When Not to use Oyster

Oyster PAYG is a very flexible, intelligent payment system that tries to ensure that you always only pay what you need to for the journeys you make in one day.  Most of the time it works very well, but there are certain circumstances where a paper ticket (usually a day travelcard) is either cheaper or more appropriate.  These are some of the times to consider leaving the Oyster at home:

  1. Most journeys to/from Merstham-Gatwick Airport (inclusive). Yes, really!  The train company admits that Oyster PAYG is accepted on this line primarily for convenience.  Single journeys are mostly cost-effective but returns, travelcards and season tickets are all usually cheaper on paper or “The Key”, the GTR smartcard. The only real winners are holders of 16+ zip Oyster cards who enjoy their usual 50% discount over adult fares.
  2. Zip 16+ holders with a railcard on Heathrow Express.  You can’t add a railcard discount to zip 16+ photocards because the usual discount is 50% off all fares.  On HEx there is no discount over adult fares, so if you have a railcard and are travelling off-peak you’ll be better off with paper.  Adult Oyster cards with a railcard discount set do get the usual 34% discount on off-peak fares with HEx.
  3. Travelling at the weekend when Super Off-peak tickets are available.  Some stations beyond zone 6 have super off-peak tickets available at the weekend.  The super off-peak return price is less than 2x the Oyster off-peak single.
  4. When exploring or roving around London. Oyster PAYG is designed for reasonably straightforward journeys, usually with a gap between each one.  If you want to make lots of rail journeys one after the other, without doing something else between each one, especially if arriving at one station and leaving from another nearby, then a travelcard may be less hassle even though it is slightly more expensive.  The reason is that many nearby stations are linked by out of station interchanges which will join your journeys together and cause you to exceed the maximum time allowed for a journey between two points because you went via somewhere a long way away.  If you must use Oyster PAYG then consider touching into a bus between stations (and getting off straight away);  that will break any OSI.
  5. When travelling as a family. An Oyster card is for individuals only, it cannot be linked with others to form a group.  Therefore it is not possible to offer the discounts available with a Family and Friends Railcard when using Oyster.  Most off peak and especially afternoon peak travel will be cheaper using the railcard and paper tickets.  See also point 8 if travel includes zone 6.
  6. When travelling in a group. Off-peak day travelcards are available with large discounts if 10 or more people are travelling together.
  7. Afternoon Peak with Railcard. If you have a railcard attached to your Oyster card you will get discounted off-peak single fares and also a discounted off-peak cap.  However, if you only plan to use trains in the afternoon peak and not enough to trigger the price cap, it may be cheaper to use your railcard and paper tickets instead.  But remember that the cheaper zones 1-2, 1-3, 1-4 and 1-5 caps are fully discounted on Oyster with a railcard attached, while only the 1-6 and 1-9 paper travelcards can be bought and discounted.  Also remember that single fares from outside zone 1 to zone 1 are now all off-peak in the afternoon.
  8. Afternoon Peak to/from zone 6. If you make a return journey where touch in for both legs is in the afternoon peak and you travel between zone 6 and another zone up to zone 2 then it may be cheaper to buy off-peak return tickets from the first station outside zone 6.  For example, Dartford to Sidcup off-peak day return is £4.60 compared to £2.70 oyster single each way from Crayford or Bexley to Sidcup.  This doesn’t work for child tickets because the off-peak cap for children is only £1.50, but it does work with a family railcard.  If travelling to zone 1 then the oyster fare becomes off-peak.
  9. Using 2-for-1 Offers. Days Out Guide offer two for one entry to many attractions in London in combination with National Rail tickets.  The discount will often far outweigh the saving made when using Oyster PAYG over paper tickets.  Only National Rail issued tickets count, so using Oyster rules out these offers (unless the Oyster card holds an annual travelcard and you have the Gold Record Card).  However, if you have used a return ticket to get to London from elsewhere in the country then this can be used between the start and end dates for Central London attractions.  More details are on the Days Out website.

There may be other instances where paper tickets are cheaper, but we haven’t found them yet!  Remember that the ability to cap at the right rate for the zones used, or not to cap if you haven’t travelled enough, is the big advantage that Oyster has over day travelcards (except from Gatwick etc).

991 thoughts on “When Not to use Oyster”

  1. Hi Mike
    I have just added a 2- 6 railcard to my oyster pay as you go. I regularly travel from surbiton to waterloo in morning peak and return from waterloo to surbiton during the evening peak. I am charged 2.20 for each journey on my payg oyster but when I had a paper ticket for 2 – 6 my return excess was £1.60 with a paper off peak ticket. Am I paying the right amount?

    Also, if I cross over from waterloo to waterloo east and then through to southwark LU to exit, will it cost any extra.

    Finally, I’m a bit confused about the mixing national rail and LU in zone 1. How does this work.

    Good site by the way.


    • Hi Lindsey,

      £2.20 is a zone 1 single on National Rail in the peak which is what I would expect to be deducted. Since 2010 there have been no off-peak paper tickets in London apart from day travelcards. £1.60 was the off-peak single on Oyster last year, but it is now £1.70. If you go through Waterloo East and Southwark after finishing a journey at Waterloo then it shouldn’t cost any more.

      As for mixing travel in zone 1, because you have zone 2 on your season ticket you will only have to pay either the NR or TfL zone 1 fare. If you only travel on NR (ie Vauxhall to Waterloo) then you’ll be charged £2.20 peak or £1.70 off-peak. If you only travel on LU (ie Vauxhall to Victoria) then you’ll be charged £2.10 at any time. If you go from Vauxhall to Euston via Waterloo then you’ll be charged £2.20* in the peak and £2.10 off-peak and for the return journey at any time. If you were using a PAYG only card then the journey would cost £3.70 peak and £3.10 off-peak.

      * This is not what TfL intend, but the system won’t reduce an amount already charged when you touch out at Waterloo in the peak.

  2. Hi Mike (I think)

    I recently attached my 16-25 railcard to my oyster card and travel from zone 2-6 daily using national rail (through West Hampstead Thameslink and London Overground).

    My fare is generally £3.80 during peak times, but with my railcard I can buy a paper ticket for £2.90. Today I used my oyster card, buy I still paid the full fare of £3.80.

    I’m really annoyed at that. I know its only 90p, but its very frustrating to get messed over by tfl / national rail. Was this a mistake or do I just have to buy paper tickets every day when I travel home?

    Thank you!

    • Hi,

      As mentioned in the page above, there is no discount on peak fares with a railcard. This means that it is sometimes cheaper to use paper tickets during the afternoon peak. However, remember that the off-peak cap is reduced, so if you make any other off-peak journeys you will probably be better off on Oyster. Also, if you can touch in before 0630 in the morning you will also get discounted fares which are not available on paper at that time.

  3. Hi,

    I need to travel daily from Brentwood to Canary Wharf. What is the cheapest way to do this now that Oyster is accepted at Brentwood?


  4. Hi Mike,

    I had a look around the site but I couldn’t find information about this. I have a oyster card with the 16-25 railcard discount. I was wondering if the oyster system is clever enough to charge me a single fare for a single peak journey in the morning and then the off peak price cap for unlimited travel for the rest of the day?

    An example:

    a) Zone 1-4 single journey morning peak, £3.80 + Z1-4 off peak price cap £5.10 = £8.90
    b) Peak price cap Z1-4, £10.60

    Would it cost be option a) or b)?

    If the answer is b, is the only way round this to have 2 oyster cards or buy a paper ticket?

    Also, another question, I know its on the wrong page but it’ll save me making another post!

    Why does Oakleigh Park/New Southgate to Euston LU (via Highbury and Islington, Victoria line) cost £3.90 but Oakleigh Park/New Southgate to Kings Cross St Pancras LU (via Highbury and Islington, Victoria line) cost £2.50 (prices without railcard discount)? The only difference between the 2 journeys is travelling 1 further stop at the end, which is within the same zone.


    • Hi,

      It will be option (a).

      Between Finsbury Park and Kings Cross and/or Moorgate the fares are interavailable between National Rail and Underground. This means that to Kings Cross St Pancras is treated as a National Rail only fare whereas to Euston becomes a through fare with the zone 1 surcharge.

    • Hi Adam,

      I’ve not heard of zone 11, but I wonder whether it is a code for either Brentwood or Broxbourne which both seem to have monthly travelcards at just under £250. If it is then my understanding is that it covers all of zones 2-9 plus the line to whichever of Brentwood or Broxbourne it covers.

  5. Hi Mike,
    I am shifting to bexleyheath soon and wanted to find out what would be the cheapest option. I need to go to belsize park from bexleyheath everyday. On Mon-thursdays I willleave around 1pm and return in night 12pm or 1pm. From friday to Sundays I will leave at 10am and return by 1pm. Is oyster better?

    • Hi Shatrughan,

      Oyster will be better, the only question is whether a travelcard season or single PAYG journeys is cheaper. It looks like you are always travelling off-peak so it’s down to how many journeys you make. If you really do travel EVERY day (7 return trips in a week) then a travelcard will just be cheaper, but for six or fewer return trips a week you’ll be better off using PAYG.

      My only other concern is you saying you’ll return after midnight. The last train from Charing Cross to Bexleyheath each day leaves at 0002 (Tues-Sun morning) while on Sundays it is at 2350.

  6. Hi Mike,
    Thanks. I am a chef so work late in nights and only leave by 12.30pm or 1pm. I need to find another way to commute after midnight too. I am mostly off on mondays so would be travelling 6 times a week.

    • Right, I understand now. Strictly speaking you mean 12.30am or 1am as after midnight is morning. You are probably looking at night buses at that time of night. The N89 runs between Trafalgar Square and Erith via Welling and Bexleyheath so is probably your best bet. It also pretty much rules out a travelcard season being worthwhile as it will save quite a bit on the cost of the journey home.

  7. Hi Mike,
    I only just read about the maximum journey times and that it’s better not to use an Oyster to explore or rove around London. I did this yesterday, and on three seperate occassions charged me a maximum fare because it was “incomplete”. I am guessing I might have exceeded the time and at the end of the day, I ended up paying a total of 33.50 for the day (travelled in zones 1-2 only). When I checked my online account, they say that I can only ask for one refund in 28days. Is there any other way to rectify this and get my money back?
    Here’s the screenshot of my journey history online:

    Thanks a lot for this website! If only I had read this earlier!

    • Hi Hisham,


      I’d call the helpdesk and ask for a refund down to the appropriate cap. Just explain that you were exploring and didn’t realise the impact of maximum journey times.

  8. Hiya I’m travelling to London with a 16-24 railcard the 8th of march I will be travelling to clapham junction from st pancreas around 20:00 then be travelling on the Saturday sight seeing.. What is the best card to get? Thanks for your help

    • Hi Jane,

      I would say that an Oyster card would be best assuming you will spend some time at each “sight” before travelling onto the next one. When you get to St Pancras go down to the tube (KXSP) and ask them to add your railcard to your Oyster card. That way you’ll be capped at the old railcard rate. If your travel doesn’t exceed zones 1 and 2 this will be significantly cheaper (£4.60 versus £5.90). If you want the deposit back just hand the Oyster card in at KXSP before you return home, or keep the card for your next trip to London. The credit will never expire.

  9. Hi! I am going to travel in London but stay in a hotel in Enfield.
    I find the nearest rail station is Gordon Hill. I m wondering that
    if i combine a 16-25 rail card with oyster, will I still get the off peak cap
    discount(zone 1-2 ) on the oyster card when I travel in London tube or underground or the fare will still count according to the single fare as railcard? Thank you ~

    • Hi Angela,

      If the railcard discount is enabled on the Oyster card then you will benefit from reduced off-peak fares and off-peak caps. If you only travel within zones 1-2 then the £4.60 off-peak cap would apply, but if you travel in from Gordon Hill first then it will go up to the £5.60 zones 1-6 cap.

  10. HI Mike,

    I’ll be working in london waterloo 3 days a week and would like to know if im better off buy a monthly oyster travel card or just top up my pay as you go. My travel would be between zone 1 -5..Advise pls

    • Hi Yvonne,

      It’s not as simple as that. If you will only use National Rail on 3 days a week then PAYG is likely to be cheaper. If you also need to use the Underground and might make the odd extra journey around London then a travelcard might be worthwhile. If you can detail your exact journey I can advise further.

  11. Hi Mike,

    I have a 16-25 Railcard loaded onto my oyster card. I usually travel to work from Bethnal Green to Bond Street 3-5 times a week (leaving at 11am during the week, or at 8.30 am during the weekend), and return home by bus. I also take a three or four random buses a week when I’m tired of walking. Will a monthly Oyster card be worth it or should I stick with PAYG?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Chiara,

      Stick with PAYG. Monthly travelcards are only worthwhile when you make enough peak journeys. From what you’ve said you do not make anywhere near enough.

  12. HI Mike,

    My Journey, will be from Cheam Station into London waterloo and coming home, I may hop on the 507 bus to Victoria and the join the train to cheam via victoria.

    Thanks You

    • Hi Yvonne,

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Cheam to London terminals costs £39.30/week while a zones 1-5 travelcard costs £51.80/week. The extra £12.50 gives you unlimited travel within zones 1-5 and also all London buses. A single bus fare on Oyster is only £1.40, so if you only make a few bus journeys then the travelcard is probably not worth it.

  13. Hi I intend to do some frequent trips into London off peak (after 09.30) could you please advise best ticket Pre paid Oyster card or day Travel card.

    Starting from Bromley South station.


    • Hi Paulapk,

      Definitely a PAYG Oyster card. Just a return trip will not reach the off-peak cap, but if you do more the cap is less than the price of an equivalent paper travelcard.

  14. Hi Mike

    I’m presently not living in London, but have been offered a job baed in Woking working typical office hours.

    I’d like to leave somewhere in zone 1 or 2 and would look at joining a Woking train either at Waterloo or Clapham Junction depending on where I ended up living.

    Can you advise on what the best ticketing arrangement would be in such a scenario as I believe woking is outside the Oyster zones?

    It’s a relative thing to individuals I suppose – but do you think it would be overly expensive?



    • Hi Tim,

      Cheap or expensive is a very subjective concept, so I couldn’t possibly comment. Woking is outside the Oyster zones so you would need a paper ticket. Cheapest would be a point-to-point ticket between Woking and most other NR stations around Clapham Junction. If you needed to add buses or tubes then you’d want a travelcard. Including zone 1 would be most expensive.

  15. Hi mike,
    Last Friday I was meeting a friend at Leicester square, coming from blackheath, then got the night bus back. I’d checked in after 7 pm, and only topped up £5 thinking that would be enough, but the next day didn’t have enough left to even touch in… Why might this have happened? Also wondering if it’s possible to get to Gatwick or horley on oyster?

    • Hi Adamina,

      Sorry for the delay replying. An off-peak journey from Blackheath to Leicester Square is £3.60 and the bus home is £1.40 so that uses up your £5 top-up completely. For future reference the addition of the tube from Charing Cross to Leicester Square adds £1.40 to the journey charge off-peak, so it may be worthwhile considering walking that bit.

  16. Hey. I live in raynes park an will be travelling to Gatwick or a new job. I have an oyster, but this is my first time in london, so am.at a lost as to.how it all works. Is it cheaper to jt get a paper railcard? Or on my oyster?

    • Hi Kate,

      Unfortunately you cannot use Oyster as far out as Gatwick Airport. Your best bet is probably to get a zone 2-5 travelcard on Oyster and a further season ticket from East Croydon to Gatwick Airport. You then travel via Clapham Junction and can stay on the same train to Gatwick. It must call at East Croydon, but if it’s called at Clapham Junction then that shouldn’t be a problem. If you want to make leisure trips to zone 1 then just add some PAYG balance, make sure you touch in within zones 2-5* and it will only charge you a zone 1 single for each trip in Central London.

      *If travelling direct from Gatwick to London that does mean that you cannot stay on the same train, but you can get off to touch in at either East Croydon or Clapham Junction.

  17. Hi,
    I’m not used to travelling in London and need to attend a conference.

    Can I use a oyster card from kingscross or euston to twickenham??

    Do I need to add ‘zones onto the oyster card? Or is just putting money on enough??

    Many thanks

    • Hi,

      Yes, Oyster is valid out to Twickenham. Just add money to the PAYG balance and it will deduct the right amount. If you are touching in during either peak period (0630-0930 or 1600-1900) then you may wish to consider switching between Underground and SWT at Vauhall as it will save 90p per journey. There is no saving off-peak.

  18. Hello Mike,

    I will be travelling daily from Gordon hill to Oxford circus and back during peak times on weekdays. I think using oyster payg is slightly cheaper than the monthly pass. But I want your expert opinion on it. Thanks for your help. Regards

    • Hi pk,

      Because you use both National Rail and Underground the travelcard rates are actually cheaper unless you don’t travel every weekday.

    • Hi pk,

      A peak single is £6.20, thus if you travel every weekday both ways you will spend £248 in four weeks. If that is your travel pattern then yes, a monthly travelcard is much better value at £199.

  19. Hi Mike,

    We have some visitors coming over in July, we live in zone 1 so were planning to get them oyster cards for traveling in/around central london and just topping these up, do i understand this correctly that you should only be charged a maximum of £7 per day for journeys in zone 1-2 only or would we be better to get oyster cards and then a day-travel card on these?
    In addition to this we will be flying up to Glasgow on the Sunday evening from Gatwick, can we use oyster cards out to east croydon and do the rest of the journey with a paper ticker (would we need to get off and on the train to do this?) or would we be better just to get a paper ticket all the way from london bridge?

    Thanks in advance x

    • Hi Katie,

      You can only put weekly or longer travelcards on Oyster. For daily use the cap system controls the cost. For travel after 0930 M-F the off-peak cap is £7.00, compared to £7.30 for an off-peak paper travelcard.

      As for Gatwick, it may depend on how much you’ve used the Oyster before you travel to the airport. If you’ve capped at £7.00 then it will only add a further £1.50 to get to East Croydon. You do have to touch out, but the trains are quite frequent between there and Gatwick so it doesn’t usually delay things too much. The other thing to be aware of is that between London and Gatwick there are several operator specific fares, so if you get one of them you must make sure you use the right train. While using the Oyster you can use any train, as you also can if the paper ticket is route “Any Permitted”.

  20. Hi Mike
    Me and gf are going to london on a site seeing trip for 4 days in August what would you suggest getting an oyster card or some sort of travel card?

    • Hi Matthew,

      You’d need to explain your travel a bit more first. Depending on where you are staying, what time you start in the morning and what the days are, and where you want to get to around London, the answer may be different.

  21. we’re stopping near kings cross and we’ll be going to science museum etc.. i think mainly around zone 1 but the the time will be random around the day so need flexibility.

    • OK. On weekdays, 0930 is pretty key because that’s when off-peak fares and the off-peak cap start. If you’re staying around zones 1-2 then an Oyster card has to be the best bet. If you did want to start before 0930 on one day then only that journey would be charged outside the off-peak cap.

  22. Hi Mike, I recently moved to London from abroad and will be starting work on Monday. All these travel options/fares are confusing. I just bought an oyster card, but not sure how to mix it with the railcard. I will commute from Hendon Rail Station (at 6:30am) to Gatwick Airport rail stn. and return 5:30pm, Daily M-F. What is the best(ie cheapest/fastest) way to do this? thx in advance for your help.

    • Hi Glen,

      It appears as though the cheapest way is to get a point-to-point season from Hendon to Gatwick Airport. You’ll probably need to change trains at St Pancras International, but it’s not complicated as it’s all the same platform.

  23. Hi Mike,
    I travel from outside London (Reading) to Old Street via London Paddington three days a week for work. I used daily travel cards until the job was confirmed, £47.50 a day, ouch! Now that I’ve signed a one year contract, I need to choose either monthly rail +tube travel cards (too chicken for quarterly), or rail-only travel card plus oyster pay as you go. What do you advise? Thanks.

    • Fastest and cheapest will probably not be attainable together. As this is outside the Oyster area, can I suggest that you ask the question in the Rail UK Fares and Ticketing forum. There are more experts over there. Please read the sticky thread before posting so you get the best advice.

  24. Hi all

    I live in Hayes, and have an Oyster which I top up with cash.

    My new contract starts tomorrow for which I have to travel to Maidenhead Railway Station ( office just outside station) from Hayes.

    What pass should I buy? Do I need to buy a monthly Railcard to my Oyster? Or what is cheapest option?

    Please advice as I have no clue what pass to buy.

    Kindly help, awaiting response.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Tasha,

      Oyster doesn’t go as far as Maidenhead yet, you’ll need to wait for Crossrail to open for that. Therefore your best bet is paper season tickets. You don’t have to buy whole months, anything over a month is charged at the same daily rate for each extra day. So one month and 3 days from next Monday (24th June) would take you to Friday 26th July. Don’t renew that weekend, but start the next one on Monday 29th July. You may sometimes buy for say 6 or 7 weeks if it takes you up to a week off, or a bank holiday weekend. Obviously that doesn’t work so well if you use the season regularly at weekends.

  25. Hi Mike

    A group of 7 of us (4 adults (1 of which is a 20yr old student), a 15yr old, 10 yr old & 5 yr old will be arriving in London 22 June for 4 days. We will be travelling return to Gatwick from East Croydon off-peak; going to Harry Potter studios off-peak Monday, going to Legoland Tues and the rest of the time sight-seeing around London taking in Science Museum, V & A, Nat History museum and usual sights. I am totally confused about what travel card to get – oyster or what? I would really appreciate your help! I’ll check back with you tomorrow. Thank you!

