Trams and Buses

Unlike National Rail, Underground and DLR you only need to touch in when using Oyster on buses and trams.  This is because there is only one flat fare wherever you go, regardless of whether you travel one stop or the whole length of the route.  On buses you touch in as you enter.  On trams you should touch in on the tramstop just before boarding the tram.  After touching in at the tramstop you have 70 minutes to board a tram before the touch in becomes invalid.

If you only use buses and trams in one day then a special price cap applies.  The fourth and all subsequent journeys are free.  If you have any travelcard season on your oystercard then travel on TfL buses is free wherever they go, even beyond the zones.  On trams the travelcard must cover at least one of zones 3, 4, 5 or 6 for free travel to apply.

From 17th December 2018 adult Oyster cards apply weekly (Monday to Sunday) capping to bus and tram journeys.  If using concessionary Oyster cards (eg apprentice, student etc) then weekly bus tickets should still be added to take advantage of the discounted rates.

From 12th September 2016 a new bus hopper facility is being introduced. The first bus/tram journey will be charged a fare, then any further bus/tram journeys within an hour of that initial touch will be free. After one hour you will be charged a new fare. The daily bus cap will still apply after you have made three chargeable bus/tram journeys.

Using the tram at Wimbledon

The tramstop at Wimbledon is actually within the National Rail/District Line station.  This means that special care needs to be taken when using trams to/from Wimbledon.  If you are travelling to Wimbledon then you must ensure that you have touched in before boarding the tram.  When you leave the station the ticket gates need to see either a tram touch-in or a normal rail/tube touch in.  If one is not present then a maximum fare will be deducted.  You must exit via an automatic gate and not use the manual gate at the side because the reader alongside that can’t tell whether you are going in or out, and will assume in in this situation.  If you are travelling from Wimbledon then you need to touch-in at the gateline to get into the station.  This will deduct a maximum fare in the usual way.  Just before boarding the tram you should touch in again at the tram reader on platforms 10a/b next to the tram stops.  This will adjust the maximum fare so that you are charged the tram single fare.

You need to follow these procedures even if you have a travelcard stored on your Oystercard that is valid for use on trams (at least one of zones 3, 4, 5 or 6).  In theory you will probably be alright if your travelcard covers zone 3, but otherwise there will be a problem.

Please see the Wimbledon page for further information if you intend changing at Wimbledon between trams, trains or tubes.

Using the tram at Elmers End

The tramstop at Elmers End is within the National Rail station.  There are no gates here, just the usual entry/exit validators, so you need to remember a few simple rules:

  1. When starting a journey by tram you must only touch in on the tram boarding validator on platform 1.  Do NOT use the validators next to the entry doors or gates as they will deduct a maximum rail fare.
  2. When finishing a journey by tram you do not need to touch out at all.  If you do you will be charged a maximum rail fare.
  3. If you are switching between train and tram your rail journey will be ended when touching in on the tram boarding validator on platform 1.
  4. If you are switching between tram and train you need to touch in on the validators next to the entry doors or gates.  You must not use the tram boarding validator on platform 1 as that may start another tram journey, and will NOT start a rail journey.

131 thoughts on “Trams and Buses”

  1. It’s worth mentioning that if you travel by tram to Wimbledon and are leaving through the gates you must use a normal gate and touch-out. If you use the manual gate and touch the reader there the system will see that as a touch-in for a new rail journey (it assumes you got off the tram elsewhere and are starting a new journey at Wimbledon) and charge a maximum cash fare.

    Don’t know if this is right for this page or for the Wimbledon page, but hopefully it is of use.

  2. Ouch!

    Thanks for alerting me to that problem, Thomas. I can see why they do that as the manual gate is bi-directional and has no way of knowing which way you are going. This is the right page and I’ll re-word above accordingly shortly.

  3. Im not sure if this is the right page, but say if I got a travelcard loaded onto the Oyster, but I take a river trip, does the travelcard need to be applicable to that specific Zone in order to get the 1/3 off?

  4. I think the manual gate at Wimbledon has been replaced with a wide gate for pushchairs, etc.

    I’ve just experienced something nasty using prepay and changing from train to tram at Elmers End. It seems that despite having touched in at Lewisham (and the gate opened for me) when touching-out at Emlers End the validator treated me as starting a train journey from there!

    I also dont know why I was charged twice when touching in on the tram at Avenue Road later in the day, although thanks to fare capping that has not cost me any extra.


  5. Hi Simon,

    That sounds like a bit of a mess. Have you looked at journey history to see what you’ve been charged? If yes, can you post the details. From what you’ve said I wonder whether you’re actually holding the card over the reader for too long. That won’t matter at a gateline because you can’t do the same action twice in succession, but at an entry/exit validator like they have at Elmers End it will register the exit and then register an entry. Likewise at Avenue Road it would register the tram board and then register it again, but because 70 minutes hadn’t elapsed since the last tram board it won’t charge you the second time.

    Anyway, if your journey history shows that you have an unresolved rail journey then call the Oyster helpline and explain what you did. As long as there seems like a reasonable explanation they will arrange a refund of the additional charge.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Hi Mike

    My journey included changing from Jubilee Line to DLR at Canary Wharf. When I arrived at Canary Wharf Jubilee Line I was told by the LU station official that I’d not reached the ticket hall using the best escalator to interchange to the DLR so therefore I should walk through the exit barrier, re-enter the fares paid area a few yards away and leave by a different barrier on the far side of that ‘fares paid area’.

