent on Oyster. I called them and was told that I would have to get a 4-9 inc Watford which is approx. £30 dearer. any suggestions

  231. Purchase from Swanley station Zone 8

    Is monthly travelcard

    between Swanley & London Zones 4-6

    Also available at

    Zone 7-8

    Price £160.20

    I travel Swanley to Beckenham Junction on rail then change to tram to West Croydon

    • Hi Paul,

      Sorry for the delay. I see the problem now. That is a former out-boundary travelcard which has had zones 7-8 added since Swanley was bought into the zones. I don’t think TfL will add the extra version to their portfolio, but it can’t be removed because it’s a regulated product. You can keep buying the paper version with it’s additional validity (including Dartford of course), but it won’t go on an Oyster card.

      I must thank you for drawing that to my attention though.

  232. Thanks for your time Mike. Is a bit irritating as would be great to have the extra flexibility oyster gives so guess will have to stick with old fashioned paper tickets

  233. Hi Mike,

    Just a quick one. Is it possible to buy multiple weekly or monthly travel cards at this years’ cost, covering different time periods of the new year? Or is only one allowed? And how far in advance can travelcards be purchased? I’m looking to buy travel cards this year to cover until mid 2018.


    • Hi Ossie,

      Travelcards (and other seasons too) can be purchased a few days in advance if a renewal, or the day before if a new one. On Oyster you can buy further in advance because Oyster travelcards have a start date which paper ones do not. The price you pay is the price applicable on the first day of validity, regardless of whether you buy it earlier.

      A weekly season is only available for 7 days, but a monthly season can be bought for any period between 1 month and 1 year. Each full month is charged at the monthly rate while each additional day is charged at 1/30th of the monthly rate, subject to rounding to the nearest 10p at the end. After a little over 10 months you will be sold an annual ticket because that then becomes cheaper than the monthly rate.

      So, providing the ticket starts on or before Jan 1st you can buy whatever period you can afford at this years rate as long as it’s at least a month.

  234. Hi Mike,

    Many thanks for the response. I bought a travelcard starting 1 Jan so I am trying to be refunded pay as you go money (above £10) as it is unneeded. However, when I select the “Apply for a product refund” option after logging into my account, it says the oyster would be cancelled. How do I get the refund without the oyster getting cancelled? Also, is there a fee to process the refund?


    • Hi Ossie,

      This is a bit of a drawback as there is no way to process a refund of PAYG credit without cancelling the card. It should be possible, but for some reason it isn’t. Call the helpdesk and ask whether the travelcard can be transferred to a new Oyster card with you getting the refund of the PAYG credit. If that isn’t possible then you’ll probably need to wait until the travelcard runs out.

  235. Hi,

    Can you have a seasonal ticket (monthly) on your oyster card from Amersham to Farringdon or do I have to get a Monthly ticket instead?


    • Hi Abbie,

      If you are asking whether you can get a point-to-point season ticket just valid between Amersham and Farringdon then the answer is no. LU haven’t sold those for a long time. You would need to get a monthly travelcard, or potentially just use PAYG. You can make 24 return peak time trips before a monthly travelcard saves money. If you make any extra journeys during the month then the travelcard may become more attractive.

  236. Hi Mike,

    Just a quick one. If I travel from Finchley Road to Denmark Hill Station via the Canada Water route, will my zone 1-4 travel card cover the full journey? If not, how much extra would I pay?



  237. I guess you are aware of the new TfL Oyster App. Problem is the site does not work with “first generation” Oyster cards. My Oyster 60+ is apparently “first generation” and I am told I cannot simply request a replacement card. I do like to keep track of my meanderings so what can I do?

    • Hi Jim,

      The App can only deal with blue adult Oyster cards at the moment. It says anything else is first generation, but this isn’t the case if the card has your photo on it. As for keeping track of your journeys, can you link your card to a TfL account? If yes then view them there. Otherwise you’ll need to ask the helpline – I don’t know.

  238. I posted here a while back asking whether it was technically possible for an Oyster Card to contain more than £90.

    I can now say that it is possible, and have an Oyster Card with £92.05 on it..!

    This was done by touching in the off peak using a railcard discounted Oyster card with £83.65 on it, and using a ticket machine after the gateline, topping up the card with £10. On topping up, the net balance of £2.05 was added to the card.