    • Hi Catherine,

      For that group a family and friends railcard would be ideal. You’ll need travelcards for London and return tickets for Windsor and Watford. With paper tickets you are also eligible for 2 for 1 entry to many attractions in London. The railcard costs £30/year and gives adults 34% off normal fares while chilren travel at 60% discount on the child fare.

  26. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for getting back to me. So just to be clear – the Oyster would be of no benefit to us at all then? We are staying in Croydon and will be commuting from there.

    One last question – do we each need to get this travelcard or is there a family one?


    • Hi Catherine,

      Where you can use a Family & Friends railcard, Oyster is not usually cost effective. Oyster is only for single people and can’t be grouped in the way the F&F railcard would require.

      There isn’t a family travelcard for travel solely within the zones. Some train companies offer them when combined with travel to London from further out.

  27. Hi,

    I want to travel for a day from St. pancras on Saturday to Vauxhall tube station with my son. I also would like to get down at oxford circus for 1or 1.5 hour. what is the best way to pay for this journey?

    • Hi leena,

      If your son is under 11 then he travels free on the tube. For you, an Oyster will be most cost effective while if your son is over 10 then a day travelcard will be best.

  28. Hi Mike

    Thank you for clearing that up for me. The only difficulty I see with the F & F then is if our group decide to split and visit separate things it wouldn’t be as cost effective (we are not all going to Legoland, for example). In this case would we be better off with the oyster? I’m really sorry for all the questions but the last time I visited London was pre-oyster! Thanks in advance for your help

    kind regards


    • Hi Catherine,

      The F&F railcard could still go with the group to Legoland (as I assume the kids will be going there). On those days the other adults would be better off with individual Oyster cards because the fares and caps are cheaper than the paper equivalents. Remember that pay as you go Oyster cards can be transfered between people, so different adults could use them in the evening (say) taking advantage of any cap that had already been used. Only one person can use each card at one time, obviously.

  29. Hi Mike,

    I am moving to Amersham in the next few weeks and wanted to know what the cheapest way into London (via chiltern railways or met line) as I will only be using the train Mon-Friday at peak times. I have a young persons railcard if that helps. Also, do my options include a travelcard for the tube which I can use whilst in central London?


    • The fares are the same whether you use Chiltern or the Met. A travelcard is an option, but it only becomes worthwhile if you do other journeys at least once or twice a week. The TfL fares page lists all the options; you want the entry that says zones 1-9 for Amersham.

      The railcard won’t help for peak fares, but it will reduce off-peak fares and the off-peak cap.

  30. Mike that’s brilliant. Thank you so much for all your help. I would never have figured it all out. All I have to do now is pack!

    Many thanks


  31. Hi Mike,

    I just recently got an 18 plus student Oyster card I travelled on Saturday 22nd June 2013 from Goodmayes to Aldgate East station so that is from zone 1-4 and even though today is off peak day I charged 3.80 instead of the off peak price which is 2.70 each way so i spent nearly 8 quid travelling to work and from work why has this happened???

    • Hi Amy,

      You were actually charged £3.90 as that is the off-peak zone 1-4 single where the route involves both National Rail and TfL Rail. £3.80 is the peak single for TfL rail only, but that doesn’t extend beyond Stratford on the line to Goodmayes.

      Depending on where your work is, can you walk from either Liverpool Street or Whitechapel/Shadwell? Goodmayes to Liverpool Street is NR only and costs £3.60 peak, £2.30 off-peak; while Whitechapel and Shadwell are in zone 2 so the fare becomes £2.50 peak, £1.90 off-peak.

  32. Hi Mike,

    I have an Oyster card linked to my 16-25 railcard and will be making a journey every week day from zone 2 to zone 1 before 9.30am and returning at some point between 1730 and 1900 most evenings (though somewhat variable).

    Is it cheapest to PAYG, presumably paying for a single peak fare in the morning and then a single off-peak fare in the evening (or would the evening journey be a peak fare as well?). Or is it cheaper to get a zone 1-2 7 day travel card?

    Also, if I make one journey before 9.30am and then let’s say 4 journeys later that day, will I be charged for a single peak fare in the morning and then the discounted off-peak cap (presuming it is reached)? Or will I simply be charged the peak cap?

    Sorry for all the questions.


    • Hi Chris,

      Both your journeys will be charged at peak rates. The afternoon one will count towards the off-peak cap, but you’ll only hit that cap if you make more than one post 0930 journey. If you make one journey pre-0930 and several after, then you will be charged whichever cap you hit first. If your travel is only in zones 1-2 then the anytime cap is likely to apply as it isn’t much more than the off-peak cap, but if you travel further afield then it may well be the one peak journey plus the off-peak cap.

      Whether a travelcard is worthwhile or not depends on what your journey entails. If it is just two Underground only journeys a day then PAYG will be cheaper. If the journey mixes NR-rate lines with Underground/DLR then a travelcard is likely to be cheaper. In any event, if you make more than a return commute journey for 5 days each week then a travelcard becomes more worthwhile the more you travel.

  33. Hello Mike!
    I’ll be living in London soon (Balham) and studying in Guildford, so I’ll have to commute on weekdays. From what I gather, I could have a 16-25 RailCard and buy paper tickets OR load the RailCard discount onto the Oyster card OR get season tickets. The season tickets are actually a bit more expensive, when I add up everything.

    Now, I have a few questions and could not find the answers anywhere:~

    – If I travel with paper tickets and railcard (12.35 according to National Rail, leaving around 7 am and returning around 5 pm), do I have to buy tickets every single day? Or can I buy multiple return tickets at once that would be valid for a few weeks, for example?

    – If I load the railcard discount onto the Oyster, would I pay the same 12.35 for this trip or it would count as 2 singles?

    Do you know what would be the best option? Any other advice?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Tim,

      Guildford is way outside the Oyster area so that’s unlikely to be an option. If you use paper tickets then you would need to buy tickets for every day. You could buy them in advance in a block, but they will still only be valid for a single day and that day has to be specified at the time of purchase. If you wanted to get a refund because your plans changed then you would only get a little back after the £10 admin fee has been deducted.

  34. Thank you Mike! I totally overlooked the fact that Guildford is not part of the zone system – I guess I’ll have to buy paper tickets every week then.

  35. I live in 2 two and want to travel to Epsom. (One stop outside zone 6) – is there a way to buy a 2-6 oyster travel card then extend out to Epsom?

  36. Dear Mike,

    we are a family of 5 (3 kids age 6, 9, 13) and will come to London by car in August. We will stay in the centre of London (Blackfriars Street) for 4 days and do not want to use the car but underground and bus, mainly off-peak. We will travel quite short distances within the town centre (Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Kings Cross, Hyde Park,…) and will stay together for travelling. Can you please guide us, what card to use. Can we buy the card before coming to London?
    How do we use the card when entering the underground (assess control) if we have only one family card? Thanks a lot in advance. Adrian

    • Hi Adrian,

      I’m investigating options and will reply again when time permits. Under 11s travel free on Underground, DLR and buses which means you’ll only have to pay for the older one, unless you use any of the National Rail lines which don’t operate on the TfL fares structure.

  37. Hi Mike, sorry to be a pain – but I am really confused and I have read through too many TFL webpages to bother thinking about it anymore.

    I travel from Surbiton to London Waterloo (7:45-8:30AM) and back (6-10PM) every weekday – and will be for a year.

    I recently purchased a RailCard to put on my Student Oyster but I recently discovered it doesn’t discount on my times – I will do it anyway (for the occasional late journey home?)

    I am spending between £9.20-£11.40 (depending on when I go home) each DAY – and it’s feels like I am over-paying.

    I could potentially try to leave early to escape the peak-time payment?

    Is there a fancy trick for my circumstances, or should I just give in and purchase a 12 month season ticket ASAP?

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Rob,

      Get a season ticket! On a weekly ticket used for 5 days you pay about £8.55/day. Monthly and longer tickets usually work out cheaper still. If you ever travel at weekends it becomes even cheaper.

  38. Hi Mike

    I will soon be moving to Twickenham and travelling to Gospel Oak daily for work. I was planning on getting a 2-5 travel card on my Oyster. Will this cover bus journeys in those zones and also will I need to touch in and out at my interchange at Richmond?



    • Hi Amanda,

      The default route for Twickenham to Gospel Oak is via Richmond so no need to touch there, and yes, zone 2-5 will cover that journey and buses throughout London, including in zone 1.

  39. Hello Mike,

    Its a really wonderful job you are doing here and I would like to say a Big Thank you! My wife just got a job in Guildford and she has been on and on about getting an Oyster Card for the buses, I don’t think she can but I promised her I would confirm. So can she use Oyster Card for buses in and around Guildford?

  40. Hello Mike,
    All your comments looks really helpful! I am travelling 3 times a week into zone 1, I have a 16-25 rail card and i’ll be travelling during peak times from stansted airport; what is the best and cheapest way I can manage this?

    • Hi Harriet,

      This isn’t an Oyster issue and I know there are some interesting money-saving ideas for travel from Stanstead to London. Please visit the Rail UK Forums where experts will be more than happy to assist with your query.

  41. Hi Mike,

    Today I was looking at buying an annual (12 month) ticket for work (Bromley South to Blackfriars). Using the ticket calculator online the first 2 options are:

    Bromley South (BMS) to London Terminals – £1,576.00
    Bromley South (BMS) to London Zones 1-5 – £2,072.00

    I have a student 18+ card so get 30% off travelcards. I wanted to go for the 1st option so went to buy the ticket at blackfriars, but was told that I can only get a discount on the 2nd option and not the 1st.

    I wanted to ask if this is true, as if so it will cost me around another £400 which I don’t think is right.

    Thanks for the help!

    • Hi David,

      I’m afraid it is right. Option 1 is a point-to-point season ticket only valid on National Rail services. Option 2 is a travelcard season ticket valid throughout the given zones on NR, LU, DLR, Buses, Trams. The 18+ student card is a TfL product which only discounts season tickets valid on all TfL services.

  42. Ok thanks for clearing it up. I tend to forget NR and TFL are different companies when in the London area. Thanks for the quick response!

  43. Hi mike. Can I pick your brain as well please .. I never use trains so this is totally confusing to me ….
    My 13yr old daughter is going to Charing cross from bexleyheath .. How much would I need to put on her oyster card ???
    And how are you so informed??

    • Hi Jacqui,

      Assuming she has an 11-15 Zip Oyster card she will need:

      £2.35 single between 0630 and 0930 Mon-Fri
      £1.50 single between 1600 and 1900 Mon-Fri
      £0.75 single at other times.

      Coming back the same fares apply except that £1.50 is the most she will pay for all travel after 0930 Mon-Fri.

      I’ve gained most of my knowledge through extensive use of the system.

  44. hello,

    I need to travel from orpington zone 6 to Peckham zone 2 daily plus 2 buses a day. From what I can work out my best bet is a monthly oyster travel card, will this cover all my journeys peek time? it doesnt seem to make sense?

    • Hi Laura,

      Yes it will as long as the buses are TfL (red) ones. Assuming you don’t go into zone 1 on the trains then you only need a zone 2-6 travelcard. That will also cover buses in the centre as well.

    • Hi Chip,

      Assuming you mean St Pancras International to Stratford International, then no, Oyster has never been valid on that route. Olympic volunteers were carried on production of their special Oyster card, but the card wasn’t read, just examined.

  45. Hi Mike,
    I’m looking at commuting from London Bridge to Eastbourne during peak times.
    I was wondering is it possible to travel by rail to East Croydon from London bridge on a TFT 1-5 travel card and then use a Nationalrail season ticket from East Croydon to Eastbourne.

    I recognise it might cost abit more annually but a 1-5 TFL TC would be useful for doing other journey out of my work commute!


    • Hi arun,

      That’s fine as long as the train stops at East Croydon. Obviously that’s not too much of a problem, you just can’t use the Gatwick Express services.

  46. Hi mike
    Im have an oyster 1-3 zone month card will it cover train from london bridge to east croydon?Or should i buy ticket or other card?

    • Hi Julian,

      It won’t cover the whole journey but it will take the zone 4-5 fare from your PAYG balance. Just touch in at London Bridge and touch out at East Croydon.

  47. Hi Mike,

    I am traveling from Vauxhall to Clapman Junction Rail Station to Horley tomorrow. I will be using my oyster card at the start of the journey however, since I know Horley is not within the London zones – I want to know do I need to buy an additional paper ticket from Clapman Junction Station to Horley, or can I exit with my oyster card then enter again with the same card?


    • Hi Ann,

      You may find it cheaper to use the Oyster card to East Croydon and buy a paper ticket from there. You will have to get off at the station you changeover to touch the Oyster card out and use the paper ticket to re-enter. If you use the Oyster to re-enter then you’ll have an incomplete journey charge deducted.

  48. Thank you mike
    Well il be traveling regulary that way whats the best option for can i upgrade my month oister card to east croyden zone?(i just bought it few days ago)

    • Hi Julian,

      You may be able to upgrade the ticket to include zones 4-5. Alternatively you could add weekly zone 4-5 travelcards until the current monthly runs out.

  49. Hi
    If I am travelling from East Croydon to Surbiton and want to use a monthly Oyster Card do I pay for one to cover zones 5 & 6 or does it have to include zone 2 as I will have to change trains at Clapham Junction??

    • Hi Sue,

      Zones 2-6 would be required to travel via Clapham Junction. If you used the tram between Croydon and Wimbledon then you can reduce that to zones 3-6.

  50. I shall be travelling from Bexley to Hampton Court today and I have an Oyster Card with Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.
    I presume that it is necessary to tap out at Waterloo East and tap in again at Waterloo.
    There appears to be a fault with the TFL online ‘Single Fare Finder’ as it initially quotes a low fare to Hampton Court, which is probably only applicable if you can complete the journey by train without travelling via Central London (not sure how straightforward this would be).
    By clicking on alternative fares, it shows the higher prices via Waterloo East/Waterloo.
    However I am still rather concerned as the price quoted for the entire journey to Hampton Court is the same price as it would be if I was only travelling to Waterloo East and it is the same as the price for travelling from Waterloo to Hampton Court.
    Does this mean that in fact that my Oyster Card would be charged double the fare quoted when I tap out and in at Waterloo East/Waterloo?

    My return journey will be off peak but my initial journey to Hampton Court may just fall inside the peak fare times.
    If I want to try to qualify for the off peak fares for my initial journey, do I have to tap out at Waterloo East before 1600 to 1900, or does it qualify as off peak as long as I start the journey before 1600?

    • Hi Jo,

      That’s a new fare avoiding zone 1 which I’m almost suprised to see offered. From Bexley you need to change at Lewisham, Denmark Hill and Clapham Junction. The first alternative fare is indeed the same as Bexley to Waterloo East or Waterloo to Hampton Court because they are all zone 1-6 journeys. It doesn’t matter how many times you cross a zone, you only pay for it once. The final fare is somewhat redundant but is there just in case someone wants to take a long route. It involves changing to the Underground at a London terminal and thus includes the mixed mode premium for a journey involving zone 1.

      Providing you do not exceed the OSI allowance for the direction of travel between the Waterloo stations the journey will be combined as one. Assuming you do this you will be charged off-peak if the whole journey starts before 1600, regardless of the time you touch out at Waterloo East or touch in at Waterloo.

  51. Mike

    Thanks very much for your advice, which is most helpful.
    Just to further clarify, if I left early to qualify for off-peak but was unable to catch a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court until after 4pm would the part of the journey from Waterloo to Hampton Court be peak rate?

    • Hi Jo,

      The time of the train isn’t important, it’s the time of touch in. If you touch in at Waterloo within 30 minutes of touching out at Waterloo East then the journey continues at the rate dictated by the original touch in.

  52. Mike

    After viewing your link to the OSI allowance, it would appear that I am unable to wait very long for other people to join me at Waterloo and so I would be left with no option but to catch the very next train to Hampton Court and wait for them there.
    I had not anticipated a time restriction on waiting at Waterloo.

    • Hi Jo,

      The restriction is only for combining the journey into one. Bexley to Waterloo East is £3.50 off-peak and Hampton Court back to Bexley later on will also be £3.50. If you were to wait too long at Waterloo you would be normally be charged £5.70 for the journey to Hampton Court but the off-peak cap of £8.50 will restrict that to £5.00. In that case you wouldn’t be charged for the journey home as that would also be counted in the cap – you could even spend a while at Waterloo seeing friends off because it won’t matter whether it is combined or not by then.

      In summary, if both journeys are joined together you will only pay £7.00, but if one gets split it will only add a further £1.50 up to the cap. And I’ve just remembered you have the Jobcentre plus card so you can halve any figure given.

  53. I guess that the only place that I can touch in at Waterloo is at the ticket barrier to the specific platform for the particular train which I intend to travel on, and I would not want to go through the barrier as I am meant to be meeting others on the concourse.
    Naturally I am concerned that if I have to wait an hour or more for people to join me on the concourse at Waterloo, when they eventually arrive the next train is likely to depart from a different platform and I will have to touch in again at a different ticket barrier.

  54. Hi

    I’m travelling with my husband an 2 children staying in zone 3, one child is 8 the other 12, I would like to receive discount from my friends & family railcard but not sure if this can only be used on the travel card. Off peak would be ideal for us and will mainly be travelling between zones 1-2 and back to 3 at the end of the day.

    I’m certain my 8yr old would travel for free, is that right? So with this in mind I’m not sure if the oyster or travel card would be best..I want to keep costs down over our 3 day stay. Any help appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Hi Jeanie,

      Your best option will be off-peak travelcards with the railcard. You and your husband will be charged £5.90/day while the 12-year-old will be £2.00. The smallest travelcard available with a discount is zones 1-6 so you won’t have any worries about going out of the area. The 8-year-old is free on all TfL-rail services. That is Underground, DLR, London Overground and a few other NR services, mainly north of the Thames. They would not be free on other NR services, including most of Southeastern, Southern, SWT and FCC.

    • Yes and no. It is not valid on the high speed line between St Pancras and Stratford International, but it is valid at Stratford International DLR station.

  55. Hello. I have an oyster card with my 16-25 connected to it. When travelling to zone 1 from zone 6 at peak time and arriving back afternoon I use my oyster card. But if travelling to zone 1 at off peak and arriving back afternoon peak – is it best to use my oyster card or get a paper ticket? Does it cap at £5.90 or more? Thanks

    • Hi Ann,

      The off-peak cap with a 16-25 railcard for zones 1-6 is £5.60. All journeys begun after 0930 will cap at this rate. If your only journey after 0930 is in the afternoon peak then it might be cheaper to get a paper ticket, although it won’t make much difference if you travel from zone 1 to zone 6 as the cap will still reduce what you pay.

  56. I’m taking my 3 children to London for the day traveling from Epsom Downs station, I normally use my family rail card but its just run out. My eldest (12yrs) has an Oyster card but not the younger 2 (9 and 6 yrs) can I just get them a return to the nearest train station inside the free zone as they can travel free with me in London? And would you know which station that would be?

    • Hi Naomi,

      Free travel for under 11s only applies to TfL route (Underground, Overground, DLR and some NR routes. From Epsom Downs the nearest free stations are West Croydon (for the Overground), Wimbledon (for the District Line) and Elephant & Castle where the FCC route takes TfL fares northwards. You may find it easier to just get child travelcards and then not have to worry about whether the fare is free or not.

  57. Hi my friend and I are thinking of staying at canary wharf mon to fri want to do some sight seeing in zones 1 and 2 travelling after 9.30 each day with flexibility to walk round and jump on tube to diff places several times a day which is our best bet? thanks

  58. Hi,
    I am moving to Egham and travel into Hammersmith 4 days a week. Is it best for me to keep getting a monthly travel card zones 2-6 and then use top up between Feltham and Egham? If not what is the best ticket to get?

    • Hi Kate,

      You can’t use Oyster beyond Feltham, unfortunately. You could either buy a paper Egham to zones 2-6 travelcard, or if you really still want the Oyster you’ll need to buy a season for Egham to Feltham. The train must call at Feltham for this to work, but I don’t think that’s a serious problem.

  59. Hi Mike,

    I travel from North Greenwich to Feltham 3-4 days a week peak times ( tube to Waterloo, then train to Feltham).

    Two questions: Am I best sticking with PAYG for this or a travel card seeing that I don’t travel every day?

    Cheeky train company have now put a first class carriage in the two middle parts of the train ( where I get off in feltham it’s a people squeeze so carriage position is important ). Can I upgrade an oyster journey to a first?

    Thanks for you help,

    • Hi Katie,

      A travelcard for that route is worth it for 4 days, but not for 3 unless you make other journeys when not commuting. There is no facility to upgrade to first class when using an Oyster.

      If money is tight and time not so then there is a much cheaper way of doing the journey, although seats may be a premium on some bits. Take the tube from North Greenwich to Canada Water then change to London Overground to Clapham Junction. You’ll need to touch your Oyster on a pink reader while changing at Canada Water. That reduces a peak single from £7.20 to £3.80.

