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Mixing Oyster and Paper Tickets

*** New rules for travelcards starting 1st October 2016 ***

The original page upto 30th September 2016 has been archived.

If the Olympics has taught me one thing it is that there is a lot of confusion about how to use both Oyster and a paper ticket on a journey from outside London.

When you want to use a PAYG Oyster card

With PAYG there are no ifs and no buts, you have to get out at the station where you switch from paper to Oyster or vice versa.  This doesn’t necessarily make it useless, but it’s certainly a disadvantage where services are infrequent and/or there are no validators on the platform.  It can be useful when using some major stations as a gateway to the world beyond Oyster, like Watford Junction, East Croydon, Orpington, Surbiton, Amersham, Upminster and Shenfield.  Other potentially useful stations are just one stop outside the Oyster area (eg Epsom or Potters Bar).

When you want to use a Travelcard on Oyster

A travelcard on Oyster is exactly the same as a travelcard on paper.  There is no penalty for not touching in or out providing the whole journey (on the Oyster card) is within the zones covered by the travelcard.  There is also no longer a requirement for the train to stop where you switch from one ticket to another (from Oct 1st 2016).  All you need to ensure is that the tickets cover the whole journey.  If your paper ticket is between two named stations then one of them must be within the outer zone of your travelcard (or a dual zoned station with one zone covered).  If your paper ticket is to a boundary zone or includes zones itself then the zones must be adjacent.

As examples, the following are all valid with a zone 1-2 travelcard on the Oyster card:

  • A single or return to or from boundary zone 2.
  • A single or return to or from Clapham Junction (zone 2).
  • A single or return to or from West Ham (zones 2/3).
  • A season ticket to or from Clapham Junction.
  • A season ticket to or from West Ham.
  • A season ticket to zones 3-6.

Where a named station is used, the train MUST pass through (or call at) the named station.  Care should be exercised if using Lewisham (2/3) as not all trains from Hither Green or Ladywell pass through Lewisham.  There may be other examples of this issue.

For those interested, the new conditions of travel can be found on the National Rail website.  The relevant condition reads as follows:

14. Using a combination of Tickets
14.1 Unless shown below, you may use a combination of two or more Tickets to make a journey provided that the train services you use call at the station(s) where you change from one Ticket to another.
14.2 If you are using a Season Ticket, daily Zonal Ticket, or another area based Ticket such as a concessionary pass, ranger or rover in conjunction with another Ticket and the last station at which one Ticket is valid and the first station that the other Ticket is valid are the same, then the train does not need to call at that station for your combination to be valid.
14.3 Some Tickets specifically exclude their use in conjunction with other Tickets. This will be made clear in the terms and conditions when buying such Tickets, and you cannot use such a Ticket in conjunction with another except as set out in 14.1 above.
14.4 In all cases you must comply with the specific terms and conditions of each of the Tickets you are using (for example, keeping to the valid route(s) and train services for which each Ticket is valid). It is your responsibility to check that you comply with the Conditions listed above.

Note that it is condition 14.2 which allows the train not to call when using a travelcard season as one of the tickets.  Note also that despite appearances to the contrary, there is no gap between London zones and therefore it doesn’t matter if the switch takes place between stations as long as the zones covered are adjacent.

129 Responses

  1. I have a 60+ photo Oystercard and want to travel to Heathrow on the Heathrow Connect. I know that I need a paper ticket for the Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow leg.

    The journey will be at the weekend when there is a 30 min service and I will have luggage, so jumping off the train and looking for an Oyster platform validator (if there is one at H&H) will be a a bit problematic.

    If I simply tap in at Paddington and don’t tap out again, will I encounter any problems or actually be doing anything wrong ? I won’t be using the Oyster for at least another week+, so plenty of time for it somehow to reset itself.

  2. Hi Ricardo,

    You’ll be fine. The 60+ Oyster card is treated like a season ticket so there is no penalty for not touching out or in. You just have to have it with you to show if asked.

  3. Can you please advise what would be the cheapest / quickest means of transport from Camden to Maidenhead at present I am having to take bus to Baker street, tube to Paddington then train to Maidenhead.

    I am paying ~£15 return from Paddington to Maidenhead in peak hour travel plus the oyster usage for bus and train

  4. Hi Farhad,

    Sadly cheapest and quickest often mean completely different options in transport terms. The 27 bus goes from Camden to Paddington and would cut out the Underground so you’d only be paying 2x £1.50 on Oyster. Or you could take the tube from Camden Town and change at Euston, short walk to Euston Square then onto Paddington. This would cost 2x £2.90 on Oyster which is still less than tube plus bus.

  5. Which is cheaper, a travel card from my home national rail station or a weekly cap on contactless? I’m looking for an annual ticket from RLG to Canary Wharf.

  6. Hi Mark,

    You can’t use Oyster or contactless from Rayleigh. An annual travelcard from Rayleigh to zones 2-6 is just about the best value. You could save £4.00 by splitting that into an annual season from Rayleigh to Chadwell Heath and a zone 2-5 travelcard, but I’m not sure that the hassle of having two tickets is really worth it. Other splits cost more than the single ticket.

  7. Hi Mike,
    I have a monthly zone 1-6 travelcard, but relatively regularly travel to sevenoaks or tonbridge on southeastern from waterloo east. Orpington is the last major station in zone 6 so is it appropriate to buy a ticket from orpington to sevenoaks/tonbridge at waterloo east, tap in with my oyster and then use the paper ticket to clear the barriers at sevenoaks/tonbridge? Thanks

  8. Hi James,

    Yes, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be Orpington though. You can either buy from Boundary Zone 6 or from Knockholt, whichever is cheaper. The train can be non-stop to Sevenoaks in either case.

