Peak, Off-peak and Caps

One of the real complications with the new system concerns the difference between peak and off-peak. The daily price cap operates between 0430 in the morning and 0430 the following morning. Obviously Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays are off-peak all the time. For Monday to Friday the day is split into five periods with four different meanings as follows:

Time of Touch In*Actual Rate ChargedCounts towards which price cap(s)
09:30-16:00Off-peakAnytime, Off-peak
16:00-19:00PeakAnytime, Off-peak
19:00-04:30Off-peakAnytime, Off-peak

* Remember, if your journey stretches between two of the periods in the table above, the rate and caps are decided by the time of the first touch in.  Any subsequent touches of any description make no difference to the charge for that journey.

Off-peak Friday Trial The Mayor of London is trialling treating Friday like Saturday and charging off-peak fares all day. The trial runs from March 8th 2024 to May 31st 2024.

On weekdays your travel updates the Anytime total and, if appropriate, the Off-Peak total as well.  If either total exceeds the cap for the zones travelled in then your charges are capped.  Thus, if you make one journey starting before 0930 you may hit the off-peak cap before the anytime cap.  Bus and tram travel also counts towards the independent daily bus cap, such that after 0930 it will only charge if none of the three caps have been reached. Some examples of different capping scenarios can be found on this page.

Note: I am now calling the peak cap “Anytime” because that better describes the way it works.  You are always adding to the anytime total unless you first reach the off-peak cap.


As with all rules there are a number of exceptions.

  1. If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 then the off-peak fare applies.  (from 2015 this is true for all rail journeys).
  2. If you start an eastbound journey between Reading and Iver between 1600-1900 then the off-peak fare applies regardless of where the journey ends.  (new from 2020).
  3. All travel between Euston and Watford Junction before 0930 is charged at off-peak fares as is travel the other way between 1600 and 1900.
  4. There are a number of earlier starts to the off-peak cap from stations at the extremeties of the Oyster area.  Touch in after the times given in the following table will count towards the off-peak price cap, but note that the single fare charged will still be the peak fare until after 0930:
Station Time of Touch In
Chesham 09:10*
Amersham 09:10
Chalfont & Latimer 09:20
Watford High Street 09:10
Bushey 09:20
Carpenders Park 09:20
Twyford** 09:10
Maidenhead** 09:18
Slough** 09:20
Hertford North09:20

* Warning: first train from Chesham is not until 0934. You are not advised to touch in before 0930 or you may be overcharged.

** Only contactless payments are accepted at these stations.

1,241 thoughts on “Peak, Off-peak and Caps”

  1. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Rainham Essex (Zone 6) to Canary Wharf Monday to Friday. I get the 9.26 train in morning and 18.00 in the evening. Would it be more beneficial to pay as you go or to get a monthly ticket for zones 2-6?

    • Hi Dean,

      If all you do in a week is travel to work and back 5 times then PAYG is cheaper. Also, if your train is running late in the morning and you can touch in slightly later then you might get an off-peak fare that day. Perhaps your best bet is to use PAYG and keep an eye on your journey history to see whether any additional travel is taking you over the weekly/monthly travelcard rate.

  2. I plan to travel in the afternoon on a weekday from Gunnersbury to Shenfield via Overground and then mainline from Stratford. Does the time of touching in (hopefully before 1600) still govern whether the travel is treated peak or off-peak on my Oyster card or does that only apply if all the travel is by LT?

    • Hi Ray,

      Peak and Off-peak is solely governed by time, not by what sort of rail you use. If you touch in before 1600 then you will be charged off-peak fares.

  3. Hi,

    Just wanted to clarify if i was to tap in (zone 6) at between 1600-1900 and tap out after 1900 what would that count as?
    Also is any travel i make after 0930 count towards my off peak daily cap?

    • Hi Norm,

      Touch in between 1600 and 1900 will charge peak fares regardless of when the journey ends. And yes, all travel after 0930 counts towards the off-peak daily cap as well as the anytime cap. It will stop as soon as the first cap is reached.

  4. Mike,

    Many thanks for the confirmation – what a really useful site this is!

    I was concerned because I need to touch in at the pink Oyster card reader at Stratford (when changing from Overground to Greater Anglia services) to show that I haven’t ventured into Zone 1, and thus wondered if this additional touch-in (after 1600) might trigger the higher (peak) fare for the Stratford to Shenfield leg. I take it this won’t happen?

    • Hi Ray,

      No, pink readers only flag routes taken. The time of touch is irrelevant, as is the time of touch out and touch in at OSIs and the final touch out too. The fare scale is determined by the very first touch in of a journey.

  5. Hi,

    I travel from Surbiton (Z6) to Canary Wharf and back
    Morning journey starts 6:15 (bus/Rail/tube)
    Afternoon journet starts 15:10
    I thought I’d qualify for the daily off peak cap(£8.50), but my journey sumates to £4.90(rail/tube) +£1.40(bus) = £12.60 both ways
    Is this because of the bus journeys ?
    I use oyster for all journeys

    • Hi Brendon,

      As you can see from the table above, although fares before 0630 are off-peak they don’t count towards the off-peak cap which is only after 0930. However, you can reduce the rail fares to only £2.40 each way by changing at Clapham Junction and Canada Water rather than Waterloo. Just remember to touch on the pink validator on the overground platform at Canada Water so that Oyster knows you’ve gone that way.

  6. Hi,
    I travel from from Euston square or Kings Cross St Pancras to Uxbridge on sundays around 4.30pm. Was just wondering if there are peak times on sunday and what are the fare charges for this?

  7. Hi,

    Im going to be visiting london and wanted to clarify how much it will cost with an oyster card for the following journey..

    Waterloo underground to Euston around 8am
    Euston overground to watford junction around 8am

    and then the return journey both around 6pm.

    Also, will I be needing to use the pink card reader?

    • Hi Sian,

      Sorry for the delay replying. There are three ways to do this simply, depending on whether you value time or money. The fastest and most expensive costs £8.60 each way. Just take the Northern line to Euston and any London Midland train to Watford Junction. The second way involves splitting the journey at Euston to take advantage of the off-peak fares in the ‘wrong’ direction on the Euston to Watford line. If you wait at least 40 minutes between touching out of the tube and touching in at the NR station then the fare comes down to £2.10+£4.50 = £6.60 each way. On the way back you only have to wait at least 20 minutes betwen touch out at the NR station and touch in on the tube. You could touch in on a bus and then get straight back off again outside Euston station which would cost £1.40 but you wouldn’t have to wait. The third way involves taking the Bakerloo line to Willesden Junction and touching out and back in again before taking the London Overground to Watford Junction. This would cost £2.80+£1.60 = £4.40 each way, but would be quite a bit slower.

      None of the options require touching a pink reader, especially not if changing at Willesden Junction (because you need to end and start a new journey).

  8. Hi Mike,
    Just wondering if you could help me 🙂
    I would need to travel from west brompton to either east or west Croydon on Saturdays 9am and return before 4pm.What costs would be either to w.croydon or e.croydon,whichever would be cheaper?

  9. Hi Mike

    If I travel from Carshalton Beeches to zone 1 by rail using oyster to touch in at 9.20am, would I still get charged at off peak price i.e. £2.90?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Cecilia,

      Unfortunately not. The early start time is for the off-peak cap, not the off-peak fare. Thus the charge would go towards the zone 1-6 off-peak cap of £8.50 should your travel exceed that during the rest of the day.

  10. Mike do you know the cheapest way on a weekday to get from:
    1) Euston to Coldharbour Road
    2) Coldharbour Road to Stanhope Mews West

    And then from Stanhope Mews West to Heathrow the following day?

    • Hi Ash,

      Simple answer is to walk. Assuming that that wasn’t quite what you were looking for then a combination of buses will probably be next cheapest as they cap at £4.40 per day (or just over 3 single bus fares). You don’t say where Coldharbour Road is, so for the rail options I will assume the one in Croydon. The nearest station to that is Waddon.

      Euston LU to Waddon will include the mixed mode surcharge, so to avoid that start by walking to St Pancras International. Then take a FCC train to Sutton and a Southern train to Waddon. That will cost £4.70 peak or £2.90 off-peak saving you £1.50 peak or £1.40 off-peak. The nearest station to Stanhope Mews West is Gloucester Road. Fares from Waddon are £6.20 peak or £4.30 off-peak. In the peak time you can save a pound by travelling from Waddon to Clapham Junction, then to Vauxhall, then by tube to Gloucester Road. You can make a big saving if you don’t mind walking from Earls Court tube. Again take a train to Clapham Junction, then use London Overground to West Brompton and finally tube to Earls Court. As this avoids zone 1 the fares become £3.20 peak and £2.20 off-peak. You must touch the pink validator at West Brompton while changing between trains.

      The following day it’s a no brainer really. Gloucester Road to Heathrow is direct on the Picadilly line and costs £5.00 peak or £3.00 off-peak. Again you can save about half by walking to Earls Court where the fares become £2.70 peak and £1.50 off-peak.

      All the above fares are using Oyster PAYG and peak fares are charged where the journey starts between 0630 and 0930 or between 1600 and 1900.

      Hope that helps.

  11. Hi,
    I travel off-peak Andover/Waterloo return 3-4 days per week. I usually buy a one day travel card to include underground for £4.85 extra. My usual underground usage is only Waterloo/Piccadilly return. Would it be cheaper to use Oyster for underground than the one day travel card?

  12. Hi Mike

    What is the best option on oyster (payg, travelcard or national rail card+travelcard) to travel from Shirley to Victoria (and return) which includes a bus journey to East Croydon and train to Victoria and vice versa during peak times for 5 days a week?

    • Hi Tushar,

      A travelcard will be the easy option. You might find that a season from East Croydon to Victoria plus Oyster Payg on the bus works out cheaper, but it will depend on any other usage you might make.

  13. Hi Mike
    I’m flying into Heathrow Terminal 5 on Friday and making my way to Billericay, Essex. I hope to catch a tube around 6pm at Heathrow. If I don’t get to Liverpool Street till after 7pm, will that count as off-peak travel fare? Or should I by-pass zone 1 and make for Stratford to catch National Rail?

    • Hi Catey,

      You can’t use Oyster as far as Billericay, so you will need to get a ticket for the NR part of the journey. Heathrow to Stratford will cost the same as Heathrow to Liverpool Street, so I would buy the paper ticket from there to Billericay.

  14. Hello Mike,
    If I’m travelling from Charing Cross to Falconwood on week days evening between 1600 to 1800hrs, how much it will charge for me? (with oyster PAYG with railcard on it)

  15. Thanks for this site, it makes info more accessible than the different and scattered tfl pages.

    I want to attract the users’ attention to this bit, which is not explained very clearly on the tfl site:

    I recently moved to zone 5 and I occasionally spend days in zone 1 OFF-PEAK, using many different bus and tube journey combinations. Looking at it all yesterday, my advice is that if you travel occasionally like me and off-peak, AVOID Oyster Pay as You Go.

    After reading the specific PAYG tfl pages, I realised that I’m better off with an off-peak 1 Day Travelcard. Reason? It’s £8.90 for zones 1-6 for a day of unlimited travel, and the off-peak period covers 9.30 am – 04.29 am the next morning. Whereas, if I chose Oyster PAYG, although there is supposedly a daily off-peak cap of £8.40, it has loads of hidden monstrous charges (e.g. if your journey takes longer than usual or if you change your mind and want to leave the station after you touched your card) plus there is an EXTRA PEAK period at 16.00-19.00. So if you travel in-between these times, you will be peak and you will pay at the end of the day a Peak Daily Cap of over £15!

    • Hi Viki,

      Firstly I must correct your last bit. Although single journeys between 1600 and 1900 are charged at peak rates, the off-peak cap still applies, so you won’t exceed that if all your travel has been after 0930.

      As to the other comments. If you exceed the maximum journey time then you will be charged incomplete journey charges in addition to any cap reached, but you will get the opportunity to ask for a refund from Oyster online, or you can call the helpdesk. As long as it’s clear what has happened they will refund charges over what you should have paid. If you have exceeded the MJT because you’ve been randomly travelling around then I agree that a paper travelcard is better. As to changing your mind, it depends when you do it. If you wait until 2 minutes have elapsed since touch in (but still before 30 minutes later) you will only be charged the cheapest single fare from that station, and it counts towards the daily cap as well. See same station exits for more info.

  16. Thanks for the reply Mike. I find all this travel fare info difficult to take in.

    Regarding the first point, are you absolutely sure? Because that’s what I thought until I read here: “If you catch a bus in peak hours, then other types of transport in off-peak hours, you’ll be charged a peak cap.” And I sometimes do catch a bus 4pm-7pm in zones 1 or 2 (

    Regarding your other points, I do agree, this is what I understood as well, but I feel that on my day out and around I will have to keep looking at the station clocks, whereas for 50p more with a day travelcard I don’t have that inconvenience.

    In addition, have you any personal experience with the Oyster refund process? I just don’t trust refund schemes very much! They often involve lots of hassle.

    Finally, I wonder, does the credit in oyster ever expire? (I tried to apply for a PAYG Oyster online and a minimum top up credit is required, plus the £5 deposit).

    Many thanks again.

    • Hi Viki,

      I’m absolutely sure from my own experience. Buses are a flat rate all day, but if you use one before 0930 it will only count towards the anytime cap. After that it counts towards the off-peak cap as well, and whichever cap is hit first is the one that applies, unless you then introduce more zones into your travel.

      If you only make distinct journeys then it is rare that the maximum journey time will be exceeded. The problem arises if you wander around just travelling. In that scenario I have always recommended a paper ticket, though I accept that some people will try to save money by being careful.

      Refunds. Yes, I’ve had refunds just about any way possible. The new online request system worked a treat, while the traditional phone the helpdesk and request a refund also works. If you won’t be travelling for more than a week or so then they will usually allow you to get the moeny credited back to your bank account. The refund is credited back next time you touch in or out at your nominated station within the following 8 days. Finally, no, credit never expires.

  17. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the article, I’m just trying to make sure I got everything right.

    This is my situation:
    There are 4 tube and bus trips I have to make in a day next week. Only my first trip with the bus, however, is before 0930.

    Am I right to conclude that the cost of my first bus fare will be outside of the off-peak price cap, and therefore this suggests that the amount I need = 1st bus fare + off-peak price cap?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      That’s the most you will need, yes. If your post 9.30 travel doesn’t reach the off-peak cap then you won’t need as much.

  18. Hi
    I’m traveling in on Saturday from Banstead to London Victoria, and then making 2 or 3 zone one tube journeys. What is the better option, a paper 1day travel card, or individual pay as you go legs?

  19. Hi

    On Wednesday, 6th February, 2013, I traveled to East Croydon from Euston Railway Station (via St Pancras). I began at 2-40pm (touched card) and arrived at 4-09pm. It cost me £4.30.

    The following day, I left from West Croydon and traveled to St John’s Wood (changing Canada Water). Times were 1.48pm to 2-42pm. Price this time was only £3.

    There appears to be a big discrepancy.

    I walked to St Pancras Railway Station from Euston Railway Station. I was still in the off-peak time zone when I set off from St Pancras, using National Rail.

    The return journey (next day) was exclusively London Underground.

    It appears that St Pancras to East Croydon maximum single fare is only £2.90 (off-peak).

    But I was charged the ‘through fare’ from Euston, despite walking to St Pancras. This is crazy.

    • Hi Chris,

      How did you get to Euston and did you arrive after 2.00pm? The reason I ask is that Euston NR to St Pancras Intl is an Out-of-station Interchange which would join the two journeys together. It is possible that this has confused things. If you can detail your entire journey history for the day I should be able to work out what has happened.

  20. I was wondering which to go with.
    I just got a job round about Aldgate and was wondering which travel options would be best for me.
    Harlow Town is about 40minutes away from London Liverpool.
    Should I get on the Central line from Epping instead as Liverpool seems to be where I need to be to connect to Aldgate.
    Off peak travel from Epping to Aldgate cost 6quid but need to travel during peak periods.
    Whats the fare like for oysters during that period?
    Harlow Town to London Liverpool street is freaking high because its outside London.
    Any ideas????

    • Hi Dev,

      Yes, Harlow Town will be considerably more expensive as it is outside the zones whereas Epping is within zone 6. As you say, Epping to Aldgate single is £3.00 off-peak while the peak fare is £5.00 single. If Aldgate East is a viable alternative station then you can change at Mile End onto the District Line which will be considerably easier as it’s cross platform. If the cost is still too high then can you make it from Whitechapel to work. Single fares from Epping to Whitechapel (stop before Aldgate East) are considerably cheaper at £2.70 peak single and £1.50 off-peak. Even adding a bus to each peak journey is only £4.10 (£2.70 + £1.40), saving 90p per journey over the fare to Aldgate. A further option would be a travelcard for zones 2-6 which is £38/week and includes any bus travel, even in zone 1.

      Hope this helps.

  21. Thanks alot Mike for replying in details.
    How about if I decide to relocate to Erith (DA8 environs), I guess that would be taking me further away isn’t it?
    On a second thought, Aldgate East is only 4mins walk to Aldgate House, so I might consider that route.
    Will Aldgate east cost a fiver as well? (single + peak).
    If all still appears soggy, then I might have to go the Whitechapel route and get a bus or sain from there as adviced. At least I save 90p daily….smiles…

    • Hi Dev,

      Aldgate and Aldgate East are both in zone 1 so they both cost the same. There seem to be several buses linking Whitechapel and Aldgate so you shouldn’t have to wait long. Erith to Aldgate would add a lot more because you are then mixing National Rail and TfL rail on a journey involving zone 1. Whitechapel wouldn’t be as bad, but the journey would take longer as you’d need to change 2-3 times rather than just once.

  22. Hi Mike,

    I frequently make a number of bus only journeys in a day (starting in the morning peak, 08.00ish) – my Oyster caps, correctly, at £4.40.

    The £4.40 bus cap is obviously the same regardless of the time of day I travelled – there is no on/off peak distinction for bus ticketing purposes. It would therefore appear logical to me that if I make a rail/tube/DLR journey after 9.30 (as is often the case) I only have to pay the off peak z1-6 cap (£5.80 in my case, with 16-25 Railcard discount). However, this is not what I find myself charged.

    Indeed, even where I then make enough off peak rail/tube/DLR journeys to hit the £5.80 cap, my Oyster doesnt cap at £10.20 (£4.40 + £5.80) – the maximum conceivable cost of the two seperate daily caps for the two types of journey I’m making. No, I’ll keep having credit deducted until I hit the whopping peak z1-6 cap (best part of £16).

    Is this right?

    • Hi Rob,

      In a word, NO!

      Charging should stop when the first cap is reached that is applicable to the mode you are using. Thus, if you make 3 bus journeys before 0930 you will have added £4.20 to both the bus and anytime caps. Then say the 4th bus journey is just after 0930 you’ll have £4.40 on the bus and anytime caps, and 20p on the off-peak cap. If you then start zipping around on trains in zones 1-6 you should stop when the off-peak cap reaches £5.60 (ie £5.40 of rail fares). At that point the anytime total will be £9.80 which is below the anytime cap, but that doesn’t matter because the off-peak railcard discounted cap has been reached.

      If you are being charged more then one of two things is happening. Either (1) the railcard is not logged on your Oyster which means that the £8.50 off-peak cap applies, or (2) you have an incomplete journey which won’t count towards any cap. If you can paste some journey history here I’ll try and work out which is happeneing.

  23. Hi Mike,
    Since there are no price caps shown for “National Rail only fares”, am I correct in thinking that the “National Rail through fares” price caps apply?

    • Yes David,

      The price caps apply to any rail travel in the relevant zones. The difference between TfL, NR and NR+TfL fares is only for single journeys.

  24. Thanks Mike,

    I had not realised that the price caps did not depend on the modes of transport. However, since I am interested in Shenfield, the caps only appear in the NR tables; it is a pity that Oyster does not extend to Chelmsford, which would be better for me.

    Now that I have an Oyster card, I am contemplating making trips into London on weekday evenings. This would involve a trip into London during the evening peak period and a return after the peak; the off-peak price would apply, if relevant. Later this year, I will qualify for a Senior Railcard.

    I would appreciate your checking the following:

    Return Shenfield to Liverpool Street (£8.30 + £5.70 = £14.00)

    Return Shenfield to Holborn (£10.40 + £7.80 = £18.20, but capped at £17.80)

    With a Railcard, the Liverpool Street homeward fare would be reduced to £3.75 but the total would be capped at £11.70 anyway, making the overall cost the same as a capped return to Holborn. Is that right? It seems strange that a single return trip can trigger the price cap. Of course, having no discount on the peak single fare, is the basic reason for this.