  60. Hi Mike
    I currently have an annual season ticket from Chelmsford to Zones 2-6. I normally travel home Stratford to Chelmsford, which is fine, however tonight I am meeting a friend at Liverpool Street and want to take the train from there. However my ticket doesn’t cover me from Liv St. I’m told I need to get an extension ticket to cover the difference, and that getting one to Maryland will be cheaper than to Stratford for some reason! How much will this be and will it be cheaper than a single Liv St to Stratford? If it’s too expensive I will jsut take the central line to stratford. thanks.

    • Hi Sam,

      Due to a quirk in the way fares are calculated it is actually cheaper to buy a single to Maryland than to Stratford. It’s fine to stop short at Stratford as long as the train actually calls there. Do not get a fast train not calling at Stratford. London to Stratford is £4.50 because it’s priced by TfL whereas London to Maryland is £4.00 as it’s priced by London TOCs. If you were using Oyster then it would be the same price at £3.10.

  61. Hi mike

    You have an impressive knowledge of the system! Could you help me please. My son lives at Canada water, works in zone1, and has oyster with apprentice card attached. Now that oyster covers to shenfield, am I right in thinking that to come home to chelmsford he would have to trail to ticket office at Liverpool street or Stratford to buy an extension ticket for the shenfield to chelmsford part of journey?

    Also, enquired. Yesterday at ticket office at liverpool street, tried to buy adult Oyster card for 15 year old (we don’t travel to london very often, and nearly 16 so not worth buying zip card), was told that we would be in trouble if an inspector caught her with adult card. My concern is that buses don’t always take cash and if we wanted to take ad hoc bus ride we would we be stuck, as unsure about availability of cash machines? (This will be an overnight trip, so travel card from chelmsford not valid for tube/bus). Ended up buying child paper tickets for her in advance, but may have wasted money if not used.

    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Debby,

      For your son it depends what he has loaded on the card and how he wants to pay to get to Shenfield. If he has a zone 1-2 travelcard then he can use PAYG but only if he touches out at Shenfield. This would mean taking the next train for Chelmsford and he could get a ticket from the machine or ticket office while there. You could also compare the cost of a boundary zone 2 to Chelmsford fare which would be valid without stopping en-route (even on a fast London to Chelmsford train).

      As for your daughter, oh dear. Anyone can use a standard adult Oyster card and the £10 fee for a zip card is not worthwhile for a one off trip. I’d be inclined to complain about that advice.

  62. Dear Mike
    This must take up so much of your time, thanks so much.
    My daughter (16) is starting college in esher , nearest stations in order of proximity but all walkable thames ditton, esher, hampton court. She will be travelling from mortlake daily during peak hours. A weekly rail card works out at £28.50 whereas the oyster far seems to be £5.40 a day, is this even with a 16+ oyster? Just wondered if i am missing something some discount for students?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Juliette,

      Firstly, forget Esher as it is outside the London zones.

      The 16+ Oyster card is like an adult card for National Rail fares, although a 16-25 Railcard will discount the off-peak fares and caps by a third. However, they do offer discounts on TfL fares, and most importantly for you, travelcard seasons. The £28.50 weekly season is a point-to-point season valid via Clapham Junction. To make that journey with a travelcard costs £38.00 normally, but £19.00 with the 16+ Oyster card. That then gives her unlimited travel throughout zones 2-6, and on buses/trams throughout London.

      Alternatively, you can save a little more by buying a £15.10 zone 3-6 travelcard. This means she would have to get off at Putney, walk to East Putney tube and take the District line to Wimbledon and then pick up the train to Thames Ditton there. It may well take a little longer, so only you two can decide whether it is worth it. If you do buy this version then there are two important things to remember. Firstly, you will have to touch out and back in again on the gateline at Wimbledon. This is because there is no alternative fare for Mortlake to Thames Ditton in the database. It must be the gateline and not any of the standalone validators on the platforms because they will only process repeated exits. Secondly, if she wants to go via Clapham Junction occasionally it will deduct £1.70 from her PAYG balance for a zone 2 National Rail fare. Obviously if she does that more than twice a week it will cost more than the zone 2-6 travelcard because of the discount on the season. I have to say that if it was my son I’d get the 2-6 version and be done with it because I can see him forgetting to touch out and in at Wimbledon which would also deduct £1.70 at the end of the journey.

      Hope that helps.

  63. Hi mike, what’s the cheapest way for my daughter
    To travel from carshalton station to bond
    Street tube station peak times zone 1to 6 I think,
    She is 21 would she be able to use the 18 to 24
    Discount card? Kind regards sue rogets

    • Hi Sue,

      Carshalton is in zone 5. Assuming you mean the 16-25 railcard then that wouldn’t get a discount on peak fares or season tickets. Using Oyster PAYG you can benefit from a reduced price by interchanging between National Rail and Underground at Elephant & Castle. That is £5.30 single rather than the £6.20 fare via Blackfriars. A weekly season for zones 1-5 costs £51.80 so would offer a small discount on ten peak singles via Elephant.

      Hope that helps.

  64. Hi Mike What’s the cheapest way from sunbury on thames to egham? Should I use the Oyster or single tickets? I’m starting in RHUL and need to get the PT for a bit. Thank-You Shannon.F

  65. Hi Mike,

    Great site you have here!

    I was just wondering, i am travelling to feltham from clapham junction every morning leaving on the 658 train and returning around 5, i have been using my oyster as I have my young persons railcard attached to it, but thinking that this isn’t being triggered as I’m going during peak, is there a cheaper way to travel?



    • Hi Holly,

      Depending on your other travel habits you may have a cheaper way. If you only make 5 peak returns between Feltham and Clapham Junction each week then you should use Oyster in the morning (£3.80) and a paper single in the evening (£2.90). If you also make other journeys within zones 2-6, or on buses, then a weekly travelcard on your Oyster may well be better value at £38.00.

    • Yes you can.

      But, before you get too excited, you cannot use any rail services in zones 1-2 unless you have PAYG credit on the Oyster card. The best way of travelling Ilford to East Croydon via Central London would require a zone 1-5 travelcard.

      However, if cheap really is the important factor and time is of no relevance then the following route would work with a zone 3-5 travelcard:
      Ilford to Stratford (Greater Anglia)
      Stratford to Canning Town (Jubilee)
      Canning Town to Woolwich Arsenal (DLR)
      Woolwich Arsenal to Lewisham (Southeastern)
      Lewisham to Elmers End (Southeastern)
      Elmers End to East Croydon (tram)

    • Well using Feltham rather than Egham sorts out one end of the journey, but the other end is still outside the area. Hampton is the last station within zone 6. If you only go one way then you could possibly save a few pence using Oyster for Hampton to Feltham, but the hassle of having to get out to touch in at Hampton probably negates all that. As soon as you make a return journey the paper through ticket is cheaper.

  66. Hi Mike. I live in Chadwell Heath but need to travel to Brentwood for work. Can you tell me how much a weekly travel card will be? Also I will need to get a bus to complete my journey once I get off the train. Many thanks

    • Hi Sandy,

      If the bus is not the TfL operated 498 then it will not accept travelcards and you’ll need to pay for it separately. For the train part you have a few options as follows:

      Chadwell Heath to Brentwood £28.60/week paper season.
      Brentwood to zones 5-6 £37.70/week paper season*.
      Chadwell Heath to Brentwood Oyster PAYG £3.30 peak, £2.60 off-peak both single fares.
      Chadwell Heath to Brentwood anytime return £6.70, offpeak return £6.00, both paper.

      *Note that there doesn’t appear to be an Oyster equivalent of this ticket, which there should be, but the cheapest is including zones 2-6 and costs £64.40/week.

  67. Dear Mike

    I have been offered a job in South Acton I would have to start at 9am and finish by 5.30pm. I would just like to know if you could help me find the cheapest way to get from Guildford to South Acton between Monday-Fridays. I have asked about the season ticket for the year and it comes up to 3,500 would there be any other cheaper way of doing this journey?

    • Hi Julia,

      There might be a little cheaper way. There are basically three different fares for annual season tickets for this journey as follows:

      £3532 is for Guildford to London zones 2-6 (only get this if you want to make other use of the travelcard).
      £3360 is for Guildford to South Acton via Clapham Junction and Richmond.
      £3164 is for Guildford to London zones 3-6. To do this you would need to change at Wimbledon and either East Putney/Putney and Richmond or take the Kingston loop direct to Richmond from Wimbledon. They will both take longer than the second option but may be worth it if money is the driving factor.

      Hope this helps.

  68. Hi Mike,

    I will be starting my course at City university London next week. I will be going 4 times a week, with 2 lectures starting at 9am and returning between 5.30pm-6pm. Is it cheaper with a pay as you go oyster or should I add a travelcard to my oyster. I will be travelling from ealing broadway to Angel underground station.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Satinder,

      The answer depends on what, if any, other travel you will do. If you will rarely make any other journeys then a travelcard is more expensive than the individual PAYG fares.

  69. Hi Mike,

    What’s the cheapest monthly ticket from Kingston to Kensington Olympia?
    Should I go for the zone 2-6 oyster monthly pass (£146)? Or should I get a season ticket (but I guess this would limit me to just this route)?

    I’m interested in also being able to use buses elsewhere, so perhaps Zone 2-6 monthly pass is the way forward?

    Thank you

    • Hi ZC,

      The rail only season ticket would be cheaper and would limit you to permitted rail routes between the two stations, but the nature of the suburban network in SW London means that that still gives you quite a range of routes. However, if you want to include bus travel and/or the ability to nip into zone 1 sometimes, a travelcard on Oyster could be your best bet. The price of the rail season is £103/month so it depends whether you will make £43 of other journeys to justify the cost.

  70. Thanks a lot for your quick reply Mike!

    I have a few more questions:

    – Suppose I buy a zone 2-6 pass. What happens if I’d like to go from zone 6 to 1? Should I exit at a zone 2 station then touch again and board a train to zone 1? Or can I simply keep some PAYG credit and it’d automatically charge me for the zone 2-1 leg only? Here are practical scenarios:
    * Kingston to Waterloo
    * Kingston to Tottenham Court Road (via Waterloo)
    (not using buses)

    – If I get a zone 2-6 monthly travelcard on Oyster, then unlimited bus rides would be included even within zone 1 right?

    – You mentioned that the suburban network allows flexibility on a rail-only season ticket. Can you give example(s) please? And is it a grey area or is it perfectly allowed?


    • Hi ZC,

      If you have a travelcard on Oyster and some PAYG credit then all you need to do is touch in at the start (zone 6) and out at the end (zone 1). As you are covered up to zone 2 all it will charge you is a zone 1 single. In the case of the second example you would touch out at Waterloo, in again at Waterloo LU and out at Tottenham Court Road. You would be charged the greater of a zone 1 NR single or a zone 1 TfL single (but not the zone 1 mixed single). Any travelcard allows unlimited travel on all TfL buses because buses don’t have zones.

      Finally, my apologies about the varied routes claim. Had you been going to Waterloo then you could have used all the SWT suburban lines to the north of the main line to Surbiton including the Hounslow loop (as far as Hounslow/Whitton). For some reason the routes to Clapham Junction (which is the routeing point for Kensington Olympia) allow only the direct route via Wimbledon or through trains via Richmond. You cannot use trains via Richmond that have not come from Kingston.

  71. My daughter has to travel from Bromley south to Epsom for university but oyster say Epsom isn’t included what is the cheapest method for her to travel

    • Hi,

      Not only is Epsom just outside the oyster area, it’s also not possible to buy rail only seasons between Bromley and Epsom. I think the cheapest method is probably a Southern travelcard season from Epsom to zones 4-6 at £31/week. Travel by train from Bromley South to Beckenham Junction, then tram to West Croydon, then Southern train to Epsom (possibly changing again at Sutton). Only the section between Ewell East and Epsom needs to be on Southern.

      If your daughter has an 18+ Student Oyster then she can get a zone 4-6 travelcard season for £17.60/week and combine it with an Epsom to Ewell East season at £11.50/week. However, the train MUST call at Ewell East for that combination to be valid. Alternatively there is a bus 470 between Ewell East station and Epsom which is free with a travelcard. It only runs every half hour though, so might make the journey unbearable. I guess it all depends on how important cost is versus time.

  72. Hi Mike
    My son has started college near westminster. So going to Victoria underground from Billericay. I have bought him the 16-25 railcard and am purchasing daily return tickets for £ 18.00. Is it cheaper to purchase a daily return to stratford from billericay and then use a 16-18 oyster card. How does the change in tickets work at Stratford when he only crosses from one side of the platform to the other (national rail train to tube). Most travel is at peak times but not always 5 days a week hence monthly tickets are slightly more expensive. Hoping you can advise.

    • Hi Tracey,

      Firstly, is the ticket you currently buy the anytime day travelcard at £19.30? It’s just that I can’t find an £18.00 fare from Billericay to London. Assuming that this is correct then you may be able to save money with a 16-18 Oyster. This gives you half price travelcards and single fares on Underground, DLR, London Overground and some other National Rail lines. For changing at Stratford you’d load a zone 1-3 travelcard onto the Oyster and buy paper return tickets to Stratford. He can just walk across the platform as now because there is no penalty for not touching in a travelcard within the zones. The travelcard is £17.80/week and the daily return from Billericay to Stratford is £12.00 (thanks to the minimum fare before 10am). So at £7.30 a day saving you’d be winning on the third day.

      The other alternative is to get a zone 1-6 travelcard at £27.80 and buy adult returns from Billericay to Harold Wood for £9.50/day. This gives him more flexibility in London if ever it was needed, and as long as the combination is a day return and a travelcard season the train doesn’t need to stop at Harold Wood. Unfortunately the railcard minimum fare means this does cost a bit more but may be worth it if travel to anywhere else in zones 1-6 is required. In July and August the railcard return fares have no minimum so become £6.25 to Harold Wood and £11.35 to Stratford.

      Final note: If you buy the travelcards online then he will have to touch in on the first day at Stratford to pick up the ticket. Future ones can be loaded in advance and picked up at Westminster.

  73. Hi Mike
    Many thanks for your reply. The £18.00 fare is a daily return Billericay to Victoria.
    It looks like your alternative route(harold wood) will be cheaper if he is in college 4 or 5 days a week and its fairly breakeven for 3 days.
    I am still a bit confused if he only had to go to london for say 1 day. I assume he would get the stratford return as opposed to harold wood as the train may not stop there. Then get on the underground at Stratford, would he need to leave the station at stratford to reenter (to hit yellow reader)to get charged a peak single of £ 1.60 to victoria. And then coming home he would hit yelow reader at victoria but how would he check out at stratford to get a further £ 1.60 fee? Sorry for all the questions.


    • Hi Tracey,

      OK, now I’ve found it. £18.00 is the fare to zone u123 and allows one return trip on the Underground. I’d forgotten that on that line the fares include zone 3 so you can change at Stratford as well.

      For one day travel he would need to touch in at Stratford. There’s no other way to do it when using PAYG fares on Oyster.

  74. Hi Mike,
    I’ve just begun studying and wonder if you can help me work out my cheapest weekly travel costs.
    For 2 days a week I travel between zones 1 and 6 (Clapton to Liverpool street to West Ruislip). Morning and evening journeys are peak.
    For the other 3 days I travel from Clapton to Bermondsey. I am eligible for the Oyster student discount so intend to buy a weekly travel card for zones 1 and 2 and then top up with PAYG when I travel to zone 6. My question is, is it worth me also adding the 16-25 railcard discount to my Oyster Card or will this just confuse matters or make no difference?

    • Hi Carrie,

      If you have the 16-25 railcard then add it. It won’t make a difference to your peak time costs, unless you employ a little trick, but it will work if you go out at other times. Just ask the clerk to make sure they don’t over-write the student discount when adding the railcard.

      Now, the little trick. West Ruislip to Liverpool Street in the evening peak is a TfL journey ending in zone 1 so can be charged at off-peak rates (the zone 3-6 bit obviously) as long as you don’t carry on to Clapton straight away. As you’ll have a travelcard, all bus travel is free, so hop on a bus outside Liverpool Street, touch in, and hop off again. That will end your rail journey from West Ruislip, and the extra bit to Clapton will be a new journey covered by the travelcard. Each time you do it you’ll save 50p.

  75. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling to London with two more people with me. We will be staying close to London Kings Cross station and mainly will be exploring zone 1 (London bridge etc). Then just once or twice I will need to be in zone 4 and zone 6 which is heathrow. Now I understand my pass (whichever I decide to get won’t work on the route of my Heathrow trip nor will it work on any of the Kings Cross stations… is that correct? So please help me decide on the best card that I should get. Thank you!

    • Hi Michelle,

      Travelcards and Oyster cards will work at Kings Cross fine. They can’t be used on the high speed services from St Pancras Intl to Stratford Intl. As for Heathrow, if you take the Piccadilly line then both are valid, but you’d need a separate ticket to use the Heathrow Express or Connect trains to the airport.

  76. Hello Mike!

    I have to commute to egham from monday to friday and I live in zone 3. I was thinking to get a travelcard on my student oyster for a month for zones 1-6 plus an extension to egham which i understood it costs 110 pounds if i’m not wrong. For paper tickets I think I pay to much everyday, because most of the time i travel at peak hours. What do you think ab that?


    • Hi Julia,

      Sorry for delay replying. I agree that your combination is the best as long as you do have to cross zone 1 on your commute. Feltham to Egham monthly season is £110.60 and the only restriction is that the train must call at Feltham, but I’m pretty sure virtually everything does.

  77. Hi Mike!

    I’m currently working in Camden town and I am commuting from zone 4. So basically zone 1-4 5days a week at peak times. I’m thinking of getting a monthly zone 1-4 pass. What would you advise? I’m currently
    Paying £3.80 there and back! £7.60 a day!

    • Hi Musti,

      If you are only making 10 journeys a week then a monthly won’t save you much if anything at all. If you regularly make other journeys, even a couple of bus trips a week, then it will be worthwhile.

  78. Hi Mike
    My teenage daughter commutes from Thornton Heath to Twickenham for college. At the moment she is paying around £6:40 per day using oyster top up. She is awaiting her 16+ oyster card and I wonder whether when she gets this there if there is a cheaper alternative to what she is paying at the moment. She is generally on her first train just before 08:00 am.

  79. Hi Mike,
    I travel by bus from Watford High St to Hendon mornings and evenings, five days a week for work. However, in the evenings I take tube from Colindale to Edgware to speed the journey up. Currently, this seems to cost me £4.40 per day using Oyster PAYG. Is this the cheapest option? I was wondering if a monthly travelcard of some sort might make it cheaper.

    • Hi Kim,

      It might, depending on how many days you use it during the month. You would need a zone 4-5 travelcard for the tube journey which is £23.00/week or £88.40/month. As long as you travel 21 days the monthly will start to save money, but for the weekly to be worthwhile you would need to make one more journey of any sort (even an extra bus).

  80. Hi Mike, I am visiting London from Australia with my son in Dec and will need to make a journey from Brockley to Watford Junction. (I am taking him to see the Harry Potter Studios!) Is it worth my investing in a Visitor Oyster card or buying a daily travelcard and then a NR train ticket from Euston to Watford Junction? Thanks, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon,

      If it’s just a return trip to Watford then a travelcard is possibly overkill. The visitor Oyster card is swings and roundabouts. The £3 cost is non-refundable so could increase the overall expenditure. The deposit on the normal Oyster card is £5 but this can be refunded at the end of your trip.

      The cheapest way to travel is from Brockley via Crystal Palace to Clapham Junction, then either direct to Watford or change at Willesden Junction. It may take a little longer, but is less than half the price of travelling via Euston.

  81. Hi Mike,
    Thanks so much that’s really helpful! As I tend to take the bus on weekends also, and the odd extra trip during the week, your suggestion definitely seems to be the best option.
    Many thanks!

  82. Hi Mike,

    We’re looking at buying a house outside London and looking at ticketing options. FCC offer a Season Travelcard from Luton (for example) to Travelcards 2-6. We will want to travel from north of London on National Rail to Brixton. It appears I can buy this travel card and commute through Zone 1 on the Thameslink route for significantly less than buying a Luton to London Zone 1-6 Season Travelcard (adding Zone 1 to the ticket seems to increase the price by between £700 and £1000).

    I’m surprised by this; does this mean the ticket is a combination of a point to point Season Ticket from Luton to Loughborough Junction, with fare zones 2-6 a sort of ‘bonus’ or will the ticket allow travel through London on any route as long as the journey ends in Zone 2 (changing trains to the tube at St Pancras, for example)?

    Many thanks if you know!

    • Hi Chris,

      Sorry to disappoint you but the Luton to London zones 2-6 ticket is not valid to travel through zone 1 at all. You could use it if you change at West Hampstead, Clapham Junction, Vauxhall and then Victoria Line to Brixton, but that will obviously take significantly longer.

  83. Hi mike
    I have just started a new job in London with offices at paddington and abbey wood. I live I. Guildford and I will be traveling to paddington and abbey wood daily.
    I would be traveling at peak times am and pm.
    Would it be cheaper to travel in to London waterloo with my 16-24 railcard then oyster when in London to travel between paddington and abbey wood
    I will be doing to journey between paddington and abbey wood more then once a day

    • Hi Dan,

      I wouldn’t want that job until Crossrail opens and there are direct trains between Paddington and Abbey Wood. That said, I think your best bet is probably a Guildford to zones 1-6 anytime travelcard with 16-25 discount at £19.80/day. The Guildford to Waterloo anytime return is £15.05 and you will spend more than £4.75 shuttling between Paddington, Waterloo and Abbey Wood.

