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Most Expensive Oyster Journey?

You might be thinking something like Amersham to Shenfield which is £11.00 in the peak time, or perhaps you’ve remembered that Gatwick Express now uses Oyster and charges £19.80 single.  They’re both good guesses and neither can be beaten with a single paper ticket, but the Gatwick Express one is more expensive than paper if you make a return.

However, say you’re in Stratford and want to see a friend off from the airport.  You go to Westfield for some last minute supplies and then want to travel.  One of the ways you can do this is to take Southeastern High Speed to St Pancras then Victoria line to Victoria and finally Gatwick Express.  Journey time is about 1 hour and avoids the slow Thameslink crawl through south London thanks to the London Bridge rebuilding.  Once you’ve seen your friend off you want to come back to Stratford.  How much will this cost?

Stratford Int’l to St Pancras Int’l £3.80 (off-peak)
Kings Cross St Pancras to Victoria £2.40
Victoria to Gatwick using the Express £19.80
Total one way: £26.00, both ways £52.00 assuming off-peak on HS1

or Stratford Int’l to Gatwick Airport off-peak day return £23.30

So that makes Oyster 123% more expensive.

4 Responses

  1. The £19.80 fare on the Gatwick Express is a premium fare set by the operator for the privilege of travelling on that route. The off peak day return from Stratford Int to Gatwick is NOT valid on the Gatwick Express so you can’t compare that to Oyster. However if you use Oyster pay as you go and travel on Southeastern trains (for which your return would only be valid for) your Oyster card will cap at a mere £9.50 during off peak times or £15.25 during peak times, excellent value I would say.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I’m sorry but your assertions are completely wrong. The off-peak day return from Stratford International to Gatwick Airport is routed +Via London which absolutely means it is valid on Gatwick Express services. Also, if you use Oyster PAYG on the Southeastern trains between Stratford International and St Pancras International the fare absolutely will not count towards any cap. Finally, the caps you have quoted are for half price Oysters (16-18 and Jobcentre Plus). The adult caps are double those.

  3. Mike, you’re right, I quoted the price I would pay, the adult cap is £19.00 for Zones 1-9+Gatwick, and you’re right on the Hi Speed not counting toward the cap too, so the £3.80 each way on the hi speed and the £19.00 cap between Kings X and Gatwick would make a total of £26.60 so your off peak return works out cheaper right enough, but its still not as bad as the £52 you originally made it on Oyster, but of course my way you don’t get to go on the Gatwick Express. Cheers.

  4. Hi Tom,

    Well £52 is what you would be charged if you chose to go on the Gatwick Express. One of the reasons for highlighting this is that at certain times of day the TfL journey planner will suggest exactly that route using both premium services.

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