  9. Hi Mike

    Travelling from St Pancras International to Clapham Junction on Thursday 10th, 7pm. Not sure what the cheapest way is. Do I use my oyster card for the first bit (underground to Victoria Station) and buy a paper ticket from Victoria to Clapham Junction, or do I buy a paper ticket from the start? I find it all rather confusing. By the way: I’m travelling with friends who don’t have oyster cards. What would be the best solution for us all?
    Thank you very much!

  10. Hi Lise,

    The best solution for all of you is to use either an Oyster card or a contactless payment card/device for the whole journey. Starting at 7pm, the single fare for that journey is £3.70. If you want to save a little extra you can make the journey for £2.40 by travelling on Thameslink and London Overground via Denmark Hill.

  11. Hi Mike,

    I think I understand your explanations about how to mix paper tickets and travelcards. I still struggle to understand when I need to touch in/out with my Zone 1-2 travelcard (loaded on Oyster) though. Let’s say I am going from London Waterloo to Winchester and return. I am buying a Clapham Junction to Winchester return ticket and for the rest I am covered with my Zone 1-2 travelcard. Do I need to touch in at London Waterloo national rail gates with my Zone 1-2 travelcard? Wouldn’t that result in an incomplete journey as I don’t touch out and attract more charges? And same for return? If I exit the national rail gates by using my Zone 1-2 travelcard then that would be another incomplete journey? Or should I not touch in and out at all and just explain to station staff at Waterloo and they let me in/out without touching?

    Thank you very much for your help!

  12. Oyster PAYG and train paper is a real pain at CLJ. There are no yellow validators on the Overground platform just pink ones. NR expect you to leave the station on PAYG and come back in on your rail ticket. I never have (and until recently have never had a problem) but now it is showing up as an incomplete journey albeit it notes I touched the pink validator. Surprisingly difficult to get a refund too “you must exit the station” hmm

  13. Thanks Paul – and of course I don’t want to get out of my train at all to validate anything. I just don’t want to pay full London to Winchester ticket when London to CLJ part is already covered by my travelcard. So my intention is to buy a CLJ to Winchester ticket and travel from Waterloo to CLJ by using my zone 1-2 travelcard. I could do so by touching in at Waterloo with my travelcard, leave train and touch out at CLJ and then go in again with a CLJ to Winchester paper ticket. But of course I don’t want to change train and leave the station…

  14. Hi Marco,

    You don’t need to touch at Clapham Junction if you have a zone 1-2 travelcard on your Oyster. There is no penalty for failing to touch within the zones covered by a travelcard, so you’ll be fine.

  15. Hi Paul,

    I doubt there will ever be yellow platform validators at Clapham Junction (apart from the ones on the highest number platform). Their provision would simply be a fare-dodgers paradise. When using PAYG you simply have to touch in and out.

  16. Hi Mike,

    That is great news, thank you! So I can simply touch in and out at Waterloo National Rail with my zone 1-2 travel card and not being worried about incomplete journeys!

    But it leads to another question: if I travel from central London with my zone 1-2 travel card to London City Airport in zone 3 then I would touch in at central London tube station and touch out at London City Airport DLR station. An additional fare is charged PAYG when touching out as I am gone out of zone 1-2. Couldn’t some people just avoid to pay the additional fare by just not touching out? This of course goes for all stations without gates within zone 1-9 Oyster card area?

  17. Hi Mike
    Yes I’m sure you’re right although checking tickets on the trains would remedy that. Having said that I’m sure there was once a couple of yellow validators on the Overground platform. Memory playing tricks I suppose. Curiously going the other way – pink validator in at CLJ and yellow validator out at West Hampstead doesn’t seem to cause a problem

  18. Hi Marco,

    They can try, but if caught by revenue teams the punishment could be severe, including a large fine and a criminal record.

  19. Hi Paul,

    That’s an unfortunate side effect of the pink validator programming. If you aren’t in the system then a pink reader will act as a yellow and touch you in. They will never touch you out though. Personally I wish they wouldn’t do that because it’s confusing.

  20. Hello,

    What is the cheapest option from Grays (zone G) to London zone 1 monthly travel/oyster. I know I can purchase a paper travel card that includes grays and London underground stations but find it it very expensive. Was wondering if I can get a paper travelcard with my oyster card some how..


  21. Hi ,

    Could you help me find out what the oyster fare would be for going from Watford junction to victoria station (apollo theatre) please by using a 18+ Oyster card


  22. Hi Mike,

    I have an annual zone 1-3 oyster travelcard but am moving in with a friend temporarily in Epsom.
    The oyster card should cover the part of the journey from Waterloo to Wimbledon.

    So if I purchase a monthly season ticket for my journey between Epsom and Wimbledon can I simply touch in with that card at Epsom and then touch out at Waterloo with my oyster (and vice versa)?

    I get very confused about the touching in/out system! Thanks for your help!

  23. Hi Karts,

    You can now purchase a paper season for Grays to West Ham and a zone 1-2 travelcard on your Oyster. That combination is valid as long as the train passes through West Ham (ok for Fenchurch Street, not Liverpool Street). Weekly prices are (monthly and longer will be proportionate):

    Grays to zones 1-6: £84.60
    Grays to West Ham: £45.80
    Zone 1-2 Travelcard: £32.40
    Saving £6.40

  24. Hi Lola,

    My Oyster fare finder says £9.30 peak, £6.50 off-peak. Single fares on 18+ cards are the same as adult fares.

