Mixing Travelcard and PAYG

This is another of the great benefits for Oyster users over paper tickets, yet some of those benefits are not explained very well on the TfL site.  If you have a travelcard season stored on your Oyster and want to travel beyond the covered zones then you can use your pay-as-you-go balance to pay for the extra bit (or bits).  All you have to do is touch in and out at both ends of your journey.  This is very important, however, because the system still needs to know what journey you have made to charge you correctly.

How much will it cost

You only pay for travel in the zones not covered by your travelcard.  Unlike paper extension tickets which can only be issued from the outer boundary of a zone, Oyster also works from the inner boundary as well.  Thus if you have a zone 2-4 travelcard and pop into Central London one evening you only pay for zone 1 single fares**.  With paper you would be charged from the last zone 2 station.  If you want to travel from zone 5 to zone 1 with a zone 2-4 travelcard it will charge you the cheaper of two methods: either a zone 5 single and a zone 1 single; or a zone 5-1 single (as if you didn’t have a travelcard).

** Note that there is a special arrangement when you hold a travelcard covering at least zone 2 and you make a through NR1+T journey covering zone 1.  Rather than pay the inflated through zone 1 fare you will be charged the lower TfL-LU zone 1 fare.  However, as with all things Oyster, even this rule has exceptions.  If your first touch out in zone 1 is at a NR terminal you will be charged the higher NR1 zone 1 fare even if you then go onto the Underground.  Conversely, if you want to make a journey starting in zone 1 using NR1 fares then you will save money if you can make an Underground journey first.  For example, if you have a zone 2-6 travelcard and want to travel from Charing Cross to Crayford at 5pm you’ll save money taking the Underground to Waterloo first.

Things to watch out for

Oyster will charge you based on the whole journey you make, not just on the portion outside of your zones.  So, if you have a zone 1-2 travelcard and start at Upton Park (z3) using the District/Jubilee line to Waterloo, then National Rail to Wandsworth Town in zone 2 it will charge you for zone 3 in a mixed NR1+T journey, even if your zone 3 travel was only on TfL.  Most of the time this will only make a few pence difference, but it can be more.  If your journey started in the evening peak then the first stage (Upton Park – Waterloo) is charged off-peak as it finishes in zone 1.  But when you then continue your journey and touch out at Wandsworth Town it changes to a peak mixed NR1+T zone 3 journey.  Armed with this knowledge there are two ways to get round it.  First you can wait around at Waterloo until 40 minutes after your touch out from the Underground.  This will mean that part two is a new journey fully covered by your travelcard.  Alternatively you can touch onto a bus and then get off again.  Bus travel is free with any travelcard, but touching on a bus will break the journey in two.

What happens if I forget to touch in or out?

Remember that at all times you can be charged a penalty fare or considered for prosecution if you are outside of the zones on your travelcard and not touched in.  Having said that, this is what happens as far as your PAYG balance is concerned.

If you don’t touch in within your zones and then touch out outside of your zones you will be charged a reduced maximum fare which will not count towards any daily cap.  Likewise if you touch in outside your zones and forget to touch out again at the end of your journey.

If you touch in or out within your zones but not when outside there will be no effect on your PAYG balance, but you can still be charged a penalty fare.  This can even happen after you have passed the validators on your way out of the station.

1,339 thoughts on “Mixing Travelcard and PAYG”

  1. I have a very strange problem which started when I added a season ticket to my oyster card. I recently started to travel from Sutton Common to London Bridge each day. When I touch in or out at Sutton Common (which doesn’t have gates), I get Seek Assistance 94 (Card communications failed). This doesn’t happen anywhere else and never used to happen when I just had PAYG on the card. It even does it when I try to pick up my ticket renewals.

    The help desk said I should get a replacement card. So I went into London this morning and got it changed by a very begrudging ticket clerk (at a station which will remain nameless) who bad mouthed the help desk and said it won’t be the card.

    Well you can probably guess the rest. On the way back I touched in/out on the tube journey to Waterloo, then in at Waterloo NR – all with my shiny new card and with no problems. Touched out at Sutton Common – Seek Assistance 94. Arrrgggghhhhh!!! Told the help desk and they basically shrugged their shoulders. Double Arrrgggghhhhh!!!

    The easy answer would be just not to bother touching in at Sutton Common like most other people, however, my train in the morning goes from Sutton Common (Z4) through Sutton (Z5) then onto London Bridge. Post OEP, I always want to touch in at Sutton Common just in case there is an RPI on the train before reaching the sanctuary of Z4 again at Hackbridge.

    I am completely baffled by this. It sounds like there might be something wrong with the system at Sutton Common but who knows.

    • Hi Simon,

      It’s a longshot, but do you have any other contactless cards like debit cards or staff entry passes? These sometimes cause problems with Oyster because the reader can’t get a clear signal. I’d expect the problems to be more widespread than just one station, but you never know. Code 94 means card communications failed which is what I’d expect in this instance. It doesn’t tally with you not having problems before loading a travelcard though.

      The other issue which sometimes happens is you touch for too long and get “seek assistance” after validly touching in. I don’t think this is code 94 usually. If you can visit the Underground station at London Bridge and check journey history from one of their ticket machines it might give you a clue.

      If there is no other explanation then I would tend to agree that it might be the equipment at Sutton Common, but this isn’t a problem I’ve heard before.

      Regarding your desire to touch in to avoid problems in zone 5, I can see what you mean and I agree it would be wise to be touched in. You will have to chase it through with the help desk.

  2. I’ve got various chipped credit and debit cards and a contactless passcard for work. However the oyster card is in its own blue folder entirely separate from the others. I keep it in my top pocket when travelling, well away from the other cards and because it is in its own dedicated folder there is nothing else close to the reader when I touch in or out.

    The help desk said that the equipment at Sutton Common is the responsibility of FCC so I have dropped them an email but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Hi Simon,

      There’s nothing wrong with storing the cards next to each other, it’s just that when you touch, the Oyster must be on it’s own. It sounds like this is the case anyway. Good luck with FCC.

  3. I think I have solved the mystery – it’s my less than optimal touching in/out techinque.

    It appears that the card readers at Sutton Common are somewhat more fussy as to the touching in/out technique employed than those at the other stations I frequent. Relative to what I have become used to as the norm elsewhere, a slow and deliberate placing of the card on the reader is required at Sutton Common.

  4. I made a return journey into marylebone from gerrards cross (for which i paid for and used a chiltern line ticket). I used my payg oyster to travel around london, then used my return rail ticket to travel from marylebone back to gerrards cross. I was careful that entering/exiting gerrards cross and marylebone i did not use my oyster card.

    but my oyster card was charged with a journey to and from marylebone from chalfont and latimer station (my usual route into town). I queried this with oyster, but they just replied that:

    “Our records show that you have been charged correctly for your journeys on the date in question. As this is the case I have taken no further action.”

    What gives?

    • It seems strange. Did you get off the train at Chalfont and Latimer station in each direction? I must admit that I have walked past gates and validators on many occasions while using paper tickets and I’ve never had a stray charge appear on my card. I’ve certainly never incurred a charge when passing through a station. Do you have your journey history or statement? I’ll send you an email address if you need to attach it to something.

  5. Just a small thing. Under “How Much will it Cost?” you make the point that Oyster works from the inner boundaries of travelcards as well as the outer. I suppose that there are no inner boundaries any more with the annoying abolition of zones 2-x travelcards.

    All the best


    • You cannot buy day travelcards or get Oyster caps which don’t include zone 1, but period travelcard seasons can be bought for any number of zones from 2 up to all 9. If you live in zone 5 and work in zone 4 then you can have just zones 4 and 5.

  6. Hi, I’m heading down next week and was about to top up my PAYG, but having not used my card since February 2008, am I right in thinking that the card will need reactivating at one of the stations before I can use it, even if I’ve topped it up online? Thanks!

    • Hi DJ,

      No, your card should work fine. Unless the card has been cancelled because you reported it lost or stolen it remains active. Any PAYG credit will also be fine as it never expires. However, if you topup online then you do need to nominate a station to collect the topup from. You cannot collect online topup on a bus.

  7. Thanks – I had read something in a couple of places about having to re-activate after a 24 month period but couldn’t find any mention on the TFL site.

  8. I have an annual zone 1-5 Oyster card, and because it is an annual card, I have a gold card giving me discounts on national rail. When travelling out of London I usually use the ticket machines and buy a paper ticket, selecting the gold card discount. For example, my ticket would cover me from London terminals to Bournemouth. However I bought a ticket at the ticket office last week, and because I’d shown my gold card (which displays zones 1-5 on it) for my discount, the ticket he gave me was ‘Boundary zone 5’ to Bournemouth. So I used my Oyster to touch in at Waterloo, and my paper ticket for Bournemouth at the other end. This means I never touched out on my Oyster card (although I have PAYG credit on there, which wasn’t charged) – would this ever be a problem? No one checked tickets on the train, but if they had, would they have had an Oyster reader, even as far out as Bournemouth? Purchasing a boundary of zone 5 ticket instead of London terminals made my ticket a lot cheaper – is there any way to select this on the National Rail ticket machines (or on the National Rail website in advance), or do these tickets always have to be purchased from the ticket office?

    Apologies for all the questions – this is new to me. I knew that you could use Oyster on some NR services, but assumed that it was only for journeys made completely within the Oyster zones – if I can always buy boundary of zone 5 tickets, this could save me a fortune! Any advice on when I can use these tickets and how I can purchase them would be much appreciated 🙂

    • Hi Ali,

      There is no penalty for incomplete journeys within the zones covered on your travelcard. Yes, SWT RPIs would probably have Oyster readers and could check that you had a zone 1-5 travelcard, but if they didn’t have the reader then that is their problem, not yours. Unfortunately you can only buy BZx tickets at a ticket office, or possibly over the phone. You can’t use websites or TVMs except that a phone ordered ticket could be picked up from a TVM. You can always use a BZx ticket with a travelcard, regardless of whether the train stops at the boundary station or not. This is because they are both zonal tickets.

      Hope that helps.

  9. Heres a quick question…
    If I had a zone 3-6 travelcard on my oyster card and wanted to travel from Slade Green to London Bridge on a normal weekday using National Rail
    but I tapped in at 09:25 at Slade Green station and caught a train before 09:30 would the system be intelligent enough to charge an off-peak fare between Greenwich and London Bridge as that part of the journey would definately be Off-Peak!

    Or would you have to alight at Greenwich and tap back in again and catch the next train (which wouldn’t be ideal!)

    Effectively, it if doesnt give you an off-peak fare in theory you could contest the fact with the Oyster helpline as Oyster is meant to charge the cheapest fare….


    • I agree it would be nice if it did charge you the off-peak fare, but I know it won’t. It’s an example of one of the many anomalies, mainly surrounding journeys made up of more than one part. The key thing to remember is that the overall journey decides which fare scale (TfL, NR or TfL+NR) and whether it is peak or off-peak. The system then deducts the bit of the journey covered by your travelcard and only charges you for the uncovered section(s).

      Whilst your example is a lose, if you repeat the journey starting at 1555 then the passenger wins.

  10. Bit confused by ‘things to watch out for’ paragraph. If I take overground train from Wimbledon to Waterloo and then to piccadilly (but only have a zones 1-2 annual travelcard- then will I just be charged for an ordinary zone 3 journey on the pay as you go credit? I also have my oyster linked to a young persons railcard… so it’s extra confusing!

  11. Hi Hector,

    Sorry to have confused you. In your example you will be charged for a zone 3 journey on the mixed NR&TfL scale. As it happens, this scale is identical to the NR only scale unless you are being charged for zone 1 travel, which you aren’t as you have a travelcard for zones 1 and 2. Your railcard will reduce the fare if it’s off peak.

    Note that peak or off-peak is decided by touch in at the start of the overall journey. If you touch in at Picadilly Circus at 1550 and touch in at Waterloo at 1605 then the charge for zone 3 will be off-peak, even though that leg of the journey started in the peak.

  12. Here’s another oddity. If you make a mixed TFL and NR journey partially outside and partially inside your zones, but the part outside your zones was entirely TFL, you will still be charged the mixed-mode rate for that.

    For example, I have an annual Z1-3 Travelcard, and if I go on an off-peak journey from Heathrow Terminals 1-2-3 (zone 6) to London Bridge (zone 1) by tube and on to Charlton (zone 3) on Southeastern, I will be charged £1.15. But if I just go from Heathrow into central London it’ll be 95p. So making an additional journey that’s normally free costs me 20p!

    [I know in this case I can break the OSI by waiting around at London Bridge or touching in on a bus, or (as I do) going to Waterloo East instead where I can just omit to touch in, but I’m sure a similar scenario can be concocted.]

    • Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s just like my Stratford to Wandsworth Town example really. The difference isn’t usually much unless there is a peak vs off-peak aspect, especially with a railcard involved. The cure for most journeys of course will be for TfL and the TOCs to agree to harmonise all pricing so it won’t matter.

  13. Hi, Any advice appreciated – I am starting a new job which is right next to Waterloo station and will not require further links to the tube. I Live in Kingston which has Oyster card reader. can you advise what would be the chapest option for me as I will be making this return trip on a daily basis?


    • Hi Vinnie,

      Sorry for the delay replying. Assuming that you make your commuting journeys in the peak hours then you will probably be better off with a point-to-point season ticket from South West Trains rather than a travelcard on Oyster. If you work shifts such that many of your journeys can be made outside the peak then Oyster PAYG may be cheaper. Remember that peak fares are determined by touch in time between 0630-0930 and 1600-1900.

  14. Hi,
    Mike I must say it is extremely informative reading up on your suggestions. I am sure you will be able to help me with your advice. I have always worked and lived within south London, so have always driven around Croydon, but recently I got a job all the way in Chingford (Z5), so driving their from East Croydon (Z5) at peak hours is out of question. Now I am sure my query must have been put to you by many people before, but like I said I am a bit new to this oyster business.
    My Normal commute
    Monday – Wednesday —–East Croydon (Z5) – Feltham (Z6)
    Thursday & Friday ————East Croydon(Z5) – Chingford (Z5)
    All I would like to know that could I avoid buying a 1-5 travel card weekly which is £47.50 at the moment. And could I do with Z2-6 which seems to be cheaper ?
    For Feltham I normally take national rail service from Clapham Junction. But for Chingford can I do the following on a Z2-6 weekly travel card ?
    East Croydon to Clapham Junction
    Clapham junction to Vauxhall
    Victoria line—Vauxhall – Walthamstow central
    Walthamstow central—Chingford

    • Hi Mamoon,

      Unfortunately using the Victoria Line across Central London would incur a zone 1 charge. You cannot do the journey from East Croydon to Chingford in one go without being charged for zone 1. The best I can find is to go via Willesden Junction which avoids zone 1. You would need to touch out there and then touch back in again so that your journey becomes two separate ones. That would slow your journey down quite a bit. However, rather than go the whole hog and get a zone 1-6 travelcard, you could get the zone 2-6 version and use PAYG balance for the zone 1 bits. Using todays fares that would be 4x£1.90=£7.60 which is a lot cheaper than the £16 difference between the 2-6 and 1-6 weekly travelcards. Obviously you might need to reconsider your options if you started to go to Chingford more than Feltham.

      Hope that helps

  15. Thank you for your reply Mike, it surely is a great help. This £1.90 charge is it for the day to travel through Zone 1 or will this be taken from my PAYG balance every time I touch a barrier in Z1

    • The £1.90 is for every journey which involves zone 1. You said you only go to the Chingford office twice a week, so you would be spending £7.60 for zone 1 journeys.

  16. Sorry for the dumb questions but will it be £3.80 deducted from my PAYG balance or will it be £1.90 at Victoria and the other £1.90 at Waltamstow when I finish my journey on the Victoria line.

    and if it will be the 1.90 and1.90 then how would it know that I am travelling through Z1 at walthamstow as walthamstow is in Z3

    • This is how it should work assuming you have a zone 2-6 travelcard season stored on your Oyster card, the journey is peak and you make each interchange within the allowed times.

      Touch in at East Croydon – no deduction because you are within your zones.
      Touch out at Victoria NR – £2.00 deduction because you have travelled within zone 1 on NR
      Touch in at Victoria LU – £2.60 deduction to bring your total deduction up to the entry charge for mixing PAYG and a Travelcard
      Touch out at Walthamstow Central LU – £2.70 credit back because your journey is now a National Rail through one and only the TfL zone 1 charge of £1.90 is required because your travelcard has zone 2 included. See the bottom of this page on the TfL site for further information.
      Touch in at Walthamstow Central NR – no deduction because you are back within your zones.
      Touch out at Chingford – no adjustment because you are still within your zones.

      I hope this helps now.

  17. Oh that explains a lot. Mike what if I am

    touching in at Vauxhall to get on the Victoria line and touching out at Walthamstow central, then how much of my PAYG balance will be used on a return journey with a Z2-6 travel on my oyster

    • The same amount because the overall journey (East Croydon to Chingford) is still a National Rail through journey. Because Vauxhall is dual zoned (1 and 2) you would only see the £1.90 charge taken on exit at Walthamstow Central.

  18. Sorry Mike & Mamoon.

    The OSI charging logic means that you cannot pay less at the end of a multi leg journey than you paid at the end of the previous leg – i.e. you will pay £2 on the way to Chingford and £1.90 on the way back.

    The outbound will play out like this (provided the maximum journey time is not exceeded):

    Touch in at East Croydon – no deduction because you are within your zones.
    Touch out at Victoria NR – £2.00 deduction because you have travelled within zone 1 on NR
    Touch in at Victoria LU – £2.60 deduction to bring your total deduction up to the entry charge for mixing PAYG and a Travelcard
    Touch out at Walthamstow Central LU – £2.60 credit back
    Touch in at Walthamstow Central NR – £2.60 deducted (assuming touch before 09:30) as the mixed travel journey from East Croydon is reopened again
    Touch out at Chingford – £2.60 credit back

    If Mamoon changes at Vauxhall to the Tube, he will only pay £1.90 both ways.

    • Thanks for that comment, Jack. However, I do know of one instance where just such a reduction took place. Also, I would wager that a significant proportion of zone 1 extension through journeys on a travelcard including zone 2 are made first on NR only in the peak. If what you are saying is correct then the TfL website has a serious error on it. However, if you have an authoritative source for your statement please do provide it so that I can take the matter up with the helpdesk.

  19. i have a quick question, i want to go from hounslow east (zone 4) to cyprus DLR station (zone 3) approximately 4 days a week. I will pass through zone 1 as it is the fastest route. If i get a zone 3-4 travel card, is the system intelligent enough to deduct a zone 1 fare, because on the journet history only the start and stop stations are listed. i will be changing trains at green park (jubilee line) and canning town (DLR).. but i will only be touching in at zone 4 (hounslow east) and touching out at cyprus (zone 3)

    • The system is actually intelligent enough to charge a zone 1-2 fare from your PAYG balance in that situation. Basically it knows what is the likely route between any two stations on the system and charges accordingly. It will take account of any travelcard(s) held and deduct the remainder from the balance.

  20. What a great website!

    Anyway, my questions, following on from the above:

    1. Say I’ve got a Z3-5 Travelcard and want to go from Chiswick to East Croydon. The best way is probably to change at Clapham Junction – presumably the system will charge me for a Z2 ticket? (Unless of course I go via Wimbledon but then it will know I’ve entered the tram instead which is a separate journey).

    2. On a completely different note, say I have a Z2-5 Travelcard. Then say I buy a Heathrow Connect ticket from T123 to Hayes+H, but actually want to travel onwards. I can leave at Ealing no problem as I’m in-zone, but what if I want to go to Paddington? To be charged correctly I would need to have touched in somewhere – are there validators on the platform at H&H? Are they placed suitably close to every door set to be able to use them and jump back on the same train?

    TIA for your help. I’m actually moving to London in a couple of weeks and am trying to get up to speed – I’ve only been a (very) irregular visitor so far!

    • Hi Michael,

      1) Yes, it will charge for a zone 2 national rail journey.
      2) Mixing paper tickets with PAYG Oyster (even if partly covered by a travelcard) is one of the limitations of the system. You will need to touch in at the end of your paper ticket. I don’t know what validators are present at Hayes and Harlington, but you may well have to get the next train.

      Hope that helps.

  21. “If you touch in or out within your zones but not when outside there will be no effect on your PAYG balance, but you can still be charged a penalty fare. This can even happen after you have passed the validators on your way out of the station.”

    Can you clarify what the penalty for this would be please? If I have zone 1-2 travel card, touch in at Liverpool Street, but not out at Maryland (Zone 3) would there be an extra charge applied to my card.

    The same if I don’ t touch in at Maryland but touch out at Liverpool Street?

    • The extra charge would not be applied to the card, no. If you are stopped by Revenue Protection Inspectors outside the zones covered by your card and without a recent touch in then you would be liable for a penalty fare. This is £20 on most National Rail services and £50 (reduced to £25 for prompt payment) on TfL operated services including Overground. If they are watching the validators and see you fail to touch out they can still issue a penalty fare even though you have left the platforms. The offence is travelling without a valid ticket or validated smartcard.

  22. Hey Mike, great site, it’s been really useful.

    I’ve got a number of questions regarding the cheapest way to travel, using a mix of Travelcards and PAYG or just travelcard.

    I live in Zone 3/4 (Leytonstone) and will have to commute to Farringdon Zone 1 three times a week (9am-5pm).

    Maybe once or twice a week I will be travelling on the weekend or weekdays I have off around Zones 1 2 and 3.

    Now I’ve been doing a lot of spread sheeting but I’m still not quite sure what to go for, barring z2-3 Travelcard.

    I am eligible for a 16-25 railcard so I might link that into my account and get 1/3 off of off peak charges, considering I take a number of train journeys a year to make it worth it.

    So what do you suggest, a Z1, Z1+2 or Z1+2+3 Travelcard, a mix of Travelcard+PAYG or just straight PAYG.

    I wish there was an easier way to tell what would be cheapest.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Sean,

      It’s not really possible to advise with the details available so far. If on days that you don’t go to Farringdon you will be using zones 2 and 3 then a zone 2-3 travelcard is probably worth it. Whether you include zone 1 depends on just how much you will go over the three days a week. It sounds like it could be swings and roundabouts. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  23. Hi mike! I have a 16-26 railcard and travel from clapham junction to guildford daily. Is it worth my while using my oyster card from clapham junction to surbiton and then a weekly ticket to guildford? I dont like buying a season ticket as i may work from home some days. thanks

    • I don’t think you’d gain anything with your suggestion, unless you were travelling outside of the peak times and could get off-peak discounted fares. You would also have to change trains at Surbiton while you touched out the Oyster and came back in with the paper ticket.

  24. Hi Mike

    If I have a zone 2 travelcard with some PAYG credit and tap in and out at zone 2 stations but travel through zone 1 (without getting off) – will the machines work out that I’ve travelled through zone 1 and deduct PAYG credit accordingly or will I get away with it but run the risk of receiving a penalty charge if someone stops and checks me when the train is going through a zone 1 station?

    Many thanks!!

    • 1) The system will know you’ve travelled through zone 1.
      2) As long as you have touched in and have at least enough credit for a zone 1 journey you will not get a penalty charge.

  25. HI, just come across your brilliant site…what a wealth of information! I’m hoping you may be able to throw some light on a problem my daughter had a while ago (I’m trying to get hold of the history as you’ve suggested elsewhere and awaiting, I hope an email statement). Meanwhile… My daughter put a 7day bus travelcard on her 18+ Oyster card but when she then went on a tube it negated it. Is this normal? She says a friend has had the same thing happen. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Sheila,

      There does seem to be an issue with some products and the 18+ student oyster. I can only suggest folowing it up with the helpdesk if the journey statement suggests that you have been overcharged. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  26. Mike, I am travelling from Waddon (Z5) to Canary Wharf (Z2)and home each day. I have a Zone 2-5 travelcard.

    A) I took a journey from Canary Wharf to Canada Water (Jubilee line Z2) and changed to Overground down to West Croydon (Z5) and then Southern on to Waddon (Z5). Therefore I have avoided Zone 1 but when I checked out it charged me £1.90 as if I had travelled through Zone 1.

    This can’t be correct as if I had left the Jubilee line in Zone 1 then I would have passed through a barrier and the system would know. Am I correct? Would TfL refund this if I contact them do you think?

    B) If I had taken the DLR from Canary Wharf to Greenwich and then Southeastern into London Bridge and crossed over the platforms to a Southern train to Waddon would I be charged for entering Zone 1?

