No More Oyster at Ticket Offices

A few weeks ago I wrote about the removal of Oyster facilities at most NR ticket offices.  The last two remaining train companies were London Overground and TfL Rail, both concessions of TfL.  This week it has been confirmed that both of these will also lose their ticket office capabilities this month.  A Transport for London spokesperson said:

From June 2021 customers will no longer be able to buy or top up Oyster cards at TfL Rail or London Overground ticket offices. This is because the ticket office machines no longer support these functions. Customers can still buy and top up cards at ticket machines, online via TfL’s website or using the TfL Oyster app. Our stations are also fully staffed during operating hours and our staff can assist customers as required.

Additional information:

  • The changes will take effect from Tuesday 15 June on TfL Rail (Wednesday 9 June at Hanwell, West Drayton, Maryland and Manor Park) and from Monday 21 June at London Overground stations.
  • Use of Oyster cards has fallen considerably in recent years with the increase in popularity of pay as you go with contactless. Around two thirds of all pay as you go journeys in London are now made using contactless rather than an Oyster card, meaning that development of a replacement system for ticket offices is not economically viable.
  • Customers can also buy and top up Oyster cards from local newsagents, London Underground stations, and online from the TfL website.

So, after June 21st it will no longer be possible to carry out any Oyster transactions at any ticket office.  Most functions can be carried out elsewhere, but there are a couple of changes that need noting.  Most importantly, it will no longer be possible to convert NR travel vouchers into PAYG credit.  The other change affects some NR staff who are entitled to get a staff discount applied to their Oyster card.  This can only be done at National Rail stations and will still be possible at both TfL Rail and London Overground stations, but the transaction will be done using a staff function at a ticket machine rather than in the ticket office.

My final concern about these changes is the ability to add NR railcard and gold card discounts to Oyster cards.  This can be done at Underground stations, although I repeatedly hear of refusal by some staff.  It is also apparently possible to add discounts at ticket stops.  It is likely that you’ll be asked to either buy a travelcard or add PAYG credit at the same time.  I would be very keen to hear about people’s experiences at both shops and Underground stations.  If you are told that a discount can’t be added, please let me know in the comments the shop name or station and the date/time that it happened so the issue can be followed up.

7 thoughts on “No More Oyster at Ticket Offices”

  1. I had my NR railcard added by the staff at Victoria Underground, they knew exactly what was needed and once the staff member logged in at the ticket machine it took less than 5 minutes.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth,

    In my experience it usually takes no more than a couple of minutes, though perhaps covid considerations mean it takes a little longer.

  3. I tried to put my Rail Staff Leisure Card (PRV) on my Oyster at Watford High Street yesterday and was told this no longer possible as they don’t have Oyster card facilities in the ticket office.

  4. Hi Matthew,

    They don’t have facilities in the ticket office, but they should be able to do that using a staff menu on the ticket machine. I’ll see if I can find out more.

    • Hi Mike, that is what I thought. Headstone Lane have told me the same thing and said to use an Underground Station. I went to use an Underground Station and they showed me a brief saying they were not allowed to put that discount on the Oyster card anymore, even though TfL customer services and Rail Staff Travel maintain that NR Only discount can still be set on the Oyster. TfL say it can only be set at Underground Stations, Ticket Stops and Visitor Centres and not at OG or TfL Rail stations (despite briefing their staff differently). Rail Staff Travel say it can only be done at Overground and TfL Rail stations. It seems their is a lot of confusion now regarding this with both sides on the ground saying they can’t do it.

      • Hi Matthew,

        TfL tell me a message has gone out to Overground stations reminding them how to do it. You are probably suffering teething issues with the new system. Do let me know if you still get a refusal.

        I can clarify that the NR only staff discount can only be set at NR (LO/TfL Rail) stations. It cannot be done at LU stations or visitor centres or ticket stops.

        • Hi Mike,

          Hopefully that is the case, I was able to add the discount at Shepherds Bush Overground who bizarrely were able to do it at the Ticket Office window. I still need to add my partners Oyster, so will let you know if there are any further issues.

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