  25. Hi Andrew,

    As far as the Oyster is concerned, that’s fine. If the Epsom to Wimbledon ticket is paper then it is also fine, but if it is stored on the SWT smartcard (assuming that’s possible) then I’m not sure.

  26. Hello,

    I’m moving to Colchester shortly but still need to change at Stratford for a zone 2 station exit.

    I was thinking of use a greater anglia smart card and an Oyster card PAYG combination, do I need to touch in at Stratford on the Oyster card reader to validate entry?

    Other solution would be purchasing a season ticket with London zones added, however again, would I need to touch in at Stratford to validate entry into a London zone?

    Many thanks


  27. Hi Jessica,

    If you are using PAYG then you need to touch at both ends of the journey. If you are using a travelcard then you don’t, provinding both ends of the journey are covered by the travelcard.

  28. Hi Mike,

    I currently have an annual travel card on my oyster (zone 1-6) which expires at the end of this month. Next month I’m moving to Kent and my nearest station will be Farningham Road, what will be my cheapest option travelling into Victoria and travelling around zone 1 daily?


  29. Hi Sarah,

    There are two sensible options. First is the Farningham Road to zones 1-6 travelcard at £90.70/week. Second is to split at St Mary Cray where Farningham Road to St Mary Cray is £30.80/week and zones 1-6 is £59.10/week saving 80p/week. Annual prices are 40x the weekly ones. If you split you can keep the zone 1-6 on your Oyster card. New rules mean that the train doesn’t need to call where you switch from one ticket to the other.

  30. Hi Mike,

    We are moving to Potters Bar in December and will be commuting to Covent Garden for 3 days a week for work. What is the most cost effective way? Carnet tickets and payg?

    My partner works in Holborn and would travel for all 5 days. Can she get a return ticket to Hadley Wood and Zone 1-6 travel card and still board a direct train to kings cross?


  31. Hi Amit,

    For the three days a week I agree that Carnet tickets plus PAYG is probably best. Do be VERY careful when dating the Carnet tickets. Ask if the station can provide a suitable pen. If they can’t then I believe sharpie pens will work. Ordinary biros don’t mark properly and you’ll look like you’ve altered the date if you try to go over it again. That is obviously a complete no-no and the TOC are very hot on Carnet abuse.

    For your partner, yes she can use a ticket to Hadley Wood along with a travelcard season on Oyster. The Hadley Wood ticket can even be a season now that the rules have changed, and the train doesn’t need to call. Or she can just buy a paper travelcard from Potters Bar. It might even be possible to put this on the Key smartcard, but I’m not 100% sure on that one.

  32. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Sidcup (Zone 5) to Maidenhead 3 days a week. 1. If I use Oyster from Sidcup (Zone 5) to West Drayton (ie Boundary – Zone 6) via Paddington (Zone 1) and buy a return GWR train ticket from ticket office ie. from Boundary 6 to Maidenhead, please advise that I don’t need to get out of train in West Drayton (Zone 6 boundary) and touch out the oyster and continue my journey by catching next train to Maidenhead.
    2. Similarly while returning from Maidenhead to Sidcup using return ticket from Maidenhead to Boundary 6 and then continue to Paddington, should I get down the train on West Drayton (Boundary zone 6) to touch in the Oyster and again catch next train to Paddington or I can only do touch out at Paddington continuing on the same train from Maidenhead to Paddington ? Thanks.

  33. Hi Mike,

    Just to add currently I am buying Zone 1-6 all day travel card £17.20 + return ticket Boundary 6 to Maidenhead £5.60 ie total @ £22.80 / Day. Checking if Oyster option is cheaper than this with Daily Peak travel cap of £11.80 & buying returning Boundary 6 to Maidenhead. Thanks.

  34. Hi Amar,

    As the page above says, if you are using PAYG then you MUST touch in and out at the ends of each journey. Also, if you do use PAYG you are not purchasing a day travelcard so the ticket needs to be from West Drayton, not boundary zone 6.

    Have you considered using Oyster from Sidcup to Hayes & Harlington (both zone 5) and a paper ticket from there? That cuts the cap to £11.00 with a £6.20 off-peak* paper return. Hayes is also served by Heathrow Connect services so if you time your journeys right you won’t have to wait so long for the next train.

    *Valid to depart Hayes & Harlington after 0930.

  35. Hi Mike! Thanks for all you do, this site is absolutely essential and very much appreciated. Stupidly dumb question: if I buy an annual season ticket from Chertsey to Zone 5-6, can I get the Zone 5-6 bit loaded onto Oyster, or must I have that as paper? If the former, where would I go to have that done? If the latter, what’s the least expensive way to travel into London from a Zone 5 station without paying for Zone 5? Paper tickets would seem silly (and expensive), but resorting to Oyster for that journey would negate the fact I’ve paid for Zone 5 with my rail season ticket, so I’m hoping the zones can be loaded to Oyster which would fix all of it. Thank you again!

  36. Hi John-Paul,

    Sadly there is no way to put the zone 5-6 bit on an Oyster card unless you split the ticket with the Chertsey to Feltham bit on paper. That costs quite a bit more. The only way to avoid paying for zone 5 on Oyster would be to take a bus to a zone 4 station.

  37. Hi there
    I am about to start a new commute Barnes-Staines daily. Staines just falls outside Z6. What do you recommend is the cheapest and easiest way to travel please? I am considering an oyster season ticket Z3-6, and then a paper season Feltham-Staines? Assume I wont need to get off in Feltham? Also, I noticed the last time I went to Staines, the train emptied at Syon Park (I think) and I couldn’t understand why as it doesn’t seem to be a connecting station! Many thanks for your views.

