Travelcards and Oyster
Travelcards are zonal tickets allowing unlimited travel on London's public transport network. They can be issued for travel on any one day, seven consecutive days or for regular commuters, any period between one month and a year. Travelcards are available for travel from stations throughout London and the home counties, the south and south east and further afield on some routes.
Travelcards can be issued in a range of zonal combinations and subject to the zones purchased, you can use your Travelcard on:
- Tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and National Rail services (but not Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect services between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow)
- Travelcards routed 'Plus High Speed' or 'Any Permitted + HS' are valid on Southeastern high speed services
- All London Bus services (except some special services and excursions) regardless of the zones for which the ticket is issued
- London Tramlink services where the Travelcard is valid for travel in Zone 3, 4, 5 or 6 or any combination of these zones
Travelcards purchased for any combination of zones within the London Fare Zones area:
Your Travelcard must be valid for all the zones you travel in or through.
- Peak Day Travelcards are valid for travel at any time of day and until 04:29 the following morning and are available only in the following zonal combinations: Zones 1&2, Zones 1-4 and Zones 1-6.
- Off-Peak Day Travelcards are valid for travel from 09:30 Monday to Friday, any time at weekends and on public holidays, and until 04:29 the following morning and are available only as Zones 1-6. (Zones 1-2 and Zones 1-4 were withdrawn on 18 January 2014. Customers are encouraged to switch to Oyster, which continues to have off-peak caps for Zones 1-2 and 1-4 in place and is the best value ticket). Railcard holders may purchase certain Off-Peak Day Travelcards at a discount.
- 7-day or longer period Travelcards are valid at any time until 04:29 the morning following the date of expiry and are available in any combination of two or more adjoining Zones.
Travelcards purchased outside of the London Fare Zones area:
Travelcards can be purchased from most stations in the South East England area. Day Travelcard prices include the return fare to London plus travel in Zones 1-6. Travelcards valid for 7 days or longer can be purchased for any combination of adjoining zones which include Zone 6.
- Peak Day Travelcards are valid for travel at any time of day and up to the early hours of the following day provided the train you are using beyond the London Fare Zones area departs no later than 02:30. If you are already on a train by 02:30 you may continue your journey provided no further change of trains is made. Within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29.
- Off-Peak Day Travelcards are valid for travel from whenever Off-Peak fares become available from your station – check our Journey Planner to see whether an Off-Peak fare is available when you wish to travel. Valid up to the early hours of the following day provided the train you are using beyond the London Fare Zones area departs no later than 02:30. If you are already on a train by 02:30 you may continue your journey provided no further change of trains is made. Within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29. Railcard holders may purchase certain Off-Peak Day Travelcards at a discount.
- 7-day or longer period Travelcards are valid for travel at any time of day and up to the early hours of the following day provided the train you are using beyond the London Fare Zones area departs no later than 02:30. If you are already on a train by 02:30 you may continue your journey provided no further change of trains is made. Within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29.
What is an Oyster card?
An Oyster card is a re-usable smart card which is issued by, or on behalf of, Transport for London (TfL). It can store:
- up to £90 as "pay as you go" credit and/or
- up to three Travelcard or London Bus & Tram Pass season tickets (Travelcards are only available for travel within zones 1-9 of the London Fare Zones area)
If you want to use pay as you go to travel beyond the zones covered by your Travelcard to a station within the pay as you go area you will need to ensure you have sufficient pay as you go credit on your Oyster card prior to commencing your journey. Oyster Extension Permits are no longer required for these journeys. Special conditions apply when using Oyster cards on National Rail - please view the Oyster Conditions of Use.
Pay as you go
Pay as you go can be used for virtually all journeys on National Rail, London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, London Bus services wholly within the London Fare Zones area. It can also be used on National Rail journeys between stations in the London Fares Zone and Watford Junction, Ockendon, Chafford Hundred, Purfleet or Grays.
Simply top up your Oyster with credit, touch in at the start and out at the end of your journeys, and the cost will be debited from your balance, based on where and what time you touch in, and in some cases, which route you take.
Peak single fares will apply if you touch in between 06:30-09:30 or 16:00-19:00 Monday to Friday.
