I’m planning to get a season ticket from Hove to Kew Bridge which includes a travelcard for London Zone 2 to 5 since I would just travel via Clapham Junction and can then use it within those zone. Since I normally used an Oyster card with a 26-30 railcard linked to it for cheaper off peak fares especially in Zone 1 I wondered what the best way would be on days I plan to go into Zone 1? The problem is that if I get the season ticket onto the key smartcard it might not work in Zone 1 since it can’t charge me like an Oyster could? But if I use the oyster card (which I couldnt anyway since I would start my journey in Hove or Brighton on weekends outside of work for example) it would charge me way too much and Zone 5 to 1 for example depending on where I would start using it. I could leave the station quickly in Clapham Junction and get back in with my Oyster card but it’s quite a hassle…
On days I would work in Kew Bridge I could just depart with my oyster but I would still pay Zone 3 to 2 not using my season ticket unless I could get it added onto the card? Is that possible once it’s added to a Key Smartcard?
Any tips what the best would be since Zone 1 travel is very infrequent?
Sadly this is one of the problems of the different systems. As long as once you’re in zone 1 you stay in there then there is a way to avoid paying extra. Travel from Clapham Junction (or stay on the train from Kew Bridge) to Vauxhall and exit with your Key card there. Then go to the Underground and use the Oyster card. Vauxhall is dual zoned so you’ll be fine with both cards.
Alternatively, if you might cap at the zone 1-2 rate (just over 3 zone 1 rail journeys) then there’s no penalty for switching at Clapham Junction in zone 2 because there is no zone 1 only cap.