  84. hi Mike
    I ll be travelling to work from Purfleet to South Kensington so I need t ake c2c and tube peak time. Could you please tell me what option for me would be the cheapest, weekly , monthly ticket? How much it would cost? Thanks in advance, Agata

    • Hi Agata,

      Unfortunately the travelcard seasons aren’t available on Oyster when using stations in the Grays area. You would need a Purfleet to zone 1-6 travelcard at £79.30/week or £304.60/month.

    • Hi Fiona,

      No, Oyster is not accepted beyond Coulsdon South. The best option depends on where you are coming from, when you are travelling and whether speed or cost is paramount.

  85. Hello

    I live in Woking and will be needing to get to Syon Lane (zone 6). I currently have a full goldcard 1-6 zones for my current role in regents park. The route I’ll be doing I need to change at Waterloo to get on another south west train which will require a zone 1 ticket?! However the return journey I can go syon – claphan j and then clapham j to woking. I don’t know how I can find the cheapest type ticket?! You’re help would be really appreciated! Thanks, ali

    • Hi Ali,

      Your cheapest ticket would be a direct Woking to Syon Lane via Virginia Water season at £51.50/week. Travel from Woking to Weybridge and then to Syon Lane. This route takes about 70-80 minutes which is not much longer than via Clapham Junction, but then you’d pay £64.60/week. If you need to go via Waterloo then it’ll be £72.40/week. All of these tickets are rail only. Multiply each weekly cost by 40 to get the annual equivalent.

      If you still have at least a month left on your Woking to zones 1-6 ticket then you can apply for a changeover to whichever season you decide to go for. Your new ticket will expire on the same day and you will get a pro-rata refund. It’ll still be a gold card. If you bought the current one before last January then the new rates will be based on the fares applicable at the time you purchased your original ticket. You need to go to a station a few days before the changeover so that they can work out the conversion, then go in on the day and pick up your new ticket.

      If you still want a travelcard for some reason then you have 4 options. Woking to zones 4-6 is £63.20/week and would involve changing at Weybridge. Add zone 3 for £72.10/week and you can travel via Wimbledon, Putney and Putney Bridge. Add zone 2 to bring Clapham Junction into the net for £79.40/week or retain your existing ticket at £90.10/week currently. Syon Lane is actually in zone 4.

      Hope that helps.

  86. This is brilliant information. Thank you. I think I will go for the via Waterloo option just to ensure all parts are covered and timings wise for when I need to work these trains work the best. If I could just clarify one thing please: when you say ‘you can apply for a changeover to whichever season you decide to go for’ what do you mean by ‘season’. Sorry if this is a silly question. Thanks so much for your help, much appreciated.

    Also I will be just under 25, can I use my YP rail card on season tickets or just for dailies? Have a feeling it’s daily tickets only.

    • Hi Ali,

      Sorry, 16-25 railcard is only for day tickets. A season is any ticket valid for unlimited travel for a week or between a month and a year. Your travelcard is a season. The tickets I mentioned first (rail only) are also seasons, they are just only valid between Woking and Syon Lane via whichever routes apply. If you go for the Waterloo option you can also go via Clapham Junction or Virginia Water as they are both cheaper options. The only option you can’t do on a rail only season is the one via Wimbledon and Putney as that involves the District line.

  87. Hi Mike, just found this site whilst trying to work out the best way for me to travel around, AMAZING!! I wondered if you could help me work out the best way to purchase tickets for the following please?

    Monday& Thursday – Egham to Stratford (East London) via Waterloo, on peak

    Tuesday, Wednesday & alternate Fridays- Egham to South Acton via Richmond, on peak (this line isn’t great so sometimes may use tube and bus to get from Richmond)

    I have a Young persons railcard and student oyster.

    From my calculations purchasing daily seems the cheapest option and then just having an oyster with credit on for adhoc/when things go wrong on the lines, but I wanted to double check that there isn’t a better way…. Plus buying daily tickets means queuing up weekly and annoying the cashier who hates how fiddly it is 🙂

    Any thoughts much appreciated

    Thanks so much


    • Going back to your first post, you might be able to save some cost by avoiding zone 1. Instead of going to Waterloo, change at Clapham Junction onto the Overground to Canada Water, then pick up the Jubilee line there. It will take a bit longer, but the z2-6 travelcard only costs £102.20/month, saving £47.20. If you were short of time occasionally you could still go via Waterloo and it would take £2.10 or £2.20 off your PAYG balance.

  88. Me again, the third way I found was this, but don’t know if its possible

    Student travel card zones 1-4 £117.20 pm
    Egham to Richmond monthly season £169.4


    • Hi Amy,

      I’m not sure whether there was another post which went missing between these two, because I don’t quite understand “the third way”?

      Based on that third way, however, yes that would work as long as the train called at Richmond. A better (and cheaper) split would be at Feltham where all trains from Egham to London call. Student z1-6 travelcard £149.40/month, Egham to Feltham £110.60/month, total £260.00.

  89. Hi Mike, could you please advise me on cheapest weekly tickets between Dartford and New Cross Gate return ticket, travel to NCG at 2:15pm, return after midnight 0:15-30. I gonna need to take a bus to get from New Cross Gate to Old Kent road Street (Devon Street is my destination ).
    Appreciate quick response 🙂

    • Hi Ela,

      Thank you for being so clear about your journey. It does help. Having said that, I think you must mean New Cross as that is the station that trains from Dartford go to. New Cross Gate is on the London to Croydon line. The two stations are less than 1/2 mile apart on the same road and served by the same buses (mostly) so it shouldn’t make a difference.

      The times you are travelling will be off-peak, so season tickets are not going to be any good. The homeward journey could be troublesome as the last train from New Cross to Dartford leaves at 0031. You may need to investigate the N21 bus which will get you to Bexleyheath.

      Oyster is NOT accepted on trains at Dartford, so if you are getting the last train you’ll really want an off-peak day return from Dartford to New Cross at £5.70. Then pay £1.40 each way on the bus to Devon Street. If you miss the last train (or think you might have) then the N21 also comes down Old Kent Road. The rail return is only 30p more expensive than the single so is probably worth buying unless you know you won’t use it.

  90. Hi

    If I have a zone 1-9 travel card and travel from Marylebone to Amersham, can I then just purchase a ticket from Amersham to Wendover and remain on the same train?


  91. Hi Mike,
    I need to travel from Hampton to Euston (Mon-Fri) at peak times in the morning & return peak pm. Typically I would use payg oyster and take the train to waterloo followed by the 68 bus. It seems there are quite a few options. Any advice regarding the fastest and/or cheapest options would be very much appreciated!
    Many Thanks,

    • Hi Sarah,

      The fastest option would be to swap the 68 bus for a tube train. Using PAYG it would only add 10p per journey compared to the bus. In either scenario a zone 1-6 travelcard season would save you money over daily travel.

  92. Hi Mike,

    I’m travelling from Norbiton (Zone 5) to Waterloo (Zone 1) each day for work. Getting the 8am train and returning at around 6pm.

    What’s the cheapest option? I will be doing this each day Mon – Fri for the foreseeable future…

    Thanks for any help.

  93. Whats happens if I wish to travel from Greenford (Zone 6) on central Line to Wickford- in Essex and outside of the Oyster card system?

    The way i see it I can touch in at Greenford, get off the central line at Stratford and climb aboard a fast train to Wickford. the Oyster card system stops at Shenfield….

    Do I have to get off at Shenfield at touch out and get on a different train with an extension paper ticket????

    On the return journey do I once again have to get off a train to touch in at Shenfield??

    • Hi Stephen,

      Yes you do have to get off to touch out if using PAYG. If you had a travelcard loaded on your Oyster then you wouldn’t have to get off at the boundary point.

  94. Hi,
    My nearest station is Wood Street (Zone 4). My next closest is Walthamstow Central (Zone 3). If i bought a zone 1-3 monthly travelcard could i use that offpeak on zone 4 without paying extra? I ask because off peak single from zones 3 & 4 is the same at £2.70.

    • Hi James,

      No. When you mix travelcard and PAYG it charges you for any zones not covered by your travelcard. There is a difference of price between a zone 1-3 travelcard and a zone 1-4 travelcard. If you travel from zone 4 to zone 1 using PAYG and a zone 1-3 travelcard you will pay for a zone 4 single.

  95. Hi Mike,
    I need to get to the royal brompton hospital in Knightsbridge from Rayleigh, Essex on a weekday by 8.30 am on a weekday. It will be two adults and a 13 year old traveling. Could you tell me the quickest way and cost please?

    • Hi Liz,

      Quickest way is probably train to Stratford then tube to Knightsbridge changing at Holborn. You’ll need anytime day travelcards at £35.30/adult and £17.65/child.

  96. Hi mike.

    Thanks for all the help, we all appreciate it very much

    I would like to ask if the oyster card would work on buses from hayes to egham. I know egham is outside the zones so the oyster card wouldnt work on trains but how about busses?

    Thank you

  97. Hello, Sorry if this is a silly question but I do not use public transport in London very often.
    I would like to travel from Richmond to Waterloo on NR and then Waterloo to chalk farm (northern). Will this charged as two journeys on my oyster card or is it possible to go straight onto the tube system at waterloo? Will I need to touch out at waterloo NR and then back in for the tube?
    Thank you

    • Hi Chris,

      You will need to touch out and back in again at Waterloo. As long as you make the transfer within 20 minutes it will combine it as one journey, but, because it is a mixed journey involving zone 1 the cost will be inflated by the mixed premium. There are two ways to avoid this. Firstly you could take the District line from Richmond to Embankment and then join the Northern line there. Secondly you can take London Overground to Camden Road and walk to Camden Town, thus avoiding zone 1 altogether.

  98. Hi,
    I have just got an Oyster PAYG whereas previously I have purchased yearly gold cards. I travel from Gidea Park to Canary Wharf and back every day but cannot fathom out if I should just move to oyster payg permanently or keep purchasing the yearly zones 2-6 card. I very rarely use buses or divert from this route. What are the price differences and are there any savings to be had?

    • Hi Mike,

      A weekly travelcard is exactly 10 single fares for this route so no saving there. Monthly and longer period travelcards are priced at a discount to the weekly rate so will be worthwhile as long as you don’t take too many days off (especially if a monthly starts in Feb). Of course every time you do make a different journey you will gain further, and remember that you’ll only be charged a zone 1 single on PAYG when venturing into the centre as long as you touch in at the start and out at the end of the journey.

      On balance I think the travelcard is probably worth it. If it’s an annual one, make sure you get the gold card discount loaded onto the Oyster card so you’ll benefit from off-peak discounts into zone 1.

  99. Thanks for the reply Mike.

    A weekly travelcard for zones 2-6 is £38 so a single fare is £3.80 I presume. Is that peak or off-peak and would I be charged just the 2 singles a day? Reason I ask is I work shifts of 7-3 and 11-7 and my journey is around an hour and a quarter depending on connections. Would that make a difference?

    • Ah, shift work makes all the difference. £3.80 is the peak single, off-peak it’s £2.40. If those times are your actual working hours then you are using off-peak all the time and PAYG will be much better. Note that on the 7-3 shift your journey in will be off-peak (starting before 0630) but will not count towards the off-peak cap (only after 0930). Also, make sure you touch in on your journey at or after 0930 for the late shift (ie don’t touch in at 0925 for an 0935 train).

  100. Hi Mike,

    I have just moved to West Norwood and work in Twickenham, is it cheaper to get a Zone1- 5 travel card on my Oyster or use PAYG? I travel during peak times.


    • Hi Marissa,

      Neither! You only need a zone 2-5 travelcard unless you really want to go via Central London. Take the train from West Norwood to Clapham Junction then from there to Twickenham. Ten PAYG single fares is £32.00, a zone 2-5 weekly travelcard is £30.20 or a rail only season ticket is £26.10.

  101. Hi Mike
    My daughter seems to be paying an extortionate amount for her journey to/from work plus pleasure. Her journey varies, unfortunately, from week to week so she buys a monthly oyster for zones 1 & 2 for £115 and then 3-5 times a week she buys daily tickets Waterloo to Staines on BR. She uses the oyster from Canada Water to Waterloo plus for pleasure at weekends etc. Could there be any way of doing it cheaper do you think?
    Thanks for all your help.

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes! Instead of buying tickets from Waterloo to Staines, get Boundary zone 2 to Staines instead. This saves £1.80-£2.30 depending on whether travel is required before 0930 or not. Use the Oyster to get through the gates at Waterloo and the ticket to get out at Staines*. If the train always stops at Putney then you can also buy Putney to Staines at the same price. Finally, the key time is departure from the last zone 2 station (either Clapham Junction or Putney). The train can leave Waterloo before 0930 as long as it is after that when the ticket is being used.

      * Edited to what it should have been.

  102. Thanks Mike. Many years ago I used to calculate worldwide airline fares and I thought that was complicated! Stupid question, but did you mean use the ticket to get out at Twickenham? Or did you mean Staines? Thanks again. Linda

  103. Hi Mike
    This is an amazing website! My head hurts from trying to work this out….
    I currently travel daily by NR to Waterloo from Barnes. My employer is relocating to Watford and in January I will be travelling there 3 days a week. Employer is offering to pay an allowance to meet the cost of the extra journey to Watford (from either Waterloo or Vauxhall) on a PAYG daily basis via Euston (3 times a week).
    So 1. I’m trying to work out what that PAYG daily cost is so that I can have a figure for the allowance and 2. I need to work out what to do ticket wise for the 3x weekly journeys starting at Barnes. I won’t be using trains or buses on a regular basis other than for my work commute.
    For Watford travel I plan to travel NR Barnes to Vauxhall, Victoria to Euston, Euston to Watford. I’ll be starting my journey in Barnes between 8am and 9am and returning (leaving Watford) at 5/5.30 or later.
    Is the whole journey best dealt with by PAYG or is it worth buying a travel card for the Barnes to Vauxhall bit?
    Many thanks!!

    • Hi Ann,

      A travelcard is not going to save enough if you only travel 3 days a week. What might save you some money is changing at Richmond onto an Overground service and changing again at Willesden Junction. Your choices are as follows:

      Vauxhall/Waterloo to Watford Junction – £8.60 peak each way.
      Barnes to Watford Junction via Vauxhall/Waterloo – £8.60 peak.
      Barnes to Watford Junction via Richmond/Willesden Junction – £3.90 peak.

      If you go via Richmond then you need to touch the pink validators at both Richmond and Willesden Junction.

  104. Hi – will be moving to chessington north. I work by waterloo. How much is a monthly, weekly, daily travel card between chessington north and waterloo? As I go to zone 1 will it be anymore expensive if I then go on the tube? What about if I just do a return journey to waterloo? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Mark,

      Travelcards include rail, tubes, buses, dlr and trams. Monthly £213.60, weekly £55.60, daily £16.40. For rail only to Waterloo the prices are monthly £164.00, weekly £42.70 and an anytime day return is £12.90. The Oyster PAYG single prices are £5.70 peak and £3.50 off-peak.

  105. Hi
    I would like to know the cheapest fare from Ruislip to Denmark Hill. I travel before 6.30 am (off peak) but return home during peak period. I worked 4 days per week but uses my oyster card at weekend mainly around zone 5-6 only for local shopping. I was thinking of getting an annual zone 4-6 and pay the balance (PAYG) to proceed beyond 1-4. I am reluctant to pay the full zone 1-6 payment as I only travel into zone 1 4 days per week. At the moment zone 1-6 costs £2224 and zone 4-6 costs £1008 per annual. I would like to know how much do I have to pay to proceed beyond 1-4?

    • Hi Amanda,

      If I understand you correctly you want to get a zone 4-6 travelcard and pay for zones 1-3 when you go to work. The fare depends on how you get the last bit to Denmark Hill. If you go from Victoria or through Elephant & Castle then it will be treated as a mixed mode journey, while if you use the Overground service from Clapham Junction or Surrey Quays it’ll be just a TfL journey. The fares are:

      TfL: £3.20 peak, £2.70 off-peak.
      Mixed: £4.60 peak, £3.60 off-peak.

      However, you also have some cheaper options if you avoid zone 1. The single fare finder suggests changing between Northwick Park and Kenton, or at the West Hampstead stations, then via Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction. This may take longer, so it depends which is more important, time or money. Off-peak the fare is £1.50 with or without the season ticket (which might alter your thoughts on a travelcard). In the peak it’s £2.70 for the whole journey or £1.60 if only paying for zones 2-3.

      Hope that helps.

  106. Hi Mike,

    I am catching a flight from Gatwick 23.11.13 at 08:55 and I live in Anerley. I have a weekly travelcard on my Oyster that covers zones 1-3. I think the best way for me would be to walk to Crystal Palace (I am used to this for work) and go to London Victoria and get the Gatwick Express to Gatwick which is only around £14. Is this best do you think? Also getting home from there, would you try and go direct to Anerley or make the same trip in reverse? My flight lands 24.11.13 at 09:45. Any advice offered is much appreciated.

    Thank you!


    • Hi James,

      The £14.50 single from London to Gatwick is not meant to be used on Gatwick Express trains. To be honest I would buy an £8.60 single from Anerley to Gatwick and change at East Croydon. It will probably be as quick (if not quicker) as going via London. The same fare also applies from Crystal Palace.

  107. Hello Mike,

    Please can You help, I was just wondering if You know the cheapest way for me to travel from grays to waterloo, I am entitled to priv rates as i am a railway employee but apparently You cannot use this priv on the London underground? Unless its a through journey from a national rail to national rail station (which i thought grays and waterloo are) so i am a little confused as to what that means? and what the best solution for me is? Grays to west ham using priv? then oyster from there? grays to limehouse? using priv then oyster from there via bank? I work for south west trains so maybe there are other alternative ways via clapham junction? (where i get free travel) or use south eastern by crossing the river? but then id have to find parking in kent which will be expensive, Im just so confused as to what the best way foward is, I just wish i could get a priv from grays to waterloo but then that would be to easy eh, I will not always be using the train so is it best to get a weekly? monthly or season? Please can You help

    Also do You know if there are any nite buses close (or the closest area to grays that run to waterloo when i cant get the train,

    Thank You

    • Hi Kase,

      My understanding is that you need to use NR at both ends of the journey. If you get off the Underground at Waterloo then you’re not actually using the NR station. Have you tried buying a priv ticket to Vauxhall?

  108. Hi Mike

    Thanks Mike that clears things up a little , I think i get what Your saying, Ok so if i was to buy a priv to Vauxhall Mike would that mean i could get of at waterloo underground to get to vauxhall? If not which route would i have to take?

    Thanks again

    • Hi Kase,

      I meant you could get off at Waterloo Underground and whether you went to Vauxhall or not is a moot point. But, I’d temporarily forgotten that Vauxhall also has an Underground station. Queenstown Road might be a better bet as you would then have to use NR to get to it (or not in your case).

  109. Hello Mike, I am going to the Rugby on Saturday and I am coming from Norwich. I will be coming in to Liverpool Street station. What is the best way to get to Twickenham staduim? Could I use Oyster card all the way?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Luke,

      Sorry for the delay replying. Yes, you can use Oyster all the way from Liverpool Street to Twickenham. The easiest and cheapest way would be to change at Stratford onto the Overground to Richmond and then to Twickenham.

  110. Hi Mike,
    We’re coming into Twickenham from Brighton. National Rail return is £20+, but using a travelcard it appears it is only £15.40. Will this be valid to get to Twickenham using only NR?

    • Hi Pat,

      Assuming you mean the super off-peak one-day travelcard route FCC only, then yes, it is valid. You must use FCC trains between Brighton and East Croydon, then you can change to Southern trains to Clapham Junction and SWT from there to Twickenham.

  111. Hi mike

    First of all great site and apologies if posting in wrong place.

    I have a daily commute (5 days a week)at peak times between Rotherhithe and Wandsworth Road. The Oyster Payg fare is 1.60 each way,therefore the total weekly cost is 16.

    I have been looking at getting a season ticket and I believe a weekly is 23. Any idea why it is more and any cheaper alternatives you are aware of.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Akers,

      The season ticket in question is a zone 2-3 travelcard which gives you far more than just a single zone ride. Unfortunately TfL don’t believe in point-to-point season tickets, even removing those that used to exist along the old South London Line when they took over. If your commute is just on TfL lines then a travelcard is unlikely to be worthwhile unless you make other journeys.

  112. Hi there Mike

    First of all I’d like to than for all the ever-so-helpful posts that you’ve made in the past.

    1) Anyway I wish to travel to Kingston University next year and that includes me travelling from Stepney Green to Surbiton. I see that the prices via zone 1 are sky high but using the overground (changing at whitechapel and taking the overground to clapham junction) is much cheaper. Now I know you have to touch the pink card reader but on my way there (Stepney Green-Whitechapel-Clapham Junction-Surbiton) do I touch my oyster card on the pink reader at Whitechapel AND Clapham Junction or JUST at Whitechapel? And the same question about my return journey (Surbiton-Clapham Junction-Whitechapel-Stepney Green)

    2) Also would it be cheaper to attach a railcard to my 18+ oyster to travel there?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Abdullah,

      The single fare finder only mentions touching the reader at Whitechapel. I don’t believe it will make any difference if you also touch it at Clapham Junction. The railcard will make a difference if any of your travel is off-peak or exceeds the discounted off-peak cap in the afternoon.

