Weekly contactless capping

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    I currently commute 2 days a week from Erith to zone 1 (usually City Thameslink or Farringdon). My usual route is bus (180, 229 or 469) to Abbey Wood then Elizabeth Line, as this is cheaper and means I don’t have to worry about the longish gaps in service on the North Kent line east of Abbey Wood. So I pay the daily Z1-4 cap each time I go to the office.

    I also travel to or via zone 1 most Saturdays and some Sundays, often to Maidenhead in Berkshire. I always use paper tickets/travelcards at the weekend as I have a Network Railcard.

    Fairly soon (not sure exactly when yet) my employer, in its infinite wisdom, is going to start insisting we all work at least 3 days per week on average in the office. We will have some flexibility, though, so 5 days in the office one week, 1 day in the office the next, will be possible.

    This leads me to consider weekly capping. There’s no huge saving to be had, I don’t think, but I just wanted to understand what would happen if I commuted in 5 days a week using my contactless credit card (so at post-3 March prices that’s £12.30 per day Monday to Thursday plus £12.20 on Friday, taking me to the Z1-4 weekly cap). What do I then have to pay if I use the same card to travel from Slade Green to Maidenhead and back on the Saturday?

    I know the paper extension ticket from Boundary Zone 4 to Maidenhead with a Network Railcard is £6.20 for a day return (which might presumably go up a bit next month), so one option would be to buy a 7-day Z1-4 travelcard on oyster (£61.40 – the same as the weekly PAYG cap) and use that for my week of commuting, then buy a paper extension ticket to Maidenhead on the Saturday (£6.20) for a total of £67.60. I would have expected, since the contactless extension fare to Maidenhead cannot take account of my Network Railcard, that the paper ticket would be cheaper, but upon checking this forum it looks like extension fares can be quite mysterious and, in some cases, surprisingly cheap?

    Mike (admin)


    You’ve touched on the subject which is occupying my time at present, namely understanding PAYG cap extension fares on contactless. I’ve been waiting for a response from GWR which has just come in and I’m about to write up the story so far. I am also intending to involve London Travelwatch, because the process is far from transparent. I believe it should be possible to work out in advance how much you will be charged for a sequence of journeys, which currently isn’t doable.

    One issue to bear in mind is that a PAYG extension fare will cover both Slade Green to Abbey Wood and Southall to Maidenhead, whereas a paper BZ4 to Maidenhead ticket will only cover that end. It’s possible that I may be able to work out what the extension fare is once I know what the new NR fares will be, but the insistance of the DfT that new fares will not be made public until March 3rd is hampering even basic research.

    Watch this space!


    Thanks Mike,

    I must admit I hadn’t even thought about the Slade Green to Abbey Wood end. If I held a weekly Z1-4 travelcard or had reached the Z1-4 weekly cap, I would probably use the bus rather than the train. There’s really not much in it in terms of door-to-Abbey Wood journey time. My habit of traveling from Slade Green on a Saturday was only formed because I normally buy a Z1-6 day travelcard.

    I agree with you entirely that fares should be predictable.


    Alan Yearsley

    How about setting up a dedicated section on weekly Oyster and contactless capping on this site? There doesn’t appear to be one at present.

    Mike (admin)

    Hi Alan,

    I’m not sure it would make that much difference at the moment, but I’ll keep an open mind in the future.

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