    According to the person I spoke to at the Oyster helpline (when I asked – the information was not volunteered) these multiple touch-ins and outs were the root cause of the problem. The system became ‘confused’. But its not the fault of the staff – he probably did not know about this. I blame management who should have known about this glitch. The station has ben there long enough by now.

    What really made me concerned that something ‘expensive’ was affecting my Oystercard was when I touched out at Elmers End and the display showed ‘entry’.

    I collect my refund the next time I pass though my local station, which should be Sunday (23rd Jan).


    • Hi Simon,

      Did you need to touch out and in again at Lewisham when changing between DLR and SET? If you did then I would expect that that would be where you would have seen the problem. I would be quite interested to see your journey history for that day anyway. The other thing is that there is supposed to be an out-of-station interchange between the two gatelines at Canary Wharf which should cover you for that scenario that you encountered. As long as the OSI is working then the only thing that might have gone wrong would be if one of the gateline clocks was either fast or slow making it look like you touched in before touching out.

    • I’m not clear exactly what you mean by a discount oyster, perhaps you could elaborate a bit. However, buses and trams are treated in the same way with Oyster and cost the same amount, so if it says bus and tram that’s almost certainly what it means. Trams are those that run in the Croydon area between Wimbledon, New Addington, Elmers End and Beckenham Junction. They are definitely not trains.

  7. I’ve also found changing from train to tram at Elmers End both confusing and costly, and I’m sorry but your simple rules aren’t much help. For a start, there isn’t one tram validator on platform one but a whole line of them, some facing the tram and some the train, but no obvious difference between any of them. I also didn’t see any indication on the train platform what to do or which you should use before getting on the tram. You also say not to use the train validators – but if you’ve got there by train I’ve now realised you have to use them otherwise you get charged the maximum rail fare anyway. I can’t see anyone designing such a terrible interchange unless the intention was to generate as much extra revenue for TFL as possible!

    • Hi Peter,

      I’m sorry to hear about the problems you have encountered at Elmers End. It’s a few months since I was last at Elmers End but my recollection is that there was only one tram boarding validator. I may well be wrong though. I’ll try and get down there again to have another look in the near future.

      The tram validator(s) should have a green sticker on the front inviting you to touch before boarding the tram. The display also says that it is for tram boarding, as opposed to the usual ones where the display says “Validate for Entry or Exit”.

      I have to take issue with your assertion that not touching out after a train journey before touching on the tram boarding validator will leave you with a maximum rail fare. I have done just that and it definitely ends the rail journey and starts a tram journey at the same time. They did at least get that bit of the programming right.

      If you have been overcharged at Elmers End within the last few weeks then the helpdesk may well be able to organise a refund to your card. I’ll also send you an email shortly so that you can send me a screen print of journey history (preferably the old version) or a statement if you want. I can then attempt to work out what has really happened.

  8. Mike,
    I was about to board a bus this afternoon but the Oyster reader on this particular bus wasn’t working.
    When I’ve seen this happen before the driver has just waved people on and sometimes even put a notice over the Oyster reader itself but today the driver was insisting that as the Oyster reader wasn’t working passengers had to pay £2.20 cash fare!

    As I have a pass I was definately not going to pay so I waited for the next bus – as did a few other people!
    Needless to say the bus left with a mere handful of people on board.

    What should happen in these circumstances – Pay the cash fare or get on for free (if using pre-pay)?


    • Hi Chris,

      I would definitely complain about that. In the case of a travelcard or bus pass on the Oyster, it is hardly your fault if the bus company cannot provide the means to check that it is valid. I too have been waved on before when the Oyster reader isn’t working. I’d say that that is generally the policy. Even when the entire oyster system went down, TfL didn’t make passengers pay cash on the tube – if they had a card they rode for free.

      Let us know what they say if you do write a complaint.

  9. Mike, here’s one for ya!

    In order to get to Gatwick for an early flight I’m thinking of staying with friends in Hackbridge and taking and early train from East Croydon (paper ticket, ECR-GTW, £5.30).

    Now to get from Hackbridge to ECR, the TFL website helpfully suggets Southern to Mitcham Jn then the tram. Separately, single fare finder quotes a fare all the way from Hackbridge to East Croydon.

    Now my question is – if I need to touch in for the tram, surely this will finish the NR journey Hackbridge-MitchamJn and start a new Tram journey, so how do I make use of the through fare?

    • Hi Vix,

      This is the problem with treating the tram as a bus for fare purposes. Whilst I agree that in Central Croydon they probably do act more like buses, outside the street running sections they definitely act more like a train.

      Anyway, the default route appears to be Hackbridge-Sutton-Norwood Junction/Selhurst-East Croydon which keeps you in zones 4 and 5. If you follow the journey planner then it will cost a one zone rail fare plus a bus/tram fare. If you want the rail only fare you’ll need to stay on a train, however, as long as you don’t touch out and in again mid route and keep within the maximum journey time, you can go any route you chose. So you could go Hackbridge to Streatham/Tulse Hill to East Croydon and still only be charged the two zone fare.

  10. Why is it that you can travel anywhere in Zone 1/2 on as many different tube lines as you like for £2.50, yet a bus journey involving a single change costs £2.60? When is TFL going to introduce ‘transfers’ on bus journeys?