  38. Hi El,

    If you only need to use SWT then a point-to-point season ticket is likely to be cheapest. If you also need buses or Underground then you can get a Staines to zones 3-6 travelcard season which can be used either way round. If you do buy split seasons then you are correct that you won’t have to get off at Feltham, but this is likely to be more expensive than the Staines travelcard.

  39. Hi Mike,
    I’m travelling from Shepperton to Holborn daily and wondering what is the best ticket to use. About twice a week I travel via Walton so have been buying a monthly ticket from Shepperton to Waterloo, with the option to use Walton, and using contactless on the bus from Waterloo to Holborn. Aiming to buy an annual pass next month, not sure what is the best option.

  40. Hi Orla,

    Unless you start needing to use the tube regularly, then keep going with the Shepperton to Waterloo AAA Walton On T ticket as an annual. One bus each way (or even two if the journey is short) won’t warrant a season for the buses, so keep using contactless for that. If you do need to make occasional journeys on other rail lines in London then get an Oyster card and get the gold card discount added to it.

    Finally, if you can buy the annual season to start by Jan 1st you’ll get it at 2016 the price. From Jan 2nd it will cost more.

  41. Hi Mike,

    I have weekly oyster card 1-5 zones. I need 1 day go to Luton Airport and back. I’m going from East Croydon so oyster should cover part of my journey. Is there a way to avoid getting off the train as they run every 30 mins at best?


  42. Hi mike, please could you tell me the cheapest way to travel off peak from hildenborough to Bond Street? I have been buying a travel card but is it cheaper to go to London Bridge and then use oyster? Thanks.

  43. Hi Liz,

    The travelcard is cheaper for that combination as long as it is a return journey.

  44. Hi Greta,

    Huge apologies for the delay replying. You need to buy a ticket from boundary zone 5 to Luton Airport Parkway. Then you can just stay on the train.

  45. I need to get a monthly commuter ticket from Walton on Thames to London Waterloo and then be able to move around in zone 1. Is it worth getting a Walton to London terminals monthly paper ticket and then a zone 1-2 monthly Oyster travelcard or should I get an Oyster zone 1-6 travelcard and then a monthly extension paper ticket between Surbiton and Walton? Many thanks.

  46. Hi Jen,

    Apologies for the delay. The cheapest ticket is a Walton on Thames to zones 1-6 travelcard at £291.50. Walton on Thames to Waterloo is £223.90 and a zones 1-2 travelcard is £124.50 totalling £348.30. Walton on Thames to Surbiton is £104.50 and a zones 1-6 travelcard is £227.00 totalling £331.50. All prices are 2016 monthly ones valid until 1/1/2017.

  47. Hi, I want travel to Epsom from Vauxhall, what is the cheapest way? I usually just top up my oyster pay as you go. However, I found out that Epsom is not included in oyster. So what should I do? Thank you.

    P.S I might need to travel to Epsom everyday so what is the cheapest way to commute to there, thank you.

  48. Hi Mike,

    In the new year i will need to travel to st Albans city from Hainault underground for work. I have a 16 – 25 rail card and figured its cheaper to go via Stratford. Using Pay as you go to get from Hainault to Stratford. Then on the paper ticket go from Stratford Overground to West Hampstead and finally st Albans city. Doing the math, it’ll cost £15.40 a day. My concern is where to touch out at Stratford (at the gates or are there validators on the overground platforms). So, then the paper ticket covers the rest of the journey.

    Thanks, in advance

  49. Hi Abdul,

    In the new year it will cost £15.55 as the paper ticket increases slightly, but I agree that this is the cheapest way. You will have to touch out at Stratford and back in again in the evening. This has to be done at yellow readers, either one of the gatelines or the various validators on the station. The validators on the overground platforms are pink and cannot be used to end a journey. They will start a journey in the evening, although I gather that there is often a queue when a train has arrived from the Hackney direction.

  50. Hi Anna,

    If you only need to use SWT then a point-to-point season ticket between Vauxhall and Epsom will be cheapest.

  51. Hi Mike,

    I work in Stevenage but live near Tooting Broadway in South West London. What is the cheapest ticket option for the commute?

    I am currently looking at a Zone 1-3 and then an annual ticket from Kings Cross to Stevenage. Is there a cheaper way of doing it? Would I be able to use all services from Kings Cross i.e. both the Virgin and Great Northern services?

    Thanks for your help.


  52. Hi Mike – great site so thanks so much for all your efforts. Much appreciated.

    I commute daily from Potters Bar to Zone 1 (victoria) and normally get an annual gold season ticket from Potters Bar for Zones 1 – 6. Is there a cheaper way of doing that journey please or is the annual gold card still the best value?

    Many thanks.

  53. Hi Andy,

    The cheapest way to use all services is a zone 1-3 travelcard and an Alexandra Palace to Stevenage season. Note that if you end up commuting 4 or less days a week then you may be better off with daily anytime returns (Ally Pally to Stevenage) because your commute is the wrong way round.

  54. Hi Janet,

    Potters Bar to zones 1-6 is just about the cheapest option. If either of your tube journeys (Finsbury Park to Victoria) can be outside peak hours (0630-0930, 1600-1900) then Oyster PAYG with the Gold Card discount added thanks to an annual Potters Bar to Finsbury Park season might just be cheaper. This also assumes you don’t travel in London that much when not working.