  113. Hi Mike

    I am travelling from Hook to Waterloo with a Netwook Rail Card (£13.05) and then on to North Greenwich on the tube on Wednesday this week. I am assuming that using my Oyster card for the tube journey there and back will be cheaper than buying a travel card with my paper ticket to Waterloo (cost £16.10). However, I am not a seasoned traveller so thought I would get your advice! I will leaving Hook at 5.30pm, arriving Waterloo 6.40 but will probably not leave for North Greenwich until 7.30pm.

    Many thanks.

  114. I wonder if you could offer some advise please?
    I regularly travel from Witley to Waterloo. I always travel off peak, sometimes returning the same day and sometimes the next day, again off peak. I also travel by Tube when I make this journey, usually to Zone 1 or 2.
    I have been told that I should get a Railcard attached to an Oyster card. I’ve been told that I can then get a 1/3 discount for the train journey from Witley to Waterloo and pay a capped rate for the Tube journeys I make.
    I currently buy a Travelcard on the days I am returning the same day – this obviously covers me for my Tube travel too. I currently buy an off peak return for the days I am returning the next day and then pay for the Tube separately.
    I can see that I could use the Oyster card for the Tube journeys, but I am unsure what I should do for the train journey. There is an Oyster reader at Witley but I thought that Witley was outside of the valid Oyster area. So, would I have to purchase a paper ticket from Witley using my rail card and then swap to the Oyster when I start using the Tube? If so, how do you actually but a ticket using your rail card to get the discount? Or, can I use my Oyster card from and to Witley? Also, would it not be cheaper to buy a Travelcard on the days I’m returning on the same day, rather than use the Oyster card?
    Sorry for all the questions!

    • Hi Charlie,

      There seem to be a few misconceptions here. Firstly the readers at Witley will be for SWTs smartcard, not Oyster. Next, you don’t say which railcard you have, but if it’s a Network Railcard or Family & Friends Railcard then it can’t be added to Oyster. Check the Railcards page on this site for details of what is accepted and how to get it linked.

      As for using a travelcard or Oyster, if the trip is one day then the combined ticket will almost certainly be cheaper. For two days you may be better off with Oyster depending on how much travel you make in London. There is also a return between Witley and Zone U12 London which allows one tube journey each way within zones 1 and 2. It’s possible that this might offer you a saving.

  115. hi mike,

    am a student leaving at harold wood and travels to university of east london at cyprus just about thrice every week do u reckon i buy the weekly ticket of zones 3 -6 or just commute on PAYG on my 18t student oyster card. thanks

    • Hi O’Seun,

      3 return journeys on PAYG is just cheaper than the discounted travelcard. If you make any other journeys, including buses anywhere in London, then it may become worthwhile.

  116. My most common journey (approximately twice a week) is travelling off peak from Zone 6 south London to Zones 1-6 in north London, and returning to Zone 6 in peak time evening. I have a Senior Rail card and buy a Zone 1-6 travel card. Will I be better off purchasing a PAYG Oyster?

  117. Hi Mike
    I’m new to London and the south, so sorry for sounding naive.
    I will need to buy an annual seaon ticket from Rayleigh to Canary Wharf from the first week of January. Should I buy an annual card from Greater Anglia to include zones 2 to 6??? or would it be cheaper to get an annual card from Rayleigh to Shenfield and then an Oyster from Shenfield to Canary Wharf? I will be travelling at peak times 4 days a week (Mon – Thurs). I rang the Greater Anglia helpline, but they couldn’t understand what I meant. Grateful for your advice.

    • Hi Campbell,

      You will be better off with a Rayleigh to zones 2-6 travelcard. I’ve tried splitting at Shenfield, Romford or Stratford and they all cost more.

  118. Hi Mike, I have been trying to figure out the best option for my mon-fri commute to work from Bush Hill Park – Warren Street. I have a young persons rail card. I leave at 9.25, then change at Seven Sisters to the victoria line. I start my return journey between 3.30-4.30pm (times vary depending on when I finish work). On my first day at work I used my oyster, but was nearly charged £15! Was it because I started my journey just before 9.30,& returned in afternoon peak hour? I was worried that this would happen again, so I have been using my oyster to tap in between Bush Hill Park & Seven Sisters, & then purchasing an off peak travel card at Seven Sisters (by this time it is after 9.30pm so it’s possible), so I’m not caught by the peak charge in the afternoon. So the total cost of my daily travel is £7.40. Is this the cheapest option for me? It seems a bit complicated, I would prefer just to use my oyster for the whole day but am worried I will be charged a high amount again, as I never know if I will definitely finish work before the afternoon peak begins (but generally I am at Warren Street before half 4).
    Is there such a thing as an off-peak weekly travelcard? I often travel into the centre of London on saturdays and sundays too, so I am wondering my best weekly payment option.
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    • Hi Katy,

      Unfortunately there is no such thing as an off-peak weekly travelcard. If I can just clarify, you are currently paying £2.50 on Oyster for the Bush Hill Park to Seven Sisters journey and then buying a discounted travelcard at £5.90 making £8.40 total? If that’s right then it is almost the cheapest way. You can save 30p by touching back in at Seven Sisters and using Oyster with your railcard added. This will make the daily off-peak cap £5.60. You need to get your railcard added to your Oyster at an Underground station as per the instructions on the Railcards and Discounts page on my site. There is no need to split the afternoon journey which will cap anyway whether your journey home begins before or after 1600.

      In the morning, if the train is running more than 3 minutes late you should avoid touching in until the last minute. You may find you get the off-peak fare all the way as the switch-over is a minute or two before 0930. This is done to avoid arguments about the clock being wrong, but if you do get charged peak one day at (say) 0928 then it’s tough luck, even if usually you get off-peak at that time. You should still split your journey at Seven Sisters by touching out and in again (unless you definitely touched in after 0930). If you do hit off-peak at Bush Hill Park then the whole day will cap at £5.60.

      Finally, when you were nearly charged £15 it sounds like something may have been wrong. The peak single from Bush Hill Park to Warren Street is £6.20, so if you just made a return journey you should be charged £12.40 in total. If it was more than that and the journey was within the last few weeks then call the Oyster helpline and get them to arrange a refund. Note, if your railcard is added to your Oyster then the maximum the return journey can cost is £5.60 even if the whole morning journey was charged at £6.20. This is because the off-peak cap still applies all afternoon and with the railcard discount it chops higher fares down.

      Hope that helps.

  119. Hi Mike,
    Can you please advise me, as I will be based either in Stratford or Lewisham zone 2/(3) and will have 5 day p/week commute to zone 1 from zone 2/(3).
    I will buy monthly season ticket travel card for zone 1-2/(3) for £120(£140) does that mean that I can travel for example form:
    1.Lewisham on BR to London Bridge hop on tube to Bank and than back to Lewisham on DLR
    2. Stratford via L overground to West Hampstead hop on tube to Canary Wharf and than on DLR to Stratford.

    Point of question is can I combine service providers like BR, LO, Tube,Bus and DLR with my monthly travel card zone 1-2/(3) without any additional payment or restrictions to monthly season price of £120(£140)?

    • Hi Mickey,

      A travelcard covers you for all travel by rail within your zones apart from St Pancras Intl to Stratford Intl on the High Speed line. It also covers you on buses throughout London. If you have the option including zone 3 then it also covers the trams around Croydon. Unless you go beyond Lewisham/Greenwich on NR services (ie away from London) then you don’t need zone 3 for the DLR between the two. If you need Stratford then you will need zone 3.

  120. HI Mike wonder if you can advise me. I am having to work in 3 locations.
    I have to travel from Clapham Junction 2 days a wee k to Grays in essex, 1 day basildon and 2 days Southend. Would it be best to go via overground to west ham to get the best weekly peak time travel deal. Would it be best for me to get a weekly to either basildon or grays. Also buy extension tickets to Southend

    • Hi Dee,

      Sorry for the delay answering. This is a complex situation because you cannot buy paper seasons for stations on the C2C lines to Clapham Junction which aren’t also zones 1-6 travelcards. You are right that if you take Overground to Canada Water then Jubilee to West Ham (or via Whitechapel and the District/Ham & City) you do not need zone 1. At the other end, it looks like a season to Basildon would allow travel at Grays and you could buy extension tickets to Southend from there.

      For Clapham Junction to West Ham I advise a zones 2-3 travelcard on Oyster, which means you can go via zone 1 if you need to for just the price of a zone 1 single. West Ham to Basildon can either be a point to point season, or for about £1/week more you can get a Basildon to zones 4-6 season which will give you validity throughout those zones. When using the Southend extension tickets the train will need to call at Basildon, but I don’t think that causes too many problems.

      Hope that helps.

  121. Hello Mike happy new year

    So i have moved from Hounslow to Ashford (surrey) about 2 years ago and i have been traveling to school using my 11-15 zip oyster card but after school the 117 bus service is so terrible so i decied to get some information on how much it would cost for me to travel from Ashford (surrey) to Hounslow using the Waterloo train and then back from school same way but using the wybridge train i think. And my question is how much will i have to pay because one website says its free when using south west trains and other website says its 50% off and i also know that zone 6 ends at feltham and i dont know what Ashford is and if its any zone? so do i travel for free or will i have to buy a normal seasonal ticket without using my zip oyster card?

    • Hi Adrian,

      Ashford is outside the zones, as you say, which means you can’t use Oyster to get there. You could use your 18+ card to get a zone 5-6 travelcard at the reduced rate, but you’d need a paper season for Ashford to Feltham. My gut feeling is that it probably isn’t worth the hassle.

  122. Hi Mike,

    I was wondering if you can help me, I recently moved to Streatham and work in Angel. I have also linked my 16-25 Railcard to my oyster and was wondering if:

    a) I get a third of all oyster travel
    b) this includes a monthly travelcard on my oyster

    I would be getting a zones 1-2 monthly which is £116 so would I get a third off of that?

    Thanks for your help,

    all the best,

    • Hi Harry,

      The railcard entitles you to a discount on off-peak single fares and off-peak caps. It has no effect on travelcards or peak fares. Also, Streatham is in zone 3.

  123. hi Mike,
    I ‘d be moving to South Crodon next month from where I’ll have to travel to London bridge for work every morning and return. Would monthly season pass give me the cheapest travel option or is there anything else I could try?
    Thanks for your help!

  124. Utkarsh/Mike
    Confusingly, ‘Croydon Stations’ covers East and West Croydon but not South Croydon station. If you are travelling to and from South Croydon, the ticket would need to be a South Croydon to London Terminals ticket.

  125. Hello Mike,

    This is really confusing for me. Hope you can help..

    If I need to travel from Stockwell Station towards KT2 7LB, Kingston University. Could i just use a zone 2 oyster monthly to travel from stockwell to vauxhall taking the southwest train and hop on the bus at putney ?

    Please help! 🙂 Thanks alot

    • Hi Chong,

      Yes! Bear in mind that you have to get 2 zones for a travelcard, so with zones 2-3 you could actually go to Wimbledon on SWT or even South Wimbledon on the Northern line.

  126. Hi Mike. In the end of April 9 people will have accomodation in East London for 4 days.There route will be sg like this: Stansted Airport-Liverpool str (transfer)-Ilford. Ilford-Central London and back – twice, Ilford-O2 Arena and back – twice and the last day Ilford-central London-Luton airport (NE transfer). What do you recommend, is simple Oyster card is the best or is there any better option. How much would it cost from Ilford station to the O2 arena? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Silvia,

      Firstly, you cannot use Oyster from Stanstead Airport or to Luton Airport as they are both outside the area. Other than that, Ilford is in zone 4 so the maximum you should need after 0930 on any day is £7.70 as long as you don’t go further out of London. Ilford to North Greenwich (for the O2) is £1.80 off-peak or £2.20 (1600-1900 M-F).

  127. Hi Mike

    I use an Oyster PAYG with a 16-25 discount and either tap in at Stratfprd station or the nearby Maryland station (national rail), which are both in zone three. Is there a reason I am charged significantly more when I travel to Zone 1 (Baker street) from Maryland rather than Stratford? I was charged £4.80 for a single peak journey – this is more 10p than the cost of a paper ticket and £1.60 more than from Stratford!! I was appreciate an explanation and perhaps some advice!

    • Hi Samantha,

      Fares between Stratford and London are set by TfL because there is an inter-available route via the Central Line. This means that the fares are the TfL rate. When you start at Maryland you are using NR set fares, and when you then change onto the Underground and go into zone 1 you get charged the extortionate NR through fare.

      If you are going one way in the evening peak then you will be better off with a paper ticket from Maryland, but if you come back again the same day you will cap at the zone 1-4 railcard cap of £5.10. If you are travelling in the morning peak then the £12.00 minimum fare applies to the paper tickets. Also, if you travel from Stratford in the evening peak you benefit from the discounted off-peak fare because it is set by TfL and ending in zone 1.

  128. Hi, I have just got my veterans oyster card, I have a mature student 16-25 railcard as well. I travel to London after 0930 hrs to do research. Can I get a ticket to East Croydon get off and log in on the Oyster card system or travel directly to Victoria. Thanks Quinn.

    • Hi Quinn,

      The veterans Oyster card is the same as a freedom pass so it is treated as a season ticket for split ticketing. This means you can stay on the train all the way to Victoria.

  129. Hi Mike,

    I am a little confused as to how monthly travel cards work and was wondering if you could help.

    If I have a monthly travel card from zones 1-4, would I be charged if I made a journey that didn’t span all 4 zones, for example if I went from zone 1-3? Also, I assume that the monthly travel cards are for unlimited journeys?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    • Hi Steph,

      Yes, travelcards provide unlimited travel on any route within the zones covered. You don’t need to use all of the zones for every journey. Only St Pancras International to Stratford International is excluded on a zone 1-4.

  130. Hi,

    I am I’m London for four days from Monday and was wondering whether it’d be better to get a zone 1-3 weekly on my Oyster rather than 4 daily travel cards to save time/messing.

    Can I make unlimited journeys with an Oyster weekly as I could with a paper card? And can I spend as much time in the system as I want? Eg could I start at Euston and go around the network for ages before touching out? I ask because of the maximum journey times? Can I leave a station eg Embankment and then touch in at Westminster after walking along there?

    Thank you

    • Hi Shaun,

      With a travelcard season on your Oyster you can do what you want within the zones it covers. There are no penalties for not touching in or out, so maximum journey times do not apply.

  131. Hi Mike,

    We are going to London and staying there for 4 days in hotel in zone 3 (Stratford). Is it a good idea to get a 7 day- travel card for zone1/2 and get the bus each day tometro Pudding.

    Thanks for your answer.

    Fred fom Holland

    • Hi Fred,

      It would work, certainly. The only question would be whether having to get the bus was worth the £5.40 saving over a weekly zone 1-3 travelcard which would get you to Stratford, including via the Central Line.

  132. Hi I Need to travel from East Croydon (zone 5) to Feltham (zome 6) daily. National rail site shows I will need to take only overground trains with change at Clapham junction.. So what is the best monthly ticket to have. Do I need to buy Zone 1 to 6 travel card or only zone 5 -6 travel card. Pls suggest. Thanks

    • Hi Prahlad,

      Neither! You would need a zone 2-6 travelcard (£150.60/month) to go via Clapham Junction. But as you are only using NR trains you can buy a season between East Croydon and Feltham (£106.00/month) and save over a quarter of the price.

  133. I have a zone 2-6 travel card but need to travel from zone 2 to woking once a week. If i get a train from Clapham junction direct to woking can i just buy a return ticket from zone 6 to woking or do i need to by a zone 2 to woking return.

    • Hi Helen,

      Yes you can. You can buy the ticket from Surbiton to Woking if it’s easier as that is the same price as boundary zone 6 to Woking. Because your travelcard is a season ticket and the other ticket isn’t, the train doesn’t need to call at Surbiton.

  134. Hi Mike – I’m new to London. I’ve got a place to stay near Galleons Drive amd my office is at Fenchurch Street. So, I take a bus from Shearwater Close to Barking Station and then a train from Barking to Fenchurch Street. I go to office 5 days a week. Should I load a bus pass (shearwater close to Barking Station) + a tube pass ( barking station to Fenchurch Street) for an economical commute? Please advice me the cheapest option available to me.

    Many thanks,

  135. Hello Mike,
    Thanks for helping a lot of us who are slightly confused by NR and LUL fares.
    What is the cheapest way to travel from Waterloo to Weybridge everyday. Z1-6 travelcard can take me upto surbiton, i still need to buy ticket from surbiton to weybridge.


    • Hi Ash,

      The cheapest way is to buy a rail season ticket between Weybridge and London terminals route via Wimbledon. The any permitted route season costs a little more and allows travel via Staines and Richmond. You only need to include a travelcard if you want to use buses or tubes once you get to Waterloo. Your rail ticket is also valid by National Rail to Victoria, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Cannon Street, Blackfriars and City Thameslink.

  136. Hi Mike,

    This might not be the best place to ask this question, but I think you may be the right person to ask!
    What it is is this. One or twice in the school holidays my young son and I like to use a one day travelcard and go off on little jaunts using the buses, trams, dlr etc. What we tend to do is use my oyster card from Bushey Heath down to Bushey station and buy the travelcards using my F & F railcard. Now coming home I can use the travelcard all the way back to Bushey Heath, but is there any way that I can get the travelcard without the need to use my oyster card for the first leg to Bushey station?
    I hope you can understand what I’m trying to say!

    Many thanks

    • Hi Wayne,

      You can’t buy discounted travelcards at ticket stops (shops), but you can buy them in advance at rail stations, so you could buy the day before. Hope that helps.

  137. Hi Mike,

    I may start a job in London and will need to get a train from Swanscombe station to Dartford then change to Charring Cross and then on the Charring Cross underground to Warren Street.

    What is the cheapest way to do this? Can I use my oyster to get on the train at Dartford station?

  138. Hi Mike,
    I’ve just moved out of London but still have to commute into canary wharf. At the moment i need to get in either 4 days a week or sometimes 3 days. I’m travelling from three bridges on the London-Brighton line to canary wharf via London bridge, peak times.
    I’m thinking of using a weekly season ticket, FFC only, to get to zone6/East Croydon, then using a weekly zone1-6 travelcard for the london bridge-canary wharf part of my journey.
    Is this the best option or is there a cheaper way?
    I couldn’t find the price for a weekly travelcard from three bridges to canary wharf including rail and tube travel..
    Or given that I don’t travel in London on weekends anymore do I give up the oyster travelcard thing and just use PAYG for the 3 or 4 day trips a week (at peak) ?
    I also have to take a bus to get to and from the train station. Do you happen to know whether adding a plusbus card to my ticket is of any benefit?
    Many thanks for your time and for any advice to a newbie commuter..

    • Hi Garibaldi,

      The only FCC only season ticket is the travelcard including zones 1-6. The weekly season ticket will save you money if used for 3 days. The FCC only applies as far as the travelcard boundary (effectively East Croydon), after that it can be used on any services. My limited experience of plus bus suggests that it is usually a worthwhile add-on.

  139. Hi Mike,
    I have a bus operator nominee oyster card, due to the tube strike today I had to find an alternative route. I went from New Barnet (FCC) to Moorgate, the lady in the ticket office said I could use my card.
    Can you tell me if this is because of the strike, or if I can use my card on that line all the time. (It was quite a pleasant and easy journey into work and I would like to use it regularly if I’m able to)

  140. I’m visiting London with a young family and will be flying into Gatwick and staying at Croydon. Apart from gatwick to accomodation I plan to take a couple of days trips into central London and wonder if you’d advise getting a visitors oyster card or shall i stick with travelcards?

    • Hi Ben,

      I’d stick with travelcards as child fares on Oyster require a zip photocard. If the kids are all under 5 then get ordinary Oyster cards as you can get the depost back and the daily caps are less than a travelcard. Visitor Oyster cards have a non-refundable fee.

  141. Hi,

    I’ll be visiting London in the month of May with family.
    I’ll be travelling daily from ilford to Gharkin(5 days a week) and then on weekend(2 days) we’ll be visiting London city(4 adults and a baby of 2.5 years). So what type of ticket is best suitable for this?

    In the next week we’ll be traveling from Gatwick airport to Ilford(4 adults) Please suggest cheapest option for this too.

  142. Hi Mike,
    I am travelling from Dorchester South to Waterloo next Saturday, using NR to Waterloo. I have an Oyster card and wish to travel to Bexley and back on the same day day. Is my Oyster the better option?

    • Hi Deki,

      Have you already got tickets? If not then book through from Dorchester South to Bexley which adds £2.90 to the super off-peak day return fare. If you’ve already got tickets to Waterloo then Oyster will be the better option.

  143. Hello,

    I just started a new job and I have to travel from Broxbourne to Earlsfield. I am travelling during peak times and have been using my oyster card which has been costing me £19.25 a day and I am going in 5 days a week. What would you recommend to make my commute a bit easier on my purse? I also have a young persons travel card as I am 22.

    • Hi Tania,

      Unfortunately, at peak times the railcard will have little effect. However, there is a way to reduce the cost a little bit, but probably at the expense of a longer journey. Broxbourne to Clapham Junction is the same £9.60 single fare, but that reduces to £6.50 if you change at Seven Sisters or Tottenham Hale, then Highbury & Islington, and possibly Willesden Junction as well. Basically you are avoiding zone 1. The bad news is that the extra change at Clapham Junction to get to Earlsfield means that this option isn’t offered for Broxbourne to Earlsfield. You can end your journey at Clapham Junction and start a new one-stop journey but this will cost £2.20 in the peak, leaving you only 90p better off.