    • Hi Kevin,

      There will always be anomalies with any flat fare or zonal fare system. Having said that, I’d like to see a system where a touch on a bus was valid for say 30 minutes, even if you got on another bus. It would be difficult to properly do transfers without making people touch out of the bus as well, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

      Also, while you can theoretically change tube lines as much as you like, you cannot leave more than the maximum journey time between touch in and touch out, so there is some sort of limit.

  11. I see a lot of people touch out when they leave the tram. I suppose this doesn’t matter as it’ll count as a free transfer, unless they take another journey within the transfer time.

    • That’s probably why a second touch within 70 minutes doesn’t result in a new charge. I must admit that to a novice, the difference between a tram outside Central Croydon and the DLR is pretty minimal.

  12. Hi.I’ve bought Bus&Tram one week travelcard but I shoud’ve buy 2-4 one week travelcard instead. Is it possible to do exchange? If yes,where should I go and what’s the time limit to do that?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Ana,

      You’ll need to either call the helpdesk or go to a tube station as soon as possible. I don’t know whether it can be done, but you certainly need to do ask quickly as any time passed since the ticket started will not be refundable. There may be an admin charge deducted as well.

  13. Hi Mike

    I would like to know what’s the maximum will I get charged for a whole day if I travel both by bus and train in zone 1-4, noting that I have a national railcard added to my student oyster card.

    Thanks for helping!

  14. Hi Mike, great site! I regularly check here for the information that is unclear from tfl themselves
    My question is, whether the tube daily price cap includes all zones bus journeys the way a travelcard would? It would seem it should, as buses are largely zone-agnostic; though it is not clearly specified.
    For instance, say I live in zone 2, make 2 return journeys to zone 1 in the tube, reaching the zones 1-2 tube daily price cap, am I then allowed to travel to zone 4 return in the bus for free?

  15. Hi Mike,

    My question is though, is all bus travel free with all tube daily fare caps even when you don’t pre purchase a travelcard? Without worrying that the bus travel is in a different zone than the fare cap

    • Hi Mark,

      The Oyster system has no way of knowing where your bus journey starts and ends. It only knows the route number of the bus. Buses have their own daily cap which runs alongside the travelcard caps. Whichever cap is hit first will stop charging. If you start with 4 bus journeys you will be charged £4.40. This will also go towards any rail cap that you use that day. If you have already hit the rail cap then buses are free. If you have spent £6.00 after 0930 in zones 1-2 then a bus journey will deduct a further £1.00 and stop there.

  16. Hi
    My question is if i were to buy a weekly zone 1-3 travelcard for 18+ student oyster would i be able to make the journey to from lets say wimbledon to croydon? Or anywhere on the tram line?

  17. Hello Mike
    I have a further question to your comment on 23 September 2013 2:29 pm. My daily spend on Oyster pay as you go is around £10 as I travel between zone 1 and 6. When I sometimes want to take a bus (part TFL route, 81) it still charges me £1.40. Today I have called TFL help line and they told me that bus price cap has nothing to do with underground price cap and I will be charged additional 1.40 each time i take a bus until it reached 4.40 on that day despite having already spent £10 on the underground.
    I remember from my student years that it was not the case and you comment above suggest the same. Has it recently changed or did I get a person who wasn’t able to explain the situation correctly?
    Thank you

    • Hi Elena,

      This makes me so annoyed. The bus price cap is included in the daily caps, but you haven’t reached that if, as I suspect, your first journey is in the morning peak. You are actually working towards all 3 caps, the £15.80 anytime cap, £8.50 off-peak cap and £4.40 bus cap.

      Let’s say you catch the bus then the train in the morning before 0930. That will be £1.40 against the bus cap and £6.40 against the anytime cap. In the evening you do the same in reverse. That’s £2.80 against the bus cap, £12.80 against the anytine cap and £6.40 against the off-peak cap. As you can see, none of the caps have yet been reached.

      Now let’s say you go on two buses later that evening. The first one will take the anytime fares up to £14.20, the off-peak fares up to £7.80 and the bus fares up to £4.20. The second one only needs 20p to hit the bus cap, so that is all it charges.

      In a different scenario, say you take a bus, two £1.50 train journeys and another bus. The first bus will do the same as above. Then the first train will hit both daily caps, but the off-peak cap will hit first at £8.50 so it only deducts 70p. All further travel is free so neither the bus cap nor the anytime cap will actually be reached.

    • Hi Lina,

      Yes. A zone 1-4 travelcard covers all rail, tube, dlr within the zones and buses/trams throughout London. The only exceptions are the lines between Heathrow to Hayes and Harlington, and St Pancras International to Stratford International.

  18. Hi Mike,

    If I were to buy a zone 2-5, does that cover buses in all zones?

    After work (East Croydon) I go to the gym in Purley (zone 6) So I can use the Oyster on the bus to get there, but will I have to pay to get back on the bus? Zone 6-5?

    How does the bus know when they cross the invisable zone line?


  19. Hi there,
    I have one question.
    I use weekly traveler bus&tram pass.
    The question is if I use this card for travel with tube (Off-peak) zone 1-5, what is my price cap.
    Is it reduce?

  20. If I take a bus at 0530, a train from Vauxhall to Syon Lane around 0620 with a YP railcard and then reverse those journeys at 1500 what should I be paying? Would I be better off taking my first bus journey and or/outward train trip on another Oyster card?