    • Hi Captain,

      A) There is a definite error here. The Single fare finder gives two fares with the cheapest one via Canada Water as you travelled. To indicate that route you should touch on the pink validator if using PAYG. I’d call the helpdesk, or email them, and ask for a refund of the £1.90. This is one of those routes that I think should have a different default when a travelcard is stored on the Oyster. It would be handy to know whether the pink validator would still correct the fare if you do it again. Also, do you need to touch in/out at Waddon? If not then I suggest you don’t as that will make the journey an incomplete one within your zones and thus no charge.

      B) Peversely, it would appear not. The default route from Canary Wharf DLR appears to be to Lewisham, then Peckham Rye, then to Waddon. As long as you don’t touch anywhere else then that is what the system will assume you’ve done.

      Hope that helps, and please let us know how you get on getting a refund.

  27. Hi Simon.

    I need to purchase a new season ticket as I am moving home to outside of the TfL zones. I will be using NR services to get to London, and have been quoted £3200 for the year for the train ticket including TfL Zones 1-6.

    I have worked it out that it would be far cheaper to get a train ticket valid to a station within zone 6, and purchase a zone 1-6 Oyster season ticket.

    Would this be valid, if I was to stay on the train and allow the Oyster card to ‘kick in’ without touching in with the Oyster Card? Or would I have to get off the train, touch in and then get the next train?

    I have looked at the TfL website and according to that you can be issued a penalty fare if you do not touch in with a pay as you go season ticket, but it is fairly ambiguous.


    • Hi Gary,

      First a query. Are you sure that an annual season to the first station within the zones plus an all zones season is going to be cheaper than a combined ticket? I’ve checked out Longfield which happens to have an annual season to London zones 1-6 at £3200. The annual season to St Mary Cray is £1468 while an annual zones 1-6 travelcard is £2016.

      Anyway, with a zones 1-6 season ticket on your Oyster card you would not be using pay as you go. The combination of paper season and Oyster season is valid as long as the train used calls at the station where you changeover. If you want to take a fast train then you would need to make both tickets zonal. This doesn’t work from everywhere, but if you add zones 4-6 to the outside the zones ticket and put zones 1-3 on the Oyster then you can use fast trains. It is still likely to be more expensive than the single season for the whole journey.

      Hope this helps.

  28. Mike, thanks for your response. Basically it would be from Hatfield into London on a paper ticket, and then I was hoping to use an Oyster season ticket for travelling in London.

    If the train was to stop in Hadley Wood (zone 6), New Barnet (zone 5) or Oakleigh Park (zone 4) am I allowed to use the paper ticket for travelling to / through one of those stations, then without having to get off and touch in, use my Oyster card to touch out at say Finsbury Park or Kings Cross, en route to my final destination within London, and on the TfL network.

    In doing so, I could purchase the FCC annual ticket for £900, £1000 or £1200, then an Oyster card season ticket zones 1-6 for £2018, zones 1-5 for £1880, or 1-4 for £1576. Combined, either of these options are cheaper than the £3200, it is just a case of whether I am allowed to use the Oyster without touching in.

    The TfL website only mentions being penalised if you do not touch in whilst on a pay as you go Oyster Card, and does not say whether or not the same restriction applies to a season ticket.

    • Yes, you are allowed to do that. There is no penalty for not touching in or out when within the zones covered by your travelcard season. The only exception is when you want to use PAYG to travel beyond the zones but within the Oyster area. In that instance you must touch in and out so that the correct fare can be deducted, and avoid the possibility of a penalty fare if checked outside your zones.

      Do remember though that the reason those fares are so competitive is that you cannot use fast trains that do not call at your changeover station. If you needed to do so on the odd day then you could purchase a day ticket because when only one ticket is a season the train does not need to call at the station.

  29. Hi Mike

    I have a zone 1-4 monthly travel card but in some cases I have been unable to tap in and out at the start or end of my destination (zone 4). I just wanted to check that the information you provided above is correct, that I cannot be charged for this? There have been cases where inspectors have checked my oyster and can see that I have a zone 1-4 and have said no further and I have also checked my oyster history and no charge has been deducted.

    • Hi CK,

      Within your zones there is no penalty for failing to touch in or out. The only exception is when your journey will take you outside your zones. In that case you must touch in and out at either end so that the system can charge you the correct extension amount.

    • Where the train goes is irrelevant; it can even end up outside the Oyster area. It is where you go while on the train that is important. Taking my line as an example, if your commute was between New Eltham and Charing Cross then as long as you stayed between those two points you would be fine. However, if you wanted to visit a friend in Crayford after work you would need to touch in at Charing Cross and out at Crayford so it could charge you for zones 5-6. Likewise at the end of your visit you would touch in at Crayford and out again at New Eltham so that the same zones could be charged again.

  30. i m from east ham zone 3…need to go to ealing broadway in zone 3..can you tell me which zone weekly card should i buy..where i can save money…n can use the tube …

    • You’d need a zone 1-3 travelcard. I don’t see any easy way of saving money with that journey. To avoid zone 1 you would need to change at West Ham, Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush, but that would take considerably longer. You would possibly need to touch on the pink validator at Stratford to convince the system that you hadn’t taken a direct train.

  31. Hi Mike, in reference to my earlier question…
    I requested a complaint online twice without reply. I called the refunds line as they had always been helpful previously. Again they sorted the issue out straight away and I received my refund the following day. I have since received responses from the Online refunds team who said that because I had not used the pink validators I was not entitled to a refund. I have responded to ask them which route I could have taken through Zone 1 without having gone through a ticket barrier as I dont think there is one.

    Also all the TfL literature says the pink validators are for PAYG users and I had a Travelcard. I pointed this out to them. Just have to wait three months now for a response!

    In conclusion I will always call them in future!

  32. Wow mike you are really a wealth of information. Hopefully you will be able to advise me as you have countless others on thsi site.

    I live in tulse hill but need to go to south ken monday to friday for work. Since I already have a 1 month travel card for z2-3 I take the bus to brixton, the victoria line to victoria and district to south ken. Knowing that I pay 1.90 for the zone 1 journey. Going home i stick to the buses cos i can get the bus 2 straight home from victoria. But in the moring its too hectic to do that.

    I have 2 questions do u think i am saving mony but making my journey this way. My travel card expires next week friday and i am wondering should i just buy an annual pass for z2-3 as i live in z3 or should 1 buy z1-2 as i work in zone.
    Which would work out cheaper do you think?

    • Hi Tony,

      I would go for the zone 1-2. You only use trains in those zones and buses are free with any travelcard season. The difference between the weekly tickets is £6.80 yet you are spending £9.50 on zone 1 singles each week. The difference will be proportionally similar for longer period tickets. The only change is that the PAYG deductions are made at the time while the season is obviously paid up front. But if you buy the annual before Jan 2nd then you’ll get the old price and the zone 1 single goes up to £2 next year.

      Hope that helps.

  33. I cannot find anywhere information on what to do in the situation whereby you have a National Rail season pass, in my case Kingston to Vauxhall but have the occasional day where I meet friends centrally and so want to get the train all the way to Waterloo.

    Am I expected to get off the train at Vauxhall, exit and swipe back in again using my Oyster?

    I see a lot of information regarding travelcards on oysters but it is more expensive for me to get a 2-6 travelcard than a season pass between these two stations only.

    Any help much appreciated I am really struggling with this!


    • Hi Kyle,

      Sorry for the delay replying. If you want to mix Oyster PAYG and a paper season then you do need to get off at the interchange station. At least with Vauxhall there are plenty of trains and it is a dual zoned station so you won’t be paying for a zone twice.

  34. Hi Mike,
    I am wondering whether you could help me, I am travelling on business in a group of 3 and I am not sure whether I should get a Oyster PAYG or a Travelcard+Oyster PAYG or a Travelcard on a Oyster over a 2 week period. I would be grateful if you can suggest some cost-worthy option for me.

    (1) Travelling from East Croydon station (z5) to Victoria station (z1), Paddington station (z1), South Kensington (z1) [multiple trips within z1] and back to East Croydon(z5) of up to 3 times per week.

    (2) I understand that East Croydon station is operated by national rail but does it have the station capability to accept the tapping of the oyster card or is it mandatory I have to use a paper travel card?

    (3) I will need to use the trams as well, in this instance, a travelcard would be invalid and an oyster would be more suitable?

    Would be grateful if you could help in my many enquiries, many thanks.


    • Hi Calista,

      Sorry for the delay replying.

      (1) 3 times per week is unlikely to make a weekly ticket worthwhile, you’d be better off using PAYG, especially if you can start after 9.30.
      (2) You can use Oyster at East Croydon, and all NR stations within the zonal area except Stratford International and the NR stations at Heathrow.
      (3) Travelcards are valid on trams as long as they include any of zones 3-6.

      I hope that helps.

  35. Hi Mike

    Would be grateful if you could help me with a query, as I am a bit confused with tfl website and helpline. I will be starting a new job in Jan and would need to travel by bus, tram and tube from Wallington to High St Ken. (Will travel to Earls Court and walk to avoid zone 1) Had originally thought I would need to add a 2-5 zone season ticket to my payg oyster card, but now I am not so sure. Details of journey are:

    1. Bus – Hilliers Lane to Wandle Park/Therapia Lane
    2. Tram – Wandle Park/Theraia Lane to Wimbledon
    3. Tube – Wimbledon to Earls Court

    Believe I should now buy 2-4 zones, do you agree?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Sharon,

      Good news. That itinerary only needs a zone 2-3 travelcard. Buses are free with any travelcard and trams are free with a travelcard containing any of zones 3-6. Your tube journey is only in zones 2 and 3. You can also get a bus from Earls Court to High Street Kensington if you want.

  36. HI been travelling to work recently from Tulse Hill to Gidea Park but going avoiding zone 1 but the oyster card is charging me as though I am going through zone 1 have spoken to tfl but they seem to think this is the default route and have been charged correctly but have gone to Stratford, then Canada Water and then to Crystal Palace and Tulse Hill so have avoided zone 1 is there any way to get tfl to refund the money they should be refunding as it is quite a lot of difference in the costs of the journey.

    • Hi Kevin,

      I’ve got bad news, a workaround, and a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. First the bad news. There is only one route from Gidea Park to Tulse Hill and that is via zone 1. Tulse Hill is far enough round from Crystal Palace for them to decide that it’s unlikely anyone would go that way. However, there is an alternative route from Gidea Park to Crystal Palace via Canada Water as long as you touch on the pink validator at Canada Water. If you then touch out and back in again at Crystal Palace it will split the journey into two with the last bit a single zone journey. This would be cheaper than the default fare to Tulse Hill. Taking next years fares, Gidea Park to Tulse Hill is £6.90 (£4.60 off-peak), Gidea Park to Crystal Palace is £3.60 (2.30) and Crystal Palace to Tulse Hill is £1.60 (£1.40).

      Obviously that isn’t ideal, but it might convince you to invest in a travelcard season instead. If you do, you would need zones 2-6. If you have to touch in to open gates at Tulse Hill then you will still need to touch out and in again at Crystal Palace or the system will still think you’ve gone via zone 1 and charge the difference to your PAYG balance. You shouldn’t need to use the pink validator at Canada Water if you have a travelcard season.

      Finally, there is a new line being built between Peckham Rye and Surrey Quays. When that is open I think that the default route for your overall journey may well change. At the very least they should give you an alternative in the same way that they do for Crystal Palace.

      Hope that helps.

  37. Hi Mike,
    I live in Chingford and work in East Croydon.
    I was wondering if I could buy the zone 2-5 monthly card which is 111.40 instead of the monthly sonze 1-5 which is 191.30. I will then supplement it by paying the £1.90 which is required because the travelcard has zone 2 included.

    This will mean a daily cost of 3.80 (return). I only go into work 3 times a week so I reckon in a month I will have incured total daily charges 3.80 * 3 days * 4 weeks = 45 * 112 (zone 2-5 card) making a total cost of 157 a month which is much cheaper than the 191 Zone 1-5 Card.

    Can this be done?

    I can see you explained this to Mamood above but that was with a zone 2-6 card but I am assuming that a zone 2-5 should suffice for this as I dont have any zone 6 area in my travel.

    Your advice will be much appreciated.


    • Hi Tony,

      Yes, it will work for you as well. You have slipped up in one respect as the zone 1 single is now £2.00, but it doesn’t invalidate the saving.

  38. Hello. Great website. When my gold card (z1 – 8 +W) expires in February I would like to explore cheaper options. I live in watford and work at Vauxhall. I was thinking of getting a Z1-2 gold annual at £1168 and then doing PAYG all on oyster. I generally leave work at 6.30pm so I flirt with the 1900 end of peak. If using the above combination of a Z1-2 travelcard and PAYG from Z3 – W, I touched in at Euston before 1900, but touched out at watford after 1900, would I have to pay a peak of about £3.70 or an off peak of £1.50 on PAYG if I dont break my journey between Euston/Baker Street (if I used the met line instead) and Watford. There is a potentially several hundred pound saving possible. I fear that to take advantage of the off peak from euston, I would have to wait for the 7.04 or 7.24 trains. Its also a pain that there is no zone 3 station on the met line.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Nick,

      You are not alone. Lots of people have decided to seriously look at cutting their travel costs. I have bad news and good news for you.

      Bad news first. Because of OSIs your journey is strung together so that it becomes one, starting at Vauxhall. The charge is decided by the touch in time at Vauxhall. There are two ways to get round this. First, wait 40 minutes between touch out at Euston tube and touch in at Euston NR; or touch on a bus (and then get straight off again) between the two. The bus breaks a rail journey as does exceeding the OSI allowance. Unfortunately you are right when you suggest that you’ll have to get the 1904 at the earliest to get the off-peak fare, and make sure you wait on the concourse until after 1900.

      Now the good news. How does a £984 saving grab you? The default route for Watford Junction to Vauxhall is via Clapham Junction. As long as you don’t touch in/out in zone 1 you only need a Z2-9+W season. If you occasionally need to go through zone 1 then it would only cost you £2 extra from your PAYG balance for each journey.

      Hope that helps.

  39. Hi Mike, thanks for you website – its very helpful! I think i now understand that if I commute from Stockwell to Hatton Cross by tube, I cannot purchase a Zones2-5 monthly travelcard as I have to change at Green Park. Is there a more affordable option e.g. Part Payg, than to buy a Zones1-6 travelcard?

    • Hi Dale,

      When it comes to seasons you can buy zones 1-5 which is a bit cheaper than 1-6. If you can find any suitable buses to take out some of the zones then that can also help, eg a bus from Hatton Cross to a zone 3 station means that you’d only need a zone 1-3 travelcard as buses are free with any travelcard.

  40. Hi Mike,
    Sorry for the late response, still on my question on travelling from East Croydon station (z5) to Victoria station (z1), Paddington station (z1), South Kensington (z1) [multiple trips within z1] and back to East Croydon(z5) of up to 3 times per week

    Is it wise & cost-effective to buy a PAYG and Travelcard together? Or should I just stay with a PAYG? I need to travel during the peak periods before 930am.

    If I were to buy a PAYG+Travelcard, what zones should I be buying on the PAYG and what zones on the Travelcard?

    If just using the PAYG, what zones should I be buying on this card?

    Sorry I am abit confused.

    Please advise me and thank you.

    Warmest regards,

    • Hi Calista,

      With PAYG the system caps you automatically according to the zones you use. The most you would pay on your itinerary per day is £15.80 which is the zone 1-6 anytime cap. A weekly travelcard for zone 1-5 is £49.80 which is just more than 3x the daily cap at £47.40. If you make any other journeys during the week it might then be worthwhile, or a monthly ticket might also be slightly cheaper than daily ones, particularly if you can time the month to maximise working days. I don’t think a mixture of travelcard and payg is going to help much in your situation.

      Hope this helps,

  41. HI,
    I stay in Isleworth and work in paddington. I buy a oyster travel card from zone 1-4.
    For mornings I take southwest trains from isleworth station at around 6 AM get of at waterloo and then use bakerloo line from waterloo to paddington.
    For evening it same journey around 6:30 PM

    I have a car so the only time I use train is while travelling to office and I am actually finding the current price too expensive to pay. that too on a crowded train.

    Weekend the car is useless for me.

    Infact travelling by car and parking it there is almost the same as travel card charges.

    Any ideas to save money. I am ready to park my car at Southall / ealing broadway and then take first great western from there.

    But there is nothing that saves me a penny…

    Can you help

    • Hi Manu,

      Is waiting until 7pm to come home an option? If it is, then both your journeys are at off-peak times and you could do them for £3.70 each way. This works out a little cheaper than the weekly travelcard. Alternatively you could save more by driving to Southall because FGW trains operate on the TfL rate rather than the NR+TfL combined rate. Southall to Paddington is £3.60 peak and £2.60 off-peak. The same rates would also apply on the Picadilly line from Hounslow Central or East or Osterley or Boston Manor. You can also use buses for free with any travelcard if that might potentially save petrol or parking charges.

      Hope that helps.

  42. Hi Mike

    I have a zones 1-5 annual travelcard on Oyster (with Gold Card discount loaded) and occasionally travel to Elstree and Borehamwood in the evenings, usually via West Hampstead. If I time my change at West Hampstead so that I take the first Thameslink train after 7pm, is there a way that I can ensure that I am only charged the off peak (discounted) rate for the zone 6 extension (95p) as opposed to the (undiscounted) peak rate (£1.60)? As the Jubilee and Thameslink platforms are physically at different stations, will an OSI still always apply and, if so, would it be possible to break the journey by touching in and out a couple of times at one of the West Hampstead stations or by using validators?

    Many thanks

    PS. Just to clarify, I would be commencing my journey from London Bridge during the evening peak, but looking to make my change at West Hampstead after the evening peak.

    • Hi Steve,

      If you touch normally it will combine the journeys and class it as peak. There are two guaranteed ways to break this, either take more than 20 minutes between touches at West Hampstead or touch on a bus and get off again. However, as West Hampstead is within your zones you could probably get away with starting a new journey at the Underground station (touch in but not out again) and then touch in at the Thameslink station. That should confuse the system enough, but I’ve not done it so I can’t be certain. Please come back and let us know if you try it. You might need to use the reader by the manual staffed gate when you touch in at the Underground or you not going through the gate might confuse other people and their cards.

      Hope that helps.

  43. Hi! I actually live in zone 2 (canada water) and work in Canary wharf.
    I am tentative to buy a zone 2-3 monthly ticket as it is currently around £25 cheaper. However, how much will I be charged if during the weekends I will get out in zone 1 or pick a tube in zone 1 to come to Zone 2?
    Also, is there any difference between a Zone 2 only or a Zone 2-3 as they are the same price? It seems better then to go to the 2nd option.
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Joao,

      I’m confused. Canada Water to Canary Wharf is one stop on the Jubilee line. Single fares are £1.50 peak, £1.40 off-peak. A monthly travelcard costs £84.50, or almost 29 return journeys. Unless you work every day, or catch a bus somewhere, you should be using PAYG.

      To answer your other questions, the smallest travelcard covers two adjacent zones so you would get a zone 2-3. If you travelled in to or out of zone 1 you pay for a zone 1 single which is £2.

      Hope that helps.

  44. Hi Mike, thanks for helping everyone here, seems to be a big help! I will shortly move to London to start my new job in kingston and I will most likely travel from Wimbledon via the train. I assume that the annual pass is the cheapest to travel as i will make 5 return journeys per week? If so can I get a discount with my 16-25 railcard? if so how much would it be? Thanks very much!

    • Hi Gavin,

      Season tickets are already discounted compared to return fares so there is no further discount for railcard holders. An annual season is the cheapest rate, but if you can’t afford the whole lot in one go then buy monthlies with a few days added on so they cover a whole 5 or 6 weeks starting on a Monday and ending on a Friday. Then miss that weekend and start the next ticket on the Monday. If you time it right you can get long weekends free and also annual leave. This can work out not much more than an annual without the upfront payment.

  45. great site thanks for it. i would like your advice i need to travel from zone 2 to zone 4 and i have 2 ways one is crossing zone 1 or using overground. Overground is cheaper 968 pounds for annual, but zone 1-4 is more expensive 1672. most weekends i will go to the zone 1, would you suggest buying a 2-4 zone and using pay as you go for occasional trips to zone 1, or just not bother and go for a full zone 1-4 card ?

    • Hi ramzez,

      If you go into zone 1 and out again every Saturday and Sunday for a year it would cost £2 x 2 x 2 x 52 = £416. This is a lot less than the difference between the tickets so I’d go for the zone 2-4 and use PAYG when going to zone 1.

  46. Hi Mike

    I have a question. I am going to be travelling from Margate to Bromley each day starting next month and planning to buy a Margate- zone 5 and 6 national rail card. On 1- 2 days some weeks I need to travel to New Cross however, and the easiest way to do this is to stay on the train past Bromley until London Bridge, then get another line down to New Cross in zone 3. How can I do this using both my travel card and Oyster card as surely once I am on the train outside of zone 5 using a z5-6 travel card this is an offence? There will be no way I can scan in my oyster card either as I will not leave the station at London Bridge, but will need to use this to get out of the station at New Cross. I am very confused about how this will work out and do not want to end up with a fine…. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      The simple answer is to forget Oyster. What you need on those days is a day travelcard for zones 1-4. These cost £7.70 off-peak and £10.60 if you need to use it before 0930. Because both your tickets are zonal there is no requirement for the train to stop at any station in or near zones 4 or 5. You can buy them from Margate, or order them online to be picked up from the ticket machine at Margate. If ordering online you enter a station within zones 1-4 in the From box (eg Lewisham) and “London Zones 1-4” in the To box. For some wierd reason it doesn’t work if you specify a London Terminal, so don’t use London Bridge. If buying at the station and the clerk doesn’t know how to issue it, tell him to use NLC 0034 with Lewisham. You may need to show your season ticket to prove you have a valid ticket to get to the boundary between zones 4 and 5. The combination is 100% valid, however. There is no gap between zones in London and you don’t need to double up on zone 5.

      Hope that helps.

  47. Thanks Mike. Am I able to use my 18+ student oyster to purchase a cheaper zone 1-4 day travelcard??

    Also, I have been on the national rail site and TFL and cannot find anywhere online that I am able to input zone 1-4 as an option and buy a travel card online. Can you please advise as to how this is possible? Everything else makes perfect sense- thanks again for the advice.

    • The 18+ Student Oyster card only discounts period travelcards. If you have a 16-25 Railcard you can get dicounted off-peak day travelcards, but only the zone 1-6 variety which costs £5.60. You also can’t use this before 1000 Mon-Fri.

      For buying the travelcard you need to go to one of the train company websites like http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.

  48. Hi I am traveling out of the country on the 23rd of April and need to make my way to London gatwick airport and I am looking for the cheapest route. I have a half price bus travel concession so I plan on trying to use this to cheapen my journey to the airport. So according to tfl I need to make my way to either London bridge station (where I can take the capital connect) or Victoria station where I can take either the gatwick express or southern line. So I plan using busses to head to either of the mentioned stations as it will turn into a days bus pass after some travels n save me on expenses, now I want to know if my oyster card would work for capital connect, southern line and gatwick express. now I know they are deffinately not within my bus concession hence it will cost me but I don’t know the prices for them and I have searched high and dry for pricing on those. Also if I am able to use my oyster-card (providing I credited my oyster with enough for the PAYG journey), how they charge to journey to gatwick airport in oyster, how much it will cost me AND if this will affect my half price bus concession especially when after it’s turned into a 50% cut of a day travel on bus using oyster card. Hope my query makes sense.

    • Hi Danielle,

      Unfortunately you can’t use your Oyster to Gatwick Airport. I can’t check current fares easily at the moment, but you have a number of options. First off though, don’t use Gatwick Express! It’s not really that much faster and costs more. You can either get a “Not Gatwick Express” ticket from London which is valid either from Victoria or London Bridge. Or, if you can get cheaper travel with your Oyster then you could use that to East Croydon and then purchase a FCC only single to Gatwick from there. The FCC only ticket from London is more expensive than the Not Gatwick Express. I’ll add prices later if I can work it all out.

