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Peak, Off Peak and Caps

This is the updated version of the original page which has been archived.

Adult off-peak caps: From 2015 the adult off-peak caps in zones 1-6 are set at the same level as the anytime or all-day caps.  They are still different though, so that if you have a discount entitlement or are using a zip Oyster then the levels are reduced.

One of the real complications with the new system concerns the difference between peak and off-peak.  The daily price cap operates between 0430 in the morning and 0430 the following morning.  Obviously Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays are off-peak all the time.  For Monday to Friday the day is split into five periods with four different meanings as follows:

Time of Touch In*Actual Rate ChargedCounts towards which price cap
04.30-06.30Off PeakAnytime
09.30-16.00Off PeakAnytime, Off Peak
16.00-19.00PeakAnytime, Off Peak
19.00-04.30Off PeakAnytime, Off Peak

* Remember, if your journey stretches between two of the periods in the table above, the rate and caps are decided by the time of the first touch in.  Any subsequent touches of any description make no difference to the charge for that journey.

On weekdays your travel updates the Anytime total and, if appropriate, the Off-Peak total as well.  If either total exceeds the cap for the zones travelled in then your charges are capped.  Thus, if you make one journey starting before 0930 you are likely to hit the off-peak cap before the anytime cap.  Bus and tram travel also counts towards the independant daily bus cap, such that after 0930 it will only charge if none of the three caps have been reached.

Note: I am now calling the peak cap “Anytime” because that better describes the way it works.  You are always adding to the anytime total unless you first reach the off-peak cap.


As with all rules there are a number of exceptions.

  1. If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 then the off-peak fare applies.  (from 2015 this is true for all rail journeys).
  2. All travel between Euston and Watford Junction before 0930 is charged at off-peak fares as is travel the other way between 1600 and 1900.
  3. There are a number of earlier starts to the off-peak cap from stations at the extremeties of the Oyster area.  Touch in after the times given in the following table will count towards the off-peak price cap, but note that the single fare charged will still be the peak fare until after 0930:
StationTime of Touch In
Chalfont & Latimer09:20
Watford High Street09:10
Carpenders Park09:20
Hatch End09:20**
Whyteleafe South09:15
Tattenham Corner09:00
Coulsdon South09:20
Carshalton Beeches09:20

* Warning: first train from Chesham is not until 0934.  You are not advised to touch in before 0930 or you may be overcharged.

** First trains from Hatch End are 0931 (northbound) and 0932 (sounthbound).  If you will not reach the off-peak cap during the day you are advised to leave touching in until the last minute.

Note: The early start to the off-peak cap from Purley was removed from September 8th 2014.

920 Responses

  1. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Rainham Essex (Zone 6) to Canary Wharf Monday to Friday. I get the 9.26 train in morning and 18.00 in the evening. Would it be more beneficial to pay as you go or to get a monthly ticket for zones 2-6?

  2. Hi Dean,

    If all you do in a week is travel to work and back 5 times then PAYG is cheaper. Also, if your train is running late in the morning and you can touch in slightly later then you might get an off-peak fare that day. Perhaps your best bet is to use PAYG and keep an eye on your journey history to see whether any additional travel is taking you over the weekly/monthly travelcard rate.

  3. I plan to travel in the afternoon on a weekday from Gunnersbury to Shenfield via Overground and then mainline from Stratford. Does the time of touching in (hopefully before 1600) still govern whether the travel is treated peak or off-peak on my Oyster card or does that only apply if all the travel is by LT?

  4. Hi,

    Just wanted to clarify if i was to tap in (zone 6) at between 1600-1900 and tap out after 1900 what would that count as?
    Also is any travel i make after 0930 count towards my off peak daily cap?

  5. Hi Ray,

    Peak and Off-peak is solely governed by time, not by what sort of rail you use. If you touch in before 1600 then you will be charged off-peak fares.

  6. Hi Norm,

    Touch in between 1600 and 1900 will charge peak fares regardless of when the journey ends. And yes, all travel after 0930 counts towards the off-peak daily cap as well as the anytime cap. It will stop as soon as the first cap is reached.

  7. Mike,

    Many thanks for the confirmation – what a really useful site this is!

    I was concerned because I need to touch in at the pink Oyster card reader at Stratford (when changing from Overground to Greater Anglia services) to show that I haven’t ventured into Zone 1, and thus wondered if this additional touch-in (after 1600) might trigger the higher (peak) fare for the Stratford to Shenfield leg. I take it this won’t happen?

  8. Hi Ray,

    No, pink readers only flag routes taken. The time of touch is irrelevant, as is the time of touch out and touch in at OSIs and the final touch out too. The fare scale is determined by the very first touch in of a journey.

  9. Hi,

    I travel from Surbiton (Z6) to Canary Wharf and back
    Morning journey starts 6:15 (bus/Rail/tube)
    Afternoon journet starts 15:10
    I thought I’d qualify for the daily off peak cap(£8.50), but my journey sumates to £4.90(rail/tube) +£1.40(bus) = £12.60 both ways
    Is this because of the bus journeys ?
    I use oyster for all journeys

  10. Hi Brendon,

    As you can see from the table above, although fares before 0630 are off-peak they don’t count towards the off-peak cap which is only after 0930. However, you can reduce the rail fares to only £2.40 each way by changing at Clapham Junction and Canada Water rather than Waterloo. Just remember to touch on the pink validator on the overground platform at Canada Water so that Oyster knows you’ve gone that way.

  11. Hi,
    I travel from from Euston square or Kings Cross St Pancras to Uxbridge on sundays around 4.30pm. Was just wondering if there are peak times on sunday and what are the fare charges for this?

  12. Hi Meera,

    No peak on Sundays, all travel is at off-peak rates all day.

  13. Hi,

    Im going to be visiting london and wanted to clarify how much it will cost with an oyster card for the following journey..

    Waterloo underground to Euston around 8am
    Euston overground to watford junction around 8am

    and then the return journey both around 6pm.

    Also, will I be needing to use the pink card reader?

  14. Hi Sian,

    Sorry for the delay replying. There are three ways to do this simply, depending on whether you value time or money. The fastest and most expensive costs £8.60 each way. Just take the Northern line to Euston and any London Midland train to Watford Junction. The second way involves splitting the journey at Euston to take advantage of the off-peak fares in the ‘wrong’ direction on the Euston to Watford line. If you wait at least 40 minutes between touching out of the tube and touching in at the NR station then the fare comes down to £2.10+£4.50 = £6.60 each way. On the way back you only have to wait at least 20 minutes betwen touch out at the NR station and touch in on the tube. You could touch in on a bus and then get straight back off again outside Euston station which would cost £1.40 but you wouldn’t have to wait. The third way involves taking the Bakerloo line to Willesden Junction and touching out and back in again before taking the London Overground to Watford Junction. This would cost £2.80+£1.60 = £4.40 each way, but would be quite a bit slower.

    None of the options require touching a pink reader, especially not if changing at Willesden Junction (because you need to end and start a new journey).

  15. Hi Mike,
    Just wondering if you could help me 🙂
    I would need to travel from west brompton to either east or west Croydon on Saturdays 9am and return before 4pm.What costs would be either to w.croydon or e.croydon,whichever would be cheaper?

  16. Hi Ineta,

    Saturday is off peak all day so the fare is £2.20 to either as long as you don’t travel via zone 1.

  17. Thank you Mike 🙂

  18. Hi Mike

    If I travel from Carshalton Beeches to zone 1 by rail using oyster to touch in at 9.20am, would I still get charged at off peak price i.e. £2.90?

    Many thanks


  19. Hi Cecilia,

    Unfortunately not. The early start time is for the off-peak cap, not the off-peak fare. Thus the charge would go towards the zone 1-6 off-peak cap of £8.50 should your travel exceed that during the rest of the day.

  20. Mike do you know the cheapest way on a weekday to get from:
    1) Euston to Coldharbour Road
    2) Coldharbour Road to Stanhope Mews West

    And then from Stanhope Mews West to Heathrow the following day?

  21. Hi Ash,

    Simple answer is to walk. Assuming that that wasn’t quite what you were looking for then a combination of buses will probably be next cheapest as they cap at £4.40 per day (or just over 3 single bus fares). You don’t say where Coldharbour Road is, so for the rail options I will assume the one in Croydon. The nearest station to that is Waddon.

    Euston LU to Waddon will include the mixed mode surcharge, so to avoid that start by walking to St Pancras International. Then take a FCC train to Sutton and a Southern train to Waddon. That will cost £4.70 peak or £2.90 off-peak saving you £1.50 peak or £1.40 off-peak. The nearest station to Stanhope Mews West is Gloucester Road. Fares from Waddon are £6.20 peak or £4.30 off-peak. In the peak time you can save a pound by travelling from Waddon to Clapham Junction, then to Vauxhall, then by tube to Gloucester Road. You can make a big saving if you don’t mind walking from Earls Court tube. Again take a train to Clapham Junction, then use London Overground to West Brompton and finally tube to Earls Court. As this avoids zone 1 the fares become £3.20 peak and £2.20 off-peak. You must touch the pink validator at West Brompton while changing between trains.

    The following day it’s a no brainer really. Gloucester Road to Heathrow is direct on the Picadilly line and costs £5.00 peak or £3.00 off-peak. Again you can save about half by walking to Earls Court where the fares become £2.70 peak and £1.50 off-peak.

    All the above fares are using Oyster PAYG and peak fares are charged where the journey starts between 0630 and 0930 or between 1600 and 1900.

    Hope that helps.

  22. Hi,
    I travel off-peak Andover/Waterloo return 3-4 days per week. I usually buy a one day travel card to include underground for £4.85 extra. My usual underground usage is only Waterloo/Piccadilly return. Would it be cheaper to use Oyster for underground than the one day travel card?

  23. Hi Ed,

    If that’s all you do then yes, PAYG will be cheaper. 2x £2.10 zone 1 single is £4.20.

  24. Thank you very much Mike. I’ll definitely consider all that you said. 🙂

  25. Hi Mike

    What is the best option on oyster (payg, travelcard or national rail card+travelcard) to travel from Shirley to Victoria (and return) which includes a bus journey to East Croydon and train to Victoria and vice versa during peak times for 5 days a week?

  26. Hi Mike
    I’m flying into Heathrow Terminal 5 on Friday and making my way to Billericay, Essex. I hope to catch a tube around 6pm at Heathrow. If I don’t get to Liverpool Street till after 7pm, will that count as off-peak travel fare? Or should I by-pass zone 1 and make for Stratford to catch National Rail?

  27. Hi Tushar,

    A travelcard will be the easy option. You might find that a season from East Croydon to Victoria plus Oyster Payg on the bus works out cheaper, but it will depend on any other usage you might make.

  28. Hi Catey,

    You can’t use Oyster as far as Billericay, so you will need to get a ticket for the NR part of the journey. Heathrow to Stratford will cost the same as Heathrow to Liverpool Street, so I would buy the paper ticket from there to Billericay.

  29. Thanks Mike. I will consider the options you have suggested depending on other usage.

  30. Great, thanks Mike. As a stranger in town, it’s all a bit confusing!

  31. Hello Mike,
    If I’m travelling from Charing Cross to Falconwood on week days evening between 1600 to 1800hrs, how much it will charge for me? (with oyster PAYG with railcard on it)

  32. Hi Shiro,

    Because it’s peak time it will be £3.60 with no discount.

  33. Thanks for this site, it makes info more accessible than the different and scattered tfl pages.

    I want to attract the users’ attention to this bit, which is not explained very clearly on the tfl site:

    I recently moved to zone 5 and I occasionally spend days in zone 1 OFF-PEAK, using many different bus and tube journey combinations. Looking at it all yesterday, my advice is that if you travel occasionally like me and off-peak, AVOID Oyster Pay as You Go.

    After reading the specific PAYG tfl pages, I realised that I’m better off with an off-peak 1 Day Travelcard. Reason? It’s £8.90 for zones 1-6 for a day of unlimited travel, and the off-peak period covers 9.30 am – 04.29 am the next morning. Whereas, if I chose Oyster PAYG, although there is supposedly a daily off-peak cap of £8.40, it has loads of hidden monstrous charges (e.g. if your journey takes longer than usual or if you change your mind and want to leave the station after you touched your card) plus there is an EXTRA PEAK period at 16.00-19.00. So if you travel in-between these times, you will be peak and you will pay at the end of the day a Peak Daily Cap of over £15!

  34. Hi Viki,

    Firstly I must correct your last bit. Although single journeys between 1600 and 1900 are charged at peak rates, the off-peak cap still applies, so you won’t exceed that if all your travel has been after 0930.

    As to the other comments. If you exceed the maximum journey time then you will be charged incomplete journey charges in addition to any cap reached, but you will get the opportunity to ask for a refund from Oyster online, or you can call the helpdesk. As long as it’s clear what has happened they will refund charges over what you should have paid. If you have exceeded the MJT because you’ve been randomly travelling around then I agree that a paper travelcard is better. As to changing your mind, it depends when you do it. If you wait until 2 minutes have elapsed since touch in (but still before 30 minutes later) you will only be charged the cheapest single fare from that station, and it counts towards the daily cap as well. See same station exits for more info.

  35. Thanks for the reply Mike. I find all this travel fare info difficult to take in.

    Regarding the first point, are you absolutely sure? Because that’s what I thought until I read here: “If you catch a bus in peak hours, then other types of transport in off-peak hours, you’ll be charged a peak cap.” And I sometimes do catch a bus 4pm-7pm in zones 1 or 2 (

    Regarding your other points, I do agree, this is what I understood as well, but I feel that on my day out and around I will have to keep looking at the station clocks, whereas for 50p more with a day travelcard I don’t have that inconvenience.

    In addition, have you any personal experience with the Oyster refund process? I just don’t trust refund schemes very much! They often involve lots of hassle.

    Finally, I wonder, does the credit in oyster ever expire? (I tried to apply for a PAYG Oyster online and a minimum top up credit is required, plus the £5 deposit).

    Many thanks again.

  36. Hi Viki,

    I’m absolutely sure from my own experience. Buses are a flat rate all day, but if you use one before 0930 it will only count towards the anytime cap. After that it counts towards the off-peak cap as well, and whichever cap is hit first is the one that applies, unless you then introduce more zones into your travel.

    If you only make distinct journeys then it is rare that the maximum journey time will be exceeded. The problem arises if you wander around just travelling. In that scenario I have always recommended a paper ticket, though I accept that some people will try to save money by being careful.

    Refunds. Yes, I’ve had refunds just about any way possible. The new online request system worked a treat, while the traditional phone the helpdesk and request a refund also works. If you won’t be travelling for more than a week or so then they will usually allow you to get the moeny credited back to your bank account. The refund is credited back next time you touch in or out at your nominated station within the following 8 days. Finally, no, credit never expires.

  37. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the article, I’m just trying to make sure I got everything right.

    This is my situation:
    There are 4 tube and bus trips I have to make in a day next week. Only my first trip with the bus, however, is before 0930.

    Am I right to conclude that the cost of my first bus fare will be outside of the off-peak price cap, and therefore this suggests that the amount I need = 1st bus fare + off-peak price cap?

    Thank you!

  38. Hi Cheryl,

    That’s the most you will need, yes. If your post 9.30 travel doesn’t reach the off-peak cap then you won’t need as much.

  39. Hi
    I’m traveling in on Saturday from Banstead to London Victoria, and then making 2 or 3 zone one tube journeys. What is the better option, a paper 1day travel card, or individual pay as you go legs?

  40. Hi Peter,

    A paper travelcard will cost £8.90 while the PAYG charges will be capped at £8.50.

  41. Hi

    On Wednesday, 6th February, 2013, I traveled to East Croydon from Euston Railway Station (via St Pancras). I began at 2-40pm (touched card) and arrived at 4-09pm. It cost me £4.30.

    The following day, I left from West Croydon and traveled to St John’s Wood (changing Canada Water). Times were 1.48pm to 2-42pm. Price this time was only £3.

    There appears to be a big discrepancy.

    I walked to St Pancras Railway Station from Euston Railway Station. I was still in the off-peak time zone when I set off from St Pancras, using National Rail.

    The return journey (next day) was exclusively London Underground.

    It appears that St Pancras to East Croydon maximum single fare is only £2.90 (off-peak).

    But I was charged the ‘through fare’ from Euston, despite walking to St Pancras. This is crazy.

  42. Hi Chris,

    How did you get to Euston and did you arrive after 2.00pm? The reason I ask is that Euston NR to St Pancras Intl is an Out-of-station Interchange which would join the two journeys together. It is possible that this has confused things. If you can detail your entire journey history for the day I should be able to work out what has happened.

  43. I was wondering which to go with.
    I just got a job round about Aldgate and was wondering which travel options would be best for me.
    Harlow Town is about 40minutes away from London Liverpool.
    Should I get on the Central line from Epping instead as Liverpool seems to be where I need to be to connect to Aldgate.
    Off peak travel from Epping to Aldgate cost 6quid but need to travel during peak periods.
    Whats the fare like for oysters during that period?
    Harlow Town to London Liverpool street is freaking high because its outside London.
    Any ideas????

  44. Hi Dev,

    Yes, Harlow Town will be considerably more expensive as it is outside the zones whereas Epping is within zone 6. As you say, Epping to Aldgate single is £3.00 off-peak while the peak fare is £5.00 single. If Aldgate East is a viable alternative station then you can change at Mile End onto the District Line which will be considerably easier as it’s cross platform. If the cost is still too high then can you make it from Whitechapel to work. Single fares from Epping to Whitechapel (stop before Aldgate East) are considerably cheaper at £2.70 peak single and £1.50 off-peak. Even adding a bus to each peak journey is only £4.10 (£2.70 + £1.40), saving 90p per journey over the fare to Aldgate. A further option would be a travelcard for zones 2-6 which is £38/week and includes any bus travel, even in zone 1.

    Hope this helps.

  45. Thanks alot Mike for replying in details.
    How about if I decide to relocate to Erith (DA8 environs), I guess that would be taking me further away isn’t it?
    On a second thought, Aldgate East is only 4mins walk to Aldgate House, so I might consider that route.
    Will Aldgate east cost a fiver as well? (single + peak).
    If all still appears soggy, then I might have to go the Whitechapel route and get a bus or sain from there as adviced. At least I save 90p daily….smiles…

  46. Hi Dev,

    Aldgate and Aldgate East are both in zone 1 so they both cost the same. There seem to be several buses linking Whitechapel and Aldgate so you shouldn’t have to wait long. Erith to Aldgate would add a lot more because you are then mixing National Rail and TfL rail on a journey involving zone 1. Whitechapel wouldn’t be as bad, but the journey would take longer as you’d need to change 2-3 times rather than just once.

  47. Hi Mike,

    I frequently make a number of bus only journeys in a day (starting in the morning peak, 08.00ish) – my Oyster caps, correctly, at £4.40.

    The £4.40 bus cap is obviously the same regardless of the time of day I travelled – there is no on/off peak distinction for bus ticketing purposes. It would therefore appear logical to me that if I make a rail/tube/DLR journey after 9.30 (as is often the case) I only have to pay the off peak z1-6 cap (£5.80 in my case, with 16-25 Railcard discount). However, this is not what I find myself charged.

    Indeed, even where I then make enough off peak rail/tube/DLR journeys to hit the £5.80 cap, my Oyster doesnt cap at £10.20 (£4.40 + £5.80) – the maximum conceivable cost of the two seperate daily caps for the two types of journey I’m making. No, I’ll keep having credit deducted until I hit the whopping peak z1-6 cap (best part of £16).

    Is this right?

  48. Hi Rob,

    In a word, NO!

    Charging should stop when the first cap is reached that is applicable to the mode you are using. Thus, if you make 3 bus journeys before 0930 you will have added £4.20 to both the bus and anytime caps. Then say the 4th bus journey is just after 0930 you’ll have £4.40 on the bus and anytime caps, and 20p on the off-peak cap. If you then start zipping around on trains in zones 1-6 you should stop when the off-peak cap reaches £5.60 (ie £5.40 of rail fares). At that point the anytime total will be £9.80 which is below the anytime cap, but that doesn’t matter because the off-peak railcard discounted cap has been reached.

    If you are being charged more then one of two things is happening. Either (1) the railcard is not logged on your Oyster which means that the £8.50 off-peak cap applies, or (2) you have an incomplete journey which won’t count towards any cap. If you can paste some journey history here I’ll try and work out which is happeneing.

  49. Hi Mike,
    Since there are no price caps shown for “National Rail only fares”, am I correct in thinking that the “National Rail through fares” price caps apply?

  50. Yes David,

    The price caps apply to any rail travel in the relevant zones. The difference between TfL, NR and NR+TfL fares is only for single journeys.

  51. Thanks Mike,

    I had not realised that the price caps did not depend on the modes of transport. However, since I am interested in Shenfield, the caps only appear in the NR tables; it is a pity that Oyster does not extend to Chelmsford, which would be better for me.

    Now that I have an Oyster card, I am contemplating making trips into London on weekday evenings. This would involve a trip into London during the evening peak period and a return after the peak; the off-peak price would apply, if relevant. Later this year, I will qualify for a Senior Railcard.

    I would appreciate your checking the following:

    Return Shenfield to Liverpool Street (£8.30 + £5.70 = £14.00)

    Return Shenfield to Holborn (£10.40 + £7.80 = £18.20, but capped at £17.80)

    With a Railcard, the Liverpool Street homeward fare would be reduced to £3.75 but the total would be capped at £11.70 anyway, making the overall cost the same as a capped return to Holborn. Is that right? It seems strange that a single return trip can trigger the price cap. Of course, having no discount on the peak single fare, is the basic reason for this.

  52. Hi David,

    That all looks fine to me.

  53. Hi there,
    Am I right in thinking that if I travel from zone 3-7 via zone 1 at 15.30 tomorrow I will be charged off peak price of £3.90?
    If I return the next day doing the reverse route of zone 7 chorleywood to zone 3 colliers wood via zone 1 but at 17.30 I will pay the peak fare?
    Also chorleywood is serviced by the metropolitan line as well as the faster chiltern line so would the same fares still apply or would they only be valid for the metropolitan?
    Thanks for your advice.

  54. Hi Jemima,

    Yes, as long as the journey is completed in one go then the initial touch in is the important one for deciding which rate to charge. And Oyster is valid on both Metropolitan and Chiltern trains.

  55. Hi Mike,

    I am considering a reallocation for kids school to Kingston / Sutton area.

    What is the cheapest way to travel Mon – Fri in peak hours to Canary Wharf from :

    a) Kingston
    b) Sutton

    Many Thanks,

  56. Hi Chetan,

    Kingston is in zone 6 and Sutton is in zone 5 so Sutton will be cheaper. Both have options to avoid zone 1. Kingston->Clapham Junction->Canada Water->Canary Wharf and Sutton->West Croydon->Canada Water->Canary Wharf. In both cases you need to touch the pink validator at Canada Water while interchanging.

    Hope this helps.

  57. To add to Mike’s reply, if you’re looking across the entire Kingston/Sutton area then somewhere like Worcester Park (where I happen to be) is on the border of the two and is only in zone 4 so would be cheaper still on the travel expenses.

  58. I travel from zone-4 to zone-1 5 days a week which includes an overground, a tube and a bus travel. In my both to & from journey, I start in peak hours & reach destinations in off-peak hours. Should I go for PAYG or Travelcard on my oyster?

  59. Hi Aejal,

    From what you’ve said I would definitely go for a travelcard. Touch in time at the start determines whether peak or off-peak fares apply, so your journeys will be peak. Add a bus to each one and a travelcard is a no brainer.

  60. Hi Mike,

    Useful website you have here. By reading the comments I even managed to understand what the pink readers are for (been asking myself that for a long time).

    I’m planning to move houses to Mile End next month…but the problem is I work in Windsor. Any idea what would the cheapest way to get there? I can catch the off peak in the morning as well, around 6.20.


  61. Hi Razvan,

    The problem is that Windsor is outside the Oyster area. You may be able to save money by using PAYG if you can take advantage of off-peak fares. It will add some time to your journey though, because you’ll need to touch out/in at West Drayton on the way to Slough for the Windsor branch. The fare from Mile End to West Drayton will be much cheaper than the fare to Feltham (which is the other route to Windsor).

  62. Hi Mike,

    I’ve exactly the same situation as Aejal. But I have just one interchange of underground tube with no bus journey. What is the cheapest way you suggest? PAYG or Travelcard?


  63. Hi Arjun,

    Can you confirm exactly what your journey is please? I need to check which rail services you will use because it may make a difference.

  64. Mike,

    I travel to zone 1 from zone 4 on weekdays using underground tubes, both to & fro journeys in peak hours.


  65. OK,

    Assuming all travel is on Underground and you only make one return journey up to 5 times a week then PAYG will work out cheaper.

  66. Hi Mike

    I’m just starting a new job and travel from Cockfosters to South Ken. I leave Cockfosters at around 8am, so that would be peak? And then leave South Ken after 7pm, so this would be off peak? Will my fare be different going out and coming in? I only work Monday to Friday so I’m guessing it would be cheaper for me to just pay as I go? The weekly ticket is £51.80.

  67. Hi Davina,

    Yes, if you touch in after 1900 you will be charged off-peak which is £3.00 as opposed to £4.60. 10 peak singles would be cheaper than a travelcard, so if you make some off-peak then PAYG will definitely be best.

  68. hi there
    i have travel from wimbledon to barking at 7.30am and hve reach tere before 9.30 and i hve return same way before 6 kindly tell me what will b my fare…i hve 16-25 rail card.can u suggest me any cheap way. thank u

  69. Hi badhon,

    If I’ve understood your question then I think the cheapest way is to use PAYG and travel from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction, then by Overground to Whitechapel, then touch the pink reader at Whitechapel before getting the District/Ham&City to Barking. This avoids zone 1 and makes the fare very reasonable. Your railcard will not give discounts on peak fares, while a travelcard season will only be worthwhile if you make other journeys on top of you 5 return trips a week.

  70. sry for ma mistakes…bt i got my right answer.thank u very much…

  71. Hi Mike,

    I actually don’t have any questions, but after seeing the incredible amount of responses you have given to people, and how many alternatives you present for each one of them, I just wanted to say thank you! It’s great to know there are people around willing to help so much!

  72. Hi Mike,

    I’m planning on using a combination of buses and using the overground and tube on a Saturday going from zones 2 (New cross Gate) to 3 (Stratford) and back. I also have a 16-25 rail card linked to my oyster. Will I be charged the off peak price of £5.10 for the whole day or will it be £5.10 + £4.40 = £9.50 for the whole day? But I do know that a single journey would cost me £1 and another £1 coming back, so would it be £4.40 (bus) + £2 (overground and tube)= £6.40 for the whole day?

