Contactless caps from non-TFL stations (e.g. Marlow)

Home Forums Fare and Capping Queries Contactless caps from non-TFL stations (e.g. Marlow)

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    J Sut

    There is no information on the TfL website about contactless caps from the stations on the GWR branch lines that connect to the Elizabeth Line. When I contacted them, they said that the peak/off-peak caps should be the same as buying a paper travelcard.

    So, for Marlow to zones 1-6, for example, that should be £40.40 peak and £25.20 off-peak (first off-peak at 08:58 on National Rail Enquiries). This is also what shows.

    But that isn’t what I’m charged on my contactless account.

    For example, yesterday:
    20/09/2023 £32.25

    Marlow to High Street Kensington
    07:32 – 08:44

    Bus Journey, Route 27

    High Street Kensington to Marlow
    21:45 – 22:56
    £11.50 (this was capped, an off-peak single would be £12.50)

    “This journey was cheaper or free today because you reached an All Services Daily cap”

    Why was this capped? Where does £32.25 come from?

    Similarly for an in and out off-peak:
    13/09/2023 £24.90
    Marlow to Tottenham Court Road
    10:57 – 12:31

    Tottenham Court Road to Marlow
    21:34 – 22:58
    £12.40 (this was capped, an off-peak single would be £12.50)

    Why was this capped to £24.90, when the cap is supposedly £25.20? (which I didn’t reach).

    It’s slightly cheaper in each case, so I’m not complaining, just trying to understand it.

    A separate question…
    The TfL website lists various stations on the extremities of the contactless network where you can tap in before 09:30 and still be off-peak. None of the GWR branch line stations are in these lists, despite the first off-peak train with a paper ticket being as early as the 08:58 from Marlow. Should these stations be in the exceptions list? I’ve been buying paper tickets when travelling on this train because it’s in theory cheaper (the next train isn’t until 10:00).



    Sorry for the delay, I’ve been trying to work out how these have been calculated. The second one is relatively easy. You’ve been charged £5.50 each way for Marlow to West Drayton or Hayes & Harlington and a zone 1-5 daily cap of £13.90.

    The first one is a complete mystery. I can only assume that the peak extension fare from Marlow to zone 6 does not equal the single fare to West Drayton. This does sometimes happen and TfL are remarkably cagey about what the extension fares actually are. This may be at the insistance of the TOCs and/or the DfT, but it’s a poor show in my opinion.

    If we take the cap as £13.90 again and the return extension as £5.50, that would make the peak extension £12.85 which seems too high. Remember that the bus will be included in the cap. As the person who actually made the journeys it would be interesting to see what response you might get to an enquiry as to how the charges were calculated.

    As to your final question, yes I think it would be sensible to allow earlier touch in at stations on the Marlow branch. I suggest contacting GWR and asking them to request it with TfL.

    J Sut

    Thanks Mike,

    So, for a fully off-peak day, as long as I don’t break my journey travelling into and out of Zone 5, and travel as much as I want within Zones 1-5 (off-peak only, maybe), it will be capped to £13.90 + 2x£5.50.

    I’ve just asked TfL to explain the calculation of the cap for this Wednesday through my contactless account. For this journey I changed at Paddington both ways (on faster Maidenhead trains that didn’t stop at Hayes & Harlington etc.). By the same logic as above it would be £9.90 peak Marlow – H&H, £13.90 Zone 1-5 cap, and £5.50 off-peak H&H to Marlow, a total of £29.30. If they charged £16.20 peak Marlow – Pad, £8.10 Zone 1-2 cap, £9.80 off-peak Pad – Marlow that would be £34.10. It’s somewhere between those two numbers.



    Hi James,

    For off-peak capping all journeys after 0930 count. If you did split at say Slough in one direction then that would be counted as two journeys, Marlow to Slough and Slough to the appropriate zone boundary. This could then put you nearer the cap for Marlow which will apply as the absolute maximum.

    I’ll be interested to see what they say about the peak journey. It won’t matter whether the train called at Hayes or not, within the zones the calculations are all based on zones used.

    J Sut

    Going round in very slow circles with TfL.

    First response just told me to look at the Single Fare Finder.

    Second response was:
    “I’m pleased to confirm that your travel from High street Kensington to Marlow should be charges £12.50 but was charged £11.50 which was in other to not charge you above zone 1-2 daily cap.
    You can please check single fare finder for travel charges.”

    So apparently something to do with the Zone 1-2 cap. I’m none the wiser. I’ve replied saying they still haven’t answered the question.

    I’ve asked each time how the £32.25 cap is broken down.


    Hi James,

    Thanks for the update. I’m beginning to wonder what they’re trying to hide with these extension fares. I’m planning on making a trip to Marlow in the evening peak soon, so I might be able to see things from the other way round. I’ll update when I can.


    A brief holding update. I made a journey to Marlow in the evening peak having already capped at zones 1-5. The extension fare charged on the way to Marlow took the whole charge for the day upto the off-peak cap for Marlow. This was not what was expected at all. Nothing further was charged on the way back. I raised a query on the charge for the specific journey from my contactless account and am still waiting for a response. It’s been a lot more than 10 days, working or otherwise.

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