  21. Hi I need to know which 7 day travelcard I need to buy to be able to travel from Ampere Way tram stop to Wimbledon tram stop/train station and then get on a direct train to Paddington.

    • Hi Anne,

      That would be a zone 1-3 travelcard to cover the tube section of the journey. The tram is free because the travelcard includes one of zones 3, 4, 5 or 6.

  22. Having read this im still rather baffled. What do I need to do if im leaving Wimbledon station having traveled on the tram from East Croydon

    • Hi Con,

      You need to touch out on the gateline at Wimbledon. This won’t charge you if your previous touch was a tram boarding one in the previous 70 minutes.

  23. Good day Mike,

    I intend to make weekly trips from zone 1 to wimbledon and catch the tram to Therapia Lane (croydon) I was wondering what the weekly travel card includes? And regarding touching in and out from Wimbledon and Therapia Lane, Is there any extra information regarding that? As I have read something about extra charges.

    I ask this question as I saw you responded to Anne saying a travel card from zone 1-3 and the tram was free, I just wanted to know whether that would correspond to me as well.

    Thank you so much for your kind assistance.

  24. (cont.) As I arrive from district line to Wimbledon, I touch out of the Tube, and once boarding the tram coming from district line do I touch a reader?

    The return journey from Therapia Lane to Wimbledon and then underground to zone 1. With my oyster which has a 7 day travel card, do I touch anywhere before boarding in Therapy Lane? Then when I arrive in Wimbledon I would proceed as normal, touch in for tube?

    Thank you

  25. I have just one more question. If I have a 7 day travel card zone 1-3 and make a trip from zone to wimbledon and catch a tram to Therapia Lane, and decide to return by car, would that effect any return fee either via tram or tube?

    Example: Paddington to wimbledon, touch yellow reader upon exit 1-4 to validate exit of tube, enter tram and exit tram?

    Example of Return: Therapia Lane tram, touch in tram, exit wimbledon and touch yellow reader to enter tube?

    I just don’t want to make any mistakes.

    • Hi Fabio,

      Have you read the page about Wimbledon on this site? It should answer most of your questions. If your travelcard includes zone 3 then tram travel is included. You also shouldn’t incur any difficulties at Wimbledon because that is in zone 3 as well. I’m not sure what you mean about using a car one way. As I said before, Oyster works solely on single journeys.

  26. Thank you Mike for you kind response.

    I did read it yes, I wanted to be reassured where I need to touch, coming from tube into wimbledon and then taking the journey by tram to Therapia Lane, do I touch out in therapy lane?

    Also the return journey, touch in therapia lane, and after arrival at wimbledon touch yellow readers to enter tube district line.

    • Hi Fabio,

      You don’t need to touch out at any tramstop apart from Wimbledon if you are leaving the station. Your are correct about the return journey.

  27. Could the 70 minute rule on the trams be used to get a “free” return trip. For example, touch in as normal on the outward journey (say East Croydon – Waddon Marsh), and if you touch in again at Waddon Marsh to return to East Croydon within 70 minutes, would it result in an additional journey being charged or not?

    • Hi Mark,

      Yes, I believe you would get both journeys for the price of one. Make sure that you touch in before boarding the second tram though, because if you are checked later on (after 70 minutes from the first touch) you would be in problems without the second touch.

  28. Hi guys,

    I am starting a new job soon in Surrey (Godalming). I am initially going to commute from Romford to Godalming via Waterloo. I wanted to ask if anyone was familiar with the buses in Godalming as I am hoping that my railcard (travel card + godalming) would be also valid on those buses. The walking distance is roughly 20 minutes from station to office so it would be helpful to use a bus.

    • Hi Massimo,

      That is one hell of a commute. You can’t use buses in Godalming because they are outside the TfL area. The only sensible way to reduce the cost would be to avoid zone 1. However, that would require changing at Stratford, Canada Water and Clapham Junction and would add so much time to the journey that I couldn’t possibly recommend it.

  29. Hi,
    I’m a student here in London from Sweden and I have some questions about the oyster card.
    I am currently using the monthly travelcard (zone 1 – 4), I’m paying £120 at the moment.

    I saw that the bus and tram ticket for 1 week is much cheaper (£14), I didn’t have the time to check for the monthly but It’s probably around £40.

    My question is “wich trams are included?” If I want to come to school by underground I have to use the DLR and Jubilee line. Are these included?

    Thank you for the response and have a good day.

    • Hi Shahram,

      Trams mean the Croydon trams running between Wimbledon and Elmers End, Beckenham Junction and New Addington. Underground and DLR are rail services for which you need the full travelcard.

    • Hi Paschalis,

      There are multiple ways to get between the two stations so you should be alright with a zone 1-2 travelcard even if you go via Canning Town. My advise would be to ensure that you always have enough for a zone 3 single fare on your PAYG balance in case you are checked in zone 3 or have to change your plans unexpectedly.

  30. I was referred here from a discussion thread and this has cleared up several questions. Elmers End continues to be confusing for those switching from train to tram – a few weeks ago the signage was very poor and I needed one of the inspectors waiting by the tram to explain how to do it right. Wimbledon is also still a problem to the uniniated and the signage about which reader appears to be on the side of the readers themselves which isn’t helpful if you’re tall and/or other passengers are luggage are milling around, making it hard to see.

    I’ve never interchanged at Birkbeck or Mitcham Junction – do these function like the Croydons and Beckenham Junction in that the train and tram are considered physically separate stations with a clear outerchange requiring touching at both train & tram readers or is it like Elmers End/Wimbledon where the readers on the tram platform end a train journey when interchanging?