  73. Hi Daniel,

    The £5.10 cap includes any bus/tram travel as well as rail in zones 1 to 4.

  74. Hello,

    There is a rule that if you travel into zone 1 from outside during evening peak hours the journey is charged as off-peak. Could you tell me what happens if I travel into zone 2 from further outin the evening peak? I.e is it actually cheaper to travel to zone 1 than zone 2 at this time, if you start in say zone 5, because zone 1 means an off-peak fare and zone 2 a peak one? Seems odd.

    Many thanks.

  75. Hi Jane,

    The concession only applies to lines where TfL set the fares. On those lines a peak fare to zone 2 is cheaper than the off-peak fare to zone 1 from the same starting point.

  76. Thanks Mike, but what if I go into zone 2 from an outer zone via zone 1 in the evening peak? That would count as peak still I guess? So for example if I was coming in from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Warwick Avenue in zone 2 it would be cheaper to get out at a zone 1 station like Paddington and walk?

    Thanks so much for your answers. Great site.

  77. Hi Jane,

    OK, here are specifics to demonstrate what I mean:

    Zone 4-1 journey: £3.80 peak, £2.70 off-peak
    Zone 4-2 journey: £2.30 peak, £1.50 off-peak

    So you see that a peak journey outside zone 1 is cheaper than an off-peak journey ending in zone 1.

  78. Hi,

    I am working in Victoria. If I move to stay in Watford, what will be my monthly charges on transport to Victoria. I thnk i should exchange at Euston to catch my tube to victoria.

    Will it be cheaper if i buy a Zone 1 oyster card (117) and then do a top up of 7.50 (peak hours) or should i go for monthly oyster of 304 pounds.


  79. Hi Iniyan,

    When doing comparisons which might involve daily travel I find it better to work on the weekly travelcard and 10x single tickets. Monthly travelcards are 3.84x the weekly rate but the number of days included will vary.

    On that basis, it appears as though the cheapest option is to buy a zone 1-3 travelcard at £35.60/week and 10x zone 4-W singles at £33.00/week giving a total of £68.60/week. However, should you make any extra journeys during the week outside zones 1-3 you will add additional PAYG costs. The weekly zone 1-W travelcard is £79.20.

    Hope that helps.

  80. Hi Mike,

    I’ve been so inspired by your answer to Inyian above (3 June 2013, 1:54 pm) that I’ve designed a spreadsheet to determine the cheapest possible route given a combination of zones.

    I’m trying to work out the monthly equivalent of the weekly fares you’ve given (in order to compare it to the monthly travelcard). Regarding the 10x single tickets portion, do you think it would be more accurate to calculate it my multiplying by 3.84 like the travelcard (£126.72), or by 52 weeks divided by 12 months (£143.00)?

    Thanks for your assistance.

  81. Hi Ellie,

    When weekly single tickets become monthly single tickets it’s a bit variable. Assuming that no holidays get in the way, a month can have anything from 20 to 23 working days in it. If I wanted an average I’d probably go for 21 or 22 working days (42 or 44 single journeys) depending on which way I wanted to skew the results.

    I’ll send you an email shortly because I’d be interested to see your spreadsheet when it’s done.

  82. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your helpful response.

    I have decided to use 22 working days (or 44 single journeys) as you suggested. For 2013, the monthly average of working days is 21.75, so 22 is best and it gives a little extra to the costs to make it more accurate.

    I feel very honoured that you wish to see my spreadsheet, and I will gladly send it to you. It’s not exactly perfect, but almost there! I welcome any comments or suggestions to make further improvements.

  83. Dear Mike,

    Thanks for much for offering help here. I’m really confused with how to charge, how to use the Oyster card.

    I will take either bus or tube from King’s cross to Victoria coach station on Monday around 16:30 (how would you suggest me to take with the big and heavy luggage?), how much it costs by using Oyster card (peak or off peak?)

    Then back to London on Friday and will start to use tube or bus after noon time (I know it has been counted off peak time). the confusing point is that I am going to Heathraw from Victoria coach station at 17:00 (am thinking about go to Victoria train station and transfer in Green Park to Heathraw by tube), I am not sure how Oyster card will be charged for this trip? I know that the maximum charge for off peak is 8.9 pounds per day, does it means I will pay total 8.9 pounds including all the tubes I have taken, including this one to Heathraw? Or I will need to pay maximum peak cost (which is over 15 pounds, I think). I’m really confused the way of calculating the maximum charge and don’t know what is the best way to take (should I take coach to Heathraw since I will carry the heavy luggage? But heard about the bad traffic on Friday night, am not sure if coach will take more than 2 hours to arrive?

    Can you give me some advice, really need expert to help.

    Big thanks,


  84. Hi Alice,

    I can’t really comment on the likelihood of traffic or which way is best with luggage. If all travel is after 0930 on a weekday then the off-peak cap applies. For zones 1-6 this is actually £8.50 as the caps were frozen at 2012 levels when the travelcard prices went up in January. Single tickets between 1600 and 1900 are charged at peak fares, but that just means that you reach the cap quicker.

  85. Hi Mike,
    I will make a journey tomorrow at 8.15 am from king George V to Angel, and I will be at angel for a few hrs. Then I’d take dlr/underground to gallions reach station, take one bus from there to the gallions reach shopping park to do some shopping and back to gallions reach station and then take dlr/underground to regents street station for a meet, and then finally, back to king George V. Do I need to buy a travel card? Or what’s the price cap for that journey? Do i get charged peak fare? Thanks.

  86. Hi Jane,

    This is a good example of how Oyster works. All your travel is within zones 1-3, so the zone 1-4 caps will apply. They are £10.60 anytime and £7.70 off-peak. Your first journey is a TfL rail zone 1-3 peak single at £3.20. The second one is another TfL rail zone 1-3 journey but this time it’s off-peak at £2.70. You now have £5.90 towards the anytime cap. Next is two buses at £1.40 each. This takes the anytime spend up to £8.70 and the off-peak spend to £5.50. Then comes another zone 1-3 off-peak single. This takes anytime spend up to £11.40 (80p over the cap) and off-peak spend up to £8.20 (50p over that cap). Thus the anytime cap is reached first and your travel will be capped at £10.60.

    You could buy a travelcard for zones 1-4, but it would have to be an anytime one which costs £11.00.

  87. Hi Mike.

    Your advice would be really appreciated.

    Im changing jobs and will be travelling from romford (zone 6) to tott ct rod (zone 1). However im a shift worker working 730-1930 and vice versa on days nights and weekends. I only do 14-16 shifts a month so am not doing as many journeys as a mon-fri 9-5er.

    Having reall trouible to work out if it would be benifical getting a season tickets but just think i would not get all the journeys out of it to make it worthwhile. i am thinking possibly just getting a zone 3-6 season card and then using top up payg.

    Your help would be great

  88. Hi Daniel,

    I’m not sure that a travelcard would be worthwhile at all for you. If your morning touch in at Romford can be before 0630 then your journey to work will be charged at off-peak rates. The reverse journey after 1930 will also be off-peak. For the other shift it becomes a little more complex. Both journeys will almost certainly be peak, but you can reduce the cost by splitting your journey at Stratford. The peak single from Romford to Stratford is £3.20. Stratford to Tottenham Court Road is £3.20 in the morning peak but only £2.70 in the evening ending in zone 1. Thus the total cost TCR to Romford is £6.40 in the morning while Romford to TCR in the evening is £5.90. Make the journey in one go and it becomes £7.20 each way thanks to the premium for mixing NR and TfL rail on a journey involving zone 1. To split the journey in two you will have to exit the station via a gateline and then re-enter. That will add a bit to your journey time but as you are changing trains there anyway, it’s not that bad to save money.

    Hope that helps.

  89. Hi guys need help I travel to work from Watford junction to London bridge everyday 6.00am sometimes 6.30am but i change at euston I finish around half 7 -8 pm does it charge me peak times?? And how can I travel for less
    its costing so much and I’ve only started work please help !!!

  90. As London Bridge is in zone 1 there won’t be much you can do. Starting your morning journey before 0630 will price it at off-peak rate, likewise after 1900 on the return will be off-peak. The best you can do is make sure you’re at Watford Junction by 0630.

    The only other thing is are you eligible for a railcard? If yes then you’ll get discounted off-peak fares which would make arriving before 0630 even more attractive. You’ll need to be aged 16-25 or over 60 (or be disabled or a member of the armed forces).

  91. Hi mike can you help?… I will be making a regular journey from the clapham north area to Kingston arriving in kingston for around 9.00 am and leaving around 6:30pm… what is going to be my best option taking into account cost and time?

  92. Hi Ade,

    ‘best’ is such a subjective word. My recommended route would be Clapham High Street to Clapham Junction then on to Kingston. That avoids zone 1 and should be reasonably straightforward. Oyster PAYG fares are £3.80 peak and £2.40 off-peak. Your morning journey will be peak without doubt. If 6.30 can stretch to 7.00 then the afternoon journey could be off-peak. Unless you make lots of other journeys a zone 2-6 travelcard is overkill for this journey, but you can buy point-to-point seasons for £26.80 a week. You may have trouble buying it at Clapham High Street, but either Clapham Junction or Kingston should have no problems. You can of course buy longer periods from 1 month up to 1 year.

  93. Hello Mike,just discovered this wonderful site. I travel from Milton Keynes to streatham common Monday to Friday (leave by 6:38am or 6:52am) and use the weekly ticket at 137.50pounds. Do you know of anyway I can save on my transport?

  94. Hi Imma,

    There are two cheaper tickets which may depend on which route you take and what additional flexibility you require. Your ticket is basically a Milton Keynes to London zones 1-6 travelcard which gives you unlimited travel within the zones as well as unlimited travel between Milton Keynes and zone 6. If you travel via Euston then that is the ticket which you require.

    For £115.20 you can lose zone 1 which allows you to travel direct to Clapham Junction via Kensington Olympia and then onto Streatham Common. You can also make unlimited travel within zones 2-6 as well as buses throughout London. Finally, if you only use the trains to commute via Kensington Olympia then a point to point season costs £106.70 for Milton Keynes to Streatham Common.

  95. Thank you for your advise Mike. I will be travelling to warren street from Milton Keynes(Mon to Friday) from late September this year, any advice you can give me on how to save on transport? I will probably be travelling during peak times.

  96. Hi Imma,

    Milton Keynes to Warren Street will require the £137.50 ticket that you currently have. About the only way to save money is to change that to a Milton Keynes to London Euston season for £115.50 and walk from Euston. Warren Street tube is only just across the Euston Road at the top of Tottenham Court Road so you could probably walk it in just as much time as it would take to go down to the tube, travel one stop and come back up to the street.

  97. Thank you Mike.

  98. Katie Nicholls

    Hi there!!..I will be going into central, 6days a week from Hampton. I have an Oyster card and I am going to register my 16-25 railcard to you suggest I use PAYG, get a day travel
    Card or a monthly travel card?

    Also, if I leave hampton at 15:50 (off peak) and arrive at Waterloo and then go on the underground to embankment I would come out at about 17:55 (peak time) so would this journey charge me as off peak or peak??!

    Thank you for being so helpful 🙂

  99. Hi Katie,

    Touch in time at the start of a journey is the driver for peak or off-peak so Hampton to Embankment starting at 1550 would be off-peak unless you took too long getting into the Underground at Waterloo.

    If your commute is always at peak times then the 16-25 will have no effect. You can’t get a day travelcard on Oyster, but the daily cap will be slightly less anyway. Six days a week increases the benefit of a travelcard which can be weekly, monthly, or any period between a month and a year. However, if a significant proportion of your journeys can be made at off-peak rates then PAYG with the railcard discount could well be cheaper. Unfortunately it’s a fine balancing act and one extra journey could tip the balance.

  100. Lionel Holmes

    As a Senior Railcard holder, I find one has to visit a TfL ticket office in person to have the discount loaded onto one’s Oyster card every time one’s railcard is renewed. This is tedious enough, but I accept it’s the way TfL chooses to do it -at present anyway. BUT while I can understand that it is possible to do this only at stations served by TfL services (as opposed to just anywhere where Oyster is valid – like, say, Surbiton) why on earth is it not possible to have the discount loaded at a station such as Clapham Junction which IS served by TfL, albeit by the Overground and not the Underground? I wasted time (not to mention shoe leather) crossing from one side of the vast station to the other to find a manned ticket office, only to be told, “We don’t do it here”! It seems that some sections of TfL have yet to accept the Overground as much fully part of their network as the Underground.

  101. Hi Lionel,

    At most stations served by more than one TOC there is only one ticket office, usually run by the dominant TOC. In the case of Clapham Junction that is likely to be either SWT or Southern.

    I can assure you that TfL actually do consider the Overground as part of their network, hence it appears on the tube map and many LO staff like to believe that they are nothing to do with National Rail. As you can imagine, that can cause other problems.

    You have reminded me that I need to update the page about NR stations and what they can do with Oyster, once time allows.

  102. Lionel Holmes

    Thanks, Mike. Your replies are always very comprehensive – but the question does then arise how one can do what I was wanting to do at Wimbledon? I think the answer may be that TfL have their own ticket office at that station, alongside the SWT ticket office. But in that case why not a TfL ticket office at Clapham Junction? Oh well, all this will no doubt change as the years tick by. What I’d really appreciate would be the facility of loading my railcard discount onto my Oyster card simply by logging on to my Oyster account and doing it all online. After all, if man can land on the moon …

  103. Hi Lionel,

    Stations run by NR TOCs but served by LU trains as well have always had facilities to sell Underground tickets. With Oyster this also meant that they do all the things required by that system too.

    Although requesting the discount online would be feasible, checking the validity would require co-operation between the NR railcards databases and the TfL Oyster system. That raises a number of data protection issues which probably means it won’t happen.

  104. Hi Mike,

    Hopefully you can explain this for me. I travel to work from Erith to Cannon St during the week. On my oyster travel history it’s saying that I’m being capped at £11.30 (£5.70 in, £5.60 out). I normally touch in at Erith 8:10 or so and touch in at Cannon St about 17:55 for my journey back.

    I have a railcard on my oyster, but I know the discounts for that don’t usually count for peak travel. Now I’m not complaining about the 10p discount(!) but I’d like to understand why I’m getting it.

  105. Hi Tina,

    Your journey home costs more than the off-peak cap with railcard so you are capped at that rate. While peak single fares apply, the cap for journeys after 0930 is the off-peak one.

  106. Two questions: if I catch a 0633 train but touch in at (say) 0625, do I still get off peak travel? Secondly to get to Holborn from Bromley South is it cheaper to change to underground at Elephant than going in to zone 1 on mainline?

  107. Hi Frank,

    Touch-in time is the important one, so unless you leave it to the last minute or so for a 0633 train you will get off-peak travel. It is cheaper to change at Elephant in the peak hours, but not off peak. See the single fare finder.

  108. Martin Stiles

    Hi Mike,
    Your exceptions list starts with ‘If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.’ Does this mean if you are travelling into zone 1 from outside then the Off Peak fare should apply? I can think of many occasions during the past couple of years when I have left Sidcup after 1600 to head to Charing Cross and have been charged the Peak fare.


  109. Hi Martin,

    The key phrase is “using any of the modes of TfL Rail”. Sidcup to Charing Cross is NR so it doesn’t have the exception.

  110. I only come to London to get flights a couple of times a year and have a Senior Rail card with which I buy my rail and tube ticket which comes out at £3.30 single Euston to Heathrow underground. I’m thinking of getting an Oyster card just to save the extra few quid but not sure if it’s worth the hassle

    1. please explain the use of the word ‘cap’

    2. How do I know what I’m being charged on the card?

  111. Hi Stewart,

    Euston LU to Heathrow LU single on Oyster, with a senior railcard discount set, is £2.00 off-peak or £5.00 peak. The cap is the maximum you will be charged when using the card properly across the zones you travel through. When you touch out at the end of your journey the display should show the new balance and the fare deducted in brackets. You can also check your journey history online the next day if the card is linked to an online account.

  112. Off peak starts at 1900 .. my train leaves london blackfriars at 1900 … but until recently you could tap in at 1858 and get the off peak fare !! … a few weeks ago it changed and I was (correctly) charged the peak rate (boooo)

    I now have to wait until 1859 .. then sprint down the end of the platform to catch the 1900 (this still count’s as off peak).

    My question is .. is this oyster gate rounding .. or some synchronisation on the system ?

  113. Hi Chris,

    1900 is the official start of off-peak in the evening. The gates will usually give you an unspecified grace period at each end of peak fares to avoid numerous complaints if any clock goes slightly out. I understood that this was usually 2-3 minutes, but it’s a bonus rather than a right so there is no comeback if they reduce it.

  114. Hello Chris,

    I’m using the tube at 08:15 am (Kennington) and 18:30 pm (Leicester square) during the 5 working days of the week, but rarely use it over the weekends. Should I have a pay as you go or a weekly/monthly card to save as much money as possible?

  115. Hi Andreas,

    Period travelcards are not really cost effective for simple one-mode journeys. Unless you make regular other journeys PAYG will usually work out cheaper.

  116. i have an 11-15 oyster i am travelling within zones 1-3 how much do i need to top up on my oyster, i’m going on the 28th august a peak day?

  117. Hi Dan,

    It depends. The anytime cap is £5.30 which is the most you will need. All travel after 0930 will cap at £1.50 unless you’ve already exceeded £3.80 by then.

  118. Hi, I am travelling from Wapping to Watford junction, I leave at 6.45 to get there before 9am and finish at 5pm, except for one day out of 5 where I finish at 3.45pm. Is it cheaper for pay as you go or travel card? If I touch in before peak but touch out after peak has finished what fare would I be paying?

  119. Hi Sasha,

    It is definitely cheaper to PAYG, but you need to follow some careful instructions to get the cheapest rate. The overall Wapping to Watford Junction fares are £8.60 peak and £5.70 off-peak. The touch in time is the key one, if it is peak when you touch in then the fare is peak regardless of what time you touch out. However, you can benefit from a special arrangement for travelling against the peak flow on the Euston to Watford Junction line. You need to split your journey in two at Willesden Junction by touching out and back in again on yellow readers (Note that the pink route validators will NOT do what you want).

    Wapping to Willesden Junction is a zone 1-2 TfL fare which costs £2.80 peak or £2.10 off-peak.
    Willesden Junction to Watford Junction is a zone 3-W TfL fare which costs £1.60 off-peak*.

    So, if you can touch in at Wapping before 0630 then the total journey would be £3.70, or £4.40 if you leave it later. On the way back you will be starting the second journey at Willesden Junction in the peak (even if you leave work at 1545) so it will cost £4.40. Still, it is quite a saving over the overall fare. Thanks to Shoreditch High Street being in zone 1 it doesn’t make any difference whether you cross London to Euston or skirt round the outside via Gospel Oak. Either way, you MUST end your journey at Willesden Junction and start a new one to take advantage of the off-peak fares.

    *Willesden Junction to Watford Junction costs £3.90 if touch in is between 1600-1900; Watford Junction to Willesden Junction is the same if touch in is between 0630-0930.

  120. Hi Mike,

    Thank you very much for this information, this is great. May I ask with these rules in mind, what journey route you recommend I take from Wapping to Watford junction? Thank you

  121. Hi Sasha,

    (a) Wapping to Highbury & Islington to Willesden Junction (all on overground); or
    (b) Wapping to Whitechapel then Ham&City to Euston Square then walk to Euston and take the overground from there; or
    (c) Wapping to Canada Water then Jubilee to Baker Street then Bakerloo to Willesden Junction.

    You must still get off at Willesden Junction to split your journey in two, even if taking option (b).

  122. Amazing thank you, I am eligible for a rail card aswell, would this discount my journey taking into account my times?

  123. Hi Sasha,

    Yes! You will get a discount on any off-peak fares which makes it even more worthwhile to split the journey in two. To clarify, Willesden Junction to Watford Junction and return will both be off-peak and cost £1.05 each with the railcard. Wapping to Willesden Junction costs £2.80 peak and £1.40 off-peak with railcard. You’d get off-peak if you touch in before 0630 at Wapping, while the return is likely to be peak unless you are running very late and touch back in at Willesden after 1900.

  124. Hi Mike,

    I have an offpeak day travel card for zones 1 to 6. Does this mean i can travel on the underground freely between the hours of 4pm to 7pm within these zones?



  125. Hi Jay,

    Yes it does.

  126. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for all the info on here. Was wondering about the peak cap for National Rail + TfL. According to the TfL site it’s £15.80 but couple days ago I was capped at £11.80. My final journey cost me £5.60 rather that £6.20 I expected. I have a 16-25 railcard but do not expect this to be relevant for these peak journeys. I included the details below. Am I missing something obvious? I should say that the online statement does have a orange star beside it for the day in question saying that information may not be complete for this days travel although the two journeys below were the only journeys I did that day.


    Thursday, 22 August 2013 £11.80 daily total

    07:57 – 09:01 Southbury [National Rail] to Tooting
    £6.20 £7.55

    17:21 Topped up, Tooting Broadway +£20.00 £27.55

    17:21 – 18:29 Tooting Broadway to Southbury
    [National Rail]
    £5.60 £21.95

  127. Hi Leo,

    Firstly there is no cap for specific modes (other than buses), only for zones. Secondly, the railcard discounts both off-peak single fares and the off-peak caps. In some cases this means that afternoon peak travel will be capped by the railcard, and £5.60 is indeed the off-peak cap for zones 1-6.

    Oh, the orange star appears for the two days prior to the statement being run in case there is a delay updating things, particularly buses and ticket-stop top-ups.

  128. Thanks for that Mike

  129. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for a really informative website. I have a question you may be able to answer for me, if you don’t mind.

    My daily journey to work involves a bus, then an underground journey (Finsbury Park to Seven Sisters, zone 2 to 3), and then a national rail journey (on to Silver Street, zone 4). I take the same journey back in the evening. Any other journeys I make that day then cap my daily fare at £9.00. I have a national railcard.

    I can’t find the £9.00 figure anywhere on the price cap tables. The only way I can get this figure is by saying:

    1) The journey to work costs £3.90 (£1.40 for the bus plus £2.50 for the combined rail journey).
    2) Coming back, the off peak cap applies and when I hit the £5.10 off peak cap, there is no further charge. I am still charged for the peak This just coincidentally makes the £9.00 figure seem very precise! I’m also then surprised the bus fare from the morning does not count towards the “off peak” cap, which would make my maximum fare actually £7.60?

    I’m not sure what the correct answer is to this! Thanks!

  130. Hi Gary,

    You are nearly right. Although buses and trams charge a flat fare at any time, travel before 0930 still doesn’t count towards the off-peak cap. Thus £9.00 will be your cap if you spend £3.90 in the morning peak and don’t go beyond zone 4 on rails.

  131. Thanks very much Mike!

  132. Mike

    Date unknown but there now seems to be a change to the exception station list above compared to the TfL website.
    5 Southern stations now have a later touch in time to qualify for the off peak cap whilst Purley Oaks and South Croydon are removed.

  133. Cheers Malcolm,

    Looks like the Caterham line has been made 10 minutes later which put the last two at the usual 0930 time.

  134. Hi Mike,

    I have to travel from Zone 4 (Wembley) into Liverpool street station (to arrive around 18:00). I found this on the tfl website:
    “Tube, DLR and London Overground only
    Off-peak fares during the evening peak
    If you travel from outside Zone 1 between 16:00 and 19:00 Mondays to Fridays, and your journey finishes in Zone 1, you will be charged an off-peak fare when using Oyster pay as you go. You could save up to £2.70 per journey
    Travel via Zone 1
    Some journeys have been defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and will be charged accordingly, irrespective of the route taken.”

    Would the exemption apply to my journey or would it only be charged at off-peak rates??

    Many thanks in advance!

  135. Hi,

    I commute between Chafford Hundred and Fenchurch St. I read somewhere (I think on the c2c web site), that you get off-peak prices if you scan your card *out* at Fenchurch St after 10am, irrespective of when you scan your card *in*, and there is no ‘peak’ time in the afternoon/evening.
    This seems to contradict other information which says I would be charged off-peak if I scan in outside 6:30-9:30 and 16:00-19:00.
    Is there something I’m missing here? I suppose I should just try it one day, but to date I’ve only tried in at 7:57am and out >10am. If it is off-peak after 9:30am, then I can get to work 1/2 hr earlier for the off-peak price.

  136. Hi Hannah,

    Wembley to Liverpool Street satisfies the TfL route finishing in zone 1 so will be charged off-peak in the early evening. The other comment is nothing to do with this discount. It means that if TfL deem an avoiding zone 1 route to be so convoluted that no-one would do it they will still charge the through zone 1 fare. It’s becoming rarer these days, but does still exist.

  137. Hi Max,

    All Oyster fare decisions are made on the basis of touch in at the start of the journey.

  138. Hi
    Apologies if this question has been asked before.

    My son has a 16-25 railcard and was charged £7.20 per day for three consecutive weeks from Hatfield to Finsbury Park after 0930 from one particular machine at Hatfield station.

    He has gone to two different ticket machines at the station and the YP railcard option is more expensive than the adult off peak fare of £10.90. I note at the travel enquiries website online that a £7.20 return fare is payable after 10am.

    What is the correct price to catch the 0943 train and what machine is correct?


  139. Hi Louise,

    £7.20 is the railcard discounted fare which is valid after 10am Mon-Fri. £10.90 is the undiscounted off-peak fare which is valid on the 0928 from Hatfield and all later trains Mon-Fri. Before 10am there is a £12.00 minimum fare when using the 16-25 railcard. If the undiscounted fare is less than £12.00 then the undiscounted fare should be used. If the undiscounted fare is over £12.00 and the discounted fare is under £12.00 then £12.00 should be used.

    Ticket machines are notorious for not getting the off-peak restrictions right, usually by refusing to sell off-peak tickets at the right time. In your case it looks like your son was undercharged.

  140. Hi Mike,

    I’m a little confused and wondered if you could help. I will be traveling to and from amersham or chalfont and latimer to embankment monday-friday, leaving amersham around 7.45, and returning from embankment at around 6.. how much will this be per day? I have a 16-25 railcard linked to my oyster card.


  141. I’m planning to buy an off-peak travelcard because my journey will begin after 9.30 (maybe around 10.00) will I be able to continue to use this off-peak travelcard during the peak period (4pm- 7pm), or do I have to wait till after 7pm to use it again?

  142. Hi Hannah,

    Those are peak fare times so your railcard will have no effect. The fare is £6.70 each way, so £13.40 per day.