  49. Hello, thankyou very much Mike, you been great help, really appreciate it. First time travelling via an airport other than heathrow and not easy routed too. Guess non gatwick express via Victoria or London bridge appears to be the less costly route, will see if i can get hold of how much it costs prior to my journey, fingers crossed. And please feel free to let me know of any new developments regarding my query, thankyou and have a great day

    • Hi Paul,

      It depends how you do it. If you use trains the whole way then no, it isn’t. If you use buses and trams, optionally combined with trains in zones 5 and 6 only, then yes it is. You could do train to Kingston, bus to Sutton, train to West Croydon, tram to East Croydon and train to Purley.

  50. Hi Mike,
    I am a tourist from Slovakia and I’ve found this site really helpful. I hope you can help me too with my preparations for visiting London.
    I will be visiting London in March for a week (8 days to be precise), as a standard tourist. Most probably I will be living in Z3, with everyday commuting into Z1 (in peaks) and several trips outside Z3 (Windsor and Hampton Court). From what I have already read I have come up with two scenarios (both involving Travelcard Z1-3) and I would be very grateful if you helped me to decide which one – or maybe even find another one – is better for me.
    Alt.1: From what I understood from TfL site, if I buy Travelcard (in my case 7-day) from Visitors online shop it would be a paper ticket. Can you confirm that? In that case I assume I would be spared of any touch in/out procedures…
    How should I cope with the trip to Hampton Court in terms of most economic travel? Can I go to Waterloo, buy there a return ticket from Wimbledon (the last train stop covered by my Travelcard) to Hampton and get on the train already in Waterloo? Or, do I have to go to Wimbledon by Tube and only there buy and get on the train? The same vice versa on the return trip…
    The same schema valid for Windsor trip and Paddington/ Ealing Broadway stations…
    Alt.2: to buy an Oyster with PAYG and again 7-day Travelcard (as it is cheaper than PAYG with everyday return trips between Z1-3, at least one trip per day in a peak).
    Do I have to touch in/out within stations covered by Travelcard?
    What do I need for applying for Oyster upon arrival: any special IDs, photo,…?
    How is it with the refunding of any unused PAYG credit and deposit for Oyster at the end of my stay: will I get my money in any tube station basically immediately? Can I encounter any problems when trying to refund the money (I read somewhere there might be some troubles when mixing cash with other payment types…)? To be honest, I fear of refunding the most in this alternative…
    On Hampton trip (planned on Sunday) I wouldn’t buy a paper ticket (as PAYG Z3-6 is cheaper). I would get on the train in Waterloo without any questions now but can I touch in already in Waterloo (with touching out in Hampton) to calculate the fare correctly (from Z3-Z6)? Or touching in in Wimbledon is necessary?
    What alternative do you see better for me? Any other advices?
    Thanks a lot, Mike, and sorry for a little bit longer entry

    • Hi Roman,

      Hopefully I can help. I’ll try and pick out the questions in the same order. To start with a travelcard from the visitor shop would be on paper and would therefore not require touching in and out, although where gates are involved you’ll need to insert the ticket to open the gate.

      In terms of your trips to Hampton Court and Windsor there is actually a slightly cheaper alternative. You can buy a ticket from “Boundary zone 3” to your destination from either London terminal and then travel on a direct train. This way you avoid double paying for zone 3. In both your cases the boundary fare is cheaper, although that isn’t always the case to any station outside the zones.

      Now the oyster option. If you need to open gates you will have to touch in and out anyway. It’s probably best to do this even if the gates are locked open or there are validators because it gets you in the habit. You don’t need any ID to get a normal adult Oyster card. There are refund issues if you have used multiple payment methods to top up but if it’s a problem they can send a cheque. I’m not aware of a problem if you pay the deposit and any topups by cash. You can still pay for the travelcard by credit card. Ticket machines can dispense PAYG Oyster cards with some top-up already loaded. You can then add a travelcard as a separate transaction, using a ticket office if it makes you happier.

      For Hampton Court you touch in at Waterloo and out at Hampton Court and it will only charge you for zones 4-6. Simple! For Windsor you can still get the boundary zone ticket. You’ll need to show your Oyster card or paper travelcard to get this ticket.

      The only other advice I can think of right now is to check engineering work on the Sunday. If part of the journey is going to be replaced with a bus you may decide to do Hampton Court another day.

      Hope that helps.

  51. Hi Mike, thanks a lot for your explanations. You definitelly helped me a lot. One more question: do you know how much is “Boundary Zone 3” to Hampton Court ticket compared to PAYG Z4-6 £1.80 price? ‘Cos that’s the only difference point in financial terms between my two alternatives.
    Thanks, Roman

  52. Hi Mike, so PAYG option is cheaper. Hopefully the last question: with PAYG with Travelcard on, a trip from Paddington to Windsor. Where to touch in/out (if necessary) on this route: is it possible to touch in/out at Windsor and Eton Central? Thanks, Roman

    • Hi Roman,

      Oyster is not accepted beyond West Drayton on the line to Slough/Windsor. So on that trip I would ask for the “Boundary zone 3” to Windsor return at Paddington. You may need to show your Oyster so the clerk can check that there is a travelcard on it. Then you can use the Oyster to open gates at Paddington and the paper ticket at the other end.

  53. Hi Mike, if I got it correctly, inserting paper ticket somewhere at Windsor end of the journey will let the system know that I finished the journey (which started at Paddington with touching in) there? Because there is no other touching out on the way there…

    • Yes. Within the zones on your travelcard the Oyster system doesn’t worry about incomplete journeys. It’s best to get in the habit of always touching in and out so that it can charge you the right amount for any PAYG extension (eg Hampton Court), but if you are combining a travelcard with a paper ticket there is no need to worry about touching at the changeover.

  54. Hi quick question.

    If I buy a Zone 2-3 monthly travelcard (Ealing Common – Oval) will I be charged to leave Oval station, even though it falls into the zones I have bought? if so how much?

  55. Hi I travel everyday (mon-fri) from east croydon to elephant and castle.
    I buy a zone 2-5 travelcard and use the overground.
    However about 2or 3 days a week on the return journey will have to go via london bridge because of train times.
    Obvs this is out of my zones. Is it going to charge me a whole PAYG journey from elephant n castle (via london bridge) to east croydon £5.90 or will it only charge me using the tube to london bridge and the little bit of train covering zone 1 before it enters zone 2? Bearing in mind I will scan in at london bridge and out at east croydon. And a zone 1-6 travelcard is sooooo much more money. confused? :/

    • Hi Dean,

      It will charge you £2 every time you go through zone 1. This is because you have a travelcard including zone 2 so the extra for any mixed zone 1 journey is just a TfL zone 1 fare.

  56. Hi Mike

    I want to go to Seven Sisters from South Quays.
    I have an annual zones1-3
    Can I travel via First Capital Connect to Highbury and Islington from Moorgate with this card just to make my journey 6 minutes shorter than if I went via Euston?

    Thank you

    • Hi Caren,

      Yes, with a zone 1-3 travelcard you can use any rail services wholly within those zones apart from between St Pancras International and Stratford International on High Speed 1. If this is a regular commute then you might also want to invstigate a cheaper alternative route. Try DLR to Stratford then Greater Anglia to Tottenham Hale then Victoria Line to Seven Sisters, OR DLR to Stratford then London Overground to Highbury & Islington then Victoria Line to Seven Sisters. These are both zones 2-3 routes which will save you the expensive zone 1. The Stratford to Tottenham Hale part isn’t that frequent (roughly half hourly). If you have the travelcard on Oyster and decide to go into zone 1 occasionally then it will only take £2 from your PAYG balance for each journey.

  57. Hi Mike
    I wish to travel from Vauxhall (Victoria Line) to Old Street (Northern Line) via Stockwell (Zone2). I will just be changing lines at Stockwell and not leaving the station therefore I was wondering if I would be charged for Zone 1 and Zone 2.

  58. Heya just a really quick question

    I have a student oyster and usually get a monthly zones 2-5 travelcard. I need to travel around zone one for one day next week is there a way i can get zone 1 added to the travelcard i already have on my oyster for the day? Or would i have to pay £2 each time i tapped in/out? I’ll be going more then one place in zone one so i’m just looking for my cheapest option.
    Thanks for your time and really sorry if you’ve already answered a smiliar question

    • Hi Aneesa,

      No worries. You can’t add a zone just for one day, no. You’ll simply pay a zone 1 fare for each journey until you cap at the zone 1-2 rate. If your first trip into zone 1 starts before 0930 but you leave zone 2 after 0930 you may find it beneficial to break the journey at the last station in zone 2. Just touch out and in again so that you start a new journey after 0930. Obviously you’ll need to consider frequency of trains in case you can’t get the same one, but for capping you don’t want anything before 0930 unless you have to.

  59. Hi, I wondered if you could tell me any way around the problem I often have. I have a National Rail monthly travel card covering where I live (Streatham) to where I work (Hampton Court). For this journey I have to travel towards London and change at Clapham Junction and then travel back out again. Sometimes, if I am going out, I go from Hampton Court into London, and for this I use my Oyster card. However, this means I get charged for the Hampton Court to Clapham Junction part of the journey, which I have already paid for with my travelcard. Is there any way around this problem, apart from getting off at Clapham Junction and touching in with my Oyster card there? Also, Clapham Junction is very poorly served with Oyster touch points, considering its size. Thanks!

    • Hi Paula,

      If your monthly ticket is a travelcard (zones 2-6 presumably) then ask for it to be put on your Oyster at the next renewal. You may have to actually buy it from a tube station or the TfL website as I don’t think Southern or SWT ticket offices can do that. When the travelcard is on the Oyster it will only charge you for the zones that you aren’t covered for, in this case a zone 1 single. If your monthly ticket is on paper then you do have to get out at the boundary to touch in. Remember though that a zone 2-6 travelcard is valid to Vauxhall and from there it is only a zone 1 single to Waterloo because Vauxhall is in both zones 1 and 2.

      Also, did you know that you don’t need zone 2 for this journey if you avoid Clapham Junction. Take the FCC train from Streatham to Wimbledon and pick up the Hampton Court train there. Wimbledon may even be able to sell the travelcard on Oyster because it is also served by tube trains.

      Hope this helps.

  60. Hi
    I am travelling from berrylands (Z5) to st Helier (Z4) via Wimbledon (zone3). As I dont need to touch in or out in wimbledon I just bought a z4-5 travelcard, but is didnt work? It deducted money and then said seek assistance! Why is this? And how can I rectify it? Thanks

    • Hi Kelly,

      The system knows that to get from Berrylands to St Hellier you will need to go via zone 3. As you only have zones 4 and 5 on your travelcard it is trying to deduct a zone 3 single fare from your PAYG balance. If there isn’t enough money on the card to do that then it will say seek assistance. For the rest of this ticket it’s probably best to make sure you have some PAYG funds on your card. This can be done at a station ticket machine or an Oyster travel stop (shop). Next time you’ll need to get a zone 3-5 travelcard.

  61. Hi Mike,

    I travel 5 days a week from Highbury and Islington to Edmonton Green. I get the tube from H & I to Seven Sisters, get the train to Edmonton Green and then a bus ride to work. I travel about 2 times a week to central london but can you buses or tubes for this. What is the cheapest way I can do this a month. Buy a travelcard? Dont buy one or buy one which covers part of the areas but not all zones? Any help would be gratefully received from anyone! 🙂

    • Hi Nicola,

      I would recommend a zones 2-4 travelcard. This would cover all your commute plus any other buses, even in zone 1. Each journey into zone 1 by tube would cost just £2 each way.

  62. Hello, I’m planning to put a 7 day travelcard for zones 1-4 on my oyster. During this time, I have to travel to heathrow and back. I will take national rail from beckenham to victoria(included in travelcard) and then tube from victoria to heathrow. how much will I be charged for my tube journey? do I pay only for the part outside zones 1-4 or do I have to pay the whole journey from victoria to heathrow? hope you can help!

    • Hi Heli,

      You will only be charged for a zone 5-6 single each way as long as you touch in and out at each end of the tube journey. However, if you go straight from Victoria NR to Victoria LU then you will save money if you can touch on a bus and get straight off again at Victoria. This will then be a tube only journey rather than a mixed one.

      Hope that helps.

  63. HI Mike, you are actually amazing! Thank-you so much. I just looked and it seems that that will cost me £93 a month. Brilliant, thanks for your help. Nic 🙂

  64. Hi all,

    I got a quick question. If i wanted to buy an annual zone 3 pass.. would I be able to travel from colliers wood to hendon central without purchasing 1-3 travelcard. As its in the same zone, I dont see the point buying 1-3 even though i have to travel through it but never stop at the station..


    • David,

      There are two problems. Firstly you cannot buy a one zone travelcard. More importantly, the system knows what route you are going to have taken and will charge you accordingly. If you travel through zone 1 you have to pay to do so.

  65. Can I ask what may be a dumb question if you are a London regular but I am from Dorset…..

    I will be a volunteer at the Olympics. They will give us an Oyster Card preloaded as a Zones 1-9 travelcard to use whilst we are volunteering. I have found a place to stay but its just outside the travel zone area (Leatherhead). I will be travelling each day to Earls Court. Do I just need to buy a train ticket to the first station inside zones 1-9 ( I think its Ewell or somewhere like that) and either jump off the train quickly to touch in there or just not bother with touching in (and maybe risk a penalty fare?), or do I have to buy a ticket to Wimbledon and touch in for the remainder of the journey there?

    Hope this makes sense


    • Hi Jon,

      As the pre-loaded ticket will be a travelcard season you don’t have to worry about touching in or out at the boundary, so either buy a ticket to whichever Ewell (East or West) you will go through, or for complete flexibility buy a ticket to boundary zone 6 which will allow you to use either route from Epsom. The tickets are all the same price so the boundary zone 6 version is probably best.

  66. Hi Mike

    I was just wondering if you had any advice on the best\cheapest way to do my journey to work 5 days a week. My nearest stations are caledonian rd and barnsbury overground\caledonian rd underground and highbury and islington. I need to get to either shepperton or staines by 7.45am and returning in the evenings after 6.30? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    • Hi bez,

      Unfortunately both Shepperton and Staines are outside the Oyster area. However, you may still be able to take advantage of some of the Oyster charging. If your journey to work is going to start before 0630 (or if you can ensure that you touch in before 0630) then you will be charged off-peak for that journey. You will need to get off at either Feltham or Hampton to touch out and then use a season ticket for the last bit of the journey. You may find validators on the platform which if you sit in the right part of the train you can use and get back on the same train. On the way home you need to avoid touching in at Feltham or Hampton until after 1900 and then you’ll get off-peak again. Your best route is to take the Overground from CR&B or H&I to Richmond and then touch the pink validator there before getting the train to Feltham. That way your journey avoids zone 1 and will cost £2.30 off-peak or £3.60 peak each way.

      Staines to Feltham is £21.10 for a weekly season plus £23.00 for 10 off-peak oyster singles (total £44.10), or Staines to London zones 2-6 is £53.30. The paper season would avoid needing to touch in and out at Feltham, but using the Oyster route you could afford to make some of the journeys in the peak if necessary, or even go via zone 1 on occasions.

  67. Hi, was wondering if you could help.
    I’ve just recently moved to west finchley and work in crossharbour which is on the dlr.
    I bought a zone 2-4 travelcard for 24.40 and it has been charging me payg when I travel through zone 1.
    Is there a cheaper option?


    • Hi Jayson,

      Yes, there is. You need to travel via either Kentish Town and Kentish Town West or Camden Town and Camden Road, then Stratford. You may need to touch on the pink validators on the Overground platform at Stratford. If it still charges you a zone 1 single then come back to us and report it to the helpdesk.

      Hope that helps.

  68. Hi Mike,

    I have a monthly 2-5 zone travelcard on oyster but need a single to Gatwick Airport and I am starting on this particular occasion from Victoria Station. I know I can purchase a boundary zone 5 to Gatwick Airport but will I get penalised for the zone 1 PAYG portion as I was hoping not to alight on the way to “complete” a journey so the correct zone 1 NR fare can be deducted.

    Any advice?


    • Hi William,

      You will have to alight somewhere in zones 2-5 to complete the zone 1 PAYG journey. The best place is probably East Croydon as that gives you the maximum choice of trains to Gatwick Airport. Sit in the front coach on the way to East Croydon so you are nearest to the exit ramp.

    • Yes, you should do. The boundary zone ticket won’t work the barriers at East Croydon so your Oyster travelcard is your authority to travel. You just need to start a new journey so that the original one charges the correct zone 1 fare.

  69. I am going to work near to Bond street undeground st.Whot cheapest ticket can I buy from Feltham(fast train,tube,bus)and how much and whot ticket should be from Ealing broadway to Bond Street pls?My working day will be saturdays and also some sundays.Thanks for your advice

    • Hi Eva,

      Feltham to Bond Street is quite expensive at £6.90 peak or £4.60 off-peak. You can reduce that a little by changing at Vauxhall and Green Park rather than Waterloo making it £5.60 peak or £4.30 off-peak. A further reduction can be gained by starting down the road at Hatton Cross where the fare to Bond Street is £4.40 peak or £2.90 off-peak. Any buses you use will be £1.35 each or £4.20 if you use 4 or more in a day. Finally, Ealing Broadway to Bond Street is £3.10 peak or £2.60 off-peak.

      If you use either Feltham or Hatton Cross then the zones 1-6 caps apply whereas from Ealing Broadway it is only the zones 1-4 caps. Saturdays and Sundays are off peak all the time.

      Hope that helps.

  70. Hi mike.
    Ive been spending a lot on my travel expenses every week. Can u recommend a week travel card? Im from feltham and taking southwest train going to clapham junction. Is there any available travel card for that journey? Im using my oyster card daily. Thanks mike.

    • Hi vanj,

      If your journey is just Feltham to Clapham Junction then a simple paper season ticket will be the cheapest option. If you also make other journeys then a zones 2-6 travelcard on your Oyster could be the way to go.

      Feltham – Clapham Junction 7-day season – £25.70
      Zones 2-6 Travelcard 7-day season – £36.40
      10x peak single Feltham – Clapham Junction – £36.00

      Hope that helps.

  71. Hi Mike.

    I have recently moved to Wimbledon and need to travel to Canary Wharf for work. I am wondering whether it will be cheaper for me to buy

    a) point to point National Rail pass between Wimbledon and Waterloo / London Bridge; and a Zone 1-2 travel card or

    b) zone 1-3 travel card

    Thanks for your advise.

    • Hi Apurva,

      First point is that if you buy a zone 1-2 travelcard then you only need to buy a point to point ticket from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction. But it’s a moot point because the extra zone only adds £5/week to the weekly travelcard cost while the weekly season from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction is £14.90. If you only use the card to commute 5 days a week it is slightly cheaper to just take the District line to Westminster and change to the Jubilee line there. This costs £3.10 for each peak journey while the weekly zone 1-3 travelcard is £34.20. If you’re likely to do any other travelling then the travelcard is better, especially if you want to go via Waterloo NR.

  72. Hi Mike,

    Hope you can help? I’m traveling from Ruislip Zone 6 to Wimbledon zone 3 mon-fri peak times. Bought a 3-6 oyster monthly and it seems to be deducting money from my PAYG balance? I’m touching in and out at gates either end. I’m going through earls court but never leaving the station?? What an I doing wrong and why is my PAYG being used?

    • Hi Zain,

      You’re not doing anything wrong, but the system knows you will be going via Earls Court and so is charging you for a zone 2-6 journey less the part covered by your travelcard which makes a zone 2 journey. However, you are paying way more than you need with a travelcard unless you also make other travel within your zones. A peak zone 2-6 fare is only £2.60, so 5 days both ways is £26 compared to a zone 2-6 travelcard at £36.40 per week. So, unless you do use your card for more than your commute I would recommend just using PAYG all the time.

  73. Hi what should I do if I forget to scan my ticket at the end of a train journey? I did this on good Friday when I got off at Mortlake which doesn’t have barriers and I hardly every use oyster cards as well. Which is probably why I forgot. Advice please as I could do without a fine!!!!

    • Don’t panic! Your card will have had a maximum journey deduction. If you phone the helpdesk and explain what happened they might decide to refund the difference between what you should have paid and what you did pay. You certainly won’t be charged any more, or get taken to court which is the only place that you can actually be given a ‘fine’. An RPI could give you a penalty ‘fare’, but that isn’t going to happen after the event.

  74. Hi Mike

    Can you pls tell me the cheapest price and way to get from Brondesbury to Hampton Court, even if it means travelling by bus some of the way?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Harry,

      Brondesbury to Hampton Court via Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction is £3.60 peak or £2.30 off peak. I don’t think a bus would make that much difference unless you went all the way by bus which would be capped at £4.20.

  75. Hi Mike,
    I have a question for you. I purchased an annual season travel card between Richmond and Feltham, but it was issued as a paper ticket, it was not put on my Oyster card. I would much rather it put on my Oyster card, just in case I need to travel to an alternate destination after work and for the reasons I am reading about above. Do you know if I can get the paper ticket added to my card? Thank you very much for your help!


    • Hi Jamie,

      If you mean the point to point season between Richmond and Feltham costing £800 then no, you can’t put that on Oyster. If you mean the zone 4-6 travelcard season costing £968 then yes, that will go on an Oyster card. You should be able to swap a paper travelcard for one stored on Oyster at Richmond. Equally, if you wanted to upgrade the point-to-point ticket to a travelcard, that could also be done with a pro-rata payment based on the length of time left.

  76. Hi Mike,

    I stay in zone 2 (West Kensington) and travel Mon-Fri to zone 4 (Arnos Grove) for work. At the moment, I pay a weekly travelcard from Zone 1 to 4 (£41.80). Is there a way I could get a travelcard from Zone 2-Zone 4, while passing through zone 1 (I take the Piccadilly Line from Earls Court straight to Arnos Grove).

    Thanks for the help!

    • Hi Sophie,

      The single fare finder suggests that you can make this journey by changing at Earls Court, West Brompton and Highbury & Islington. You might also need to change at Willesden Junction and there is a cross platform interchange at Finsbury Park. If you buy a zone 2-4 travelcard then you can go that way, or pay just a single zone 1 fare if you cross the centre. You can make 8 trips across zone 1 before the add-ons exceed the price of the zone 1-4 travelcard.

      Hope that helps.

  77. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the tips! But can you explain what you meant by “you can make 8 trips…of the zone 1-4 travelcard”? Also, if I were to get a zone 1 fare… Wouldn’t that mean £2 to and £2 to return, daily, on top of the zone 2-4 travelcard?

    • The zone 1-4 weekly travelcard costs £41.80. The zone 2-4 one costs £24.20. The difference is £17.60. Eight single zone 1 journeys costs £16.00, which is equivalent to 4 return trips.

  78. Hi Mike,

    I am new in London. I want to know that if I had a travel card of zone 2-4 can I travel to Zone 3 of east London to zone 3 or west London using central line?

    • Hi Uzair,

      You can’t travel for free through zone 1 using a zone 2-4 travelcard, but if you have PAYG credit on your card then it will simply deduct £2.00 on any journey that you do this.

  79. Hello Mike,
    Can you please help me finding the cheapest way to travel from plaistow-Z3- to saint james park underground?z1. Should be oyster, PAYG or both? Should i buy z1-z2 plus bus or z2-z3 and pay z1? I work in z1 six times a week, peak times. Thank you.

    • Hi Soraya,

      Z1-2 weekly travelcard costs £29.20, Z1-3 costs £34.20 and Z2-3 costs £22. I wouln’t recommend trying to bus it in zone 1, and each single journey would cost £2, so I think that rules out the £22 version. Buses are free with any travelcard, so if you don’t mind getting one to Bromley-by-Bow you can save £5 a week.

      Hope that helps.

  80. Hi Mike, i live in zone 2 hampstead and wish to travel to canary wharf zone 2 . Can i buy a zone 2 only travelcard for this journey.


    • Hi Paul, No, you cannot buy any travelcard for just one zone. You also cannot make the journey without leaving zone 2 at the moment. The cheaper option would be to travel via Camden Town/Camden Road and Stratford which would require a zone 2-3 travelcard (£22.00/week). A zone 1-2 travelcard would be a little more (£29.20/week) but offer far more flexibility.

  81. I need to travel to Finsbury Park (zone 2) from Purley (zone 6) twice a week. I am confused with all the options. I need to take a bus from my home to the station too. So I can go to Victoria and take Victoria line to F.Park (how much would this cost in oyster) Other option may be to go to West Croydon and take Overground to Highbury and change there to F.Park which is the next station – is overgroud line cheaper than the 1st option?