      The other consideration is when you travel. Could you touch in for your journey at Broxbourne by 0630? If you can then the whole journey becomes off-peak and with your railcard you would only be charged £4.95 (even going via London). You only have to touch in by 0630, you can catch a train a while later. You also have 40 minutes between touch out at Waterloo LU and touch in at Waterloo NR, so you may have time to get a coffee or snack if you’re early. If your job has any flexibility then it might be worth seeing if you can start early and finish in time to touch in at Earlsfield before 1600, thus getting off-peak for the way home too.

      Hope that helps.

  144. Hi,

    Ive got a an 11-16 zip card. I was wondering how much gets taken off it when I use the tube trains. I have tried looking on the website but have found nothing. Please help.

    Thanks H

    • Hi Helen,

      It depends where you are going, but if it’s just within zones 1-6 then it’s 80p peak and 75p off-peak. After 0930 there is a £1.50 cap even if you use it between 1600-1900.

  145. Thank you so much. It has made everything very clear. Do you think that you could maybe put that information on your website so other perplexed people can be aware of the great deal? THANK YOU!
    From H

  146. Hi Mike, my 16 year old in full time education with an 16-18 Oyster card is going to visit his family in Basingstoke. Travelling from Waterloo. Apparently he can’t get a kids ticket anymore but is there a way of cutting the fare down (without buying a railcard that he is unlikely to use again). Thanks

    • Hi Jane,

      If the journey is this weekend then SWT have a winter sale of day returns for £10. Otherwise a small saving can be made by splitting at Surbiton. The adult day return from Waterloo to Basingstoke is £21.70 off-peak while from Surbiton it is £15.60. Using the 16-18 zip card a single from Waterloo to Surbiton is just £1.80. He will have to change trains at Surbiton to touch the Oyster.

  147. Hi Mike
    I will shortly be eligible for a 60+ oystercard. I travel daily from Sutton to Victoria for work. Will it be cheaper to tap in with my current oystercard in the morning and use the new oystercard in the evenings or to continue to buy a season ticket?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Mary,

      Use Oyster in the morning as you are then only paying for 2.5 days travel a week. A season will be costed at between 3 and 4 days.

  148. Morning Mike,
    i am moving to Grays, and would be commuting to Goodmayes 5 days a week. I have looked on national rail and the 7:22am train would be perfect, and looking at getting the 4pm train back.

    Now I am confused.
    Can i use an oyster card the whole journey??
    I have seen you can get a 4-6 travelcard on oyster for £26 a week? does that work at peak times? does it cover my journey?
    Or would i have to go via national rail monthly travelcard for £165.20?

    Please help,

    • Hi Lisa,

      The zone 4-6 travelcard only covers Upminster to Goodmayes. You can use an Oyster, but you can’t load a season ticket from Grays onto it. You could buy a national rail Grays to zones 4-6 travelcard at £43.00/week or £165.20/month. However, if you will regularly start your journey home at 4.00pm you will be better off using PAYG. The peak fare is £4.00, but if you touch in by 4.00pm you’ll be charged off-peak at £2.90 on the way home. Even if you travel 5 days a week at peak times both ways the weekly travelcard is more expensive and the monthly only becomes worthwhile on the 21st working day.

      Hope that helps.

  149. Hi

    My daughter is 17 and has an Oyster card which currently gives her free travel home from school. We are moving to Brentwood and she now needs to use train and local Brentwood bus to get home as I take her in mornings. What is the cheapest method/ticket that she could buy, is there a combined option?

    • Hi Paul,

      The Oyster will be valid on the train, and thanks to the change earlier this year the fares will be half price with the 16-18 zip card. Only the 298 TfL bus is valid on the Oystercard, so she’ll have to pay for the local bus separately.

  150. Hi,

    I bought a monthly Oyster card from zone 3-5 on Saturday. I live in Mitcham but work in Twickenham.

    This morning, I travelled from Tooting station to Wimbledon and from Wimbledon to Twickenham. Once I got off at twickenham, I got charged £1.80. I spoke to the tfl assistant who stated that I got charged £1.80 for going through clap ham junction which I then stated that I travelled via Wimbledon, not Clapham junction. He stated that it has charged me £1.80 due to the fact I had gone through teddington (Zone 6) to reach Twickenham. Is this true because I’m not satisfied with that answer at all. I can understand if I had swiped out at Teddington and resumed my journey but I am leaving a zone 3 area and swiping out at a zone 5 area. I just feel like I’ve wasted £99.90 for a zone 3-5 monthly travel card if I’m having to spend £1.80 everyday for travelling through teddington which is unnecessary. I have previously had an annual Oyster card from zone 1-4 and this was never an issue.

    Thank you for the help

    • Hi Liam,

      I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the answer, but the fact is you do have to pay once for every zone you travel through. The system knows that if you don’t touch out in the middle then you either have to travel via zone 2 or zone 6. The fare is the same whichever option you choose (ie 1 extra non-zone-1 zone).

      However, the good news is that there is a way to make your journey without using either extra zone. From Wimbledon take the District line to East Putney then walk to Putney and resume with SWT from there. Both Putney and East Putney are dual zoned 2 and 3, but as you will be travelling to/from zone 3 in each case you do not have to pay for zone 2.

  151. Hi I am going from Greenford Station to Halebourne Lane West End, Cobham
    I have an under 16s oyster which means I travel free, I have looked on google maps for many different routes but it does not tell me whether I have to pay extra because it may be out of London? or just pay the normal charge on an under16s oyster card?

    • Hi Nicole,

      That’s quite a way outside the Oyster area, so you’ll almost certainly have to pay on the buses once you leave the TfL area.

  152. Hello! I have 1 question. I’ve just moved to London. I travel every day mornings cca at 6:45 (exactly 4-6 days/week – depends on work schedules) from zone 5 (train station Chadwell Heath) to zone 1 (tube station Baker street) and then in the afternoon (17:30) or night (23:45)again back with my Oyster card. I have also the RailwayCard 16-25, but I am not sure,how it works together. What would be the cheapest way? I dont care,if it should be a monthly or weekly ticket or some combination…cause in this time, the Pay as you go on my Oyster is quite expensive for me
    Thank you a lot for any advice!

    • Hi Christine,

      If the 16-25 railcard is attached to the Oyster card it will give you discounted off-peak fares and off-peak caps. It has no effect on peak fares or caps or season tickets. If you can afford it a monthly ttravelcard for zones 1-5 will cover you. A weekly may not be cost effective if you only work 4 days in the week. Alternatively, if you can touch in at Chadwell Heath by 0630 then your morning commute will be off-peak (and thus discounted). Coupled with returns at 2345 being off-peak you might find that PAYG is cheaper than a season.

  153. Hi Mike,

    Starting new job and will be travelling from upminster to either Hammersmith, barons court, west Kensington, west brompton or perhaps earls court if I cycle. What’s the best route do you think and the cheapest ticket option.



    • Hi Jamie,

      Best is very subjective. Quickest would be C2C to Fenchurch Street then walk to Tower Hill and District Line from there. Slightly longer would be District Line all the way from Upminster. In both cases it will be cheaper to use PAYG than to buy a travelcard, but you’re still looking at £5 each way. You can reduce that to £2.70 each way if you avoid zone 1, either changing at West Ham, Stratford and possibly Willesden Junction or Barking, Gospel Oak and possibly Willesden Junction. Those options will both take you to West Brompton. For any of the other stations you’d need to change there and reverse to Earls Court before going on towards Hammersmith. You’ll also need to touch the pink validators at either Stratford or Gospel Oak.

  154. Hello Mike,
    Thanks so much for your website. I have been reading every post trying to find an answer to my situation without success. We are new to the UK so we are not so sure about how everything works yet. Myself and my husband (over 25) are commuting M-F from the Bushey area to London Euston at off-peak 9:30 and returning at off peak either 15:30 or after 19:00. We are currently using the Oyster PAYG at 3.90 a trip x 2 = 7.80 a day for two persons. I have looking endlessly to see if there are any additional discounts available again without success. The weekly/monthly/yearly travelcard options are not cheaper, and so far all of the discount rail cards such as the “Network Railcard” and “Two Together Travel Railcard” do not apply to Oyster PAYG. I am just a bit perplexed as our travel costs are more than 1/3rd of our monthly income…is this normal? Do you have any insider suggestions?

    • Hi Nimai,

      Season tickets are designed to reduce the cost of peak time travel. If you are always travelling off-peak then single fares will unfortunately be cheaper.

    • Hi Soraya,

      Unfortunately Oyster is not accepted on trains at Dartford. You’ll need a paper season ticket for that journey at £218.90/month.

  155. I am very impressed with the range of information on your site.

    I have a question I currently have a Southeastern yearly train ticket (Travelcard) from Maidstone to London Zones 1-6. Is it posible to add the Z1-6 to an oyster. Just so that I dont have to use my paper ticket when I am travelling around London.



    • Hi John,

      Sadly not. The only way you can do it is to buy two seasons, but that either costs more or reduces flexibility. You can get the same availability by getting for example Maidstone to Zones 4-6 and then Zones 1-3 on Oyster. Slightly cheaper would be a season from Maidstone to a named station in zone 6 coupled with a Zones 1-6 on Oyster, but that restricts you (a) to the route via your named station and (b) to trains calling at that station.

  156. Hi Mike,

    I am based out of Bromley and will need travel options to Old Street during week days. As I will be making school runs I will need to travel from Orpington station or at times from Bromley South station. Can you suggest the options available for me whereby I can avoid zone 1, by choosing a bus from nearest tube station? Old Street happens to be in Zone 1. At present I travel to Elephant & Castle and take Northern line to reach Old Street, while returning I try train to Victoria and back to Bromley South. Avoiding zone 1 travel by tube will help in saving a major chunk.

    • Hi Ajith,

      I think the best season ticket would be Orpington to Highbury & Islington (London not Underground) which saves about £50/month over the travelcard. You would travel via New Cross to Shoreditch High Street which is a short walk from Old Street along Great Eastern Street. For Bromley South you could change between Catford and Catford Bridge to get to New Cross, or you could use Bromley North to Grove Park.

      For some reason there is no season ticket from Orpington to Shoreditch High Street, but seasons allow you to make any intermediate journey along permitted routes, hence stopping short at Shoreditch or Staring short at Bromley is allowed. This is a rail only season so buses aren’t covered. Avoiding zone 1 altogether would be slightly cheaper, but because Shoreditch is in zone 1 you would have to bus it from Whitechapel, or travel via Stratford and Highbury to Essex Road. Both options would involve longer journeys.

  157. Hi Mike,

    I am going to do a three-months internship at Egham and I will live at Oxo Tower Wharf. I don’t know if the Oystercard would be suitable for me and if not what should I buy instead? Hope you can help me .

    Thanks in advance!

    best regards from Germany

    • Hi Selma,

      Sadly Egham is just outside the Oyster area. The OXO Tower is not far from Waterloo, so you’re probably best off getting a season between Waterloo and Egham.

  158. Hi Mike,

    I was wondering how daily price capping actually works. To make things clear, my concern is the following: suppose I have a Travelcard for zones 1-2 loaded onto my Oystercard. If I use PAYG to travel on tram in any of the zones 3-6, and then make a tube/DLR/Overground/NR journey in zones 1-2 (which my Travelcard already covers), will the Bus & Tram price capping apply (as all the rail journeys were covered by my Travelcard)? Or will the system give me the higher price cap despite my Travelcard?

    I was also wondering if it is really impossible to set up an Oyster Online account when you have a photocard (say, Student Oyster)? Is there no way I can view my balance online?

    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Filip,

      I would imagine that all the tram journeys will count towards the bus/tram cap even though buses are included with the travelcard. I’ve never tested this scenario before however. I’m assuming you’ll use a bus to get from zone 2 to a tram stop? If it was a train then that would count towards the relevant cap (either zone 1-4 or 1-6) as would the tram journeys in that case.

      As to the online account, all my kids cards are listed on my online account. I usually have to involve the helpdesk to get them added, but it can be done. You can’t buy reduced rate travelcards online though, but topups (and auto topup) can be bought.

  159. Hello Mike,

    My husband son and I will be traveling to london in the first week of May 2014.
    We arrive at Gatwick airport and will be staying at Stratford.
    I’m terribly confused with all travel modes, routes and fares available online.
    Can you pls help with the quickest and most reasonable way to travel between gatwick and stratford pls. We arrive at about 7.30 a.m.


    • Hi Heena,

      The quickest route is likely to be Gatwick to London Bridge using FCC trains and then Jubilee line to Stratford. If you arrive on a Mon-Fri then you’ll need Anytime tickets. For £25 adult (£12.50 child) you can take any FCC train towards London and when you arrive at East Croydon you are free to take any train within the zones for the rest of the day. If there are no FCC trains direct to London Bridge at the time you want then take one to East Croydon and change there. If you only want to make one single journey to Stratford that day then there is an any permitted single for £24.60 adult (£12.30 child). This entitles you to take any train to London then the Underground either direct to Stratford or to Liverpool Street and pick up Greater Anglia trains to Stratford.

      If it’s a weekend then the super off-peak day travelcard FCC only is best at £10.00 adult (£5.00 child). Again you need to take FCC trains between Gatwick and East Croydon and are then free to take any services within the zones for the rest of the day. Engineering work may mean FCC trains miss London Bridge but you can travel to Blackfriars and take the District line to Mile End then the Central line to Stratford.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  160. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to be travelling from Dartford to London Bridge for work each day, which i plan to get the train for. However, I would like to travel around zone 1 aswell, and won’t be able to do this on my train season ticket. What would be the cheapest way to do this? A pay as you go Oyster?

    Thanks, Riss

    • Hi Riss,

      If you want to use other transport in zone 1 then a travelcard season from Dartford is best if you use it most days while a PAYG Oyster will work for occasional travel.

  161. Hello, i will be travelling 5 days a week from Hickman road – Montpelier gardens (bus stop) or Goodmayes station (train) to Chatsworth Road – Clapton station (train) or other nearest bus station (I think Chatsworth road bus stop??). Could you give me any advice,what would be the cheapest way please? I have an oyster card and rail card 16-25. Thank you very much, David

    If I would buy a travel card (monthly or weekly) from zone 4(goodmayes) to zone 3(stratford) is there a bus included in the same price to zone 2? Chatsworth road?:))))

    • Hi David,

      Yes, a travelcard for zones 3-4 would allow you to travel by train from Goodmayes to Stratford and add buses on to each end. Buses do not operate in zones, all TfL bus travel is included with any travelcard.

  162. Hi, I am travelling from Earlsfield station on friday morning (9.30-10am) to Gatwick Station. I was wondering whether it is cheaper to use an oyster or get a rail ticket. Do you know what the prices would be?

    • Hi Rosie,

      You can’t use Oyster all the way to Gatwick. If you want one ticket then a single costs £11.80 travelling via Clapham Junction. Alternatively you can use Oyster between Earlsfield and East Croydon for £2.30 (touch in after 0930) then an FCC only single from East Croydon to Gatwick for £4.50. You must touch out at East Croydon and use one of the 4-an-hour FCC trains from there. If you don’t want to be restricted to FCC then the any permitted single is £5.10.

  163. Hi, Mike,
    I am going to start a new job near British Museum, I work 5 days a week and may need bus for one return journey weekends. I live in Kingston. I could either walk to Kingston train station (zone 6), or take a bus to Richmond tube station (zone 4). What’s the cheapest route I can take? Shall I buy a week or year pass (I have 30 days annual leaving)? Many thanks. Aimee

    • Hi Aimee,

      There are two separate issues here. Bus travel is included with any travelcard, so if you can reduce your required rail zones down to just 1-4 it will be considerably cheaper than buying zones 1-6. As to the length of validity, that is really up to you. A weekly costs just under four days travel usually, so it should be cheaper than daily tickets. A monthly costs 3.84 times a weekly so will save money unless you have significant time off during the month. A yearly ticket costs 40 times a weekly so has the effect of building in up to 12 weeks leave within the discount for paying up front. Which you go for is really down to how you can afford to pay for it.

  164. Hi Mike,
    When you say “Bus travel is included with any travelcard”, what does that actually mean? I have a zone 2-5 annual travelcard, does that mean i can travel into zone 1 from zone 2 without penalty? in which zones can i get *onto* a bus also?
    i think i’ve been doing it wrong all these years!
    many thanks

    • Hi fess,

      It means that all TfL bus travel is included with any travelcard. Buses do not operate in zones, they are charged as a flat fare because you only touch in and it’s impossible to know where you get off. To take an extreme example, you can use buses in Central London with a travelcard covering only zones 8 and 9.

  165. I’m going to london next june with my family (my husband and my sons that they’re 11). we’re arriving to GTW airport in the tuesday afternoon, hotel is near london blackfriars, turn around london friday and saturday and sunday afternoon we’re cominga back to GTW airport. What’s the cheapest way to travel? Could we buy travel card zone 1-6 off-peak the first and the last day and te Oyster PAYG in the same card? My sons are free?
    many thanks

    • Hi Daniela,

      Your sons are only free on TfL services. This does not generally include National Rail services south of the river. Do you have a family and friends railcard? If yes then I would use it, particularly on the first and last days. The cheapest fares including travelcards are those priced for Southern services only or FCC services only. On the Sunday the FCC only option is even cheaper. You are only restricted to services of the named operator between Gatwick and East Croydon. After that you can use any services. If you buy the tickets online at the Southern website before June 1st they are offering a 10% online discount on their own tickets. That seems to make their option cheaper than FCC on the Sunday.

      For the other two days it depends what you will be doing. If you stick to TfL services (Underground, DLR and some NR routes) in zones 1-2 then you will cap at £7.00 off-peak on Oyster and the kids go free. If you want the flexibilty to go further (up to zone 6) and possibly use NR services where the kids are not free then the railcard discounted travelcards might be better value at £5.90/adult and £2/child. If you don’t have a railcard then use Oyster for yourselves and buy £3.60 child travelcards for the kids if you need to.

      Hope that helps!

  166. Hi Mike

    I’m about to start commuting from Surbiton to Hammersmith via Wimbledon (catching District line at Wimbledon). What do you recommend is the cheapest way to do it?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Phil,

      Each peak journey costs £3.90 and a weekly zone 2-6 travelcard costs £39.20. As long as you travel most days you will save money with a zone 2-6 monthly travelcard. If you regularly make extra journeys then the travelcard becomes more worthwhile.

  167. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel using the train first if I want to go down to central London since my hotel is at Twickenham, so I assume my daily routine would be taking the train from Twickenham to Waterloo and then taking the tube to go everywhere else, then at the end of the day, taking the train again to go back to Twickenham.

    So, in this case, would it be better for me to buy off-peak travel card or use oyster card? Im going to be there for Sat, Sun and Monday with 3other adults. Would you mind giving me an advise regarding this? thanks in advance

  168. Hi, I’m taking my friend to Gatwick airport from Elephant and castle.
    If I touch on with my oyster at elephant and castle and have a pre-purchased ticket from east croyden to gatwick, can I get on the train to gatwick without needing to get off at East Croydon? Then take her to the airport and jump back on a train to touch off at Elephant & Castle?

    • Hi Emily,

      No, you will be overcharged if you don’t touch out or in at East Croydon. Even worse, on the way back you will be travelling without a valid ticket after East Croydon so could be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution.

  169. Mike

    Looks like you might be able to clarify my confusion..

    I need to buy 7 day travel cards between Ruislip manor (TFL zone 6) to Egham (outside london travel zone on SW trains – London zone only till Feltham I think).

    My ideal route is via Richmond, so tube till Richmond and then changing to SW train from Richmond to Egham.

    Is my optimum option to buy a TFL travelcard on oyster zone 4-6 and a separate national rail travel card from Richmond-Egham (or should that be Feltham-Egham, as Richmond-Feltham should still be in London oyster travel zone) – Can 1 single travel card cover my travel to keep costs optimum?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Amit,

      Yes, zone 4-6 travelcard on Oyster and a season from Feltham to Egham is your best bet. All the trains call at Feltham anyway, so it’s not a problem.

  170. Many thanks Mike, do you think I will need to get down at Feltham and touch out the oyster or should touching the pink interchange oyster reader at Richmond be good enough?


    • You normally need to touch the pink reader at Richmond to tell the system you’ve avoided zones 1 and 2. There is no need to touch at Feltham as you are within the zones of your travelcard, and if you are not going to touch there then there also isn’t a need to touch at Richmond.

  171. Hi Mike,

    Sorry it’s me again. thanks for answer above. helps a lot making up my mind for weekend travel.

    but another question is, how about on Monday? I’m actually planning to go to Watford Junction to visit the HP studio maybe around 6pm (after spending the morning visiting central London). so, the issue im thinking is, would it be cheaper to get an offpeak travelcard for monday rather than using oyster card since there’s afternoon peaktime on monday from 4-7pm? is my understanding right? there’s no afternoon peaktime when you’re using travelcard right?

    • Hi Lynn,

      Peak single fares are charged between 4-7pm but the off-peak cap still applies, so you will be ok with an Oyster card. Also, if you can travel to/from Watford via Clapham Junction rather than Central London you might not actually reach the Watford travelcard rate.

  172. Hi Mike,

    Off to Staines (from Harrow/wealdstone) tomorrow, worked out the cheapest way is to touch out at Feltham and buy a paper ticket between Feltham and Staines.