  143. Hi Autumn,

    Yes, the off-peak travelcard is valid anytime after 0930. The off-peak caps also apply anytime after 0930 so even though peak single fares are charged between 1600-1900 you will still cap at the off-peak rate.

  144. Hi Mike,

    I travel from King’s Cross to North Harrow and back Monday to Friday. I catch a bus to King’s Cross between 7&720 and touch in at King’s Cross between 705 and 730. I touch in at North Harrow after 6, usually, and catch a bus from King’s Cross home.

    I have been using a monthly travelcard at 200 quid, but is there a cheaper way to do this?

  145. I live in Zone 4. The man in the ticket office at my closest NR station says if I am doing a lot of travelling and likely to return during the afternoon peak, it is cheaper to buy a Zones 1-4 Travelcard (£8.00) than to use Oyster, and to this point I have done so.

    Yesterday, however, I decided to use Oyster for greater flexibilty, including bus journeys to and from an alternative station in Z4, NR in and out of London, and four Z1 tube journeys. I left after the morning peak but returned during the afternoon peak, and my fares were capped at £7.70.

    Is the man in the sation correct (in which case under what circumstances might I have exceeded £8.00 on Oyster); or is he just trying to get me to buy a ticket from him rather than the machine outside (which he is known to dislike)?

    Many thanks.

  146. Hi Hannah,

    You can’t do the journey you describe any cheaper. If it were just the tube fare from Kings Cross to North Harrow and back then PAYG would be slightly cheaper, but the bus makes the travelcard worthwhile.

    However, can you take the bus (or even walk) to Calledonian Road and Barnsbury or Camden Road (or indeed any North London line station)? If you can, then you can lose zone 1 from your travelcard and travel via Finchley Road (& Frognall) or West Hampstead. A zone 2-5 travelcard costs just £116/month.

  147. Hi Paul,

    Oh dear. He’s definitely mistaken. As you’ve discovered, the relevant Oyster daily cap is now slighlty cheaper than the equivalent day travelcard, so as long as you don’t make a mistake and forget to touch somewhere you will be better off with Oyster PAYG. He might have been confused because people who have railcards linked to their Oyster may pay more in the afternoon peak than a traditional paper return with railcard discount. Even with a railcard, if you’re going to cap then you will be better off with PAYG.

  148. Hi Mike,

    I usually get the 09:33 from norwood junction to coulsdon town (single as get a lift home) which takes £1.90 off my oyster when I touch out, however I’ll need to catch the earlier 08:46 next week, again only single as will still get a lift home, how much will it cost using my oyster please?

  149. Hi Deb,

    According to the single fare finder it will be £2.50.

  150. I work in zone 1 and get the tube and train home. I usually touch in at Bank station just before 4pm. I then have the option to touch out from the tube at Waterloo before then touching in again for the National Rail which is after 4pm. If I don’t touch out of the tube and just touch in for National Rail, does that charge me off peak for the whole journey or just cover the tube and charge me peak for the train?

  151. Hi Sarah,

    If you don’t touch out of the tube it will treat that as an unfinished journey and treat the NR journey as peak. If you do touch out of the tube and touch in to NR within the next 40 minutes then it joins the two journeys together and charges the whole journey as off-peak.

  152. Hi Mike,

    I have an Oyster with my 16-25 railcard on it. Say for instance I’m travelling after 0930. I make several journeys in Zones 1 to 4 and I reach the Off-Peak Price Cap at £5.10.

    What happens if I make a journey that is within the evening peak hours, i.e. 1600 to 1900? Will I be charged up to the Anytime Price Cap at £10.60 or will I be charged a full single which will not count towards the price cap (such as the Emirates Cable Car) perhaps?

    I did actually do this back in July, where I made several journeys in one day, but I can’t remember what happened.

    Many thanks,


  153. Hi Dan,

    The off-peak cap applies after 0930, so if you’ve already capped you will remain capped whilst in the same zones. If you went outside the zones already covered then you’d go up to the off-peak cap for the new range of zones. The cable car is always charged outside of the capping regime.

  154. Hi Mike,

    Fantastic website! Thank you for taking the time to answer individual queries.

    My employer recently moved offices from Slough to Holborn. I tend to take a bus around 0918 to Hayes & Harlington Rail Station (Zone 5), touch in at a yellow validator at 0931 to qualify for the off-peak fare, then travel on the 0933 Heathrow Connect to Ealing Broadway (Zone 3). I then validate my Oyster card at one of the validators on the Central line platforms, then take the line to Chancery Lane. This mode of travel means I usually get a seat, as Heathrow Connect trains are usually close to empty when they get to Hayes & Harlington station, and the Central line starts at Ealing Broadway.

    On the way back I walk to Farringdon underground station and take the H&C to Paddington, where I change to the Thames Turbos on platform 13 or 14 to Hayes & Harlington, then take the bus from the station. This is typically after 7 pm; as I start my working day late, I also end it later.

    I’m permitted to telecommute one day a week, which I am permitted to do, so I figured that, with the reduced number of traveling days, I would be better off with PAYG than getting a weekly or monthly travelcard. However, since my first bus journey of the day is before 0930, it seems that the off-peak daily cap £8.50 does not apply alone — I end up with a daily expenditure of £8.80, uncapped. The off-peak daily travelcard is not much more at £8.90, and it would cover any additional journeys I might have to make during the day.

    There is however a nuisance factor in that I would need to purchase the travelcard separately every day I traveled. This would of course be nullified by the fact that I need to do a bus journey first thing before I can get to the station or an Oyster ticket stop, and buying the travelcard after I’ve already paid for a bus journey seems counterproductive.

    Do you know if there is any means to get an off-peak day travelcard prior to the date of travel? If so I could try to get a travelcard for the next day if I am traveling the next day while I am still at a station. This might make my daily expenditure on transport a little more predictable as well.

    Is there a quicker way you can think of to complete this journey (Hayes [Hillingdon] to Holborn and back) than my current journey, without greatly increasing the expense?

  155. Hi Amit,

    I’m guessing that Hillingdon station is out because you’d have to start before 0930?

    You have misunderstood something though. An off-peak one day travelcard would not be valid on a bus before 0930. You are correct that the £8.50 cap doesn’t apply, but it is only increased by the one bus journey to £9.90. You certainly won’t go anywhere near the anytime cap for zones 1-6. You can buy travelcards in advance, but it won’t help you, unfortunately.

    Also, you are not required to touch the validator at Ealing Broadway if you touched in at Hayes & Harlington and will touch out at Chancery Lane. In fact this could potentially cause problems because the touch at Ealing will put you out of the system. It’s a special sort of out which will be correctly adjusted at Chancery Lane, but there have been issues of RPIs not understanding what their readers are telling them and issuing penalty fares. For full details see continuation exits on this site.

  156. Good to know!

    Hillingdon station is out of the way and there is no direct bus to it, so it would work out to be more expensive I think. It’s certainly much too far away to walk there. (I mentioned Hillingdon because I live in the Hayes that is in the London Borough of Hillingdon rather than the one in Kent.)

    I did come across the section on continuation exits after my comment. I guess I’ll avoid using the validator from now on.

    I guess the routes I’ve been taking are the most economical (at £8.80 per day) and quickest then.

    Thanks for the clarification on off-peak day travelcards not being valid for bus travel at peak times. I had been under the impression that any travelcard was valid on any London bus.

  157. There are no zonal restrictions on buses, so any travelcard is valid on all buses throughout London. Off-peak travelcards are only valid on any transport after 0930.

  158. Hi Mike,

    I would like to know which is the best and cheapest (it doesnt matter if I have to go on weekend days) way to go (and return) from Euston to Watford Junction with an Oyster card.

    Thanks in advance!

  159. Hi Sheila,

    Best is somewhat subjective depending on which factors you consider more important. Cheapest is a bit easier and is what I can answer here, with the caveat that someone might work out a cheaper way, although I think it’s unlikely. Euston to Watford Junction is unusual in that peak is only 1600-1900 Mon-Fri, while for the return it is only 0630-0930.

    Touch in at Euston and touch out at Watford Junction enabling use of all the fast trains as well as stoppers is £7.60 peak or £4.70 off-peak. If you are prepared to use stopping trains and get off at Willesden Junction to touch out and back in again before getting the next train to continue your journey you can save £1.50 peak or £1.00 off-peak. Be careful if you start at Euston between 1530 and 1600 such that the second journey might be after 1600 from Willesden Junction, because that will cost £1.30 more that the single off-peak journey.

    Hope that helps.

  160. Hello Mike,
    Im moving to london next week and atm, london transportation and fares are really confusing, im from Portugal, totally diferent here, if possible i would like to know the fastest and cheapest way to travel from Neasden zone 3 to Shepherds Bush. Ty

  161. Hi Luis,

    Fastest and cheapest won’t be the same unfortunately. Fastest is likely to be Neasden to Bond Street on Jubilee line then on to Shepherd’s Bush on the Central line. That’ll be a zone 1-3 fare. Cheapest is Neasden to West Hampstead on Jubilee line then a short walk to the Overground station for a train to Shepherd’s Bush. You avoid zone 1 then, but it will take a bit longer.

  162. Mike thanks for the answer, im from Argentina and im planning my trip for february.
    So, if I touch in Euston at 8.30am i will pay 4.70 and for the return around 1pm i will pay 4.70 too?

    Those are a really good news!

  163. Yes, Sheila.

    Just one more consideration. Will you have used the Oyster to get to Euston before leaving at 8.30am? If you have then the two journeys will be combined into one and charged at peak rates. Say you travel from Baker Street to Euston Square, touch out and walk to Euston then touch in to go to Watford Junction. The first part will be charged at £2.10 whatever, but the second part will take a further £6.50 making the overall journey £8.60. This practice is supposed to save money (£2.10+£7.60=£9.70), but because of the one-way peaks only on Euston to Watford Junction you actually end up paying more.

    There are some ways round it. The join will only happen if touch out to touch in is within 40 minutes. So you could plan to have a leisurely coffee at Euston and be safe. Or, for just £1.40 you can touch in on a bus and get straight off again. It’s not as mad as you think and bus drivers are used to it. The phantom bus journey will permanently end the tube journey. You could also save 70p and take the bus from Baker Street, though if you are coming a long way then that won’t be attractive in the morning rush hour.

    Whatever happens, I hope you enjoy your trip.

  164. Hello, got a new question, my friend has weekly travel card for zones 3 and 2, but when he goes from shepherd’s bush, to stockwell he says he needs to pay around 4pounds, shouldn’t it be free since he starts in zone 2 and end in zone 2? Ty

  165. Hi Luis,

    In a word, No! The journey involves travelling through zone 1 so the system will charge accordingly. If he gets a zone 1-2 travelcard then it will be free, or with a zone 2-3 travelcard he’ll need to change his route starting at Shepherds Bush Overground station and changing at Clapham Junction and Vauxhall.

  166. Hello,

    I was curious what the best method (and cost of it) is for going from Upminster to Heathrow – Terminal 4? I’m new to the area so any help is appreciated.

  167. Hi Dan,

    Best is a very subjective question because it depends on what factors are more important, like speed, cost, ease of connections, and others, particularly if carrying heavy luggage. The simplest way would be District line to Hammersmith then Piccadilly line to Heathrow. This would cost £5.00 peak or £3.00 off-peak. Cheaper options include avoiding zone 1 by various routes to the north of London. A faster option might include the Heathrow Express but that would cost significantly more.

  168. Hi Mike,

    Firstly I’m sorry if I’m repeating a question already posed. I read through everything but I’m still quite confused :S
    I need to travel from Epping to Chancery Lane from Monday to Friday only next week. I have to arrive by 8:00 and I finish at 18:00 but would leave after 19:00 to get the off peak rate.
    When I travel in the morning however if I leave before 6:30 would the journey count as off peak?
    Thank you,

  169. Hi Tim,

    Journeys starting before 0630 are charged off-peak fares, however, the value of said journeys does not count towards the off-peak cap. It won’t always matter, but needs to be mentioned in case. It will be cheaper than starting between 0630-0930 though.

  170. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the quick reply! Ah that helps me budget properly now. Thanks again!


  171. Hi Mike,

    just wondering if i tap in at watford junction before 16:00…go to Euston where I have to tap out and tap in for underground to bank…will be charged off peak even though i have to tap in again at Euston?

    Thank you.

  172. adding to my previous comment, i believe watford junction to euston is 40 mins. if i tap in at 15:50 at watford junction and get to Euston at lets sat 16:30..and tap into underground at 16:30..will off peak still apply as i started my journey at watford junction at off peak.

    sorry for the confusion

  173. Hi Nik,

    Yes, as long as you touch in within 20 minutes of touching out the journeys will be combined as one and charged at off-peak rates. You don’t have to touch in before 1600 either because the journey comes under a TfL priced starting outside zone 1 and finishing inside zone 1, so it’s off-peak all afternoon.

  174. thanks 🙂

  175. Hi Mike,
    Which one cheaper monthly zone 1-4 or PAYasygo as I am permamently working on a late shift from 13.00 until 22.00. Is there also off peak monthly one?


  176. Hi Saut,

    PAYG will be cheaper if all travel is off peak. There are no off peak seasons.

  177. In TfL’s travel advice for the Christmas/New Year period, the suspension of the Congestion Charge is mentioned. Since I did not notice anything specific, do you happen to know whether or not the whole period (25 December to 1 January) will be off-peak for Oyster users? Since most services will be using Saturday timetables, it would seem appropriate.

  178. Hi David,

    I’ve not seen anything yet. Obviously the bank holidays will be off-peak all day, but I agree that perhaps the others ought to be treated like Saturdays, for maximum journey times as well as fares.

  179. Hi Mike,

    Just want some clarifications.
    I join the National Rail before 6:30 am every day. What sort of ticket should I purchase? Off-Peak?

  180. Hi Laolu,

    If you are purchasing a paper ticket at that time then it is likely that it will need to be a peak (anytime) ticket. In the Oyster area there is a special concession allowing off-peak journeys if they start before 0630, but only when using your Oyster balance to pay as you go.

  181. Hi Mike,

    You site is very interesting.
    I was wondering if you could explain this to me at all. Why is Blackfriars (national rail) to Tooting Broadway £2.70 but Victoria (national rail) to tooting broadway is £3.60 or St James Park to tooting is £3.60.

    Why the massive difference as the start stations are all is zone 1? And journeys are all overland/tube combined.


  182. Hi Uzi,

    It depends where you change from National Rail to Underground. The section of line between Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle is charged at TfL rates, like the Underground, so you only pay the TfL rate for that journey. However, the lines out of Victoria are all charged at NR rates which makes the whole journey a mixed NR+TfL journey.

  183. Hi mike.
    Thanks for your reply That kind of makes sense. The reason for my query was I originally travelled off peak from blackfriars to tooting. All overland at a cost of £2.20. However due to change of job I now travel from blackfriars on the underground to st James’s Park and the journey is now £3.60 off peak. Any idea why there is such a major jump.


  184. OK, Tooting to Blackfriars is a National Rail journey. If you then make it a mixed NR+TfL journey by switching to the Underground it becomes more expensive. It’s one of the mind-boggling complications resulting from the forced inclusion of some of the NR train companies in the Oyster system.

  185. if I start the day off-peak, but later on take the tube between 4 and 7 pm which price cap is considered?

  186. Any travel after 0930 will contribute to the off-peak cap and once that is reached it will stop charging.

  187. I’ve been checking my journey history and I’ve quite often been capped at £11.20 for the day, lower than I expected. But can’t figure out how since that’s not listed as a cap on the fares page, and can’t find a way to split them that adds up.

    e.g. on a weekday:
    07:52 – 08:50 Shepherd’s Bush Market to Uxbridge £2.70
    12:50 – 13:59 Uxbridge to Shepherd’s Bush Market £1.50
    15:28 – 15:33 Shepherd’s Bush Market to Hammersmith (Circle, H&C lines) £1.50
    16:15 – 16:22 Hammersmith (Circle, H&C lines) to Shepherd’s Bush Market £1.60
    17:20 – 17:36 White City to Ealing Broadway £1.60
    17:45 Bus journey, route E9 £1.40
    18:53 Bus journey, route E2 £0.90
    21:13 – 21:25 Ealing Broadway to White City £0.00

    where the last 2 journeys are flagged as being capped.

    Can anyone see what I am missing?

  188. Hi Alan,

    Yes. The first journey only counts towards the anytime cap because it is before 0930. After that they all count towards both the anytime and off-peak caps, so once the £8.50 off-peak cap is reached you stop paying extra.

  189. Hello!

    If I tap-in in Zone 6, during peak time, and tap-out in Zone 1. And then execute several trips between Zones 1 and 2 during off-peak, how will the system interpret my actions? i.e.

    1) Will it wait until I reach a Z1-6 peak cap of GBP 15.8?


    2) Will it consider a Single Z1-6 GBP 5.0 ticket and a Z1-2 off-peak cap of GBP 7.0?


  190. Hi Sergio,

    It will be the second case. Furthermore, if you return to zone 6 at the end it will cap the post 0930 travel at £8.50, thus only charging you £1.50 for the final journey.

  191. Mike, many thanks. That makes sense now.

  192. Hello,

    I saw a board at Chesham station today informing customers that from the 19th of January, customers touching in expecting the off peak cap to be applied shouldn’t touch in till after 09:10. It appears that LUL have moved the touch in time to prevent off peak passengers from using the 09:09 fast Aldgate service. The first off peak train customers from Chesham will be able to use is the 09:34 all stations Baker Street service. I don’t know how this will affect other Metropolitan Line stations north of Moor Park.

  193. Thanks Alexander,

    That’s actually quite misleading. If you touch in between 0910-0929 you will be charged the peak fare while after 0930 it will be the off peak fare. That seems potentially unfair unless you are going to cap anyway.

  194. Hi Mike
    Happy new year:)
    I wonder if you could suggest a station to start with a lift. Came from heathrow to Bayswater with two medium sized suitcases and a daughter, and only stairs… Now I have to go to St Pancras from Hyde Park. Would you pls suggest a station which I could start the journey from that has a lift or automatic stair system? Also the train from st. Pancras leaves at 13:31 hrs. So which would be the cheapest hours?
    Thanks ever so much

  195. Hi Fran,

    My knowledge is more to do with ticketing, so accessible stations is not something I’m familiar with. The TfL website has quite a bit about facilities at their stations. As for catching the 1331 Eurostar from St Pancras, you will be travelling off-peak so it won’t matter what time you travel.

  196. Hi Mike,

    If I plan to catch a train at 6:36, would touching in before 6:30 cause me to be charged at the off-peak rate, regardless of the fact that the entirety of the journey would actually be within the peak period?

  197. Hi Kairul,

    Yes, that’s right. Touch in time decides what rate to charge.

  198. Hi Mike,

    Oyster card
    Weakly zone 3 – 4?
    From Seven sister started time at 11:45 and finished at 12:44pm Ealing broad way.
    Started time at 17:28 from Ealing broad way and finished 18:44pm to Seven sister

    I touched in from seven sister station before I reach the gate I have tapped the overground inside the station Ealing broad way and I touched out at the gate. Then i wanted to go back where I began my journey which is seven sister unfortunately when I came back to Ealing broadway to touch in I had to seek assistance. I was then told to top up and I toped up £5.00 same journey from Ealing broad way to seven sister.

    What do you think was the problem during my journey?


  199. Hi Ahmed,

    Were you expecting the journey to be covered by the travelcard? Did you travel through zones 1 and/or 2? If you did then the system will expect to deduct the fare for a zone 1-2 journey from your PAYG balance. On the Underground that is £2.90 peak and £2.20 off-peak.

  200. Hi Mike,

    Great site.

    I am a little confused with peak and offpeak timings.

    If I go from Harrow on the Hill (zone 5) to Barbican (zone 1) at 6am and arrive around 6.40am. Will I pay peak or offpeak pricing? Also if that is offpeak, do I get a 1/3 off the price with a railcard?


  201. Hi Rish,

    Touch in time is the key to what you will be charged. If that is 6am then it will be off-peak and any railcard discount will also apply. It doesn’t matter what time the journey ends as long as the maximum journey time is not exceeded.

  202. Hi Mike. What a great site, which I’m finding dangerously addictive. I’ve always considered myself reasonably competent when tackling the thorny issue of rail fares, but Oyster seems to take complexity to a new level.

    Could you confirm my thoughts on a PAYG return journey Orpington-Regents Park? Leaving at 0830, returning at 2000, the single fare finder gives a total fare of £12.60 (£7.50 + £5.10). As I understand it, no price cap will apply because the journey from Orpington is made at peak time (‘Anytime’ in your helpful chart above) and the total fare is, of course, short of the ‘Anytime’ price cap. Even if I made additional off peak trips later that day, the only price cap I could benefit from would be the Anytime cap (because of the 0830 start from Orpington).

    But if I make the same journey, this time leaving Orpington at 1630 and coming back at 2000, the single fare finder gives the total fare as £12.60 again. This time though I would benefit from the off peak fare cap because both trips are made at off peak times for cap purposes (even though the journey from Orpington attracts a peak fare).

    Have I passed?

  203. Hi Reg,

    In a word, yes!

  204. Hurrah! Thanks Mike.

  205. Hi Mike,
    I’m a little confused by this statement in your article: “Thus, if you make one journey before 0930 you are likely to hit the off-peak cap before the anytime cap”.

    It is my understanding that journeys before 0930 don’t count towards the off-peak cap and the peak journey would be treated separately with only journeys after 0930 being included towards the offpeak cap?

    My main question is, if I touch in at 0920 at Balham NR and then transfer on to underground (after 0930) to go to Heathrow Airport at Victoria, would the whole journey Balham -> Heathrow Airport be counted as peak due to the early touch-in time, or would it just treat the Balham NR bit as peak with the Victoria to Heathrow Airport being Off-peak?

    If it’s all treated as peak, is there a way to ‘force’ the underground journey to be offpeak?



  206. Hi John,

    You are correct. My wording tries to explain that even if you travel before 0930 you are still subject to the off-peak cap afterwards. Whichever cap is hit first will stop charges.

    In your case the whole journey would be charged at peak rates if you interchange promptly. If you were to get a coffee at Victoria such that you touched in at the Underground more than 20 minutes after touching out of the NR platforms then the journey would be split in two and the second one would be off-peak. Alternatively you can touch into a bus outside Victoria and get off again. This would charge £1.45 unless you have a travelcard season, or were going to use all the off-peak cap anyway such that it didn’t matter. The other way is to enter and exit the LU station within two minutes and then enter again within 45 further minutes. This will cause a same station exit which will end the first journey and start a new one when you go back in. It only works where there are gatelines on the entry side of the OSI, which is the case at Victoria.

  207. Hello Mike,

    The daily oyster travel cap is 11.60£ (1-4zones) during the peak time. If I use 2 buses in the morning, before I start actual journey from Grove Park (national rail, zone 4) to Queensway (zone 1 underground) , does it include in my daily cap, or I will be charged separately for using 2 buses in the morning?

  208. Hi Ramune,

    Buses are included in the daily caps.

  209. Hi mike,
    I will be travelling from epping tube station (after 4pm) on a Friday and heading into heathrow terminal 4, the easiest route to me seems to be:
    Take the central line to holborn,
    Change to Piccadilly line and go from there.
    However I’ve only recently got an Oyster card and am not entirely sure how the zone fares will work, will it count me going from epping to holborn (6-1) as a £3 fare and then from holborn to terminal 4 (1-6) as another £3 fare? Is there a cheaper alternative? Thank you.

  210. Hi Rachel,

    You don’t leave the station at Holborn so it will be one journey from Epping to Heathrow. This costs £3 off-peak and £5 peak, and if you start it between 1600-1900 on a Friday then it will be peak. There is a cheaper alternative which avoids zone 1 and will take significantly longer. You need to change at Stratford, Gunnersbury and Turnham Green OR Stratford, Willesden Junction, West Brompton and Earls Court. The fares are £1.50 off-peak and £2.70 peak.

  211. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to start travelling from Surbiton to either Vauxhall or Waterloo from around 0700, returning at either before 1600 or closer to 1700 on some days. What is my best option?



  212. Hi Adam,

    There’s quite a few variables in there. Surbiton to Vauxhall is zones 2-5 whereas Waterloo will add zone 1. Touching in before 1600 will give you an off-peak fare whereas 1700 will be a peak one. Surbiton to Vauxhall is £3.90 peak and £2.50 off-peak. Surbiton to Waterloo is £5.90 peak, £3.60 off-peak. A weekly season to Vauxhall is £28.50 while to Waterloo is £44.00. In both cases the season ticket will be cheaper than one peak and one off-peak journey 5 days a week. A travelcard will be overkill unless you make other journeys, and if you make a significant number of off-peak journeys it would be even more compared to PAYG. The only time I would recommend a travelcard for you would be if your usual commute was to Vauxhall and you made a few other trips and had to go into Waterloo once or twice a week. In that case I’d get a zone 2-6 travelcard on the Oyster and use PAYG for the extra to zone 1 when required. It really does depend on your actual circumstances though.

  213. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I’m going to do Surbiton to Vauxhall M-F, and the odd day on the weekend. Would you therefore recommend getting the Sur-Vxh season ticket and Just go PAYG for other journeys (minimal, once a week within zone 1)?



  214. Hi Adam,

    Yes I would. The season ticket will have to be on paper so if you go to Waterloo you’ll need to touch in at Vauxhall on the way. Alternatively you can buy a paper ticket from Vauxhall to Waterloo and take a fast train all the way.

  215. Hi Mike,
    I didn’t understand if a trip on a bus before 9.30 trigger the peak price cap for the day, even if first metro/train/dlr/overground trip is made after 9.30. Hope the question is clear 🙂

  216. Hi CDB,

    It counts towards the anytime price cap, but one bus journey is only enough to reach the anytime cap if all rail activity after 0930 is in zones 1-2.

  217. Hello Mike!

    I wanted to know if let say, I’d want to take the train from Cricklewood Station to Charing Cross and then take the underground, like Piccadilly line (all in zone 1-2).
    Would I have to pay for the train and for the underground (I have an oyster) or I can pay at the train station and pay off after the tunderground?

  218. Hi Guillaume,

    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here. Cricklewood is within the Oyster area so you can use it for the trains as well as tubes in London.

  219. Hi we are travelling from Kings cross to Uxbridge on the underground after 16.00 on a monday and returning the following day around 18.00, will I have to get peak tickets and if so, have you any idea how much they are? also I have a disabled railcard, can I use that towards price of the tickets. We are also visiting London for 2 days shortly, can we buy underground tickets that we can use for lots of underground trips each day and also disable card eligibilty again please.