  25. Hi there,
    Am I right in thinking that if I travel from zone 3-7 via zone 1 at 15.30 tomorrow I will be charged off peak price of £3.90?
    If I return the next day doing the reverse route of zone 7 chorleywood to zone 3 colliers wood via zone 1 but at 17.30 I will pay the peak fare?
    Also chorleywood is serviced by the metropolitan line as well as the faster chiltern line so would the same fares still apply or would they only be valid for the metropolitan?
    Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Jemima,

      Yes, as long as the journey is completed in one go then the initial touch in is the important one for deciding which rate to charge. And Oyster is valid on both Metropolitan and Chiltern trains.

  26. Hi Mike,

    I am considering a reallocation for kids school to Kingston / Sutton area.

    What is the cheapest way to travel Mon – Fri in peak hours to Canary Wharf from :

    a) Kingston
    b) Sutton

    Many Thanks,

    • Hi Chetan,

      Kingston is in zone 6 and Sutton is in zone 5 so Sutton will be cheaper. Both have options to avoid zone 1. Kingston->Clapham Junction->Canada Water->Canary Wharf and Sutton->West Croydon->Canada Water->Canary Wharf. In both cases you need to touch the pink validator at Canada Water while interchanging.

      Hope this helps.

  27. To add to Mike’s reply, if you’re looking across the entire Kingston/Sutton area then somewhere like Worcester Park (where I happen to be) is on the border of the two and is only in zone 4 so would be cheaper still on the travel expenses.

  28. I travel from zone-4 to zone-1 5 days a week which includes an overground, a tube and a bus travel. In my both to & from journey, I start in peak hours & reach destinations in off-peak hours. Should I go for PAYG or Travelcard on my oyster?

    • Hi Aejal,

      From what you’ve said I would definitely go for a travelcard. Touch in time at the start determines whether peak or off-peak fares apply, so your journeys will be peak. Add a bus to each one and a travelcard is a no brainer.

  29. Hi Mike,

    Useful website you have here. By reading the comments I even managed to understand what the pink readers are for (been asking myself that for a long time).

    I’m planning to move houses to Mile End next month…but the problem is I work in Windsor. Any idea what would the cheapest way to get there? I can catch the off peak in the morning as well, around 6.20.


    • Hi Razvan,

      The problem is that Windsor is outside the Oyster area. You may be able to save money by using PAYG if you can take advantage of off-peak fares. It will add some time to your journey though, because you’ll need to touch out/in at West Drayton on the way to Slough for the Windsor branch. The fare from Mile End to West Drayton will be much cheaper than the fare to Feltham (which is the other route to Windsor).

  30. Hi Mike,

    I’ve exactly the same situation as Aejal. But I have just one interchange of underground tube with no bus journey. What is the cheapest way you suggest? PAYG or Travelcard?


    • Hi Arjun,

      Can you confirm exactly what your journey is please? I need to check which rail services you will use because it may make a difference.

  31. Hi Mike

    I’m just starting a new job and travel from Cockfosters to South Ken. I leave Cockfosters at around 8am, so that would be peak? And then leave South Ken after 7pm, so this would be off peak? Will my fare be different going out and coming in? I only work Monday to Friday so I’m guessing it would be cheaper for me to just pay as I go? The weekly ticket is £51.80.

    • Hi Davina,

      Yes, if you touch in after 1900 you will be charged off-peak which is £3.00 as opposed to £4.60. 10 peak singles would be cheaper than a travelcard, so if you make some off-peak then PAYG will definitely be best.

  32. hi there
    i have travel from wimbledon to barking at 7.30am and hve reach tere before 9.30 and i hve return same way before 6 kindly tell me what will b my fare…i hve 16-25 rail card.can u suggest me any cheap way. thank u

    • Hi badhon,

      If I’ve understood your question then I think the cheapest way is to use PAYG and travel from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction, then by Overground to Whitechapel, then touch the pink reader at Whitechapel before getting the District/Ham&City to Barking. This avoids zone 1 and makes the fare very reasonable. Your railcard will not give discounts on peak fares, while a travelcard season will only be worthwhile if you make other journeys on top of you 5 return trips a week.

  33. Hi Mike,

    I actually don’t have any questions, but after seeing the incredible amount of responses you have given to people, and how many alternatives you present for each one of them, I just wanted to say thank you! It’s great to know there are people around willing to help so much!

  34. Hi Mike,

    I’m planning on using a combination of buses and using the overground and tube on a Saturday going from zones 2 (New cross Gate) to 3 (Stratford) and back. I also have a 16-25 rail card linked to my oyster. Will I be charged the off peak price of £5.10 for the whole day or will it be £5.10 + £4.40 = £9.50 for the whole day? But I do know that a single journey would cost me £1 and another £1 coming back, so would it be £4.40 (bus) + £2 (overground and tube)= £6.40 for the whole day?

  35. Hello,

    There is a rule that if you travel into zone 1 from outside during evening peak hours the journey is charged as off-peak. Could you tell me what happens if I travel into zone 2 from further outin the evening peak? I.e is it actually cheaper to travel to zone 1 than zone 2 at this time, if you start in say zone 5, because zone 1 means an off-peak fare and zone 2 a peak one? Seems odd.

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Jane,

      The concession only applies to lines where TfL set the fares. On those lines a peak fare to zone 2 is cheaper than the off-peak fare to zone 1 from the same starting point.

  36. Thanks Mike, but what if I go into zone 2 from an outer zone via zone 1 in the evening peak? That would count as peak still I guess? So for example if I was coming in from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Warwick Avenue in zone 2 it would be cheaper to get out at a zone 1 station like Paddington and walk?

    Thanks so much for your answers. Great site.

    • Hi Jane,

      OK, here are specifics to demonstrate what I mean:

      Zone 4-1 journey: £3.80 peak, £2.70 off-peak
      Zone 4-2 journey: £2.30 peak, £1.50 off-peak

      So you see that a peak journey outside zone 1 is cheaper than an off-peak journey ending in zone 1.

  37. Hi,

    I am working in Victoria. If I move to stay in Watford, what will be my monthly charges on transport to Victoria. I thnk i should exchange at Euston to catch my tube to victoria.

    Will it be cheaper if i buy a Zone 1 oyster card (117) and then do a top up of 7.50 (peak hours) or should i go for monthly oyster of 304 pounds.


    • Hi Iniyan,

      When doing comparisons which might involve daily travel I find it better to work on the weekly travelcard and 10x single tickets. Monthly travelcards are 3.84x the weekly rate but the number of days included will vary.

      On that basis, it appears as though the cheapest option is to buy a zone 1-3 travelcard at £35.60/week and 10x zone 4-W singles at £33.00/week giving a total of £68.60/week. However, should you make any extra journeys during the week outside zones 1-3 you will add additional PAYG costs. The weekly zone 1-W travelcard is £79.20.

      Hope that helps.

  38. Hi Mike,

    I’ve been so inspired by your answer to Inyian above (3 June 2013, 1:54 pm) that I’ve designed a spreadsheet to determine the cheapest possible route given a combination of zones.

    I’m trying to work out the monthly equivalent of the weekly fares you’ve given (in order to compare it to the monthly travelcard). Regarding the 10x single tickets portion, do you think it would be more accurate to calculate it my multiplying by 3.84 like the travelcard (£126.72), or by 52 weeks divided by 12 months (£143.00)?

    Thanks for your assistance.

    • Hi Ellie,

      When weekly single tickets become monthly single tickets it’s a bit variable. Assuming that no holidays get in the way, a month can have anything from 20 to 23 working days in it. If I wanted an average I’d probably go for 21 or 22 working days (42 or 44 single journeys) depending on which way I wanted to skew the results.

      I’ll send you an email shortly because I’d be interested to see your spreadsheet when it’s done.

  39. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your helpful response.

    I have decided to use 22 working days (or 44 single journeys) as you suggested. For 2013, the monthly average of working days is 21.75, so 22 is best and it gives a little extra to the costs to make it more accurate.

    I feel very honoured that you wish to see my spreadsheet, and I will gladly send it to you. It’s not exactly perfect, but almost there! I welcome any comments or suggestions to make further improvements.

  40. Dear Mike,

    Thanks for much for offering help here. I’m really confused with how to charge, how to use the Oyster card.

    I will take either bus or tube from King’s cross to Victoria coach station on Monday around 16:30 (how would you suggest me to take with the big and heavy luggage?), how much it costs by using Oyster card (peak or off peak?)

    Then back to London on Friday and will start to use tube or bus after noon time (I know it has been counted off peak time). the confusing point is that I am going to Heathraw from Victoria coach station at 17:00 (am thinking about go to Victoria train station and transfer in Green Park to Heathraw by tube), I am not sure how Oyster card will be charged for this trip? I know that the maximum charge for off peak is 8.9 pounds per day, does it means I will pay total 8.9 pounds including all the tubes I have taken, including this one to Heathraw? Or I will need to pay maximum peak cost (which is over 15 pounds, I think). I’m really confused the way of calculating the maximum charge and don’t know what is the best way to take (should I take coach to Heathraw since I will carry the heavy luggage? But heard about the bad traffic on Friday night, am not sure if coach will take more than 2 hours to arrive?

    Can you give me some advice, really need expert to help.

    Big thanks,


    • Hi Alice,

      I can’t really comment on the likelihood of traffic or which way is best with luggage. If all travel is after 0930 on a weekday then the off-peak cap applies. For zones 1-6 this is actually £8.50 as the caps were frozen at 2012 levels when the travelcard prices went up in January. Single tickets between 1600 and 1900 are charged at peak fares, but that just means that you reach the cap quicker.

  41. Hi Mike,
    I will make a journey tomorrow at 8.15 am from king George V to Angel, and I will be at angel for a few hrs. Then I’d take dlr/underground to gallions reach station, take one bus from there to the gallions reach shopping park to do some shopping and back to gallions reach station and then take dlr/underground to regents street station for a meet, and then finally, back to king George V. Do I need to buy a travel card? Or what’s the price cap for that journey? Do i get charged peak fare? Thanks.

    • Hi Jane,

      This is a good example of how Oyster works. All your travel is within zones 1-3, so the zone 1-4 caps will apply. They are £10.60 anytime and £7.70 off-peak. Your first journey is a TfL rail zone 1-3 peak single at £3.20. The second one is another TfL rail zone 1-3 journey but this time it’s off-peak at £2.70. You now have £5.90 towards the anytime cap. Next is two buses at £1.40 each. This takes the anytime spend up to £8.70 and the off-peak spend to £5.50. Then comes another zone 1-3 off-peak single. This takes anytime spend up to £11.40 (80p over the cap) and off-peak spend up to £8.20 (50p over that cap). Thus the anytime cap is reached first and your travel will be capped at £10.60.

      You could buy a travelcard for zones 1-4, but it would have to be an anytime one which costs £11.00.

  42. Hi Mike.

    Your advice would be really appreciated.

    Im changing jobs and will be travelling from romford (zone 6) to tott ct rod (zone 1). However im a shift worker working 730-1930 and vice versa on days nights and weekends. I only do 14-16 shifts a month so am not doing as many journeys as a mon-fri 9-5er.

    Having reall trouible to work out if it would be benifical getting a season tickets but just think i would not get all the journeys out of it to make it worthwhile. i am thinking possibly just getting a zone 3-6 season card and then using top up payg.

    Your help would be great

    • Hi Daniel,

      I’m not sure that a travelcard would be worthwhile at all for you. If your morning touch in at Romford can be before 0630 then your journey to work will be charged at off-peak rates. The reverse journey after 1930 will also be off-peak. For the other shift it becomes a little more complex. Both journeys will almost certainly be peak, but you can reduce the cost by splitting your journey at Stratford. The peak single from Romford to Stratford is £3.20. Stratford to Tottenham Court Road is £3.20 in the morning peak but only £2.70 in the evening ending in zone 1. Thus the total cost TCR to Romford is £6.40 in the morning while Romford to TCR in the evening is £5.90. Make the journey in one go and it becomes £7.20 each way thanks to the premium for mixing NR and TfL rail on a journey involving zone 1. To split the journey in two you will have to exit the station via a gateline and then re-enter. That will add a bit to your journey time but as you are changing trains there anyway, it’s not that bad to save money.

      Hope that helps.

  43. Hi guys need help I travel to work from Watford junction to London bridge everyday 6.00am sometimes 6.30am but i change at euston I finish around half 7 -8 pm does it charge me peak times?? And how can I travel for less
    its costing so much and I’ve only started work please help !!!

    • As London Bridge is in zone 1 there won’t be much you can do. Starting your morning journey before 0630 will price it at off-peak rate, likewise after 1900 on the return will be off-peak. The best you can do is make sure you’re at Watford Junction by 0630.

      The only other thing is are you eligible for a railcard? If yes then you’ll get discounted off-peak fares which would make arriving before 0630 even more attractive. You’ll need to be aged 16-25 or over 60 (or be disabled or a member of the armed forces).

  44. Hi mike can you help?… I will be making a regular journey from the clapham north area to Kingston arriving in kingston for around 9.00 am and leaving around 6:30pm… what is going to be my best option taking into account cost and time?

    • Hi Ade,

      ‘best’ is such a subjective word. My recommended route would be Clapham High Street to Clapham Junction then on to Kingston. That avoids zone 1 and should be reasonably straightforward. Oyster PAYG fares are £3.80 peak and £2.40 off-peak. Your morning journey will be peak without doubt. If 6.30 can stretch to 7.00 then the afternoon journey could be off-peak. Unless you make lots of other journeys a zone 2-6 travelcard is overkill for this journey, but you can buy point-to-point seasons for £26.80 a week. You may have trouble buying it at Clapham High Street, but either Clapham Junction or Kingston should have no problems. You can of course buy longer periods from 1 month up to 1 year.

  45. Hello Mike,just discovered this wonderful site. I travel from Milton Keynes to streatham common Monday to Friday (leave by 6:38am or 6:52am) and use the weekly ticket at 137.50pounds. Do you know of anyway I can save on my transport?

    • Hi Imma,

      There are two cheaper tickets which may depend on which route you take and what additional flexibility you require. Your ticket is basically a Milton Keynes to London zones 1-6 travelcard which gives you unlimited travel within the zones as well as unlimited travel between Milton Keynes and zone 6. If you travel via Euston then that is the ticket which you require.

      For £115.20 you can lose zone 1 which allows you to travel direct to Clapham Junction via Kensington Olympia and then onto Streatham Common. You can also make unlimited travel within zones 2-6 as well as buses throughout London. Finally, if you only use the trains to commute via Kensington Olympia then a point to point season costs £106.70 for Milton Keynes to Streatham Common.

  46. Thank you for your advise Mike. I will be travelling to warren street from Milton Keynes(Mon to Friday) from late September this year, any advice you can give me on how to save on transport? I will probably be travelling during peak times.

    • Hi Imma,

      Milton Keynes to Warren Street will require the £137.50 ticket that you currently have. About the only way to save money is to change that to a Milton Keynes to London Euston season for £115.50 and walk from Euston. Warren Street tube is only just across the Euston Road at the top of Tottenham Court Road so you could probably walk it in just as much time as it would take to go down to the tube, travel one stop and come back up to the street.

  47. Hi there!!..I will be going into central, 6days a week from Hampton. I have an Oyster card and I am going to register my 16-25 railcard to you suggest I use PAYG, get a day travel
    Card or a monthly travel card?

    Also, if I leave hampton at 15:50 (off peak) and arrive at Waterloo and then go on the underground to embankment I would come out at about 17:55 (peak time) so would this journey charge me as off peak or peak??!

    Thank you for being so helpful 🙂

    • Hi Katie,

      Touch in time at the start of a journey is the driver for peak or off-peak so Hampton to Embankment starting at 1550 would be off-peak unless you took too long getting into the Underground at Waterloo.

      If your commute is always at peak times then the 16-25 will have no effect. You can’t get a day travelcard on Oyster, but the daily cap will be slightly less anyway. Six days a week increases the benefit of a travelcard which can be weekly, monthly, or any period between a month and a year. However, if a significant proportion of your journeys can be made at off-peak rates then PAYG with the railcard discount could well be cheaper. Unfortunately it’s a fine balancing act and one extra journey could tip the balance.

  48. As a Senior Railcard holder, I find one has to visit a TfL ticket office in person to have the discount loaded onto one’s Oyster card every time one’s railcard is renewed. This is tedious enough, but I accept it’s the way TfL chooses to do it -at present anyway. BUT while I can understand that it is possible to do this only at stations served by TfL services (as opposed to just anywhere where Oyster is valid – like, say, Surbiton) why on earth is it not possible to have the discount loaded at a station such as Clapham Junction which IS served by TfL, albeit by the Overground and not the Underground? I wasted time (not to mention shoe leather) crossing from one side of the vast station to the other to find a manned ticket office, only to be told, “We don’t do it here”! It seems that some sections of TfL have yet to accept the Overground as much fully part of their network as the Underground.

    • Hi Lionel,

      At most stations served by more than one TOC there is only one ticket office, usually run by the dominant TOC. In the case of Clapham Junction that is likely to be either SWT or Southern.

      I can assure you that TfL actually do consider the Overground as part of their network, hence it appears on the tube map and many LO staff like to believe that they are nothing to do with National Rail. As you can imagine, that can cause other problems.

      You have reminded me that I need to update the page about NR stations and what they can do with Oyster, once time allows.

  49. Thanks, Mike. Your replies are always very comprehensive – but the question does then arise how one can do what I was wanting to do at Wimbledon? I think the answer may be that TfL have their own ticket office at that station, alongside the SWT ticket office. But in that case why not a TfL ticket office at Clapham Junction? Oh well, all this will no doubt change as the years tick by. What I’d really appreciate would be the facility of loading my railcard discount onto my Oyster card simply by logging on to my Oyster account and doing it all online. After all, if man can land on the moon …

    • Hi Lionel,

      Stations run by NR TOCs but served by LU trains as well have always had facilities to sell Underground tickets. With Oyster this also meant that they do all the things required by that system too.

      Although requesting the discount online would be feasible, checking the validity would require co-operation between the NR railcards databases and the TfL Oyster system. That raises a number of data protection issues which probably means it won’t happen.

  50. Hi Mike,

    Hopefully you can explain this for me. I travel to work from Erith to Cannon St during the week. On my oyster travel history it’s saying that I’m being capped at £11.30 (£5.70 in, £5.60 out). I normally touch in at Erith 8:10 or so and touch in at Cannon St about 17:55 for my journey back.

    I have a railcard on my oyster, but I know the discounts for that don’t usually count for peak travel. Now I’m not complaining about the 10p discount(!) but I’d like to understand why I’m getting it.

    • Hi Tina,

      Your journey home costs more than the off-peak cap with railcard so you are capped at that rate. While peak single fares apply, the cap for journeys after 0930 is the off-peak one.

  51. Two questions: if I catch a 0633 train but touch in at (say) 0625, do I still get off peak travel? Secondly to get to Holborn from Bromley South is it cheaper to change to underground at Elephant than going in to zone 1 on mainline?

    • Hi Frank,

      Touch-in time is the important one, so unless you leave it to the last minute or so for a 0633 train you will get off-peak travel. It is cheaper to change at Elephant in the peak hours, but not off peak. See the single fare finder.

  52. Hi Mike,
    Your exceptions list starts with ‘If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.’ Does this mean if you are travelling into zone 1 from outside then the Off Peak fare should apply? I can think of many occasions during the past couple of years when I have left Sidcup after 1600 to head to Charing Cross and have been charged the Peak fare.


  53. I only come to London to get flights a couple of times a year and have a Senior Rail card with which I buy my rail and tube ticket which comes out at £3.30 single Euston to Heathrow underground. I’m thinking of getting an Oyster card just to save the extra few quid but not sure if it’s worth the hassle

    1. please explain the use of the word ‘cap’

    2. How do I know what I’m being charged on the card?

    • Hi Stewart,

      Euston LU to Heathrow LU single on Oyster, with a senior railcard discount set, is £2.00 off-peak or £5.00 peak. The cap is the maximum you will be charged when using the card properly across the zones you travel through. When you touch out at the end of your journey the display should show the new balance and the fare deducted in brackets. You can also check your journey history online the next day if the card is linked to an online account.

  54. Off peak starts at 1900 .. my train leaves london blackfriars at 1900 … but until recently you could tap in at 1858 and get the off peak fare !! … a few weeks ago it changed and I was (correctly) charged the peak rate (boooo)

    I now have to wait until 1859 .. then sprint down the end of the platform to catch the 1900 (this still count’s as off peak).

    My question is .. is this oyster gate rounding .. or some synchronisation on the system ?