  55. Hi

    I am planning on getting a 16y/o oyster PAYG however my station is brookmans park (one off Potters Bar). I like to travel to London with friends and BP has no barries/oyster tapper. Thus when travelling back ffrom fins park, how do i tap back out with my oyster? can i even do so? is it worth getting a child’s oyster? many thanks indeed

  56. Hello
    I want to travel from Waterloo East to High Brooms (next to Tunbridge Wells) on 3 JAN at 08.05
    I have some credit left in my PAYG oyster. Can I use the remaining credit towards my paper ticket or can I use the oyster for part of the journey? FYI the first stop is Sevenoaks outside the TfL area.

  57. Many thanks for your helpful reply Mike – keep up the good work – and Happy New Year!

  58. Hi Josef,

    You can’t use Oyster north of Hadley Wood. If you want to use a zip card you would have to get off the train to touch in before continuing your journey, and the same on the way back.

  59. Hi Chris,

    The only way to use the remaining credit for other purchases is to get the Oyster card refunded at an Underground station. If the train doesn’t stop within the Oyster area then you can’t use PAYG on it.

  60. Hi Mike,

    In the new year I have a new job which means lots of travelling around London. I will mainly be leaving from Three Bridges and need to get to Holborn Monday – Friday, although some days I will need to travel around London (e.g. Go to Wembley instead, or elephant and castle). I’m thoroughly confused about whether a travel card is best. I’ll be leaving three bridges around 7-7.30am and most likely getting tubes/trains back from 5.30pm. The other confusing thing is that some days I may be leaving from Catford instead of Three bridges as I’m in the middle of moving house (from Catford to Three bridges). Is there a travel card that covers all of this or do I need a mix of paper tickets and travel cards?

  61. colin penfold

    Hi Rachel

    A non-expert comment pending Mike’s return:

    A Zones 1-6 Travelcard from Three Bridges will cover all your travel within the Zones including those days when you start from Catford.

    If you can commit to using Thameslink services only from Three Bridges as far as Zone 6 (Coulsdon South/Purley – in practice East Croydon) the weekly price is (today) £81.70 instead of £106.70. Once inside the zones the ticket is valid on all brands of train just like any other travelcard.
    Consult the timetable carefully before deciding!

    Splitting at Coulsdon South would be more expensive, except if there is a period when you are travelling mostly from Catford.

  62. Thanks Colin. Which ticket costs £106.70? I think I’ll have to go down to the station tomorrow to buy the travel card from there. Not having much success online. Some days I will be going to Hastings so I guess those weeks I’ll have to buy a ticket as and when I’m going in to London.

  63. When I renew my Senior Railcard do I need to relink it to my Oyster card

  64. Hi Catherine,

    Yes you do.

  65. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks to Colin too for his help. £106.70 was yesterdays price, it’s now £108.70, and the Thameslink only option is now £83.30. My concern would be how many Thameslink trains stop at Three Bridges.

    If you need 5 days in London then a travelcard option will cover everything you’ve mentioned (apart from Hastings of course). It will still be worthwhile for 3 or 4 days. Anything less will be daily tickets.

  66. Hi Mike

    Thank you for all the great advice, its good to know that I am not the only person who finds this all too confusing.

    I am looking to move to Basildon and travel to Canary Wharf. On the C2C website I can enter to go from Basildon to Limehouse and when the options come up it states Basildon to Zones 2-6. Would this be all I needed? I think the price is around £2960 for the year?


  67. Hi Mike,

    I live in East London zone 2 and will soon start commuting to Staines for work on a daily basis. The quickest route is via tube to Waterloo and then the train to/from Staines. What is the cheapest way to do this? I know a monthly season ticket from Waterloo to Staines is £242.70 (and I will have to pay my tube fare on top of this – either PAYG or get a zone 1-2 travelcard).

    Would it be cheaper to get a zone 1-6 travelcard and then buy a season ticket from Feltam to Staines on top of this? How much would it cost for either a 7 day or monthly ticket to do this?

    Thanks so much.

  68. Hi Elizabeth,

    What you need is a Staines to zone 1-6 travelcard which is £311.10. Out boundary travelcards can only be specified with the out station as the origin, but you can of course use it either way round. Depending on where in East London you need to get from you could also consider a Staines to zone 2-6 travelcard (£232.00/month) and use London Overground between Clapham Junction and Canada Water, then the tube.

  69. Hi Mike,

    I’m travelling to my university that is in Egham. The closest station to my house is Queensbury station, but I always take two buses to get to Harrow & Wealdstone, and then I take the train from there since its much cheaper. I always bought paper tickets to travel since Egham does not validate Oysters. Could you find out the cheapest I can pay to get to Egham? I currently pay £9.70 off peak with railcard from harrow & wealdstone.

  70. Hi Mahil,

    I can’t get any cheaper than that price.

  71. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your input on the route earlier. I’ve confirmed the location of the yellow validators on the Central/ TFL rail platforms at Stratford.
    I’ve purchased and collected my first week of tickets. The ticket states Valid via West Hampstead Only. The route from Stratford where the ticket starts goes via the over ground to West Hampstead Overground station. However, if I were to take the central line to Bond street and change over for the jubilee to west Hampstead would the ticket cover the travel? The tickets do not have the Plus or Maltese Cross.

  72. Hi Abdul,

    No. The lack of Maltese Cross means that the tickets are not valid on the Underground at all.

  73. Hi Mike,

    Can you tell me the cheapest way to travel between Potters Bar and Canary Wharf 5 days a week in peak time. Is it cheaper to get a season ticket to Hadley Wood and then use Oyster for the rest of the way?

    Currently I have an annual Gold Card but this is due to expire in March.