  220. Hi Haze,

    Are you talking about paper tickets? If yes, then you can’t use the disabled railcard for solely Underground tickets. If you are making lots of trips you can buy a one-day travelcard which can have the railcard discount applied. However, you really do want to consider getting an Oyster card and having the railcard discount attached to it. The discounted off-peak cap for zones 1-6 is cheaper than the paper travelcard, and if you only use it in zones 1-2 (or 1-4) then it will be even cheaper because while Oyster caps at lower rates, you can’t buy paper one-day travelcards for less than zones 1-6.

    Kings X to Uxbridge is £5.70 paper, while Oyster is £5.00 peak, £2.00 off-peak with railcard. Coming back the off-peak fare applies in the afternoon peak as the journey finishes in zone 1. The paper off-peak one-day travelcard with discount is £5.90. With Oyster and railcard the off-peak caps are £5.60 (zone 1-6), £5.10 (zone 1-4) and £4.60 (zone 1-2).

  221. Can I just add that using buses before 9.30am and using the tube after 9.30am results in one being charged the peak fare* despite peak fares not been applied to buses! However I guess that one wouldn’t be allowed to use an off-peak paper travelcard before 9.30am on a bus

    * I had used 4 buses by 9.30am and then a mixture of tube and bus but then I was only charged additional to the bus cap when I used the tube.

  222. I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say. Although buses have a flat fare, any journeys before 0930 will not count towards the off-peak cap. They do still count towards the daily bus cap of course.

  223. Hi Mike,

    I’m still a bit confused with the Oyster Card Off-peak price cap (zone 1, £7.00) and Travelcard Day Off-peak (zone 1, £8.90).
    Why is the cost of a day pass Travelcard higher than the Oyster card daily price cap? who would buy the day pass Travelcard then?


  224. I was just saying that buses & trams count too- as TfL doesn’t state this explicitly!

  225. Hi Karen,

    That’s precisely the point. TfL are trying to encourage more people to use Oyster.

  226. Yes, they do seem to be a bit vague on the bus element. They say there is no difference between peak and off-peak bus fares. That’s not quite the same as saying there is only one fare. However, I agree that they could spell it out better.

  227. New to this site so apologies if I am posting in the right forum or following strict protocols…

    I just have a question with regards to Oyster peak pricing for children (11-15) on rail services eg Southeastern.
    Why is the pricing still different to the Underground Oyster pricing especially for central London (Zone 1 and 2)?
    We had assumed they were the same but children pay double during peak services.
    This means in future it would require some tricky calculations to work out which is cheaper especially if a F&F card is thrown into the mix.

    Are there any plans to bring them in line with the rest of the zone 1/ 2 network?

  228. Hi Barney,

    Children’s pricing is already more aligned than adult pricing so it’s possible that further moves may be made. Do remember though that in the evening peak the off-peak cap still applies so they won’t pay more than £1.50 after 0930. There are some child single fares which are never charged in the evening peak because of this.

  229. Hi Mike,

    A simply question. If I use daily travelcard zone1-6 off peak, can I use this paper travel card before 6:30 since that is off peak period as well, or not? Only after 9:30?
    Thanks. I have registered on your site, but I couldn’t make any comment or post comment, only this way, which doesn’t require registration.
    Thanks for your answer.



  230. Hi Daniel,

    No. Before 0630 is still peak, but on Oyster you are charged off-peak single fares. Those single fares do not count towards the off-peak cap.

  231. Hi Mike,

    Please help me: I would like some advice on the cheapest way to travel to and from work.

    I work between the hours of 10am- 3pm and it takes me approx. 1hr to get to and from work to home. I only work 4 days a week.
    My route would be London Kings Cross to either Golders Green then bus or Hendon and walk. (both zone 3)

    I cant figure out if a monthly travel card for zone 1-3 at £140 per month would be better than pay as you go, as on the way home I may be off peak.

    I also may speak to my employer and ask them if I could work 10.30 to 3.30 do you think that would still be off peak? And on both pay as you go and monthly how much is that?

    Really hope you can help.

    Thank you


  232. Hi Lidia,

    Lots of variables in there. I’m assuming that you live in Hendon and work in Kings Cross. The key time in the morning is when you touch in. If you can do that after 0930 then it will be off-peak. For the evening you need to touch in before 1600. Adding a bus into the equation is going to make the travelcard more attractive, even at off-peak rates. Each bus journey is £1.45. The peak fare from both stations to Kings Cross is £3.20 but the off-peak equivalents vary. Hendon is £2.30 because that journey is National Rail while Golders Green (or indeed Hendon Central) is £2.70. Depending on when weekends (and your day off) fall and how many days the month has you will travel 16-20 days, so lets call that 17 days for comparison purposes.

    Hendon to St Pancras Intl is £2.30 x 17 x 2 = £78.20 (off-peak both ways)
    Hendon to St Pancras Intl is (£2.30+£3.20) x 17 = £93.50 (one way peak)
    Hendon to St Pancras Intl is £3.20 x 17 x 2 = £108.80 (peak both ways)

    Hendon Ctl to Kings X is £2.70 x 17 x 2 = £91.80 (off-peak both)
    Hendon Ctl to Kings X is (£2.70+£3.20) x 17 = £100.30 (one peak)
    Hendon Ctl to Kings X is £3.20 x 17 x 2 = £108.80 (peak both)

    Golders Grn to Kings X is (£2.70+£1.45) x 17 x 2 = £141.10 (off-peak both)
    Golders Grn to Kings X is (£2.70+£1.45+£3.20+£1.45) x 17 = £149.60 (one peak)
    Golders Grn to Kings X is (£3.20+£1.45) x 17 x 2 = £158.10 (peak both)

    The monthly travelcard is £141.40, so if you include the bus you are almost always better off with the travelcard.

  233. Hi Mike, I travel in from watford junction to Vauxhall everyday so zones 1-6. I work lates however so get the train from watford at around 11am returning at around 9pm. is it cheaper for me to go PAYG then a monthly travel card?

  234. Hi Daniel,

    If your journey is only Watford Junction to Vauxhall (LU) then 42 single journeys is £252 PAYG compared to £313.80 for a monthly travelcard. So the simple answer is that PAYG is cheaper. If you add a bus into the equation then the travelcard costs less.

    However, the long answer is that you can do it much cheaper. Either take the Southern train from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction, then SWT to Vauxhall NR, or Overground from Watford Junction to Willesden Junction, Overground again to Clapham Junction and SWT to Vauxhall NR, then you avoid zone 1 and the off-peak single fare reduces from £6 to £2.80. It might take a little longer, but at less than half the cost and avoiding Euston and the Underground it may be worth it.

  235. Hi Mike,

    Thank you very much i didn’t know i could go through Clapham. Uve saved me a good chunk of money here!

  236. Hi Mike, if I start my journey at hampton rail station at 6:20am and complete it at crossharbour DLR, will I be charged the off peak pay as you go rate on oyster? If not, what will the fare be? I’m going back to work 3 days a week (8-4pm)so am trying to find the cheapest way to travel.

  237. Hi Pearlina,

    If you touch in before 0630 then the journey is charged off-peak however long it takes (within maximum journey time of course). Unfortunately the cut-off for the afternoon peak is 1600 which you might just miss. You can avoid zone 1 if you want by changing at Clapham Junction and either Shadwell or Canada Water. If the latter then you must touch the pink reader while changing. This cuts the off-peak fare from £5.10 to £2.50 and the peak fare from £7.50 to £3.90.

  238. Hi Mike.
    I am trying to find the cheapest way to get to London Euston from Feltham Overground station.
    I can either buy a one day travel card @8.90- but i feel it will be a waste as i am making a single journey trip.
    Will i be better off touching my Oyster card at Feltham and then stopping at Vauxhall. Then getting the Victoria Line from Vauxhall to Euston- again touch and go with Oyster. Can you please also confirm what London Zone Vauxhall falls under. And what the cost will be from Felthan- Vauxhall- Euston. Single Off Peak. Thanks. SB

  239. Hi Shah,

    The single off-peak fare from Feltham to Euston changing at Vauxhall is £4.70.

  240. Hi-
    I’m trying to figure out if there is a monthly pass I can buy that covers me from watford junction (where im moving) to zone 1?


  241. Hi Nicole,

    You can buy a zone 1-9 + Watford Junction travelcard which will cover you. If your journey is only between Watford and Euston then PAYG may be cheaper unless you use it every working day. The weekly travelcard is more expensive than 10 single journeys.

  242. Hi James,

    If I travel to Baker street from Slade Green every Monday to Friday 08:00 to 17:30 using National rail and Underground. What type of Oyster pay as you go is best for me.

  243. Hi James,

    There is only one sort of Oyster PAYG. That journey will see you cap at the anytime (peak) rate for zones 1-6. If you make the journey every weekday then consider buying a travelcard season to put on your Oyster instead.

  244. I am moving to wickford and work at Euston square, I work part time five days a week.
    I will be travelling at peak time 7ish in the morning, but I leave work at 13.00 everyday.
    What is the cheapest way to travel

  245. Hi Carol,

    Unfortunately travelling in the morning peak means that a season ticket is still worthwhile. You could make a saving by buying a Wickford to London zones 2-6 season, changing at Stratford onto the North London Line to Camden Road and then walking or catching a bus down to Euston. Buses are included with any travelcard so you are free to use them in zone 1.

  246. Hi Mike,

    Can you confirm all travels between Euston and Watford Junction before 0930 are charged at off-peak fares as the other way between 1600 and 1900 ?

    I want to use with my son, a OneDay TravelCard Off-Peak (1-6) – £8.90 for an adult and the same for a child (£3.60)… and a BZ6 round-ticket for Watford Junction for each of us, but I don’t know at what time i’ll return from Watford Junction (visit Harry Potter studios)

    Is it the cheapest way ? (i’ll not use an Oyster card).

    many thanks !


  247. Hi Jean,

    Travel against the peak flow between Euston and Watford Junction is charged at off-peak single fares on Oyster. An off-peak travelcard is still not valid until 0930. If you won’t use an Oyster card then off-peak travelcards and BZ tickets will be the cheapest way. Travelcards £8.90 + £3.60 + BZ6-WFJ returns £4.50 + £2.25 = £19.25. If your son has a zip Oyster (11-15) then his single fare would be £2.35 while yours would be £4.70 and allow travel before 0930. That’s £14.10 total.

  248. Thank you very much, Mike, for these precious informations ! That’s all what I needed


  249. Hi, can you clear this up for me please. I am visiting London for one day, arriving 10.30am and leaving 10.00pm. I have an adult oystercard. I am in London on a weekday. The morning peak times do not affect me, but I am confused by the 4pm-7pm peak. I intend travelling around doing ‘touristy stuff’ and will be in zones 1, 2 and 3. Am I right that if I travel between these zones and dont finish up in zone 1 during these times the daily cap is quite a lot more, say if I leave the Olympic park after 4pm but travel to a zone 1 station I will be still on the lower daily peak, but if I did zone 3 to 2 I will be on a high daily peak?

    Thanks, if you answer this.

  250. Hi Mary,

    Between 1600-1900 the Oyster system charges peak single fares*, but these higher fares still count towards the off-peak cap. Only travel before 0930 doesn’t count towards the off-peak cap.

    *Where TfL set the fares and travel ends in zone 1 the off-peak fare is charged. Peak fares between anywhere and zone 2 are all less than equivalent off-peak fare to zone 1 so you never lose out.

  251. Hi,

    I am travelling to London on Good Friday, I need a zone 1-6 travel card for the day – As it is good Friday is the whole day classed as off peak?

    Apologies if you have already answered this!

  252. Hi Beth,

    Yes, Good Friday is a public holiday.

  253. Hi mike,

    I’m trying to work out the cheapest way to travel return from Gidea Park to Paddington. I would be leaving at 6am in the morning and return at 3.30pm so off peak?

    thanks in advance

  254. Hi Tola,

    As Paddington is in zone 1 and Gidea Park is classed as National Rail there is really no way to reduce the fare. As you say, both ways will be off-peak so you are already getting the best deal. The only improvement would be a railcard if you are eligible for one.

  255. Mike,

    Please could you edit the page to make it clear that it is the start time of the journey which determines whether it is peak/off peak, rather than the whole journey?

  256. Hi CG,

    I’ve made a couple of edits. There’s also a future page coming which will help further.

  257. Hi,
    I have an 11-15 Oyster Zip Card and I’d like to know what it would cost me to Go from Harold Wood to Liverpool Street, Liverpool Street to Embankment and then Embankment to Hornchurch. I plan to travel on a Saturday.


  258. Hi Kai,

    If that is 2 separate journeys then each one is 75p with a daily cap of £1.50. Even if you take too long to walk between the stations at Liverpool Street you will still cap at £1.50.

  259. Hi Mike,
    I can’t understand how does the cap be counted: in particular, what is the criteria to determine if I reach peak cap or off-peak cap? Sorry for my english; I hope you’ve understood what I mean. 🙂 Thank you.

  260. Hi Andrea,

    All your travel counts towards the Anytime (peak) cap. All travel after 0930 also counts towards the off-peak cap. Whichever cap is reached first will apply and stop you being charged.

    Hope that helps.

  261. Hello
    I need to get a bus to get Barking station, then I travel to Fenchurch St. I can touch in at Barking before 6.30am, and can touch back in at Fenchurch St before 4pm for the journey home. I will need to get a bus again from Barking after 4pm. So is PAYG best for me? or weekly pass?

  262. Hi Michael,

    Two off-peak rail fares at £2.70 each and two buses at £1.45 each works out at £41.50/week. A zone 1-4 travelcard is £45.00/week. If all you ever do is commute 5 days a week then use PAYG, but if you add anything else a travelcard would probably save money.

  263. Hello, I will be working in London soon and trying to understand the complex world of public transport. My new job is in Kentish Town and my options for starting my journey are Brentwood or Epping. I am happy to use both trains and buses but I am struggling to work out how much it is going to cost. I will probably start my day travelling between 6am and 6.30am and returning between 4pm and 6pm. What are my cheapest options please. I have done a test run and can get a bus (214) from London Liverpool street st right to my new office, but it takes 40 minutes.

  264. Hi Kerrie,

    If cost is your biggest driver then choose Epping because it is in zone 6 while Brentwood is outside the zones. In either case, change at Stratford and take the Overground to Kentish Town West. That way you avoid zone 1. Epping to Kentish Town West via Stratford is £1.50 off-peak (before 0630) or £2.70 peak (0630-0930, 1600-1900). From Brentwood the fares are £4.30 and £6.50. You must touch the pink reader on the overground platforms at Stratford or you will be charged much more.

  265. Dear Mike
    If I travel from Upper Warlingham at 6pm on Friday to Victoria and return later that evening, am I correct in thinking that I would be capped Off Peak? Similarly, if I travel after 9.30 and return 5pm?
    I have always used an off peak travel card which allies travel anytime. Look forward to your reply and hopefully confirmation.

  266. Hi Gill,

    Yes, the off-peak cap applies for all travel after 0930, including between 1600-1900 when peak single fares apply. If you travel in the afternoon peak you’ll reach the off-peak cap a bit quicker.

  267. Why does traveling from outside zone 1 to inside zone 1 in peak times count as off peak?

  268. Hi Jake,

    It only works in the afternoon peak on routes priced by TfL, but it is to encourage people to use Oyster to come into zone 1 for the evening without being hit by a peak fare.

  269. Hi there,

    I am going to university in September. More than likely I will be travelling in peak times both morning and evening. From zone 4 (Colindale station) to Zone 1 (Angel station). Would it be best for me to buy a monthly rail card or PAYG Oyster?


  270. Hi Amy,

    As long as you qualify for an 18+ Student Oyster then use that to get discounted travelcards.

  271. Hi, I have a 16- 25 railcard on my student oyster. I am going to be touching in before 0630 Mon-Fri. Will I get the railcard discount on the off peak fares?

    I will be travelling from east Croydon rail to either clapham high St or clapham north as I will be working at Lambeth hospital.


  272. Hi Claire,

    Yes, as long as the railcard discount is set on your Oyster you will get discounted off-peak fares before 0630.

  273. Hi,

    We will visit London from 28 may until 1 june.
    We have a hotel in Ilford. (zone 4)
    We are with four.
    What is for us the best?
    Travel card or oyster card?


  274. Hi Martin,

    The answer may come down to whether you want to use any of the 2 for 1 offers in London which require a paper ticket to validate them. If you do and can avoid starting travel before 0930 in the week then one-day travelcards will probably be best. If you don’t want the offers then using an Oyster card will work out a little cheaper and/or allow you to make one journey before 0930 without needing a full day travelcard.

  275. Hi Mike,
    just one stupid question…

    When I travel from Rainham (Essex) Z6 to Heathrow Z6 off-peak ( via West Ham and Waterloo)
    Oyster charges me 3 pounds in total.

    However from Rainham to Kingston (also Z6) it charges me 3 pounds to Waterloo + another 3.60 from Waterloo to Kingston ( NR)

    Should the 1-6 zone off-peak cap (8.5) still apply in the second case ?


  276. Hi Eugene,

    Yes, the zone 1-6 off-peak cap would apply. However, if you just change from the Underground to National Rail at Waterloo and don’t take longer than 40 minutes between touch out and back in again, you should be charged £5.10 in total as it’s only one journey. In the reverse direction you only have 20 minutes.

  277. If I travel after 9:30 from zone 6 to waterloo, AND I also use the tube in zone 1 between 16-19, then return home the same way, what is the daily cap charge?

  278. Hi Alisa,

    If all travel is after 0930 then the cap for zones 1-6 is £8.50.

  279. Hi Mike, it says on the list of exceptions that “1. If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.”
    ; Does this mean that if I travel with pay as you go on 18+oyster (+16-25 national rail discount) at 6pm on weekday from zone 2 to zone 1, I will only be charged off peak rate with 34% discount? Thanks!

  280. As long as it is TfL rail, yes.

  281. Hi Mike, I have a question…I travel between Borehamwood Elstree via West Hampstead Thameslink to North Greenwich. Then from North Greenwich i take bus 188 to Russell Square. This i do to and fro4 or 5 times a week Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I need to know if it is cheaper for me to buy Travel card every week or to be using top pay as you go….Please can you advice me on this and let me know which zones i cover ….Currently Elstree Borehamwood is in zone 6 while West Hampstead Thameslink is in zone 2 and North Greenwich in Zone 3…Do i buy travel card from zones 1-6??? Thanks!

  282. Hi Peter,

    Can you confirm which route you take from West Hampstead to North Greenwich? Is it via zone 1 or via Stratford?

  283. Hello,

    I travel from Shenfield to Baker Street Monday – Friday and have a 16-25 railcard. A return travel card costs £14.25 but I am trying to work out if this would work out cheaper if I used my Oyster card (which is linked to my railcard).

    Can someone tell me what the off peak and peak prices would be for this journey using the oyster card and if there would be any daily caps?

    Thank you.

  284. To add to my earlier post – it is most liely that i would start my inward journey in off peak times and start my journey home in peak time – so I’m not sure how the capping/proces would work!

    Thanks for any help!

  285. Hi Mike, I travel on weekdays from east croydon to canary wharf (zones 2 to 5) via canada water avoiding zone 1 using oyster pay as you go. I am charged different price everyday. Day 1 touch in at east croydon at 9:51, touch out at 10:23 in canary wharf- charged £2.30. Return touch in at CW at 17:19 to ECR – charged £3.30. Day 2 touch in at ECR at 9:59 – charged £2.30, return touch in at CW at 18:15 – charged £2.70. Both days I have one peak and one off peak journey. But the difference in cost confuses me. Please help !! Thanks.

  286. Hi Sumita,

    That confused me a bit too, until I checked a subtle variation. On the second day you returned to West Croydon. As West Croydon is served by London Overground the whole journey is classed as TfL-Rail and different charges apply. Changing trains to go to East Croydon makes the journey NR+TfL Mixed.

  287. Hi Laura,

    I’m confused. Can you confirm the times of day that you travel. Specifically, is the inward journey before 0630 or after 0930?

  288. I am arriving at Heathrow at 4:55 am on a Wednesday. It is estimated that I will be able to rush to touch in for Underground before 6:30. I will be making a number of journeys on the tube that day. Is it better for me to buy a single ticket at Heathrow and use the off-peak daily price cap afterwards?

  289. Hi Geoffrey,

    No, a paper ticket will cost much more. If you touch in before 0630 you will be charged off-peak, but that journey will not count towards the off-peak cap. The rest of your journeys after 0930 will though. Just because you use the card before 0930 doesn’t mean that you’ll pay the whole anytime cap.

  290. Thanks for your answer. That’s mean my journey from zone 6 to zone 1 will be £3.00. If my second journey start after 9:30, I travel between zone 1 to zone 3 afterwards. The fare for the whole day will count towards the daily off-peak cap will be £3.00+7.70=£10.7, i.e. Oyster Pay as you go Off-peak single Zone 1-6 and Off-peak price cap Zone 1-3, which is cheaper than using a paper ticket + daily cap. Am I correct?

  291. Yes, that’s correct.

  292. Could you suggest to me please? I go from NORBITON(Zone 5) to BANK(zone 1) every day from MONDAY TO FRIDAY.. My shift is different, sometimes off peak, sometimes peak time.. (9AM-6PM, 3PM-11PM, 11AM-9PM, 9-6PM, 3-11PM, per week). WHat is the best way to travel to get it cheap? Thank you a lot.

  293. Hi Anivre,

    It depends on your travel pattern. If it is all off-peak in a week then PAYG is cheaper. If there are more than 5 out of 10 journeys at peak rate then a travelcard will be better. If you buy a monthly or longer travelcard then you need fewer peak journeys to make it worthwhile. Any additional travel will also make a travelcard better value.

  294. Dear Mike,

    Tanks for your answer… One more question – even if I use PAYG in off-PEAK time, then is cost to me £5.20 I guess.. (Overground Norbiton-Waterloo £3 and then Underground Waterloo-Bank£2.20). Please give me some advice 🙁

  295. Hi Anivre,

    As long as you touch in at Waterloo LU within 20 minutes of touching out at Waterloo NR then the journey will be combined and the total is £4.50. The £1.50 is a premium for using both NR and TfL in a journey involving zone 1.

  296. Hi mate, can i ask what would be the cheapest route going to bermondsey,im from north wembley. Im working 5 days a week. Can i get only zone 2-4 travel card? Or should i get zone 1-4? And can you pls give options. Thanks.

  297. Hi Andrei,

    North Wembley and Bermondsey are at virtually opposite sides of London, so avoiding zone 1 will be time consuming. You can do it by changing at Willesden Junction and Stratford, but you must touch out at Stratford and back in again to make it two journeys or else the system will think you’ve gone via Baker Street.

  298. Hi mike, so you mean that i cannot take the bakerloo line and change to baker street to get to bermondsey. With my zone 2-4 weekly travel card? Am i included in peak hour, im starting my journey to work at 5:30.

  299. Hi Mike,

    Im just wondering if I bought a 5.90 all day travelcard with a railcard today for tomorrow and used it on the bus at 7.30am, would it still be valid as its peak times, but i’m on a bus?
    Also do you know to get the DLR from Lewisham to Custom House at about 8am the price for a single?

    Thank you for your help!!

  300. Hi Andrei,

    You can go via Baker Street as long as you have £2.20 on the PAYG balance so it can charge you for zone 1. Starting at 0530 will charge off-peak fares, but the zone 1 fare is the same all day.

  301. Hi Abigail,

    The £5.90 railcard discounted travelcard is an off-peak ticket which is not valid before 0930. If you have an oyster with your railcard discount loaded then your best bet is to use that. You’ll pay full fares between 0630 and 0930, then any further travel will be capped at £5.60 (or £5.10 if you don’t go into zone 5 or 6). For Custom House from Lewisham you need to change at Canary Wharf and Poplar. They are both cross-platform interchanges.

  302. Okay thank you so much Mike!!!!

    You also wouldn’t know how much the DLR is at peak times would you?

  303. According to the single fare finder it is £1.60 peak from Lewisham DLR to Custom House DLR.


  305. Hi Mike,

    I want to travel from Plaistow st (Zone 3) to Edgware st (Zone 5) on Monday. I want to know whether If I tap in between 5.45am – 6.00am would I be charged peak or off-peak hours (I use the adult oyster card) and what is the cheapest fair that I should use (PAYG or a travel card).

  306. Hi Chantel,

    Touch in at that time would be charged at off-peak. PAYG will definitely be cheaper as the off-peak travelcard isn’t valid before 0930.

  307. Hi Mike

    Your website is great! So helpful and so many people appreciate what a great idea and job you’re doing so thanks!

    I am trying to figure out my new work journey from Ilford (overhead greater albelio train) 8am latest train to London Liverpool st and return journey 525-540pm

    Is it cheaper for season (weekly/monthly railcard) or a pay as you go oyster. I can’t figure out how much it would cost me on a pay as you go.

    Thanks for your help in advance

  308. Hi Seema,

    If your journey is only between Ilford and Liverpool Street and doesn’t involve Underground, DLR or buses, then a season ticket for Ilford to London Terminals will be best value. If you do use other transport in your commute then you’ll want a zone 1-4 travelcard season. The prices are: Peak single – £3.70, weekly rail only season – £30.40, weekly travelcard season – £45.00.

  309. Hi Mike,
    Do you know how much it is on your oyster from West Croydon to Shoreditch in peak times.


  310. Noemi Balazs

    Hi Mike,

    I’m going to visit London on four weekdays. What is the cheapest way if I’d like to get from Reading Station to London Paddington and travel in the city (only zone 1 and 2) the whole day? What would you recommend, Oyster card or London 7 days Travelcard? Is there maybe some other option?

    Thank you very much for your advice in advance

  311. Hi Abigail,

    The single fare finder is your friend. It’s a bit broken because once you’ve put the stations in it will query them both, but it should then give you fares. In your case it is £4.50 at peak times.

  312. Hi Noemi,

    I wouldn’t recommend an Oyster card because you can’t use it at Reading. If you are travelling in the peak periods between Reading and London then you should buy the 7 day Reading to zones 1-6 travelcard. If you are travelling off-peak then you should buy daily off-peak travelcards. You have to arrive in London after 10am, and you can’t use the fast non-stop services from Paddington to Reading between 1600-1915. Stopping trains are fine though.

  313. I am confused about the caps. I have always thought that as soon as you touch in before 0930, the system will wait until the Anytime cap is reached. Having thouroughly read this article, I may have been wrong all the time!

    Suppose I make a journey before 0930, Zones 1-2. I will be charged £2.80. Then I make several others journeys between 1600 and 1900, Zones 1-2. I will be charged £2.80 for two of them, but only 50p for the third one, and nothing for any travel thereafter because the Off-Peak cap (£8.90) will be reached.