    • Hi Chris,

      1900 is the official start of off-peak in the evening. The gates will usually give you an unspecified grace period at each end of peak fares to avoid numerous complaints if any clock goes slightly out. I understood that this was usually 2-3 minutes, but it’s a bonus rather than a right so there is no comeback if they reduce it.

  55. Hello Chris,

    I’m using the tube at 08:15 am (Kennington) and 18:30 pm (Leicester square) during the 5 working days of the week, but rarely use it over the weekends. Should I have a pay as you go or a weekly/monthly card to save as much money as possible?

    • Hi Andreas,

      Period travelcards are not really cost effective for simple one-mode journeys. Unless you make regular other journeys PAYG will usually work out cheaper.

  56. i have an 11-15 oyster i am travelling within zones 1-3 how much do i need to top up on my oyster, i’m going on the 28th august a peak day?

    • Hi Dan,

      It depends. The anytime cap is £5.30 which is the most you will need. All travel after 0930 will cap at £1.50 unless you’ve already exceeded £3.80 by then.

  57. Hi, I am travelling from Wapping to Watford junction, I leave at 6.45 to get there before 9am and finish at 5pm, except for one day out of 5 where I finish at 3.45pm. Is it cheaper for pay as you go or travel card? If I touch in before peak but touch out after peak has finished what fare would I be paying?

    • Hi Sasha,

      It is definitely cheaper to PAYG, but you need to follow some careful instructions to get the cheapest rate. The overall Wapping to Watford Junction fares are £8.60 peak and £5.70 off-peak. The touch in time is the key one, if it is peak when you touch in then the fare is peak regardless of what time you touch out. However, you can benefit from a special arrangement for travelling against the peak flow on the Euston to Watford Junction line. You need to split your journey in two at Willesden Junction by touching out and back in again on yellow readers (Note that the pink route validators will NOT do what you want).

      Wapping to Willesden Junction is a zone 1-2 TfL fare which costs £2.80 peak or £2.10 off-peak.
      Willesden Junction to Watford Junction is a zone 3-W TfL fare which costs £1.60 off-peak*.

      So, if you can touch in at Wapping before 0630 then the total journey would be £3.70, or £4.40 if you leave it later. On the way back you will be starting the second journey at Willesden Junction in the peak (even if you leave work at 1545) so it will cost £4.40. Still, it is quite a saving over the overall fare. Thanks to Shoreditch High Street being in zone 1 it doesn’t make any difference whether you cross London to Euston or skirt round the outside via Gospel Oak. Either way, you MUST end your journey at Willesden Junction and start a new one to take advantage of the off-peak fares.

      *Willesden Junction to Watford Junction costs £3.90 if touch in is between 1600-1900; Watford Junction to Willesden Junction is the same if touch in is between 0630-0930.

  58. Hi Mike,

    Thank you very much for this information, this is great. May I ask with these rules in mind, what journey route you recommend I take from Wapping to Watford junction? Thank you

    • Hi Sasha,

      (a) Wapping to Highbury & Islington to Willesden Junction (all on overground); or
      (b) Wapping to Whitechapel then Ham&City to Euston Square then walk to Euston and take the overground from there; or
      (c) Wapping to Canada Water then Jubilee to Baker Street then Bakerloo to Willesden Junction.

      You must still get off at Willesden Junction to split your journey in two, even if taking option (b).

    • Hi Sasha,

      Yes! You will get a discount on any off-peak fares which makes it even more worthwhile to split the journey in two. To clarify, Willesden Junction to Watford Junction and return will both be off-peak and cost £1.05 each with the railcard. Wapping to Willesden Junction costs £2.80 peak and £1.40 off-peak with railcard. You’d get off-peak if you touch in before 0630 at Wapping, while the return is likely to be peak unless you are running very late and touch back in at Willesden after 1900.

  59. Hi Mike,

    I have an offpeak day travel card for zones 1 to 6. Does this mean i can travel on the underground freely between the hours of 4pm to 7pm within these zones?



  60. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for all the info on here. Was wondering about the peak cap for National Rail + TfL. According to the TfL site it’s £15.80 but couple days ago I was capped at £11.80. My final journey cost me £5.60 rather that £6.20 I expected. I have a 16-25 railcard but do not expect this to be relevant for these peak journeys. I included the details below. Am I missing something obvious? I should say that the online statement does have a orange star beside it for the day in question saying that information may not be complete for this days travel although the two journeys below were the only journeys I did that day.


    Thursday, 22 August 2013 £11.80 daily total

    07:57 – 09:01 Southbury [National Rail] to Tooting
    £6.20 £7.55

    17:21 Topped up, Tooting Broadway +£20.00 £27.55

    17:21 – 18:29 Tooting Broadway to Southbury
    [National Rail]
    £5.60 £21.95

    • Hi Leo,

      Firstly there is no cap for specific modes (other than buses), only for zones. Secondly, the railcard discounts both off-peak single fares and the off-peak caps. In some cases this means that afternoon peak travel will be capped by the railcard, and £5.60 is indeed the off-peak cap for zones 1-6.

      Oh, the orange star appears for the two days prior to the statement being run in case there is a delay updating things, particularly buses and ticket-stop top-ups.

  61. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for a really informative website. I have a question you may be able to answer for me, if you don’t mind.

    My daily journey to work involves a bus, then an underground journey (Finsbury Park to Seven Sisters, zone 2 to 3), and then a national rail journey (on to Silver Street, zone 4). I take the same journey back in the evening. Any other journeys I make that day then cap my daily fare at £9.00. I have a national railcard.

    I can’t find the £9.00 figure anywhere on the price cap tables. The only way I can get this figure is by saying:

    1) The journey to work costs £3.90 (£1.40 for the bus plus £2.50 for the combined rail journey).
    2) Coming back, the off peak cap applies and when I hit the £5.10 off peak cap, there is no further charge. I am still charged for the peak This just coincidentally makes the £9.00 figure seem very precise! I’m also then surprised the bus fare from the morning does not count towards the “off peak” cap, which would make my maximum fare actually £7.60?

    I’m not sure what the correct answer is to this! Thanks!

    • Hi Gary,

      You are nearly right. Although buses and trams charge a flat fare at any time, travel before 0930 still doesn’t count towards the off-peak cap. Thus £9.00 will be your cap if you spend £3.90 in the morning peak and don’t go beyond zone 4 on rails.

  62. Mike

    Date unknown but there now seems to be a change to the exception station list above compared to the TfL website.
    5 Southern stations now have a later touch in time to qualify for the off peak cap whilst Purley Oaks and South Croydon are removed.

  63. Hi Mike,

    I have to travel from Zone 4 (Wembley) into Liverpool street station (to arrive around 18:00). I found this on the tfl website:
    “Tube, DLR and London Overground only
    Off-peak fares during the evening peak
    If you travel from outside Zone 1 between 16:00 and 19:00 Mondays to Fridays, and your journey finishes in Zone 1, you will be charged an off-peak fare when using Oyster pay as you go. You could save up to £2.70 per journey
    Travel via Zone 1
    Some journeys have been defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and will be charged accordingly, irrespective of the route taken.”

    Would the exemption apply to my journey or would it only be charged at off-peak rates??

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Hannah,

      Wembley to Liverpool Street satisfies the TfL route finishing in zone 1 so will be charged off-peak in the early evening. The other comment is nothing to do with this discount. It means that if TfL deem an avoiding zone 1 route to be so convoluted that no-one would do it they will still charge the through zone 1 fare. It’s becoming rarer these days, but does still exist.

  64. Hi,

    I commute between Chafford Hundred and Fenchurch St. I read somewhere (I think on the c2c web site), that you get off-peak prices if you scan your card *out* at Fenchurch St after 10am, irrespective of when you scan your card *in*, and there is no ‘peak’ time in the afternoon/evening.
    This seems to contradict other information which says I would be charged off-peak if I scan in outside 6:30-9:30 and 16:00-19:00.
    Is there something I’m missing here? I suppose I should just try it one day, but to date I’ve only tried in at 7:57am and out >10am. If it is off-peak after 9:30am, then I can get to work 1/2 hr earlier for the off-peak price.

  65. Hi
    Apologies if this question has been asked before.

    My son has a 16-25 railcard and was charged £7.20 per day for three consecutive weeks from Hatfield to Finsbury Park after 0930 from one particular machine at Hatfield station.

    He has gone to two different ticket machines at the station and the YP railcard option is more expensive than the adult off peak fare of £10.90. I note at the travel enquiries website online that a £7.20 return fare is payable after 10am.

    What is the correct price to catch the 0943 train and what machine is correct?


    • Hi Louise,

      £7.20 is the railcard discounted fare which is valid after 10am Mon-Fri. £10.90 is the undiscounted off-peak fare which is valid on the 0928 from Hatfield and all later trains Mon-Fri. Before 10am there is a £12.00 minimum fare when using the 16-25 railcard. If the undiscounted fare is less than £12.00 then the undiscounted fare should be used. If the undiscounted fare is over £12.00 and the discounted fare is under £12.00 then £12.00 should be used.

      Ticket machines are notorious for not getting the off-peak restrictions right, usually by refusing to sell off-peak tickets at the right time. In your case it looks like your son was undercharged.

  66. Hi Mike,

    I’m a little confused and wondered if you could help. I will be traveling to and from amersham or chalfont and latimer to embankment monday-friday, leaving amersham around 7.45, and returning from embankment at around 6.. how much will this be per day? I have a 16-25 railcard linked to my oyster card.


  67. I’m planning to buy an off-peak travelcard because my journey will begin after 9.30 (maybe around 10.00) will I be able to continue to use this off-peak travelcard during the peak period (4pm- 7pm), or do I have to wait till after 7pm to use it again?

    • Hi Autumn,

      Yes, the off-peak travelcard is valid anytime after 0930. The off-peak caps also apply anytime after 0930 so even though peak single fares are charged between 1600-1900 you will still cap at the off-peak rate.

  68. Hi Mike,

    I travel from King’s Cross to North Harrow and back Monday to Friday. I catch a bus to King’s Cross between 7&720 and touch in at King’s Cross between 705 and 730. I touch in at North Harrow after 6, usually, and catch a bus from King’s Cross home.

    I have been using a monthly travelcard at 200 quid, but is there a cheaper way to do this?

    • Hi Hannah,

      You can’t do the journey you describe any cheaper. If it were just the tube fare from Kings Cross to North Harrow and back then PAYG would be slightly cheaper, but the bus makes the travelcard worthwhile.

      However, can you take the bus (or even walk) to Calledonian Road and Barnsbury or Camden Road (or indeed any North London line station)? If you can, then you can lose zone 1 from your travelcard and travel via Finchley Road (& Frognall) or West Hampstead. A zone 2-5 travelcard costs just £116/month.

  69. I live in Zone 4. The man in the ticket office at my closest NR station says if I am doing a lot of travelling and likely to return during the afternoon peak, it is cheaper to buy a Zones 1-4 Travelcard (£8.00) than to use Oyster, and to this point I have done so.

    Yesterday, however, I decided to use Oyster for greater flexibilty, including bus journeys to and from an alternative station in Z4, NR in and out of London, and four Z1 tube journeys. I left after the morning peak but returned during the afternoon peak, and my fares were capped at £7.70.

    Is the man in the sation correct (in which case under what circumstances might I have exceeded £8.00 on Oyster); or is he just trying to get me to buy a ticket from him rather than the machine outside (which he is known to dislike)?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Paul,

      Oh dear. He’s definitely mistaken. As you’ve discovered, the relevant Oyster daily cap is now slighlty cheaper than the equivalent day travelcard, so as long as you don’t make a mistake and forget to touch somewhere you will be better off with Oyster PAYG. He might have been confused because people who have railcards linked to their Oyster may pay more in the afternoon peak than a traditional paper return with railcard discount. Even with a railcard, if you’re going to cap then you will be better off with PAYG.

  70. Hi Mike,

    I usually get the 09:33 from norwood junction to coulsdon town (single as get a lift home) which takes £1.90 off my oyster when I touch out, however I’ll need to catch the earlier 08:46 next week, again only single as will still get a lift home, how much will it cost using my oyster please?

  71. I work in zone 1 and get the tube and train home. I usually touch in at Bank station just before 4pm. I then have the option to touch out from the tube at Waterloo before then touching in again for the National Rail which is after 4pm. If I don’t touch out of the tube and just touch in for National Rail, does that charge me off peak for the whole journey or just cover the tube and charge me peak for the train?

    • Hi Sarah,

      If you don’t touch out of the tube it will treat that as an unfinished journey and treat the NR journey as peak. If you do touch out of the tube and touch in to NR within the next 40 minutes then it joins the two journeys together and charges the whole journey as off-peak.

  72. Hi Mike,

    I have an Oyster with my 16-25 railcard on it. Say for instance I’m travelling after 0930. I make several journeys in Zones 1 to 4 and I reach the Off-Peak Price Cap at £5.10.

    What happens if I make a journey that is within the evening peak hours, i.e. 1600 to 1900? Will I be charged up to the Anytime Price Cap at £10.60 or will I be charged a full single which will not count towards the price cap (such as the Emirates Cable Car) perhaps?

    I did actually do this back in July, where I made several journeys in one day, but I can’t remember what happened.

    Many thanks,


    • Hi Dan,

      The off-peak cap applies after 0930, so if you’ve already capped you will remain capped whilst in the same zones. If you went outside the zones already covered then you’d go up to the off-peak cap for the new range of zones. The cable car is always charged outside of the capping regime.

  73. Hi Mike,

    Fantastic website! Thank you for taking the time to answer individual queries.

    My employer recently moved offices from Slough to Holborn. I tend to take a bus around 0918 to Hayes & Harlington Rail Station (Zone 5), touch in at a yellow validator at 0931 to qualify for the off-peak fare, then travel on the 0933 Heathrow Connect to Ealing Broadway (Zone 3). I then validate my Oyster card at one of the validators on the Central line platforms, then take the line to Chancery Lane. This mode of travel means I usually get a seat, as Heathrow Connect trains are usually close to empty when they get to Hayes & Harlington station, and the Central line starts at Ealing Broadway.

    On the way back I walk to Farringdon underground station and take the H&C to Paddington, where I change to the Thames Turbos on platform 13 or 14 to Hayes & Harlington, then take the bus from the station. This is typically after 7 pm; as I start my working day late, I also end it later.

    I’m permitted to telecommute one day a week, which I am permitted to do, so I figured that, with the reduced number of traveling days, I would be better off with PAYG than getting a weekly or monthly travelcard. However, since my first bus journey of the day is before 0930, it seems that the off-peak daily cap £8.50 does not apply alone — I end up with a daily expenditure of £8.80, uncapped. The off-peak daily travelcard is not much more at £8.90, and it would cover any additional journeys I might have to make during the day.

    There is however a nuisance factor in that I would need to purchase the travelcard separately every day I traveled. This would of course be nullified by the fact that I need to do a bus journey first thing before I can get to the station or an Oyster ticket stop, and buying the travelcard after I’ve already paid for a bus journey seems counterproductive.

    Do you know if there is any means to get an off-peak day travelcard prior to the date of travel? If so I could try to get a travelcard for the next day if I am traveling the next day while I am still at a station. This might make my daily expenditure on transport a little more predictable as well.

    Is there a quicker way you can think of to complete this journey (Hayes [Hillingdon] to Holborn and back) than my current journey, without greatly increasing the expense?

    • Hi Amit,

      I’m guessing that Hillingdon station is out because you’d have to start before 0930?

      You have misunderstood something though. An off-peak one day travelcard would not be valid on a bus before 0930. You are correct that the £8.50 cap doesn’t apply, but it is only increased by the one bus journey to £9.90. You certainly won’t go anywhere near the anytime cap for zones 1-6. You can buy travelcards in advance, but it won’t help you, unfortunately.

      Also, you are not required to touch the validator at Ealing Broadway if you touched in at Hayes & Harlington and will touch out at Chancery Lane. In fact this could potentially cause problems because the touch at Ealing will put you out of the system. It’s a special sort of out which will be correctly adjusted at Chancery Lane, but there have been issues of RPIs not understanding what their readers are telling them and issuing penalty fares. For full details see continuation exits on this site.

  74. Good to know!

    Hillingdon station is out of the way and there is no direct bus to it, so it would work out to be more expensive I think. It’s certainly much too far away to walk there. (I mentioned Hillingdon because I live in the Hayes that is in the London Borough of Hillingdon rather than the one in Kent.)

    I did come across the section on continuation exits after my comment. I guess I’ll avoid using the validator from now on.

    I guess the routes I’ve been taking are the most economical (at £8.80 per day) and quickest then.

    Thanks for the clarification on off-peak day travelcards not being valid for bus travel at peak times. I had been under the impression that any travelcard was valid on any London bus.

    • There are no zonal restrictions on buses, so any travelcard is valid on all buses throughout London. Off-peak travelcards are only valid on any transport after 0930.

  75. Hi Mike,

    I would like to know which is the best and cheapest (it doesnt matter if I have to go on weekend days) way to go (and return) from Euston to Watford Junction with an Oyster card.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Sheila,

      Best is somewhat subjective depending on which factors you consider more important. Cheapest is a bit easier and is what I can answer here, with the caveat that someone might work out a cheaper way, although I think it’s unlikely. Euston to Watford Junction is unusual in that peak is only 1600-1900 Mon-Fri, while for the return it is only 0630-0930.

      Touch in at Euston and touch out at Watford Junction enabling use of all the fast trains as well as stoppers is £7.60 peak or £4.70 off-peak. If you are prepared to use stopping trains and get off at Willesden Junction to touch out and back in again before getting the next train to continue your journey you can save £1.50 peak or £1.00 off-peak. Be careful if you start at Euston between 1530 and 1600 such that the second journey might be after 1600 from Willesden Junction, because that will cost £1.30 more that the single off-peak journey.

      Hope that helps.

  76. Hello Mike,
    Im moving to london next week and atm, london transportation and fares are really confusing, im from Portugal, totally diferent here, if possible i would like to know the fastest and cheapest way to travel from Neasden zone 3 to Shepherds Bush. Ty

    • Hi Luis,

      Fastest and cheapest won’t be the same unfortunately. Fastest is likely to be Neasden to Bond Street on Jubilee line then on to Shepherd’s Bush on the Central line. That’ll be a zone 1-3 fare. Cheapest is Neasden to West Hampstead on Jubilee line then a short walk to the Overground station for a train to Shepherd’s Bush. You avoid zone 1 then, but it will take a bit longer.

  77. Mike thanks for the answer, im from Argentina and im planning my trip for february.
    So, if I touch in Euston at 8.30am i will pay 4.70 and for the return around 1pm i will pay 4.70 too?

    Those are a really good news!

    • Yes, Sheila.

      Just one more consideration. Will you have used the Oyster to get to Euston before leaving at 8.30am? If you have then the two journeys will be combined into one and charged at peak rates. Say you travel from Baker Street to Euston Square, touch out and walk to Euston then touch in to go to Watford Junction. The first part will be charged at £2.10 whatever, but the second part will take a further £6.50 making the overall journey £8.60. This practice is supposed to save money (£2.10+£7.60=£9.70), but because of the one-way peaks only on Euston to Watford Junction you actually end up paying more.

      There are some ways round it. The join will only happen if touch out to touch in is within 40 minutes. So you could plan to have a leisurely coffee at Euston and be safe. Or, for just £1.40 you can touch in on a bus and get straight off again. It’s not as mad as you think and bus drivers are used to it. The phantom bus journey will permanently end the tube journey. You could also save 70p and take the bus from Baker Street, though if you are coming a long way then that won’t be attractive in the morning rush hour.

      Whatever happens, I hope you enjoy your trip.

  78. Hello, got a new question, my friend has weekly travel card for zones 3 and 2, but when he goes from shepherd’s bush, to stockwell he says he needs to pay around 4pounds, shouldn’t it be free since he starts in zone 2 and end in zone 2? Ty

    • Hi Luis,

      In a word, No! The journey involves travelling through zone 1 so the system will charge accordingly. If he gets a zone 1-2 travelcard then it will be free, or with a zone 2-3 travelcard he’ll need to change his route starting at Shepherds Bush Overground station and changing at Clapham Junction and Vauxhall.

  79. Hello,

    I was curious what the best method (and cost of it) is for going from Upminster to Heathrow – Terminal 4? I’m new to the area so any help is appreciated.

    • Hi Dan,

      Best is a very subjective question because it depends on what factors are more important, like speed, cost, ease of connections, and others, particularly if carrying heavy luggage. The simplest way would be District line to Hammersmith then Piccadilly line to Heathrow. This would cost £5.00 peak or £3.00 off-peak. Cheaper options include avoiding zone 1 by various routes to the north of London. A faster option might include the Heathrow Express but that would cost significantly more.