  31. Hi Mike
    I’m trying to understand the bus only cap. If I use a number of buses in a day, as well as a short underground journey, does the train travel invalidate the bus cap or would I pay for the train travel in addition to the bus cap up to the value of the appropriate all travel methods cap? For example, if I travel by bus Twickenham to Richmond, Richmond-Hammersmith by underground (£1.50 off peak) and then several buses before doing the whole thing in reverse, a bus cap of £4.40 + 2 x £1.50 = £7.40 which is better than the now whopping £9.20 day cap or worse still the £10.90 cap from Twickenham. My question is, can I try the £7.40 option with a single Oyster or would I have to change Oyster cards for the train travel? For info, I’m keen to beat the system following the huge price increases for leisure travellers but not keen enough to travel by bus to Hammersmith which always takes an hour compared with 14 minutes by train. Thanks.

  32. Are the feeder prices supported by contactless cards? I’ve traveled recently with both an Oyster and a Contactless between the tram and the bus 314, and the Oyster counted it as one trip, while the Contactless counted it as two separate ones. I couldn’t find anything about this on the TFL sites

  33. I noticed I have to activate my card, I went to London for the day last year and never had to do this (I got on a bus across road from kings cross). I still have credit on my card. Will I get charged at kings cross station if I have to scan it there?
    Im getting a bus near the station again and will only using buses on my journey. I will be using pay as you go so I dont want to top up any more then I planned to spend.

    • Hi Becky,

      Have you ordered topup online? If yes, then that does have to be picked up as part of a rail journey. If you don’t pick it up then it will be refunded after about 8 days. When you arrive in London I suggest going to a ticket machine and adding credit manually.

      If you haven’t ordered online topup then perhaps you could explain what the problem is, because I’m confused.

  34. 1. If I have a travel card Zone 2-4 and I took a tram from East Croydon to Elmers end – will it be included?

    2. With Zone 2-4 if I travel over ground from a Zone 2 and exit at Zone 5, how much will be charged please?


  35. Hi Mike, I’ll post this question in the trams and buses section. Was on an X26 yesterday, at North Cheam three people boarded, two of them were going to Heathrow and the third was seeing them off. After a bit of discussion it transpired that neither of the travelling pair had Oysters and only one of them had a contactless card. The person with the card tapped in and then tried to tap again for the second person. The driver said they couldn’t do two fares on one card, whereupon the lady who was seeing them off got her card out and tapped it, said goodbye and got off the bus. This meant that in the event of an inspector getting on further along the route only one of the pair would have had a valid card. No doubt the driver would probably have vouched for the fact that both fares had been paid-but would that have been enough when the offence is ‘failing to show on demand a valid ticket, pass or other travel authority’? Furthermore from using it in the past I know that the particular bus I was on is timetabled for a driver change at Kingston, and when they switched over the original driver didn’t mention the situation to the relief, which would have left the travelling pair stuck with only one ticket between them and no driver to back up their story that they’d both paid. Your thoughts, please?

    • That’s a messy one. It might depend on what sort of address the people could give. If it was foreign then the inspector might let it slide. I’ve got no idea how the situation might pan out ordinarily.

  36. Hi Mike.

    A similar incident this morning, two Americans going to Heathrow got on, the woman tapped a card, the man tapped a card then passed it to the chap behind him, who said “have a safe flight’, got off the bus and started to walk away. This time the driver said ‘You can’t do that, you have to keep the card on you’. The tourist said ‘he’s paying for me, he said it would be okay’, driver replied ‘no, you’re not allowed to do that, if an inspector got on where’s your proof of payment’? The woman then asked if she could pay and tapped her card again, which of course failed as a passback attempt. After a bit more discussion the man then asked if he could pay with another card, produced a card from his pocket and tapped it and it registered (obviously I don’t know if it was an American card or not). The net result of course is that TFL pocketed two fares for the one journey!

    I am wondering if they have an official policy on using another persons card to pay your fare when that person is not travelling with you as todays driver questioned it whereas the driver in the first incident said nothing.

    • I suspect that the official policy is that it’s not allowed. I wonder if it would be possible for the driver to push a button and generate a proof of payment ticket, rather like the “one more journey” ticket, so that this sort of thing is allowed.

  37. Just wondering about the hopper bus fare, if I touch onto a bus just before 4:30am and then a second one after 4:30 but within an hour, I assume I wouldn’t be charged again even though it’s counted as the next day. However, what if I was at my price cap the previous day; would the second bus be charged for?

    • Hi Harry,

      You do like querying boundaries! My understanding is this. If you touch in on a bus and are charged then touch in again within the hour (or so) then the second touch is tied to the first and is free. After the third charging touch all other touches are free, but the hopper still remains, so if the previous touch would have been chargeable if the cap hadn’t been reached then that touch would also be free even if it was now past 4.30am. However, if the previous touch was free because it was a hopper touch then that touch would be chargeable as it is now a new day.

      Looking at the time of your post, is it possible that you’ve just tried it out?

  38. I’m afraid I couldn’t try this today as I still have a Travelcard, but as I was traveling at this time it occurred to me that it would be useful to know for future reference. It’s frustrating that tfl doesn’t publish information like this.

    Also an inconsistency with the hopper is that if you have a journey involving a short bus ride followed by a longer one which takes over an hour, you pay one fare but if you are going the other way you pay twice!