    Have I got it right? It somehow doesn’t sound OK, because Off-Peak cap applies although all fares used were Peak…

  314. hi i am going to start my work from Grays to stratford .could you plz tell me how can i travel with oyster.which way is cheap.thanks

  315. Hi Jan,

    You’ve not quite got it right. In zones 1-2 there is only £1.40 difference between the anytime cap (£8.40) and the off-peak cap (£7.00). Thus in your case the anytime cap of £8.40 will be reached first (with the third journey) and all others are free. If you use zones further out there is a bigger difference between the caps and it is likely that the off-peak cap would be reached first if you only make one short journey before 0930.

  316. Hi Happy,

    Between Grays and Stratford it is cheaper to use PAYG on Oyster than to buy a season ticket unless you will be making other journeys during the week or committing to a monthly or longer season. If you do get a season ticket then it will have to be issued on paper because the Oyster season prices don’t work out correctly.

  317. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for answering. Yes I’ve mixed things up, I was looking at the Day Travelcard prices instead of PAYG caps.

    What happens if both caps are reached at the same time? For example, one peak journey Zones 1-9 in the morning peak and two in the evening peak. Both caps are reached with the third journey, which one will aply?

  318. Hi Jan,

    It’s whichever cap is reached first that stops the charging. Zone 1-9 peak is £6.70 and two is £13.40. The off-peak cap is £11.60 while the off-peak cap + one peak fare is £18.30 which is less than the anytime cap of £19.60. So the off-peak cap will limit the charging on the third journey of the day.

  319. Hi Mike,

    thank you for clarifying. The whole thing is quite complex so it seems it’s best to just always touch in and out and trust the system to deduct the right fare.

  320. Could you tell me how much it would cost to travel by train from Bexleyheath to Charing Cross & then by tube to Earl’s Court, and return, on a Sunday using a PAYG Oyster Card?

    I’ve done a similar journey (bus from Bexleyheath to N. Greenwich & then the tube to Hammersmith, and return, using the Oyster & I was capped at £7.

    I just wondering what my Oyster would be capped at if I used the train & tube, rather than the bus & tube.

    Cheers Geoff

  321. Hi Geoff,

    The rail cap is based on zones used by rail, so from zone 5 you’d cap at £8.50. North Greenwich is in zone 2 which is why you only cap at the zone 1-2 rate.

  322. Cheers Mike.

  323. Hi Mike,
    I was wondering: can i touch in at 9:29 from Surbiton to Vauxhall, off peak Oyster or do i have to wait until it is 09:30? I have been told by one guard that it should be fine to tap in at 09;29 and be charged the off-peak oyster rate and then another guard said I would be charged peak price and must wait until the clock hits 09:30. The reason i ask is that I have to catch the 09:31 train from Surbiton to vauxhall and if i tap in at 09:30 it gives me less than a minute to run adown the stairs and catch this train. No one seems to know the definate answer and the ticket office staff say they don’t know either! Is Surbiton regarded as Greater London? Thank you

  324. Hi Tracey,

    Officially you have to wait until 0930. In practice, TfL start charging off-peak 2-3 minutes early. They won’t confirm exact details because the intention is to prevent complaints about the station clock being wrong. I’ve not tried at the end of the morning peak, but I have had off-peak journeys touching in at both 1602 and 1859.

  325. As I type I’m on hold to tfl Customer Services. They tell me that if the first journey of the day is in the afternoon peak(i.e. 4-7pm), I’ll have a peak daily cap applied. I’m sure this is not correct! I’m sure the peak afternoon cap is only for single PAYG fares. That’s certainly what it appears to say at

  326. Hi Doug,

    Sigh. They are wrong. You are charged peak single fares between 1600-1900, but only up to the off-peak cap.

  327. Hi Mike, Thank you so much – this is really helpful information – i will try my tap in at about 09;28 and see what happens – i guess this is the only way i will know. Ah the clock times!!! Really appreciate your help – great job!

  328. Hi Mike,

    As a tourist going to London for 3 nights (Sunday to Tuesday), would it be beneficial and cheaper getting a visitor oyster card or travelcard for zones 1 and 2, since that’s where the main attractions are (unsure what sites we would like to see yet)? On the Wednesday, I have to be at Heathrow Airport terminal 2 by 7am for a 10am flight. What would you suggest for all these things? Thank you

  329. Hi,

    I was wondering if you can help me. Im trying to budget for my weekly commute but i can’t figure out a extract price for how much it costs me everyday. The person at the ticket office wasn’t much help either! I go from Osterley (zone 4) at 7.45am-ish to victoria (zone 1) for 8.27am. I change at acton town for the district line. On my way home i go from victoria about 5.40/5.45pm to south kensington and change for the Piccadilly line all the way back home to osterley,i get there before 6.30pm. I can’t figure out how much this will cost me daily? Surely its cheaper for TFL to charge me the single fares then the daily cap?

    any help would be great!

  330. Hi Becky,

    A zone 1-2 travelcard is only available for a week, so I think the Oyster card would be better. It doesn’t have to be a visitor card, you can get a normal adult card when you arrive and get the deposit back before you leave. The alternative would be one-day zone 1-6 travelcards which may benefit you if you visit places offering the 2 for 1 admission offer with a train ticket. You’d than need to use cash on the Wednesday morning as the all-day version (useable before 0930) is way too expensive for one trip.

  331. Hi Katrina,

    The single fare finder tells me that it costs £3.80 at peak times to travel from Osterley to Victoria or return. A zone 1-4 travelcard is £45/week, so if all you do is 5 return journeys in a week with nothing extra then PAYG will be cheaper. However, if you use a bus a few times, or travel at the weekend, then a travelcard may make sense that week.

  332. Hi Mike,

    I work for a charity that reimburses users for their travel expenses to attend our services. Many people present a receipt for top-up and we reimburse them for the maximum it would cost from their home zone (1 to 6) to us in zone 1. (They can’t prove their journey detail until after the event – and we can’t reimburse then).

    Where our services take place in the afternoon and return travel would be around 6pm we’ve been reimbursing them up-to the peak price cap – but reading your site I think this is incorrect.

    The maximum cost for any travel in one day starting after 9:30 will be capped at the off-peak amount for the relevant zone – is this correct?

  333. Hi Katie,

    Yes it is correct.

  334. Hi Mike,

    My SO and I are travelling to London tomorrow and will be arriving at Euston station at approxiametly 13:15. As we both have visitor oyster cards, I was wondering, if we travel from Euston to zones 1-4 between our arrival time and 16:00, returning from the outer zones back into zone 1 between 16:00 and 19:00 and then travelling from Picadilly in zone 1 back to Euston at 23:00, would all of these journeys constitute to off-peak travelling and thus be capped at the daily off-peak cap price of £7.70?

    Also, if we hit the off-peak cap travelling before 16:00 will any subsequent journeys during the peak period be charged?

    Thank you for any information you can give me, I’m a little new to travelling in London!

  335. Hi Shannon,

    Sorry for the delay replying. If you start travelling at 1315 then the most you will pay is the off-peak cap. If you make any journeys between 1600-1900 then you may be charged peak single fares, but only if the off-peak cap has not yet been reached.

  336. Hi there, I am planning on parking at stanmore and travelling to Tottenham court road, after 9.30. Then returning maybe after 4. Please can you tell me how much I will need on my Oyster card? I was a bit confused about off peak on my way into London and peak on my way back.

  337. According to the single fare finder you’ll need £7.60, £3.00 in the morning and £4.60 in the evening. If you reverse the search you will be told that the peak only applies in the morning, which is true when the journey ends in zone 1 and is priced by TfL. Any other journey during the day will cause the off-peak cap of £8.50 to apply.

  338. Re. my post of 27th June: After I explained very slowwwly to the TfL call centre staff (I kept my cool even when she told me “I know how the capping system works”), she put me on hold for a few minutes. When she came back she agreed that I was right and I got my refund.

  339. Great news, Doug. Thanks for letting us know.

  340. Hi Mike, I will be staying beside watford juntion in a few weeks time and plan to visit central London from there. I will be making the return trip on two consecutive days ( Tue+Wed). 3 adults and 1 child (14) are in my party. Plan to travel around central london on both days. I see an off peak fare available for return travel (watford to Euston) for £25.40 for my party. Am I best to get this fare and then use travel cards for my central london travel or should I get cards to cover all my travel. I live in Ireland so should I purchase tickets prior to my travel or on the day in the station? Many thanks.

  341. Hi Dave,

    I can’t seem to find what fare costs £25.40 for 3 adults and 1 child. However, I think the best option for you is likely to be off-peak Watford to zones 1-6 day travelcards. The extra on top of the return to Euston is less than the price of a day travelcard. You could purchase in advance, but you won’t save any money over buying on the day. You may even have to pay to send to Ireland.

  342. Hi Mike, I’ve read conflicting information that evening off-peak starts at 7pm or 7.30pm.

    I asked one of the staff at Acton Central station recently and he said it started 7.30pm but most information online says it’s 7pm. Can you confirm which is correct, thanks.

  343. Hi Jay,

    Definitely 7pm.

  344. Hi.
    I have a railcard 16-25 and an Oyser card (they’re not joined together yet to get discount for price cap)
    I need to go to Heathrow and back from zones 1-2.
    Unfortunately, the journey back is between 4-7 pm

    What is the cheapest way?
    Is it Pay As You Go without discount or Peak Day Travelcard with discount 1/3?

    Sorry, I’m confused here.

  345. Hi Salta,

    There are too many variables to answer this accurately. Zone 1 or zone 2 makes a massive difference. If it’s Earls Court then zone 2 will apply, assuming that you are taking the Piccadilly line. If you can tell me the actual station and route to Heathrow then I’ll try and answer properly.

  346. Hi, Mike.
    Thank you for answering!

    I’m taking Picaddiliy line from King’s Cross to Earl’s Court to check in at the hotel. Then it’s Earl’s Court – Heathrow. And then back, from Heathrow to Earl’s Court.
    I have a registered Oyster, and also a railcard 16-25.

  347. Hi Salta,

    Undiscounted Oyster is £2.20 then £1.50 then £2.70 = £6.40
    Zones 1-6 off-peak travelcard with discount = £5.90
    Discounted Oyster is £1.45 then £1.00 then £2.70 = £5.15

    I’d get the railcard linked to the Oyster at Kings Cross before you start.

  348. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to be a student in London (hopefully!) come September, so I’m trying to understand the Oyster system sooner rather than later.

    My understanding of capping is just about enough to make the most of it, but there’s one little thing that’s confusing me, and that’s to do with the 16.00-19.30 time frame.

    Say, on a weekday, I hadn’t used any tubes or trains before 9.30am, but chose to use some at 11am to travel within Zones 1-2. I’d get charged at the Off-Peak rate. Then, I want to return at 5pm, (within the 16.00-19.30 range), and thus I get on a Peak tube. From the table above, it says this can count towards the Off-Peak price cap.

    If the peak return journey at 5pm pushed my travel costs past £7.70, would I only be charged £7.70?

    Or, would I be charged £7.70 PLUS the additional remaining cost of the single peak journey – meaning that if I chose to travel again after 19.00, I wouldn’t be charged further, as this would be “free” under the Off-Peak price cap which has been reached?

    One more thing that’s just come to mind – from what I’ve read, buses have no peak times and their own price cap if you’re only travelling by bus. If I combined my Tube travel with some buses to reach my destination, do the bus fares still count towards the £7.70 off peak price cap, or does this apply only to Tubes, Rail and DLR – meaning if I reached the Price Cap and then took a bus, I’d be charged £7.70 PLUS the price of the bus?

    Hope that all made sense – thanks in advance for all of your help!

  349. Hi Jonathan,

    Yes it makes sense. If you start travel after 0930 then all travel counts towards the off-peak cap and you will stop paying at that point, even when journeys are made between 1600-1900. Your bus fares count towards the off-peak cap if they start after 0930. Before that they count towards the anytime cap as well as the all day bus cap.

  350. Hi Mike

    I will be travelling from Northfileds to Harlow town 7 days a week for a month but can only afford weekly cards not monthly.

    I know its 36.80 a week for my zone 1-3 but how much would a weekly extension to go from Liverpool Street to Harlow Town be? I know with my Young person railcard it will be £8.30 a day return and I understand for a weekly one I probably wont be able to use it as I’ll need to be in Harlow for 10am.

    Cheers Liam

  351. Hi Liam,

    Sorry for the delay responding. During August there is no restriction on using the 16-25 railcard in the mornings. Your travelcard covers you up to the boundary of zone 3, so you need a boundary zone 3 to Harlow anytime return for £6.85. At weekends you can use the super off-peak return for £6.55. In September you’ll need to get the undiscounted versions because there is a minimum fare of £12 with the railcard before 10am.

    Hope that helps.

  352. Hi Mike,

    I’m well confused regarding the price caps!

    I thought if you touched in before 930am then the peak cap would apply that day irrespective of if you reach the off peak cap first.

    With a 16-25 railcard discount added to Oyster, would this journey be capped at the Off Peak Z1-4 travelcard rate of £5.10?

    Eltham (Rail) – Euston Underground starting approx. 8.30am. Peak fare charged at £5.30.
    Assuming this counts towards peak cap only.

    Euston Underground – Eltham (Rail) starting approx. 5pm. Peak fare charged at £5.30.

    Assuming that although peak fare is charged it counts towards the peak *and* off peak cap. As off peak is reached first charging stops at £5.10? Or will it cost me £10.60?

    Is that correct or am I getting it all wrong!? Thanks.

  353. Hi Si,

    Yes, you will be charged £10.40. One of the side-effects of adding a railcard is that sometimes you will get a small discount on the return half of a standard commute.

  354. Hi I’m wanting to go to london with the kids i have an oyster card if i go off peak how much would it cost me for all zones during off peak times for the day?

  355. Hi Becci,

    The off-peak cap for zones 1-6 is £8.50. If you also require zones 7-9 then it’s £11.60.

  356. Hi Mike, your site is brilliant. I was due an off-peak fare cap the other Friday and have been charged £16.40 instead of the £11.60 I was expecting. One of my stations was Purfleet, which I understand is in Zone “G”. The only document on the Tfl website I can find with capping charges is this, which doesn’t even mention “G”! I see £16.40 is the amount for Zone 1-9 plus Watford Junction. So is G treated as though it is Watford junction?!



  357. Hi John,

    Yes, I believe that there is an issue with the Grays area when it comes to capping. This is why they don’t offer travelcard seasons from those stations. I don’t know whether they make adjustments for this, but if you call the helpdesk they’ll do whatever they can. If your travel starts and finishes in Grays area it might be better to use a paper travelcard if you are making more than a simple return journey.

  358. Hi there! Just a question about peak/off trains. Are peak tickets only needed of you are getting on or off in London or is it all the way along all lines? I am going to mortlake from tring via clapham junction and probably will be heading home around 5pm. As I am not stopping in London is ‘peak’ still effective or can I use an off peak ticket?
    Thank you in advance!!

  359. Hi Alison,

    If you are using the off-peak day return route NOT VIA LONDON ticket then there are no restrictions in the evening. You are not allowed to use trains in the morning which arrive at London terminals or Kensington Olympia before 10am.

    A general rule is that there is no such thing as a peak train. Peak is defined by ticket restrictions which vary from ticket to ticket.

  360. Thank you Mike! So if I’m just sort of going ‘around’ London but not getting off (the train I’m looking at catching goes through imperial wharf but again I go to clapham then change there for mortlake) and I have a not via London ticket I should be ok? (In sure it’s simple I just want to be sure!!) thank you again!! 🙂

  361. Hi Alison,

    Yes, that’s fine. In fact you’d also be fine going via London according to the similar restriction for that ticket, but it would cost more than the route NOT VIA LONDON ticket.

  362. Hi Mike
    I am shortly eligible for 60+ oyster for £10. I travel from Morden to Bank on the tube everyday. Can I use this before 9.30am? If not can I use it before 6.30am off peak? If so is it necessary to touch in before 6.30am or to touch out before 6.30am?

    Thanks for your help

  363. Hi Chris,

    The 60+ card is the same as the Freedom Pass so travel on the tube is free all the time.

  364. Hi Mike,
    I will be travelling from Purley Oaks to Tring on Thursday at 10am then heading back around 4pm, I was wondering if you could tell me the cheapest possible way to do this please? Is it better to use an Oyster card as far as Watford Junction then buy a ticket for the remaining journey to Tring or should I just buy a rail ticket for the entire journey? Thank you in advance!

  365. Hi Anna,

    It is a case of time versus cost. For £18.30 you can use the hourly East Croydon to Milton Keynes service direct, although you are better off changing at Clapham Junction on some trains. If you want to use Oyster you will need to get off the train at Watford Junction to touch out and then get the next train to Tring. The off-peak single is £2.80 in the morning, it’s peak in the afternoon at £4.70 and an off-peak day return from Watford to Tring is £7.90 – Total £15.40. If you want to travel via Victoria and Euston then the £21.40 off-peak day return for the whole journey is cheaper than Oyster.

  366. Sir –
    if I want to do a day trip to Hampton Court from London, would it make sense to just get a 1 day travel card?

    thank you

  367. Hi Peter,

    If you use the tube as well as SWT then the difference is 40p (£8.90 paper travelcard, £8.50 Oyster cap). If you only use SWT then the two singles will only cost £7.20 total on Oyster.

  368. Hello! I travel from Romford to Holborn (zone 6 to zone 1)at 6pm and then return do the same journey at 23.30, will the peak time fare apply? Or will I pay just under £9 for the return journey? Thank you

  369. Hi Oscar,

    You’ll pay £7.50 on the way in to Holborn but the return will be capped at £1 making a total of £8.50.

  370. Hi – I travel zone 5 to zone 1 (train only) in the morning at 6am and home usually in peak time, occasionally after 7. I also have a 16-25 railcard on my oyster.

    I have found it best to take a PAYG fare in the morning (£2 after discount) and instead of doing PAYG oyster back (£4.80) to buy a one way paper ticket which is then discounted for my railcard to £3.90. If I go back off peak I obviously use oyster. It’s long winded but seems the best solution?

    Can you offer any advice? Why don’t I get 16-25 discount on a peak journey in the afternoon?


  371. Hi Max,

    The peak fares are supposed to simulate buying an Anytime return ticket for use before 0930. You can’t use the railcard at that time. Oyster has to charge single fares so they need to ensure the usual peak flow pay the full amount in the afternoon as well. With Oyster you get the benefit of off-peak discounted fares before 0630, but you can’t get the discount between 1600-1900.

    As an aside, if your journey was from Bexleyheath to Oxford Circus (for example) you would get a slight discount in the afternoon because the discounted off-peak cap would be triggered before the full peak single could be charged. It doesn’t work for train only.

  372. Hello,

    I have a 16-25 railcard, I need to travel from southgate to west croydon and back each day (I go to highbury and Islington, then overground to west croydon). In the morning I get the tube before 6.30 (so this is off peak, but counts as a anytime cap?) but in the evening I need to get the peak tube home.

    Is it better for me to buy an off peak travelcard, and could I use this before 6.30? Or would you suggest going via stratford so I don’t go into zone 1?

    Thanks so much

  373. Hi Hannah,

    You can’t use an off-peak travelcard before 0930. Charging off-peak fares before 0630 is a perk for people who can avoid the main rush hour. Yes you could go via Stratford but it would take longer. It all depends on your priority – time or money.

  374. Hi Mike,

    I need to travel Monday to Friday from Harrow Wealdstone to Embankment Station during peak hours. 8.00 & 17.30. What is the best cost effective option you would suggest ?

  375. Hi Avita,

    If all you do is take the Bakerloo line 5 days a week then you may find PAYG is slightly cheaper than a weekly travelcard. Monthly or longer period travelcards will be similar or slightly cheaper depending on the actual number of days travelled in each period. If you regularly make other journeys outside of your commute then a travelcard will definitely be best.

  376. Hello Mike, As I am not sure if I understand correctly, I will give you an example of a daily travels and you please count for me how much will pay.
    Will travel only in zone 1 and 2 and only by tube.
    First travel will be in the morining before 09:30;
    Then will have 4-5 travels during the day in zone 1 or 2;
    Then the last travel will be around 18:30 in the evening.
    All will be make on Friday.
    Please advise, as I do not understand what is the maximum possible amount which can be charged for travels during the day (Monday-Friday) in zone 1-2 and by tube only.
    Also – if the peak time is only until 09:30 am Monday-Friday?
    Thank you!

  377. Thank you Mike. I was just thinking, if I could the bus from Harrow to Webley Park and then make the onward journey by train..Wembley Park to Baker Street to West Minster to Embankment. Will that work out cheaper?

  378. Hi Meg,

    As there is only a small difference between the off-peak and anytime caps in zones 1-2 you will be capped at the anytime rate of £8.40.

  379. Hi Avita,

    Yes, if you are prepared to save a zone by bussing part of the way then it will be cheaper. Your journey will be much longer though.

  380. Hi Mike,
    I need to travel Monday to Friday from wembley park to mile end underground station during peak hours 7:30 and 17:00. Can you please tell me the cheapest possible way for this? And I have 18+ Oyster card.

  381. Hi Vicky,

    Leaving aside silly options like walking or taking several buses, the cheapest sensible option is Wembley Park -> West Hampstead -> Stratford -> Mile End. This avoids zone 1 so you’ll only need a zone 2-4 travelcard. You can always make the occasional trip across zone 1 if you’re in a hurry for the single fare of £2.20, but if you find yourself doing it most of the time then you probably ought to consider the zone 1-4 travelcard. The 30% discount on travelcards for 18+ students means that PAYG becomes more expensive sooner than it does for adults.

  382. Hi Mike,

    I live in Harlow, Essex, and need to travel to Liverpool Street Mon-Fri during peak times. What would be my cheapest monthly means of train travel? Adult Oyster or Railcard? Or would it be cheaper to take the tube from Epping which isn’t too far?

    Thanks for your help, great website!

  383. Hello Mike,

    I’ve read some similar enquiries to my own on your great site, but since none are exactly the same, may I put the question afresh?

    I need to travel on a weekday before 9.30am by tube from Zone 2 (Brixton) to Zone 2 (North Greenwich). Following this on the same day, I need to make several journeys using tube, bus and Obellio train between 9.30am and 7.00pm, all within Zones 1-6. I’m intending to use a PAYG Oyster for all journeys.

    Will I be charged a Peak Zone 1-2 single tube fare (£2.80) for the first journey and then an Off-peak Zones 1-6 day cap (£8.50) totalling £11.30, or a Peak Zones 1-6 day cap for the lot totalling £15.80, as I began my first journey during Peak hours?


  384. Hi Ryan,

    The tube from Epping wins hands down because the zone 6 boundary has been extended to include the end of the Central Line.

  385. Hi Pat,

    Your total will be £11.30 because the off-peak zone 1-6 cap will stop charging before the anytime cap is reached.

  386. Hi

    I’m in need of help…

    I am moving to London from Manchester on the 11th of september and need to know what the best way of paying for transport is. whether an oyster card pay as you go or these weekly/monthly passes

    I am going to be living near bounds green tube station (zone 3) traveling to Farringdon (zone 1) Monday – Friday around 8am-6pm. I also have a railcard 16-25 which i believes helps but not sure how!

    any help I’d be most greatful!

    Thank you


  387. Hi Nicola,

    The 16-25 railcard won’t help with seasons or peak fares unfortunately. A monthly zone 1-3 travelcard will be worthwhile as long as you make 22 return trips in a month. It becomes more worthwhile if you make any other journeys. If you can only buy weekly travelcards and only require 10 single journeys then PAYG will be cheaper. From September 19th you will be able to use a contactless payment card and it will cap at the appropriate weekly rate each Monday to Sunday. This means you don’t have to buy the travelcard up front if you’re not sure whether you’ll need it.

  388. Thankyou very much for your quick, clear advice, Mike.

  389. Would it be cheaper if we leave after 9:30 am than before 9:30am

  390. Hi Zara,

    If you are using trains, tube etc then probably yes. If you are just using buses and trams then no.

  391. Hiya, I will start full time education next week, I will be using the national rail and buses, is the oyster 18+ student discount better than the railcard discount 16-25? Thanx

  392. Hi Jane,

    They are different. The 16-25 railcard discounts single and return fares with a minimum fare before 10am. The 18+ student Oyster discounts travelcard seasons. The latter is the one you probably need assuming that your travel is all within the London zones.

  393. Hello Mike
    What a brilliant site this is…puts travel info into plain English!
    Can you tell me please the best way to pay for the following journey?
    Come November I will be travelling, once a week on a Thursday, from Holloway to Woodford.
    I usually make the journey on pay as you go Oyster, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I pay as journey times vary and I just keep topping up my card whenever it’s low.
    The quickest journey I’ve found is a bus from Holloway to Moorgate, short walk to Liverpool Street Station and the central line to Woodford.
    I need to be at Woodford Station by 6.45am and will make the return journey around 7pm.
    Any help is much appreciated…thank you : )

  394. Hi Fiona,

    If you’re only travelling one day a week then a travelcard is not worth it. If you touch in at Liverpool Street before 0630 then you’ll be charged off-peak for that journey, and again if you touch in at Woodford after 1900 it will also be off-peak. The bus will be £1.45 whenever you travel.

    Have you tried Upper Holloway to Leytonstone High Road then a short walk to Leytonstone and pick up the Central line there. That will avoid zone 1 and make your train fare much cheaper. Or Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington, then Overground to Stratford and Central Line from there. You can even go Holloway Road to Finsbury Park first for the same fare. You just need to touch the pink validators on the overground platforms at both Highbury and Stratford.

  395. Hi Mike
    Thank you very much for the info. I’d not even considered using Upper Holloway station – and, regarding walking distance, it’s the one nearest to me! Such a shame about timings though. The first train through there in the mornings arrives at Leytonstone High Road at the time I need to arrive at Woodford. But brilliant news for taking the slog out of getting home again in the evening. Thank you : )

  396. Hi Mike!
    Thank you so much for all of the help and advice so far, but I still find myself a tad confused about my personal situation.
    I shall be travelling from Bush Hill Park at about 8.30am to Holburn, and then making the return journey most days in the evening peak times. I have a 16-25 railcard. My question is, will the daily cap be more than what a 7 Day Travelcard can offer me? (I don’t quite understand the anytime cap and the off-time cap working together) I will probably also probably make additional journeys other than the 10 throughout the week, so I really can’t figure out what the best value would be!

    Thank you ever so much!

  397. Hi Natalie,

    The travelcard will just about be better, especially if you do other journeys.