    There is obviously no benefit in doing this, but I was interested that it was possible since most other ways of exceeding the £90 threshold were unsuccessful. It also got me wondering what the largest balance achievable on an Oyster card would be using this sort of method.

    • Good stuff! I’ll hazard a guess that the most you could get that way would be topping up at Gatwick Airport after touching in during the peak.

  239. Hi Mike,

    I travelled off-peak from Finchley Road to South Ruislip via Ickehham and West Ruislip, and was charged the via zone 1 fare (£2.05 with railcard discount). Would you have expected the system to note the OSI and charge £1? Thanks.

    • Hi Matt,

      The fare finder only has two routes, via zone 1 (the default) and via West Hampstead, Willesden Junction and Shepherd’s Bush. As you clearly didn’t use the alternative it will charge the default. However, I agree that via Ickenham is an eminently sensible route which it should allow. Perhaps contact Oyster and ask them to consider it in a future fares revision.

  240. Hi Mike,

    I’m not sure if this question has been asked before (or even if
    I’ve asked it before) or where to look. What I’d like to know is what makes a single journey on Oyster. I need to ‘clear’ some lines and intend to do Hertford East and Enfield Town. Can I go to Hertford, get the first train southbound without touching out, and on to Enfield as one journey or are they separate journeys?
    Basically, can I travel as long as I like within the time limits as one journey?
    Hope this all makes sense.

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Wayne,

      I would definitely touch out and in again at Hertford East. You could have a very interesting conversation with a GA RPI coming back from there with a touch in down in London.

  241. Thanks for the advice, I think I’ll err on the side of caution and make separate journeys.
    I assume then Oyster is really set up for straightforward and realistic journeys!

    Thanks again.

    • It is, yes. You’re fine to go the wrong way in search of a faster train (eg Brentwood – Shenfield – Liverpool Street), but in and out of Hertford East would not be advised.

  242. Morning Mike – quick query – not sure if it’s something you would ever consider a specific post on?

    I live in Zone 4 and just renewed my Z1-4 Annual Travelcard (which hasn’t been subject to the Fare Freeze of course!)

    Each time I do this I get a Gold Record card in the post a couple of days later. The accompanying letter isn’t very helpful as to what exactly I can do with this.

    Any ideas?

    Do I get a discount on Z5-6 (and beyond) travel and is this only off-peak.

    It says on the TFL website (but not the letter!) that it needs to be ‘added’ to my Oyster card which seems a bit odd as it’s sent out centrally by…..TFL.

    It would probably help if TFL didn’t staple the card to the letter!!!

    I recall years ago that a similar card got retail discounts at major London trains for food etc.

    Any observations welcome!!!!

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Mel,

      Sadly they can’t add the discount remotely so you do have to take it to a tube station. As long as the Oyster card has the annual travelcard on it you don’t actually need the gold record card to set the discount or use the Oyster beyond zone 4. Once the discount has been set you’ll get 1/3 off the off-peak single fares and the off-peak cap.

      What you do need the gold record card for is purchasing discounted rail tickets beyond the Oyster area but within the gold card area.

    • Hi Matt,

      An annual gold card can either be issued on paper by a TOC, or on a smartcard by either a TOC or TfL. If it is loaded on a smartcard then you will be issued with a gold record card so you can prove entitlement to the discounts on off-peak tickets at places where they won’t be able to read the smartcard.

      If you have a TOC issued gold card or gold record card then you can use those to get the discount set on an Oyster card. In those instances you do need to carry the gold card or gold record card with you to prove your entitlement to the discounted Oyster fares. In the specific case where the annual season ticket is a travelcard loaded onto an Oyster card, the proof can be seen at any time that the Oyster card is read. It may be beneficial* to carry the gold record card too, but it shouldn’t be necessary. You should certainly be able to get the discount set on the Oyster card before the gold record card arrives in the post.

      *it might avoid extra questions if an RPI doesn’t twig the travelcard is on your Oyster card.

  243. Hi Mike
    My name is Maha George, I am 50 years old, I want to ask about ( there is a discount oyster for this ages ?) Please can you help me and thaks

    • Hi Maha,

      No, there is no discount card for all 50 year olds at the moment. Some may qualify for a disabled persons railcard, or a forces railcard, or even a 16-25 railcard but as a mature student, but otherwise no.

    • Hi Natalie,

      No, I don’t. I get frustrated at some stations where you come down step