  39. More X26 shenanigans! First guy gets on carrying a suitcase which he goes to put in the luggage space, saying to the driver “It’s okay, I’m just helping out”. Second guy gets on and taps a card which beeps with no money. “Hey Bob, there’s no money on the card”. “It’s okay, I got one you can use”. Bob hands an Oyster to the second guy who taps it. Driver says to second guy, “You have to keep the Oyster if you’re travelling”. Second guy then takes a suitcase from a girl behind him and passes it to Bob, who puts it in the luggage space whilst the girl gets on and taps in. They say their goodbyes and as Bob gets off he takes the Oyster back from the second guy, unseen by the driver. Think I might contact TFL and ask for an official take on this and put forward your suestion of the driver issuing a ticket, similar to the ‘one more journey’ ticket.

    • Hi Phil,

      Good idea. Let me know what they say. Another solution might be a prominent notice on the bus to the effect that the Oyster or contactless card used for payment must be carried on the whole journey.

  40. Hi, I see that people have already asked similar questions but I’m still having troubles understanding the fares; I’ll be staying in London for 4 days and I have my friend’s oyster pay as you go card. I’ll be using the tube mostly in zones 1,2 and maybe 3 but I’ll also have to make 2 trips a day to Croydon. More specifically, I’ll start the daily journey by taking a tram from East Croydon to Wimbledon station and then continue to use the tube throughout the day, then go back to Croydon as the last ride of the day. How does the capping work in this case and how much will it cost in the end?

    • Hi Barbara,

      You’ll cap at the zone 1-3 daily rate of £7.70. Trams operate like buses, without zones, so the £1.50 fares count towards any rail cap. So as long as you don’t use rail beyond zone 3 it will just be £7.70/day.

  41. Hi. I currently buy a Streatham to Epsom including zones 3-6 weekly travelcard so I can use any bus service in London. Would I also be able to use any bus by buying an annual Streatham to Epsom travelcard which does not include zones 3-6 as well? Thanks.

    • Hi Johann,

      The annual Streatham to Epsom ticket is a season ticket, not a travelcard. It’s a common confusion, but no, buses are not included with a rail only season ticket.

  42. Hi. I have a question re contactless. I read that both oyster and contactless can be used on the hopper system of ger one bus and withib an hour get next one free. But i have recently realised this only works with oyster and looking at bank account it clearly still charges me twice when using contactless. Why is this?

    • Hi Jade,

      It works fine on contactless for me. Have you examined the journey history on the TfL site. If you haven’t already, register your card onto your online account and you’ll see all previous history up to a year ago. If you’re still puzzled, post your history here and I’ll take a look.

  43. Hi Mike, thanks. i have just registered one of the cards but not showing any history. will it do this after a period of time?
    also i used two cards so i am assuming that looking at the oyster site only one contactless can be registered on your account.

  44. hi mike i have 2. if i am trying to access the one bus free i use the same card all day but i wont necesarily use same card all week. surely this shouldnt effect the free bus journey?

    • Hi Jade,

      No, to get the free hopper journey you just need to use the same card on both buses. Personally though I’d use the same card for London transport all the time so there’s no danger of missing out on caps.

      I’m wondering whether you’re looking in the right place for the journey history. On your account dashboard you should see a block for each registered card. Under those is an area for Today’s travel where you can see touches made after 5-15 minutes and an estimated charge. You may have to select a card for today’s travel if you have more than one.

      To look at history before today you need to select the block for the card you’re interested in, then click on journey and payment history. You should then see the last 7 days payment history displayed with the last day expanded to show the journeys made. You can change the display to show any month within the last year. Normally journey and payment history will be the same, but if there is a discrepancy because of a delay to data reaching the central database then they might be different. Journey history will always show all the details of travel on that day whereas payment history details the travel making up that days deduction from your bank.

      I hope this helps.

  45. Something very frustrating happened the other day; I took a bus for one stop and then got off to change bus, however there was no shelter and it was raining, so I checked on my phone and saw that I could change at the next stop instead. The bus I had just got off was still at the stop so I boarded again. I had a travelcard on my Oyster card so I tried to touch in again, however the reader declined my card and the screen stated “card already used” so I told the driver that I had just got off this bus and tried to walk on, however he did not believe me and this led to an argument before I was finally allowed on, and I did not like being treated in this way. Although this is not a normal situation, this is clearly ridiculous; surely the driver should be able to see the reason for the error and let me on, and also surely the reader should let me touch in again in this situation. This is another reason I would be inclined to stick to a paper travelcard in the future.

    • Hi Harry and Nick,

      What you have witnessed is a very deliberate policy for a couple of reasons. The most important one is fare evasion. Where there are enough people boarding it would be quite easy for one person to pass their card to another behind them in the queue. The other consideration is double tapping if the card is held against the reader for too long.

  46. I had something similar a few weeks ago. A few people were getting on the bus and I scanned my card but the driver said it hadn’t registered. I tried a couple of times again and got the error message. He said I would need to top up but when I told him I had a travelcard he let me on. When I checked my journey history the first touch had registered which is presumably why the others didn’t

  47. Hi Mike,

    I appreciate that, however surely it should be possible to board a bus again after getting off; I have done so before but after a longer distance and not had a problem.

