Price Cap Vs Travelcard

Home Forums Fare and Capping Queries Price Cap Vs Travelcard

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    Micheal johnson


    I would like to get some basic info on price charging and caps.

    On the TFL Price Finder, I can see that the costs of travel cards are almost always greater than PAYG Price Cap. This is in regards to daily charges, for example Zone 6 to 1 is always cheaper on if using the cap instead of a travelcard

    I am missing something here – why would you buy a travelcard if the cap is cheaper and what is the point of the travelcard ? I can see that they make sense on a weekly and monthly basis and is that their USP?


    Chris Hein

    A paper Travelcard has several advantages over the price cap.
    It all depends on your travel needs

    If you have a Network Railcard then at weekends the paper Travelcard attracts a 1/3 discount making it cheaper than the contactless/Oyster price cap.

    There are no maximum journey time restrictions with a paper Travelcard which is great for enthusiasts.

    However of course the peak version of the paper Travelcard is way more expensive than the PAYG cap.

    Alan White

    Travelcards are much simpler and more flexible than Oyster/CPC caps. For example:
    – you don’t have to keep track of touches so you can check you’ve been charged correctly
    – you don’t have to worry about the time* you touch in or the multiple caps you might or might not reach
    – you don’t have to touch in/out (except to open gates and on buses)
    – you aren’t subject to maximum journey times
    – in the event of disruption, you can work round it any way you like without extra charge
    – Off-peak Day Travelcards don’t have evening peaks

    Travelcards are wonderful and their convenience is well worth the small extra cost.

    * Except with an off-peak travelcard obviously.

    Micheal johnson

    Maximum journey time restrictions ! When did this happen ?!

    I can see how travelcards are much easier, cheaper, convenient.

    Traveling from Slough I have always got a railcard and combined with network card, I get a third off. So Off-peak (after 930am weekdays and all weekend is cheap). £13.

    The recent announcement that TFL are dropping (daily) travel cards is going to be much more costly and inconvenient. Any chance of a reprieve (probably not)

    If you follow the PDF linked to the URL below, pricing for Slough is £27.60 Peak and £17.20 Peak. Am I correct in that I can’t use my network rail card on this ? Also is this only for the Elizabeth Line (owned by TFL) trains into Paddington or can I use GWR trains too

    Mike (admin)

    Hi Michael,

    Within zones 1-6 the price of travelcards is generally more than the caps as a way of persuading people to use PAYG. This means you only pay for what you do which often works out less than a travelcard. If you do exceed the cap you’re still better off. Beyond the zones the caps are set at the current day travelcard prices because using PAYG is seen as a convenience rather than a cheaper option.

    At the moment you can’t add railcard discounts to contactless PAYG, and there’s a question mark over whether the Network Railcard will be possible when TfL introduce a card to allow discounts. The problem is the minimum fare on weekdays.

    There have always been maximum journey time restrictions when using PAYG. Anyone making a normal journey will not be affected by this unless a problem occurs en route. Enthusiasts can sometimes fall foul when they spend longer in the system than usual.

    PAYG prices and caps from Slough are valid on both Elizabeth line and GWR.

    Alan: There is no afternoon peak on off-peak caps either. The single fares may be higher, but they’re still limited by the off-peak cap.


    But, much to my annoyance, there are no plans to do anything at all in terms of allowing any railcards at all to be associated with a contactless payment card until well after the proposed date for the withdrawal of day travelcards.

    There is no guarantee that the Network Railcard will be included (the published specs are vague on this point and just say “railcards” but there’s no way anyone who wins the contract to design and implement the upgrades to contactless PAYG is going to do the necessary work to apply the discount for Network Railcards only at weekends and after 10am on weekdays, subject to the £13 minimum fare on weekdays, unless the specs expressly call for this).

    Consequently if the day travelcard is withdrawn it is unlikely I’ll switch to PAYG. For my regular weekend trip Slade Green to Maidenhead I’ll switch from my current option of a paper day travelcard plus a day return from the zone 6 boundary to Maidenhead (£14.60), to a day return from Slade Green to Maidenhead (£13.30), rather than using contactless where you hit the daily cap of £20.40 just by making the return journey. This will simply stop me using buses and limit my ability to make detours and breaks of journey in London to patronise cafes, shops etc. This will be revenue-negative overall and almost certainly revenue-negative for TfL (depending how the revenue is carved up). I’m not sure if that’s the Mayor’s intention, but there it is.

    I may also have to start insisting on my right to break and resume my journey on the Elizabeth Line including in the core section, which is a hill TfL seem ready to die on despite the National Rail Conditions of Travel being perfectly clear on the matter.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by redreni.

    Yes, sadly the two projects are being driven by different areas with different aims. The contactless extensions are a DfT desired project aimed at making paying for rail travel easier and cutting back on paper tickets. The withdrawl from the day travelcard scheme is being driven by the Mayor as part of his requirement to make savings such that TfL becomes self funding. It does ultimately come down to the DfT, but there is no joined up thinking with this government, so we have to make do with what we get.

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