  74. Hi Yasmin,

    As far as I can see, the cheapest way is to buy a Potters Bar to zones 2-6 season and avoid zone 1 by changing at Highbury & Islington and Stratford. Splits don’t appear to save anything over this.

  75. Thanks Mike,

    So you think I should use the London Overground? How much does this come to?

  76. Hi Yasmin,

    The Annual Potters Bar to zones 1-6 is £3012 this year. If you lose zone 1 it becomes £2280.

  77. Mike,

    Thanks so much for your help.

  78. Thanks Mike. I use thameslink mon -fri (From Luton to Victoria) and need to renew my ticket in February. Based upon this thread it looks like I might be able to save £668pa?

    Z1-3 oyster season £1548 + luton to hendon season £2860. Hendon is zone 3/4

    Looking at the Luton plus Z1-6 ticket its £5076? Have I interpreted this correctly?

  79. Hi Gavin,

    Yes you have. It is one of the better gains since you are now allowed to mix two seasons without the train needing to call. There may be a change to this in the future, but if you get the tickets now they will be valid until they expire.

  80. Hi all,

    I do hope you can help.

    I need to travel from Epsom to Canary Wharf 2 or 3 times a week but am struggling to find a ticket. The most cost effective and often fastest way to do this is via Canada Water as it avoids Zone 1. Depending on the time you transfer at West Croydon, Norwood Junction or Clapham Junction. £9.60 return to Canada Water and then £1.70 each way on the tube. Epsom Downs station is too far for me to get to which is a shame as it is in Z6.

    A weekly travel card does not seem to work for me as I travel too infrequently. It does not seem to be possible to buy a daily Epsom to Zone 2 as they are only available as weekly travel cards. I can buy a daily Epsom to Canada Water (although infuriatingly not on the Souther Key card or the Southwest Trains smart card and obviously not on the Oyster, so that means the long queue at Epsom each day). It then seems I need to go upstairs and leave the station at Canada Water to touch in with a PAYG before walking back down to the tube, and the same on the way back, which takes an age. I can see Pink Validators at Canada Water but not Yellow.

    Can anyone suggest a more convenient way to achieve this journey (other than paying £19:30 for a travel card including Zone 1)?



  81. Hi Scott,

    I can’t help much I’m afraid. Day travelcards do only exist by including zone 1 so you are limited to buying paper tickets. You can buy these online and collect from a ticket machine if that saves some queueing. As for touching in at Canada Water, you can actually touch in at Clapham Junction or New Cross Gate and pay the same PAYG fare if that helps. As long as it’s still a zone 2 only journey you’re fine.

  82. Hello there,
    we’ll be a group of 9 in March, having booked a hotel in Walton on Thames. Is it possible to use the Oyster Card from Walton station to Waterloo or is it just for Central London?


  83. Hi Mike, I’m moving to luton from london, but will be commuting to holborn everyday for work. Can you please advice on the cheapest option/route for both monthly and annual tickets

  84. Hi Helge,

    You can’t use Oyster at Walton on Thames. You may find it is cheaper to buy a Walton-on-Thames to zones 1-6 travelcard and use that for everything instead of using Oyster. The off-peak day return to Waterloo is £11.50 whereas the off-peak travelcard is £17.80. The zone 1-2 cap on Oyster is £6.60 which would mean £18.10 for a day with the day return.

  85. Hi Cynthia,

    If you can use City Thameslink rather than Holborn then all you’ll need is a ticket from Luton to London Thameslink. If you must use the tube then it’ll need to be a Luton to zones 1-6 travelcard. Both can be bought as season tickets valid for a week or any period between a month and a year.

  86. hi please can you help me.i am a student in London and live in Basildon.HOW CAN I TRAVEL CHEAPER FROM BASILDON TO LONDON.

  87. Hi, I’m commuting every weekday from Surbiton to Camden Town area. I’m buying ‘Surbiton(SUR) to London Travelcard Zones 1-6’ weekly (£60.20) or monthly tickets (£231.20). I’m not traveling around the London. Is there any other cheapest option? For example: ‘Surbiton(SUR) to London Travelcard Zones 2-6’ for weekly (£41.20) or monthly (£158.30) going to Camden Road station?

  88. Hi Inga,

    You’ll need to be more specific about where in London you need to get to and how frequently. Also, is it always in the peaks?

  89. Hi Alexandra,

    Zones 2-6 will work fine (Surbiton is in zone 6). If it’s on Oyster and you need to go into zone 1 occasionally you’ll only be charged a zone 1 single.

  90. Hi, I have to travel from West Brompton to Leatherhead with a 60+ Oyster card. It doesn’t take me all the way. Can you please advise how I can combine this with an extension ticket? Thanks

  91. Hi Kevin,

    You’ll need a boundary zone 6 to Leatherhead ticket. You can use that on either route between Clapham Junction and Epsom (where Ewell East and West are the boundary stations).

  92. Hi Mike, Can you please advise the best way of getting to London Bridge or Farringdon Station from Oxted. Currently driving to Upper Warlingham ( which accepts PAYG Oyster) If I bought a ticket from Oxted to East Croydon would I need to get out of the train and touch in using Oyster for the remainder of journey. My end of journey is Barbican or Moorgate tube.

  93. Hi Lorraine,

    If you are using PAYG then you do need to get off and touch in/out. If it’s a travelcard then you’re fine to stay on the train. How many days a week do you travel and at what times roughly?

  94. Hi Mike,
    Will be travelling Monday to Friday around 7.15am and returning 5.00pm. Thanks.

  95. Hi Lorraine,

    To be honest, if you are travelling every weekday then an Oxted to zones 1-6 season ticket is your best bet. It’s £77.20/week.