    • Hi Mummybear,

      I’m not surprised this looks complicated, because it is. First off, Purley to Victoria to Finsbury Park is the most expensive option. You are mixing National Rail and TfL Rail in a journey involving zone 1 so you incur the premium charge for that. From Purley, the cheapest option is to use National Rail only by travelling via Southern and FCC to St Pancras International and then Kings Cross to Finsbury Park, again with FCC. If the bus to West Croydon really is as easy as the bus to Purley then that knocks a zone off the rail journey. From West Croydon you have two cheap options: the Overground route you suggested and the same idea to the Purley route. That is NR only while the other is TfL only. Note Highbury to Finsbury Park counts as TfL only even if you use the FCC link via Drayton Park as it is inter-available ticketing on those lines.

      Hope that helps.

      Edit: You will be charged for zone 1 if the system believes you have travelled through it.

  82. Also one more Question. If you have Zone 2-6 travel card, are you allowed to travel through Zone 1 if you do not get out?
    e.g if I take Victoria line at Brixton or Vaxhall and get out at Zone 3, will I be charged for Zone 1 too . Or only 2 and 3?

  83. Hello Mike. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
    This is a complete minefield!!
    For me bus to Purley Station and West Croydon are not that different. So assume I get there by bus, how much would cost oyster to travel by Overground on Highbury and Finbusry Park?
    I looked in TFL, but could not work it out. Is it different charges peak and off peak?

    • Hi Mummybear,

      What you need to do is look at the single fare finder on the TfL site and click on the link for alternative fares. Although they don’t describe the default route, they do describe all the others, so if they haven’t described your route it is almost ceratin to be the default. Yes, there are different charges for peak and off-peak and that is all explained on another page on my site.

  84. Hi there,
    I am going to travel every week day from Stockwel (zone2) to Uxbridge (zone 6) during peak time. Which option is the cheappest? Many thanks!

    • Hi Faby,

      There is only one fare listed in the single fare finder because to avoid zone 1 is considered unrealistic due of the number of changes. The single fares are £4.80 peak and £2.90 off-peak. You can make the journey slightly cheaper by splitting it into two and touching out and back in again half way round. Part one is Stockwell – Vauxhall – Clapham Junction – West Brompton which is all in zone 2 and costs £1.60/£1.40. Part two is West Brompton – Earls Court – Uxbridge and costs £2.60/£1.40 making total costs of £4.20/£2.80. As long as you remember to touch out and in again at West Brompton you can also use a zone 2-6 travelcard at £36.40/week. If you forget to touch at West Brompton then the system will deduct £2.00 per journey from your PAYG balance to cover travelling via zone 1. You may of course decide to go via zone 1 occasionally if you are in a hurry and as long as you don’t do it too often it will still be cheaper than the default fares.

      Hope that helps.

  85. Hello. I wanted to ask a question. I travel from zone 5 to 2. But I travel via 1. However the station in zone 2 does not have barriers – I never bother to touch in or out at the station. So can I get away with just having zone2-6 travel card ? Probably not legal – right?

    • Hi Maria,

      I think you already know the answer to this. I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that the zone 2 station is Finsbury Park? As you may have guessed, it wasn’t so much of a wild stab. Rest assured, TfL are aware of this station and they do conduct checks from time to time. If you arrive from a south London station without any PAYG credit on your card and they check the card you will be liable to a penalty fare. Likewise if an RPI checks your card anywhere within zone 1.

  86. Hi Mike,

    I’m trying to find the cheapest way to travel from my station (Woldingham), one stop outside zone 6, to London (I need an annual zones 1 to 6). I will be a student but there is only a student reduction for an annual oyster within London, not for a season ticket between my station and London zones 1 to 6. Do you have to touch in with a travelcard on Oyster? Could I buy a standard rate annual season ticket from Woldingham to the first station within zone 6 and use that in addition to a student annual travelcard on oyster, without touching in, and be valid to travel up to Victoria/London Bridge?

    I’m so confused and no-one I’ve spoken to has known the answer.


    • Hi Adam,

      That is fine as long as the train calls at Upper Warlingham. You don’t have to touch in with a travelcard season on your Oyster unless you are using PAYG outside the zones covered by the travelcard.

  87. @Adam,I’m assuming there is no TFL operated bus that runs beyond the Oyster boundary that you could use to get into zone 6? If so a 1-6 travelcard would be valid on it and you wouldn’t need a ticket from Woldingham to zone 6. Just a thought.

  88. Hello Mike – Nice to see that you are still repying to question from when yo orignally wrote the article.
    My question if you may – you have coverd it but i quite have no understood propery

    i have a zone 1 – 2 travel card and will need to go Watford junction quite often (off Peak) will i be charged zone 2- Watford Junction or Zone 3 – Watford Junction from my PAYG

    Thank You in advance.

    • Hi Fred,

      It will be zone 3 to Watford Junction. Remember also that the line from Euston to Watford Junction only charges peak in one direction (to London in the morning and away from London in the afternoon). If your journey to Watford Junction is in the morning peak and starts say at Oxford Circus, you will benefit from touching into a bus and getting off again before touching in at Euston NR. Likewise the other way round in the afternoon peak. The charge made relates to the whole journey even if the extra bit (ie the tube) is covered by your travelcard. Touching on the bus will break the journey in two and ensure that you get the benefit of the relaxed rates on the Euston to Watford line.

  89. Mike I Need A Reply!

    Basically I Got Into A Chelsea Football Accademy And The College Is Based In Guildford. I Need To Know The Cheepest Way To Get From Either Of These Stations To Guildford:
    Sutton Common,
    Worcester Park

    I Will Be Going 5 Times A Week And Need A Cheap Way T Get To Guildford, Even If This Means Buying A Weekly Ticket Or Whatever, Any Suggestions?

    • Hi Darren,

      Guildford is way outside the Oyster area so you will need a paper ticket. A season is likely to be the best value although you would be travelling the wrong way compared to most commuters so it is possible that return tickets may be cheaper. I suggest visiting National Rail Enquiries to find out about your options.

  90. Hi all! Can anyone help me clarify my situation. Basically I need to get from Bow road ( zone 2) to Marble arch (zone 1) and I discovered it would be easier to if I could just change to central line at Stratford (zone 3) However, I have a zone 1-2 Oyster card and Stratford is zone 3. Will I be charged for the interchange at Stratford?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Ral,

      I’m slightly confused by this. Are you saying that it’s easier to take the DLR from the nearby Bow Church station to Stratford? The reason I ask is that at Mile End, the next station to Bow Road towards central London, there is cross platform interchange between the Central line and the District/Hammersmith lines. I’m certain that going that way would be a lot quicker, unless your home is significantly nearer Bow Church, like next door!

      However, it appears that from Bow Church the default route to Marble Arch is via Poplar and Bank, so as long as you don’t touch a validator at Stratford you will be fine. You should ensure that you always have enough credit for a zone 3 single just in case you need to leave the station at Stratford.

      Hope that helps.

  91. Hi Mike. Thanks for your reply. Well actually I will live 5 minutes away from Bow Church (DLR) and 9 minutes away from Bow road (Hsmith and city and district). I wanted to figure out what’s the fastest route to from my doorstep to Marble arch station. According to the journey planner, I should walk to Bow Road, take the district line to Mile end, interchange to Central line to get to Marble arch. I was thinking it would be quicker maybe if I could just take the DLR from Bow church to Stratford and change to central line there. But I’m thinking I have to change through a validator when changing from the DLR to Central line at Stratford don’t I?

    • I think the journey planner is right. By going to Stratford you are actually going quite a lot the wrong way. I would be gobsmacked if you managed to get from Bow Church to Stratford to Mile End quicker than Bow Road to Mile End plus 4 minutes. As for Stratford, you pass several validators but you don’t have to touch on them if you aren’t finishing your Oyster journey there.

  92. Hi Mike,

    I would really appreciate your help in my matter.
    In one week time (on the 23/5) I will be arriving to London with 2 kids (9,12). We will stay for 1 week and live around Leytonstone tube. Now, I can see that this stop is on the border of Zones 3/4. I am form overseas.

    We will explore London quite a lot.
    1. What would be the most economical way to travel around. I was thinking about paper 7-day travel card for myself and the older son (Since there is no time to apply for his 11-15 Oyster). The 9-year-old travels for free (correct?).
    Is there a better option?
    2. In any case, do I need to by Oyster or Travel C. Zones 1-3 or 1-4? Can I buy just TravelC without Oyster and which one paper or card one?
    3. Arriving to Luton, I bought a transport to Vicoria. Yet, in case of flight delay we miss the greenline (bus to Victoria). What would than be the cheapest way to get to City (Leytonstone) as a part of that 7-day visit?
    4. Living in Leytonstone, could you assist me with the cheapest transport to Windsor, or Hampton Court (adult, 9,12 kids).

    Thanks a lot for your assistance

    • Hi Yvona,

      Lots of questions.

      1) The 7-day travelcard might be worthwhile if you are starting most weekdays before 09.30. If not you will probably be better off with off-peak day travelcards. These cost £7.70 for zone 1-4 for an adult and £3.20 for a child. The 9-year-old travels free on the Underground, DLR, London Overground and selected other National Rail services, but if you use National Rail south of the Thames or most of north and north-east London then they will also need a ticket.
      2) The 7-day travelcard can be bought on Oyster or on paper (it’s actually card). It can be zones 1-3 for £34.20 or zones 1-4 for £41.80. The child versions cost £17.10 and £20.90 and would have to be on paper if you haven’t got the 11-15 zip card. One day travelcards are only on paper and there is no zone 1-3 version.
      3) This depends on which option you are using. If you have a zone 1-3 weekly travelcard then you’d need Luton Airport Parkway to Boundary zone 3. If the travelcard includes zone 4 then substitute boundary zone 4. If you are not going to be making any other trips on that day then Luton Airport Parkway to Zone U23 London will give you one trip to Leytonstone but you’ll need to change at West Hampstead and Stratford. It is not valid via zone 1. Finally, if you were going to buy a daily travelcard for that day then you’d probably be better buying Luton Airport Parkway to London zones 1-6. Both kids will need tickets from Luton.
      4a) Windsor. Again this depends on what you have. With a weekly travelcard you can get returns from boundary zone 3 (or 4) to Windsor and Eton Central. The 9-year-old only has to pay from West Drayton if you get a train to Slough that stops there. Windsor is on a branch line from Slough. If using daily tickets then you’ll be better off with zones 1-6 travelcards plus boundary zone 6 to Windsor. I’m pretty sure that the 9-year-old can get a zero cost travelcard for the bits in London; Leytonstone ticket office should know.
      4b) Hampton Court. Either boundary zone 3(4) to Hampton Court if you have weeklies, or just a zones 1-6 travelcard if buying daily. Both kids will need one for the travel from Waterloo to Hampton Court.

      Finally, you might find that a Family and Friends railcard will be worthwhile if you keep your travel off-peak, and especially if you have to use the train from Luton. It costs £28 for a year and gives you 1/3 off adult off-peak tickets and 60% off child off-peak tickets. It also discounts the zone 1-6 travelcard to £5.60 adult and £2.00 child.

      I hope that helps a bit, but I’m sorry that it is a little complicated.

  93. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your ansewers. I cannot believe that anyone can be so knowledgeable re London Transport. At the same time, I really got lost. Please, bear with me:
    1. See, I still do not understand what zone card (regardless whether TravelC or Oyster) do we need for commuting to Leytonstone. If I buy a 7-day-Travel, would be 1-3Zone sufficient? And sorry, is there actually a 1-3 Zones 7-day-travelC (or weekly card-daoes that mean the same?) for my 12-year-old one for 17.10 (that is I dont need to buy a adult card for him)?
    2. Another Q: you confused me with the National Rail services, does the line to Leytonstone belong to lines covered by the Travel Card? How do I recognize whether I am covered or need a special ticket?
    3. Since I travel with 2 kids, I would like to keep the tickets as simple as possible. I dont want to worry about buing tickets or extras. That is why I was hoping that the 7-Day-Travel would spare me from any hassle…
    4. Last one: if I buy Zones 1-3 (if this is sufficient to Leytonstone) for myself, child one (?) for 12-year-old son, none for 9-year-old one, would I get around the City (plus Greenwich) where I intend to spend most of the days (with no need to use the National Rail services, with no need to buy extra tickets)
    The other way, I understand would be to buy Oyster Zones 1-3 (again if this is enough to Leytonstone) and this would spare me from buing extras?

    Sorry to bother you with my long and confusing questions. I just dont seem to get it!


    • Hi Yvona,

      I’ll try and clarify things a bit better.

      1) As long as you always travel towards Central London from Leytonstone then you only need zones 1-3. Zone 4 only comes into play if you go the other way. Yes, the 7-day travelcard is available both for adults (£34.20) and children (£17.10).
      2) All rail services in the London zones are covered by the travelcard (except St Pancras to Stratford International and Hayes&Harlington to Heathrow). The issue is that children aged 5-10 do not need tickets on the Underground (including the line to Leytonstone), DLR, Overground and some other National Rail services. This map on the TfL website shows the National Rail services in London. If they are coloured red then 5-10s need to pay, if they are coloured green then they do not.
      3) I do understand. You can probably do almost everything you want to with the weekly travelcard. Only the trips to Hampton Court and Windsor would require extras. For Hampton Court you and your 12-year-old would need a return from boundary zone 3 to Hampton Court while the 9-year-old would need a return from Waterloo to Hampton Court. For Windsor you would need tickets from boundary zone 3 to Windsor while the youngest would need West Drayton to Windsor if you catch a train that stops at West Drayton, or Paddington to Windsor if you get a fast train to Slough.
      4) Yes, zones 1-3 would cover the city and Greenwich, but for the 9-year-old, only on the DLR to Greenwich, not on Southeastern trains from London Bridge.

      Finally, the zones are the same for travelcards and Oyster. As you want to buy the weekly travelcard I would not recommend Oyster because you wouldn’t be able to get the child rate for your 12-year-old. Paper tickets will be fine.

      I hope that’s a little clearer now.

  94. Hi Mike,

    Your answer really helped me a lot! Thanks.

    Hopefully, these few questins will clear the last questionmarks for me.
    1. Travelcards: Can I really buy Adult and Child (11-15) 7-Day-Travel Card without having to buy the Oyster prior to it? If I am correct, TFL suggests “You get one as a paper ticket from National Rail stations”.If that is the case is there NRS shop at Luton Airport or at Victoria? Is it a special shop? I understand that it is the same with my 12-year-old son.
    2.Trip to Windsor: I understand what tickets do I need to buy to cover the whole journy. Can I buy them in Leutonstone or get off somewhere else to buy them? Secondly, where should we swipe or touch the system with the extra tickets on the way there and back. Also, it will be different for me+12-year-old son and for the 9-year-old one.
    The same issue on the return fare.Plus, could you give me prices?

    Now, hopefully that is the whole lot. I am very glad that I found this website. Thanks for your job.

    • Hi Yvona,

      1) Travelcards can be purchased at Luton Airport Parkway or in the mainline station at Victoria. A recent change in rules means that you will need a passport sized photo for photocards for you and your son. The photocards don’t cost anything, but they will take a few minutes to fill them out. You just need to go to the ticket office in the station. Oyster is simply a medium for storing a travelcard as an alternative to paper. You don’t need an Oyster card if you have paper travelcards.
      2) I suggest buying the extra tickets at the ticket office at Paddington. You can use the travelcards to get onto the train at Paddington and the extension tickets thereafter. Boundary zone 3 to Windsor costs £6.70 adult, £3.35 child. West Drayton to Windsor for the 9 year old costs £2.20, or if you want to get a fast train, Paddington to Windsor costs £4.75. All those prices are returns and assume that you won’t leave Paddington before 0930. On the way back, use the extensions to get on at Windsor and the travelcards to get out at Paddington. You’ll need to change at Slough both ways as the Windsor branch is only a shuttle service.

  95. Hi Mike,
    Got a question for you.
    I recently moved to UK. I live in Walthamstow and I got a job in Kingston. I was wondering if I really have to pay zone 1-6 to get there through Vauxhall?
    If that’s the case, could I get a zone 3-6 instead, by changing to Dicstrict line at Victoria station, go to Wimbledon and then take a South West train to Kingston from there?
    There is some changing to do and I think this would take me 15 mins longer however, if this could work I could safe 100 pounds each month.
    But it sounds too good to be true doesn’t. Im not really aware of how it works here in London, I hope you can help me out.


    • Hi Sintha,

      It is too good to be true.

      You will need at least a zone 2-6 travelcard to cover the whole journey. The default route for the journey goes via zone 1 either changing at Vauxhall or Victoria/Wimbledon. There is an alternative route which involves changing to Overground at Highbury & Islington and then to South West Trains at Richmond. To get that reduced fare you need to touch the pink validator at Richmond. You are not supposed to need to use pink validators with season tickets, so I suspect that you would not be charged for zone 1 if you go via Victoria and Wimbledon. I would ensure that you always have enough PAYG balance for a zone 1 single fare in case you need to exit within zone 1 for any reason. If you change at Vauxhall it may well charge you for zone 1 because it knows you have been that way.

      I hope that helps a little bit.

  96. You are a star!
    Thank you so much for your answer. Helped me a lot.
    I went there yesterday through Vauxhall and I was charged ca. 6.90 to get there with PAYG. So I recon it does charge you for zone 1 if you change at Vauxhall. I’m going to try to get there via Victoria and Wimbledon and see how it works for me. 60 quid a month is still some money to save.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi Sintha,

      If you use PAYG then it will charge the same £6.90 via Victoria and Wimbledon. If you load a zone 2-6 travelcard, and have £2 PAYG ready in case, then I think there is a fair chance it won’t deduct the £2 zone 1 charge. It’s a quirk of the system when you have a travelcard loaded and a cheaper route exists with pink validators.

  97. thanks for this, but i can never fully understand this fare thing.

    i live in zone 7( carpenders park) which is an overground route and london buses with oyster dont run in my area.my questions:
    i study and work in zone 1 and most things i do are in zones 1 to 4 but it kills me that i have to pay 4-7 weekly just to make it cheap (ie avoid peak charges) into london at all and continue my journey to zone 1 by payg paying at least 2.60 what options can you offer to make it cheaper for me.is it possible to pay for just a station since i never use any more stations in 4-7 apart from carpenders park and wembley park.hope this isnt too long.

    • Hi alfred,

      Unfortunately TfL do not provide point-to-point season tickets on rail routes that they run, so there is only one season option – the travelcard. Whether you are better off getting one and for how many zones depends on how much you use it. If you just make a single return rail trip 5 days a week then sometimes it isn’t beneficial to have a travelcard at all. If you use any oyster accepting buses then any travelcard gives you free access to all red buses. Some people find that they can use rail to get to zone 2 then use a bus to make the last bit of the journey. That usually cuts the cost quite dramatically. It really depends on what your useage is though.

  98. Hello Mike

    Just wanted to ask you if there is a way to travel from East Croydon to Archway without going to Zone 1? Ionly travel two or 3 days a week. I start my journey at peak time but travel back after 7pm some days & before 7pm some days. I wanted to know what the cheapest option is for travelling with and without zone 1. (Not sure how much diff in the travellin time though…)

    • Hi Linda,

      It’s not easy to avoid zone 1 on that journey. You would have to go via Clapham Junction, Willesden Junction and Kentish Town/Kentish Town West. Because it is not deemed a reasonable route you would have to split the journey in two which would negate most, if not all, of the savings. Also, East Croydon to London Bridge and then Northern line to Archway will be significantly quicker, possibly as much as half the time.

  99. Hi mike
    I have been trying to find the cheapest way of travelling from Romford (zone 6) to oval (zone 2) I bought a 2-6 travel card for my oyster but was still being charged £2 per single journey. I was woundering if it was because I was travelling through zone 1 via bank from stratford or whether the travel card didn’t cover peak times. I also travelled from Romford to Stratford , Stratford to highbury & islington and then caught the Victoria line to stockwell before travelling 1 stop to oval and tapping out yet I was still being charged this extra £2. So basically do I have to buy a zone 1-6 travel card and and can I buy a zone 2,3 and 6 travel card for my oyster ?

    • Hi Adam,

      You will be charged for every zone that you travel through regardless of whether you have to touch a reader in it or not. £2 is the zone 1 single fare all day which is what you will be charged with a 2-6 travelcard. If you really want to avoid zone 1 then you’ll need to do quite a roundabout journey. Romford – Stratford – Lewisham – Peckham Rye, then touch out and back in again, then Peckham Rye – Clapham High Street/Clapham North – Oval. Peckham Rye is as far as you can get without the system insisting that you must have gone via zone 1. The other option is to do Romford – Stratford – Canada Water – Bus 188 – Elephant & Castle – Oval. There are other options from places like New Cross Gate, Lewisham, etc etc. Remember that buses are free with any travelcard.

  100. Hi, I have a quick question. I have a Z1-4 Annual Season Oyster, and need to travel out to Welwyn Garden City next month.

    I can’t find anywhere that says which NR stations are in which zone that far north. I need to get a return ticket from the limit of my card to WGC. What’s the easiest and cheapest way to do this, and how do I handle swiping in/out?

    Thanks. Site looks really useful.

    • Hi Alan,

      I usually use this map on the TfL site. In your question the answer is Oakleigh Park. However, the best ticket to buy would be a boundary zone 4 to Welwyn GC return becasue that then allows you to travel on faster trains that don’t stop at Oakleigh Park.

      You don’t need to worry about not touching out within the zones covered by your travelcard.

  101. Hi, I have been a regular of zones 1-2 for years now but will be travelling from Crouch Hill to Richmond daily from next month. I thought I needed only a monthly zone 3-4 but as the overground journey goes through zone 2 will I need a zone 2-4 instead?


  102. Hi Mike

    Yo kindly replied to my query recently on the use of a oyster card with zone 3-5 and PAYG credit.

    I have been travelling from Lee to Sutton via London Bridge. That is to say, I travel into London Bridge, and change platforms without touching out/in, or exiting at London Bridge. I touch in at Lee and touch out at Sutton. Presently, I am being charged an extra £1.60 from my PAYG, but I am not sure whether this is because the system assumes that I must be travelling through zone 2 at the very least, or because it assumes that I must be travelling through zone 1. The reason I am asking is that I am about to renew the travel card to include zones 2-5, but still intend to travel via London Bridge. Will this now mean that if I do not establish pattern/history of travel within zone 2 to get to Sutton ( for example New X exit and re-entry at New X Gate), I would still be charged the additional £1.60, because the system will not recognise that it is possible to travel from Lee to Sutton without going into zone 1?

    It is also possible to travel from Lee to Sutton by changing trains within Zones 2 (but without touching in/out), so either way, I will only upgrade to zone 2- 5, provided I don’t make an expensive mistake in paying for the extra zone, but find myself still being charged the extra £1.60 on top.

    Grateful for your clarification.

    Many thanks

    • Hi abrar,

      £1.60 is the peak single zone 2 only fare which is what I would expect to see. My understanding is that with a zone 2-5 travelcard you will not get any extra charges. It’s an anomaly in the Oyster system which benefits travelcard holders on some routes. I cannot stress enough that I would always have enough PAYG credit to allow exit in zone 1 if necessary. Currently that is £2.10 peak and £1.60 off-peak. As long as you touch in and out where necessary (and always at the beginning and end of the journey) then you cannot be off-route on Oyster.

      Hope that helps.

  103. Hello, quick question, I live in norbiton Kingston and just got an oyster, i travel to Leigh on sea Essex a lot so I get the train from norbiton to Waterloo, tube Waterloo to west ham and train from west ham to Leigh on sea, – the oyster only works as far as upminster am I right? So id nees a paper ticket for the extra journey, So how do I go about checking out at upminster without gettin off the train n having to wait for another one? Thanks poppy

    • Hi Poppy,

      Yes, Upminster is the end of Oyster on the main line to Southend. Unfortunately you will have to get off the train to touch out. This may mean that you’ll need to get the next train.

  104. Hi Mike
    I need advice! I’ve recently moved out to the suburbs, in Whitton, ;south west London and work in Clapham Junction. I got myself a a zone 2-5 travelled at clapham Junction but the ticket office said I could only have a paper ticket, not have it on oyster as they lacked the facilities. However I regularly travel to zone 1 and reading the comments above it appears I will not be able to go to london Waterloo in one journey any longer as I will need to get off at vauxhall to touch in my oystercard. However I an hoping this is not correct as the price for the 2-5 travel card is the same on paper and oyster yet I was not given a choice as to which I wanted and am now severely inconvenienced because I have a paper ticket despite it not being my fault or choice.. Please can you clarify? Is it possible to transfer my paper travelcard to my oystercard the next time I’m in an underground station?