  80. Hi Mike,

    Firstly I’m sorry if I’m repeating a question already posed. I read through everything but I’m still quite confused :S
    I need to travel from Epping to Chancery Lane from Monday to Friday only next week. I have to arrive by 8:00 and I finish at 18:00 but would leave after 19:00 to get the off peak rate.
    When I travel in the morning however if I leave before 6:30 would the journey count as off peak?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Tim,

      Journeys starting before 0630 are charged off-peak fares, however, the value of said journeys does not count towards the off-peak cap. It won’t always matter, but needs to be mentioned in case. It will be cheaper than starting between 0630-0930 though.

  81. Hi Mike,

    just wondering if i tap in at watford junction before 16:00…go to Euston where I have to tap out and tap in for underground to bank…will be charged off peak even though i have to tap in again at Euston?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Nik,

      Yes, as long as you touch in within 20 minutes of touching out the journeys will be combined as one and charged at off-peak rates. You don’t have to touch in before 1600 either because the journey comes under a TfL priced starting outside zone 1 and finishing inside zone 1, so it’s off-peak all afternoon.

  82. adding to my previous comment, i believe watford junction to euston is 40 mins. if i tap in at 15:50 at watford junction and get to Euston at lets sat 16:30..and tap into underground at 16:30..will off peak still apply as i started my journey at watford junction at off peak.

    sorry for the confusion

  83. Hi Mike,
    Which one cheaper monthly zone 1-4 or PAYasygo as I am permamently working on a late shift from 13.00 until 22.00. Is there also off peak monthly one?


  84. In TfL’s travel advice for the Christmas/New Year period, the suspension of the Congestion Charge is mentioned. Since I did not notice anything specific, do you happen to know whether or not the whole period (25 December to 1 January) will be off-peak for Oyster users? Since most services will be using Saturday timetables, it would seem appropriate.

    • Hi David,

      I’ve not seen anything yet. Obviously the bank holidays will be off-peak all day, but I agree that perhaps the others ought to be treated like Saturdays, for maximum journey times as well as fares.

  85. Hi Mike,

    Just want some clarifications.
    I join the National Rail before 6:30 am every day. What sort of ticket should I purchase? Off-Peak?

    • Hi Laolu,

      If you are purchasing a paper ticket at that time then it is likely that it will need to be a peak (anytime) ticket. In the Oyster area there is a special concession allowing off-peak journeys if they start before 0630, but only when using your Oyster balance to pay as you go.

  86. Hi Mike,

    You site is very interesting.
    I was wondering if you could explain this to me at all. Why is Blackfriars (national rail) to Tooting Broadway £2.70 but Victoria (national rail) to tooting broadway is £3.60 or St James Park to tooting is £3.60.

    Why the massive difference as the start stations are all is zone 1? And journeys are all overland/tube combined.


    • Hi Uzi,

      It depends where you change from National Rail to Underground. The section of line between Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle is charged at TfL rates, like the Underground, so you only pay the TfL rate for that journey. However, the lines out of Victoria are all charged at NR rates which makes the whole journey a mixed NR+TfL journey.

  87. Hi mike.
    Thanks for your reply That kind of makes sense. The reason for my query was I originally travelled off peak from blackfriars to tooting. All overland at a cost of £2.20. However due to change of job I now travel from blackfriars on the underground to st James’s Park and the journey is now £3.60 off peak. Any idea why there is such a major jump.


    • OK, Tooting to Blackfriars is a National Rail journey. If you then make it a mixed NR+TfL journey by switching to the Underground it becomes more expensive. It’s one of the mind-boggling complications resulting from the forced inclusion of some of the NR train companies in the Oyster system.

  88. I’ve been checking my journey history and I’ve quite often been capped at £11.20 for the day, lower than I expected. But can’t figure out how since that’s not listed as a cap on the fares page, and can’t find a way to split them that adds up.

    e.g. on a weekday:
    07:52 – 08:50 Shepherd’s Bush Market to Uxbridge £2.70
    12:50 – 13:59 Uxbridge to Shepherd’s Bush Market £1.50
    15:28 – 15:33 Shepherd’s Bush Market to Hammersmith (Circle, H&C lines) £1.50
    16:15 – 16:22 Hammersmith (Circle, H&C lines) to Shepherd’s Bush Market £1.60
    17:20 – 17:36 White City to Ealing Broadway £1.60
    17:45 Bus journey, route E9 £1.40
    18:53 Bus journey, route E2 £0.90
    21:13 – 21:25 Ealing Broadway to White City £0.00

    where the last 2 journeys are flagged as being capped.

    Can anyone see what I am missing?

    • Hi Alan,

      Yes. The first journey only counts towards the anytime cap because it is before 0930. After that they all count towards both the anytime and off-peak caps, so once the £8.50 off-peak cap is reached you stop paying extra.

  89. Hello!

    If I tap-in in Zone 6, during peak time, and tap-out in Zone 1. And then execute several trips between Zones 1 and 2 during off-peak, how will the system interpret my actions? i.e.

    1) Will it wait until I reach a Z1-6 peak cap of GBP 15.8?


    2) Will it consider a Single Z1-6 GBP 5.0 ticket and a Z1-2 off-peak cap of GBP 7.0?


    • Hi Sergio,

      It will be the second case. Furthermore, if you return to zone 6 at the end it will cap the post 0930 travel at £8.50, thus only charging you £1.50 for the final journey.

  90. Hello,

    I saw a board at Chesham station today informing customers that from the 19th of January, customers touching in expecting the off peak cap to be applied shouldn’t touch in till after 09:10. It appears that LUL have moved the touch in time to prevent off peak passengers from using the 09:09 fast Aldgate service. The first off peak train customers from Chesham will be able to use is the 09:34 all stations Baker Street service. I don’t know how this will affect other Metropolitan Line stations north of Moor Park.

    • Thanks Alexander,

      That’s actually quite misleading. If you touch in between 0910-0929 you will be charged the peak fare while after 0930 it will be the off peak fare. That seems potentially unfair unless you are going to cap anyway.

  91. Hi Mike
    Happy new year:)
    I wonder if you could suggest a station to start with a lift. Came from heathrow to Bayswater with two medium sized suitcases and a daughter, and only stairs… Now I have to go to St Pancras from Hyde Park. Would you pls suggest a station which I could start the journey from that has a lift or automatic stair system? Also the train from st. Pancras leaves at 13:31 hrs. So which would be the cheapest hours?
    Thanks ever so much

    • Hi Fran,

      My knowledge is more to do with ticketing, so accessible stations is not something I’m familiar with. The TfL website has quite a bit about facilities at their stations. As for catching the 1331 Eurostar from St Pancras, you will be travelling off-peak so it won’t matter what time you travel.

  92. Hi Mike,

    If I plan to catch a train at 6:36, would touching in before 6:30 cause me to be charged at the off-peak rate, regardless of the fact that the entirety of the journey would actually be within the peak period?

  93. Hi Mike,

    Oyster card
    Weakly zone 3 – 4?
    From Seven sister started time at 11:45 and finished at 12:44pm Ealing broad way.
    Started time at 17:28 from Ealing broad way and finished 18:44pm to Seven sister

    I touched in from seven sister station before I reach the gate I have tapped the overground inside the station Ealing broad way and I touched out at the gate. Then i wanted to go back where I began my journey which is seven sister unfortunately when I came back to Ealing broadway to touch in I had to seek assistance. I was then told to top up and I toped up £5.00 same journey from Ealing broad way to seven sister.

    What do you think was the problem during my journey?


    • Hi Ahmed,

      Were you expecting the journey to be covered by the travelcard? Did you travel through zones 1 and/or 2? If you did then the system will expect to deduct the fare for a zone 1-2 journey from your PAYG balance. On the Underground that is £2.90 peak and £2.20 off-peak.

  94. Hi Mike,

    Great site.

    I am a little confused with peak and offpeak timings.

    If I go from Harrow on the Hill (zone 5) to Barbican (zone 1) at 6am and arrive around 6.40am. Will I pay peak or offpeak pricing? Also if that is offpeak, do I get a 1/3 off the price with a railcard?


    • Hi Rish,

      Touch in time is the key to what you will be charged. If that is 6am then it will be off-peak and any railcard discount will also apply. It doesn’t matter what time the journey ends as long as the maximum journey time is not exceeded.

  95. Hi Mike. What a great site, which I’m finding dangerously addictive. I’ve always considered myself reasonably competent when tackling the thorny issue of rail fares, but Oyster seems to take complexity to a new level.

    Could you confirm my thoughts on a PAYG return journey Orpington-Regents Park? Leaving at 0830, returning at 2000, the single fare finder gives a total fare of £12.60 (£7.50 + £5.10). As I understand it, no price cap will apply because the journey from Orpington is made at peak time (‘Anytime’ in your helpful chart above) and the total fare is, of course, short of the ‘Anytime’ price cap. Even if I made additional off peak trips later that day, the only price cap I could benefit from would be the Anytime cap (because of the 0830 start from Orpington).

    But if I make the same journey, this time leaving Orpington at 1630 and coming back at 2000, the single fare finder gives the total fare as £12.60 again. This time though I would benefit from the off peak fare cap because both trips are made at off peak times for cap purposes (even though the journey from Orpington attracts a peak fare).

    Have I passed?

  96. Hi Mike,
    I’m a little confused by this statement in your article: “Thus, if you make one journey before 0930 you are likely to hit the off-peak cap before the anytime cap”.

    It is my understanding that journeys before 0930 don’t count towards the off-peak cap and the peak journey would be treated separately with only journeys after 0930 being included towards the offpeak cap?

    My main question is, if I touch in at 0920 at Balham NR and then transfer on to underground (after 0930) to go to Heathrow Airport at Victoria, would the whole journey Balham -> Heathrow Airport be counted as peak due to the early touch-in time, or would it just treat the Balham NR bit as peak with the Victoria to Heathrow Airport being Off-peak?

    If it’s all treated as peak, is there a way to ‘force’ the underground journey to be offpeak?



    • Hi John,

      You are correct. My wording tries to explain that even if you travel before 0930 you are still subject to the off-peak cap afterwards. Whichever cap is hit first will stop charges.

      In your case the whole journey would be charged at peak rates if you interchange promptly. If you were to get a coffee at Victoria such that you touched in at the Underground more than 20 minutes after touching out of the NR platforms then the journey would be split in two and the second one would be off-peak. Alternatively you can touch into a bus outside Victoria and get off again. This would charge £1.45 unless you have a travelcard season, or were going to use all the off-peak cap anyway such that it didn’t matter. The other way is to enter and exit the LU station within two minutes and then enter again within 45 further minutes. This will cause a same station exit which will end the first journey and start a new one when you go back in. It only works where there are gatelines on the entry side of the OSI, which is the case at Victoria.

  97. Hello Mike,

    The daily oyster travel cap is 11.60£ (1-4zones) during the peak time. If I use 2 buses in the morning, before I start actual journey from Grove Park (national rail, zone 4) to Queensway (zone 1 underground) , does it include in my daily cap, or I will be charged separately for using 2 buses in the morning?

  98. Hi mike,
    I will be travelling from epping tube station (after 4pm) on a Friday and heading into heathrow terminal 4, the easiest route to me seems to be:
    Take the central line to holborn,
    Change to Piccadilly line and go from there.
    However I’ve only recently got an Oyster card and am not entirely sure how the zone fares will work, will it count me going from epping to holborn (6-1) as a £3 fare and then from holborn to terminal 4 (1-6) as another £3 fare? Is there a cheaper alternative? Thank you.

    • Hi Rachel,

      You don’t leave the station at Holborn so it will be one journey from Epping to Heathrow. This costs £3 off-peak and £5 peak, and if you start it between 1600-1900 on a Friday then it will be peak. There is a cheaper alternative which avoids zone 1 and will take significantly longer. You need to change at Stratford, Gunnersbury and Turnham Green OR Stratford, Willesden Junction, West Brompton and Earls Court. The fares are £1.50 off-peak and £2.70 peak.

  99. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to start travelling from Surbiton to either Vauxhall or Waterloo from around 0700, returning at either before 1600 or closer to 1700 on some days. What is my best option?



    • Hi Adam,

      There’s quite a few variables in there. Surbiton to Vauxhall is zones 2-5 whereas Waterloo will add zone 1. Touching in before 1600 will give you an off-peak fare whereas 1700 will be a peak one. Surbiton to Vauxhall is £3.90 peak and £2.50 off-peak. Surbiton to Waterloo is £5.90 peak, £3.60 off-peak. A weekly season to Vauxhall is £28.50 while to Waterloo is £44.00. In both cases the season ticket will be cheaper than one peak and one off-peak journey 5 days a week. A travelcard will be overkill unless you make other journeys, and if you make a significant number of off-peak journeys it would be even more compared to PAYG. The only time I would recommend a travelcard for you would be if your usual commute was to Vauxhall and you made a few other trips and had to go into Waterloo once or twice a week. In that case I’d get a zone 2-6 travelcard on the Oyster and use PAYG for the extra to zone 1 when required. It really does depend on your actual circumstances though.

  100. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I’m going to do Surbiton to Vauxhall M-F, and the odd day on the weekend. Would you therefore recommend getting the Sur-Vxh season ticket and Just go PAYG for other journeys (minimal, once a week within zone 1)?



    • Hi Adam,

      Yes I would. The season ticket will have to be on paper so if you go to Waterloo you’ll need to touch in at Vauxhall on the way. Alternatively you can buy a paper ticket from Vauxhall to Waterloo and take a fast train all the way.

  101. Hi Mike,
    I didn’t understand if a trip on a bus before 9.30 trigger the peak price cap for the day, even if first metro/train/dlr/overground trip is made after 9.30. Hope the question is clear 🙂

    • Hi CDB,

      It counts towards the anytime price cap, but one bus journey is only enough to reach the anytime cap if all rail activity after 0930 is in zones 1-2.

  102. Hello Mike!

    I wanted to know if let say, I’d want to take the train from Cricklewood Station to Charing Cross and then take the underground, like Piccadilly line (all in zone 1-2).
    Would I have to pay for the train and for the underground (I have an oyster) or I can pay at the train station and pay off after the tunderground?

    • Hi Guillaume,

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here. Cricklewood is within the Oyster area so you can use it for the trains as well as tubes in London.

  103. Hi we are travelling from Kings cross to Uxbridge on the underground after 16.00 on a monday and returning the following day around 18.00, will I have to get peak tickets and if so, have you any idea how much they are? also I have a disabled railcard, can I use that towards price of the tickets. We are also visiting London for 2 days shortly, can we buy underground tickets that we can use for lots of underground trips each day and also disable card eligibilty again please.

    • Hi Haze,

      Are you talking about paper tickets? If yes, then you can’t use the disabled railcard for solely Underground tickets. If you are making lots of trips you can buy a one-day travelcard which can have the railcard discount applied. However, you really do want to consider getting an Oyster card and having the railcard discount attached to it. The discounted off-peak cap for zones 1-6 is cheaper than the paper travelcard, and if you only use it in zones 1-2 (or 1-4) then it will be even cheaper because while Oyster caps at lower rates, you can’t buy paper one-day travelcards for less than zones 1-6.

      Kings X to Uxbridge is £5.70 paper, while Oyster is £5.00 peak, £2.00 off-peak with railcard. Coming back the off-peak fare applies in the afternoon peak as the journey finishes in zone 1. The paper off-peak one-day travelcard with discount is £5.90. With Oyster and railcard the off-peak caps are £5.60 (zone 1-6), £5.10 (zone 1-4) and £4.60 (zone 1-2).

  104. Can I just add that using buses before 9.30am and using the tube after 9.30am results in one being charged the peak fare* despite peak fares not been applied to buses! However I guess that one wouldn’t be allowed to use an off-peak paper travelcard before 9.30am on a bus

    * I had used 4 buses by 9.30am and then a mixture of tube and bus but then I was only charged additional to the bus cap when I used the tube.

    • I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say. Although buses have a flat fare, any journeys before 0930 will not count towards the off-peak cap. They do still count towards the daily bus cap of course.

  105. Hi Mike,

    I’m still a bit confused with the Oyster Card Off-peak price cap (zone 1, £7.00) and Travelcard Day Off-peak (zone 1, £8.90).
    Why is the cost of a day pass Travelcard higher than the Oyster card daily price cap? who would buy the day pass Travelcard then?


    • Yes, they do seem to be a bit vague on the bus element. They say there is no difference between peak and off-peak bus fares. That’s not quite the same as saying there is only one fare. However, I agree that they could spell it out better.

  106. New to this site so apologies if I am posting in the right forum or following strict protocols…

    I just have a question with regards to Oyster peak pricing for children (11-15) on rail services eg Southeastern.
    Why is the pricing still different to the Underground Oyster pricing especially for central London (Zone 1 and 2)?
    We had assumed they were the same but children pay double during peak services.
    This means in future it would require some tricky calculations to work out which is cheaper especially if a F&F card is thrown into the mix.

    Are there any plans to bring them in line with the rest of the zone 1/ 2 network?

    • Hi Barney,

      Children’s pricing is already more aligned than adult pricing so it’s possible that further moves may be made. Do remember though that in the evening peak the off-peak cap still applies so they won’t pay more than £1.50 after 0930. There are some child single fares which are never charged in the evening peak because of this.

  107. Hi Mike,

    A simply question. If I use daily travelcard zone1-6 off peak, can I use this paper travel card before 6:30 since that is off peak period as well, or not? Only after 9:30?
    Thanks. I have registered on your site, but I couldn’t make any comment or post comment, only this way, which doesn’t require registration.
    Thanks for your answer.



    • Hi Daniel,

      No. Before 0630 is still peak, but on Oyster you are charged off-peak single fares. Those single fares do not count towards the off-peak cap.

  108. Hi Mike,

    Please help me: I would like some advice on the cheapest way to travel to and from work.

    I work between the hours of 10am- 3pm and it takes me approx. 1hr to get to and from work to home. I only work 4 days a week.
    My route would be London Kings Cross to either Golders Green then bus or Hendon and walk. (both zone 3)

    I cant figure out if a monthly travel card for zone 1-3 at £140 per month would be better than pay as you go, as on the way home I may be off peak.

    I also may speak to my employer and ask them if I could work 10.30 to 3.30 do you think that would still be off peak? And on both pay as you go and monthly how much is that?

    Really hope you can help.

    Thank you


    • Hi Lidia,

      Lots of variables in there. I’m assuming that you live in Hendon and work in Kings Cross. The key time in the morning is when you touch in. If you can do that after 0930 then it will be off-peak. For the evening you need to touch in before 1600. Adding a bus into the equation is going to make the travelcard more attractive, even at off-peak rates. Each bus journey is £1.45. The peak fare from both stations to Kings Cross is £3.20 but the off-peak equivalents vary. Hendon is £2.30 because that journey is National Rail while Golders Green (or indeed Hendon Central) is £2.70. Depending on when weekends (and your day off) fall and how many days the month has you will travel 16-20 days, so lets call that 17 days for comparison purposes.

      Hendon to St Pancras Intl is £2.30 x 17 x 2 = £78.20 (off-peak both ways)
      Hendon to St Pancras Intl is (£2.30+£3.20) x 17 = £93.50 (one way peak)
      Hendon to St Pancras Intl is £3.20 x 17 x 2 = £108.80 (peak both ways)

      Hendon Ctl to Kings X is £2.70 x 17 x 2 = £91.80 (off-peak both)
      Hendon Ctl to Kings X is (£2.70+£3.20) x 17 = £100.30 (one peak)
      Hendon Ctl to Kings X is £3.20 x 17 x 2 = £108.80 (peak both)

      Golders Grn to Kings X is (£2.70+£1.45) x 17 x 2 = £141.10 (off-peak both)
      Golders Grn to Kings X is (£2.70+£1.45+£3.20+£1.45) x 17 = £149.60 (one peak)
      Golders Grn to Kings X is (£3.20+£1.45) x 17 x 2 = £158.10 (peak both)

      The monthly travelcard is £141.40, so if you include the bus you are almost always better off with the travelcard.

  109. Hi Mike, I travel in from watford junction to Vauxhall everyday so zones 1-6. I work lates however so get the train from watford at around 11am returning at around 9pm. is it cheaper for me to go PAYG then a monthly travel card?

    • Hi Daniel,

      If your journey is only Watford Junction to Vauxhall (LU) then 42 single journeys is £252 PAYG compared to £313.80 for a monthly travelcard. So the simple answer is that PAYG is cheaper. If you add a bus into the equation then the travelcard costs less.

      However, the long answer is that you can do it much cheaper. Either take the Southern train from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction, then SWT to Vauxhall NR, or Overground from Watford Junction to Willesden Junction, Overground again to Clapham Junction and SWT to Vauxhall NR, then you avoid zone 1 and the off-peak single fare reduces from £6 to £2.80. It might take a little longer, but at less than half the cost and avoiding Euston and the Underground it may be worth it.