    For future reference, what should I do if this situation happens again? If I’m using pay as you go and not at my price cap then I would not want to touch in again anyway and feel that it would be unfair to need to do so; if an inspector came on it wouldn’t be a problem as I would have touched in, however how do we convince the driver that we have indeed already paid for that journey?

    Like I said, this would not be a problem with a paper travelcard, and I feel as though they should overcome any disadvantages of Oyster vs. paper tickets.

    • Hi Harry,

      I’d say that the number of passengers doing this as a percentage of the total number must be infinitesimally small. I cannot see a good reason why anyone would want to get off a bus after one stop and then get back on again. If they overcome it to your satisfaction then it will create other problems which would likely affect more passengers and/or their revenue.

  48. Hi Mike,

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here; I appreciate that this doesn’t often happen, however like I said it was pouring with rain; I got off the bus to change but there was no shelter and I was getting wet, so I checked on the bus times app if I could change at the next stop instead and I could, so as the bus had not left yet I got back on. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to get back on the bus when I have paid for a travelcard so clearly there is a problem with the system if the driver accuses me of not paying when I board again [I would add that my overall journey could have been done in less time with 1 bus and a short walk, however I wanted to avoid getting wet so I’m sure you can understand how frustrated I was when I got off my first bus and there was no shelter].

    Specifically in this case, although it might not make a difference to a lot of people, if Google Maps knew which bus stops had shelters and there was an option to change bus at stops with shelters wherever possible, then I would not have got off the bus in the first place [similarly I think that Google Maps should advise where it is easy to change tubes, e.g. at Euston station it is easy to change from the Northern line to the Victoria line if you are on the Bank branch but not on the Charing Cross branch]; basically I was being penalised for not knowing the area.

    I have boarded the same bus again before after a longer period of time; once because I got off to walk because of traffic, but then I got to the next stop just before the bus and the traffic was moving ahead; another time because I was going to a shop and travelling onwards in the same direction, and I managed to board the same bus again at the next stop due to traffic; I did not have a problem in these cases.

    As an aside, when I have been standing by the exit doors I have sometimes stepped off a bus to let other passengers off and then got back on; this isn’t so different but surely I could have the same problem in this case when with trains this would never be an issue!

    • Harry,

      Yes, we will have to agree to disagree. But then you went on to write another essay. I’m not going to comment either way about what Google maps should or shouldn’t cover because it’s completely beyond the scope of this site.

      If you step off the exit doors and step back on after letting someone off then I think you’d be fine. Other passengers are likely to confirm what you did. Your issue is with trying to touch back in so soon after originally touching in on that bus. Perhaps the driver should have recognised you, who knows. The limit is likely to be something like 2-5 minutes (I don’t know exactly) so if you’ve gone further you won’t have a problem.

      I honestly do think you are making a mountain out of a molehill here. The number of bus journeys where someone gets on the same bus within 2-5 minutes as a percentage of the total number of bus journeys made is infinitesimally small. If you really need to vent your frustration somewhere then I suggest you contact TfL. I am not going to entertain any further discussion about this issue on this site.

  49. Mike,

    I understand your decision not to discuss this further and I do appreciate that this is not a usual situation. All I’ll say is that the reason for “another essay” was that you said “I cannot see a good reason why anyone would want to get off a bus after one stop and then get back on again” when I felt that I had given one.

    In short, I had paid for unlimited buses but felt as though I was being accused of not paying when boarding a bus.

  50. Although it’s not advertised, I think you’re allowed slightly more than an hour to get on your second bus when using the hopper fare. It’s happened to me a few times that I got on the second bus between 60 and 70 minutes after the first bus and still wasn’t charged. I don’t know what the exact cut-off point is.

  51. Hi, apologies if this question does not belong here, but I really don’t know where to ask, my question is, being a TFL route, can a six zone day travelcard be used the whole length of Bus route 405, from West Croydon to Redhill ?…….thank you

    • Hi Mark,

      Absolutely yes. Any travelcard is valid to travel the whole length of any TfL operated route, regardless of the zones on the travelcard, including where the route stretches beyond the London zones. The 405 is wholly operated on behalf of TfL.

  52. Hello,
    I am trying to figure out a route: Addiscombe Tram Station to Vauxhall. If using the national rail (leaving the tram at East Croydon and boarding a train to clapham and then Vauxhall) I would have to pay for zones 2-5. My question is: If I use the tram from Addiscombe to Wimbledon and from there I take a train to Vauxhall, can I just buy zones 2-3 and still use the tram? I would save 50 pounds a month. Thank you.

  53. Hello Mike,
    I note that your last reply was sometime ago so I do hope that you are still there?!!
    I wondered if you can help me. I want to get to Holborn from Croydon so I think that I will get on a tram (5 mins walk from my mums) to East Croydon where I will get on the Thameslink to Farringdon Station. I’m a newbie when it comes to Oyster cards so will I have to keep touching it all over the place or just when I board the Tram and then when I get off at Farringdon?

    Thanks in advance for any advice,

    • Hi Tracy,

      I’m still here!

      You’ll need to touch in at Waddon Marsh and again at East Croydon, then out at Farringdon.

      However, if cost is an issue then there are two other options to consider. East Croydon is in zone 5 so you would need a zone 1-5 travelcard for your journey. If you go the other way to Mitcham Junction you only need to pay for zones 1-4. The service isn’t as frequent, and may take a little longer. A bigger saving can be made by going to Wimbledon where you would only need zones 1-3, but the journey would then be longer.