    • Hi Paz,

      I don’t think it is possible to transfer a season, no. The problem you have is that without the travelcard on your Oyster the system will charge for a zone 2+1 journey from Clapham Junction to Waterloo. At least on that line you have the dual zoned Vauxhall to come to the rescue as your travelcard is valid to there whilst Oyster will only charge zone 1 if you go towards Waterloo on NR or Victoria on LU.

  105. Hi Mike
    Thanks for your speedy response, guess I will have to wait until my ticket needs to be renewed and I certainly won’t be doing that in a National Rail office again!

  106. Hi,

    Do you have any experience or info on using national rail vouchers issued as part of ‘delay repay’ to top up an oyster card? I sometimes get them from Southeastern (when I can be bothered to claim for the 90p) but don’t make any journeys which aren’t on Oyster, and even fewer which take me outside of my travelcard zones.


    • Yes Jeff, I do.

      You are supposed to be able to exchange them for topup at any tube station ticket office. I had trouble when I wanted to do it, and eventually found the staff at St Pancras FCC ticket office would do it. I’d imagine that other Oyster enabled NR stations should also be able to accept the vouchers.

  107. Hi Mike,

    If I have a zones 1-2 travelcard and £5 PAYG on my oyster card and i travel from Limehouse to waterloo (within the travelcard) and then touch in at waterloo, but then forget to touch out at norbiton will money be deducted from my PAYG balance anyway? Or could I be fined for having an invalid ticket?


    • Hi Thomas,

      No money will be deducted in that scenario, no. However, yes you could be caught after passing the validators and then you would be facing action of some kind, ranging from a penalty fare to prosecution. Also, were you to return to Norbiton within about 2 hours you might find that your touch in gets counted as the missing touch out. That would mean that you’d be open to being checked on the train until the train reached zone 2.

  108. Hi Mike

    I’m so sorry but I’ve been living overseas and have returned to this oyster system and it’s so confusing. I was hoping that you could clarify something for me. I have a staff nominee oyster and want to use this for my commute from Sevenoaks. Is it possible to buy a annual paper ticket from Southeastern for the journey to a zone 6 station and then use my oyster for the remaining part of the journey with in zones 1-6 without getting of the train to touch in and out as most of these trains are fast and don’t stop until London Bridge?

    • Hi Vee,

      Unfortunately there is a problem. You cannot combine two season tickets without the train stopping at the station where you changeover. In your case this is Knockholt, or you may decide to make it Orpington so you can at least use almost fast trains. This is assuming that the staff nominee card has a travelcard season on it. If it is in fact PAYG then you would need to get out to touch in/out. I now realise there is a bigger problem which is that the staff nominee card is not valid on National Rail services apart from those run by London Overground on behalf of TfL.

      Hope this helps.

  109. Mike, I was going to question your answer here but I’ve just remembered that the nominee cards only give free travel on TFL services and not NR so the distinction probably doesn’t matter here. Correct?

    (Sorry for doubting!)

    • Ah, that’s what a staff nominee card is. In that case it can’t be used anywhere between Sevenoaks and London Bridge. I’ll amend the previous answer.

  110. Hi, i think this question is similar to the above, but im still confused. If my company pays for a zone 1-2 travel card and i am travelling every day from say luton to st pancras. I buy a season ticket from luton to west hampstead in zone 2. Can i stay on the single train from luton to st panc without getting off and use my travelcard when i get in to st panc? Or do i need a season ticket from luton to st panc?

  111. Hi There,

    If I was traveling from northolt in zone 5 to Kentish town in Zone 2 the only way to get there is through zone 1, do i need to get a zone one travel card even though i will not be getting out there?

    • Hi Michael,

      Technically you do, because you are travelling through zone 1. However, there is a route that avoids zone 1 which involves changing at Shepherd’s Bush, possibly Willesden Junction and West Hampstead. Alternatively you could stay on the train at West Hampstead and travel to Kentish Town West instead. In both cases you would only need the zone 2-5 travelcard.

  112. Hi,
    I have very quick question.. I take monthly travelcard from zone 1-4 … my question is since i have a pass can i exit a station which does not have touchout gates.for example places like south greenford we can exit without touching out.. so if i do tat will they charge me and i am already having a monthly pass how will they charge me.

    • Hi Narpesh,

      As long as you are within the zones covered by your travelcard there is no penalty for not touching in or out. You might be asked to show your card if RPIs are checking passengers, but there won’t be a problem. If you want to travel outside your zones but still within the Oyster system, then you do have to touch in and out at both ends so that the correct extension fare can be charged.

  113. Hi Mike,

    I have to travel to work from Gants Hill (Zone 4 on East London) till Hays & Harlington (Zone 5 on West London).
    I have a monthly pass for zones 3-5. I take a central line from Gants hill which stops at Ealing Broadway (Zone 3 West) and catch a national rail. When I complete the travel it will deduct £2.70 from my PAYG balance. Why is this? since I have a pass Zone 3-5) and I don’t get out or swipe in Zone 1, why it charges Zone 1-5 rates for me.

    • Hi Badari,

      It charges you for every zone you go through. It knows what route you are likely to have taken and charges accordingly. You can avoid zone 1 by changing at Stratford, possibly Willesden Junction, Shepherd’s Bush and Ealing Broadway. That way it will only deduct £1.50 for zone 2, or you could buy a zone 2-5 travelcard on your Oyster and it would be free.

  114. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the reply, How do I avoid Zone 1 charges. Changing at Stratford, Ealing Broadway. I didn’t understand. Can you please let me know how to avoid Zone 1 charges.

    • Hi Badari,

      If you look at this map on the TfL site it should be obvious. Some North London Line trains from Stratford go direct to Shepherd’s Bush while you can change at Willesden Junction on the Richmond bound trains. From Shepherd’s Bush you take the Central line again.

  115. Can you improve my journey ? I am an early traveller and am in a position to make use of the oyster off peak as I travel before 6.30am. However, I travel from Brentwood which is one stop outside the Oyster so at the moment I have to get off at Harold Wood, touch in at the barrier, walk back to the platform and wait 10 minutes for the next train as the one I got off has gone. Any ideas ?

    • Hi Dave,

      Harold Wood, Gidea Park and Romford all have the same fares as they are all in zone 6, so at times you may find it beneficial to change at Romford instead. Unfortunately before 0630 it is not really much benefit. Longer term, Oyster will be extended to Shenfield as part of Crossrail, so things should then be a lot easier.

  116. Hello Mike,
    Excellent website, really helpful! I have a question which may be stupid, but I’m hoping you can help with. I need to go to a zone 3 station this evening and only have a z1/2 travelcard with a gold card added. How much will this cost me? Would I be right in thinking it would be around £1.40 from my PAYG balance?

    • Hi Rob,

      It depends. If you start the overall journey between 1600 and 1900 then you’ll get charged the full peak fare for zone 3. If it’s outside the peak then you’ll be charged the reduced off-peak fare for zone 3 which is 95p. In the peak it will be £1.50 if TfL set the fare for the whole journey or £1.60 if it’s a NR set fare. You are right that it will only be for zone 3 though.

  117. Wonderful – thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I really appreciate your help and the information available on your website. TfL could learn a lot from you!

  118. Hi Mike,

    First of all thank you, you are doing a wonderful job.

    I will be traveling to Teddington station from Turnham Green every day for work. However I also go to new cross gate (zone 2) in the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Which travel pass would you advise me to purchase?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Sotty,

      I’d get a zone 3-6 travelcard for your commute and travel via Richmond. Whenever you need to go into zones 1 and 2 just put some PAYG credit on the Oyster card and it will just deduct the fares for those zones.

  119. Thanks Mike, that’s what I thought. One thing I don’t understand is that it costs £2.70 to travel from Brentwoood to Harold Wood or Gidea Park but £3.10 to Romford despite the fact that HW, GP & Romford are all in the same zone. How can this be ?

    • Hi Dave,

      I can only guess that the additional services at Romford warrant the slightly higher fare. Within the zones the fares for all three stations will be the same, but from outside they can vary.

  120. Hi Mike,
    I have the following situation on my Oyster(all the details are from the Journey history from my online account). First journey of the day was at 10:34 using the underground, followed by several journeys(all inside zones 1-3). The oyster stopped taking money after reaching the daily price cap of 7,70. But after that it shows a journey at 18:25 from Notting Hill Gate which says No touch out with extra charge of 6,90. The following journey is with route 15 bus at 19:05 which is not charged as well as the rest of the journeys until the end of the day. My question for you is: is there any way I can ask for a refund for those extra money or better said am I entitled to ask for refund? Thank you!

    • Hi Cristian,

      I assume that you forgot to touch out at the end of that journey from Notting Hill Gate. The good news is that it is possible that the system will automatically issue a refund when it examines your journey history. If that happens you’ll get an email explaining what to do to pick up the refund. If it hasn’t done this after a few days then if you call the helpdesk and explain what you did they will usually issue a refund.

      Hope that helps.

  121. Hi,

    I’m going to be staying in London for a week at the end of July.

    Most of my journeys will be between zones 2 & 3, with some trips into zone 1.

    From looking at your website and the TfL website, if I get a zone 2-3 travelcard, will I then be charged £2.00 for each trip into/out of zone 1 ?


  122. OK, thanks. If I had a zone 2-3 travelcard and travelled between two zone 3 stations (Colliers Wood-Kew Gardens) via zone 1, would this incur any extra charge or would TfL just look at the start and finish stations ? Thanks

    • Yes, that would incur a zone 1 charge. If you avoid zone 1 by chaning at Stockwell, Vauxhall and Richmond or Balham, Clapham Junction and Richmond then zones 2-3 will be enough.

  123. Hi,

    TFL journey planner tells me to go from London Victoria to Bellingham via Bromley South. I touch in in zone 1 and touch out in zone 3 but my travel goes via zone 5 (Bromley South). I guess there is no way the oyster card knows my route and so just takes the first and last destinations. Should I really be somehow touching out/in at Bromley south? I don’t really want/need to go through the barriers.



    • Hi Lawrence,

      One of the good things about the Oyster system is that as long as you have enough credit you can never be off-route when in the Oyster area. The fare to Bellingham is priced by using the route via Catford, but if a faster train exists by changing at Bromley South then that is fine. Just make sure that the journey time doesn’t exceed the maximum for a zone 1-3 journey.

  124. I’m travelling from Waterloo East to Dartford every day. I have a season ticket which is about £205 for a month and then I have a £40 monthly bus pass to get me to my place of work. To confuse matters there are some Transport for London buses in Dartford that I can use my Oyster on but not my monthly pass (Arriva). I travel a bit around central London too (especially weekends) and just use PAYG

    I know Dartford isn’t zoned so I can’t use my Oyster card but was wondering whether buying a zone 1-6 travelcard and then a season ticket from a zone 6 station (eg Crayford) to Dartford would save me a bit of money.

    (I realise that an annual ticket will save me money too but I may be moving in a few months).

    • Hi Anita,

      The zone 1-6 season is going to cost £205.10/month, but at least that would cover all your PAYG usage at weekends. It would also cover buses 96, 428 and 492 between Crayford, Dartford and Bluewater. A monthly season from Crayford or Slade Green to Dartford is £40.80 while from Barnehurst it is £58.80. The Barnehurst ticket is also valid at the other two while Crayford and Slade Green are also valid at each other. None of them would be valid on fast trains between Abbey Wood and Dartford in conjunction with a travelcard season.

      I think the only way you would save money is if your bus travel in Dartford can be confined to the three TfL routes and you are happy to leave the train before Dartford. Remember that the 428 also serves Slade Green and the 492 psses 5 minutes walk from Barnehurst. Crayford is far and away the most convenient interchange.

  125. Hello Mike,

    What is the Cheapest travel card option for travelling daily from Caledonian Road & Barnsbury (z2) to Hayes & Harlington (z5 )? Can I avoid z1 charges when travel through z1 but touch in and out outside z1 with travel card?


    • Hi Danielle,

      Sorry for the delay replying. Normally the system knows that you have gone via zone 1 and will charge accordingly so you would need zones 1-5 on a travelcard to make the journey with no extra charge. However, where there is an alternative fare which requires you to touch a pink validator (in this instance at Gunnersbury) then sometimes the system will assume that you’ve gone that way even when you haven’t. My advice is to buy a weekly zone 2-5 travelcard and load at least £2 PAYG balance and then make the journey. If it doesn’t take the zone 1 fare off then you will be ok. However, always have at least the zone 1 fare on your card in case you need to change your plans and alight in zone 1, or they change the system.

  126. Hi,

    A new travel card user here as I used to go in occasionally, or just off peak so PAYG was cheaper.

    I have a Z1-4 travelcard to cover me from the Beckenham area into London then Jubilee out to Neasden. I’ve noticed that a large number of the regular commuters don’t go touching in or out at the NR end as there are no gates and I was wondering if it were still a good idea to touch in and out.

    Having always been PAYG, I’ve always been touching in and out, but in the last week, experimented without touching in or out at the NR end. This didn’t cause any issues at the gated end and checking on Journey History its not taken any max fares so it looks OK.

    Obviously I’d need to touch in or out if I go outside Z4, but within my zones, do I need to touch in/out at non gated stations, or am I OK as long as I’m in my zones?


    • Hi Matt,

      You’ve got it spot on. You don’t need to touch in and out within your zones if there are no active gates, unless you are making a journey outside your zones.

  127. Hi,
    If i get an annual season ticket between Hemel Hempstead and Watford Junction loaded onto my oyster card, but want to travel onto London Euston. Do I have to get off at watford Junction to swipe my oyster? or does it know I swiped in at Hemel Hempstead?

    • Hi Helen,

      Oyster is only available between Euston and Watford Junction on that line so you would need to get off to touch in. Hemel to Watford would have to be a paper ticket.

  128. Hi,

    I’m currently living and working in south london but will shortly be moving east. My journey will be from Dalston Junction to New Beckenham. This is a zone 2 -4 journey allowing me to go for the cheaper travel card but i’m confused as this will pass through zone 1 (Shoreditch High street) will it charge me for this or will I be OK?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Ben,

      If you go from Dalston Kingsland to Stratford, then either Jubilee to Canada Water or Central/District to Whitechapel or DLR to Lewisham then you will avoid zone 1. If you go via Shoreditch High Street then you will either need zone 1 on the travelcard or £2 PAYG per journey.

  129. Oh that’s a bit disappointing, I was under the impression you can load season tickets onto oyster cards, do the season tickets have to be in the oyster zone too?
    Do you know if there are any plans to extend the oyster zone out any further? Just a few more miles would keep me very happy! 🙂

    • You can only load Travelcard seasons onto an Oyster card, not National Rail point to point seasons. As for extending the system, I don’t think there are any plans in that direction at present, and it still probably wouldn’t allow NR seasons if they did.

  130. I have a 7 day Travelcard loaded onto my Oyster. As a confirmed ‘anorak’, what happens if I touch in and head out of -say- Paddington on the tube and eventually end up at somewhere where I want to take photos from the platform for a couple of hours, without touching out and then move on to somewhere else, so that I wouldn’t actually touch out until the end of the day?

    • Hi Phil,

      It depends whether you venture outside the zones on your travelcard or not. If you don’t then there is no problem. If you do go outside the zones and are checked by an RPI or equivalent then you may be subject to a penalty fare.

  131. Thanks. No, all travel would be within the zones purchased. Clearly, I would need to touch out and (re)book for any journeys beyond that.

  132. Hi Mike,
    This is such an excellent service you are doing! Thank you!

    Quick question: I’m living in Canary Wharf and will have to commute to Putney 5 days a week peak time – if I get a zones 1 and 2 monthly travel card will this cover the following route: Canary Wharf to Waterloo via Jubilee Line, and then the National Rail from Waterloo to Putney. Or do I have to pay extra for using the NR? Thank you!

    • Hi Shirin,

      A travelcard covers all modes so one covering zones 1 and 2 will be appropriate for now. From December you may wish to consider using PAYG on this route: Canary Wharf (Jubilee) Canada Water (Overground) Clapham Junction (SWT) Putney. That will be entirely zone 2 and at todays rate will only cost £1.60 each way in the peak.

  133. Hi Mike,

    I can’t really get me head around the cost of PAYG extension to my current travelcard. Let me explain – I have a z1-6 annual travelcard but wish to start making off-peak journeys to Watford Junction, lying outside my current travelcard entitlement. If I were to make a journey from a z1 station (say Moorgate) to Watford Junction, how much would this cost me? Similarly, if I were to travel from a z6 station (say Riddlesdown), how much this cost me? I assume they should be the same amount given that my travelcard covers the cost of the journey between 1 and 6? Thanks for your help!

  134. Yes this website is amazing. Are you able to assist with my query?

    Is is possible to have a season ticket between Sidcup and London Terminals loaded onto my Oyster?

    If yes then what happens if I get off at a station en route such as Lewisham and then catch the DLR to Heron Quays? Does it become a journey from Zone 4 to Heron Quays or is the part of my journey to Lewisham covered under my season ticket to London Terminals (it is on the same route). Thanks for your help!

  135. Thanks Mike, that’s useful to know. Just trying to work out the cheapest way to renew my season ticket given I well be moving my place of work spring 2013

    • You can always exchange your season part way through the year and receive a pro-rata refund if the new one is less. In your case you might find that the cheapest way to do the DLR is to have a season from Sidcup to Lewisham and then use PAYG on the DLR. Lewisham is dual zoned so you only pay for zone 2 on the DLR while the NR season will be priced as zones 3-5. If you want a season covering the whole journey then you’d need a zones 2-5 travelcard.

  136. Sorry if this question has already been posted, but I couldn’t see it. I’ve always carried my oyster card in the same wallet as my paper annual season ticket without any problems, but in the last month my paper season ticket has kept failing and I’ve had to have it reissued multiple times. Today I was told it was because of the oyster card, but as I say I’ve never had a problem in the past. I only use the oyster very rarely, and there does seem to be a correlation with season ticket failures and use of the oyster. Is this really the reason, and why has it only just started happening?

    • Hi,

      I don’t think it is the Oyster card. Paper seasons were not originally designed to be put through multiple barriers every day and where that is necessary it is almost guaranteed that an annual ticket will need replacing at some stage. If it is happening a lot recently then there may be a sub-standard batch of tickets being used.

      Hope that helps.

  137. Hi Mike,
    Quick question…I will be travelling from Dalston Kingsland to Sheperds Bush on the overground… I will go through Willsden Junction, but it is difficult to know if this is zone 2 or 3. Obviously, I would rather not have to buy a 1-3 travelcard and just get the 1-2, but when I search some parts of Willsden green are listed as zone 3 and some as zone 2??? Very confusing – Can you help?

    • Hi Lucy,

      Willesden Junction is in both zones 2 and 3. You will only require zone 3 if travelling to or from the Richmond or Harrow directions. he other 3 lines only require zone 2. That said, Dalston Kingsland to Shepherds Bush on Overground is entirely in zone 2 so it’s not really worth buying a travelcard. Your fares are only £1.50 each way at peak time and £1.40 off-peak.

  138. Hi,

    I was wondering about commuting between certain zones and what the best/cheapest solution is. I recently arrived in London, and I’m commuting between zones 2/3 and 6, from North Greenwich to Kingston Station.
    I first take a bus to North Greenwich (just 5 stations or so), then the Jubilee line to Waterloo and then a South West train to Kingston. This costs me £14 with PAYG so I bought a weekly travel card for zones 1-6.
    Isn’t there anything else I can do? I know London isn’t a cheap city to live and travel in but paying £53 every week for commuting seems excessive heat for a 19-year old with a regular job. Thanks in advance,

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Sara,

      Unfortunately North Greenwich to Kingston only has one fare at the moment, which is a NR+TfL through fare, including the premium for travelling through zone 1. To reduce your costs you need to chop off zones where possible so that you can buy a cheaper travelcard. Zone 1 will be easy later this year when the ELL extension opens between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction. You can then take the Jubilee to Canada Water, ELL to Clapham Junction and SWT to Kingston using only a zone 2-6 travelcard. At the moment you would need to travel via Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction and touch out and back in again at Crystal Palace to turn your overall journey into two bits which both avoid zone 1. That would increase your journey time considerably though, so you may not want to consider it until December.

      The other thing you could investigate is whether there are any reasonable buses between Kingston and somewhere like Richmond which is in zone 4. You would then only need a zone 1-4 travelcard as all bus travel is free with any travelcard. With both options you could decide to make the current journey by train and have the extra for that journey deducted from PAYG. With a zone 1-4 travelcard you would pay just a zone 5-6 single to get to Kingston, while with a zone 2-6 travelcard you would pay the TfL zone 1 fare of £2 if you went via Waterloo.

      Hope that might give you some ideas.

  139. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll look into it. I didn’t know about the ELL, that would definitely be helpful. For now I’ll look into the buses!

    Kind regards,


  140. Hi Mike,

    I’ve just moved to London and find the travelcard system a bit confusing.

    I’m starting a job that requires me to travel in from zone 2 most days (my local station is zone 2/3 border) into zone 1 at peak times, so I’m planning on buying an annual zone 1-2 travelcard.

    In addition I will need to attend courts throughout London in various different zones; I’m trying to work out what is the best option financially but am unsure of the prices of journeys beyond my travelcard.

    My question is can I add travelcard zones as neccessary. For example if I know I’ll be at a court in zone 3 for a week, can I add on an addition zone 3 travelcard for £22, and if I’m going to be in zone 5 for a week can I buy a zone 3-5 travelcard for £24.20?

    And if had a one day journey to zone 3 from zone 1 during peak time is my journey classed as zone 3 only (i.e. £1.50) because I already have the zone 1-2 travelcard? Likewise is a peak journey to zone 5 from zone 1 classed as a trip from zone 3-5 (£2.20)?

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Richie,

      You seem to have pretty much got it. You can add a weekly season to add on extra zones, though they must be for at least two zones so 3-4 in your case. Single journeys are indeed charged only for the zones not covered by any of your travelcards.

  141. Hi Mike,

    thanks for this very helpful website. But I still have a question.
    I’m going to London next week (for 5 nights) and as a typical tourist I will travel mostly in zone 1-2 with a return trip to zone 3 for Kew Gardens and of course the travel from and to Heathrow. I think the best is to buy a 7 day travelcard and to pay the extension fares for the extra zones with PAYG. I already have an oyster card from my last trip. Now my question:
    When I load a 7-day Travelcard (zone 1-2) on my oyster card at the airport, does ist start at that moment? Will I pay the extension fare for zones 6-3 and then use the Travelcard for the rest of the journey?

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Dagmar,

      There is a slight problem. It appears as though you can only pick up a travelcard at a station where the travelcard would be valid. Assuming that you will be using the Piccadilly line you will need to get off at Turnham Green which is dual zoned 2 and 3, touch out to record your zone 6-3 journey then touch back in and continue with the travelcard. Obviously you need to request pick up at Turnham Green. On the way back you will be fine to stay on the train. The travelcard should be loaded when you touch out at Turnham Green.

      Hope that helps.

  142. Hi Mike,

    I am travelling Brixton to Watford Junction in the morning with a national rail linked Oyster. I have a zone 1-2 pass and this causes a mix of peak & off-peak as Euston to Watford Junction is off-peak. Currently to get the right fair I get off at Warren Street and walk to Euston. It charges me a peak fare from Zone 3 to Watford Junction if I don’t do this (much more expensive). Is there a way to force my journey to split at Euston so I can use my Zone 1-2 from Brixton to Euston without paying peak to Watford Junction.


    • Hi Tony,

      Yes, touch on a bus outside Euston then get off straight away. I’m told most bus drivers in central London are used to this behaviour now.

  143. Hi Mike,
    This site is a gem!
    I was wondering if you could help me out.

    Would it be cheaper to buy a Zones 1 – 7 weekly travel card and then pay a bit more via PAYG, to go from Watford Junction which is beyond zone 8, to Euston.
    Monday to Friday ONLY in the mornings. Returning via LU Met. line to Watford Met.)

