The press release from TfL outlining the extension of PAYG to Reading from Jan 2nd 2020 certainly raised a number of questions and talking points. I’m not going to cover discussion about zones and Oyster here, but rather concentrate on the cards which will and won’t be accepted. Nothing changes between London and West Drayton, so this list solely applies to people using stations between Iver and Reading inclusive, and only on TfL Rail services.
Contactless – bank/credit cards, smart phones/watches etc will all work (and are valid on GWR services too).
Oyster and Zip – adult, apprentice, jobcentre, 18+ Student, 5-10/11-15/16+ zip cards will not work at all. However, any child under 11 travelling with a paying adult will be able to travel free anyway.
Freedom Pass – both disabled and older persons cards are valid, but they won’t work the gates so you’ll need to show staff and be let in/out.
Veterans Oyster – will be valid with the same gate issues as Freedom passes.
60+ Oyster – will not work or be accepted.
Staff/nominee cards – The validity of these cards is beyond the scope of this website.
There’s a big problem
I hope it’s an inadvertant mistake, but TfL have in my view insulted holders of Veterans Oyster Photocards. They are issued to former service personnel receiving ongoing war pensions or payments under the armed forces compensation scheme. The problem is that the cards expire on the holders 60th birthday when they are expected to obtain the 60+ Oyster Photocard instead, until they subsequently become eligible for the older persons freedom pass. So veterans can travel for free to Reading until age 60, then they have to pay (potentially with a senior railcard discount) until they reach normal retirement age, at which point they can travel for free again.