Oyster & Travelcards

Oyster is a re-usable smartcard 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 (Oyster Travelcards are only available for travel within zones 1-9 of the London Fare Zones area, as well as Watford Junction, Hertford North, Hertford East, Shenfield - map)

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 before starting your journey.

Special conditions apply when using Oyster cards on National Rail - please view the Oyster Conditions of Use on National Rail services.

PLEASE NOTE: A deposit will be charged when you purchase your Oyster card. 

Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG)

Oyster PAYG can be used for on all journeys on National Rail, London Underground, DLR, London Bus and London Trams services wholly within the London Fare Zones area, and PAYG can also be used on Southeastern’s HS1 service between St Pancras International and Stratford International, Gatwick Express and Southern services between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Express between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport, journeys to Potters Bar and Radlett, and on Elizabeth line services between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport. Special fares apply to these destinations.

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. You can also use a Contactless debit or credit card to pay as you go at the same rates as Oyster.

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 in the evening between 16:00 and 19:00 made from stations outside Zone 1 to stations within Zone 1.

Between London Euston and Watford Junction (including journeys between intermediate stations) peak fares do not apply 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.

How To Get Oyster

  • From Oyster Online
  • From any London Underground self-service ticket machine
  • From staffed London Overground and Elizabeth line stations. Visit our Stations & On Train tab, type the name of the National Rail station that you are enquiring about, and view the information in the 'Ticket Buying & Collection' panel
  • From an Oyster Ticket Stop

Where To Top-Up Oyster

  • At Oyster Online (You can collect your online order 30 minutes after purchase from any London bus, or at any Tube, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line or National Rail station within the pay as you go area when you touch your card on a yellow card reader as part of your journey.)
  • At any London Underground self-service ticket machine 
  • At most National Rail self-service ticket machines in the London Fare Zones area
  • On the TfL Oyster and Contactless app

Pay As You Go Fares

Provided the Oyster card is touched in and out, the cheapest appropriate single fare will be deducted from the Pay as you go balance.
Fares can be found by visiting www.tfl.gov.uk/farefinder and the National Rail Journey Planner when you have selected your journey.

How To Use Oyster, and What To 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 any appropriate daily price cap.

All National Rail and London Underground stations in the London Pay as you go 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.

Avoiding Zone 1

If you change trains in order to avoid travelling through Zone 1 on your journey, you should make sure that you touch your Oyster card on the pink validator located on the station platform to pay the cheaper fare. If you do not, you may be charged a higher (via Zone 1) fare.

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, 26-30, Veterans, 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 journeys on National Rail (including Elizabeth line and London Overground), London Underground and DLR. They can also obtain a 1/3 discount on the Off-Peak daily price cap. Disabled Persons Railcard holders also get 1/3 discount of the peak fares and caps.

To qualify for these discounts, holders must have a valid Railcard or Annual Gold Card and registered their Oyster card online on the TfL website or app. You can register your card online at tfl.gov.uk/oyster  Discounts can be applied by the TfL staff at any;

  • London Underground station
  • London Overground or Elizabeth line station
  • Visitor Centre
  • Oyster Ticket Stop

Discounts can also be applied at selected National Rail ticket offices with the ability to 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 discounted Railcard fares on Pay as you go are not shown by our Journey Planner.

Children, 16-18 Year Old's 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 old's can obtain an Oyster Photocard entitling them to travel at half the adult Pas 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 Price Cap

Pay as you go fares are subject to a daily and weekly 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.

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

You must register your Oyster card online to protect any Pay as you go credit or Season Tickets loaded on it if the card is lost or stolen, or to apply for a refund on your Travelcard Season Ticket. To register your card, please go to www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster 

Travelcard Surveys

Throughout the year, Transport for London and the Rail Delivery Group conduct surveys into customers use of Travelcards. Details can be found on this page.

Travelcards

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 permit unlimited travel on:

  • London Underground (the Tube), DLR, and National Rail services (including London Overground and Elizabeth line*)
  • 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 Trams services, where the Travelcard is valid for travel in Zone 3, 4, 5 or 6 or any combination of these zones.

*subject to the zones purchased

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Where and When Can I Use My Travelcard?

Travelcards purchased for any combination of Zones within the London Fare Zones area. A map of the area is available here.

Your Travelcard must be valid for all the zones you travel in or through.

  • Anytime 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 1-4 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. 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. If your 7-Day or period Travelcard is issued as a paper ticket, you will need a Photocard to use with this ticket (issued at any National Rail ticket office). You will need to provide your name and a passport sized photo.

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.
  • Anytime Day Travelcards are valid for travel at any time of day and up to the early hours of the following day. Within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29 and all travel, including beyond the London Fare Zones must be completed by this time.
  • Off-Peak Day Travelcards are valid for travel from whenever Off-Peak fares become available from your origin 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, and within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29 and all travel, including beyond the London Fare Zones must be completed by that time. 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 your journey beyond the London Fare Zones area is completed by 04:29. Within the London Fare Zones area you may use the Travelcard until 04:29.

For further information on Travelcard Season Tickets click here.

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Last updated:   23 May 2022