    OR buy a weekly travel-card zone 1-9 + Watford Junction

    (My journey is from Watford Junction to Euston Monday to Friday via the London Midland fast service.
    Would the above travel-card’s allow me to use the London Midland fast service)

    *I own a 16-25 National Railcard and an 18+ Student Oyster Card

    Thank you
    John 🙂

    • Hi John,

      With the 18+ Student Oyster the travelcards cost £40.50/week (1-7) and £53.20/week (1-9+W). The peak single WJ-zone 8 is £1.50, so unless you make 9+ single trips a week you will be better off using PAYG for the last bit. You can use Oyster on all services between Watford Junction and Euston except Virgin (because they don’t convey passengers for just that stretch on it’s own.

  144. Hi Mike

    I am going to be living in Leytonstone (Z3) for a week. I need to commute into central london on a daily basis, in peak times as well as not. What is my cheapest option. I also have my 16-25 railcard linked to my oyster. Is it cheaper to get zone 1-2 travel card and pay the difference as PAYG or just get the zone 1-4 travelcard? Thanks

    • Hi Lucy,

      Weekly travelcard seasons can be bought for any number of adjacent zones from 2 upwards. For peak travel I would therefore recommend the Z1-3 travelcard. However, if all you are doing is 5 return journeys on the Underground with no additional rail or bus travel, you will be better off just using PAYG.

  145. Hi,
    I’ve just renewed and added for the first time an Annual Travelcard to my Oyster at Farringdon First Capital Connect Station however the old paper one runs out next week. Normally with a new card you use it straight away as it only carries an expiry date (as does the Gold Record Card) however do I start using the Oyster straight away or do I wait until next week when the old card expires. I forgot to ask at the station and I did phone CFC but they did not really understand the question
    Secondly I looked on the Oyster Online site tonight and my new Travelcard is not showing, is that because it does not start until next week?

    • Hi,

      Oyster stores both a start and end date which allows them to load the ticket early. Therefore you will have to continue using your old season until the new one starts. As to the online system, I think that updates for tickets etc take a while to be reflected but the details should be there now. You should also see them on the summary screen if you touch on a ticket machine.

  146. my journey starts in turnpike lane/wood green (zone 3) and ends at egham (outside london). I go to waterloo (zone 1) and catch the train from there. I’m currently using a zone 1 to 4 pass, but I was wondering whether I could use a zone 3 to 6 instead? Or do I have to include zone 1 because I take the train from waterloo? I own a 18+ oyster card and am buying a weekly pass!

    • Hi Tas,

      You definitely need zone 1 if you travel through it. On the basis that you get a discount on travelcards, I would buy a zone 1-6 travelcard and combine it with a Feltham to Egham season. As long as the train stops at Feltham (which I think they all do) there is no need to get off the train. Just use the Oyster at Waterloo and the season at Egham.

  147. Hi Mike. I suspect this question is better posted (or already answered) in Mixing Oyster and Paper Tickets, but that column has been password protected for quite some time (“This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:”). I’ve recently acquired a paper annual travelcard season Epsom to Zone 2, but also have a PAYG Oyster. If I want to go from say Morden to Oxford Circus, do I really have to get off at Vauxhall and go up to the barrier line to touch in? Can I buy an excess ticket for Zone 1 at Morden (in the same way I can buy at Epsom a boundary zone 1 to Victoria single for travel on National Rail)? And if the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’, wouldn’t it be more sensible if paper travelcard seasons could be loaded on to an Oyster in the same way as the Gold Card validity?

    • Hi Hugh,

      Sorry about the password protection on the other page. It will be lifted as soon as I have completed writing the page, but the content is such that I can’t only partially cover the topic. That said, it has been waiting a long time so maybe I need to bump it up the list of things to do.

      Back to your query. Oyster is a London system and is only available outside the zones in a limited number of places. Only one (Watford Junction) has the ability to store travelcard seasons, probably because some of the services are TfL’s own Overground operation. It remains to be seen whether the extensions for Crossrail will be done properly, or whether they will suffer the same issues as the Grays area stations.

      The Gold Card discount is simply a switch which activates lower off-peak fares and caps. Technically an Oyster card with that set is only valid when carried with the Gold (record) card (or other railcard). The capability for fraud would be just too much if you could have both a paper season and an Oyster card which would simultaneously give free journeys within the zones covered.

      You are at least lucky that you have a station on the zone 1/2 boundary so you don’t actually end up being charged any more than you should. Incidentally, charging from the inner boundary of a zone is unique to Oyster. On paper tickets you can only extend outwards from the centre. In fact “boundary zone 1” doesn’t exist as a paper origin as the smallest travelcard has to cover two zones.

  148. HI,

    I am planning to buy a monthly Travel card (Zone 1-2) to be added to my PAYG Oyester card.

    My question is, If I would like to return the same after 10 days or so… would I get my money refuneded / back? If yes, from where and how?


    • Hi Vipin,

      Best take it to an Underground station. You will be refunded the amount paid less the cost of weekly/daily tickets to cover what you have used less an admin fee.

  149. Thanks Mike: no criticism meant re the paper tickets page: just wondered whether the password protection was intentional. I see what you mean about the potential for fraud. Thanks for the comments re boundary zone pricing: I hadn’t yet tried to purchase an excess from bdy zone 1 to Victoria or Waterloo, so now know I need to quote a station.
    Am I right then about extending Underground journeys from my zone 2 bdy into zone 1: the only way I can do this is to get off and pass through the ticket line (or pay the full fare from origin station), unless there happens to be a card reader on the platform (unlikely)?

  150. Hi,
    I have a zone 1-4 monthly oyster to go from Richmond to Canary Wharf. I live in Twickenham and normally cycle to Richmond. If I take a bus from near my house (zone 5) one morning to Richmond will I be charged extra on PAYG?

    • Hi Richard,

      No, all TfL operated buses are free with any travelcard. Also, if you wanted to use the train at Twickenham one day you would only be charged a zone 5 single as long as you touch in and out at each end of the journey.

    • Zones 3 to 6 is 4 zones. You can buy a new travelcard for zones 2-6, but you cannot buy an additional travelcard just for zone 2. If it’s a weekly ticket I’d just wait until next week. If the route you are taking avoids zone 1 and the zone 3-6 is on Oyster then using the card will only charge a zone 2 single on PAYG for each journey.

  151. This site is genius! I like in Highbury, closest stations – finsbury park station, Arsenal, Highbury & Islington. I have an 18+ oyster and need to get to Twickenham 4 times a week. I normally get the overground from Highbury & Islington to Richmond, then change for NR to Twickenham. What is the cheapest route?

  152. Hi Mike

    I’ve recently started commuting to Whitechapel for work, I’ve been getting a weekly travelcard zones 2-5, going on the 233 london bus to Sidcup, followed by trains from Sidcup to New Cross, then from New Cross to Whitechapel. I want to start adding the travelcard to my Oyster. If I add a monthly travelcard, it says I have to activate it by touching in/out on a normal journey. Firstly, will this activation work with the bus journey at the start or not? Also will I have to swipe my oyster card at the platform when I change to get the new cross to whitechapel to show I haven’t entered zone 1? Thanks

    • Hi Will,

      You can’t activate the travelcard on a bus, but you can activate it a few days before. Alternatively, for the first one you could get it from the ticket office at Whitechapel. There is no need to touch anything at New Cross because a touch in at Sidcup and out at Whitechapel will assume you’ve gone that way with no other touches.

  153. Hi Mike,

    I have an 18+ student oyster and a 16-25 rail card. I need to commute from wallington (zone 5) to whitechapel (zone 2). I travel via west croydon to avoid zone 1. Just wondering what my best option would be?
    So far Ive been using PAYG and its been costing me a lot, the lady at the wallington ticket office said I would need another photocard to buy a travelcard which confused me slightly. Would a zone 2-5 travel card not work on my journey because I am using nation rail and london overground?? I’m not too sure what the difference is to be honest. And I can’t seem to buy a zone 2-5 travel card from the machine at a student price for some reason. Would appreciate any help.

    Many Thanks!!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I’m possibly confused too. Wallington to Whitechapel via West Croydon is the default route so a zone 2-5 travelcard should definitely work. Have you added your 16-25 railcard to your Oyster card? If yes, then I think they’ve done it wrong. The entitlement to cheap travelcards is stored in discount field 1 and can only be put there when the card is created. Unfortunately it is possible to overwrite it when the National Railcard is added. The railcard needs to be entered into field 2. The clerk at Canada Water did it right with my son’s 16+ Zip card so I know it’s possible.

      I think you need to call the helpdesk and explain what’s happened. They should send you a new 18+ card with the discount re-instated. Then I would take it and the railcard to a main underground station and ask for the discount to be added, but stress that the railcard should go in field 2 so that the student discount is not lost. Then you should be able to add reduced travelcards at ticket machines.

      Hope this helps, and I’d appreciate it if you could confirm whether my theory was right.

  154. Hello Mike,

    I just read your article here and it has been very helpful. But there is something i really need help with. See i live in Morden and my college is situated in Tottenham court road (zone 1) and my workplace is in guildford. It is quite expensive for me to get a weekly travelcard (zone 1-6) and pay for the train tickets. Is there anyway where my cost will go down and i can get all the facilities in one travelcard? Thank you

  155. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Burnham to get to Hammersmith everyday. I go to Ealing Broadway (zone 3) by the train, and then get the tube to Hammersmith (zone 2). I have a zone 1-3 monthly travelcard because I need to go into zone one occasionally, and hence have to go to Paddington (zone 1) and get the train from there back to Burnham. At Paddington, I have to tap in my oyster travelcard, but because Burnham isnt on the tube map, and hence not an oyster friendly zone, I cant tap out using the zone 1-3 travelcard. I have a paper ticket that covers me from ealing broadway to Burnham. Does this mean I will get charged for tapping in using the monthly travelcard (if I just tap in at paddington) and not tapping out, or will it not charge me because I am in the allocated zone. I have asked many officers and they all seem to contradict each other, some say you have to tap out, and others say its an open ticket so as long as you use it in the allocated zone. Many thanks in advance

  156. Hi Mike, I currently have a zone 2-3 7 day travelcard on my student oyster. I am travelling from clapham junction to brookwood on NR this weekend and was wondering whether it is essential to touch out when i have a travelcard?

    I’m thinking I could order a ticket from wimbledon to brookwood online and collect at clapham as the clapham to wimbledon part of the journey would be covered by the travelcard. The train doesn’t usually stop at wimbledon, so i wouldn’t be able to touch out and use my ticket to get back into the station. Is this possible / would i be charged maximum fares / is it just breaking the rules!?

    Also, a friend mentioned that when using an oyster travelcard on NR only (i.e. without combining journey with london underground) during peak times, you get charged from your PAYG credit despite having a travelcard for those zones. He said he was told this by south west trains staff at vauxhall, but do you know if it is correct? Defeats the whole point of a zonal travelcard if you ask me!

    Thanks in advance for your help

    • Hi Charlie,

      Your friend has not got the right idea. A travelcard on Oyster will not charge you within your zones regardless of which mode you use (apart from the cable car and river buses obviously).

      And for your question, that is fine. There is no need to touch out within the zones. You can combine the tickets you mention without the train needing to call where you switch over.

  157. Hi Mike,

    Some advice please on the cheapest and easiest best way for a friend of mine to travel through Zone 1. They have an Oyster PAYG and a Monthly paper ticket Zones 2-6.
    They will be travelling with me from Zone 1 out to Zone 3 and then back again. This will be a one off return journey. I have an Oyster Gold Card to cover those Zone.
    Many thanks



  158. Hi Mike,

    Just thought Id let you know the situation with my oyster.
    I went to the underground station to get it checked out, apparently the student discount had been overwritten completely with the railcard, so you were right. The man at the station didn’t seem to know how to put it back on, so I rang up oyster and they reinstated the student discount without me having to reorder another. So now I have both the student discount and railcard on the oyster. They said for future reference this could have been fixed at the underground station too. Many thanks for your help.


    • Thanks Kelly,

      That’s great news. I need to find out how a station can put the student discount back on. Out of interest, how did the Oyster helpdesk put the discount back on? Did you have to nominate a station to travel from so they could load it on?

  159. Hi Mike,

    I have started commuting from Forest Hill to Ravenscourt park via Whitechapel (easiest way I believe), and currently buying a half price bus/tram pass and £20 payg on the oyster for the journey 3x a week. Any cheaper options?

    • Hi Charles,

      Lewisham DLR to Stratford avoids zone 1 so is covered by the travelcard. The cheapest way to travel the other way is to use PAYG between Farringdon and Elepha& & Elephant&Castle. You need to get off at Elephant to touch out. Atfer that take the train to Shortlands and then go back to Seckenham Hill.

  160. mike,
    seeing as you are the one to ask,i wondering if i can travel to sutton on an oyster that im going to buy when i visit and also what will this be capped at.as this will be in zone 5.

    • Hi Adrian,

      Yes, you can use Oyster at Sutton. If Sutton is the furthest out from zone 1 you go then you will be capped at the Z1-6 rates if you make enough journeys to exceed the cap.

  161. Mike,

    Zone 1-2 monthly Travelcard(oyster)+ PAYG credit: 0.55.

    Departure: Manor House.
    Destination: Woolwich Arsenal

    Issue: on the DLR service(boarded at Bank) from Canning Town to Woolwich Arsenal I received a Penalty Fare for insufficient PAYG credit, ALTHOUGH this jouney has been done several times before(different days) with less than 0.55 on it(had to top up the difference and everything was in order)!

    Why the Penalty?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Marius,

      Although the Oyster system will force you to top up to clear the negative balance, it is still an offence to make a journey with insufficient credit. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. If you regularly use credit to go outside your zones then I recommend adding auto top-up to ensure you don’t have to think about whether you need to top up any more.

  162. Hi I live in Wimbledon and am starting a new job in Ashtead, Surrey. Wimbledon station is within walking distance of home but I would prefer to take a bus to the station on bad weather days so think a travelcard would be a good idea. I see I can buy a season ticket from Ashtead with Zone 3-6 travelcard but can’t see if it is possible to buy this ticket on my Oyster card so that it recognises that I can travel within those zones. If I want to continue my journey into Waterloo some evenings would I have to get off the train somewhere to touch in or if I just touch out at Waterloo will it know to charge for a zone 1-2 journey only?.

    • Hi Jay,

      You cannot load an out boundary travelcard onto an Oyster unless it is from Watford Junction. Unfortunately this also means that you would have to get out to touch in when travelling to Central London. The cheapest way to do this would be to use a station on the boundary of zones 2 and 3. Putney and Putney Bridge are the nearest to Wimbledon, or Herne Hill if heading towards Blackfriars. If you can’t use a boundary station then you’ll end up paying for zone 3 twice.

  163. Hello Mike, I’ve just moved to London to work and am trying to work out what is more cost effective. I travel from Stratford to Canada water + a bus journey and home again every day, all zone 2-3. About 2-3 times a week I will make a return journey into central.

    I know it’s dependent on how much I travel and other variables but do you think it would it be more cost effective to get a zone 2-3 for the month and then top up for my zone 1 travel or to just pay the extra and get an all inclusive zone 1-3.

    I know I should be able to work this out, but the pricing and oyster system is all very new to me.

    Also, I have a 16-25 rail card if that makes a difference. Many thanks

    • Hi Benjamin,

      I’d only buy a travelcard including zone 1 if I was going to make at least 4 peak journeys into zone 1. Otherwise it’s better to let it charge £2.00 (or £1.30 off-peak with railcard) on PAYG for each journey.

  164. Hi Mike. Thanks for the quick reply. So if I buy a paper season ticket from Ashtead with Zone 3-6 travelcard included does that allow me to travel on buses outside those zones(i.e. Zones1-2) or does that only apply to travelcards bought on Oyster? For example could I get the bus from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction using my paper season then use my Oyster on the tube from there?

    • Hi Jay,

      Yes, buses are fully covered with any travelcard, paper or Oyster. There’s no tube at Clapham Junction though, just London Overground, Southern and SWT.

  165. Going to work. I go from Edmonton green, to seven sisters, to highbury and islington to west croydon, can I buy a zone 2-5 travelcard? and shall i tap in at interchanges e.g Highbury and Islington or just at entraces and exits.

    Plus, if i want to go from seven sisters to elephant and castle on a zone 2-5 travel card is it possible?

    • Hi Inntesha,

      As I said on the other page, you cannot use a zone 2-5 travelcard on a journey which obviously goes through zone 1 unless you want a zone 1 single to be deducted from PAYG each time. As you only go to Croydon twice a week I recommend that you buy a zone 1-4 travelcard and use PAYG each time you travel into or out of West Croydon.

  166. Hi Mike,

    This page is incredible and I am astonished at the level an amount of help you have provided. I hope you can advise me in my situation as well.
    I have just change jobs, where originally I was traveling from west Harrow to canary wharf, my new role will require me to travel to west malling in kent. I currently have an annual 1-5 zone season pass on my oyster, which expires in the last week of December. Looking online, it looks like a monthly pass from Victoria to west malling costs £360. Given that I have a pass until December, can I get a discount on this rate? Also, after december, do you know how much extra it would cost to add a zone 1-5 pass onto the national rail ticket as well?
    Any advice you provide would be greatly appreciated!
    Warm regards,

    • Hi Shahzad,

      While you have a zone 1-5 travelcard season then you only need to buy a season from West Malling to zones 5-6. This costs £281.90/month. Strangely this is cheaper than the Bromley South to West Malling season and there is no requirement for the train to stop at any station as both seasons are zonal. So yes, you can sort of get a discount if you see what I mean. After December you’ll need to add all zones 1-6 which then becomes £416.30/month.

      Hope this helps.

  167. Hi Mike
    Am i right in thinking that if I purchase a Slough to Travelcard Zones1-6 monthly/yearly season, bus use in Zone 1 is included?

  168. Hi Mike,

    I was just wondering what would happen if you touch into a station and then touch out the same station say if the train was cancelled or delayed. Would you still be charged?



  169. Hello,

    I have Zones 1-2 travelcard loaded onto my Oyster Card.

    Am I assuming correctly that I will be charged £2.30 for an off-peak journey from Clapham South to Hampton Court, changing at Vauxhall (and the same journey back)?

    Another quite unrelated question, what happens if I don’t touch out when using the Travelcard and no PAYG credit is on Oyster?


    • Hi Jan,

      You would be charged for a National Rail zone 3-6 journey which is £2.10.

      For your other question I think that the answer is contained in the last section of the page above all these comments.

  170. Hi Mike,

    That’s great, thank you for answering!

    So as long as I remain in the zones covered by my travelcard, I technically don’t have to touch in and out, is that true?

    • The rules say that you should always touch in and out, but that with a travelcard loaded there is no penalty for not doing so. In reality it would cause chaos if everyone had to queue for a validator at open stations. You absolutely must touch in and out if you intend to travel beyond the zones on your travelcard.

  171. Just one last question, if I touch in and then touch out immediately at the same station, that would cause problems with Same station exit.

    But what about touching out and then touching back in within seconds? Like a way of breaking the journey and avoiding Zone 1 where the journey has been defined as going through Z1?

  172. Hi Mike,

    I just moved to London and am still learning to get around. I live in Mile End and need to communte to Welwyn Garden City (eek). What’s the best/cheapest way to do this?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Kristina,

      The answer probably depends on your definition of best! Assuming walk/bus the whole way is out of the question you’ve got two main rail options. The quickest option is to take the Hammersmith & City line to Moorgate and then to Welwyn Garden City on FCC. You could either get a Welwyn GC to London terminals season for £62.50/week and pay £27 for ten Oyster journeys or get a Welwyn GC to zones 1-6 travelcard for £90/week. There is also a slight saving to be made by getting a Welwyn GC to Alexandra Palace season at £51.90/week plus a zones 1-3 travelcard at £34.20/week. You wouldn’t need to get off at Alexandra Palace but the train must stop there.

      The slower option is to get a Welwyn GC to zones 2-6 season for £66.20/week. With this option you travel from Mile End to Stratford on the Central Line, then London Overground to Highbury & Islington and then FCC from there to Welwyn GC.

      Although I’ve quoted weekly prices you can get seasons for any period from a month to a year and the prices will be proportionately the same but cheaper than an equivalent number of weeklies. E.g. a monthly costs 3.84 times a weekly. The only bit that wouldn’t come down is the Oyster single journeys, so the zone 1-6 travelcard would be better for periods longer than a week.

      Hope that helps.

  173. Hi.I have a question.I got a zone 1-2 weekly travelcard but today I’m moving houses and is in zone 3,I was wondering if I could add one more zone (zone 3) to the travelcard I already have 🙂 thank you

    • Hi Tina,

      No, you can’t add just one zone, nor can you add zones for less than a week. Just make sure you touch in and out at each end of the journey and it will deduct a zone 3 single from your PAYG balance. When you next buy a travelcard make it a 1-3 one then.

  174. Hi, I’m new in London and I had a problem for 2 consecutive days with my Qyster card with monthly zones 1-2 travelcard. Twice I made the same route: I took the Overground at Hackney Central to West Hampstead and then the National Rail from West Hampstead Thameslink to Denmark Hill. At the end of the route, touching out in Denmark Hill I was charged 1.50£ “for being out of my travel zones”. I spoke to officers at the station, but they could not explain me why I was charged, because they figured out that all the stations I travelled through where definitely in zones 1 and 2. I had finally to change route and received no answers by email complaining, nor at the help number, which just continues ringing without response. Could you help me understanding? Thanks.

    • Hi Ilaria,

      I don’t know for certain what is happening, but I have a hunch. Firstly, Hackney Central to Denmark Hill via West Hampstead is a very long way round for the journey. Is it possible that it’s taking longer than 100 minutes between touch in at Hackney and touch out at Denmark Hill? I’d guess not, but it could be causing issues if it is. My main hunch is that West Hampstead is adding a route marker which is confusing the system and making it think that you’ve gone via Stratford. Stratford is in zone 3 so with a travelcard for zones 1-2 you would be charged a zone 3 single fare which is £1.50 peak (£1.40 off-peak).

      It sounds like you’ve found a better route for now, but from December 9th it is very easy: just change at Cannonbury onto a Clapham Junction via Whitechapel train. This should be quicker and get charged correctly.

  175. Hello Mike,

    great website! Thanks for all the work you put into it!

    I´ve got one comment/question. Above you wrote: “The rules say that you should always touch in and out, but that with a travelcard loaded there is no penalty for not doing so. […] You absolutely must touch in and out if you intend to travel beyond the zones on your travelcard.”

    What frustrates me is that I know someone who seems to abuse the system. What I mean is that when she travels beyond the zones covered by her travel card/season ticket and leaves at an open station (i.e. no gates) she would simply not touch out and won´t be charged any penalties. When I asked her about this, she only smiled and said that should there be a ticket inspection at the open station, she´d be covered by her extra PAYG money on the card and would simply touch out then in front of the ticket inspector. 🙁

    Surely, this isn´t how the system is supposed to work. Aren´t there any safeguards in place to prevent people like her from misusing the system in that way?

    • Hi Peter,

      Unfortunately this is one of the drawbacks of open stations in the suburbs. Depending on the layout of the station, it is possible to be asked to show your ticket after passing the validator, at which point she would probably get a penalty fare if she hadn’t already touched out. TfL did try a solution after the National Rail rollout in 2010 whereby you had to set a switch (the Oyster Extension Permit) which caused a maximum charge to be levied on touch in within your zones and incentivised you to touch out at the end to adjust this charge. Unfortunately this concept wasn’t publicised widely enough, was really complicated and detracted from the whole PAYG ethos of Oyster. Worse still, one particular TOC abused the system by trapping unsuspecting passengers at fully gated London terminals in the actual act of touching out, ie there was no revenue risk at all. This led to the whole concept being abandoned by TfL, and in a final act of insult the TOCs publicised the withdrawl of OEPs far more thoroughly than they ever did to explain them in the first place, leading several commuters wondering just what this thing that was no longer required actually was in the first place.

      The only other thing I can suggest is that if the ungated station used by your friend is always the same one and her journeys are regular then the TOC who operates the station may be interested in a tip off. You might just find a revenue block gets put there to see what they trap.

  176. Hi, I have my oyster attached to my National Rail 16-24 Card which gives a 34% discount. I have looked and that now makes the cheapest journey for me to buy a return from Hertford North to Crews Hill and then just use my oyster for the rest of the trip but how would i tap in when i dont get off until finsbury park ? thanks

  177. Hi Mike, Great site… lots of good tips!
    I’m thinking of getting a zone 1 to 5 annual oyster but I have a question and I couldn’t see a similar comment? I occasionally change at Barking on my way into Zone 1 and get the c2c overground to Fenchurch Street and re join the District Line at Tower Hill if the DL is being slow!
    With an annual ticket will touching out at Fenchurch Street when I get off the train take any money from my PAYG balance as I’m using a National Rail service? It doesn’t cost extra on my PAYG at the moment so I thought I’d check?