  110. Hi Mike, if I start my journey at hampton rail station at 6:20am and complete it at crossharbour DLR, will I be charged the off peak pay as you go rate on oyster? If not, what will the fare be? I’m going back to work 3 days a week (8-4pm)so am trying to find the cheapest way to travel.

    • Hi Pearlina,

      If you touch in before 0630 then the journey is charged off-peak however long it takes (within maximum journey time of course). Unfortunately the cut-off for the afternoon peak is 1600 which you might just miss. You can avoid zone 1 if you want by changing at Clapham Junction and either Shadwell or Canada Water. If the latter then you must touch the pink reader while changing. This cuts the off-peak fare from £5.10 to £2.50 and the peak fare from £7.50 to £3.90.

  111. Hi Mike.
    I am trying to find the cheapest way to get to London Euston from Feltham Overground station.
    I can either buy a one day travel card @8.90- but i feel it will be a waste as i am making a single journey trip.
    Will i be better off touching my Oyster card at Feltham and then stopping at Vauxhall. Then getting the Victoria Line from Vauxhall to Euston- again touch and go with Oyster. Can you please also confirm what London Zone Vauxhall falls under. And what the cost will be from Felthan- Vauxhall- Euston. Single Off Peak. Thanks. SB

  112. Hi-
    I’m trying to figure out if there is a monthly pass I can buy that covers me from watford junction (where im moving) to zone 1?


    • Hi Nicole,

      You can buy a zone 1-9 + Watford Junction travelcard which will cover you. If your journey is only between Watford and Euston then PAYG may be cheaper unless you use it every working day. The weekly travelcard is more expensive than 10 single journeys.

  113. Hi James,

    If I travel to Baker street from Slade Green every Monday to Friday 08:00 to 17:30 using National rail and Underground. What type of Oyster pay as you go is best for me.

    • Hi James,

      There is only one sort of Oyster PAYG. That journey will see you cap at the anytime (peak) rate for zones 1-6. If you make the journey every weekday then consider buying a travelcard season to put on your Oyster instead.

  114. I am moving to wickford and work at Euston square, I work part time five days a week.
    I will be travelling at peak time 7ish in the morning, but I leave work at 13.00 everyday.
    What is the cheapest way to travel

    • Hi Carol,

      Unfortunately travelling in the morning peak means that a season ticket is still worthwhile. You could make a saving by buying a Wickford to London zones 2-6 season, changing at Stratford onto the North London Line to Camden Road and then walking or catching a bus down to Euston. Buses are included with any travelcard so you are free to use them in zone 1.

  115. Hi Mike,

    Can you confirm all travels between Euston and Watford Junction before 0930 are charged at off-peak fares as the other way between 1600 and 1900 ?

    I want to use with my son, a OneDay TravelCard Off-Peak (1-6) – £8.90 for an adult and the same for a child (£3.60)… and a BZ6 round-ticket for Watford Junction for each of us, but I don’t know at what time i’ll return from Watford Junction (visit Harry Potter studios)

    Is it the cheapest way ? (i’ll not use an Oyster card).

    many thanks !


    • Hi Jean,

      Travel against the peak flow between Euston and Watford Junction is charged at off-peak single fares on Oyster. An off-peak travelcard is still not valid until 0930. If you won’t use an Oyster card then off-peak travelcards and BZ tickets will be the cheapest way. Travelcards £8.90 + £3.60 + BZ6-WFJ returns £4.50 + £2.25 = £19.25. If your son has a zip Oyster (11-15) then his single fare would be £2.35 while yours would be £4.70 and allow travel before 0930. That’s £14.10 total.

  116. Hi, can you clear this up for me please. I am visiting London for one day, arriving 10.30am and leaving 10.00pm. I have an adult oystercard. I am in London on a weekday. The morning peak times do not affect me, but I am confused by the 4pm-7pm peak. I intend travelling around doing ‘touristy stuff’ and will be in zones 1, 2 and 3. Am I right that if I travel between these zones and dont finish up in zone 1 during these times the daily cap is quite a lot more, say if I leave the Olympic park after 4pm but travel to a zone 1 station I will be still on the lower daily peak, but if I did zone 3 to 2 I will be on a high daily peak?

    Thanks, if you answer this.

    • Hi Mary,

      Between 1600-1900 the Oyster system charges peak single fares*, but these higher fares still count towards the off-peak cap. Only travel before 0930 doesn’t count towards the off-peak cap.

      *Where TfL set the fares and travel ends in zone 1 the off-peak fare is charged. Peak fares between anywhere and zone 2 are all less than equivalent off-peak fare to zone 1 so you never lose out.

  117. Hi,

    I am travelling to London on Good Friday, I need a zone 1-6 travel card for the day – As it is good Friday is the whole day classed as off peak?

    Apologies if you have already answered this!

  118. Hi mike,

    I’m trying to work out the cheapest way to travel return from Gidea Park to Paddington. I would be leaving at 6am in the morning and return at 3.30pm so off peak?

    thanks in advance

    • Hi Tola,

      As Paddington is in zone 1 and Gidea Park is classed as National Rail there is really no way to reduce the fare. As you say, both ways will be off-peak so you are already getting the best deal. The only improvement would be a railcard if you are eligible for one.

  119. Mike,

    Please could you edit the page to make it clear that it is the start time of the journey which determines whether it is peak/off peak, rather than the whole journey?

  120. Hi,
    I have an 11-15 Oyster Zip Card and I’d like to know what it would cost me to Go from Harold Wood to Liverpool Street, Liverpool Street to Embankment and then Embankment to Hornchurch. I plan to travel on a Saturday.


    • Hi Kai,

      If that is 2 separate journeys then each one is 75p with a daily cap of £1.50. Even if you take too long to walk between the stations at Liverpool Street you will still cap at £1.50.

  121. Hi Mike,
    I can’t understand how does the cap be counted: in particular, what is the criteria to determine if I reach peak cap or off-peak cap? Sorry for my english; I hope you’ve understood what I mean. 🙂 Thank you.

    • Hi Andrea,

      All your travel counts towards the Anytime (peak) cap. All travel after 0930 also counts towards the off-peak cap. Whichever cap is reached first will apply and stop you being charged.

      Hope that helps.

  122. Hello
    I need to get a bus to get Barking station, then I travel to Fenchurch St. I can touch in at Barking before 6.30am, and can touch back in at Fenchurch St before 4pm for the journey home. I will need to get a bus again from Barking after 4pm. So is PAYG best for me? or weekly pass?

    • Hi Michael,

      Two off-peak rail fares at £2.70 each and two buses at £1.45 each works out at £41.50/week. A zone 1-4 travelcard is £45.00/week. If all you ever do is commute 5 days a week then use PAYG, but if you add anything else a travelcard would probably save money.

  123. Hello, I will be working in London soon and trying to understand the complex world of public transport. My new job is in Kentish Town and my options for starting my journey are Brentwood or Epping. I am happy to use both trains and buses but I am struggling to work out how much it is going to cost. I will probably start my day travelling between 6am and 6.30am and returning between 4pm and 6pm. What are my cheapest options please. I have done a test run and can get a bus (214) from London Liverpool street st right to my new office, but it takes 40 minutes.

    • Hi Kerrie,

      If cost is your biggest driver then choose Epping because it is in zone 6 while Brentwood is outside the zones. In either case, change at Stratford and take the Overground to Kentish Town West. That way you avoid zone 1. Epping to Kentish Town West via Stratford is £1.50 off-peak (before 0630) or £2.70 peak (0630-0930, 1600-1900). From Brentwood the fares are £4.30 and £6.50. You must touch the pink reader on the overground platforms at Stratford or you will be charged much more.

  124. Dear Mike
    If I travel from Upper Warlingham at 6pm on Friday to Victoria and return later that evening, am I correct in thinking that I would be capped Off Peak? Similarly, if I travel after 9.30 and return 5pm?
    I have always used an off peak travel card which allies travel anytime. Look forward to your reply and hopefully confirmation.

    • Hi Gill,

      Yes, the off-peak cap applies for all travel after 0930, including between 1600-1900 when peak single fares apply. If you travel in the afternoon peak you’ll reach the off-peak cap a bit quicker.

    • Hi Jake,

      It only works in the afternoon peak on routes priced by TfL, but it is to encourage people to use Oyster to come into zone 1 for the evening without being hit by a peak fare.

  125. Hi there,

    I am going to university in September. More than likely I will be travelling in peak times both morning and evening. From zone 4 (Colindale station) to Zone 1 (Angel station). Would it be best for me to buy a monthly rail card or PAYG Oyster?


  126. Hi, I have a 16- 25 railcard on my student oyster. I am going to be touching in before 0630 Mon-Fri. Will I get the railcard discount on the off peak fares?

    I will be travelling from east Croydon rail to either clapham high St or clapham north as I will be working at Lambeth hospital.


  127. Hi,

    We will visit London from 28 may until 1 june.
    We have a hotel in Ilford. (zone 4)
    We are with four.
    What is for us the best?
    Travel card or oyster card?


    • Hi Martin,

      The answer may come down to whether you want to use any of the 2 for 1 offers in London which require a paper ticket to validate them. If you do and can avoid starting travel before 0930 in the week then one-day travelcards will probably be best. If you don’t want the offers then using an Oyster card will work out a little cheaper and/or allow you to make one journey before 0930 without needing a full day travelcard.

  128. Hi Mike,
    just one stupid question…

    When I travel from Rainham (Essex) Z6 to Heathrow Z6 off-peak ( via West Ham and Waterloo)
    Oyster charges me 3 pounds in total.

    However from Rainham to Kingston (also Z6) it charges me 3 pounds to Waterloo + another 3.60 from Waterloo to Kingston ( NR)

    Should the 1-6 zone off-peak cap (8.5) still apply in the second case ?


    • Hi Eugene,

      Yes, the zone 1-6 off-peak cap would apply. However, if you just change from the Underground to National Rail at Waterloo and don’t take longer than 40 minutes between touch out and back in again, you should be charged £5.10 in total as it’s only one journey. In the reverse direction you only have 20 minutes.

  129. If I travel after 9:30 from zone 6 to waterloo, AND I also use the tube in zone 1 between 16-19, then return home the same way, what is the daily cap charge?

  130. Hi Mike, it says on the list of exceptions that “1. If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.”
    ; Does this mean that if I travel with pay as you go on 18+oyster (+16-25 national rail discount) at 6pm on weekday from zone 2 to zone 1, I will only be charged off peak rate with 34% discount? Thanks!

  131. Hi Mike, I have a question…I travel between Borehamwood Elstree via West Hampstead Thameslink to North Greenwich. Then from North Greenwich i take bus 188 to Russell Square. This i do to and fro4 or 5 times a week Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I need to know if it is cheaper for me to buy Travel card every week or to be using top pay as you go….Please can you advice me on this and let me know which zones i cover ….Currently Elstree Borehamwood is in zone 6 while West Hampstead Thameslink is in zone 2 and North Greenwich in Zone 3…Do i buy travel card from zones 1-6??? Thanks!

  132. Hello,

    I travel from Shenfield to Baker Street Monday – Friday and have a 16-25 railcard. A return travel card costs £14.25 but I am trying to work out if this would work out cheaper if I used my Oyster card (which is linked to my railcard).

    Can someone tell me what the off peak and peak prices would be for this journey using the oyster card and if there would be any daily caps?

    Thank you.

  133. To add to my earlier post – it is most liely that i would start my inward journey in off peak times and start my journey home in peak time – so I’m not sure how the capping/proces would work!

    Thanks for any help!

    • Hi Laura,

      I’m confused. Can you confirm the times of day that you travel. Specifically, is the inward journey before 0630 or after 0930?

  134. Hi Mike, I travel on weekdays from east croydon to canary wharf (zones 2 to 5) via canada water avoiding zone 1 using oyster pay as you go. I am charged different price everyday. Day 1 touch in at east croydon at 9:51, touch out at 10:23 in canary wharf- charged £2.30. Return touch in at CW at 17:19 to ECR – charged £3.30. Day 2 touch in at ECR at 9:59 – charged £2.30, return touch in at CW at 18:15 – charged £2.70. Both days I have one peak and one off peak journey. But the difference in cost confuses me. Please help !! Thanks.

    • Hi Sumita,

      That confused me a bit too, until I checked a subtle variation. On the second day you returned to West Croydon. As West Croydon is served by London Overground the whole journey is classed as TfL-Rail and different charges apply. Changing trains to go to East Croydon makes the journey NR+TfL Mixed.

  135. I am arriving at Heathrow at 4:55 am on a Wednesday. It is estimated that I will be able to rush to touch in for Underground before 6:30. I will be making a number of journeys on the tube that day. Is it better for me to buy a single ticket at Heathrow and use the off-peak daily price cap afterwards?

    • Hi Geoffrey,

      No, a paper ticket will cost much more. If you touch in before 0630 you will be charged off-peak, but that journey will not count towards the off-peak cap. The rest of your journeys after 0930 will though. Just because you use the card before 0930 doesn’t mean that you’ll pay the whole anytime cap.

  136. Thanks for your answer. That’s mean my journey from zone 6 to zone 1 will be £3.00. If my second journey start after 9:30, I travel between zone 1 to zone 3 afterwards. The fare for the whole day will count towards the daily off-peak cap will be £3.00+7.70=£10.7, i.e. Oyster Pay as you go Off-peak single Zone 1-6 and Off-peak price cap Zone 1-3, which is cheaper than using a paper ticket + daily cap. Am I correct?

  137. Could you suggest to me please? I go from NORBITON(Zone 5) to BANK(zone 1) every day from MONDAY TO FRIDAY.. My shift is different, sometimes off peak, sometimes peak time.. (9AM-6PM, 3PM-11PM, 11AM-9PM, 9-6PM, 3-11PM, per week). WHat is the best way to travel to get it cheap? Thank you a lot.

    • Hi Anivre,

      It depends on your travel pattern. If it is all off-peak in a week then PAYG is cheaper. If there are more than 5 out of 10 journeys at peak rate then a travelcard will be better. If you buy a monthly or longer travelcard then you need fewer peak journeys to make it worthwhile. Any additional travel will also make a travelcard better value.

  138. Dear Mike,

    Tanks for your answer… One more question – even if I use PAYG in off-PEAK time, then is cost to me £5.20 I guess.. (Overground Norbiton-Waterloo £3 and then Underground Waterloo-Bank£2.20). Please give me some advice 🙁

    • Hi Anivre,

      As long as you touch in at Waterloo LU within 20 minutes of touching out at Waterloo NR then the journey will be combined and the total is £4.50. The £1.50 is a premium for using both NR and TfL in a journey involving zone 1.

  139. Hi mate, can i ask what would be the cheapest route going to bermondsey,im from north wembley. Im working 5 days a week. Can i get only zone 2-4 travel card? Or should i get zone 1-4? And can you pls give options. Thanks.

    • Hi Andrei,

      North Wembley and Bermondsey are at virtually opposite sides of London, so avoiding zone 1 will be time consuming. You can do it by changing at Willesden Junction and Stratford, but you must touch out at Stratford and back in again to make it two journeys or else the system will think you’ve gone via Baker Street.

  140. Hi mike, so you mean that i cannot take the bakerloo line and change to baker street to get to bermondsey. With my zone 2-4 weekly travel card? Am i included in peak hour, im starting my journey to work at 5:30.

    • Hi Andrei,

      You can go via Baker Street as long as you have £2.20 on the PAYG balance so it can charge you for zone 1. Starting at 0530 will charge off-peak fares, but the zone 1 fare is the same all day.

  141. Hi Mike,

    Im just wondering if I bought a 5.90 all day travelcard with a railcard today for tomorrow and used it on the bus at 7.30am, would it still be valid as its peak times, but i’m on a bus?
    Also do you know to get the DLR from Lewisham to Custom House at about 8am the price for a single?

    Thank you for your help!!

    • Hi Abigail,

      The £5.90 railcard discounted travelcard is an off-peak ticket which is not valid before 0930. If you have an oyster with your railcard discount loaded then your best bet is to use that. You’ll pay full fares between 0630 and 0930, then any further travel will be capped at £5.60 (or £5.10 if you don’t go into zone 5 or 6). For Custom House from Lewisham you need to change at Canary Wharf and Poplar. They are both cross-platform interchanges.

  142. Hi Mike,

    I want to travel from Plaistow st (Zone 3) to Edgware st (Zone 5) on Monday. I want to know whether If I tap in between 5.45am – 6.00am would I be charged peak or off-peak hours (I use the adult oyster card) and what is the cheapest fair that I should use (PAYG or a travel card).

    • Hi Chantel,

      Touch in at that time would be charged at off-peak. PAYG will definitely be cheaper as the off-peak travelcard isn’t valid before 0930.

  143. Hi Mike

    Your website is great! So helpful and so many people appreciate what a great idea and job you’re doing so thanks!

    I am trying to figure out my new work journey from Ilford (overhead greater albelio train) 8am latest train to London Liverpool st and return journey 525-540pm

    Is it cheaper for season (weekly/monthly railcard) or a pay as you go oyster. I can’t figure out how much it would cost me on a pay as you go.

    Thanks for your help in advance

    • Hi Seema,

      If your journey is only between Ilford and Liverpool Street and doesn’t involve Underground, DLR or buses, then a season ticket for Ilford to London Terminals will be best value. If you do use other transport in your commute then you’ll want a zone 1-4 travelcard season. The prices are: Peak single – £3.70, weekly rail only season – £30.40, weekly travelcard season – £45.00.

  144. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to visit London on four weekdays. What is the cheapest way if I’d like to get from Reading Station to London Paddington and travel in the city (only zone 1 and 2) the whole day? What would you recommend, Oyster card or London 7 days Travelcard? Is there maybe some other option?

    Thank you very much for your advice in advance

    • Hi Noemi,

      I wouldn’t recommend an Oyster card because you can’t use it at Reading. If you are travelling in the peak periods between Reading and London then you should buy the 7 day Reading to zones 1-6 travelcard. If you are travelling off-peak then you should buy daily off-peak travelcards. You have to arrive in London after 10am, and you can’t use the fast non-stop services from Paddington to Reading between 1600-1915. Stopping trains are fine though.

  145. I am confused about the caps. I have always thought that as soon as you touch in before 0930, the system will wait until the Anytime cap is reached. Having thouroughly read this article, I may have been wrong all the time!

    Suppose I make a journey before 0930, Zones 1-2. I will be charged £2.80. Then I make several others journeys between 1600 and 1900, Zones 1-2. I will be charged £2.80 for two of them, but only 50p for the third one, and nothing for any travel thereafter because the Off-Peak cap (£8.90) will be reached.

    Have I got it right? It somehow doesn’t sound OK, because Off-Peak cap applies although all fares used were Peak…

    • Hi Jan,

      You’ve not quite got it right. In zones 1-2 there is only £1.40 difference between the anytime cap (£8.40) and the off-peak cap (£7.00). Thus in your case the anytime cap of £8.40 will be reached first (with the third journey) and all others are free. If you use zones further out there is a bigger difference between the caps and it is likely that the off-peak cap would be reached first if you only make one short journey before 0930.

    • Hi Happy,

      Between Grays and Stratford it is cheaper to use PAYG on Oyster than to buy a season ticket unless you will be making other journeys during the week or committing to a monthly or longer season. If you do get a season ticket then it will have to be issued on paper because the Oyster season prices don’t work out correctly.

  146. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for answering. Yes I’ve mixed things up, I was looking at the Day Travelcard prices instead of PAYG caps.

    What happens if both caps are reached at the same time? For example, one peak journey Zones 1-9 in the morning peak and two in the evening peak. Both caps are reached with the third journey, which one will aply?

    • Hi Jan,

      It’s whichever cap is reached first that stops the charging. Zone 1-9 peak is £6.70 and two is £13.40. The off-peak cap is £11.60 while the off-peak cap + one peak fare is £18.30 which is less than the anytime cap of £19.60. So the off-peak cap will limit the charging on the third journey of the day.

  147. Hi Mike,

    thank you for clarifying. The whole thing is quite complex so it seems it’s best to just always touch in and out and trust the system to deduct the right fare.

  148. Could you tell me how much it would cost to travel by train from Bexleyheath to Charing Cross & then by tube to Earl’s Court, and return, on a Sunday using a PAYG Oyster Card?

    I’ve done a similar journey (bus from Bexleyheath to N. Greenwich & then the tube to Hammersmith, and return, using the Oyster & I was capped at £7.

    I just wondering what my Oyster would be capped at if I used the train & tube, rather than the bus & tube.