  96. Hi Mike

    From tomorrow I will be travelling (return) to Purley from London Bridge (in rush hour). I have a 60+ card. Will I be able to use this? Or for part of the journey? Or will I need to revert to my old PAYG Oyster? Thanks

  97. Hi Peter,

    The 60+ Oyster is not valid on Southern services until 0930. You could minimise your costs by using an adult Oyster in the morning from Purley to Norwood Junction, then touch out, touch in with the 60+ and take Overground to Canada Water and Jubilee to London Bridge. In the evening the 60+ is fine everywhere.

  98. Hi Mike,

    I travel between Stevenage and City Thameslink 4 times a week (not via Underground). Is the cheapest way using a paper travel card for the entire journey or paper ticket into King Cross then contactless on Thameslink via St Pancras?

  99. I have an adult Oystercard and will have to travel from central London to Laindon several times a week for a few weeks. What is the best/easiest way to do this please?

  100. Hi Ann,

    You’ll need to buy Anytime day returns from Fenchurch Street to Laindon then use Oyster within Central London.

  101. Mike,

    Thanks so much for your help. I’ve purchased the tickets!

  102. Hi!
    So basically I currently use a student 18+ Oyster card with a travel card for zones 1-6 I live in Hornchurch and travel to surbiton for Uni. My travel card is about £160 which is reasonable.. but we may be moving to laindon or Basildon still not decided.. I am trying to figure out what’s the best and cheapest option I can do for travel from these locations.. I still need to travel to uni and work.. which is in Stratford so I need something that works like my zone 1-6 travel card.. please help!

  103. Hi Nida,

    I don’t believe that you’ll still qualify for the 18+ Oyster card if you don’t live in Greater London. Can you give me an idea of a typical week; number of trips to Surbiton, number of trips to Stratford, any other transport needs (eg buses). It’s not going to be a nice number though.

  104. Hi

    I’m looking to travel more than three days a week from Brighton to Catford. I know that it’s cheaper to change at East Croydon and get the tram or bus towards Catford without going in and out of Victoria, but is there a cheaper way to do it than just to get a season ticket for Brighton to London Zones 3-6?

  105. Hi Mike,
    I have a 18+ oyster but I’ve been conflicted as to whether or not I should buy a travel card for zone 2-1. This is because I go to uni 3 times a week only occasionally 4 times. I take the 210 bus to Finsbury Park station then Victoria line to Oxford Circus and pay the full adult price go and back. I was wondering if you could advise me to a cheaper alternative I could use?

  106. Hi K,

    It depends how you want to get to Catford. If you only want to use trams and buses then you only need zones 5-6. If you want to use Southeastern trains between Elmers End and Catford then you do have a slightly cheaper option than zones 3-6 on the travelcard. Instead of a travelcard from Brighton just get a Brighton to East Croydon season ticket. Then get a zones 3-4 travelcard on an Oyster card. This is valid on the trams and also trains in zones 3-4 which is enough to cover Elmers End to Catford Bridge.

  107. Hi Hodan,

    The adult zone 1-2 daily cap is £6.60 so 3 days is £19.80 and 4 days is £26.40. The student weekly travelcard for zones 1-2 is £23.00. Any additional travel on days you don’t go to uni may make the difference.

  108. Hi Mike – thank you so much for this advice!

  109. Hi Mike – great site as always! I have a question – Sometime this month I’ll need to travel from Cambridge to Chafford Hundred, and then make various stops in London Zone 1 before returning to Cambridge. Would the best way to do this be to purchase a Cambridge – Zones 1 to 6 Travelcard along with a Upminster – Chafford Hundred return, or would there be any better alternative that I have overlooked? And assuming I pick up all the tickets beforehand this will allow me to stay on the same train from Fenchurch Street all the way to Chafford Hundred, I believe?

    Many thanks!

  110. Hi Mike, love the site.
    I have a mixing oyster & paper ticket query.
    I’m moving to Hemel Hempstead soon & rather than getting a Zone 1 to Hemel Hempstead season ticket, I’m thinking about getting a Zone 1 to 5 (Harrow & Wealdstone) season ticket, & then use a pre-ordered rail ticket for Harrow & Wealdstone to Hemel Hempstead for the rest of the journey. But I’d only look to do this if I don’t have to get of the train to tap my oyster out..
    Although I’m moving to hemel I’ ll only be going to hemel a few times aweek, (staying in london the other times) so i don’t think i’d get the full financial benefit getting Zone 1 to Hemel.
    Any advice / confirmation would be great!

  111. Hi Lexi,

    To properly advise I really need to know times of the Cambridge to London and return journeys, along with any preference for route (either to Kings Cross or Liverpool Street). The Liverpool Street route is slower but also cheaper.

    However, on a simplistic note, Cambridge to zones 1-6 and Upminster to Chafford Hundred can be used on the same train.

  112. Hi Mart,

    If the zones 1-5 ticket is a travelcard season on an Oyster card then there is no penalty for not touching out if you want to travel on a direct train to Hemel Hempstead. It doesn’t even need to call at Harrow & Wealdstone.

  113. Hey Mike, thanks for the prompt reply! My timings are flexible, but I’d like to reach Chafford Hundred at around 11am and return back to Cambridge at around 6pm – no preference for route but if one is cheaper then that would be what I prefer.

    Thank you for the note regarding the combination of tickets though – that is much appreciated!