    • Hi Carly,

      A travelcard season covers you for all rail modes within the zones covered (apart from the Heathrow and High Speed 1 exclusions), so you won’t suffer by using c2c for part of your journey.

  178. Hi am travelling from Canning town to Brixton and i change at Green park (Zone 1), it take about 45mins to get to work. Is there another route i could use so as not to pay zone 1 prices.

    • Hi coolmature,

      Brixton is an issue as it’s difficult to get to from the east unless you are on the actual line between Victoria and Beckenham Junction. At the moment any route to avoid zone 1 will be tortuous, but from December 9th you can change at Canada Water onto the overground to Clapham High Street then take the Northern line from Clapham North to Stockwell and the Victoria line from there. It may still take as long as your current route and looks like it will involve an extra touch out to force it to be valid. Will you be using a zone 2-3 travelcard or PAYG? If it’s a travelcard then it will probably be easiest to touch on a bus between Clapham High Street and Clapham North. PAYG looks like it could be trickier but I’ll examine options later.

  179. Hi Mike,

    I need to get to Camden Road from West Croydon. I have a travelcard for zones 2-6. I noticed that if I travel to there only on overground I will pass through zone 1. And if I want to avoid that I can change at Whitechapel and get to Stratford and then get the overground from there. But then I thought, how would the system know that I have done those interchanges?

    • Hi Kremi,

      Via Stratford is not a recognised route for that journey. However, if you make it two journeys by touching out and in again at Stratford (on the gateline, NOT the pink validators), then both journeys will be covered by your travelcard.

  180. Hi Mike

    Is there a website we can use to check all this fantastic information ourselves? There is a lot more I want to know, but feel guilty asking you everytime. As an example, the national rail website does not provide an option to check season ticket prices with zone 1-6 travelcard added on or do a zones 5-6 to west malling price check (it forces me to put in a rail station in both to/from fields).

    Thanks again,

    • Hi Shahzad,

      The National Rail site does give season prices including travelcard. You need to enter the out of travelcard area station first and then choose a station in the zone that you want prices for (but on the same line towards London). You should then get 3 figures, the point to point season price, the travelcard season including zones 5-6 and the travelcard season including zones 1-6.

  181. Hi Mike,

    I have a travelcard for zones 2-6. Last week I travelled from Stratford to London Bridge with the tube and then I changed to National Rail to travel to East Croydon. The thing is the system did not take any of my pay as you go credit even though I tapped out of the underground station at London Bridge and then tapped in to get to the railway station. Is there no charge when you make such a change?


    • Hi Kremi,

      I would have expected a charge, but I won’t complain if you weren’t. One possible explanation is that you’d made other journeys in zone 1 and exceeded the zone 1-2 cap. Otherwise I’m stumped. If you can copy/paste the whole days journey history into a reply then I’ll see if any other explanation jumps out.

  182. Hi Mike,

    amazing website!
    Quick question, if I have zone 2-5 travelcard and go into zone 1, will it charge me £2 every for every journey made in zone 1? Or will it calculate single fare from the zone2 station to the zone1 station and charge me that?

    Thanks in advance!

  183. Hi Mike,

    I would copy/paste the whole day journey but when I log online there is no history option. I have a student travelcard. Is there a way I can check the history online?


    • Hi Kremi,

      Are you logging into your photocard account or an Oyster online account? If you haven’t set up the latter then you won’t be able to see past history when you do, but future stuff will appear. Otherwise, had you made any other journeys in zone 1 that day? If you have a 16-25 railcard discount entitlement then the off-peak zone 1-2 cap is only £4.60.

  184. Hi Mike,

    I don’t have a 16-25 railcard but I did make other journeys in zone 1, so maybe its the cap price thing.
    Also, I have bought a weekly zone 2-6 travelcard, but I am going to be making a lot of zone 1 journeys next week and I was wondering if there is a way I can turn my zone 2-6 travelcard into zone 1-6? If not, what would be the cheapest option? Can I add a zone 1 travelcard to the 2-6 one?

    • Hi Kremi,

      Unfortunately not. The smallest extension you can buy is for 2 zones which isn’t much good if you want zone 1 and already have zone 2. Most journeys will only cost £2.00, plus if you can use the train to the last station in zone 2 and then take the bus it will be free.

  185. Hi Mike, This site has provided some very useful reading, thank you. I’ve just recently received an Oyster 60+ card for use on London transport and will be travelling from Earlsfield (Overground station) to Gatwick in the New Year. Can I use my new Oyster card as far as East Croydon, and get a paper ticket for the onward journey that would be out of the Oyster card jurisdiction? And if this is possible I assume that I would have to validate the broken journey at East Croydon?

    • Hi Teking,

      Yes, you can use the Oyster card as far as East Croydon and then buy a paper ticket. You don’t need to touch out at East Croydon because the 60+ Oyster is a free travelcard.

  186. Hi Mike,

    I am very new to Oyster travel and will be moving to London in the new year. I would be starting at Charlton station (zone 3) and take a bus to North Greenwich (zone 2) which will be my primary point of departure for tube travel. If I buy a zone 1-2 travel card, will this stretch of bus journey be included? I gather that bus travel is free if oyster has a stored travel card in it. Am i correct? Does this include travel by bus in all zones? Does my 1-2 travel card cover DLR and over ground as well? Thanks in advance….this is a great resource…..

    • Hi Sayak,

      Yes, all buses are included with a zone 1-2 travelcard, while the travelcard covers all rail within those zones apart from the usual HS1 and HeX exceptions.

  187. Hello Mike,
    i am sure you’ve probably answered this same question before-
    I need to travel from Gipsy Hill or Crysta Palace to Uxbridge and was hoping you could tell me the cheapest and or best way, I was looking at a zones 3-6 oyster travel card.

    • Hi Alex,

      You’ll probably need more than a zone 3-6 travelcard to make that journey in a reasonable time. Your journey would be from Crystal Palace or Gypsy Hill to Tulse Hill, then Tulse Hill to Wimbledon, then Wimbledon to East Putney, then walk to Putney and train to Richmond, then Richmond to Turnham Green and finally onto Uxbridge. You’d need to touch out and in at least once to stop the journey being treated as one.

      If you add in zone 2 then it becaomes a lot less tortuous. Crystal Palace to Clapham Junction, then West Brompton, Earls Court and then to Uxbridge. You’ll need to touch the pink validator at West Brompton to make that route work. To be honest I wouldn’t use any other routes via zone 1 because you are paying a lot more for very little time saving, if any.

  188. Hi there.

    I travel from Sutton Common to Canary Wharf each day. Until last week my quickest morning route was into London Bridge NR then onto the Jubilee Line and my quickest evening return route was Jubilee to Waterloo then NR. Until now I have always purchased Zone 1-4 monthly travel cards.

    However now that the timetables have changed and the ELL extension opened, the quickest morning route has become via Peckham Rye and Canada Water onto the Jubilee Line (i.e. avoiding Zone 1). The quickest return route remains as before via Waterloo.

    I’m trying to establish if it would now be cheaper for me to start purchasing Zone 2-4 travel cards and using PAYG to cover the Waterloo portion in the evenings, however I can’t work out what the PAYG cost would be each day for this scenario. Please could you advise.


    Oh and would I have to touch the pink Route Validator at Canada Water ?

    • Hi Simon,

      With a travelcard including zone 2 but not zone 1 you are charged a TfL single fare whenever a mixed mode journey is made, unless your initial touch out in zone 1 (if there is one) is at a NR station in the peak. So usually it is £2.00 but sometimes £2.10, and both fares are increasing by 10p next month. In your case you touch out at Waterloo LU so it will be £2.00. In the morning you should touch the pink validator at Canada Water if the single fare finder lists that route as an alternative.

  189. Hi Mike

    If I have a Zone 2-4 travelcard on my Oyster and I travel into Zone 1 on a National Rail train what will this cost me? Would it be a equivalent fare to taking a journey that started and finished in Zone 1 (i.e. £2.20 during peak times at 2013 prices).

    Also what times is the Annual Gold Card discount on my Oyster PAYG valid?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Captain,

      If the journey is only on NR then you will pay NR zone 1 fares (currently £1.60/£2.10). If you add LU or DLR to the journey then the TfL zone 1 fare applies UNLESS the first touch out is at a NR station in the peak. So, with a zone 2-6 travelcard season Surbiton to Oxford Circus would be £2.00 off-peak and £2.10 peak; while the reverse would be £2.00 all the time. This unfortunate anomaly arises because once charged, the Oyster system won’t refund any fares paid.

      All railcard discounts apply to all off-peak fares and the off-peak caps.

  190. What would be the right way of handling this situation – travelling from Raynes Park [NR – Zone 4] to Gunnersbury [UG – Zone 3].

    The usual route to take is via Clapham Junction [Zone 2] and then via Richmond as these trains are frequent. So for frequent travel, I would buy a zone 2 to 4 travelcard to cover this travel.

    There are however, less frequent trains that run from Raynes Park direct to Richmond, but these go via zone 6.

    I have ensured that I have enough credit in my Oyster pre-pay, but the system just uses my zone 2-4 travelcard for this journey (obviously, because it doesn’t know which way around I went!!).

    As long as I touch in at Raynes Park and have enough money for an extension to zone 6 and then touch out again, do I need to do anything else? Is there an expectation from TfL that customers would go out of their way to make sure they are charged more or is this a legal “loophole” in the Oyster system.

    The last thing I want to do is to break the rules, but as far as I am aware, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to – it’s just the Oyster system making assumptions about the route I travel.

    • Hi Peter,

      You will be fine. The system cannot tell how you’ve gone so charges for the most likely route. As long as you have sufficient credit for a zone 5-6 journey and have touched in at the start of the journey then you won’t get any problems with RPIs either.

  191. Hi Mike,

    I have found this forum and your answers quite helpful.

    I need your advise on something (I couldn’t find answer to my question previously)

    I live in Z3 and uses monthly travel card Z1-3 to cover my journey. However, with increasing price every year it is getting difficult every year to pay for my travel. I have found a way which can reduce my travel cost but i am not sure if it is legal or not?

    I can buy Z2-3 travel card, and exit out at last Z2 station and take the bus service to central London (Z1), this would save me considerable amount of money – though it would add another 1 hour to my journey.

    Thank you for your advise and is there something on TFL’s website/rule about this?

    • Hi orange,

      That’s perfectly legal. Any travelcard entitles the holder to free bus travel throughout all the zones, and even beyond in some cases.

  192. Thank you for your quick reply.

    I never knew this is legal. I was under the impression this is a way of fare evasion

    But I couldn’t find any information on TFL’s website which says any travel card entitles you for free traveling on buses.

  193. Hi,

    I have a question for you- I normally buy a zone 2-6 weekly travelcard as I live in brixton but work in Teddington.

    However, I have two days only this week when I shall be in work. Should I just use my oyster pay as you go, or try to buy a travel card for those two days? On Friday I shall be going into central after work.


    Thanks Anna

    • Hi Anna,

      As you can’t buy a day travelcard excluding zone 1 it has to be PAYG. Even if you do lots of extra travel, you still won’t pay more than the cost of a day travelcard.

  194. Hi all.

    I should put this post under “mixing paper ticket and oyster card” but the site says I need a password to access, so hopefully someone could help me please.

    I am planning to get an annual ticket – to/from Basingstoke to London zone 2. Normally I can get simply get a Basingstoke to London zone 2-6 season ticket, however, is it possible if I can get a Basingstoke to London zone 5-6 and a separate Oyster card just covering zone 2-4?

    I contacted one of SW Trains customers service staff and he said it was ok. However, when I asked a ticket conductor on a southwest train, I was told that I needed an Oyster card zone 2-5 so that I can cover the stations between zone 4 to zone 5.

    The conductor’s theory sounds like as if I was buying a single ticket – i.e. where I need to ensure I have got a valid ticket covering the 2 stations joining 2 different zones. However, if I buy a seasonal ticket covering all the zones, do I need to have my Oyster card duplicating zone 5?

    Many many thanks

    • Hi mumu,

      Sorry, I will get round to finishing that page soon.

      Anyway, there categorically is no gap between adjacent zones in London so a Basingstoke to zone 5 travelcard will join seamlessly with a zone 2-4 travelcard. Both tickets are zonal for the purposes of NRCoC condition 19 so it doesn’t matter if they’re both seasons or not.

  195. Hi,
    Quick question: If I have a v2-4 travelcard and use it for a peak z1-5 journey from Bromley South (zone 5) to London Victoria can you confirm that I will be charged a Z5 NR single (£1.60) + Z1 LU single (£2.00) = £3.60 extra?


    • Nearly! You’ll be charged £1.60 + £2.10 = £3.70 because you’ll be touching out at the end of a NR journey. In reverse you would be charged £3.60 if you start with a LU journey (say from Oxford Circus) but £3.70 if you start from Victoria NR. This is just one of the quirks of the Oyster system.

  196. Hi.. Going London Marylebone to Gerrards Cross tomorrow. Will my Oyster PAYG help? Can I touch in with that, get charged full fare and then just buy a single from West Ruislip (Z6) to GX? Worth the bother?

    • Hi Paul,

      Probably not worth it. Off peak you will save 10p while in the peak you will lose. If you can touch out at West Ruislip and get back on the same train then it would save you £1.60 off peak. If the train doesn’t call at West Ruislip then you could be at the mercy of any on-board ticket checks between the last stop in the Oyster area and the first stop after West Ruislip.

  197. I have a 60+ Oyster card and want to travel from Waterloo to Walton on Thames. Can’t seem to find which is the last station in zone 6. Does zone 6 stop at Surbiton, although the zone seems to go on further, the stops after Surbiton are Esher and Hersham then Walton on Thames. From which stop do I buy a paper ticket, I presume I swipe in at Waterloo but where would I swipe out or do I not have to. 60+oyster card

    • Hi Pearl,

      Surbiton is the last stop in zone 6 on the mainline; the only others are the Hampton Court Branch. You should buy a ticket from Surbiton and you do not need to touch out as the 60+ card is a free pass.

      Hope this helps.

  198. Hi,

    I have read through all comments and they have been very helpful but unfortunately I have not seen a scenario I can apply to mine and wonder if you could please advise?

    I have an (18+ student) oyster card that I have an annual zones 1-6 travel card on and Travel 5 days a week from Epping (Z6) to King’s Cross (Z1).

    In 2013, National Rail station of Broxbourne has been rebranded to a Zone B (?) station and had oyster readers installed, but I cannot find any prices for the newly branded stations.

    I wish to Travel from Broxbourne Station (ZB) to Tottenham Hale (Z3) and then change to the Victoria Line to go into King’s Cross (Z1) as this will drastically reduce travel time.

    The only information I could find was that with a PAYG Oyster Card the journey from Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale would cost £5.10, which I don’t particularly wish to incur twice a day, 5 days a week, on top of the £1500 for the 1-6 travelcard. Would you have any information on how much I would be charged if I tapped in at Broxbourne and then in/out at Tottenham Hale (it’s one set of gates to the underground) and then out at King’s Cross?

    Also, I never realised you could add PAYG funds to an oyster card with a pre-paid travelcard on it, for fear TfL would deduct my PAYG first! I guess adding PAYG to my travelcard oyster would be the best way to go about what I need to do?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,


    • Hi Andrew,

      I’m not quite sure what the system would deduct, but it won’t be anywhere near the fare to Tottenham Hale. If you touch in at Broxbourne it will charge you for the bit beyond zone 6 when you touch out anywhere within zones 1-6. In fact, if you can let me know what it does deduct it would be useful to work out how the new extensions are working.

  199. Mike,

    Now that Oyster has finally been extended to Brentwood and Shenfield I am weighing up my options for the daily commute. I live in Brentwood and need to travel to Stratford and back 5 days per week. However, I get a lift to Harold Wood 3 mornings a week. One option is to buy a 6-3 travelcard (Harold Wood to Stratford) and use PAYG for the 7 out of zone journeys I will need to make. Is this permitted within the conditions of carriage? Also, can you advise me how much each out of zone journey will be from Brentwood to Harold Wood and vice-versa? Will it be the difference between the Harold Wood to Stratford journey and the Brentwood to Stratford journey or a single PAYG from Brentwood to Harold Wood?

    One other query, in the travelcard options for Brentwood to Stratford, is a via Shenfield journey enabling the use of a fast train to Shenfield and then a trip back to Brentwood or vice-versa. This costs extra over and above the standard Brentwood to Stratford travelcard. With a PAYG Oyster what will I be charged via Shenfield given I will touch in/out at Brentwood? Presumably nothing extra as the system will have no way of knowing. Could I be liable for a penalty?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Russ,

      Yes, paying for Brentwood to Harold Wood to connect with a travelcard is absolutely fine. I’m not sure what the fare will actually be as Brentwood is a zone on it’s own, but it certainly won’t be more than the fare to Harold Wood. Do let us know what you are charged if you try it.

      As to your other query, you will be charged for a Stratford to Brentwood journey because, as you say, Oyster can’t tell what you’ve done. You can’t be off-route as long as you are within the Oyster area and have a validated Oyster card. For your own peace of mind I would recommend having enough credit for the journey to Shenfield, but there really is no basis for a penalty fare.

  200. Hi,
    I have another Brentwood question. I have an oyster season zone 1-6 if I touch in at Liverpool st and then travel to Brentwood with the intention of touching out when I get there (although this is a loophole that has been mentioned about ungated/unmaned stations) what if a ticket inspector wants to check my ticket whilst we are inbetween Harold wood and Brentwood, will I be liable for a penalty fare as theoretically at that time I will have travelled out of my zones of my season ticket and not touched out – but I can touch out when I get to BW?

    • Hi Sally,

      If you are checked after Harold Wood and you have touched in at Liverpool Street and have enough balance to pay for the fare at Brentwood then you will be fine. What you may need to be careful about is walking past the validators if RPIs are watching. They can still ask to see your ticket/card, and if you should have touched out, you could then be liable for a penalty fare.

  201. Mike,

    Thanks for you prompt reply, it’s much appreciated. I will let you know what the extension fare is. Regarding the via the Shenfield option, I will give it a go and argue my case if the Revenue Inspectors stop me.


  202. Hi Mike,
    Happy New Year.
    Great work you are doing here.
    I have a quick question. I usualy travel from Chingford to Canary wharf 3 days a week but never go through Zone. I get a bus to stratford and get the tube to canary wharf so zone 2-3 should suffice for me however if I went into zone 4 or zone 5 how much will I be charged per journey on my PAYG?



    • Hi Tony,

      Just to clarify, are you getting a travelcard season? If yes then you will only be charged on PAYG for the zones not covered by the travelcard. So a zone 2 to zone 5 journey would be charged as a zone 4 to zone 5 journey. My only concern is that a travelcard wouldn’t normally be worthwhile for only 3 days a week travelling. A zone 2-3 travelcard costs £23/week. A peak single on the trains is £1.60, so £3.20/day. Two bus journeys is a further £2.80 making £6/day. You would need to do that 4 days a week to make it worthwhile.

  203. Hi,

    Many thanks for your reply. I am wondering now though if it is actually worth my while to use the PAYG option.

    I used to get a ticket from boundary zone 6 to brentwood which with my gold card cost me £1.80 (for use on trains departing liv st around 5.30 and getting in to BW aroudn 6.30) but if i used my PAYG i have a feeling that i will be paying more than that as Oyster at that time is peak? Any views?


  204. Hi, I’ve been getting a headache working out my best ticket. I live in Brockley (zone 2) and will be commuting to Watford Junction for a month. But sometimes I will return to Oval rather than Brockley, and I generally like the freedom of a travelcard.
    So, I believe a 7 day travelcard that includes Watford Junction is £79.20 and would enable me to potter around London, varying my home destination.
    Or, is it cheaper to have a 7day zone 1&2 travel card (which is what I would normally have as I usually work and live within those zones) and a point to point season ticket (Boundary zone 2 – Watford Junction)
    Or zone 1 & 2 travel card with PAYG doing the extra bit to Watford Junction.
    Or can I do a point to point season ticket (Brockley to Watford Junction) and any deviations to my home destination would come off PAYG.
    At the moment this is during peak hours (though I am confused by something I read saying peak morning hours don’t count for Euston to Watford, or for Watford to Euston during peak evening. Is this the case?
    It cost my £8.60 each way today using just PAYG
    After a month I will then be travelling offpeak (unless Brockley to Watford at 5pm is considered peak as even though I would be going to work, it would be in the same direction of rush hour leaving work, I suppose. My return would be more like 10.30pm, so definitely not peak in either direction)

    Any advice will be hugely appreciated!

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Firstly, the bad news. You cannot load point-to-point seasons onto an Oyster card. You also cannot buy seasons from a boundary zone to a station.

      The bit about Euston to Watford in the morning and vice-versa in the afternoon peak is absolutely true, but there is a very important caveat to it which says that the whole journey must be only on that line. However, we can get round that. If your journey from Brockley goes to Euston then to Watford, then you need to touch on a bus outside Euston station and get straight off. This will split your overall rail journey in two and make the second part solely on the Euston to Watford line. If you have a zone 1-2 season on your Oyster then the bus won’t cost anything and you’ll only be charged for a Willesden Junction to Watford Junction off-peak single at £1.60 each way. I think that is probably the cheapest way to do it while travelling in the peaks.

      Unfortunately leaving Brockley at 5pm would definitely be peak whatever way you look at it, while 10.30pm is definitely off-peak. I’d need to consider options a bit further for that scenario.

      Finally, the default fares for Brockley to Watford Junction are only £4.50 peak and £2.70 off-peak. The snag here is that you can’t touch zone 1, so I think the expected route would be Brockley to Clapham Junction (either via Crystal Palace or changing at Surrey Quays), then Clapham Junction to Watford Junction (either by direct Southern train or changing at Willesden Junction). That could take a while, even on the slightly faster Southern trains. There is also a cheeky alternative but it wouldn’t be much quicker (and might be slower). As long as you don’t touch out and in again (eg at Euston when changing from tube to NR) the Oyster system will assume you’ve avoided zone 1. So, you could change at Canada Water, Waterloo or Baker Street and anywhere between Queens Park and Harrow and Wealdstone. I mention it as an option, though I don’t think I’d do it myself.

      Hope this gives you some ideas.

  205. Hi Mike,

    I have bought a zone 2-3 Travel card. Some mornings I Travel from Clapham South (zone 2) to Ealing Broadway (Zone 3) and it is fine and does not charge me extra. However, if I travel from Balham (zone 3) to Ealing Broadway (zone 3) I get charged an additional £2.10 per journey. However, if I get the overland from Balham to Ealing Broadway then I am not charged.

    Do you know what is going on?

    Thanks a lot,


    • Hi Gemma,

      Yes, and no.

      If you are charged £2.10 then the system thinks you have gone through zone 1. If it doesn’t then it thinks you have stuck to zones 2 and 3. Sometimes with a travelcard loaded on your Oyster the system will behave differently to when you use PAYG alone.

      When you travel from Balham NR to Ealing Broadway the system is assuming that you go via Clapham Junction and West Brompton which is a zone 2-3 journey. When you travel from Balham LU it assumes you go via Embankment which is a zone 1-3 journey. The bit I don’t understand is why it doesn’t charge you from Clapham South. Logically that should be treated the same as Balham LU but it appears to think you might have gone via Clapham North/High Street, Clapham Junction and West Brompton.

      This is almost certainly down to the teething problems putting new routes into the system after the Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction link opened last month.

      If you are travelling via Embankment and not being charged then you are saving money every day because you should be charged. Likewise with any other zone 1 combination like changing at Stockwell and Victoria. You may find that you start being charged at some stage in the future.

      Hope that helps.

  206. Many thanks Mike, you’ve confirmed that there is noe obvious alternative. I’ve just decided to go with the easy option of the rather pricey (but as are all options) of a z1-W travelcard.

  207. Hi, I live in zone – 6 Crayford and will be travelling to Hoxton via New cross. From all the maps I’ve looked at I’m confused as to whether Hoxton is zone 1 or 2. Would I get away with a zone 2-6 or would I have to get 1-6?
    Thanks for your help.

