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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.