EXCEPTION: Peak fares do not apply to journeys between London Euston and Watford Junction (including journeys between intermediate stations) at the following times:
- From London Euston: from 06:30 and before 09:30
- Towards London Euston: from 16:00 and before 19:00
Off peak single fares will apply at all other times, and on Public Holidays.
Pay as you go is not valid on Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect services between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow or on Southeastern high speed services to/from London St Pancras International.
Where can I obtain an Oyster card?
- From Oyster Online
- From any London Underground ticket office
- From many National Rail ticket offices in the London Fare Zones area, including all staffed London Overground stations. Visit our station selector, type the name of the station that you are enquiring about and view the information under the 'Ticket buying & collection' tab
- From Oyster Ticket Stops.
When you first get an Oyster card a refundable fee is charged. This is currently £5.
Where can I top up an Oyster card?
- At Oyster Online
- At any London Underground ticket office
- At many National Rail ticket offices in the London Fare Zones area, including all staffed London Overground stations. Visit our station selector, type the name of the station that you are enquiring about and view the information under the 'Ticket buying & collection' tab
- At some National Rail self-service ticket machines in the London Fare Zones area
What will I pay using pay as you go?
How do I use an Oyster card and what do I do at the station?
When you touch in using pay as you go on National Rail an entry charge will be deducted from the balance on your card. This charge will be adjusted when you touch out at the end of your journey so that you pay the correct advertised fare and qualify for the appropriate daily price cap.
All National Rail and London Underground stations in the London area have Oyster card readers or validators. You must touch in and touch out with your Oyster card at the start and end of your journey. This will ensure you are charged the correct fare for your journey. Failure to touch in and out may mean that you pay more than the advertised fare and the daily price cap will not apply. You may also be subject to a Penalty Fare or prosecution.
If you change trains at certain National Rail stations during your journey, you should touch your Oyster card on the pink card reader located on the station platform to ensure you pay the appropriate Oyster single fare. If you do not do so you may be charged a higher fare. These stations are Blackhorse Road, Canada Water, Gospel Oak, Gunnersbury, Highbury & Islington, Kensington Olympia, Richmond, Stratford, West Brompton, Whitechapel, Willesden Junction and Wimbledon. If you need help using your Oyster card, please ask staff at any Oyster issuing station or contact the Oyster helpline on 0343 222 1234 (open 08:00-20:00 daily). Customers with a text phone facility can use the text phone service on 020 7027 8511.
For further information about Oyster visit the Oyster Card website.
Railcards and Oyster pay as you go
Senior, 16-25, Disabled Persons and HM Forces Railcard holders and holders of Annual Gold Cards can get 1/3 discounts on the adult Off-Peak Oyster pay as you go fare for most journeys on National Rail, London Underground and Docklands Light Railway. They can also obtain a 1/3 discount on the Off-Peak daily price cap.
To qualify for these discounts, holders must register their Oyster card and Railcard or Annual Gold Cards. This can be done at any London Underground ticket office or at a National Rail ticket office that can top-up pay as you go credit and load Travelcard Seasons to Oyster. The Railcard must be carried on the journey as well as the Oyster card.
Please note that Railcard discounted fares are not shown by our Journey Planner.
Children, 16-18 year olds and Oyster
To obtain concessionary or child rate Oyster pay as you go fares, children aged under 16 must hold a valid '5-10' or '11-15' Child Oyster photocard, and subject to meeting certain qualifying criteria, 16-18 year olds can obtain an Oyster photocard entitling them to travel at half the adult pay as you go fare. These photocards must be applied for in advance - they are not issued at stations - and it can take up to three weeks to obtain a photocard. Please click here for more information on Oyster photocards and details on how to apply
Pay as you go fares are subject to a daily price cap. Once you have reached this cap, you will not be charged any more for any journeys you make before 04:29 the following day, provided you touch in and out on each journey.
Oyster price capping rates are subject to the type of Oyster card held, the mode(s) used, time of travel and journeys made including the London Fare Zones travelled in and through.
Protecting your Oyster card
If you register your Oyster card, any pay as you go credit or season tickets loaded to it are protected if the card is lost or stolen. You can register your card online at tfl.gov.uk/oyster or by picking up a registration form from your local Oyster Ticket Shop, Tube or London Overground station.