  208. Hi,
    I have just got a new job where I will be travelling from Peterborough to London KX and then onto Moorgate tube station. I am looking to get a monthly rail season ticket but not sure whether to include a travelcard to add onto an Oyster Card.

    The TFL website shows I will be travelling in Zone 1 only, at a cost of £2.10 each way if I use Oyster PAYG. Over a 4 week or 5 week month this will cost me £84 / £105 a month respectively. However East Coast who I’m looking to use, show on their website the difference in cost between having and not having a Travelcard (Z1-6) added to a monthly season ticket is £56.10, a pretty good saving over the Oyster PAYG option.

    However is this right? What has made me unsure is that FCC offer a similar season ticket / Travelcard (Z1-6) option, but this works out at £115.20 for having the Travelcard added, a large difference compared to East Coast. I will confirm with East Coast the Travelcard cost but the deal seems too good to be true.

    Has anyone a similar travelling situation which they use, if so could you advise on your ticket arrangements, obviously I’m looking for the most cost effective way of getting to and from work which boils down to I think Travelcard or no Travelcard. Oh, travelling will be in Peak time.

    • Hi,

      You don’t need a travelcard to use Kings Cross St Pancras to Moorgate. There is a special arrangement whereby tickets to London Terminals valid into Kings Cross or Moorgate may travel on the underground between KXSP and Moorgate, and also Finsbury Park and Kings Cross, but the only intermediate station you can use on the underground is Highbury & Islington.

  209. Thanks Mike, but that has totally confused me, how does this work or have you a link where I can get further information, for instance how do I travel on the UG without a ticket?

    • You don’t. Your ticket to London Terminals will operate the gates at both Kings Cross St Pancras and Moorgate Underground stations. Regretably there is no link I can find in the public domain, but the following extract appears in the industry manual.

      Inter-available Routes – National Rail tickets valid on LU/DLR services
      Subject to tickets being valid between the appropriate stations or for the zones shown, National Rail singles, returns and Season Tickets are valid on LU /DLR services as shown below:

      Between Finsbury Park and London Terminals:
      between Finsbury Park and Kings Cross / St Pancras Und. but intermediately at Highbury & Islington only (Victoria Line / Piccadilly Line)
      and also
      between Kings Cross / St Pancras Und. and Moorgate (via Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Northern Lines, but intermediately at Old Street ONLY

  210. OK Mike, I will try out on next visit which should be soon, before I splash out on the Travelcard. If all works out OK I will owe you a few pints due to the savings I could realise. Still seems too good to be true!

    • It does seem a bargain, but it’s basically to allow journeys which used to be possible on National Rail only before they closed a line and then diverted other trains. There used to be a link from Kings Cross to Moorgate via a spur at York Road. That closed a long while ago which is when the Kings Cross to Moorgate inter-availability started. Then when BR took over the Moorgate – Drayton Park branch of the Northern line and diverted the suburban trains from Welwyn and Hertford to Moorgate they started to allow the inter-availability between Finsbury Park and Kings Cross.

  211. Hi Mike,

    Regarding my question of 04/01/13 on extension fares from Zone 6 to Brentwood; The cost is not the difference between Zone 3 – 6 £3.20 and Zone 3 – Brentwood £5.20 i.e. £2.00, nor is it the cost of a single between Zone 6 – Brentwood £2.90 but is £2.70. On this basis, it is cheaper to use PAYG rather than buy a Zone 3 – 6 Travelcard plus the extension fares.


  212. Hi Mike

    My aunt lives in Whitton, she recently got her 60+ photo oystercard. She goes to Windsor a lot, does her 60+ Oyster card cover her journey to Windsor by Southwest train?

  213. hello

    Sorry if a similar question has previously been asked. I used to have a simple journey that required a zone 1-6 now its a little more complicated and i am trying to get my head around it.

    I need a Z2-6 for my main commute but on a couple of days a week i will need to go to either Euston or Kings Cross.

    I will come in to Victoria on a train…when i tap out will this automatically recognise i have a Z2-6 and just charge me the cost of Z1 journey? I then need to go on the tube from victoria to euston/kings cross – again a Z1 trip so am I right in thinking it will then just take Z1 cost again? Then in return i will go on tube Euston to Vic and board train at Vic but get off in Z 6.

    How much would those additional Z1 journeys cost me? Would the oyster cap out if i was to go over daily amount for oyster travel?

    All of these journeys would be done in peak time.

    Thank you for any help in getting me to understand the charging system.


    • Hi Hannah,

      You will be charged for one zone 1 journey each way. In the morning it will cost £2.20 and in the afternoon it will be £2.10. In both cases it is a through NR+TfL journey which is charged as a TfL journey because your travelcard covers zone 2. The touch out at Victoria NR in the morning results in the slightly more expensive peak NR zone 1 charge which will not be reduced when the tube makes it a TfL charge.

  214. Hi I am travelling from Elephant and castle which is zone 1-2 to South Wimbledon (zone 3-4)

    do i need to buy a zone 1 – 4 card for this?

  215. so it only counts as one zone1 journey? I thought id get charged twice …once when tapping out at victoria and then again when tapping out at euston?

    I also echo the comment above … wealth of knowledge and much appreciated.

    • Hi Hannah,

      Yes, as long as the time allowed for interchange is not exceeded the journey will be charged as one. You can see full details of the time allowed at each interchange on the OSI page.

  216. Hello Mike, hoping you can help me ASAP… I have a weekly Zone 2 – 4 Travelcard and live in Bethnal Green (Zone 2). I need to go Sudbury Hill (Zone 4). I know this journey requires me to pass through Zone 1 and was wondering how much I should top up my Oyster card for my entire journey (to Sudbury Hill and than back to Bethnal Green) to ensure I do not have a negative balance. Thanks in advance.

  217. Hello Mike, when you write bus travel is free with all travel cards, does this mean if I have a travel card for zone 2-3, I can still touch in and out on the bus in zone 4 as well? Or would I be charged the singe bus fare in on my payg balance in this case?
    Thanks for clarifying and offering this support!

    • Hi Alex,

      Yes, all buses are free with any travelcard. TfL buses don’t operate a zonal system and they only know where you get on, not where you go.

  218. Hi Mike,

    Super helpful website. I recently moved to Lee a few months ago and am still getting to grips with train versus TFL combos!

    At the moment I travel on an annual gold card with South eastern Railway from Lee stations to Charing cross every day.

    However I am due to start a new job in Kentish Town in April, I’m obviously going to still use my gold card to charing cross then jump on the northern and continue on but should I invest in a zones 1-3 travel card for my tube journeys each week?

    When my gold card runs out in July can I simply use a monthly zones 1-3 for the entire journey?

    so sorry if this is a very obvious question!

    many thanks

    • Hi Alexandra,

      Actually you have some other options available too. You can buy a gold card for Lee to Kentish Town which is cheaper than the London terminals version that you currently have. It is valid to London Bridge then via FCC direct to Kentish Town. The only slight problem is that in the rush hours there aren’t that many trains from London Bridge to Kentish Town because the Charing Cross services take priority. Also do bear in mind that FCC trains will bypass London Bridge completely between 2014 and 2018 while the station rebuilding programme is underway.

      The main point to note is that you can exchange your current season for a different one providing there is still at least one month validity remaining. If you swap to the Kentish Town version then you’ll get a little back because it is cheaper. But if you want the flexibility of including all rail services in zones 1-3 then you can upgrade it to a travelcard season.

      If you go to Lewisham station then you should also be able to get the travelcard on an Oyster card. This means that if you ever travel beyond zone 3 but within the Oyster area you will only pay single fares for the zones not covered by your travelcard. The ticket office also ought to set the railcard flag which will give you 1/3 off all off-peak fares and caps on Oyster because of the gold card. In fact you can do that right now if you have an Oyster card; just follow the instructions on the Railcards page on this site.

      Finally, if you want to use the tube from Charing Cross to Kentish Town then you only need zones 1-2. A travelcard is not worthwhile if you only make 10 single tube journeys a week.

  219. Hi Mike,

    I’d be catching the bus from Zone 3 to Zone 2 then catching the tube from there to Zone 1. So I’d get a Travelcard for Zones 1-2, but would this include the twice-daily bus from Zone 3 to Zone 2?

    Can the card tell what Zone the bus is in? Sounds silly, right, but need to know before I start trying to touch on with no credit on my Oyster! (Which has happened to me way too many times…)

    As you can guess, I’m new to London! Your site is great by the way.


    • Thanks Liz,

      That’s fine. There are no zones for buses because the system can’t tell where the bus is and it’s a flat fare scheme anyway. You won’t be able to use Croydon trams with only zones 1 and 2, but all buses are fine.

  220. I’ll be travelling to the Oval tonight. I have a 2-6 travelcard and i’ll be leaving from Poplar DLR, going into bank then down to the oval. How much should i put on my oyster for this journey ? I assume that i have to touch in at poplar then touch out at Oval. On the way home I’ll touch in at Oval and make sure i touch out in a Zone 2 station ( go home via Stratford) to ensure i’m not overcharged ?

    • Hi Gary,

      You’ll need £2.10 assuming that your card is a standard adult card with no discount entitlement. On the way back you will need to travel via Clapham North and Clapham High Street to avoid a zone 1 fare.

  221. Hello, just a quick question. If i want to buy annual travelcard zones 1-3 , Tube, DLR and London Overground travelcard , and i want to pay for it with cheque from my work company.
    however i need to know appropriate railway coach company name to whom cheque will be payable to. My Manager says it should be to Network Rail name, but i am not getting only Network Rail travelcard, i am getting all together with usage of tube, overground , buses.
    Hopefully to get an answer from you .

    Thank you !

    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Julia,

      It depends on who runs the booking office where you buy the ticket. It’s unlikely to be Network Rail because they don’t run any stations. Also, sometimes the official name of the company is not what they’re colloquially known as. My best advice would be to ask at the station before getting the cheque made out.

  222. Hi
    You did response to a previous question, which I cannot find now but Thank you for answering.

    I would like to know about mixing travel card and pay and go.
    I would like to buy oyster travelcard zones 3 & 4 with pay and go to get into Central London from time to time.

    What I would like to know can I use my travelcard oyster on a bus within zone 4 or will it take the pay and go money on there.


  223. Mike – great site and information

    i live in north greenwich and currently have a zone2-3 travelcard monthly. i recently used it to travel into central london (baker st on the jubilee) and found that the system deducted £2.1 for each trip. i thought the system only took the difference between the zone travelcard i have and the cost for travelling into zone 1 (which i would expect to be either £1.6 or £1.2 dependingo on whether you choose zone 1-2 or zone 1-3). can you shed some light on this pls?

    thanks in advance

    • Hi Simon,

      When you mix PAYG and a travelcard it will charge you for the zones not covered as if you were just making a journey in those zones. In your case that is a zone 1 journey which is £2.10.

  224. Hi Mike,

    My daily commute is from Hampton Wick (Z6) to Vauxhall (Z2) and then involves a walk to near Victoria (Z1). I have previously been buying full Zone 6- Zone 1 weekly and monthly travelcards for simplicity, however am considering getting a Zone 6 – Zone 2 and using PAYG for Zone 1 if I decide to go out into Zone 1 after work or at weekends or need to continue my journey on the train to Waterloo instead of Vauxhall.

    I have a 16-25 discount card and will sometimes be going into Zone 1 after work (2-3 times a week?) and sometimes (usually off peak) be traveling from Hampton Wick (Z6) to Waterloo transferring through to Waterloo East and taking another national rail to Blackheath (Z3).

    I appreciate that it is difficult to know at all accurately which option would be cheaper when it can change week on week and at short notice, but from your experience, with various price capping and the second peak time in the evening, is getting a Z2- Z6 travelcard really worth bothering with?

    Thanks again for providing such a great service


    • Hi James,

      If your usual commute ends at Vauxhall then a zone 1-6 travelcard is overkill. You have four realistic options for that route depending on how far you want to go. Prices are all for weekly tickets:

      1) Hampton Wick to Vauxhall £26.80 (not valid beyond Vauxhall at all)
      2) Zones 2-6 Travelcard £38.00 (uses PAYG for journeys through zone 1)
      3) Hampton Wick to London £42.70 (valid to Waterloo, Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Blackfriars, London Bridge, City Thameslink)
      4) Zones 1-6 Travelcard £55.60

      Options 1 and 3 are only available on paper, but might be worth considering if you have a week with little or no extra travel. A return paper ticket to Blackheath from either Vauxhall or Waterloo East is £4.55 after 0930. Option 2 should be on Oyster to benefit from the best prices when zone 1 is required. With a railcard on your Oyster and option 2 you’ll pay the following charges for single zone 1 journeys:

      Peak National Rail only: £2.20
      Off-peak National Rail only: £1.15
      Peak NR + TfL starting on NR: £2.20
      Peak NR + TfL starting on TfL: £2.10
      Off-peak NR + TfL: £1.40

      With a railcard, the off-peak cap for zones 1-2 is only £4.60, even when travel is between 1600 and 1900.

      I hope that helps work out the best ticket for you.

  225. Helou.
    I have a question for you, can you please help me?
    We are coming to London in June and do not know how to decide on which transport ticket o buy. We will be buying a Travel card for 7 days (so we can use the 2for1 deals). We can’t decide which one to take. If we take the one that covers zones 1and2, how do we pay if we go to visit Wimbledon, which is in zone 3? Is it better for us to buy 7 days card for zones 1-3?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Hi Kokica,

      Unfortunately, to get the 2-for-1 offers you need to have a paper travelcard which does make it harder to extend beyond the outermost zone. On National Rail services you can buy a ticket from boundary zone 2 which won’t add too much money each time. I’m not sure whether the same applies on the Underground. Whether you should buy the larger travelcard depends on how many times you will use the extra validity. Zones 1-2 costs £30.40 per week; adding zone 3 is a further £5.20 and zone 4 is a further £8.00 on top of zone 3. If you make more than a couple of journeys into zone 3 then it would probably be worth it.

      Hope that helps.

  226. Hi Mike,

    What a great website!!

    I have a query: I have recently started a new job in Camden (Z2) and I live in Woolwich (Z4). I have to travel through Z1 to get there. I have been buying a weekly 2-4 travelcard and paying the extra for Z1. Do you think this is the best way to do it or should I just purchase a Z1-4 weekly instead?

    I am also thinking about purchasing an annual travelcard so again, am thinking if I should just get a 1-4……?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Nicky,

      If you make 10 journeys accross zone 1 in a week then it will cost more with PAYG for the centre. 9 or less and you win. An annual season is cheaper per day so you’ll pay more with PAYG on fewer journeys, possibly 7 or 8 a week.

      But … Have you considered going Woolwich Arsenal to Stratford on DLR then Overground to Camden Road? As long as you touch the pink validator on the Overground platform at Stratford then it won’t charge for zone 1.

  227. Hi Mike,

    This is a truly informative site, thank you! You’ve already answered some questions, but I still have a few. I live in Z2 (White City) and travel to Hendon Central (Z3) everyday for University; so purchased the zones 1-3 monthly travelcard. However, recently I’ve received a new work placement at Chase farm hospital, so the closest overground station is Gordon Hill, and it’s going to require me to use the NR trains. My journey in short will be; White city to Oxford Circus via Central, to then change on to Victoria line to Finsbury Park, and then catch the London King’s Cross St Pancras trains to Stevenage (for around 8 stops) to Gordon Hill with NR.

    So my questions are:
    -If I buy a zones 1-5 monthly travelcard on my 18+ oyster card, am I able to swipe in at Gordon Hill (as that’s in Z5) without added charges?
    -Also am I able to even use my zones 1-5 travelcard on the NR trains as their site mentioned something like “You must purchase 1-2, 1-4 or 1-6 zones” …So will I have to fork out more money? For the 1-6?
    -If I was to get the 16-25 railcard discount, would that be applied over my monthly travelcard with my oyster card, or not?

    Any help would be much appreciated 🙂 Thanks.

    • Hi Kadijah,

      Yes you can use a zones 1-5 travelcard to get to Gordon Hill. The 1-2, 1-4 and 1-6 travelcards are daily versions; period travelcards are available for any zone combination apart from a single zone. There is no discount on season tickets with a 16-25 railcard.

      Hope that helps.

  228. Hi Mike

    Great site!

    Was wondering if you could answer a question for me please. I have just moved to East Croydon (Z5) and will be staying there around 4 days a week and staying 3 days a week with my girlfriend in Mile End (Z2). I work in South Kensington (peak hours), so is my best bet to buy a Zone 1-5 season ticket to cover all journeys or get a Zone 1-2 and use PAYG for the extra for when I go to East Croydon?

    Many Thanks


    • Hi Steven,

      This is quite complex. A zone 1-2 travelcard will not save money if the only journeys are from Mile End to South Kensington. It will save on a journey from East Croydon. Mixing the two may or may not save depending on the number of each journey and whether there are any other journeys on top of the commute. A zone 1-5 travelcard would only save if you use it for at least 4 return peak journeys.

  229. Hi Mike,

    My daughter has just turned 16 and she and her friend will be travelling from Eastbourne to Highbury & Islington. I have bought her a paper ticket from EB to Clapham Junction (she has a 16-25 railcard). And as she also still uses a child oyster (valid for 6 months after her 16th birthday) I assume she will be able to use that from CJ to Highbury (via Victoria I think?) I’m so confused though about whether she needs to touch in at CJ? Would she have to exit the station to do so? No one at EB ticket office has a clue about this. Thanks for any help

    • Hi Namrita,

      She will need to touch in at Clapham Junction. As a child travelling off-peak it doesn’t matter which way they go, but an adult will find the direct Overground trains via either Peckham Rye or Willesden Junction are cheaper. Victoria line should be a little quicker.

  230. Hi,
    Google brought up your site because the question has probably already been asked in list above – but after spending a lot of time reading I really can’t find it so will ask again.
    We want to go to Heathrow Airport in June. I see that the Heathrow Connect is cheaper than the Heathrow Express. We would leave from Upper Warlingham and take the train to Victoria, then a cab to Paddington. If we buy Z1-6 paper Travelcards, at Paddington do we only need to pay the Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow fare which is £5.60 each? It is a bit unclear on the website whether they will honour the prepaid Z1-6 Travelcard to that point.

    • Hi Claudette,

      Yes, travelcards are valid on Heathrow Connect between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. They are also valid all the way to Heathrow on the Piccadilly line, although I can understand not wanting to use that with cases etc.

  231. Thank you Mike. We have large cases as we are going away for a long time and they have been a real problem in the past for us with the stairs on the Underground. As we want to stay on the level we need to take a taxi between Victoria and Paddington.
    None of this is ideal but last time we booked a cab then sat in such bad traffic on the M25 it became more stressful!

  232. Hi Mike, great site. I need your help please. I’ve just received a staff nominee travel card. I leave in Purfleet Essex and I travel to Bond street. I’m trying to understand what my options are regarding using my staff Oyster card and whether to buy a monthly paper ticket to cover the Barking to Gray route or to do oyster pay as you go and how much would this be. Thank you

    • Hi Simon,

      I’m not familiar with the various staff cards, unfortunately. You can’t get travelcards on Oyster from Grays group stations so you’ll probably need to get a paper ticket.

  233. Simon,

    Assuming you transfer to the tube at Barking then the staff nominee card should see you free from there (as long as you stay on a TfL mode of transport) so you’re really looking at the cheapest regular method of returning between Barking and Purfleet…which is where Mike has more knowledge than I do.

    What I don’t know is whether you could stay on the c2c line beyond Barking using staff oyster (because the tube and NR lines both go that way) and whether that would give you any benefit. (Internet scuttlebut claims staff cards are valid on the line between Fenchurch Street and Upminster but I can’t quote an official source so you WILL need to confirm that for yourself if you intend to try it.)

    Agin, whether this would provide you any benefit in terms of journey options is Mike’s domain rather than mine.


    From memory, when I was applying to TfL last year, the Staff Nominee card give free travel on all TfL modes of transport (Tube/Bus/Tram) if that helps. I would always add a caveat that the staff nominee needs to confirm the validity for themselves since my information is from a fixed point in last year and details may have changed in the meantime.

  234. Thanks Mike and Feathers, I’ve had to get a monthly C2C rail ticket for Barking to Grays @ £134. You are correct Feathers. Mike any cheaper alternatives? (:) thanks again

  235. Hi Mike,
    Question only partly covered earlier so here it goes:
    Can i buy a NR season ticket from Hildenborough to Orpington and a zone 1-6 travel card, to use for my daily commute to marylebone?
    Complication: My morning train calls at Orpington but my Return goes through the station without stopping.
    many thanks

  236. Hello Mike,
    I have a 2to 5 zone travelcard.
    I will be travelling to Potters bar from Baker street tomorrow around 2 pm.
    Will you be able to tell me how much extra will it cost me and also can i use my oyater pay as you go?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Sabita,

      You’ve actually got two extra sections to cover on that journey. Firstly from Baker Street to Finsbury Park, then from New Barnet to Potters Bar. The first one can be made using PAYG as long as you touch out between Finsbury Park and New Barnet (ie the system needs to know you finished within your zones. The cost for this bit is £2.10 at any time. The second one requires a paper ticket from New Barnet to Potters Bar. The train does NOT need to call at New Barnet because your travelcard season allows extending travel without the need to stop at the station where you change tickets. My recommendation would be to use PAYG to travel on the tube between Baker Street and Finsbury Park (Met then Pic lines), then buy the ticket New Barnet to Potters Bar at the NR ticket office and catch the next FCC train to Potters Bar from there.

  237. Hi Mike

    Great website – thanks!

    My question is – my daily commute will be from Canary Wharf to Syon Lane via Waterloo but can’t decide whether to get the London Zones 1-4 travelcard loaded onto my registered PAYG oyster card or as a separate paper travel card? i assume if i get the paper ticket i wont have to bother touching in and out at syon lane as it has no gates, which would be convenient. However, if i do load the travelcard onto my oyster will i still need a photocard?

    Do you think i should consider anything else regarding choosing between a paper travelcard or oyster loaded travelcard?


    • Hi Anthony,

      As long as your entire journey is within the zones covered on your travelcard then you also do not need to touch in or out when there are no gates or they are locked open. If you travel beyond the zones covered (say to Feltham) then you will only be charged for the extra zones as long as you touch in and out at each end. Thus in your case you’d be charged a zone 5-6 single.

      My understanding is that you don’t need a photocard when purchasing season tickets on Oyster, but if the duration is longer than 7 days then the Oyster card must be registered to you.

      Hope this helps.

  238. Hi Mike,

    I’ll be visiting London with family for 7-days in August. Just concluded that I am suited best with the 7-day zone 1-2 TravelCard (purchased at any railway station) since it offers 2-for-1 discounts at many attractions. My question is if we wanted to travel outside of zone 2 and wanted to take advantage of Oyster card rates would we be able to add the TravelCard plans to our Oyster cards? If so, would we need to surrender our TravelCards (along with the 2-for-1 discounts)?

    • Hi Dan,

      You can only have the travelcard on Oyster OR on paper. However, most Underground lines have a station on the zone 2/3 boundary so it wouldn’t add much time to get off one train, exit with travelcard and enter with PAYG Oyster then continue the journey. That way you would be charged the same as if you had your travelcard on Oyster, while still getting the 2 for 1 benefits. Sadly the same is not true of many National Rail lines (with a few exceptions) where you would need to switch at the final station in zone 2.

  239. Hi there

    I have just received my 60+ London Oyster photocard – I sometimes have to travel from Waterloo to Twickenham by South West Trains [after 9.30am]. I can’t really tell from the map if the card covers me for Twickenham or if I have to buy a ticket from Richmond to Twickenham [or if I should catch a bus from Richmond]



  240. Hi Mike,
    This seems a like a great service that you’ve set up!
    I have a quick question.

    Clapham railway station is served by both travel zone 2 and zone 3.

    I have a travel card from from zones 3-4 and had to travel from white hart lane (zone 3) to Clapham and was charged which I do not understand since my travel card covered zone 3.

    Could you please explain is this a fault or if the charges are correct, and if they are how does that work?

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Lakhbir,

      So, you travelled from White Hart Lane to Seven Sisters, changed onto the Victoria Line and changed again at Euston or Warren Street onto the Northern Line before ending at Clapham South. Therefore your journey was zones 3-2-1-2. With a travelcard for zones 3-4 on your Oyster you’d be charged for a zone 1-2 single when you touch out.