    Bush Hill Park is in zone 5 so you’d need a zone 1-5 travelcard at £53.40/week. The peak single fare is £6.40. In the evening it is limited by the railcard discounted off-peak cap of £5.60, so your daily fares are £11.00.

  398. Ah amazing, thank you very much!

  399. Hello Mike,
    I have a visitors oyster card I use when travelling to London with my 2 girls (aged 8). My Brother now lives in Twyford and just checking fares (on The Trainline) it would cost £14.20 return to Paddington (with my Friends and Family Railcard) however there is also a fare of £18.85 which includes a Off Peak Travelcard for unlimited bus/tube journeys. Am I better using this option rather than my oyster as it seems I’m getting an all zone travelcard for an extra £4.65? Or will this not be valid if we are still travelling round town between the hours of 4pm-7pm?

  400. Hi Andy,

    Yes, that is a valid option. There are no evening peak restrictions within zones 1-6, only on the train which you eventually take beyond Hayes and Harlington.

  401. I get a bus from Selsdon to East Croydon during peak times and then a train from East Croydon to Victoria, returning the same way in the evening peak – is there a bus/train cap combination that is betting than the ticket fare?

  402. Hi Steve,

    Your four individual fares are less than the anytime cap for zones 1-6, so you won’t be capped. A rail only season ticket plus two bus journeys each day is slightly less than a zone 1-5 travelcard, so I think that’s the best combination.

  403. If i buy a day travel card off peak from london euston at 12 pm on 15 September and if i have to travel in london till 10 pm.then will i be able to do that with that particular travel card? I went through the website of transportforlondon for the explanation but unfortunately could not understand the expression ‘after 9:30…..and before 4:30…..’

  404. Hi Avra,

    Yes, that is fine. An off-peak travelcard is vaild from 0930 up to 0430 the next day (ie 19 hours).

  405. Hi, i traveled from Purley last Friday swiping in at 09:25 for off peak as indicated here. Seems it’s now 09:30 as I got charged a £15.80 cap, TFL are just saying it 09:30 full stop, so not sure if other station are affected.

  406. Hi Mark,

    It seems like the early cap has been removed at Purley. I don’t know when this happened. It’s a bit annoying but I don’t think there’s much more you can do. In future you could break your journey at East Croydon so that most of the cost is off-peak. I’ll edit the page above shortly.

  407. Hi Mike
    I’m returning to work travelling 3 days a week Brentwood to Holborn. Leaving 06.57, returning approximately 13.00 and was wondering whether oyster or a day return would be better. I use to find changing at stratford with a day return and using oyster was cheaper but that was before oyster extended its range. Any help much appreciated

  408. Hi Katie,

    Oyster will definitely be cheaper, especially as your journey home is off-peak. How much you want to pay depends on how much hassle you are prepared to have at Stratford. These are the fares:

    Brentwood to Holborn: £9.60 peak, £7.50 off-peak.
    Brentwood to Stratford: £5.40 peak, £3.20 off-peak.
    Stratford to Holborn: £3.20 peak, £2.70 off-peak.

    To get the cheapest fares you will have to touch out and back in again at Stratford. Note that if you can touch in at Brentwood before 0630 you will get the off-peak fare for the journey from there (either to Stratford or Holborn depending on where you next touch out). The reason for the anomaly is to do with the premium paid when mixing NR and TfL travel in a journey including zone 1. By splitting at Stratford you lose that premium because the inner bit is all TfL.

  409. hi i travel between surbiton station and new cross gate/new cross station both ways i travelled on a sunday and it came to £15.10 Is this because i went to london bridge then waterloo then surbiton? will i avoid zone 1 if i travel to clapham junction on the jubilee line and then to surbiton?

  410. Hi Adam,

    If you were charged £15.10 on a Sunday then that suggests you missed a touch in or out somewhere and were charged a maximum fare. If you can post your journey history for the day I’ll try and work out what went wrong.

    If you travel from New Cross Gate to Clapham Junction either direct via Southern or changing at Surrey Quays on Overground then you will avoid zone 1. You must touch the pink validator if changing at Surrey Quays.

  411. Hi Mike,
    Congratulations on the website, hard work and good stuff here.
    I live in Twickenham Z5 and work on Staines, but eventually (weekends and some week night) I travel to Z1 or Z4. So my best choice would be a paper travelcard Staines-Z5 and just use PAYG to London (since most or journeys would be offpeak).

  412. Hi Mike!
    I am a undergraduate student and hence have to travel on all the weekdays to my college in Central London.
    I travel from Feltham station (zone 6) to London Waterloo.

    Since my classes begin early, I have to travel in peak hours in morning but I try to avoid peak hour in the eve.

    Would getting a 16-25 rail card ease tge amount of money I spend everyday? Its almost 12£ each day. I currently use an normal oysters card.

    Please suggest.

  413. Hi Divyansh,

    Do you also use the Underground from Waterloo? If you do then the fares are £7.50 peak, £5.10 off-peak. If you just use National Rail to Waterloo then the fares are £5.90 peak, £3.60 off-peak. If you are paying almost £12 then I wonder if it is just NR but you are not avoiding the afternoon peak. Peak fares are charged when the initial touch in is timed between 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. If you add a railcard discount to your Oyster then it will cap the afternoon fares at £5.60 which may make a small difference. However, are you eligible for a student 18+ Oyster? If you are then you could get a discounted travelcard season for £40/week or £153.60/month.

  414. Hi Douglas,

    That would be my choice, yes. You need to make daily peak journeys before a season ticket is really worthwhile – occasional off-peak journeys are better with PAYG.

  415. Hi Mike, After reading a lot of comments in this thread, I am a bit confused about “hitting anytime or off-peak cap”.

    Usually I take a tram at around 9:20 to East croydon (Zone 5)
    Then a train around 9:40 to London bridge.
    After that I have a choice of taking a bus or underground to Moorgate.
    Same journey backwards during evening after 7:30.

    Currently I use the monthly Zone1-5 travelcard (£205) but since some days I do not travel at all, I am thinking of using oyster PAYG.

    So, for PAYG would I be charged £8.50 daily? or a bit more than that since my tram journey is during peak time.

  416. Your first tram will not count towards the off-peak cap, but it’s the only thing which won’t so you’ll pay £9.95 max.

  417. Hi Mike,

    Thinking of moving to Charing Cross. Need to Leave there at 6.30 to get to Amersham and make the return journey home at 16:30 five days a week!

    Could you please tell me the cheapest way possible as I am starting out on my career! I have an Oyster card. Is there a monthly travel card to zone 9?

  418. Hi Mike,

    I travel to Watford Junction from Thornton Heath Station once a week and come back on the same day. I buy Off peak return ticket that costs about £11.60. I want to know how much will it cost on an oyster if I travel off peak? Thank you

  419. Hi Aoife,

    Yes, there is a zone 1-9 travelcard. If you touch in before 0630 then that journey will be off-peak, so you may find that a travelcard doesn’t actually save that much. Unfortunately the TfL site is in maintenance so I can’t check the details.

  420. Hi Babar,

    Unfortunately the TfL website is down at the moment. I’m pretty sure that two off-peak singles on Oyster will be less than the day return paper ticket, but I can’t check the fare that will be charged if you take the direct train (via Kensington Olympia).

  421. Hi Mike,

    thanks for the website, is very helpful, unfortunately I can’t find solution with my daily travel, maybe was mention somewhere but if you could help it will be great.

    I’m travelling Mon-Fr from Silver street to Temple. Below is a copy of my one day journey history. My question is, is there any option that I could use PAYG or TravelCard to decrease my daily amount of £10.60? I can’t workout where this 20p is coming from which I’m charged after touching out at Silver Str. Also is it me or the amount of £10.60 seems a lot..? Silver Str is only in 3 Zone?

    Wednesday, 01 October 2014
    £10.60 daily total

    18:41 – 19:55 Temple to Silver Street [National Rail]£5.30
    19:55 Touch out, Silver Street [National Rail] £0.20 £7.05

    19:22 Touch in, Liverpool Street [National Rail] £2.90 £7.25

    19:21 Touch out, Liverpool Street [London Underground] +£5.30 £10.15

    18:41 Touch in, Temple £7.50 £4.85

    06:58 – 08:01 Silver Street [National Rail] to Temple £5.30
    08:01 Touch out, Temple +£2.20 £12.35

    07:35 Touch in, Liverpool Street [London Underground] £3.80 £10.15

    07:34 Touch out, Liverpool Street [National Rail] +£3.80 £13.95

    06:58 Touch in, Silver Street [National Rail] £7.50 £10.15
    06:52 Topped up, Oyster Ticket Stop +£10.00 £17.65

    Thank you for your help!

  422. Thank you so much Mike for your reply,

    So I will be off peak in the mornings going and peak time returning. Surely that must be cheaper than 19 pounds daily? (Which is a lot!!)

  423. Hi Eve,

    Silver Street is in zone 4 and the journey is a mixed NR+TfL fare which is why it’s so expensive. If you travel every weekday then a weekly travelcard at £45.00 will save you money with those journeys. You can also use a contactless payment card and get Monday to Sunday capping at the same rate of £45.00, or less if you suddenly don’t travel for some reason.

    The 20p on exit at Silver Street is an anomaly caused because you switch trains after 1900. You are still being deducted the right overall fare of £5.30, but when you touch in at Liverpool Street NR it only deducts the off-peak maximum fare (£5.10) even though your whole journey is charged as peak.

  424. Hi Aoife,

    £19.60 is the anytime daily cap. Your single fares are £6.70 peak and £3.90 off-peak so you should only be charged £10.60 each day.

  425. Hi Mike,
    I regularly travel fron Seer Green into London.How could I use my Oyster card from West Ruislip? What time would it be off peak during the week?

    Many thanks


  426. Hi Sue,

    Peak times are the standard 0630-0930 and 1600-1900 at West Ruislip. This page has more details about mixing Oyster and paper tickets.

  427. Hi Mike.

    Brilliant site you have here. I hope you can help please. I will making the following 3 step return journey on Monday and Wednesdays:
    1.Bounds Green (zone 3) to Vauxhall (zone 2), via zone 1 on the underground.
    2.Vauxhall southwest trains to Raynes Park (which I believe is in zone 4).
    3.From Raynes Park a short bus journey.

    My outward journey from Bounds Green begins at 15.30, Vauxhall to Raynes Park will be after 16.00 and my bus journey will immediately follow that. My return bus journey is after 19.00 and as is the rest of the journey back from Raynes Park to Bounds Green.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I assume oyster pay as you go is the most cost effective option as opposed to a day travelcard? However, will the peak or off peak cap apply please? I imagine the cap will be applicable here?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Best wishes.

  428. Hi Harneet,

    Definitely use PAYG as the off-peak cap for zones 1-4 will apply at £7.70 rather than the £8.90 off-peak travelcard.

  429. Thanks for your help Mike that’s great!

  430. Hi Mike,
    Could you please tell me if Im better off on a PAYG than buying a monthly ticket. Im taking the train at 5.55am from Bush Hill park (Zone 5) to Paddington and returning around 1-2pm Monday to Friday.

  431. Hi George,

    Unless you also make lots of other journeys then yes, PAYG will be better because all your journeys are charged at off-peak rates.

  432. Hey Mike,
    Yes, I got myself a 18+ Student Oyster card. Thanks a lot. 🙂

    Also, I tried topping it up by self service kiosk by using my card but I forgot to touch the reader again. My account has been debited but the card hasn’t been topped up. Any suggestion?

  433. Hi Divyansh,

    See the FAQ page.

  434. Hi mike
    I travel from zone 6 (peak at 8am) and usually have meetings in zone 1&2 during off peak before returning home peak.

    Given the peak cap is £15.80 and off peak is £8.50 wouldn’t I be better off using one card (peak) which costs £5 for a single journey 1-6 and then do all other journeys with another card ensuring I first touch in at offpeak times to ensure the offpeak cap applies? That way the max I pay is offpeak cap (8.50) + 5= 13.50 saving £2 a day?

    Have I Missed something?

  435. Hello Mike, thank you so much for your help!

    If I understand correctly I could use a weekly travel card £45 in Zones 1-4 for my trips between Monday and Friday in times: 6.45am going – 6.45pm coming back using TfL and NR. If that’s correct then perfect! I could safe few quid.

    One more time thank you for your help.
    Best wishes,

  436. Hi Raj,

    That’s the way Oyster works anyway. If you only spend £5 before 0930 then £13.50 is the most you will pay for the day in zones 1-6.

  437. Hi Eve,

    Yes, weekly travelcards are valid on TfL Rail and NR, plus buses and trams as well.

  438. Hi Mike,

    am having an argument with my boss about price ticket using oyster, I travel from Euston station to Streatham common at 8.30am Friday just gone, if I bought a normal day ticket peak it should have cost £11.40 but used my oyster card instead and I have no reciept of cost, I want to be re-imbursed is there a way how much the cost to my oyster should be.

  439. Hi HWK,

    The single fare finder says how much the ticket should cost, depending on your route. If your Oyster card is registered online then you can view journey history. If it isn’t then you can call the helpdesk and ask them to email you a statement.

  440. Hey Mike,
    I got the 18+ Student Oyster card but I am not getting any discount on my overground travel. I travel from Feltham station to London Waterloo everyday. It’s getting so expensive and confusing.

    Please suggest.

  441. Hi Divyansh,

    The 18+ Student Oyster only discounts travelcards. You need a zone 1-6 travelcard which costs £40.00/week or £153.60/month. This will work out cheaper than PAYG as long as you make 4 or 5 return journeys a week.

  442. Hello Mike,

    I travel from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street and travel in London Z1-4 on weekends and return to Shenfield.

    If i use Oyster PAYG, am i subjected to any cap ?

    I understand that current rates are 5.2 GBP each way to Liverpool Street so that makes 10.4 for return and then will any travel within London be subjected to its zone cap (say if i travel from Liverpool Street to Stratford, i will be capped at 7.7 GBP)

  443. Hi Hemant,

    Shenfield to Liverpool Street off-peak costs £5.90 single. Once you have started at Shenfield you are capped by the price of a Shenfield to London zones 1-6 travelcard which is £18.50 off-peak.

  444. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling from Watford High Street to London Bridge on weekdays.

    What would be the earliest time to start the Journey from Watford High Street to cover the Off peak and how much is the charge.

    Similarly By what time should I leave from London Bridge to Watford High Street to Cover the Off Peak.

  445. Hi Hari,

    From Watford High Street to London Bridge the peak fare of £6.70 applies when touch in is between 0630-0930. At all other times it is £3.90. The other way the peak fare is also charged between 1600-1900. If you touch in between 0910-0930 in the morning you will be charged £6.70, but your overall cap for the day will be £11.60 even if you return in the peak. I hope this helps.

  446. Hi Mike, I recently started a new job. I will be covering different working patterns from one week to another. Can you please advice, I will need to travel from hatfield to Waterloo from 9:30 am back after 19:00. What would be the most cost effective way of travelling. Thank you

  447. Hi Caterina,

    Obviously Hatfield is outside the Oyster area. I guess you considered driving to High Barnet from an earlier post. If it’s possible then that would be a very cost effective way, at least from the train point of view. If you are going from Hatfield and can leave after 0930 then I’d get an off-peak return to London and use PAYG from Kings Cross to Waterloo. I’d do the same if you have to leave earlier, but it will cost more obviously. Only get a travelcard if you want to make any other journeys while in London.

  448. Hi Mike thank you you been great help !! I am most of the times travelling to High Barnet and use the tube with PAYG oyster but I will also have days when I can’t get to High Barnet. Thanks again

  449. Is it cheaper to travel from RICHMOND station to HOLLOWAY ROAD via tube (changing @ Hammersmith)?
    or RICHMOND station to HIGHBURY & ISLINGTON via overland train (the ‘Richmond to Stratford’)?
    Both off-peak & peak prices if possible…
    Should I use Oyster or buy a Travelcard?
    With thanks

  450. Hello Mike I travel from Catford Bridge to Cannon Street station Monday to Friday catching the 1.38 from Catford Bridge and usually return from London Bridge at around 10.25 pm, would pay as you go oyster card be my best option.

  451. Hi Angel,

    Richmond to Holloway Road: £3.80 peak, £2.70 off-peak.
    Richmond to Highbury & Islington: £2.30 peak, £1.50 off-peak.

    Whether a travelcard is worth it depends on how many journeys you make. A weekly one is unlikely to save money unless you use it at the weekend too. Monthly or longer periods may save money, but it still depends on how much you use it.

  452. Hi Mike,

    Yes, definitely.

  453. Hi Mike, was wondering how much Harrow to Amersham would be daily? (cheapest way) Need to be at school at 8.30 and leave at 4 or 5?

    Cheers Aoife

  454. Hi Aoife,

    The fares are on the single fare finder. Change Adult to whichever zip card you have for child fares. You won’t be able to get cheaper fares on such a straightforward outer London journey.

  455. Hi, I will be travelling from Bromley South to Streatham Hill 3 days per week. What is the cheapest way to travel.

    Thanks in advance, Gary.

  456. Hi Gary,

    Oyster pay as you go.

  457. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Romford to Stratford and join the Overground to West Brompton 4 days per week and I occasionally have to attend meetings in Central London at peak and off-peak times.

    Is it cheaper for me to buy a zone 2-6 season ticket and add on an extension fare when I travel to zone 1 or is it best to rely on Oyster top up for all journeys?


  458. Hi Jenny,

    Zones 2-6 on National Rail is only just worthwhile on a monthly or longer travelcard if you use it 5 days a week. Your best bet if you have one is to use a contactless payment card because that will cap between Monday and Sunday if you make enough journeys. It works out whether you normally use certain zones, so a one-off trip into zone 1 won’t stop it capping at zones 2-6 plus an extension fare. Otherwise use Oyster PAYG unless you know you’ll make more than 10 journeys in a week.

  459. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Dagenham Heathway at 9.30 to go to Chancery Lane and leave Chancery Lane at 16.30 to get back to Dagenham. I use PAYG. Is this the best choice rather than a one day travelcard?

  460. Hi Nazneen,

    PAYG is the best choice. You should leave your touch-in to the last minute if you arrive around 9.30 because that is when the system changes to off-peak. You’ll save £1.60 if it’s off-peak. If you do touch in before 9.30 then you wouldn’t have been able to use an off-peak day travelcard, so you’ll still be saving money with PAYG.

  461. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Charlton to Orpington every weekday (peak time) and it is costing me £3.30 each way when on the tfl website it says a peak single between zones 3 and 6 is £2.70. Why am I getting overcharged??

  462. Hi Roxie,

    Charlton to Orpington is a National Rail fare whereas the £2.70 fare is for TfL Rail services.

  463. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Carpenders Park (zone 7) to Euston (zone 1). The train comes in at 09.29 at Carpenders park so I have no choice but to tap in a few minutes before 09:30 (the standard off peak time).

    However according to the exceptions listed above…the off peak time for Carpenders Park is 09:20 so either way I should be covered and my journey should count towards an off peak price. But this is not the case for some reason. I tapped in at 09:26 and got charged at the peak price. Why is this?

    Thank you!

  464. Hi Nikita,

    The early starts relate to the off-peak cap. The fare between 0920 and 0930 is still the peak fare.

  465. Hi Mike,
    This thursday and friday Im planning to travel from woolwich to hackney central at peak times since I will touch at hackney central before 9:30 and I want to know would it be cheaper with my 18+ student oyster card there and back or a travelcard?

  466. Hi Alex,

    The 18+ student Oyster only reduces the price of travelcard seasons. Single fares and day caps remain unaltered.

  467. Hi Mike,
    I usually travel between Brent Cross and Zone 1.
    I am wondering if the peak/off-peak fare is depending on the time I touch-in or out?
    It happened when I touched in just after 7 pm from Zone 1 and I was charged as peak fare when I got off the train at Brent Cross.
    And, will I be charged as which cap if I travel in both peak and off-peak time in one day? eg: two travel in peak time and two in off-peak time.
    Thank you.

    PS: if I travel in different Zone (eg: two travel from Zone 2 to Zone 1, another from Zone 1 to Zone 4), how does the system do with the cap?
    Thank you!

  468. Hi Mike
    I plan to travel by tram from Ampere way to Wimbledon and then to earls court starting 5:30 in the morning.

    Then I want to reverse the route in the evening starting at 7pm, but I cant seem to work out how much it will cost me.


  469. Hi Shirley,

    The peak or off-peak fare is decided by the time of touch in at the start of the journey. If you touch in after 1900 then it will be an off-peak fare. The cap applied depends on when your travel is either side of 0930 in the morning. All travel in the afternoon peak counts towards the off-peak cap. If you travel out to zone 4 then the final cap will be the zone 1-4 cap. You may already have been capped at zone 1-2, but you will be charged a bit more if you subsequently travel further out.

  470. Hi Jaco,

    Each tram will cost £1.45. The morning tube will be £1.50. If touch in for the evening is before 1900 then the return tube will be £1.60, otherwise it will be £1.50 as well.

  471. Your reply of the 28th October is very much appreciated – thank you for clearing up the headache :o)

  472. Hi I’m travelling Saturday from Watford junction-North Greenwich (O2) return using my Oyster card for the first time. Do you know how much this will be

  473. Hi Jenny,

    The fares are on the single fare finder. Saturday will be off-peak and the price depends on which way you go.

  474. Hi, I’m travelling from Waddon to Straftford next Sunday. How much will that cost, including a return journey?

  475. Hi Catherine,

    The single fare finder shows your options. A return is just two singles.

  476. Hi Mike, hope you can me. I will be travelling from West Ruislip underground station to Stratford underground station on the Central line. Monday – Sat. I Plan to get the 5.57am train to work. Then the around 6pm train back home again. Could you please advise me the cheapest way to do this and what the cost would be. I’m finding the TFL sites confusing. Many thanks

  477. Hi Rebecca,

    The direct fare is £5 peak and £3 off-peak. As your morning journey is off-peak, as are both ways on a Saturday, a travelcard is probably not worth it. If you want to save money then change at Shepherd’s Bush and Willesden Junction using the Overground and it becomes £2.70 peak or £1.50 off-peak.

  478. Hi,

    Just wanted a bit of clarification on the list of ‘Exceptions’ you’ve given in this article please, specifically this one….
    “If you start a journey outside zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 and finish it inside zone 1 using any of the modes of TfL rail (see definitions page) then the off-peak fare applies.”
    In my experience this doesn’t seem to be true. I work in Uxbridge, zone 6, and left yesterday at about 4.30pm and travelled to High Street Kensington, zone 1, and was definitely charged the peak rate. Have I missed something?

  479. Hi Beth,

    The single fare finder confirms that peak only applies in the morning for that journey. Can you post your journey history for yesterday and I’ll try and decipher what happened.

  480. Hi Mike, hope you can help me. I will be travelling from Harlow to Oxford circus on a daily basis and was wondering if you could help me with the cheapest option available as when I checked the monthly card comes up to £400 and was hoping to find any other option. Hope you can help me.

    Thanks for your time in advance.


  481. Hi Pearl,

    If you can get the bus to Epping station on the Central line then the zone 1-6 travelcard is £219.70, or peak single fares are £5 each way which may work out cheaper if you don’t use it every working day.

  482. I need to travel from New Malden to Liverpool Street between 5pm and 6 pm and return after 7 pm. I have a 16-25 yr old railcard. Is it cheaper to PAYE with Oyster (my railcard is registered on it) or get an off-peak travelcard?

  483. Hi Julie,

    Use PAYG because you will be capped at the reduced rate off-peak cap of £5.10 for zones 1-4 rather than the £5.90 that a reduced travelcard will cost.

  484. Hi Mike
    I am confused which zone is capping system applied on, if I travel in various zones.
    Suppose the following situation.
    I make 10 journeys in zone 1-2 and afterwards single journey from zone 1 to zone 9. All journeys are made between 930 and 1600.
    Could you reply which is the correct fare?

    A : Zone 1-9 capping £11.8
    (Capping system is applied on largest zone which I travel in.)

    B : After 4 journeys total amount of fares reaches zone 1-2 capping, which means as if I have got zone 1-2 travelcard. The fare is zone 1-2 capping £7 + zone 3-9 single £1.6 = £8.6
    (Capping system is applied on most economical zone.)

    C : Same as B but capping does not mean travelcard holding. So the fare of final single journey is zone 1-9 single £3.9. Total fare is £10.9.

  485. Hi Nori,

    It’s C. You can reduce the final journey charge by splitting it in zone 2 if you aren’t using a fast train.

  486. Hi Mike
    I commute Mon-Fri from Bushey to London Euston on London Midland: having been turfed off the safety of my annual Travelcard I got monthly seasons, but now have a senior railcard with Oyster PAYG. I’m confused about evening peak use because there was no clue about evenings on the railcard site and they referred me to LOROL. I can’t avoid the morning peak at the moment , but I usually take the 19.05 home. In order to do this I have to go through the barrier 10 minutes before because I’m disabled and can’t beat hundreds of commuters running up the platform and into seats, there are many people standing by 19.00 and they block the train entrance so cannot access disabled seats. [‘Mobility assistance ‘ just doesn’t work and I’m not disabled enough for the rail disability card even though I have a bus one.] Do I have to wait until the 19.34? The LOROL train takes three times as long and adds 16 stations to the journey. Thanks

  487. Hi Laura,

    I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. Unfortunately I can’t see much of a way around it unless you can get some assistance at Euston. The Oyster readers will start to charge off-peak fares about 2 minutes before 1900 as a way of stopping the “but the station clock said …” type of complaints. There is therefore no comeback if you touch in even earlier and get charged peak. The other thing you could try is taking a train to Watford Junction and then doubling back. There is no charge for doing this on Oyster as long as you don’t try and leave the station at Watford.

  488. Hi,

    I need to get to work and the journey is from Purfleet to Euston square. A monthly travel card is about 314pounds. I am wondering if it will be cheaper to use an oyster card.
    I only work weekdays.
    Could I get some advice please.

  489. Hi Cyc,

    A peak single from Purfleet to Euston Square is £7.70 so if you make 44 single journeys it would cost £338.80. If you can travel off-peak in either direction you save £1.00. If you use any other transport outside of your commute then a travelcard is going to become more worthwhile.

  490. Hi. I am planning to make a single journey from Hounslow Central to London Victoria starting after 4 pm on a weekday. Will this journey zone 4 into zone 1 be classed as Off peak travel and charged 2.70 only? Or will it be peak fare?

    Thanks in advance

  491. Hi Elena,

    Hounslow Central to Victoria using Piccadilly and District/Circle lines is off-peak all afternoon.