  54. When the tramlink started I noticed that a quick return trip to Wimbledon could be done on one tram fare, if you got off the tram at Dundonald Road. If tapping in at Dundonald Road on the way back was within the 90 minutes allowed since the start of the tram trip, then no charge was made, as it was considered one journey. (The 90 minutes was later reduced to 70 minutes.) Tapping out through the barriers at Wimbledon voided this and a return journey was charged for.

    I don’t know if this still applies with the hopper.

  55. Hi Mike

    Last Wednesday (7th Aug) I caught the 485 bus at 1115 from Wandsworth (Police Station) stop to Putney (Festing Road) stop.

    When I looked at my contactless journey history on my TfL account, this journey shows as bus 187 (which I believe is a bus route somewhere in north London), instead of bus 485.

    Just curious why the system would show a completely different bus number than the one I took.

  56. Ah, it’s not just me then! Tuesday night (August 6th) I caught a 157 bus, however it’s showing on my journey/payment history as bus 390.

  57. Hi Mike.

    An update: A friend of mine has just shown me his TfL account. On Tuesday 6th Aug he tapped in at 22:50 on the #22 bus (at Putney Bridge), but his journey history is showing bus #29 (which runs in north London).

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks. I’ve now heard that there have been issues during the week. Several people have commented about wrong bus numbers. Furthermore, some contactless payments have taken longer than usual to be claimed. And when you login to your account on the TfL website you now need to enter a Captcha. This has been implimented in a very untidy way, suggesting an urgent fix to a bigger problem.

  58. Hi Mike,

    For a tram journey from West Croydon to Wimbledon, would touching in at West Croydon cover the whole journey, or is it necessary to also touch when changing at East Croydon?

    • Hi Andrew,

      The tram touch in is valid for 70 minutes so there’s no need to touch in again. If you do you won’t be charged because of the hopper fare.

  59. Hi Mike,
    i am not sure whether to use PAYG or get a zone 1-3 monthly travelcard. i use adult fare prices
    i go from stratford to waterloo 4 times a week (i usually tap in at stratford at 9.40 but sometimes it can be an hour earlier and tap in at waterloo at 4.15)
    I also go to zone 1 often from stratford, my journey there is not during peak times but my jouney back is during peak.

    i also wanted to ask what route is best as i need to go from stratford to east/west croydon (this journey i take once a week alongside all the others). am i better off getting the underground from stratford to london bridge then the national rail to east croydon or the jubilee to canada water and the oveground to west croydon (however the overground to west croydon doesnt run on the weekend due to corona virus but saturday is when i usually make the journey) or the district line from plaistow to wimbledon then the tram to west croydon.
    third query; if i have a zone 1-3 travelcard, can i use buses and trams (even if they are in zone 4) at no extra cost?
    thank you!

    • Hi Heidi,

      For travel between Stratford and zone 1 you only need a zone 1-2 travelcard. I’m unclear just how many journeys you usually make, but if it’s mostly on the Jubilee or Central lines then a travelcard might not be worthwhile, especially if several journeys are off-peak. I think I’d probably just use contactless so that a weekly cap will apply if you do happen to travel a lot in any one week.

      For Croydon it depends on speed versus cost. Forget Plaistow as the District line via Wimbledon will take forever. If you have a travelcard then there’s not much difference, but if using PAYG then changing at Canada Water avoids zone 1 and will be cheaper. For speed go via London Bridge as there are fast trains non-stop to East Croydon.

      You can use any TfL bus with any travelcard because buses do not operate in zones. For the tram you need one that includes one of zones 3-6, but it’s not worth getting an extra zone just for the odd tram journey.

  60. Hi Mike!
    Thank tou for your response. I ended up getting a zone 1-3 weekly travel card because this week I’ll be making a lot of zone 1-3 journeys. Is east Croydon in zone 3 as the overground to west Croydon isn’t running on the days I need to take that jorurny. With the travel card, what would be the best/cheapest route from Stratford to either east or west Croydon?

    • Hi Heidi,

      Both East and West Croydon are in zone 5. With a zone 1-3 travelcard you’ll only pay for a zone 4-5 single each way. This weekend it appears that the best way to get there is Underground to Victoria then Southern to East Croydon.

  61. I see that the bus and tram fares section of the TfL website quotes a daily price cap of £4.95 if you only use buses and/or trams on one particular day (or if you also use other modes but only reach the £4.95 bus and tram price cap). However, it also mentions a One Day Bus & Tram Pass priced at £5.20. I didn’t think you could get a paper One Day Bus & Tram Pass anymore (probably not since the ticket machines at tram stops were withdrawn).

  62. The other day I changed from NR to the Tram at Mitcham Jn. When looking at my journey history subsequently the NR journey to Mitcham Jn was shown as incomplete. I then realised I had only touched in on the tram validator and not touched out on the NR validator. This wasn’t a conscious decision, I was miles away when I got off the train and just forgot.

    No harm done because I have a 60+ Oyster card but I wondered why a tram touch in at Mitcham Jn doesn’t close a train journey like it does at Wimbledon and Elmers End. I know technically the tram stop isn’t inside the NR station but it is right alongside.

    • Hi Simon,

      I think the fact that you are leaving the station is significant. You wouldn’t expect a touch on a bus to automatically end a rail journey (it couldn’t because the bus computer doesn’t need to know where it is when accepting touches), so the same should be true of a tram stop outside a station too.

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