    Cheers Geoff

    • Hi Geoff,

      The rail cap is based on zones used by rail, so from zone 5 you’d cap at £8.50. North Greenwich is in zone 2 which is why you only cap at the zone 1-2 rate.

  149. Hi Mike,
    I was wondering: can i touch in at 9:29 from Surbiton to Vauxhall, off peak Oyster or do i have to wait until it is 09:30? I have been told by one guard that it should be fine to tap in at 09;29 and be charged the off-peak oyster rate and then another guard said I would be charged peak price and must wait until the clock hits 09:30. The reason i ask is that I have to catch the 09:31 train from Surbiton to vauxhall and if i tap in at 09:30 it gives me less than a minute to run adown the stairs and catch this train. No one seems to know the definate answer and the ticket office staff say they don’t know either! Is Surbiton regarded as Greater London? Thank you

    • Hi Tracey,

      Officially you have to wait until 0930. In practice, TfL start charging off-peak 2-3 minutes early. They won’t confirm exact details because the intention is to prevent complaints about the station clock being wrong. I’ve not tried at the end of the morning peak, but I have had off-peak journeys touching in at both 1602 and 1859.

  150. Hi Mike, Thank you so much – this is really helpful information – i will try my tap in at about 09;28 and see what happens – i guess this is the only way i will know. Ah the clock times!!! Really appreciate your help – great job!

  151. Hi Mike,

    As a tourist going to London for 3 nights (Sunday to Tuesday), would it be beneficial and cheaper getting a visitor oyster card or travelcard for zones 1 and 2, since that’s where the main attractions are (unsure what sites we would like to see yet)? On the Wednesday, I have to be at Heathrow Airport terminal 2 by 7am for a 10am flight. What would you suggest for all these things? Thank you

    • Hi Becky,

      A zone 1-2 travelcard is only available for a week, so I think the Oyster card would be better. It doesn’t have to be a visitor card, you can get a normal adult card when you arrive and get the deposit back before you leave. The alternative would be one-day zone 1-6 travelcards which may benefit you if you visit places offering the 2 for 1 admission offer with a train ticket. You’d than need to use cash on the Wednesday morning as the all-day version (useable before 0930) is way too expensive for one trip.

  152. Hi,

    I was wondering if you can help me. Im trying to budget for my weekly commute but i can’t figure out a extract price for how much it costs me everyday. The person at the ticket office wasn’t much help either! I go from Osterley (zone 4) at 7.45am-ish to victoria (zone 1) for 8.27am. I change at acton town for the district line. On my way home i go from victoria about 5.40/5.45pm to south kensington and change for the Piccadilly line all the way back home to osterley,i get there before 6.30pm. I can’t figure out how much this will cost me daily? Surely its cheaper for TFL to charge me the single fares then the daily cap?

    any help would be great!

    • Hi Katrina,

      The single fare finder tells me that it costs £3.80 at peak times to travel from Osterley to Victoria or return. A zone 1-4 travelcard is £45/week, so if all you do is 5 return journeys in a week with nothing extra then PAYG will be cheaper. However, if you use a bus a few times, or travel at the weekend, then a travelcard may make sense that week.

  153. Hi Mike,

    I work for a charity that reimburses users for their travel expenses to attend our services. Many people present a receipt for top-up and we reimburse them for the maximum it would cost from their home zone (1 to 6) to us in zone 1. (They can’t prove their journey detail until after the event – and we can’t reimburse then).

    Where our services take place in the afternoon and return travel would be around 6pm we’ve been reimbursing them up-to the peak price cap – but reading your site I think this is incorrect.

    The maximum cost for any travel in one day starting after 9:30 will be capped at the off-peak amount for the relevant zone – is this correct?

  154. Hi Mike,

    My SO and I are travelling to London tomorrow and will be arriving at Euston station at approxiametly 13:15. As we both have visitor oyster cards, I was wondering, if we travel from Euston to zones 1-4 between our arrival time and 16:00, returning from the outer zones back into zone 1 between 16:00 and 19:00 and then travelling from Picadilly in zone 1 back to Euston at 23:00, would all of these journeys constitute to off-peak travelling and thus be capped at the daily off-peak cap price of £7.70?

    Also, if we hit the off-peak cap travelling before 16:00 will any subsequent journeys during the peak period be charged?

    Thank you for any information you can give me, I’m a little new to travelling in London!

    • Hi Shannon,

      Sorry for the delay replying. If you start travelling at 1315 then the most you will pay is the off-peak cap. If you make any journeys between 1600-1900 then you may be charged peak single fares, but only if the off-peak cap has not yet been reached.

  155. Hi there, I am planning on parking at stanmore and travelling to Tottenham court road, after 9.30. Then returning maybe after 4. Please can you tell me how much I will need on my Oyster card? I was a bit confused about off peak on my way into London and peak on my way back.

    • According to the single fare finder you’ll need £7.60, £3.00 in the morning and £4.60 in the evening. If you reverse the search you will be told that the peak only applies in the morning, which is true when the journey ends in zone 1 and is priced by TfL. Any other journey during the day will cause the off-peak cap of £8.50 to apply.

  156. Re. my post of 27th June: After I explained very slowwwly to the TfL call centre staff (I kept my cool even when she told me “I know how the capping system works”), she put me on hold for a few minutes. When she came back she agreed that I was right and I got my refund.

  157. Hi Mike, I will be staying beside watford juntion in a few weeks time and plan to visit central London from there. I will be making the return trip on two consecutive days ( Tue+Wed). 3 adults and 1 child (14) are in my party. Plan to travel around central london on both days. I see an off peak fare available for return travel (watford to Euston) for £25.40 for my party. Am I best to get this fare and then use travel cards for my central london travel or should I get cards to cover all my travel. I live in Ireland so should I purchase tickets prior to my travel or on the day in the station? Many thanks.

    • Hi Dave,

      I can’t seem to find what fare costs £25.40 for 3 adults and 1 child. However, I think the best option for you is likely to be off-peak Watford to zones 1-6 day travelcards. The extra on top of the return to Euston is less than the price of a day travelcard. You could purchase in advance, but you won’t save any money over buying on the day. You may even have to pay to send to Ireland.

  158. Hi Mike, I’ve read conflicting information that evening off-peak starts at 7pm or 7.30pm.

    I asked one of the staff at Acton Central station recently and he said it started 7.30pm but most information online says it’s 7pm. Can you confirm which is correct, thanks.

  159. Hi.
    I have a railcard 16-25 and an Oyser card (they’re not joined together yet to get discount for price cap)
    I need to go to Heathrow and back from zones 1-2.
    Unfortunately, the journey back is between 4-7 pm

    What is the cheapest way?
    Is it Pay As You Go without discount or Peak Day Travelcard with discount 1/3?

    Sorry, I’m confused here.

    • Hi Salta,

      There are too many variables to answer this accurately. Zone 1 or zone 2 makes a massive difference. If it’s Earls Court then zone 2 will apply, assuming that you are taking the Piccadilly line. If you can tell me the actual station and route to Heathrow then I’ll try and answer properly.

  160. Hi, Mike.
    Thank you for answering!

    I’m taking Picaddiliy line from King’s Cross to Earl’s Court to check in at the hotel. Then it’s Earl’s Court – Heathrow. And then back, from Heathrow to Earl’s Court.
    I have a registered Oyster, and also a railcard 16-25.

    • Hi Salta,

      Undiscounted Oyster is £2.20 then £1.50 then £2.70 = £6.40
      Zones 1-6 off-peak travelcard with discount = £5.90
      Discounted Oyster is £1.45 then £1.00 then £2.70 = £5.15

      I’d get the railcard linked to the Oyster at Kings Cross before you start.

  161. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to be a student in London (hopefully!) come September, so I’m trying to understand the Oyster system sooner rather than later.

    My understanding of capping is just about enough to make the most of it, but there’s one little thing that’s confusing me, and that’s to do with the 16.00-19.30 time frame.

    Say, on a weekday, I hadn’t used any tubes or trains before 9.30am, but chose to use some at 11am to travel within Zones 1-2. I’d get charged at the Off-Peak rate. Then, I want to return at 5pm, (within the 16.00-19.30 range), and thus I get on a Peak tube. From the table above, it says this can count towards the Off-Peak price cap.

    If the peak return journey at 5pm pushed my travel costs past £7.70, would I only be charged £7.70?

    Or, would I be charged £7.70 PLUS the additional remaining cost of the single peak journey – meaning that if I chose to travel again after 19.00, I wouldn’t be charged further, as this would be “free” under the Off-Peak price cap which has been reached?

    One more thing that’s just come to mind – from what I’ve read, buses have no peak times and their own price cap if you’re only travelling by bus. If I combined my Tube travel with some buses to reach my destination, do the bus fares still count towards the £7.70 off peak price cap, or does this apply only to Tubes, Rail and DLR – meaning if I reached the Price Cap and then took a bus, I’d be charged £7.70 PLUS the price of the bus?

    Hope that all made sense – thanks in advance for all of your help!

    • Hi Jonathan,

      Yes it makes sense. If you start travel after 0930 then all travel counts towards the off-peak cap and you will stop paying at that point, even when journeys are made between 1600-1900. Your bus fares count towards the off-peak cap if they start after 0930. Before that they count towards the anytime cap as well as the all day bus cap.

  162. Hi Mike

    I will be travelling from Northfileds to Harlow town 7 days a week for a month but can only afford weekly cards not monthly.

    I know its 36.80 a week for my zone 1-3 but how much would a weekly extension to go from Liverpool Street to Harlow Town be? I know with my Young person railcard it will be £8.30 a day return and I understand for a weekly one I probably wont be able to use it as I’ll need to be in Harlow for 10am.

    Cheers Liam

    • Hi Liam,

      Sorry for the delay responding. During August there is no restriction on using the 16-25 railcard in the mornings. Your travelcard covers you up to the boundary of zone 3, so you need a boundary zone 3 to Harlow anytime return for £6.85. At weekends you can use the super off-peak return for £6.55. In September you’ll need to get the undiscounted versions because there is a minimum fare of £12 with the railcard before 10am.

      Hope that helps.

  163. Hi Mike,

    I’m well confused regarding the price caps!

    I thought if you touched in before 930am then the peak cap would apply that day irrespective of if you reach the off peak cap first.

    With a 16-25 railcard discount added to Oyster, would this journey be capped at the Off Peak Z1-4 travelcard rate of £5.10?

    Eltham (Rail) – Euston Underground starting approx. 8.30am. Peak fare charged at £5.30.
    Assuming this counts towards peak cap only.

    Euston Underground – Eltham (Rail) starting approx. 5pm. Peak fare charged at £5.30.

    Assuming that although peak fare is charged it counts towards the peak *and* off peak cap. As off peak is reached first charging stops at £5.10? Or will it cost me £10.60?

    Is that correct or am I getting it all wrong!? Thanks.

    • Hi Si,

      Yes, you will be charged £10.40. One of the side-effects of adding a railcard is that sometimes you will get a small discount on the return half of a standard commute.

  164. Hi I’m wanting to go to london with the kids i have an oyster card if i go off peak how much would it cost me for all zones during off peak times for the day?

  165. Hi Mike, your site is brilliant. I was due an off-peak fare cap the other Friday and have been charged £16.40 instead of the £11.60 I was expecting. One of my stations was Purfleet, which I understand is in Zone “G”. The only document on the Tfl website I can find with capping charges is this, which doesn’t even mention “G”! I see £16.40 is the amount for Zone 1-9 plus Watford Junction. So is G treated as though it is Watford junction?!



    • Hi John,

      Yes, I believe that there is an issue with the Grays area when it comes to capping. This is why they don’t offer travelcard seasons from those stations. I don’t know whether they make adjustments for this, but if you call the helpdesk they’ll do whatever they can. If your travel starts and finishes in Grays area it might be better to use a paper travelcard if you are making more than a simple return journey.

  166. Hi there! Just a question about peak/off trains. Are peak tickets only needed of you are getting on or off in London or is it all the way along all lines? I am going to mortlake from tring via clapham junction and probably will be heading home around 5pm. As I am not stopping in London is ‘peak’ still effective or can I use an off peak ticket?
    Thank you in advance!!

    • Hi Alison,

      If you are using the off-peak day return route NOT VIA LONDON ticket then there are no restrictions in the evening. You are not allowed to use trains in the morning which arrive at London terminals or Kensington Olympia before 10am.

      A general rule is that there is no such thing as a peak train. Peak is defined by ticket restrictions which vary from ticket to ticket.

  167. Thank you Mike! So if I’m just sort of going ‘around’ London but not getting off (the train I’m looking at catching goes through imperial wharf but again I go to clapham then change there for mortlake) and I have a not via London ticket I should be ok? (In sure it’s simple I just want to be sure!!) thank you again!! 🙂

    • Hi Alison,

      Yes, that’s fine. In fact you’d also be fine going via London according to the similar restriction for that ticket, but it would cost more than the route NOT VIA LONDON ticket.

  168. Hi Mike
    I am shortly eligible for 60+ oyster for £10. I travel from Morden to Bank on the tube everyday. Can I use this before 9.30am? If not can I use it before 6.30am off peak? If so is it necessary to touch in before 6.30am or to touch out before 6.30am?

    Thanks for your help

  169. Hi Mike,
    I will be travelling from Purley Oaks to Tring on Thursday at 10am then heading back around 4pm, I was wondering if you could tell me the cheapest possible way to do this please? Is it better to use an Oyster card as far as Watford Junction then buy a ticket for the remaining journey to Tring or should I just buy a rail ticket for the entire journey? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Anna,

      It is a case of time versus cost. For £18.30 you can use the hourly East Croydon to Milton Keynes service direct, although you are better off changing at Clapham Junction on some trains. If you want to use Oyster you will need to get off the train at Watford Junction to touch out and then get the next train to Tring. The off-peak single is £2.80 in the morning, it’s peak in the afternoon at £4.70 and an off-peak day return from Watford to Tring is £7.90 – Total £15.40. If you want to travel via Victoria and Euston then the £21.40 off-peak day return for the whole journey is cheaper than Oyster.

    • Hi Peter,

      If you use the tube as well as SWT then the difference is 40p (£8.90 paper travelcard, £8.50 Oyster cap). If you only use SWT then the two singles will only cost £7.20 total on Oyster.

  170. Hello! I travel from Romford to Holborn (zone 6 to zone 1)at 6pm and then return do the same journey at 23.30, will the peak time fare apply? Or will I pay just under £9 for the return journey? Thank you

  171. Hi – I travel zone 5 to zone 1 (train only) in the morning at 6am and home usually in peak time, occasionally after 7. I also have a 16-25 railcard on my oyster.

    I have found it best to take a PAYG fare in the morning (£2 after discount) and instead of doing PAYG oyster back (£4.80) to buy a one way paper ticket which is then discounted for my railcard to £3.90. If I go back off peak I obviously use oyster. It’s long winded but seems the best solution?

    Can you offer any advice? Why don’t I get 16-25 discount on a peak journey in the afternoon?


    • Hi Max,

      The peak fares are supposed to simulate buying an Anytime return ticket for use before 0930. You can’t use the railcard at that time. Oyster has to charge single fares so they need to ensure the usual peak flow pay the full amount in the afternoon as well. With Oyster you get the benefit of off-peak discounted fares before 0630, but you can’t get the discount between 1600-1900.

      As an aside, if your journey was from Bexleyheath to Oxford Circus (for example) you would get a slight discount in the afternoon because the discounted off-peak cap would be triggered before the full peak single could be charged. It doesn’t work for train only.

  172. Hello,

    I have a 16-25 railcard, I need to travel from southgate to west croydon and back each day (I go to highbury and Islington, then overground to west croydon). In the morning I get the tube before 6.30 (so this is off peak, but counts as a anytime cap?) but in the evening I need to get the peak tube home.

    Is it better for me to buy an off peak travelcard, and could I use this before 6.30? Or would you suggest going via stratford so I don’t go into zone 1?

    Thanks so much

    • Hi Hannah,

      You can’t use an off-peak travelcard before 0930. Charging off-peak fares before 0630 is a perk for people who can avoid the main rush hour. Yes you could go via Stratford but it would take longer. It all depends on your priority – time or money.

  173. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel Monday to Friday from Harrow Wealdstone to Embankment Station during peak hours. 8.00 & 17.30. What is the best cost effective option you would suggest ?

    • Hi Avita,

      If all you do is take the Bakerloo line 5 days a week then you may find PAYG is slightly cheaper than a weekly travelcard. Monthly or longer period travelcards will be similar or slightly cheaper depending on the actual number of days travelled in each period. If you regularly make other journeys outside of your commute then a travelcard will definitely be best.

  174. Hello Mike, As I am not sure if I understand correctly, I will give you an example of a daily travels and you please count for me how much will pay.
    Will travel only in zone 1 and 2 and only by tube.
    First travel will be in the morining before 09:30;
    Then will have 4-5 travels during the day in zone 1 or 2;
    Then the last travel will be around 18:30 in the evening.
    All will be make on Friday.
    Please advise, as I do not understand what is the maximum possible amount which can be charged for travels during the day (Monday-Friday) in zone 1-2 and by tube only.
    Also – if the peak time is only until 09:30 am Monday-Friday?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Meg,

      As there is only a small difference between the off-peak and anytime caps in zones 1-2 you will be capped at the anytime rate of £8.40.

  175. Thank you Mike. I was just thinking, if I could the bus from Harrow to Webley Park and then make the onward journey by train..Wembley Park to Baker Street to West Minster to Embankment. Will that work out cheaper?

    • Hi Avita,

      Yes, if you are prepared to save a zone by bussing part of the way then it will be cheaper. Your journey will be much longer though.

  176. Hi Mike,
    I need to travel Monday to Friday from wembley park to mile end underground station during peak hours 7:30 and 17:00. Can you please tell me the cheapest possible way for this? And I have 18+ Oyster card.

    • Hi Vicky,

      Leaving aside silly options like walking or taking several buses, the cheapest sensible option is Wembley Park -> West Hampstead -> Stratford -> Mile End. This avoids zone 1 so you’ll only need a zone 2-4 travelcard. You can always make the occasional trip across zone 1 if you’re in a hurry for the single fare of £2.20, but if you find yourself doing it most of the time then you probably ought to consider the zone 1-4 travelcard. The 30% discount on travelcards for 18+ students means that PAYG becomes more expensive sooner than it does for adults.

  177. Hi Mike,

    I live in Harlow, Essex, and need to travel to Liverpool Street Mon-Fri during peak times. What would be my cheapest monthly means of train travel? Adult Oyster or Railcard? Or would it be cheaper to take the tube from Epping which isn’t too far?

    Thanks for your help, great website!

  178. Hello Mike,

    I’ve read some similar enquiries to my own on your great site, but since none are exactly the same, may I put the question afresh?

    I need to travel on a weekday before 9.30am by tube from Zone 2 (Brixton) to Zone 2 (North Greenwich). Following this on the same day, I need to make several journeys using tube, bus and Obellio train between 9.30am and 7.00pm, all within Zones 1-6. I’m intending to use a PAYG Oyster for all journeys.

    Will I be charged a Peak Zone 1-2 single tube fare (£2.80) for the first journey and then an Off-peak Zones 1-6 day cap (£8.50) totalling £11.30, or a Peak Zones 1-6 day cap for the lot totalling £15.80, as I began my first journey during Peak hours?


  179. Hi

    I’m in need of help…

    I am moving to London from Manchester on the 11th of september and need to know what the best way of paying for transport is. whether an oyster card pay as you go or these weekly/monthly passes

    I am going to be living near bounds green tube station (zone 3) traveling to Farringdon (zone 1) Monday – Friday around 8am-6pm. I also have a railcard 16-25 which i believes helps but not sure how!

    any help I’d be most greatful!

    Thank you


    • Hi Nicola,

      The 16-25 railcard won’t help with seasons or peak fares unfortunately. A monthly zone 1-3 travelcard will be worthwhile as long as you make 22 return trips in a month. It becomes more worthwhile if you make any other journeys. If you can only buy weekly travelcards and only require 10 single journeys then PAYG will be cheaper. From September 19th you will be able to use a contactless payment card and it will cap at the appropriate weekly rate each Monday to Sunday. This means you don’t have to buy the travelcard up front if you’re not sure whether you’ll need it.

  180. Hiya, I will start full time education next week, I will be using the national rail and buses, is the oyster 18+ student discount better than the railcard discount 16-25? Thanx

    • Hi Jane,

      They are different. The 16-25 railcard discounts single and return fares with a minimum fare before 10am. The 18+ student Oyster discounts travelcard seasons. The latter is the one you probably need assuming that your travel is all within the London zones.