  492. Hello mike,

    I travel to uni four times a week all before 9:00am (DLR TRAIN) and i have the 18+ student oyster. Also, in the evenings i travel to and from evening classes (by bus only- which is one bus). I usually get the travelcard and pay 62.50 monthly. Would pay as you go work out cheaper or would the weekly or monthly be cheaper?

    kindest regards

  493. Hi Sehrish,

    You’ll have to detail your DLR journey, from and to, and confirm when you return on the DLR.

  494. Hey mike im traveling from ilford station to forest hill station how much is it going to cost me to go there today?

  495. Hi Abigail,

    It depends which way you go, but the single fare finder has all the options.

  496. Hi Mike,
    I’m about to start a new job, and want to know what my price cap will be?
    I will be starting from Zone 9 before 6:30am off peak into london, then onto zone 6 out of Victoria (national rail) but the return journey will be in peak time. What price will i be capped at? Peak or off peak

  497. Hi Noel,

    Even though you are charged an off-peak fare before 0630, only the anytime cap applies. However, if you only make the one journey each way you won’t reach that cap. Your return single will use up most of the off-peak cap so if you made any further journeys atfer 0930 it is likely that your cap would be the off-peak one plus an off-peak single for the journey to work.

    Depending on where you are travelling between there are some options for reducing the price you pay for the singles. If you let me know the exact stations then I’ll see if anhything applies to you.

  498. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Orpington to Cannon Street (I work in Farringdon, next to tube) Monday to Friday. I go to Cannon Street and walk because it works out cheaper. Is there a better/cheaper route?
    Also, would I save money by swiping in after 9.30am and returning home after 7pm. I use an Oyster card.
    Thank you, Robert

  499. Thanks Mike, My Journey will be between Amersham and Kenley, Outbound before 6:30 and return journey at around 15:30
    Am i right in saying this will be £5.10 each way?

  500. Hi Robert,

    You are already using the cheapest rail route (NR only with no LU) so your options are limited. Yes, touching in outside of peak times would reduce the cost if that is an option. You could also investigate using Orpington to Herne Hill and then Herne Hill to Farringdon which should also cost the same and save the walk across the City.

  501. Hi Noel,

    Yes, both those touch-ins will result in off-peak fares. Having seen where you are going to, the alternative route would probably add too much to the journey. You’d need to change at West Hampstead, Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction. Your fare would then be £2.80 each way.

  502. Hi Mike, I will be travelling to london next week to see my sister and to then travel to mile end. my sister lives in surbiton. i will be arriving at london euston and then seeing her midway before travelling to mile end. we will then be travelling back to waterloo and then to surbiton. i will not then be leaving surbiton till the next 4 days. I will be travelling back to euston before catching my train back to manchester and will probably stop of at waterloo (central) on the way before reaching euston.
    i dont think i will be travelling at peak times except maybe on my way to surbiton on the first day. how much total do you think this will cost me? this is my first time in london. i have read up on fares and prices but am still majorly confused. your response will be greatly appreciated.

  503. Hi Nicole,

    Sorry for the delayed response. Unfortunately I can’t give an exact answer without exact dates and times. This is especially true because the fares change on Friday and the changes aren’t all a few pence. You best bet is to use the single fare finder to check the fare for each journey, bearing in mind that Mile End to Surbiton is one journey unless you spend a long time at Waterloo. Until Thursday the off-peak daily cap is £8.50 for all travel after 0930. From Friday it becomes £11.70. If you travel before 0930 on Mon-Wed then you’ll need to add the peak fare to the off-peak fares/cap, but after Friday the cap is an all day one.

  504. Hello Mike,

    Thank you for your very informative site, and thank you also for taking the time to answer people’s questions.

    This page does not explicitly state that:

    “The peak or off-peak fare is decided by the time of touch in at the start of the journey.”

    but I found the answer in your comments (Shirley, 14 Nov.). If I can suggest an improvement to your already excellent site, then please put this sentence in the main text instead of buried in the comments.

  505. Hi Mike
    Tomorrow I will travel from Clock house (zone 4) to London charring cross around midday – offpeak.
    I will return from Charring cross to clock house at around 4pm. I am likely to get the 3.47 train from charring cross meaning I will touch in during off-peak hours but touch out after 4pm. Will I be charged a peak or off-peak rate for this journey?
    Im not sure whether it is decided on when you touch in or touch out?

  506. Hi Kirsty,

    It’ll be off-peak. Thanks also to Mel for suggesting that I highlight that touch in time is key. It did say in the header that the time periods related to touch in time, but I’ve added a note below to make it clearer.

  507. Hi Mike

    My friends and I are heading down for a long weekend to Watford in May for a tour of the Harry Potter Studios and a day out in London.

    What is the cheapest and quickest way for us to get into Central London by tube from Watford.

    I have been looking at the peak/off fares and capping but am struggling to understand it – if we were to leave Watford after 9.30am and leave London at around 11.30pm after watching a show how much is it likely to cost? The PDF for prices in 2015 for zones 1-9 and watford junction would be anywhere between £12.70 and £6.20 does this also include travel around the zones for the day or just a single journey?

    Thank you for your help.


  508. Hi Natalie,

    OK, firstly the tube from Watford is the Metropolitan line which doesn’t go from Watford Junction (yet). It is cheaper to travel from there, but it’s not fast. If you do travel from Watford Met then you are looking at zone 7 prices – £4 off-peak single and a maximum daily cap of £11.80 which allows unlimited travel in zones 1-7 after 0930 M-F or all day Sat, Sun and Bank Hols.

    The quickest way from Watford Junction to London Euston is using London Midland and you will then need the Z1-9+W prices. These are a little more complicated, but the maximum off-peak daily charge is £16.80. An off-peak single to Euston only is £4.90 but if you then get the Underground it will rise to £6.20.

    The £12.70 price is for a cash single which you really don’t want. Either use Oyster or a contactless payment card to get the other prices quoted.

  509. Hi Mike
    I would like to go from Purfleet to the center of London on a friday night or at weekends. I see that Rainham is zone 6, but can’t find anything about Purfleet. Also i will travel with some people who don’t have an oyster yet, and I couldn’t find any store in Purfleet. What would that journey cost for me (standard PAYG) and them? And also a second question, can they take the bus if they don’t have oyster?

  510. Hello Mike,

    I am having trouble finding the daily price cap both on and off peak between zones 3-6 for pay as you go. I can see a weekly is nearly £32 but the time I leave work can be any time between 17:30 and 21:00. Would you be able to help me with this at all please? Many thanks.

  511. Hi Adam,

    I’m on a mobile at the moment so can’t check fares. Buses only accept Oyster cards, contactless payment cards or paper travelcards.

  512. Hi Elizabeth,

    Daily caps always include zone 1 so you’ll need the full 1-6 cap at £11.70. This is now an all day cap. If your fares don’t reach the cap then you’ll only pay the fares.

  513. Hi Mike,
    I am travelling on Monday 12th Jan from Chafford Hundred (off peak time) to Wood Green and travelling back in the evening (off peak) Would Oyster be the cheapest way to do it and if so how much would it be?

  514. Hi Simon,

    The single fare finder says £6.80 via zone 1 or £4.10 if you avoid it.

  515. Hey Mike,

    So basically I’m starting my new job on Monday and need to travel from zone 2 to zone 5. I would need to get the train at around 8.30am and would be able to get the train back home at 6. However, I can be flexible and get the train at 7 as well.

    So I’m curious to know if a monthly travel card or PAYG cheaper is?


  516. You’ll need to tell me what stations you use before I can answer that.

  517. Hi Mike,
    I wonder if you know any specifics about how capping works in 2015 and if it is any different to 2014. Have this sample journey that I made on the 2nd January as a reference please and tell me whether I’m making a mistake.

    Friday 2nd January (Adult – Railcard discount)
    12:10 Thornton Heath [NR Z4] – London Bridge [LU Z1] £1.80
    14:19 London Bridge to Earl’s Court [LU Z1] £1.50
    18:01 Bus 27 £1.50
    18:07 High Street Kensington – Paddington [LU Z1] £1.30
    Capping applied £6.10
    19:34 Paddington – Earl’s Court [LU Z1] £0.00

    Seems like my first journey in the day has decided the cap for me. It is a Zone 1-4 journey and the relevant off-peak railcard holder cap is £6.10. My problem is that I believe capping used to work differently before. If I had made one Z1-4 journey but subsequently only made Z1-2 journeys I’d only be capped at the Z1-2 cap (£4.60 in 2014 – £4.25 in 2015). Moreover, the adult bus cap is £4.40 in 2015 but I have still be charged the full fare. I vividly remember in the past when I had made three journeys on the tube in Z1-2 full fare, and taking a bus was free at that point, however, a subsequent journey on the tube would have charged me a capped fare, since the Z1-2 cap was slightly higher than the bus cap. (£4.60 and £4.30 last year).

    Am I correct, or all of this is me misremembering? Thanks!

  518. Hi Ben,

    I think you’re getting a little confused. If you travel on a bus it will charge unless (a) you’ve reached the bus cap, or (b) you’ve reached the rail cap. Rail journeys have absolutely no effect on the bus cap. If your first rail journey is before 0930 then it won’t count towards the off-peak cap. Is it possible that the discounted 1-2 off-peak cap plus the 1-4 full peak fare was still below the anytime 1-4 cap? The bus cap remained at £4.40 like last year by the way, so you now only pay for 3 bus journeys.

    Things will seem different this year, even with a railcard, because the anytime caps are all less than they were before. Whichever cap is reached first stops the charging, so if the anytime cap is reached before the off-peak cap (because of early journeys) the off-peak cap won’t be reached. Your history above seems to be about right.

  519. Hi Mike

    You seem to have offered a lot of very helpful advice to people here…I’m hoping you may be able to help me too!

    With the new caps, particularly differing for underground and bus travel, I’m struggling to work out what is the most cost effective way to pay for my commute.

    I currently travel from Highbury to Cheshunt approx. 4 times a week between Mon – Fri. I leave at ~6.45, taking a bus from Highbury to Finsbury Park station using my PAYG Oyster card; I then take the tube from Finsbury Park to Tottenham Hale, again using my PAYG Oyster card; and then I take the train (any one) from Tottenham Hale to Cheshunt buying a return Anytime ticket each time I make that commute. I then commute home reversing the journey anytime between 5-8pm. Per day, I’m paying £13.40, so at least £53.60 on just my work commute.

    At the weekends and during week day evenings, I am often travelling via bus or in zones 1 and 2 using my PAYG Oyster card.

    I’d like to understand whether it would be cheaper for me to buy a season ticket which would cover my work commute and/or my off peak Oyster card travel.

    Your help would be much appreciated on this conundrum! Thanks, Hannah

  520. Hi Hannah,

    As you’ve described it you are actually using the most cost effective method unless you regularly start your return journey after 7pm. If you could walk to any of Highbury & Islington, Drayton Park or Canonbury then you could lose the bus fares and the rail would cost the same (as they’re all in zone 2 like Finsbury Park). However, you say you also use Oyster at other times, so I think your best bet is to pay £56.60 for a zone 2-8 weekly travelcard on Oyster. This will cover your entire journey to Cheshunt (zone 8) which will save you the hassle of getting day tickets from Tottenham Hale. It also covers all TfL buses and if you take the train/tube into zone 1 you will only pay £2.30 for each single journey from your PAYG balance. You can even go straight from Cheshunt to Liverpool Street as long as you touch in at the start and out at the end. Also for the journey home you can take a train to Seven Sisters if it suits.

  521. Mike,
    Thanks for your reply. Let me write my question another way since I didn’t have any morning peak journeys on that specific day.

    I started my Oyster day at 12:10 pm (off peak) and travelled from Z4 to Z1 (Tfl+NR). I paid the correct fare.
    Following that I made a second journey in Z1 and paid the correct fare again. My third journey was a bus journey and I also paid the full-fare here. Fourth Journey was on the tube again in Z1 and I paid a reduced fare because of the cap.

    Q. The cap I had was a Z1-4 cap. Apart from the first journey all the other journeys were in Z1. Would Oyster apply different caps depending on different journeys during the day, or there is just one cap determined by the most zones travelled?

  522. Hi Ben,

    There are three applicable caps and each one is determined by your travel using fares that apply to that cap. First is the bus cap which only applies to bus and tram journeys. The first two journeys are full price, the third is 10p off and the rest are free because the cap has been reached. Bus and tram journeys also count towards the other two caps which include all forms of rail as well. The second one is the off-peak cap which applies to all journeys made after 0930 M-F (or all day at weekends). The level applied depends on the zones used during the off-peak period. Finally there is the anytime cap which applies all day every day.

    At any time your fare can be reduced or ignored if any of the caps which apply have been reached. Once you have used a zone by rail your cap will include that zone for the rest of it’s duration. You can have different zone ranges for the anytime and off-peak caps, but remember that anything used off-peak is also used anytime as well.

    Note that Monday to Sunday capping on contactless payment cards does work in a different way. For each day the same calculations are used to apply daily caps, but over the course of the week the system will work out the best combination of weekly travelcard and extension journeys. Thus 10 journeys between zones 4-6 with two extensions to zone 2 would be charged as a zone 4-6 travelcard plus two zone 2-3 singles.

  523. Hello Mike,

    Every day I need to travel to work between Wimbledon (zone 3) and West Ham (zone 3). So far I have been taking Northern Line from South Wimbledon to London Bridge, then Jubilee Line towards Stratford. In the morning I tap in after 7.00am and on the way back I tap in at about 16.15pm. My questions are: if I tap in West Ham at 16.15, does it count as peak or off peak? Also, as a daily journey costs me £6.60 I was wondering if there is any cheaper route, way or time of travelling to and from West Ham to South Wimbledon. I use PAYG. If I use my bank card to pay for my journeys, will it cost me the same amount of money as when I use an oyster card? Thank you.

  524. Hi Aneta,

    Both your journeys are peak. Contactless payment cards do cost the same as Oyster. Yes there is a cheaper route which costs £1.70 each way in the peak. Change at Canada Water onto the Overground to Clapham High Street and then join the Northern line at Clapham North. You need to touch the pink validator at Canada Water to indicate to the system that you are avoiding zone 1.

  525. Hi Mike, I am currently a student at Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross and I travel between Finsbury Park and King’s Cross. I am always using PAYG bundled with the 16-25 Railway Card. A couple of days ago I took Victoria line from Finsbury park to King’s Cross at around 8.30 a.m and back at 3.00 p.m. And I was charged in £4.4. However, I was only charged £ 4.25 today while I took Victoria line from Finsbury park to King’s cross at 1.30 pm; King’s Cross to Covent Garden at 4.45 pm, and Covent Garden to Finsbury Park at 7.10 pm.

    I took both peak and off-peak times. And I thought the 16-25 railway card would give me 1/3 off on all caps now in 2015. But according to the two journeys that I mentioned above, it did not seem to be the case. I am confused. Would you mind explaining to me on that?

  526. Hi Ding,

    Although the anytime and off-peak caps are now the same value, they are still treated separately. Thus your pre-0930 journey was charged at full price. Today you reached the discounted zone 1-2 cap with your journeys all being after 0930.

    If you are eligible for the 18+ Student Oyster then you may wish to consider buying the discounted zone 1-2 travelcard at £22.40/week. You would gain even if you only capped off-peak on 5 days. You can still add your 16-25 discount so that any journeys within Oyster but outside zones 1-2 are discounted off-peak.

  527. Hi Mike

    Does a journey which starts as off-peak but has an Out of Station Interchange within peak get charged as a single off-peak journey? Example is leaving Oxford Circus at 15:55 and changing at Marylebone at 16:05 for Rickmansworth. Any complications if the OSI straddles 16:00?

  528. Hi Jim,

    Yes, the time of the first touch in dictates the fare for the journey. As long as the journey starts before 1600 it doesn’t matter whether an OSI occurs each side of 1600 or after 1600, it’s still off-peak.

  529. Hi Mike,

    Hope you can help me. Please find my travel schedule for a given week and request to identify the best fare:
    Monday (Morning) – Bus to Tube Station (Zone 5), followed by that Tube from Zone 5 to Zone 1
    Monday (Evening) – Tube from Zone 1 to Zone 4
    Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursdays – Bus to Tube Station (Zone 4), followed by that Tube from Zone 4 to Zone 1
    Friday (Morning) – Tube from Zone 4 to Zone 1
    Friday (Evening) – Tube from Zone 1 to Zone 5, followed by Bus Journey

  530. Hi Raj,

    With the bus journeys you’ll be better off with a travelcard rather than using PAYG. As you only need zone 5 once each way each week you should get a zone 1-4 travelcard and use PAYG for the additional travel in zone 5. The bus is free with any travelcard, even if it is outside the zones covered. If you order the travelcard online to be picked up at a station, note that you can’t pick it up outside of the zones covered. You can order it and pick it up several days in advance though.

  531. Hi mike, please do you know how much it will cost me to travel to amersham from baker street and back? From around 6am. Thanks

  532. According to the single fare finder it’s £4.00 single at 6am and the same return if off-peak, or £6.90 if peak (0630-0930, 1600-1900).

  533. hi i wonder if you can help me i need to travel from south harrow to bromley south or north if easier for a Week and back again. Leaving south harrow at 6am and leaving bromley around 4.30pm can u tell the best way oysterbor week travelcard thanks. i could start journey at northolt park overground or northolt underground whichever cheaper.

  534. Hi Dianne,

    South Harrow and the Northolts are all in zone 5 so it doesn’t make any difference. Although Bromley North is in zone 4, you won’t save anything as you’ve come from zone 5, so use the much better served Bromley South (z5) instead. Even though your morning journey is off-peak a weekly travelcard (z1-5) would be slightly cheaper as long as you travel all 5 days.

    If you really need to save money and have spare time for a longer journey you could buy a zone 2-5 weekly travelcard. You’d need to go from Northolt to Shepherd’s Bush, then to Clapham Junction, Denmark Hill and finally Bromley South. There are variations like South Harrow to Earls Court to West Brompton to Clapham Junction, Denmark Hill, Lewisham, Grove Park and Bromley North. You just have to avoid zone 1.

  535. Hi Mike,

    I’m starting a new job in feb. I plan on using an Oyster card. I will leave my home at 8am to get a tram from Addiscombe to Wimbledon and then get the district line from wimbledon to East putney. I will then reverse this journey at 5pm. Can you please tell me how much my oyster will cap at for the day?

    Thank you.

  536. Hi Donna,

    The daily cap for zones 1-3 is £7.50, but if you only make the journeys described then you won’t cap. Each tram journey is £1.50 and each tube journey is £1.70 in the peak making a total of £6.40.

  537. Hi Mike:

    I’m a frequent visitor to London and while I’ve pretty much figured out all the peak and off-peak cap stuff, there’s one situation that still baffles me. Let’s assume it’s a weekend day, so all fares are off-peak and the off-peak cap will be in effect.

    If I start my day at Heathrow (zone 6), travel one-way into zone 1 London, then take all sorts of zone 1/2 trips and/or bus trips to max out my cap, will it cap at:
    A) £11.70, since I started the day in zone 6 or
    B) £6.40 (zone 1/2 cap) + £3.10 (zone 6-1 single) = £9.50, since most of my trips were in zone 1/2?

    Conversely, if I start my day in zone 1 and take all sorts of zone 1/2 trips to max out the cap, then take a single ride to Heathrow, will the total fare for the day be:
    C) £6.40 (zone 1/2 cap) + £3.10 (zone 1-6 single) = £9.50 or
    D) £11.70, the zone 1-6 cap?

    I’m guessing A and C are correct. Does this mean the daily cap applies to the first zones you travel through in the day?

  538. Hi James,

    Yes, A+C are correct. C is only correct if the only journey beyond zone 2 is the last one. Were you to come back to zone 1 you’d cap at £11.70. It’s a new situation since the off-peak caps were raised significantly, but you need to see it as C being a bonus rather than A being an error. In the Mon-Sun capping on CPCs an odd journey outside the regular daily trips would be charged separately regardless of where in the week it was made.

  539. Hi,
    I use an 18+ photo oyster card which is linked with a 16-25 railcard. My questions…
    1. Please what is the daily cap for my pay as you go for 2015 fares?

    2. Also does my cap start accumulating from a train start or bus start?

  540. Hi Aliyu,

    Second question first, both. All bus journeys count towards the bus cap such that the third is discounted and any more are free. Those charges also count towards the daily rail caps. Travel before 0930 M-F counts towards the full adult cap depending on the zones used. Travel after 0930 continues counting towards the full cap, but also counts towards the railcard discounted off-peak cap. Whichever cap is reached first will stop the charging.

  541. Hi Mike,

    I’m starting a new job next week and have to travel from Brimsdown to Farringdon, which is, according to the fare finder, going to charge me a hefty 6.50, while the price table states 4.70 for a journey from Zones 1-5. How come? Do I pay more thanks to NR/Abellio? Due to the absence of pink readers? Is there any workaround which wouldn’t take so much time, such as going to Tottenham Hale by bus or something?

  542. Hi Emre,

    Brimsdown to Farringdon is a NR+TfL through fare which is why it’s more expensive. If you take a bus to Tottenham Hale then you will only pay the TfL rate from there, even if you still use NR to Liverpool Street because the fares are inter-available between Tottenham Hale and London. You can also cut the £6.50 fare down to £6.00 by changing at Tottenham Hale. You need to exit the NR station, enter the LU station, exit straight away and then enter again. This will split your journey into two, a NR zone 5-3 and a TfL zone 3-1. The in-out-in again move only works at gates so if the NR station has validators you will need to exit, enter and exit at the LU station before entering again at the NR station on the way home. Obviously you need to use the Victoria line to Kings Cross and then the Met/Circ back to Farringdon for this to work.

  543. Hi Mike,
    This week I’m travelling from Zone 4 on the Northern Line out to Feltham (Zone 6) by rail, leaving about 5.30am and returning 18:30.
    My Oyster has a 16-25 railcard attached.

    A 7 day railcard for zones 1-6 seems to cost nearly £60 (is this without any 16-25 reduction?). Is this really cheaper than PAYG?!


  544. Hi Becky,

    The railcard will not discount any season ticket, or peak fares. You don’t say where you are coming from, but if we assume that you’ll cross zone 1, the fares should be £3.45 in the morning because you leave before the peak, and £7.60 in the evening because peak fares apply then. That’s £11.05 a day so a weekly travelcard will not be cheaper unless you use it more than 5 days. If you can delay touching in at Feltham until 1900 then the return will be off-peak too. If you tell me where you are starting from then I may be able to offer another option.

  545. Becky,

    A 16-25 railcard only works with Oyster on an off peak PAYG fare. Nothing else.


  546. Not true, W.

    Railcard discounts affect off-peak fares, off-peak caps, and also the bus only cap by 15p if you don’t use rail outside zones 1-2.

  547. Hi mike, wonder if you can help. I will be travelling from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street 3 x week at peak times and wondered if I’m better using my oyster or getting a season ticket? What would the weekly oyster fare be? Thanks.

  548. Hi Lisa,

    Definitely PAYG. Each single peak fare is £8.80 or £52.80 for your week. A weekly season is £71.70. Also, if you can touch in at Shenfield before 0630 you’ll get the off-peak Oyster fare of £6.00.

  549. Hi Mike, just wanted to clarify a point. Based on what you’ve typed above, does this mean that if I got on a train at Bushey/Watford Junction going to Euston during peak times (say 5/6pm) I would only be charged an off peak fare? Thanks.

  550. Hi Ria,

    Yes, any travel on that line towards Euston is charged off-peak during the afternoon peak. You can also carry on to any other zone 1 station and still be charged off-peak. You can’t get off at say Willesden Junction and continue on the Overground around London because then you are leaving the Watford to Euston line.

  551. hi Mike

    i live in hastingwood and need to travel into London liverpool st Monday to Saturday at 6.30 am returning at 5.30pm
    i can use either Harlow mill/town or Epping and wanted to know the cheapest fare to buy, would it be monthly or daily ?
    also i use the underground to commute to meetings back & fourth to the westend generally about 4 times a week ?

    thanks terry

  552. Hi Terry,

    Use Epping as it is in zone 6. If you can regularly touch in before 0630 then PAYG will probably be cheaper as it charges off-peak at that time.

  553. Hi Mike,
    If I take below route on Sat.,
    (Watford Junction->Euston, Euston->Greenwich(DLR), Greenwich->Leicester square, Leicester square->shepherd’s bush, shepherd’s bush->Euston, Euston ->Watford Junction)
    the fare should be zone1-2 cap £6.40. But how about the route between Watford Junction and Euston? not sure “Euston – Zone 2*” stands for? should be 6.4+6.4 or just 6.4? Thank you.

  554. Hi Vicky,

    Euston – Zone 2* means the fare between Euston and any zone 2 station on the line between Euston and Watford Junction. The off-peak fares are the same but peak fares are slightly cheaper if you stay on that line. The fare between Watford Junction and Euston is £4.90 off-peak single. The maximum you will be charged using an Oyster card on Saturday is £16.80 which is the off-peak cap for zones 1-9 + Watford Junction. If you use a contactless payment card you will probably pay a bit less because it calculates the overall charge in a better way. I’ve only just learned about how this aspect works, but I think you’ll be charged £6.40 for a zone 1-2 cap plus 2x£1.70 for off-peak singles between Watford Junction and zone 3.

  555. Hi ..
    I need to ask if I’m travelling from watford junction to bank station, I have three options.
    1. Watford metropolitan line to Moorgate and then to bank.
    2. Watford overground line to euston Ms then northern line to bank
    3. Watford fast train to euston and then tube to bank.

    Can you suggest cheapest and quickest of all three. Also it will be peak travel to at 8am and 1730 hours for all 5 week days and full year.

    Thanks in advance


  556. Hi Rishika,

    Number 1 will be cheapest. Number 2 is next if you start at High Street. Number 3 is by far the quickest and also the most expensive. If you start at Watford Junction then numbers 2 and 3 cost the same.

  557. Thanks Mike.

    Would you be able to give me an idea about how much it would cost for all three in peak times?

  558. Hi Mike,

    This is such an invaluable resource, so thankyou!

    Just having a right tough time with my trip to work. I cycle so try and go from Feltham out to Egham via bike but come from Clapham Junction on train into Feltham.

    Am I right in that on my return home I should be waiting till 7pm to tap in to ensure off-peak, and if brave enough, tap out in the morning by 6.30 am?

    Also Is there any value in getting a travelcard monthly on to my oyster alongside my 16-25 or would PAG oyster with railcard be a lot more financially benefical.

    thanks again for all your help.

  559. Hi Ali,

    To get off-peak fares before the morning peak you only need to touch in before 0630. It doesn’t matter when you touch out, subject to maximum journey times of course. If you are getting discounted off-peak fares then a travelcard won’t save you anything.

