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Last updated:Today at 14:59
Train companies affected:London Overground, Southern

Pay As You Go

Pay as you go is a flexible way to travel using a contactless device, Smartcard or Oyster card

When you pay as you go there is no need to buy tickets online or at the station before you travel. As long as you touch in and out you will be charged the correct fare for your journey. 

Capping is available on many pay as you go journeys, meaning once you reach a certain amount you will not be charged any more.

There are multiple ways to pay as you go, see below for details on how to use each option.

Pay as you go with contactless

You can use a contactless card or device to pay as you go on National Rail, London Underground, DLR, London Buses and London tram services within London and at an increasing number of National Rail stations across the South East.

Just turn up, touch in and go. There’s no need to spend time topping up your Smartcard or Oyster before you travel.

When you pay as you go with contactless, you will be charged the best adult fare for your journey on the day and time of your travel. For most people, this fare is the same as a ticket bought on the day. National Railcard and other discounts (like a Child discount) are not currently available when you pay as you go with contactless.

Find out more about pay as you go with contactless.

Pay as you go with Smartcard

A Smartcard is a reusable, credit-card sized card where you can store tickets and pay as you go credit. Some train companies offer pay as you go with Smartcard if you are travelling exclusively on their network or within their operating area.

Paying with a Smartcard may be cheaper than pay as you go with contactless if you have a National Railcard or are eligible for other discounts (like a Child discount).

For more information on Smartcards, including information on discounts and capping, please visit your local train company’s website.

Train companies currently offering pay as you go with Smartcard

Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express)

Govia Thameslink Railway’s keyGo is valid for travel on Great Northern(external link, opens in a new tab), Southern(external link, opens in a new tab), Thameslink(external link, opens in a new tab) and Gatwick Express services, as well as Great Western services between Redhill and Dorking Deepdene, and Warblington and Brighton. keyGo is not valid on Transport for London or other train operators’ services.

Great Western Railway

Great Western Railway’s touch smartcard(external link, opens in a new tab) is valid for travel in large parts of West England between Bristol, Bath Spa, Chippenham, Weston-super-Mare, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa, including journeys on Cross Country between Weston-super-Mare/Bristol and Cheltenham Spa, and Transport for Wales rail services between Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa.

South Western Railway

South Western Railway’s Tap2Go(external link, opens in a new tab) is valid for travel across their entire network, including journeys on services within London Zones 1 to 9.

Pay as you go with Oyster

Oyster is the Transport for London (TfL) card which allows you to store up to £90 of pay as you go credit. You can use Oyster for pay as you go travel on London Buses, London Underground, London Tram, DLR, London Overground, most Elizabeth Line, IFS Cloud Cable Car and Thames Clippers River Bus services. You can also travel on most National Rail services in London Zones 1 to 9 and some services beyond Zone 9(external link, opens in a new tab).

Check out the London Rail and Tube map for more information on where you can pay as you go with Oyster.

You can apply some National Railcard discounts to your Oyster card to get up to 1/3 off pay as you go travel.

Find out more about pay as you go with Oyster(external link, opens in a new tab), including how to get an Oyster card, add your National Railcard discount(external link, opens in a new tab), and information on capping(external link, opens in a new tab).

Please note there are special conditions when travelling on National Rail with your Oyster card(external link, opens in a new tab).

Choosing how you pay as you go

  • Pay as you go with contactless: See the London Rail and Tube map

  • Pay as you go with Smartcard: In areas covered by Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink, Great Western Railway and South Western Railway. See your train company’s website for specific route information.

  • Pay as you go with Oyster: See the London Rail and Tube map

  • Pay as you go with contactless: No, just turn up, touch in and go.

  • Pay as you go with Smartcard: No, though you must register your debit or credit card on your Smartcard account before travelling so automatic payments can be taken. Find out more on your local train company’s website.

  • Pay as you go with Oyster: Yes, you must add money to your Oyster card before you travel. If you set up Auto top-up, Transport for London (TfL) will automatically top up your Oyster card with either £10, £20 or £40 from your bank account if your balance falls below £20.

  • Pay as you go with contactless: No.

  • Pay as you go with Smartcard: Generally yes, though exceptions vary by train company.

  • Pay as you go with Oyster: Yes, except 16-17 Saver, Two Together, Family & Friends and Network Railcards.

  • Pay as you go with contactless: Yes, there are daily (peak and off-peak) and weekly (Monday to Sunday) caps for journeys into and within London

  • Pay as you go with Smartcard: Capping varies by train company. Please check your train company’s website for more information

  • Pay as you go with Oyster: Yes, there are daily (peak and off-peak) and weekly (Monday to Sunday) caps

More information

Click on a section below to find out more.