  114. Hi Lexi,

    OK, you need the £26 Cambridge to London zones 1-6 off-peak travelcard (Greater Anglia only). You can take the 0848 Cambridge to Liverpool Street which arrives at 1015. Either take the Circle line to Tower Hill or walk to Fenchurch Street. The 1041 from Fenchurch Street arrives at Chafford Hundred at 1112. If you need to be there earlier you’ll have to get an Anytime ticket (£48.80).

    All travel between Cambridge and Boundary zone 6 (Turkey Street/Enfield Lock) must be on Greater Anglia trains. There are no evening restrictions other than using GA once you leave zone 6. Hope that helps.

  115. Hi Mike, thank you so much for your great help, and for putting my mind at ease. Really appreciated!

  116. Hi Mike.

    I’m Traveling in from Eynsford to Canary Wharf Every day without going into Zone 1 . This starts outside the Oyster zone but goes to zone 2.

    I’m wondering if i can get a paper Ticket for the part outside the Oyster zone (to swanley) and then an Oyster card for the rest?

    This would be a lot easier than having to show my paper ticket at the barriers each day.


  117. Hi Jon,

    You can split the season in two, but you will pay more for the convenience. Eynsford to zones 2-6 is £68.90/week. The cheapest split I can find is Eynsford to St Mary Cray for £30.50/week plus zones 2-6 for £41.20/week making £71.70/week.

  118. Hi Mike.

    I asked you some time ago whether there were any yellow card readers on the platforms at Upminster where you could touch in or out when travelling beyond the Oyster area with a PAYG Oyster and a paper ticket. In case anyone would be interested, I now have the answer.
    In the Down direction (away from London), you would have to go up on the bridge to touch out. However, in the Up direction, the original (pre-District Line et al) entrance is on the platform, so touching in and getting back on the same train should be possible if you’re in about the 2nd or 3rd coach of the c2c train.
    Just as a matter of interest……..

  119. Thanks, Steve.

  120. Afternoon Mike,

    Your previous message:

    Hi Mart,

    If the zones 1-5 ticket is a travelcard season on an Oyster card then there is no penalty for not touching out if you want to travel on a direct train to Hemel Hempstead. It doesn’t even need to call at Harrow & Wealdstone.

    So jusy to clarify I could get a Z1-6 (which would cover me to Hatch End) on Oyster Card, & as longs as my pre-purchased ticket for the rest of the jouney says Hatch End to Hemel Hempstead my journey is covered?, even if the direct trains don’t stop at Hatch End, (ie London midland trains).

    Thanks again for your help!

  121. Hi Mart,

    Yes, a zone 1-6 travelcard and a Hatch End to Hemel Hempstead ticket will also be fine.

  122. Hi,

    I need to travel from Hammersmith to Slough daily and am looking for the cheapest option. I thought I had found it at Greenline but no early buses. Can you advise me?



  123. Hi Helen,

    I think the cheapest option is likely to be two buses. Probably H91 and 81. It will take a while but you’ll only be charged either £3 or £4.50 per day. The hopper fare lasts an hour and should mean the second bus is free, but if it doesn’t always make it the daily cap is 3 bus journeys.

  124. Hi,

    I am going to be travelling from West Croydon to Wapping (Zone 5-2) on the overground for my new job. I only use the tube during working days and the rest of the days I don’t use public transport. It seems that the single fare is 2.8 for my journey. According to my calculation of 20 days (2.8*2*20=£116), will be cheaper than a monthly travel card at £126. Am I missing something here? I thought it would be the other way round

  125. Hi Amol,

    If you only use routes charged at the LU rate, which includes LO, it often is cheaper to use PAYG.

  126. Mike, I just want to be 100% sure that I’ve understood the rules about mixing my 60+ Oystercard with paper train tickets. For any journey from Central London to a train station beyond the Oystercard zone, I only need to buy a paper train ticket from the the last Oyster-accepting station that the train passes through, even if it doesn’t actually stop there e.g to get from Waterloo to Chichester, I only need to buy a SW Trains tickets from Surbiton or from Kings Cross to Potters Bar, I only need to buy a Gt Northern train ticket from Hadley Wood etc. I tap in with my Oystercard at the start of the journey and exit at my destination with my paper train ticket. Is that it? Thanks for your reassurance.

  127. Hi Stuart,

    Yes, that’s all fine. The 60+ Oyster is treated like a season ticket (with am-peak restrictions where applicable) so there is no penalty for not touching out/in where you change to/from a paper ticket.

  128. Hi I need to know the nest and cheapest option for 3 of us travelling to the Wireless weekend in Finsbury park in July. We are staying in hackney Friday to Monday but will be travelling from backwards and forwards over the 3 days between Hackney central railways to Finsbury park via Highbury and islington and well as travelling into London and return this will either be from Guildford or Wimbledon depending on the cost
    I dont know is I need an oyster or a travel card?

  129. Hi Liz,

    Taking Guildford first. You need to get a Guildford to Hackney Downs route Not via London single on the Friday which costs £13.00. You then need to travel Guildford to Clapham Junction, change to London Overground for Hackney Central and exit there. Use the reverse on the Monday. If you buy the tickets at Guildford then make sure you ask for Hackney Downs because the fares to Hackney Central are £3.20 more expensive. Buy the return single for Monday at the same time. Use Oyster/contactless for the journeys between Hackney and Finsbury Park.

    If you start at Wimbledon then just use an Oyster card or a contactless payment card for the whole lot.

    If you have a 16-25 railcard then the fares from Guildford will be discounted by a third and you should get it added to your Oyster card as soon as possible. If you can’t get it done at Wimbledon or Clapham Junction then Hackney or Finsbury Park will be OK. Do NOT use contactless if you have a railcard as you won’t get the discount then.

    Hope that helps.

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