  181. Hello Mike
    What a brilliant site this is…puts travel info into plain English!
    Can you tell me please the best way to pay for the following journey?
    Come November I will be travelling, once a week on a Thursday, from Holloway to Woodford.
    I usually make the journey on pay as you go Oyster, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I pay as journey times vary and I just keep topping up my card whenever it’s low.
    The quickest journey I’ve found is a bus from Holloway to Moorgate, short walk to Liverpool Street Station and the central line to Woodford.
    I need to be at Woodford Station by 6.45am and will make the return journey around 7pm.
    Any help is much appreciated…thank you : )

    • Hi Fiona,

      If you’re only travelling one day a week then a travelcard is not worth it. If you touch in at Liverpool Street before 0630 then you’ll be charged off-peak for that journey, and again if you touch in at Woodford after 1900 it will also be off-peak. The bus will be £1.45 whenever you travel.

      Have you tried Upper Holloway to Leytonstone High Road then a short walk to Leytonstone and pick up the Central line there. That will avoid zone 1 and make your train fare much cheaper. Or Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington, then Overground to Stratford and Central Line from there. You can even go Holloway Road to Finsbury Park first for the same fare. You just need to touch the pink validators on the overground platforms at both Highbury and Stratford.

  182. Hi Mike
    Thank you very much for the info. I’d not even considered using Upper Holloway station – and, regarding walking distance, it’s the one nearest to me! Such a shame about timings though. The first train through there in the mornings arrives at Leytonstone High Road at the time I need to arrive at Woodford. But brilliant news for taking the slog out of getting home again in the evening. Thank you : )

  183. Hi Mike!
    Thank you so much for all of the help and advice so far, but I still find myself a tad confused about my personal situation.
    I shall be travelling from Bush Hill Park at about 8.30am to Holburn, and then making the return journey most days in the evening peak times. I have a 16-25 railcard. My question is, will the daily cap be more than what a 7 Day Travelcard can offer me? (I don’t quite understand the anytime cap and the off-time cap working together) I will probably also probably make additional journeys other than the 10 throughout the week, so I really can’t figure out what the best value would be!

    Thank you ever so much!

    • Hi Natalie,

      The travelcard will just about be better, especially if you do other journeys.

      Bush Hill Park is in zone 5 so you’d need a zone 1-5 travelcard at £53.40/week. The peak single fare is £6.40. In the evening it is limited by the railcard discounted off-peak cap of £5.60, so your daily fares are £11.00.

  184. Hello Mike,
    I have a visitors oyster card I use when travelling to London with my 2 girls (aged 8). My Brother now lives in Twyford and just checking fares (on The Trainline) it would cost £14.20 return to Paddington (with my Friends and Family Railcard) however there is also a fare of £18.85 which includes a Off Peak Travelcard for unlimited bus/tube journeys. Am I better using this option rather than my oyster as it seems I’m getting an all zone travelcard for an extra £4.65? Or will this not be valid if we are still travelling round town between the hours of 4pm-7pm?

    • Hi Andy,

      Yes, that is a valid option. There are no evening peak restrictions within zones 1-6, only on the train which you eventually take beyond Hayes and Harlington.

  185. I get a bus from Selsdon to East Croydon during peak times and then a train from East Croydon to Victoria, returning the same way in the evening peak – is there a bus/train cap combination that is betting than the ticket fare?

    • Hi Steve,

      Your four individual fares are less than the anytime cap for zones 1-6, so you won’t be capped. A rail only season ticket plus two bus journeys each day is slightly less than a zone 1-5 travelcard, so I think that’s the best combination.

  186. If i buy a day travel card off peak from london euston at 12 pm on 15 September and if i have to travel in london till 10 pm.then will i be able to do that with that particular travel card? I went through the website of transportforlondon for the explanation but unfortunately could not understand the expression ‘after 9:30…..and before 4:30…..’

  187. Hi, i traveled from Purley last Friday swiping in at 09:25 for off peak as indicated here. Seems it’s now 09:30 as I got charged a £15.80 cap, TFL are just saying it 09:30 full stop, so not sure if other station are affected.

    • Hi Mark,

      It seems like the early cap has been removed at Purley. I don’t know when this happened. It’s a bit annoying but I don’t think there’s much more you can do. In future you could break your journey at East Croydon so that most of the cost is off-peak. I’ll edit the page above shortly.

  188. Hi Mike
    I’m returning to work travelling 3 days a week Brentwood to Holborn. Leaving 06.57, returning approximately 13.00 and was wondering whether oyster or a day return would be better. I use to find changing at stratford with a day return and using oyster was cheaper but that was before oyster extended its range. Any help much appreciated

    • Hi Katie,

      Oyster will definitely be cheaper, especially as your journey home is off-peak. How much you want to pay depends on how much hassle you are prepared to have at Stratford. These are the fares:

      Brentwood to Holborn: £9.60 peak, £7.50 off-peak.
      Brentwood to Stratford: £5.40 peak, £3.20 off-peak.
      Stratford to Holborn: £3.20 peak, £2.70 off-peak.

      To get the cheapest fares you will have to touch out and back in again at Stratford. Note that if you can touch in at Brentwood before 0630 you will get the off-peak fare for the journey from there (either to Stratford or Holborn depending on where you next touch out). The reason for the anomaly is to do with the premium paid when mixing NR and TfL travel in a journey including zone 1. By splitting at Stratford you lose that premium because the inner bit is all TfL.

  189. hi i travel between surbiton station and new cross gate/new cross station both ways i travelled on a sunday and it came to £15.10 Is this because i went to london bridge then waterloo then surbiton? will i avoid zone 1 if i travel to clapham junction on the jubilee line and then to surbiton?

    • Hi Adam,

      If you were charged £15.10 on a Sunday then that suggests you missed a touch in or out somewhere and were charged a maximum fare. If you can post your journey history for the day I’ll try and work out what went wrong.

      If you travel from New Cross Gate to Clapham Junction either direct via Southern or changing at Surrey Quays on Overground then you will avoid zone 1. You must touch the pink validator if changing at Surrey Quays.

  190. Hi Mike,
    Congratulations on the website, hard work and good stuff here.
    I live in Twickenham Z5 and work on Staines, but eventually (weekends and some week night) I travel to Z1 or Z4. So my best choice would be a paper travelcard Staines-Z5 and just use PAYG to London (since most or journeys would be offpeak).

    • Hi Douglas,

      That would be my choice, yes. You need to make daily peak journeys before a season ticket is really worthwhile – occasional off-peak journeys are better with PAYG.

  191. Hi Mike!
    I am a undergraduate student and hence have to travel on all the weekdays to my college in Central London.
    I travel from Feltham station (zone 6) to London Waterloo.

    Since my classes begin early, I have to travel in peak hours in morning but I try to avoid peak hour in the eve.

    Would getting a 16-25 rail card ease tge amount of money I spend everyday? Its almost 12£ each day. I currently use an normal oysters card.

    Please suggest.

    • Hi Divyansh,

      Do you also use the Underground from Waterloo? If you do then the fares are £7.50 peak, £5.10 off-peak. If you just use National Rail to Waterloo then the fares are £5.90 peak, £3.60 off-peak. If you are paying almost £12 then I wonder if it is just NR but you are not avoiding the afternoon peak. Peak fares are charged when the initial touch in is timed between 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. If you add a railcard discount to your Oyster then it will cap the afternoon fares at £5.60 which may make a small difference. However, are you eligible for a student 18+ Oyster? If you are then you could get a discounted travelcard season for £40/week or £153.60/month.

  192. Hi Mike, After reading a lot of comments in this thread, I am a bit confused about “hitting anytime or off-peak cap”.

    Usually I take a tram at around 9:20 to East croydon (Zone 5)
    Then a train around 9:40 to London bridge.
    After that I have a choice of taking a bus or underground to Moorgate.
    Same journey backwards during evening after 7:30.

    Currently I use the monthly Zone1-5 travelcard (£205) but since some days I do not travel at all, I am thinking of using oyster PAYG.

    So, for PAYG would I be charged £8.50 daily? or a bit more than that since my tram journey is during peak time.

  193. Hi Mike,

    Thinking of moving to Charing Cross. Need to Leave there at 6.30 to get to Amersham and make the return journey home at 16:30 five days a week!

    Could you please tell me the cheapest way possible as I am starting out on my career! I have an Oyster card. Is there a monthly travel card to zone 9?

    • Hi Aoife,

      Yes, there is a zone 1-9 travelcard. If you touch in before 0630 then that journey will be off-peak, so you may find that a travelcard doesn’t actually save that much. Unfortunately the TfL site is in maintenance so I can’t check the details.

  194. Hi Mike,

    I travel to Watford Junction from Thornton Heath Station once a week and come back on the same day. I buy Off peak return ticket that costs about £11.60. I want to know how much will it cost on an oyster if I travel off peak? Thank you

    • Hi Babar,

      Unfortunately the TfL website is down at the moment. I’m pretty sure that two off-peak singles on Oyster will be less than the day return paper ticket, but I can’t check the fare that will be charged if you take the direct train (via Kensington Olympia).

  195. Hi Mike,

    thanks for the website, is very helpful, unfortunately I can’t find solution with my daily travel, maybe was mention somewhere but if you could help it will be great.

    I’m travelling Mon-Fr from Silver street to Temple. Below is a copy of my one day journey history. My question is, is there any option that I could use PAYG or TravelCard to decrease my daily amount of £10.60? I can’t workout where this 20p is coming from which I’m charged after touching out at Silver Str. Also is it me or the amount of £10.60 seems a lot..? Silver Str is only in 3 Zone?

    Wednesday, 01 October 2014
    £10.60 daily total

    18:41 – 19:55 Temple to Silver Street [National Rail]£5.30
    19:55 Touch out, Silver Street [National Rail] £0.20 £7.05

    19:22 Touch in, Liverpool Street [National Rail] £2.90 £7.25

    19:21 Touch out, Liverpool Street [London Underground] +£5.30 £10.15

    18:41 Touch in, Temple £7.50 £4.85

    06:58 – 08:01 Silver Street [National Rail] to Temple £5.30
    08:01 Touch out, Temple +£2.20 £12.35

    07:35 Touch in, Liverpool Street [London Underground] £3.80 £10.15

    07:34 Touch out, Liverpool Street [National Rail] +£3.80 £13.95

    06:58 Touch in, Silver Street [National Rail] £7.50 £10.15
    06:52 Topped up, Oyster Ticket Stop +£10.00 £17.65

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Eve,

      Silver Street is in zone 4 and the journey is a mixed NR+TfL fare which is why it’s so expensive. If you travel every weekday then a weekly travelcard at £45.00 will save you money with those journeys. You can also use a contactless payment card and get Monday to Sunday capping at the same rate of £45.00, or less if you suddenly don’t travel for some reason.

      The 20p on exit at Silver Street is an anomaly caused because you switch trains after 1900. You are still being deducted the right overall fare of £5.30, but when you touch in at Liverpool Street NR it only deducts the off-peak maximum fare (£5.10) even though your whole journey is charged as peak.

  196. Thank you so much Mike for your reply,

    So I will be off peak in the mornings going and peak time returning. Surely that must be cheaper than 19 pounds daily? (Which is a lot!!)

    • Hi Aoife,

      £19.60 is the anytime daily cap. Your single fares are £6.70 peak and £3.90 off-peak so you should only be charged £10.60 each day.

  197. Hi Mike,
    I regularly travel fron Seer Green into London.How could I use my Oyster card from West Ruislip? What time would it be off peak during the week?

    Many thanks


  198. Hi Mike.

    Brilliant site you have here. I hope you can help please. I will making the following 3 step return journey on Monday and Wednesdays:
    1.Bounds Green (zone 3) to Vauxhall (zone 2), via zone 1 on the underground.
    2.Vauxhall southwest trains to Raynes Park (which I believe is in zone 4).
    3.From Raynes Park a short bus journey.

    My outward journey from Bounds Green begins at 15.30, Vauxhall to Raynes Park will be after 16.00 and my bus journey will immediately follow that. My return bus journey is after 19.00 and as is the rest of the journey back from Raynes Park to Bounds Green.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I assume oyster pay as you go is the most cost effective option as opposed to a day travelcard? However, will the peak or off peak cap apply please? I imagine the cap will be applicable here?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Best wishes.

  199. Hi Mike,
    Could you please tell me if Im better off on a PAYG than buying a monthly ticket. Im taking the train at 5.55am from Bush Hill park (Zone 5) to Paddington and returning around 1-2pm Monday to Friday.

    • Hi George,

      Unless you also make lots of other journeys then yes, PAYG will be better because all your journeys are charged at off-peak rates.

  200. Hey Mike,
    Yes, I got myself a 18+ Student Oyster card. Thanks a lot. 🙂

    Also, I tried topping it up by self service kiosk by using my card but I forgot to touch the reader again. My account has been debited but the card hasn’t been topped up. Any suggestion?

  201. Hi mike
    I travel from zone 6 (peak at 8am) and usually have meetings in zone 1&2 during off peak before returning home peak.

    Given the peak cap is £15.80 and off peak is £8.50 wouldn’t I be better off using one card (peak) which costs £5 for a single journey 1-6 and then do all other journeys with another card ensuring I first touch in at offpeak times to ensure the offpeak cap applies? That way the max I pay is offpeak cap (8.50) + 5= 13.50 saving £2 a day?

    Have I Missed something?

    • Hi Raj,

      That’s the way Oyster works anyway. If you only spend £5 before 0930 then £13.50 is the most you will pay for the day in zones 1-6.

  202. Hello Mike, thank you so much for your help!

    If I understand correctly I could use a weekly travel card £45 in Zones 1-4 for my trips between Monday and Friday in times: 6.45am going – 6.45pm coming back using TfL and NR. If that’s correct then perfect! I could safe few quid.

    One more time thank you for your help.
    Best wishes,

  203. Hi Mike,

    am having an argument with my boss about price ticket using oyster, I travel from Euston station to Streatham common at 8.30am Friday just gone, if I bought a normal day ticket peak it should have cost £11.40 but used my oyster card instead and I have no reciept of cost, I want to be re-imbursed is there a way how much the cost to my oyster should be.

    • Hi HWK,

      The single fare finder says how much the ticket should cost, depending on your route. If your Oyster card is registered online then you can view journey history. If it isn’t then you can call the helpdesk and ask them to email you a statement.

  204. Hey Mike,
    I got the 18+ Student Oyster card but I am not getting any discount on my overground travel. I travel from Feltham station to London Waterloo everyday. It’s getting so expensive and confusing.

    Please suggest.

    • Hi Divyansh,

      The 18+ Student Oyster only discounts travelcards. You need a zone 1-6 travelcard which costs £40.00/week or £153.60/month. This will work out cheaper than PAYG as long as you make 4 or 5 return journeys a week.

  205. Hello Mike,

    I travel from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street and travel in London Z1-4 on weekends and return to Shenfield.

    If i use Oyster PAYG, am i subjected to any cap ?

    I understand that current rates are 5.2 GBP each way to Liverpool Street so that makes 10.4 for return and then will any travel within London be subjected to its zone cap (say if i travel from Liverpool Street to Stratford, i will be capped at 7.7 GBP)

    • Hi Hemant,

      Shenfield to Liverpool Street off-peak costs £5.90 single. Once you have started at Shenfield you are capped by the price of a Shenfield to London zones 1-6 travelcard which is £18.50 off-peak.

  206. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling from Watford High Street to London Bridge on weekdays.

    What would be the earliest time to start the Journey from Watford High Street to cover the Off peak and how much is the charge.

    Similarly By what time should I leave from London Bridge to Watford High Street to Cover the Off Peak.

    • Hi Hari,

      From Watford High Street to London Bridge the peak fare of £6.70 applies when touch in is between 0630-0930. At all other times it is £3.90. The other way the peak fare is also charged between 1600-1900. If you touch in between 0910-0930 in the morning you will be charged £6.70, but your overall cap for the day will be £11.60 even if you return in the peak. I hope this helps.

  207. Hi Mike, I recently started a new job. I will be covering different working patterns from one week to another. Can you please advice, I will need to travel from hatfield to Waterloo from 9:30 am back after 19:00. What would be the most cost effective way of travelling. Thank you

    • Hi Caterina,

      Obviously Hatfield is outside the Oyster area. I guess you considered driving to High Barnet from an earlier post. If it’s possible then that would be a very cost effective way, at least from the train point of view. If you are going from Hatfield and can leave after 0930 then I’d get an off-peak return to London and use PAYG from Kings Cross to Waterloo. I’d do the same if you have to leave earlier, but it will cost more obviously. Only get a travelcard if you want to make any other journeys while in London.

  208. Hi Mike thank you you been great help !! I am most of the times travelling to High Barnet and use the tube with PAYG oyster but I will also have days when I can’t get to High Barnet. Thanks again

  209. Is it cheaper to travel from RICHMOND station to HOLLOWAY ROAD via tube (changing @ Hammersmith)?
    or RICHMOND station to HIGHBURY & ISLINGTON via overland train (the ‘Richmond to Stratford’)?
    Both off-peak & peak prices if possible…
    Should I use Oyster or buy a Travelcard?
    With thanks

    • Hi Angel,

      Richmond to Holloway Road: £3.80 peak, £2.70 off-peak.
      Richmond to Highbury & Islington: £2.30 peak, £1.50 off-peak.

      Whether a travelcard is worth it depends on how many journeys you make. A weekly one is unlikely to save money unless you use it at the weekend too. Monthly or longer periods may save money, but it still depends on how much you use it.

  210. Hello Mike I travel from Catford Bridge to Cannon Street station Monday to Friday catching the 1.38 from Catford Bridge and usually return from London Bridge at around 10.25 pm, would pay as you go oyster card be my best option.

  211. Hi, I will be travelling from Bromley South to Streatham Hill 3 days per week. What is the cheapest way to travel.

    Thanks in advance, Gary.

  212. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Romford to Stratford and join the Overground to West Brompton 4 days per week and I occasionally have to attend meetings in Central London at peak and off-peak times.

    Is it cheaper for me to buy a zone 2-6 season ticket and add on an extension fare when I travel to zone 1 or is it best to rely on Oyster top up for all journeys?


    • Hi Jenny,

      Zones 2-6 on National Rail is only just worthwhile on a monthly or longer travelcard if you use it 5 days a week. Your best bet if you have one is to use a contactless payment card because that will cap between Monday and Sunday if you make enough journeys. It works out whether you normally use certain zones, so a one-off trip into zone 1 won’t stop it capping at zones 2-6 plus an extension fare. Otherwise use Oyster PAYG unless you know you’ll make more than 10 journeys in a week.

  213. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Dagenham Heathway at 9.30 to go to Chancery Lane and leave Chancery Lane at 16.30 to get back to Dagenham. I use PAYG. Is this the best choice rather than a one day travelcard?

    • Hi Nazneen,

      PAYG is the best choice. You should leave your touch-in to the last minute if you arrive around 9.30 because that is when the system changes to off-peak. You’ll save £1.60 if it’s off-peak. If you do touch in before 9.30 then you wouldn’t have been able to use an off-peak day travelcard, so you’ll still be saving money with PAYG.

  214. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Charlton to Orpington every weekday (peak time) and it is costing me £3.30 each way when on the tfl website it says a peak single between zones 3 and 6 is £2.70. Why am I getting overcharged??

  215. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Carpenders Park (zone 7) to Euston (zone 1). The train comes in at 09.29 at Carpenders park so I have no choice but to tap in a few minutes before 09:30 (the standard off peak time).

    However according to the exceptions listed above…the off peak time for Carpenders Park is 09:20 so either way I should be covered and my journey should count towards an off peak price. But this is not the case for some reason. I tapped in at 09:26 and got charged at the peak price. Why is this?

    Thank you!

  216. Hi Mike,
    This thursday and friday Im planning to travel from woolwich to hackney central at peak times since I will touch at hackney central before 9:30 and I want to know would it be cheaper with my 18+ student oyster card there and back or a travelcard?

  217. Hi Mike,
    I usually travel between Brent Cross and Zone 1.
    I am wondering if the peak/off-peak fare is depending on the time I touch-in or out?
    It happened when I touched in just after 7 pm from Zone 1 and I was charged as peak fare when I got off the train at Brent Cross.
    And, will I be charged as which cap if I travel in both peak and off-peak time in one day? eg: two travel in peak time and two in off-peak time.
    Thank you.

    PS: if I travel in different Zone (eg: two travel from Zone 2 to Zone 1, another from Zone 1 to Zone 4), how does the system do with the cap?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Shirley,

      The peak or off-peak fare is decided by the time of touch in at the start of the journey. If you touch in after 1900 then it will be an off-peak fare. The cap applied depends on when your travel is either side of 0930 in the morning. All travel in the afternoon peak counts towards the off-peak cap. If you travel out to zone 4 then the final cap will be the zone 1-4 cap. You may already have been capped at zone 1-2, but you will be charged a bit more if you subsequently travel further out.