    Do you know what train carriage I should get heading towards Staines? And is this possible coming back towards Feltham?


  173. Hello, im going down to london for a week in june. My hostel is in zone 3 and at the end of the week i need to catch a flight from Heathrow. I was wondering what would be the best option for me? I plan to travel extensively in zone 1-2 but heathrow is in zone 6. Should i buy a zone 1-3 card for 36 quids ? Alternatively How much would a single fare from london backpackers hostel in zone 3 cost for heathrow ?

    • Hi Aakash,

      Yes, buy a zone 1-3 travelcard for your stay. On the last day you’ll need to add £2.30 if your journey to Heathrow starts in the peak or £1.50 if it’s off-peak or weekends. That’s a zone 4-6 fare for the Piccadilly line.

  174. Hi I am moving to Wickford in June, my company pay £1,900.00 towards my fare.
    My yearly is for Zone 1 to 5.
    Warren St to Upminster.
    Can I still use that up to Shenfield station.
    I need help find the cheapest way to travel from wickford to shenfield daily. Also I finish work at 13.00, so I am travelling home off peak.
    Thanks Carol

    • Hi Carol,

      Do you mean you currently have zones 1-6 as Upminster is actually in zone 6? Although Oyster is accepted as far as Shenfield, the travelcard zones are still the same, meaning Harold Wood is the last station in zone 6 on that line.

      For Wickford to Shenfield you will still need to get an Anytime return because there is no off-peak single. But using PAYG on the Shenfield to zone 6 bit will give you the off-peak single in the afternoon. In fact, should you be able to touch in before 0630 at Shenfield you would also get that journey off-peak as well.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  175. Hi, I’m off to Twickenham in a couple of Sundays, I’m trying to figure out the best way to get there from Shenfield. Also would it be cheaper to travel with an oyster or a travelcard.
    Thanks Lauren

    • Hi Lauren,

      It’s cheaper with Oyster because you can avoid zone 1 that way. The two routes are: Shenfield > Stratford > Richmond/Clapham Junction > Twickenham; or Shenfield > Stratford > Whitechapel/Canada Water > Clapham Junction > Twickenham. You’ll need to touch pink validators at Stratford and Richmond or Whitechapel/Canada Water depending on which way you go. As it’s a Sunday you’ll also need to check engineeering work.

  176. Hello,

    I am traveling to Guilford Station from Waterloo Station next week. I usually buy a Zone 1-6 travelcard. I live in Enfield Lock which is generally in a Zone 6 travelcard zone. I’m trying to find out at what point on my journey to Guilford Station would my Zone 6 travelcard run out? Also if I were to buy a Zone 9 travelcard is that covered on the Guilford route? The train route I have selected from waterloo is a fast service which calls at Woking then Guilford.
    I would appreciate any help as I’m looking on the internet for information about this but find it’s a grey area.
    Thanks Timothy.

    • Hi Timothy,

      Surbiton is the last station in zone 6 towards Guildford. Zones 7-9 are not applicable in SW London. If you want to use a fast train to Woking then you’ll need a travelcard and a boundary zone 6 to Guildford return. That combination is slighly cheaper than a through ticket from Enfield Lock to Guildford.

  177. Thank you Mike for your help.

    Please accept my apologies for not spelling Guildford correctly throughout my initial query. Doh! Can you please tell me if you know off hand that I can buy a boundary zone 6 to guilford return online or do I have to go directly to a ticket office? I forgot to mention I will be traveling this route daily for work.

    • No worries. You cannot buy Boundary Zone tickets online unfortunately, but, if you need to travel daily then you are better off getting a Guildford to Zones 1-6 travelcard season which will cover the whole journey. Make sure to get the via Clandon/Woking option unless you really want to be able to go via Reading.

  178. Thanks once again Mike. I will head off to the ticket office at Waterloo Station on Tuesday morning armed with this information. Much appreciated.

  179. Hello, I will be travelling from London Waterloo to Aldershot. I had a student under 18 oyster but I’m not sure if this works for south west trains(never travelled through this line). My question is what is the cheapest way to get from London Waterloo to Aldershot, baring in mind I am under 18? Thanks.

    • Hi Hentrik,

      Can you be more specific. Is it the 16-18 Zip card or the 18+ Student card? Do you have a 16-25 National Railcard? Is this a one-off journey or a commute? What times will you be making it?

      The Oyster card is accepted as far as Surbiton, so it might be beneficial to split there, but I can’t help unless you give me some more detail.

    • Hi Reema,

      Sorry for the delay. Egham is outside the Oyster area so you may have to mix tickets to get the cheapest rate. Are you commuting 5 days a week and have you got a Student Oyster card or a normal adult one?

  180. Hello,

    I will soon be travelling daily (peak times) from Surbiton to Canary Wharf (via London Waterloo) and home again each day. I would like to purchase an annual season ticket.

    Can I purchase a zone 1-6 Oyster Card or do I need a different ticket / photocard that will allow me to travel on the underground and trains, rather than just London Underground?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Alice,

      A zone 1-6 travelcard will be fine for that journey. If you want to try and save a little and are prepared for a slightly longer journey then consider changing at Clapham Junction onto the Overground to Canada Water and then the Jubilee from there. You’ll then only need a zone 2-6 travelcard. If it’s stored on an Oyster card you can also divert through Waterloo for £2.20/£2.30 per journey if you are in a hurry. Zone 1-6 costs £2288 while zone 2-6 costs £1568. The difference of £720 would pay for 144 return trips via zone 1.

  181. Hi Mike

    We’re a group of approximately 45, made up of 23 – 10 and 11 year old boys and 22 adults accompanying them on a soccer tour (London International Soccer Festival) from South Africa in early Aug 2014. We’ll be in London for 11 days in total.

    We’re staying at Royal Holloway in Egham. Please will you suggest the best travel options for our group, in terms of cost in particular. Our Rand is extremely weak, so the cost of this trip to London is pretty expensive and we’d like to limit expenses as far as possible.

    We’re hoping to travel into London at least every second day for sightseeing and possibly even more often than that. Not sure whether the best option will be travelcards, railcards or possibly oyster cards and should any of these be suitable, whether we are out of the applicable travel zones.

    I do hope you can assist please.

    • Hi Karen,

      Egham is outside the Oyster area and with the size of group involved I would not recommend any fancy hopping off and on trains because it would be a nightmare. I think your best bet is to contact South West Trains, who operate the trains between Egham and London, and ask about group discounts for one-day travelcards.

  182. Mike,

    Bit confused with red and green overland. I want to go from Richmond to Waterloo with my Oyster but have a 10 year old child, is he free or do I need a ticket until I get into town?


    • Hi Jon,

      If you use SWT then you’ll need to get him a ticket (or use a 5-10 zip card if he has one, 75p journeys off-peak and £1.50 cap). If you take the District line and change to the Jubilee at Westminster then he’s free.

  183. Hi Mike.
    My husbond and I are travelling to London from the 15th to the 19th of June. We will arrive af gatwick airport the 15th around 12.30 pm and will be going to our hotel near Bayswater. Which is the cheapest way from Gatwick to bayswater? On monday the 16th we will be going to Bicester North Station and back again the same day.
    We have Oyster Card from a previous journey, but i´m woundering if travel cards would be a good idea to pruchase instead?
    Best regards
    Linda from Denmark

    • Hi Linda,

      On Sunday 15th you’ll want the Super off-peak Gatwick to London zones 1-6 route FCC only at £10 each. You are restricted to FCC trains only between Gatwick and East Croydon, then you can use any train. I’d probably take the FCC train to Farringdon then the Circle line to Bayswater (probably changing at Edgware Road). On the return journey you’ll need the off-peak version at £13.50 because the super off-peak is only available at weekends.

      For Biscester North you’re probably better off using Oyster from Bayswater to either Marylebone or Edgware Road (depending on whether you want to change at Paddington or not). Then get an off-peak return from Marylebone to Biscester North. Hope that helps.

  184. Hi there. I am a 19 year old and work casually (yet everyday) in Knightsbridge. I live in Lewisham and have found that a travel card is not only cheaper than PAYG but it gives me easier and quicker options. I was just wondering if there are any cheaper options to the travel card? Should I be buying some paper tickets instead? With the railcard I usually mix the national rail and buses but on PAYG I tend to stick to the dlr and tube which makes my trip much longer and adds more walking. Thanks

    • Hi Natasha,

      As Knightsbridge is firmly within zone 1 there’s not much I can suggest. As you’ve found, if you stick to DLR and Tube then PAYG can be a little cheaper, but that’s the best deal you’ll get. If you have a 16-25 railcard then you can add it to your Oyster for cheaper off-peak journeys and off-peak caps, but if you travel before 0930 that won’t help you much.

  185. Hi Mike
    I live in earls field and commute to London blackfriars daily – Monday to Friday in peak periods, I change at either victoria or Waterloo – what is best – pay as you go or oyster monthly? I can’t seem to pick up comparative pricing online but seem to be spending around £8 a day on pay as you go?

    Thank you for your help

    • Hi Deborah,

      The cheapest sensible commute is probably to go the wrong way to start with. Buy a Wimbledon to London Terminals season ticket (£88/month) then travel to Wimbledon and pick up the direct FCC trains to Blackfriars from platform 9. If you really want to go via Waterloo or Victoria then a zone 1-3 travelcard will be the cheapest solution at £141.40/month.

  186. Hi mike I’m going to Gatwick airport from penge west station would it better to use my 18+ oyster or a travel card and how much would it be?

    • Hi sahara,

      Gatwick is well outside both the Oyster and travelcard zones, so you’ll need to get a paper ticket. How much depends on when you are going and whether you need to return at all.

  187. Hiya Mike, I am attending Guys hospital for a two week course (mon-fri) 9-5, as of next week. Whats the cheapest option for travel from Chadwell Heath station to London Bridge ( think that the nearest station.) please.

  188. Hi Mike,

    Can you tell me what oyster travel card covers Shenfield to Holborn, am I right in thinking I can get a zone 1 – 7 weekly travel card?


    • Hi Kayleigh,

      Sorry, Shenfield is a zone of it’s own. You can get a weekly travelcard, but it’s the same price as a paper Shenfield to zones 1-6 travelcard.

  189. Hello Mike,

    I am planning a trip to London Zoo this weekend and would be travelling from Shenfield to London. I plan to buy a paper ticket (worht 11.2 GBP) from Shenfield but am not sure whether it would be eligible for the 2 for 1 National Rail offer?

    Additionally, will the paper ticket or 2 for together rail card help me in getting some discount while travelling within London or shall i use Oyster to travel within London? I hold an oyster card.


    • Hi Hemant,

      Do you mean the Shenfield to London zones 1-6 off-peak travelcard at £12.20? If you do then yes it will be valid for the 2 for 1 offers and yes it will allow travel around London as well. If you are using the Two together railcard then you will be better off with paper tickets because you can’t get the discount on your Oyster card with that railcard.

  190. Hiya mike me again, many thanks for your help. have now found out am doing two weeks at guys hospital (london bridge) followed by two weeks at Kings college hospital (denmark hill), coming from Chadwell heath. Is it still best to get the weekley travel cards 1-5 for the whole four weeks?

    • Hi Sarah,

      For the Kings weeks I’d get a zone 2-5 travelcard (much cheaper) and change at Stratford and Canada Water. Touch the pink reader at Canada Water when changing between the Jubilee line and London Overground.

    • Hi Hemant,

      OK. There are several ‘normal’ paper tickets from Shenfield to London as follows (all prices are with Two together railcard):

      £18.00* Anytime Day Travelcard – needed if arriving in London before 10am Mon-Fri.
      £12.20 Off-peak Day Travelcard – arrive in London after 10am or anytime weekends.
      £12.35* Anytime Day Return – valid anytime but only to Liverpool Street.
      £11.30 Off-peak Return – to Liverpool Street only, not valid in either peak, return within 1 month.
      £10.05 Off-peak Day Return – to Liverpool Street only, valid arriving after 10am Mon-Fri.
      £7.40 Anytime Single – valid anytime to Liverpool Street, one way only.

      The two tickets marked ‘travelcard’ are the ones which also cover the Underground etc in London. Any of the above tickets are valid for the 2 for 1 offers. As you can see, none of them cost £11.20 which is why I wasn’t sure what you were talking about.

      * The Anytime returns shouldn’t be needed with the railcard as you can’t use that before 0930.

  191. Hi Mike,

    I m going to england staying at ripley and arrival is birmingham airport …I realised I need to take a fair bit of national rail , Trent and red arrow buses…intend to travel to London n other places which needs national rail as well but seems like there is a lot of lines n companies which got me confused…want to know if there is any economical way of moving about?

  192. Hi Mike,

    Which is the cheapest option for me – I want to travel from Gordon Hill (Zone 5) to Finsbury Park (zone 2) in the mornings… single only. I would be travelling on the 05.28 from Gordon Hill.

    Journey planner tells me it is £4.00 cash, is it cheaper with oyster pay n go?

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes, definitely. The normal peak fare would be £3.30, but because you are travelling before 0630 you get the off-peak fare at £2.30.

  193. Hi Mike,
    zone 1-5 peak is £4:60 and off peak £3:00 but when doing east croydon to marylebone or any station through Victoria you get charged £6:40 peak and £4:50 off peak even though technically its zone 1-5.
    why are we charged more from east croydon station

    • Hi Ikenna,

      East Croydon is served by National Rail services only so you pay at the National Rail rate, plus when you go onto the Underground you are then charged at the mixed mode rate which is another £1.60-£1.80. If you go from West Croydon via Canada Water you are then charged at the TfL rate which will save quite a bit.

  194. Hi Mike,

    I have a zone 1-5 Travelcard on my Oyster Card, but I’m traveling to Egham station (from London Waterloo). I understand that Egham station is outside of London, so I will not be able to use my Oyster card to exit the station there. What’s the cheapest option to get to Egham and still take advantage of my travelcard? Thanks so much!

    • Hi JT,

      You need to buy a ticket from boundary zone 5 to Egham. Use the Oyster card to get in at Waterloo and the paper ticket to get out at Egham.

  195. Hi Mike,

    I know that there are multiple fares between Rickmansworth & Wimbledon. Recently travelling off peak with a PAYG oyster with a rail card added travelling Ricky – Marylebone NR, Marylebone – Vauxhall, Vauxhall NR – Wimbledon I was charged a lower rate of £2.60 On the return I took the same route except that I travelled on the Met from Baker Street knowing I would miss the Chiltern service and was charged the expected £3.35. Had I chosen to go via Marylebone would I have been charged the lower fare ?

    • Hi Nick,

      That’s an odd one. £2.60 is the TfL only fare via Earls Court. It looks like changing at Marylebone might have over-ridden the change at Vauxhall which should cause the higher mixed fare. One to investigate methinks.

  196. I am going to be commuting from Surbiton to Clapham Juntion and then getting the bus. Should I be using oyster or buying tickets to get the best price? Getting very confused!

    • Hi Katie,

      Your best bet is a zone 2-6 travelcard season. I’d recommend getting it on Oyster so that any trips to zone 1 can be charged correctly.

  197. Mike, congratulations, what an heroic effort.

    I haven’t read back through 500 messages, so something might have been mentioned before. We got stung travelling to Broxbourne, using Oyster, whereas the trick was to change somewhere around Tottenham Hale and buy a day return. Using machines to buy a ticket from Finchley Road and Frognal to anywhere would be a mistake. Ally Pally, 7 pounds; Finsbury Park, 9 pounds; Bruce Grove, 11 pounds.

  198. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling from Bracknell to Cutty Sark. I normally buy a month travel card which cost me around £400 per month, is there a cheaper option? Thanks again!

    • Hi Elwyne,

      Two options really. Firstly buy a season ticket between Bracknell and Greenwich route London not Underground. This is quite a bit cheaper than the travelcard option and it is only a short walk from Greenwich station to the centre where Cutty Sark station is. The other option is to buy a travelcard season from Bracknell to Zones 2-6. You’ll then need to change at Clapham Junction, Denmark Hill and Lewisham, finishing on the DLR to Cutty Sark. The service level between Denmark Hill and Lewisham is only every 30 minutes though, so this may not be workable.

  199. We are planning to travel from Sidcup to Waterloo and back (off peak): 2 adults (who have oyster cards), 1x 14 year old (with a young people oyster), 2x 13 year old (without oyster), 1x 8 year old, 1 x 4 year old, 1 x 2 year old.
    How much would it cost us? Should we use oyster cards or buy family railway tickets?
    Thx for your help.

    • Hi Nelly,

      The 4 year old and 2 year old are both free. Assuming you have a family and friends railcard already, use that to buy tickets for the adults and children without Oyster cards, but the children with Oysters should use them as the daily cap for kids is less than the discounted travelcard.

  200. Hello,

    I will be travelling from Egham to kings cross every week day for work – peak hours most of the time although my return journey may sometimes be off peak but I guess I will have to buy peak anyway.

    Is it best to buy an overground travel card to cover Egham to Waterloo and just to use an Oyster card to get from Waterloo to Kings Cross each day or to buy a travel card that also includes zones 1-6 travel?

    Thank you,

  201. Going to be working in Suribton from Monday, travelling from Bromley south. Is it cheaper to use my oyster or to buy a weekly travel card? I will be travelling during rush hours.

    • Hi Karen,

      It’s a trade-off between time, cost and flexibility. A rail-only season will be cheapest, PAYG sits in the middle and a travelcard is the most expensive. There are two routes: London Not Underground and Not Via London. Not Via London effectively means avoiding zone 1 stations. One possible route is Surbiton to Clapham Junction then London Overground to Denmark Hill or Peckham Rye and Southeastern to Bromley South. The third leg frequency isn’t great though. Another option is Surbiton to Wimbledon then FCC to Herne Hill then Southeastern to Bromley South. The travelcard also gives you the option of using Tramlink between Wimbledon and Beckenham Junction which then only needs zones 3-6.

      I’d recommend getting a weekly travelcard for either zones 1-6 or at least zones 2-6 for the first week and experiment with the different routes.

  202. Hi
    I am hoping from Septemberto be travelling from Brookmans Park area 9In Hertfordshire) to Kings Cross M-F. I need to be at KX by 9.30a.m and will leave between 4-5pm. Please can you advise me on the cheapest way of getting there? I have read lots about different scenarios of travelcards and oyster combinations but my head is spinning- HELP!!

    • Hi Helen,

      If your final destination is either Kings Cross or Moorgate then you only need the Brookmans Park to London Terminals season ticket. To add a travelcard is an extra £29.90/week, so you could make one tube journey each way a day with PAYG and still be better off. There are no real benefits from Brookmans Park with combining paper and Oyster, unless you can make more of your journeys off-peak than peak.

  203. Hi,
    I will be traveling from London Waterloo to Twickenham every day for 2 weeks. Would like to get the train after 9:30 and have an open return. I am also a student. What would be the cheapest way to do this?
    Also would it be ok to get a weekly travel card (if that is the case) on the day i start out the week?

    • Hi Dani,

      If you start from Waterloo after 0930 then using an Oyster card with PAYG will be cheapest. If you have a student Oyster then a travelcard with the discount that that provides will be a little more than 10 off-peak journeys, but worth it if you make any further journeys during the week.

  204. Hello Mike,

    What are the options for going from Brentwood to Wembley Central 3 or 4 times a week, starting midday and returning 6:30 pm. What’s the quickest way and how much would it be, and what would be the cheapest way?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Tatiana,

      That’s an awkward one. Sensible options are (1) Brentwood -> Liverpool Street -> Euston Square/Euston – Wembley Central; (2) Brentwood -> Liverpool Street -> Baker Street -> Wembley Central; (3) Brentwood -> Stratford -> Willesden Junction -> Wembley Central.

      Options 1 and 2 cost £7.50 off-peak and £9.60 peak while option 3 avoids zone 1 and costs £4.30 off-peak, £6.50 peak. I don’t think a season would be worth it as your midday journeys are off-peak and 4 days a week is only just worth it if both ways are peak. For options 1 and 2 the off-peak cap of £16.90 would reduce the return fare by 20p.

      However, your evening trip is interesting. If 1830 is your touch-in time then there’s not much you can do, but if you leave work at 1830 and touch in at say 1845 then you should consider the end of the peak period at 1900. If you can avoid touching in until 1900 then the whole journey becomes off-peak. If you use option 3 and can arrange to wait at Willesden Junction until 1900 then you can split the journey into £1.50 and £4.30 rather than £6.50. You would need to touch out and back in again on a gateline at Willesden Junction, not using the pink validators.

  205. Hi Mike,

    Whats the cheapest way to travel from Sanderstead and Whitechapel at 6am? Again at midday. Also the reverse journey at 4pm? And again at 10pm? I have a payg oystercard but would a daily or weekly TC be cheaper?


    • Hi Dave,

      0600, 1200, and 2200 are all off-peak fares so PAYG would be the way to go. 1600 is the start of the afternoon peak, but if you can touch in by 1600 you’ll still be charged off-peak. The cheapest way is to use the ELL from Whitechapel to Norwood Junction, then Southern trains between Norwood Junction and Sanderstead. That avoids zone 1 and knocks about a third off the price of the singles.

  206. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Brentwood, Essex to St James’s Park, London and back again during peak hours. I do this 3 days per week (e.g Tue, Wed & Thur).