  218. Hi Mike
    I plan to travel by tram from Ampere way to Wimbledon and then to earls court starting 5:30 in the morning.

    Then I want to reverse the route in the evening starting at 7pm, but I cant seem to work out how much it will cost me.


    • Hi Jaco,

      Each tram will cost £1.45. The morning tube will be £1.50. If touch in for the evening is before 1900 then the return tube will be £1.60, otherwise it will be £1.50 as well.

  219. Hi I’m travelling Saturday from Watford junction-North Greenwich (O2) return using my Oyster card for the first time. Do you know how much this will be

  220. Hi Mike, hope you can me. I will be travelling from West Ruislip underground station to Stratford underground station on the Central line. Monday – Sat. I Plan to get the 5.57am train to work. Then the around 6pm train back home again. Could you please advise me the cheapest way to do this and what the cost would be. I’m finding the TFL sites confusing. Many thanks

    • Hi Rebecca,

      The direct fare is £5 peak and £3 off-peak. As your morning journey is off-peak, as are both ways on a Saturday, a travelcard is probably not worth it. If you want to save money then change at Shepherd’s Bush and Willesden Junction using the Overground and it becomes £2.70 peak or £1.50 off-peak.

  221. Hi,

    Just wanted a bit of clarification on the list of ‘Exceptions’ you’ve given in this article please, specifically this one….
    “If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.”
    In my experience this doesn’t seem to be true. I work in Uxbridge, zone 6, and left yesterday at about 4.30pm and travelled to High Street Kensington, zone 1, and was definitely charged the peak rate. Have I missed something?

  222. Hi Mike, hope you can help me. I will be travelling from Harlow to Oxford circus on a daily basis and was wondering if you could help me with the cheapest option available as when I checked the monthly card comes up to £400 and was hoping to find any other option. Hope you can help me.

    Thanks for your time in advance.


    • Hi Pearl,

      If you can get the bus to Epping station on the Central line then the zone 1-6 travelcard is £219.70, or peak single fares are £5 each way which may work out cheaper if you don’t use it every working day.

  223. I need to travel from New Malden to Liverpool Street between 5pm and 6 pm and return after 7 pm. I have a 16-25 yr old railcard. Is it cheaper to PAYE with Oyster (my railcard is registered on it) or get an off-peak travelcard?

    • Hi Julie,

      Use PAYG because you will be capped at the reduced rate off-peak cap of £5.10 for zones 1-4 rather than the £5.90 that a reduced travelcard will cost.

  224. Hi Mike
    I am confused which zone is capping system applied on, if I travel in various zones.
    Suppose the following situation.
    I make 10 journeys in zone 1-2 and afterwards single journey from zone 1 to zone 9. All journeys are made between 930 and 1600.
    Could you reply which is the correct fare?

    A : Zone 1-9 capping £11.8
    (Capping system is applied on largest zone which I travel in.)

    B : After 4 journeys total amount of fares reaches zone 1-2 capping, which means as if I have got zone 1-2 travelcard. The fare is zone 1-2 capping £7 + zone 3-9 single £1.6 = £8.6
    (Capping system is applied on most economical zone.)

    C : Same as B but capping does not mean travelcard holding. So the fare of final single journey is zone 1-9 single £3.9. Total fare is £10.9.

  225. Hi Mike
    I commute Mon-Fri from Bushey to London Euston on London Midland: having been turfed off the safety of my annual Travelcard I got monthly seasons, but now have a senior railcard with Oyster PAYG. I’m confused about evening peak use because there was no clue about evenings on the railcard site and they referred me to LOROL. I can’t avoid the morning peak at the moment , but I usually take the 19.05 home. In order to do this I have to go through the barrier 10 minutes before because I’m disabled and can’t beat hundreds of commuters running up the platform and into seats, there are many people standing by 19.00 and they block the train entrance so cannot access disabled seats. [‘Mobility assistance ‘ just doesn’t work and I’m not disabled enough for the rail disability card even though I have a bus one.] Do I have to wait until the 19.34? The LOROL train takes three times as long and adds 16 stations to the journey. Thanks

    • Hi Laura,

      I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. Unfortunately I can’t see much of a way around it unless you can get some assistance at Euston. The Oyster readers will start to charge off-peak fares about 2 minutes before 1900 as a way of stopping the “but the station clock said …” type of complaints. There is therefore no comeback if you touch in even earlier and get charged peak. The other thing you could try is taking a train to Watford Junction and then doubling back. There is no charge for doing this on Oyster as long as you don’t try and leave the station at Watford.

  226. Hi,

    I need to get to work and the journey is from Purfleet to Euston square. A monthly travel card is about 314pounds. I am wondering if it will be cheaper to use an oyster card.
    I only work weekdays.
    Could I get some advice please.

    • Hi Cyc,

      A peak single from Purfleet to Euston Square is £7.70 so if you make 44 single journeys it would cost £338.80. If you can travel off-peak in either direction you save £1.00. If you use any other transport outside of your commute then a travelcard is going to become more worthwhile.

  227. Hi. I am planning to make a single journey from Hounslow Central to London Victoria starting after 4 pm on a weekday. Will this journey zone 4 into zone 1 be classed as Off peak travel and charged 2.70 only? Or will it be peak fare?

    Thanks in advance

  228. Hello mike,

    I travel to uni four times a week all before 9:00am (DLR TRAIN) and i have the 18+ student oyster. Also, in the evenings i travel to and from evening classes (by bus only- which is one bus). I usually get the travelcard and pay 62.50 monthly. Would pay as you go work out cheaper or would the weekly or monthly be cheaper?

    kindest regards

  229. Hi Mike,
    I’m about to start a new job, and want to know what my price cap will be?
    I will be starting from Zone 9 before 6:30am off peak into london, then onto zone 6 out of Victoria (national rail) but the return journey will be in peak time. What price will i be capped at? Peak or off peak

    • Hi Noel,

      Even though you are charged an off-peak fare before 0630, only the anytime cap applies. However, if you only make the one journey each way you won’t reach that cap. Your return single will use up most of the off-peak cap so if you made any further journeys atfer 0930 it is likely that your cap would be the off-peak one plus an off-peak single for the journey to work.

      Depending on where you are travelling between there are some options for reducing the price you pay for the singles. If you let me know the exact stations then I’ll see if anhything applies to you.

  230. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Orpington to Cannon Street (I work in Farringdon, next to tube) Monday to Friday. I go to Cannon Street and walk because it works out cheaper. Is there a better/cheaper route?
    Also, would I save money by swiping in after 9.30am and returning home after 7pm. I use an Oyster card.
    Thank you, Robert

    • Hi Robert,

      You are already using the cheapest rail route (NR only with no LU) so your options are limited. Yes, touching in outside of peak times would reduce the cost if that is an option. You could also investigate using Orpington to Herne Hill and then Herne Hill to Farringdon which should also cost the same and save the walk across the City.

  231. Thanks Mike, My Journey will be between Amersham and Kenley, Outbound before 6:30 and return journey at around 15:30
    Am i right in saying this will be £5.10 each way?

    • Hi Noel,

      Yes, both those touch-ins will result in off-peak fares. Having seen where you are going to, the alternative route would probably add too much to the journey. You’d need to change at West Hampstead, Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction. Your fare would then be £2.80 each way.

  232. Hi Mike, I will be travelling to london next week to see my sister and to then travel to mile end. my sister lives in surbiton. i will be arriving at london euston and then seeing her midway before travelling to mile end. we will then be travelling back to waterloo and then to surbiton. i will not then be leaving surbiton till the next 4 days. I will be travelling back to euston before catching my train back to manchester and will probably stop of at waterloo (central) on the way before reaching euston.
    i dont think i will be travelling at peak times except maybe on my way to surbiton on the first day. how much total do you think this will cost me? this is my first time in london. i have read up on fares and prices but am still majorly confused. your response will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Nicole,

      Sorry for the delayed response. Unfortunately I can’t give an exact answer without exact dates and times. This is especially true because the fares change on Friday and the changes aren’t all a few pence. You best bet is to use the single fare finder to check the fare for each journey, bearing in mind that Mile End to Surbiton is one journey unless you spend a long time at Waterloo. Until Thursday the off-peak daily cap is £8.50 for all travel after 0930. From Friday it becomes £11.70. If you travel before 0930 on Mon-Wed then you’ll need to add the peak fare to the off-peak fares/cap, but after Friday the cap is an all day one.

  233. Hello Mike,

    Thank you for your very informative site, and thank you also for taking the time to answer people’s questions.

    This page does not explicitly state that:

    “The peak or off-peak fare is decided by the time of touch in at the start of the journey.”

    but I found the answer in your comments (Shirley, 14 Nov.). If I can suggest an improvement to your already excellent site, then please put this sentence in the main text instead of buried in the comments.

  234. Hi Mike
    Tomorrow I will travel from Clock house (zone 4) to London charring cross around midday – offpeak.
    I will return from Charring cross to clock house at around 4pm. I am likely to get the 3.47 train from charring cross meaning I will touch in during off-peak hours but touch out after 4pm. Will I be charged a peak or off-peak rate for this journey?
    Im not sure whether it is decided on when you touch in or touch out?

    • Hi Kirsty,

      It’ll be off-peak. Thanks also to Mel for suggesting that I highlight that touch in time is key. It did say in the header that the time periods related to touch in time, but I’ve added a note below to make it clearer.

  235. Hi Mike

    My friends and I are heading down for a long weekend to Watford in May for a tour of the Harry Potter Studios and a day out in London.

    What is the cheapest and quickest way for us to get into Central London by tube from Watford.

    I have been looking at the peak/off fares and capping but am struggling to understand it – if we were to leave Watford after 9.30am and leave London at around 11.30pm after watching a show how much is it likely to cost? The PDF for prices in 2015 for zones 1-9 and watford junction would be anywhere between £12.70 and £6.20 does this also include travel around the zones for the day or just a single journey?

    Thank you for your help.


    • Hi Natalie,

      OK, firstly the tube from Watford is the Metropolitan line which doesn’t go from Watford Junction (yet). It is cheaper to travel from there, but it’s not fast. If you do travel from Watford Met then you are looking at zone 7 prices – £4 off-peak single and a maximum daily cap of £11.80 which allows unlimited travel in zones 1-7 after 0930 M-F or all day Sat, Sun and Bank Hols.

      The quickest way from Watford Junction to London Euston is using London Midland and you will then need the Z1-9+W prices. These are a little more complicated, but the maximum off-peak daily charge is £16.80. An off-peak single to Euston only is £4.90 but if you then get the Underground it will rise to £6.20.

      The £12.70 price is for a cash single which you really don’t want. Either use Oyster or a contactless payment card to get the other prices quoted.

  236. Hi Mike
    I would like to go from Purfleet to the center of London on a friday night or at weekends. I see that Rainham is zone 6, but can’t find anything about Purfleet. Also i will travel with some people who don’t have an oyster yet, and I couldn’t find any store in Purfleet. What would that journey cost for me (standard PAYG) and them? And also a second question, can they take the bus if they don’t have oyster?

    • Hi Adam,

      I’m on a mobile at the moment so can’t check fares. Buses only accept Oyster cards, contactless payment cards or paper travelcards.

  237. Hello Mike,

    I am having trouble finding the daily price cap both on and off peak between zones 3-6 for pay as you go. I can see a weekly is nearly £32 but the time I leave work can be any time between 17:30 and 21:00. Would you be able to help me with this at all please? Many thanks.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Daily caps always include zone 1 so you’ll need the full 1-6 cap at £11.70. This is now an all day cap. If your fares don’t reach the cap then you’ll only pay the fares.

  238. Hi Mike,
    I am travelling on Monday 12th Jan from Chafford Hundred (off peak time) to Wood Green and travelling back in the evening (off peak) Would Oyster be the cheapest way to do it and if so how much would it be?

  239. Hey Mike,

    So basically I’m starting my new job on Monday and need to travel from zone 2 to zone 5. I would need to get the train at around 8.30am and would be able to get the train back home at 6. However, I can be flexible and get the train at 7 as well.

    So I’m curious to know if a monthly travel card or PAYG cheaper is?


  240. Hi Mike,
    I wonder if you know any specifics about how capping works in 2015 and if it is any different to 2014. Have this sample journey that I made on the 2nd January as a reference please and tell me whether I’m making a mistake.

    Friday 2nd January (Adult – Railcard discount)
    12:10 Thornton Heath [NR Z4] – London Bridge [LU Z1] £1.80
    14:19 London Bridge to Earl’s Court [LU Z1] £1.50
    18:01 Bus 27 £1.50
    18:07 High Street Kensington – Paddington [LU Z1] £1.30
    Capping applied £6.10
    19:34 Paddington – Earl’s Court [LU Z1] £0.00

    Seems like my first journey in the day has decided the cap for me. It is a Zone 1-4 journey and the relevant off-peak railcard holder cap is £6.10. My problem is that I believe capping used to work differently before. If I had made one Z1-4 journey but subsequently only made Z1-2 journeys I’d only be capped at the Z1-2 cap (£4.60 in 2014 – £4.25 in 2015). Moreover, the adult bus cap is £4.40 in 2015 but I have still be charged the full fare. I vividly remember in the past when I had made three journeys on the tube in Z1-2 full fare, and taking a bus was free at that point, however, a subsequent journey on the tube would have charged me a capped fare, since the Z1-2 cap was slightly higher than the bus cap. (£4.60 and £4.30 last year).

    Am I correct, or all of this is me misremembering? Thanks!

    • Hi Ben,

      I think you’re getting a little confused. If you travel on a bus it will charge unless (a) you’ve reached the bus cap, or (b) you’ve reached the rail cap. Rail journeys have absolutely no effect on the bus cap. If your first rail journey is before 0930 then it won’t count towards the off-peak cap. Is it possible that the discounted 1-2 off-peak cap plus the 1-4 full peak fare was still below the anytime 1-4 cap? The bus cap remained at £4.40 like last year by the way, so you now only pay for 3 bus journeys.

      Things will seem different this year, even with a railcard, because the anytime caps are all less than they were before. Whichever cap is reached first stops the charging, so if the anytime cap is reached before the off-peak cap (because of early journeys) the off-peak cap won’t be reached. Your history above seems to be about right.

  241. Hi Mike

    You seem to have offered a lot of very helpful advice to people here…I’m hoping you may be able to help me too!

    With the new caps, particularly differing for underground and bus travel, I’m struggling to work out what is the most cost effective way to pay for my commute.

    I currently travel from Highbury to Cheshunt approx. 4 times a week between Mon – Fri. I leave at ~6.45, taking a bus from Highbury to Finsbury Park station using my PAYG Oyster card; I then take the tube from Finsbury Park to Tottenham Hale, again using my PAYG Oyster card; and then I take the train (any one) from Tottenham Hale to Cheshunt buying a return Anytime ticket each time I make that commute. I then commute home reversing the journey anytime between 5-8pm. Per day, I’m paying £13.40, so at least £53.60 on just my work commute.

    At the weekends and during week day evenings, I am often travelling via bus or in zones 1 and 2 using my PAYG Oyster card.

    I’d like to understand whether it would be cheaper for me to buy a season ticket which would cover my work commute and/or my off peak Oyster card travel.

    Your help would be much appreciated on this conundrum! Thanks, Hannah

    • Hi Hannah,

      As you’ve described it you are actually using the most cost effective method unless you regularly start your return journey after 7pm. If you could walk to any of Highbury & Islington, Drayton Park or Canonbury then you could lose the bus fares and the rail would cost the same (as they’re all in zone 2 like Finsbury Park). However, you say you also use Oyster at other times, so I think your best bet is to pay £56.60 for a zone 2-8 weekly travelcard on Oyster. This will cover your entire journey to Cheshunt (zone 8) which will save you the hassle of getting day tickets from Tottenham Hale. It also covers all TfL buses and if you take the train/tube into zone 1 you will only pay £2.30 for each single journey from your PAYG balance. You can even go straight from Cheshunt to Liverpool Street as long as you touch in at the start and out at the end. Also for the journey home you can take a train to Seven Sisters if it suits.

  242. Mike,
    Thanks for your reply. Let me write my question another way since I didn’t have any morning peak journeys on that specific day.

    I started my Oyster day at 12:10 pm (off peak) and travelled from Z4 to Z1 (Tfl+NR). I paid the correct fare.
    Following that I made a second journey in Z1 and paid the correct fare again. My third journey was a bus journey and I also paid the full-fare here. Fourth Journey was on the tube again in Z1 and I paid a reduced fare because of the cap.

    Q. The cap I had was a Z1-4 cap. Apart from the first journey all the other journeys were in Z1. Would Oyster apply different caps depending on different journeys during the day, or there is just one cap determined by the most zones travelled?

    • Hi Ben,

      There are three applicable caps and each one is determined by your travel using fares that apply to that cap. First is the bus cap which only applies to bus and tram journeys. The first two journeys are full price, the third is 10p off and the rest are free because the cap has been reached. Bus and tram journeys also count towards the other two caps which include all forms of rail as well. The second one is the off-peak cap which applies to all journeys made after 0930 M-F (or all day at weekends). The level applied depends on the zones used during the off-peak period. Finally there is the anytime cap which applies all day every day.

      At any time your fare can be reduced or ignored if any of the caps which apply have been reached. Once you have used a zone by rail your cap will include that zone for the rest of it’s duration. You can have different zone ranges for the anytime and off-peak caps, but remember that anything used off-peak is also used anytime as well.

      Note that Monday to Sunday capping on contactless payment cards does work in a different way. For each day the same calculations are used to apply daily caps, but over the course of the week the system will work out the best combination of weekly travelcard and extension journeys. Thus 10 journeys between zones 4-6 with two extensions to zone 2 would be charged as a zone 4-6 travelcard plus two zone 2-3 singles.

  243. Hello Mike,

    Every day I need to travel to work between Wimbledon (zone 3) and West Ham (zone 3). So far I have been taking Northern Line from South Wimbledon to London Bridge, then Jubilee Line towards Stratford. In the morning I tap in after 7.00am and on the way back I tap in at about 16.15pm. My questions are: if I tap in West Ham at 16.15, does it count as peak or off peak? Also, as a daily journey costs me £6.60 I was wondering if there is any cheaper route, way or time of travelling to and from West Ham to South Wimbledon. I use PAYG. If I use my bank card to pay for my journeys, will it cost me the same amount of money as when I use an oyster card? Thank you.

    • Hi Aneta,

      Both your journeys are peak. Contactless payment cards do cost the same as Oyster. Yes there is a cheaper route which costs £1.70 each way in the peak. Change at Canada Water onto the Overground to Clapham High Street and then join the Northern line at Clapham North. You need to touch the pink validator at Canada Water to indicate to the system that you are avoiding zone 1.

  244. Hi Mike, I am currently a student at Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross and I travel between Finsbury Park and King’s Cross. I am always using PAYG bundled with the 16-25 Railway Card. A couple of days ago I took Victoria line from Finsbury park to King’s Cross at around 8.30 a.m and back at 3.00 p.m. And I was charged in £4.4. However, I was only charged £ 4.25 today while I took Victoria line from Finsbury park to King’s cross at 1.30 pm; King’s Cross to Covent Garden at 4.45 pm, and Covent Garden to Finsbury Park at 7.10 pm.

    I took both peak and off-peak times. And I thought the 16-25 railway card would give me 1/3 off on all caps now in 2015. But according to the two journeys that I mentioned above, it did not seem to be the case. I am confused. Would you mind explaining to me on that?

    • Hi Ding,

      Although the anytime and off-peak caps are now the same value, they are still treated separately. Thus your pre-0930 journey was charged at full price. Today you reached the discounted zone 1-2 cap with your journeys all being after 0930.

      If you are eligible for the 18+ Student Oyster then you may wish to consider buying the discounted zone 1-2 travelcard at £22.40/week. You would gain even if you only capped off-peak on 5 days. You can still add your 16-25 discount so that any journeys within Oyster but outside zones 1-2 are discounted off-peak.

  245. Hi Mike

    Does a journey which starts as off-peak but has an Out of Station Interchange within peak get charged as a single off-peak journey? Example is leaving Oxford Circus at 15:55 and changing at Marylebone at 16:05 for Rickmansworth. Any complications if the OSI straddles 16:00?

    • Hi Jim,

      Yes, the time of the first touch in dictates the fare for the journey. As long as the journey starts before 1600 it doesn’t matter whether an OSI occurs each side of 1600 or after 1600, it’s still off-peak.