    A monthly from Brentwood into zone 6 (Harold Wood) costs £87.60 then a monthly oyster zones 1-6 costs £219.00 totalling £306.60. A monthly travel card from Brentwood to zone 1 costs £330.

    How much would Oyster pay as you go cost? What would you recommend?


    • Hi Paul,

      A peak single costs £9.60 or £19.20/day. Assume 14 days in a month then that would be £268.80. If you don’t use the travelcard for anything else then PAYG is the way to go.

  207. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Twickenham to Waterloo then Waterloo to Canary Wharf in peak times Mon-Fri, my boyfriend travels Twickenham to Waterloo also peak times Mon-Fri. We both pay £53.40 a week for an Oyster Travel Card (Zones 1-5). Is there any way we could be saving money? Especially as he doesn’t use the tube, but pays the same as me?


    • Hi Leyla,

      You can both save money in different ways. Firstly your boyfriend should switch to a paper Twickenham to London Terminals season at £39.00 a week unless he plans to make many other journeys off that route. Your saving could be greater, but it is a big change in route. You’ll have to decide how important cost and time are to you. If you change at Clapham Junction onto London Overground to Canada Water, touch the pink validator and then take the Jubilee line one stop to Canary Wharf, then you only need a zone 2-5 travelcard at £31.20 a week. This shouldn’t be a problem going to work (apart from leaving the boyfriend early?), but you might prefer to still join the train to Twickenham at Waterloo in the evening. With your travelcard on an Oyster card you’ll only pay £2.20 per journey through zone 1 in the evening. Even if you do that every day you’ll still be saving money.

      In the morning the trip via zone 1 will cost £2.30 because you first touch out at Waterloo NR, but as the Overground train starts at Clapham Junction you shouldn’t have so much trouble getting a seat.

  208. Hello Mike

    I have someone staying with me for the whole of August and I want to pay for her travel. I live in Putney. I was planning on buying her an Oyster card with a one month zone 1-2 on it and some extra Pay as you Go. But I have some questions.

    Firstly, can she travel from Gatwick using PAYG? I usually buy my ticket there from the machines, but it is confusing and I want to avoid it if I can. I want to send her the pre-loaded Oyster card and get her to go to Clapham Junction without having to buy a ticket. But I am not sure it works outside London and I can’t seem to find the subscribed station list anywhere.

    Secondly, on the Oyster website I see they recommend Visitor’s Oyster cards, how is that different except that it is PAYG only? My gut feeling is that it will be cheaper to use a monthly travel card.

    Lastly, she is 18, would she qualify for any cheaper ticket than the full adult fare?

    Many thanks

    • Hi René,

      Only students living in London can get discounts on travelcards if they are aged 18+. Anyone between 16-25 can get discounts on off-peak fares and caps with a 16-25 railcard linked to their Oyster. This may actually mean that a travelcard is more expensive unless she caps almost every day. Even if you get a zone 1-2 travelcard, it would be worth linking the railcard if she will be making journeys outside zones 1-2.

      Visitor Oyster cards are a rip-off. You pay a non-refundable £3 fee (compared to a refundable £5 deposit) and then can’t put travelcards on it. I’m not even convinced that railcards can be added either, but I might be wrong there. I would never recommend a Visitor’s Oyster card.

      Lastly, no, Oyster is not currently valid at Gatwick. You could buy her a ticket in advance and send it with the Oyster card so she hasn’t got to worry about finding the right one. If she has (or will get at Gatwick) a 16-25 railcard, then that ticket can be discounted as well.

      Hope that helps.

  209. Hi Mike,

    I don’t use the London trains that much but I need to travel to Hampton Wick to Clapham Junction with Oyster then wait for a train with my granddaughter arriving then travel back to Hampton Wick with her.

    Do I need to touch out at Clapham Juntion then touch back in again and go meet her off her incoming train?

  210. Hi Mike,

    I have absolutely no clue about oyster or travelcards, so am wondering about the cost and best option for daily travel between Wimbledon and Westminster would be? I’m soon to relocate to Wimbledon and would be travelling to Westminster and back Monday to Friday at peak times.


    • Hi Charlotte,

      Best is a very subjective term, but I can outline the options. If cost is your biggest worry and you don’t like walking then use PAYG on the District Line direct between Wimbledon and Westminster (possibly changing at Earls Court if a through train isn’t next). This costs £3.20 per peak journey. A zone 1-3 travelcard is only worthwhile if you make other journeys during the week. If speed is your big concern then take SWT to Waterloo and the Jubilee Line one-stop to Westminster. A travelcard will definitely be worthwhile unless you are travelling less than 3 days a week. The weekly travelcard is £36.80 or a monthly is £141.40. The other option is to get a paper season ticket from Wimbledon to Waterloo which is valid on National Rail only and then walk across the river to Westminster. That is £22.90/week or £88.00/month but is only suitable if you don’t mind a bit of a walk.

  211. Hi Mike

    What would be the best way for me to travel into Chelmsford?
    My offices are moving there. I live in Chadwell Heath does Chelmsford have oyster? Would a daily ticket be cheaper or a weekly travelcard. Also would I have to pay extra to board a bus in Chelmsford?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Sandy,

      No, Chelmsford is well outside the Oyster area.

      You’re in a kind of weird situation there. Because Chadwell Heath to Chelmsford is against the peak flow, the anytime day return is cheaper than season tickets. Daily is £11.80 while weekly is £66.20. Monthly and longer period seasons may just offer a discount, but only if you travel very regularly – you wouldn’t want to have one if you were going to be off work for more than a couple of days in the month. However, to use the bus in Chelmsford you would need a plus bus ticket. These can only be sold in conjunction with a rail ticket, so if you were buying daily it would be £4.40 whereas a weekly one is just £17. Unless you are going to use the season ticket for other travel I think I’d probably buy daily.

  212. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for your help in advance. I used the oyster card for the first time from Thames Ditton to Hammersmith and got charged £3.90 this morning. I was expected to be charged £2.70 for a single peak journey as I am travelling from zone 2-6. When I queried this at the TFL helpdesk they told me that I get charged more for using the overground and the £2.70 is only applicable for the underground. I just want to check this with you and make sure I have been charged correctly. I did not touch in/out @ Wimbledon and jumped straight on the District line. So far I have been getting a weekly zone 2-6 paperticket and will be using my Oyster going forward. Look forward to your reply. Cheers!

    • Hi Steve,

      Unfortunately they are right. There are different fare structures for National Rail and TfL-operated services with the National Rail fares being higher most of the time. In the case of zone 2-6 you pay £39.20 for a travelcard or £39.00 for 10 peak singles. A monthly travelcard will offer savings over daily PAYG fares, as will the weekly as long as you make one extra journey in the week. The other advantage to putting the travelcard on the Oyster is that you will only be charged a zone 1 fare if you go into the centre from work or home. With a paper travelcard you would need to pay from the last station in zone 2 and get off the train to touch in/out as you switch from travelcard to PAYG fares.

  213. Hi Mike,

    I’m wondering what my options are time/price-wise for travelling from Wimbledon to Sloane Square and back at peak times Monday to Friday?


    • Hi Charlotte,

      The single fare finder gives you all the details of prices. The default route is to take the District line direct and this is also the cheapest. Other routes involve taking National Rail to either Vauxhall, Victoria or Waterloo and changing to the Underground. You may find that these take almost as long because you need to change trains twice in each case.

  214. Hi Mike,

    I’ve been trying to decide wheater to order an Travelcard or a Visitor Oyster Card. My friend and I will stay in London in October from Thursday to Monday. We’re staying in Croydon and would start off from East Croydon station (which would be Zone 5 if I got it right). So far we are planning on traveling inside Zones 1-2 every day for sight-seeing and so on..
    I’ve been trying to decide for days and I am totally confused and I would like some help deciding by someone who seems to know like everything about traveling in London. Your page is quite good!
    Thank you in advance for your answers.

    • Hi Natalie,

      The answer depends on what time you want to start in the morning on Thu/Fri/Mon. If it’s before 0930 then I would get a weekly zone 1-2 travelcard and put it on an adult Oyster along with some PAYG credit for your daily trips from East Croydon to the edge of zone 2. If you can start after 0930 then just use PAYG for everything. The visitor Oyster card is poor value because you have to pay £3 for it and you can’t add travelcards to it either. Although the adult Oyster requires a £5 deposit, this is refundable along with any unused credit (or just keep it for your next trip here).

      Hope this helps.

    • Hi,

      For a day visiting various attractions the Oyster will cap at less than a travelcard. If you are spending 5 or more days doing the same thing then get a weekly travelcard on your Oyster.

  215. Hi Mike, I’m travelling from East hounslow station to kings cross station and I have a 16-18 oyster card, would this work better or should I get a day card?

  216. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling Salisbury to Denmark Hill for 3 months and plan to get a season ticket. If I get a season ticket with zones 1-6, can I travel Denmark Hill – Twickenham on some occasions, instead of my journey back to Salisbury, without having to pay any more? I.e will my season ticket be valid for that journey?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yes, the zones 1-6 element acts like any other travelcard within the numbered zones, so all tube/dlr/bus/tram services are included as well as National Rail services except High Speed 1 (St Pancras International – Stratford International) and any NR services at Heathrow Airport.

  217. The disabled railcard has no time restrictions
    So with a paper ticket receive 1/3 of paper peak in mornings that is less than full peak nr oyster fares
    Zone 1 to6 paper travelcard may be relevant too

  218. Hi, I would like to go from St. Albans to farringdon on national rail. My question is can I buy a paper ticket from St. Albans to west hampstead thameslink, hop off the train, swipe my Oyster card, and get back on it? I could do it in a minute as you do have to go up some stairs then through barriers, but will the train stay there for that long? Thanks

    • Hi Jamie,

      If there was only you running up the stairs and back and you were in the optimum position on the train then you might just make it. In the peak hour though you have no chance.

  219. Hi Mike,
    My son will be travelling from Sutton Common to Esher 5 days a week. He currently has a 16-18 Oyster which won’t get him all the way. Should he therefore buy a monthly or season ticket travel card from the Oyster boundary station to Esher station? Or would it be better to just buy a season all the way, using a 16-25 railcard. He’s a new student at Esher College.

    • Hi Tim,

      The 16-25 railcard doesn’t offer any discounts on season tickets. The 16-18 Oyster card does allow child rate travelcards so I would get zones 3-6 on that and then buy a season from Surbiton to Esher. The train must call at Surbiton, but I don’t think that’s a problem because they all for Esher.

  220. Good evening. I’m looking for some concrete answers as I’ve heard differing advice. My girlfriend and I live in Brentwood. We both commute into central London 6 days a week. Myself to farringdon. Her to bond st. Always at peak times (around 8.30 am and between 5 and 7 pm) We both use oyster to travel around London at weekends also for leisure. Could you advise on the cheapest options open to use weekly/monthly if possible. Many thanks.

    • Hi Dan,

      Brentwood to zones 1-6 travelcards will be your best option. Monthly will save more than weekly. Put the ticket on your Oyster for full flexibility, including being able to travel via Shenfield as long as you don’t leave the station. You would be wise to have a couple of quid on your PAYG balance just in case you need to change plans at Shenfield.

  221. Hi Dan, For a child aged 11, to travel from zone 3 Wimbledon Park to zone 5 Sutton (via Wimbledon), He will commute term time 7:15am-ish and 4pm-ish. Is it cheaper to get a travel card of some sort 1m/3m or sticking with PAYG on his Zip card 11-15 ?

    • Hi,

      4pm-ish is a very key part of the decision. If it is usually before 4pm then use PAYG as the child off-peak fare is 75p per journey rather than the £1.30 peak fare. If it is always after 4pm then a monthly or longer ticket will save a little.

  222. Hi mike,
    I’ll need to be travelling from feltham to egham for 5 days a week as i am going to uni.I guess the time table would be from 9am-5pm. So i was wondering what should i use? 16-25 travelcard or oyster card or combined? I don’t think its worth to get weekly travelcard as i won’t be using it on weekends. Also i don’t know if there is discount on peak travel as daily fare.

    • Hi Kieran,

      As Feltham is the last station in the Oyster area you can forget using that. As you hinted, there is no discount on peak fares with the 16-25 railcard except during July and August. A weekly season will be cheaper than 5 anytime returns so it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it at the weekend.

  223. Hello Mike,

    I am about to start at RHUL, in Egham. I live in Zone 5 near a rail station (that has Oyster), and will have to pass through central London and out the other side to Egham. I will be on campus for a minimum of 2 days a week in the first term, and a minimum of three in the second.

    Is the most cost-efficient method to get an annual Student Zone 1- 6 travelcard and buy top-up paper tickets to get me from Feltham to Egham on the days I’m at campus?

    Having an annual travelcard does have the additional benefits of me not having to pay for travel if I go to a library/part time job/evening out in London proper.

    • Hi Courtney,

      I don’t think you can get an annual travelcard with a student Oyster card – six months is the longest period. 2-3 days a week is barely worth getting a travelcard for, but 4 and above is worth it, especially with the student discount. Paper tickets for Feltham to Egham will be required and can either be seasons or daily tickets. All trains stop there so there are no issues splitting there.

  224. I am…. soooo confused.

    Hi Mike

    New to London and trying to figure out just how best to pay for my travels.
    I will be working full time near Waterloo station – and I live in Surbiton. I checked that there is the option of PAYG or buy a Monthly (zones 1-6) on my Oyster, but now I am confused about this whole mixing Travel Card / RailPass thing?
    I also checked the fare tables and not sure how this Peak / Off Peak really works…

    Really just would like to know how best to go about to save a bit of money….

    Do you have a more straight forward suggestion? 🙂


    • Hi Amy,

      Yes, if all you need is the train between Surbiton and Waterloo then you want a paper season ticket for that journey. This costs £44/week or £169/month.

  225. Hi Mike, my daughter goes to RUTC 5 days a week. She travels from Raynes Park to Twickenham, using her 16+ zip Oyster card. As from next week, she will also be going to GSA 2 evenings a week. The best way to get there (I’ve been advised) is to travel from Twickenham to Clapham Junction, and get a fast train back out to Guildford. What is the best ticket she should get as her oyster will not take her to Guildford? Confused.com. Thanks, T

  226. My wife uses an Oyster from Tulse Hill to Tower Hill, but will be moving offices to London Bridge next week. If she wanted to just have the overground on her Oyster is this possible or will she have to buy a paper ticket for the week? We couldn’t find the option on the Oyster machine yesterday.

  227. I currently travel from Romford (Zone 6) to Brentwood (Zone B), its only 3 stops but I work 5 days a week in peak. I also use a bus to / from romford, what do you think is the best thing to buy?

    • Hi Steven,

      A Brentwood to zones 5-6 travelcard season ticket appears to be the best value. Annoyingly you can’t put that on Oyster according to the fare tables.

  228. Hi,

    I travel from Epping to Roehampton University twice a week.

    My route I take is Epping to Shepherds Bush, then the number 72 bus to the university. I leave at 6.45am and I catch the 72 bus from the uni on my return at 6.30pm. I have an Oyster Card. I have just received my rail card.

    Which is the cheapest way to make this journey, I have seen in this forum people attaching their rail cards to their oyster. How do I go about doing this?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Lewis,

      That is some commute. Assuming you mean the 16-25 railcard then follow the instructions on the railcards and discounts page. Another way to reduce the cost is to avoid zone 1. You can change at Stratford onto an Overground train to Shepherd’s Bush. Also, if you can touch in at Epping by 0630 then you’ll get the off-peak fare. Likewise if you can wait until 1900 at Shepherd’s Bush. Remember that the railcard doesn’t reduce peak fares. Here are the details:

      Epping to Shepherd’s Bush Direct: £5.00 peak, £3.00 off-peak, £2.00 off-peak with railcard.
      Epping-Stratford-Shepherd’s Bush: £2.70 peak, £1.50 off-peak, £1.00 off-peak with railcard.

      Finally, if you include the bus and travel direct in the evening peak then you will actually cap at the railcard discounted off-peak cap of £5.60.

  229. Mike,

    That’s brilliant advice thanks. Whilst I’m here I have another journey. At the moment I drive and it can take me up to 90mins and £15-20 in fuel. I wonder if public transport would be a better option.

    I actually travel from Harlow, but I have transport to Epping station.

    3 times a week I’d need to travel from Epping to Hillingdon Underground station. (I know, another almighty commute). I need to be at hillingdon station by 8.00am/8.15am. Is this achievable and at what cost and roughly length of time?

    • Hi Lewis,

      I think that the time will be similar to driving, but the cost will be much less. Epping is always much better than Harlow as the zone 6 boundary is stretched to include it. The fares are the same as for Shepherd’s Bush but there is no direct train. The fastest way is probably Epping to Liverpool Street on the Central line then the Met. To avoid zone 1 you again change at Stratford and then at West Hampstead (or a slightly longer walk between Finchley Road and Frognal and Finchley Road where the Met stops). You need to touch the pink validator at Stratford (as before if I didn’t mention it above), but then you get the whole journey for £1 off-peak with the railcard.

  230. Hi,
    Came across this page when trying to work out what card is best for me, perfect! I’m a new undergrad student at Royal Holloway in Egham and will be travelling to london purely for leisure and social reasons, sometimes to visit family but it wouldn’t be a regular thing. I have a 16-25 railcard too. Which oyster is best for me!? Or shall I just stick to paper tickets?
    Thanks in advance,

  231. Hi,

    I will be travelling from Surbiton station to Egham station (for uni at Royal Holloway). I understand that Egham is outside the oyster region. So just to confirm, is the best/only way to travel to egham using a paper ticket/season ticket from surbiton? I also have a 16-25 railcard. I guess it’s not work applying for a 18+ student oystercard. Many thanks in advance!


  232. Hello,
    My week consists of three journeys from Thorpe bay to battersea park and two from Thorpe bay to Barnes I am currently paying out for a monthly rail card at £450 pm this month I have bought a mature student trail card so it will drop to £340 I need to be at batter sea before 8 and Barnes before half 8
    What would be the cheapest way to get to theses stations during the week

    • Hi Adam,

      If you mean the 16-25 railcard (which is also available to mature students) then unfortunately it has no effect on season tickets. However, you can save some money if you’re prepared to avoid zone 1. From Thorpe Bay, change to the Jubilee line at West Ham then onto London Overground at Canada Water and finally either Southern for Battersea Park or SWT for Barnes from Clapham Junction. You’ll then need a Thorpe Bay to London zones 2-6 travelcard which is £348/month.

  233. Hello Mike,

    First of all. Thanks a lot for taking your time to answer every question. Really commendable job.

    I am currently working at Richmond. I travel daily from Vauxhall to Richmond (via Southwest Rail) costing me 5.20 pound a day. And at weekends, I am exploring Central London. End up paying between 4.40 and 7 pound a day.

    Because I am new in London and I want to explore more of the city, someone recommended me to take a Zone 1-4 Monthly Card as I will be free to enter the Central London. But 173 pounds too much? What do you say?

    Second question:
    If I take a Monthly Zone 1-2 pass. Travel during the weekend will be covered and I will pay extra for going to Richmond during weekday (PayG). Will it make any sense?

    • Hi Rahul,

      A travelcard just for weekend travel is not worth it. You’re better off as you are, or getting a season ticket between Vauxhall and Richmond for your commute. This costs £21.40/week or £82.20/month.

  234. Hi Mike,

    I’m soon to be starting uni London based and will be living at home in Hersham (Surrey) and will be heading to New Cross station from here at least 3-5 days a week. Obviously I’ll be travelling peak time from about 8-8.30AM aiming to arrive about 10am. I do have an oyster card and a 16-25, but I’m trying to work out the cheapest way for me to go as well as the quickest, as season ticket travelcards are so expensive.

    One way I have thought is to go from Hersham to Surbiton via paper return ticket which is £5, and then use my oyster from Surbiton to New Cross. I know the zone fares between Waterloo and New Cross yet don’t fully understand the time caps. But also I don’t know how to find out how much it charges between Surb and Waterloo.

    What is the easiest way to explain this baring in mind I have only used my oyster by short bus journeys in Surbiton? Or are there any other suggestions you have in taking that whole journey?

    Basically I’m hoping to get something for about under 15 a day if possible


    • Hi Eli,

      Good news, this is a journey where Oyster can make quite a difference. Surbiton to New Cross via Waterloo is £5.90 peak or £3.60 off-peak. Peak travel is where you touch in at the start of your journey between 0630-0930 or 1600-1900. However, there is an alternative route which you can make using Oyster. It will take a bit longer but cost a lot less. Change at Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays and the fare drops to £3.90 peak and £2.50 off-peak. The biggest pain for you is that you will have to get off at Surbiton both ways to touch in or out for the Oyster. Hope this helps somehow.

  235. Hi mike,
    Back again. Just wanted to ask about bus 441 service which is provided by abellio. I’ve heard that it runs on free fare zone. Not sure between what stops does it run on free fare zone? Do you have any idea about this?
    Thanks in advance.

  236. Hi Mike

    I would like to travel To Gatwick AIrport tomorrow (SEptember 24th). I assume I would need to leave my station westcombe park around 7am to arrive at Gatwick for 8.30ish.
    I know I need to get a train to London Bridge and then catc an additional train to the airport.
    Last time i used this service we bought a paper ticket – however we saw that people were signing out with their oyster cards.
    Could we use our oyster cards during this journey – to a save money and b