  560. Thanks a lot!

    So if I travel from watford junction to euston to bank and return would cost me 9.50 return during peak times?


  561. Hi Rishika,

    No. The single peak fare from Watford Junction to Bank is £9.20. Return will be £18.40.

  562. Hi

    On Jan 23rd there was a question from James S about the cap situation for two sets of journey scenarios.

    Scenario 1 was starting at Heathrow travelling into Zone 1 then doing loads of journeys there.

    Secenario 2 was starting in Zone 1, doing loads of journeys there and ending with a journey out to Heathrow.

    A discussion followed about which zones would be included in the cap.

    I had thought that the zones you travelled in were always a factor in determining the cap. The discussion seemed to confirm that for scenario 1. You start in Zone 6, travel to Zone 1 then travel around all day there. The zones used in the cap are 1 to 6. All good.

    However scenario 2 threw me. You start in zone 1 and end in zone 6 yet the journey to zone 6 is seemingly treated as an add on and the cap is set just by the Zone 1 journeys. Just to throw me even more you then add a comment that had a subsequent journey been made back into Zone 1 then the cap would have been set by zones 1 to 6.

    There is obviously some subtlety that has eluded me here. Would you be able to explain this more fully? Why is scenario 2 capped at Zone 1 and not Zones 1 to 6, and why does a subsequent journey back into Zone 1 change things back to what I would have expected?


  563. Hi Simon,

    I’ll try. The zones 1-2 cap is £6.40 while the zones 1-6 cap is £11.70. If you spend a while zipping round zones 1-2 you will accumulate a maximum of £6.40. A single to zone 6 on the Underground is £3.10 (off-peak) which will bring you up to £9.50*. If you go back again the £11.70 will be reached. If you start in zone 6 the system accumulates up to the £11.70 cap with all the travel in zones 1-2.

    In this specific example you will also get a different result if you use contactless. Starting in zone 1 you will accumulate the cap of £6.40 as usual. But your one trip out to zone 6 will only add the zone 3-6 extension charge of £1.50. The same is true the other way as well because the back office processing used by contactless continually number crunches your daily travel to apply the cheapest combination of caps and extension journeys. Most of the time it makes no difference, but when you make 1 or 2 long journeys and a lot of smaller stuff in the middle then it can recalculate.

    * If your last journey is to zone 6 then you can reduce the cost of that journey by getting off to touch out and in again at a zone 2 station (Earls Court to Turnham Green inclusively in this example).

  564. Thank you for that, it makes sense now.

  565. Hi Mike,

    Interesting to hear today that the caps affecting Zones 1-4, 1-5 and 1-6 are being revised:

    As with everything there are caveats! To get a refund you need to make 2+ journeys a week or 8+ over 4 weeks. Maybe you could update a page to highlight the changes if you can make sense of it! I’m assuming that you’ll get a refund if your fare is over the revised cap and you’ve made more than 1 journey in a week for example. Thanks – David.

  566. Thanks David,

    I’ve been trying to make sense of it this afternoon. A little disappointed that BBC London News didn’t feature the story in their main programme at 6.30pm. I’ll certainly be writing more about it shortly.

  567. Hi Mike,

    If I have one Month Bus&Tram Travel in my Oyster Card, then I have a bus before 9:30 (the Bus show Class A after touch in), after that for the daily cap is peak or off-peak?


  568. Hi Xin,

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by showing class A after touch in. My understanding is that rail travel is charged as normal on an Oyster card with a bus/tram pass on it because all bus travel is covered already. If your rail travel is all after 0930 then the off-peak cap would apply (where it is different from the Anytime cap).

  569. Hi Mike,
    Quick question which I am sure is covered but I can’t seem to find the answer:

    If I am going to hit the weekly Z12 cap using oyster/contactless but want to make one journey to Z6, and will the weekly Z12 cap still be hit or will the bar be lifted (and unless I hit a Z16 cap then the weekly cap won’t apply). If it’s the latter i’d imagine i would be better off using a different card for the Z16 journey.

    Thanks Mike

  570. Hi Akkers,

    If you use contactless then it will be charged as a zone 3-6 extension journey. On Oyster you’d need a travelcard for the weekly zone 1-2 so that would also then just charge an extension.

  571. if i touch in at 6:55pm from zone 6 going to zone 3 and touch out at 7:40 will i be charged peak price or off peak price?

  572. Hi Kel,

    You should be charged peak in that scenario. The system switches over just before 1900, but it won’t be as early as 1855. The later you can leave touching in the more chance that you’ll be charged off-peak.

  573. Hi, I go from Tooting Broadway to Balham then Balham to Shepherd’s Bush then Shepherd’s Bush to Greenford. Which are zones 2,3,4.

    According to tfl’s fare tables I should be charged £2.30 during peek and £1.50 during off peak.

    Please can you help me understand why I’m being charged different amounts?

    Date/Time Journey/Action Charge

    Friday, 20 February 2015 £4.00 daily total
    15:46 – 16:34 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.10
    11:58 – 13:01 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £1.90

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015 £4.50 daily total
    12:21 – 13:22 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.10
    08:29 – 09:32 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £2.40

    Monday, 16 February 2015 £4.60 daily total
    16:20 – 17:25 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.70
    10:53 – 11:49 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £1.90

  574. Hi Rosh,

    Please can you click on the “show all charging detail” link and then paste the results. I’m pretty sure what is happening but I want to be sure.

  575. Hi Mike

    Here is my history showing all charging details

    Date / Time Journey / Action Charge Balance
    Friday, 20 February 2015 £4.00 daily total
    15:46 – 16:34 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.10 £40.40
    16:34 Touch out, Tooting Broadway +£5.50 £40.40
    16:30 Touch in, Balham [London Underground] £5.50 £34.90
    16:29 Touch out, Balham [National Rail] +£5.50 £40.40
    16:05 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] £6.10 £34.90
    16:05 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) +£3.70 £41.00
    15:46 Touch in, Greenford £5.20 £37.30
    11:58 – 13:01 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £1.90 £42.50
    13:01 Touch out, Greenford +£3.30 £42.50
    12:44 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) £3.30 £39.20
    12:43 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] +£3.30 £42.50
    12:04 Touch in, Balham [National Rail] £3.70 £39.20
    12:03 Touch out, Balham [London Underground] +£3.70 £42.90
    11:58 Touch in, Tooting Broadway £5.20 £39.20

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015 £4.50 daily total
    12:21 – 13:22 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.10 £44.40
    13:22 Touch out, Tooting Broadway +£3.10 £44.40
    13:17 Touch in, Balham [London Underground] £3.10 £41.30
    13:16 Touch out, Balham [National Rail] +£3.10 £44.40
    12:41 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] £3.70 £41.30
    12:40 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) +£3.70 £45.00
    12:21 Touch in, Greenford £5.20 £41.30
    08:29 – 09:32 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £2.40 £46.50
    09:32 Touch out, Greenford +£5.20 £46.50
    09:14 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) £5.30 £41.30
    09:14 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] +£5.30 £46.60
    08:35 Touch in, Balham [National Rail] £5.90 £41.30
    08:35 Touch out, Balham [London Underground] +£5.90 £47.20
    08:29 Touch in, Tooting Broadway £7.60 £41.30

    Monday, 16 February 2015 £4.60 daily total
    16:20 – 17:25 Greenford to Tooting Broadway £2.70 £48.90
    17:25 Touch out, Tooting Broadway +£4.90 £48.90
    17:20 Touch in, Balham [London Underground] £4.90 £44.00
    17:19 Touch out, Balham [National Rail] +£4.90 £48.90
    16:38 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] £5.20 £44.00
    16:38 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) +£5.20 £49.20
    16:20 Touch in, Greenford £7.60 £44.00
    10:53 – 11:49 Tooting Broadway to Greenford £1.90 £51.60
    11:49 Touch out, Greenford +£3.30 £51.60
    11:30 Touch in, Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) £3.30 £48.30
    11:30 Touch out, Shepherd’s Bush [London Overground] +£3.30 £51.60
    10:59 Touch in, Balham [National Rail] £3.70 £48.30
    10:59 Touch out, Balham [London Underground] +£3.70 £52.00
    10:53 Touch in, Tooting Broadway £5.20 £48.30

  576. Hi Rosh,

    Yes, it’s doing what I thought. The description of the alternative route on the single fare finder is a little misleading. I’ll explain how it works in a minute, but for now there are two things you can do to get charged the right amount. Firstly, change your route to go via Clapham North and Clapham High Street instead of Balham. Secondly, use a contactless payment card. I think that the price for travelling via Balham is actually wrong, but that is what the single fare finder says. Basically the line between Balham and Clapham Junction is one of the red routes where the higher NR fare applies. For some reason the single fare finder is suggesting that the system can’t tell the difference between via Balham and via Clapham North/High Street. Both of them are out of station interchanges where you need to touch out and back in again, so the difference is quite easy.

    So, what’s it doing? The fare for your journey is calculated at each exit point. If a later exit point shows a lower fare than that which has already been charged then you don’t get the difference back. In your case the fare charged for Tooting to Shepherd’s Bush is higher than the total fare because it is correctly charged at the NR scale. The other way round it’s the fare from Greenford to Balham which is higher than the overall. Only the morning peak journey hasn’t overcharged you at Shepherd’s Bush hence the right fare of £2.40 is deducted.

    Contactless works in a different way. All the bits of the journey are added together and the fare for the whole journey is charged so you won’t be overcharged. Travelling via Clapham North means you are on green NR routes which are charged at the TfL scale and thus the fare is correct whichever payment method you use.

    Should you complain? I think you’d be within your rights to claim that you are not being charged the fare that the single fare finder says you will be even though you are following the route description. Whether the route via Balham remains priced the same as via Clapham afterwards is unclear. It might not, but you’ve still got the Clapham option which also has the benefit of a much easier interchange at Clapham Junction (unless you get the hourly Balham to Shepherd’s Bush direct train).

  577. Hey mike.
    I travell three days a week. 2 days between 9 to 5 and one day between 11 to 4 From whyteleafe south to london bridge and then take the tube to elephant and castle. Its zone 1-6. I waa hoping you could guide me through the railcard discount and if that will ne cheaper for me.
    Also im a student and live in warlingham which is zone 6 however my student card wasnt approved. They said it doesnt come under the oyster borrow but i use oyster to travel only.


  578. Hi Shehz,

    Warlingham is outside the Greater London area which is why you can’t get a student Oyster card. Zone 6 was extended to include the whole of the Caterham branch many years ago, with some funding from Surrey County Council I believe. Warlingham was included because of the close proximity to Whyteleafe.

    If you have a 16-25 railcard logged on your Oyster card then you’ll get 1/3rd off the off-peak fares and the daily cap after 0930. This won’t help with your 9 to 5 days but might help with the late start. If you can touch in before 1600 it would also apply to the early finish.

    However, there is a much cheaper way. Instead of going via London Bridge, change at East Croydon onto a Thameslink train to Elephant and Castle. You will then only be charged zones 2-6. You can also take any other train from East Croydon to Tulse Hill and change again for Elephant if there is no Thameslink train advertised.

  579. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply.

    From what I understand If I go from Tooting Broadway to Clapham North then Clapham High Street to Clapham Junction then Clapham Junction to Shepherds Bush then Shepherds Bush to Greenford I should be charged the correct amount if I used Oyster or a contactless payment card.

    If I was to use my original route with a contactless payment card would I also be charged the correct amount?

    Sometimes I go from Balham to Clapham Junction then Clapham Junction to Shepherd’s Bush if I miss the direct train, although when that happens I don’t tap my Oyster on the pink validator, if I did that would my fare price be any different?

    I will give it a try tomorrow but I just wanted to ask you first.

  580. Hi Rosh,

    Yes, if you travel via Clapham North you will be charged the correct fare whichever payment method you use. My experience of using contactless tells me that you should also be charged correctly* using contactless via Balham. There is no need to touch the pink validator at Clapham Junction when using either route, although it shouldn’t make any difference if you did.

    * According to the single fare finder today.

  581. What i the cheapest option for daily return travel between Hampton Court and Billericay, as monthly rail passes not available on this journey?

  582. Hi Beck,

    You need a Billericay to zones 1-6 travelcard season. Out-boundary travelcards must have the outside station as the origin.

  583. Hi Mike,

    As we know the morning and evening peak times i.e, from 6.30-9.30 and 16:00-19:00
    Just looking are these for the exit or the entry timings?

    For eg, I need to travel from Zone 4-1 (Morning) and Zone 1-4 (Evenening) so if I touch card before 6.30 or exit after 9.30 would it be considered as off peak? or peak (beacuse my one swapping is in peak hours)?

    In the evening, if I swaped in between 18hrs and 19hrs (within peak) and thereafter it takes around 45mins to reach zone 4 will it be considered as peak or offpeak.

    Please suggest.
    Looking at your replies, you are doing a wonderful job… Keep it up 🙂

  584. Hi Anurag,

    The peak or off-peak rate is set by the first touch in on the journey. If you have to switch between stations in the middle of the journey it makes no difference whether the rate has changed, you are still charged the rate set by your first touch in.

  585. Thanks for that Mike. So, just to clarify, can I purchase a Billaricay to zones 1-6 at any mainline station?

    Can I get that as a weekly, months or annual ticket?


  586. Hi Beck,

    Yes, any mainline station or online. You can buy weekly, or any period between a month and a year.

  587. Thank you for your speedy response!!!
    A great help.

  588. Charles King

    Hi Mike

    I like your site as it is clear and concise compared to TfL’s site

    I read in the Standard 23/2/15 That after pressure from the GL Assembly that the Mayor has asked TfL to revert to peak and off-peak caps. I have been contacted by my GLA member to say this is coreect. I can’t find anything on the TfL web sites to confirm this. The Mayor also said he would repay people for some journeys between January and March.
    As yet there does not seem to be a change to Travelcard.

    Can you confirm any of this and what the 2015 caps are

    All the best

    Charles King

  589. Hi Charles,

    Not quite. TfL are putting in place a mechanism to refund charges down to the new off-peak cap where people are charged more on two or more occasions in a week or eight or more occasions in four weeks. I covered the detail on a recent post on this site. The idea is that part-time workers who commute off-peak from zones 4-6 were adversely affected by the changes which were intended to help part-time workers in general. As far as I am aware there are no changes to the actual caps, and certainly not to travelcards. There is a virtual off-peak cap of £8.00 for zone 1-4 and £8.80 for zones 1-6 but only if you meet the criteria (2 in 7 or 8 in 28). The refunds will be backdated to Jan 2nd and paid at the end of each month, starting in April.

    I’m hoping that contactless users will get most refunds as they become available under the process of weekly capping, but there is no word yet as to whether this is going to happen.

  590. I’ve read all I can find – here and elsewhere – on capping. My conclusion is that the subject is of Byzantine complexity 🙂

    Yesterday was my first experience of capping. I was amazed when the reader at Feltham said I’d been charged 50p for a one hour, 6-zone, four-line plus NR journey at peak time.

    I’m the sort of person who likes to understand and predict what I’m going to be charged: is this achievable?

    As a start, here’s yesterday’s journey history. A key element not shown is the addition of my Senior Railcard after touch-out at Baker Street.

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 £7.75 daily total

    17:34 – 18:37 Northolt to Feltham [National Rail] £0.50 £34.75
    18:37 Touch out, Feltham [National Rail] +£7.00 £34.75
    18:23 Touched pink card reader, Richmond £0.00 £27.75
    17:34 Touch in, Northolt £7.50 £27.75

    14:01 – 14:56 Elephant & Castle [London Underground] to West Ruislip £2.05 £35.25
    14:56 Touch out, West Ruislip +£1.40 £35.25
    14:01 Touch in, Elephant & Castle [London Underground] £3.45 £33.85

    09:47 – 10:52 Feltham [National Rail] to Baker Street £5.20 £37.30
    10:52 Touch out, Baker Street £0.00 £37.30
    10:21 Touch in, Waterloo [London Underground / National Rail] £1.50 £37.30
    10:20 Touch out, Waterloo (platforms 12-19) [National Rail] +£1.50 £38.80
    09:47 Touch in, Feltham [National Rail] £5.20 £37.30

    Thanks for any light you can shed, Mike.

  591. Hi mike, next week I will be tavelling from Romford station to Heathrow airport, I’m not sure of the timings yet but do you have an idea of how much it would cost me to get there on a 16+ Oyster card?

  592. Hi Alan,

    The most significant thing you did was add your railcard at Baker Street. That reduced the off-peak cap from the normal £11.70 to £7.75. 50p was all you had to pay to reach that cap on your third journey. If you repeated it today with the railcard already loaded then it would look a little different because the first journey would be discounted. The overall cap would be the same.

  593. Hi Emily,

    The single fare finder has all the details.

  594. Thanks, Mike.

    So the off-peak cap applies to a peak fare? That is odd (but welcome, of course).

    For Oyster purposes my day always starts at Feltham. Now that I have a railcard does that mean the daily cap will be £11.70 if the first touch-in of the day is before 09:30, and £7.75 after? Or will it be £7.75 regardless of what time I touch in? (Assuming I stay in zones 1-6.)

    Let me try to predict the cost of my next trip:
    off peak, Feltham – Northolt £1.60 (pink Richmond)
    off peak, North Acton – Ealing Broadway £1.00
    peak East Acton* – Feltham £4.00 via White City/Wood Lane OSI, Hammersmith OSI, pink Richmond
    * this is theoretical – see below.

    So the total cost for the day will be £6.60 and the cap won’t apply, regardless of what it is.

    The starting point for the journey home is uncertain as I can’t be sure where I’ll finish my walk. But it raises another question.

    To me, the obvious and shortest route from East Acton to Feltham is:
    Central line to White City
    OSI to Wood Lane
    H&C or Circle to Hammersmith
    Hammersmith OSI to District line station
    District line to Richmond, pink validator at Richmond
    NR to Feltham

    But the single fare finder doesn’t quote this route, offering only zone 1 and an alternative of Shepherd’s Bush & Clapham Junction, which is much further in time and distance, not least because it goes in the wrong direction for most of it :-).

    If I finish my walk at Wood Lane SFF gives the price and route I quote above.

    If I finish at North Acton then SFF quotes the route I took yesterday: Ealing Broadway, Turnham Green and Richmond.

    Why does the SFF not quote one of those routes? I suspect the reason is because it thinks they’re longer in time. The journey planner does give my route, but only if I force it to include via Wood Lane. The problem is that it allows 11 minutes for the OSI at Wood Lane and 7 minutes at Hammersmith. I doubt that either takes that long, and the Google Maps on your site suggest 3 minutes and 1 minute (though Google has probably never tried to cross Hammersmith Road in the rush hour).

    And what will be charged for my obvious East Acton route?

    Sorry, this question is becoming nearly as complicated as the Oyster fare structure, largely because of it 🙂

  595. Hi Alan,

    The off-peak cap has always applied in the afternoon peak. Yes, with a senior railcard you only get the reduced cap after 0930. If you travel before then then that journey would be subject to the all day cap – which cap applied would depend on which one was reached first. All the off-peak travel also counts to the all day cap.

    Where too many interchanges are required the system ignores the route as almost no-one would use it. If you do use it you will probably be charged the default route.

  596. Thanks, Mike.

    I guess I’ll find out what I get charged if I end up going that way. Even on a TfL map it’s the obvious way to go, and White City/Wood Lane and the Hammersmiths are shown as interchanges even though the only way between them is by public roads.

    East Acton – Richmond (as the Richmond – Feltham bit is fixed)
    Via White City/Wood Lane and the Hammersmiths = 12km (track km), 2 interchanges
    Via Shepherd’s Bush and Clapham Junction = 19km, 2 interchanges
    Via Ealing Broadway and Turnham Green = 15km, 2 interchanges

    Ah, the wonders of the Underground…

  597. Hi Alan,

    Do let me know.

  598. Hi Mike

    I used my oyster yesterday to test out the capping to see how much it would be charged.

    I traveled from Whyteleafe to Victoria at 08.29, from victoria to east croydon at 17.23 and then used the bus once after that yet I was charged around £14 for the day.

    Should this not have been capped at £11.70 for the day?

  599. Hi Tom,

    Yes, I’d say it should have been. Can you copy your journey history here? It’s likely that you had an incomplete journey somewhere along the way. You should have been charged £6.00, £4.90 and 80p on the bus as the cap would have been reached.

  600. Frances Cavanagh

    On 28/1 I travelled from Shenfield to Kings Cross at 5.31 then returned from Euston Sq to Shenfield at 16.53 On a mastercard this was £8.10 in and £8.20 out but capped at £12 return.

    4/3 I travelled Shenfield to Blackfriars in 5.48 and return at 18.51. This time oyster, £8.10 in, £10.90 out no cap.

    I read t&cs that both journeys should be in off peak, out peak? Why the difference in price?

    Any ideas please?

  601. Hi Frances,

    Yes. It’s the difference between the methods of capping. With Oyster you are charged up to the relevant cap for the zones you travel in, in this case zone 1 to Shenfield where the all day cap is £27.90. As the two fares only total £19.00 you are not capped. With contactless the system tries to give you the best combination of caps and extension fares. This works out at £7.50 for a zones 1-3 all day cap plus £3.30 and £5.50 for zone 4 to Shenfield extension fares. So I’d advise using contactless for this sort of journey combination. You’ll certainly never be charged more with contactless than Oyster, but it could well be less.

    PS. Not quite sure what you mean by capped at £12 return.

  602. Hi Mike,
    I have spent several hours trying to work this one out but seem to be getting nowhere. Hopefully you can help!
    I am moving just outside Zone 6 (Staines) and will be travelling up to Tower Hill daily, mostly during Peak times. Assuming that I will rarely qualify for the Off-Peak cap, is it better for me to a) ditch my Oyster travel card for a paper ticket version including Zone 1, b) pick up a paper ticket up to the first Zone 6 station (Feltham) then a 1-6 Oyster travel card for the rest of the journey, or c) get a paper ticket into Zone 6 then PAYG or contactless to Tower Hill?

    PS great site very very helpful.

  603. Hi Oliver,

    My normal recommendation for commuting from Staines would be a paper Staines to Zones 1-6 travelcard. If your travelcard on the Oyster was issued by LU/TfL then you might be better off continuing to use it for the remainder of its duration and buying a paper ticket to the first station in the zone that it goes to. If that’s Feltham then you are fine because trains all stop there. If it’s further in then there might be a problem because the trains go one of two ways. If you have zones 1-4 then I’d be inclined to buy Staines to zones 5-6 because then the train doesn’t have to stop at the boundary.

  604. Frances Cavanagh

    Thanks Mike.

    I’m confused because this tfl page…

    We offer a number of ways to pay, but for most customers using pay as you go with a contactless payment card or an Oyster card is best for value, flexibility and convenience. It means you can travel all over our network at all times, secure in the knowledge that you have a valid ticket.

    “Pay as you go fares are cheaper than cash and if you make many journeys in a day, the cost of your travel is automatically capped. If you’re using a contactless payment card, Monday to Sunday capping also limits the total you pay for a week’s travel, ending on a Sunday.”

    Which I read as the only difference between capping on oyster vs contactless is weekly, rather than daily? This is confirmed by the many news reports from when it was introduced.

    £12 was the amount charged on that day, which doesn’t match anyone’s figures! The uncertainty of what will be charged (and the potential for there to be £7-£10 difference) makes it very difficult to give quotes for work.

    I was put of using contactless as if you loose the card when you have to take it out to touch every time it’s more inconvenient, and possibly costly than an oyster with a few pounds on. Also, I was told tfl will not deal with disputes you have to go to your card issuer.

  605. Hi Frances,

    I’m still confused. You quoted fares of £8.20 and £8.10 then said you were capped at £12.00. Usually if you are capped it won’t tell you what the fares would have been. Is it possible that the £4.30 was a refund of some sort from previous travel?

    In terms of capping, I think much of the confusion has arisen as a by product of the changes in January. Contactless always tries to charge the best fare possible, firstly over a day and then subsequently over a week. Last year that may not have made as much difference on a daily basis, but the reduced caps in zones 1-3 have opened up the possibility of savings this year, particularly if you make one or two longer journeys. I’m in the process of writing up a new page to try and explain it all.

  606. > Do let me know.

    Certainly. Having arrived late at North Acton because of the absence of District line trains earlier in the day I considered finishing my walk at North Acton but in the interest of research I continued to East Acton.

    You were right – not that I doubted it 🙂

    Friday, 06 March 2015 £7.75 daily total

    17:37 – 18:48 East Acton to Feltham [National Rail] £5.15 £27.00
    18:48 Touch out, Feltham [National Rail] +£2.35 £27.00
    18:23 Touched pink card reader, Richmond £0.00 £24.65
    18:00 Touch in, Hammersmith (District, Piccadilly lines) £5.80 £24.65
    17:57 Touch out, Hammersmith (Circle, H&C lines) +£5.80 £30.45
    17:50 Touch in, Wood Lane £5.80 £24.65
    17:47 Touch out, White City +£5.80 £30.45
    17:37 Touch in, East Acton £7.50 £24.65

    15:36 – 15:50 North Acton to Ealing Broadway £1.00 £32.15
    15:50 Touch out, Ealing Broadway +£2.45 £32.15
    15:36 Touch in, North Acton £3.45 £29.70

    09:43 – 11:21 Feltham [National Rail] to Northolt £1.60 £33.15
    11:21 Touch out, Northolt +£1.85 £33.15
    10:03 Touched pink card reader, Richmond £0.00 £31.30
    09:43 Touch in, Feltham [National Rail] £3.45 £31.30

    As you can see, it’s capped at £7.75. If it wasn’t for that then I suspect the charge for East Acton-Feltham would have been the £7.60 quoted by the SFF.

    I think this is a bit naughty of TfL. As I mentioned, the route I took is the obvious one (I tested this on someone less familiar with LU than me), and the route is automatically validated by the OSIs.

    Conversely, the other route offered by the SFF would have been £4.00 and has only the Shepherd’s Bush OSI to validate it – there’s no requirement to use the pink validator at Clapham Junction (though a sensible person would).

    If it wasn’t for the capping then I might complain, but I can’t be bothered for £1.15 🙂

    Next week I’ll do the reverse, Feltham-East Acton, so I’ll take the Clapham, Shepherd’s Bush route. It’ll be off peak so will be only £1.70 instead of £7.60.

    Aren’t train fares wonderful?

  607. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for confirming what happened. You could write in and suggest that they should consider adding the route as an alternative. They have been known to add new routes in some circumstances.

  608. Frances Cavanagh

    Hi Mike,

    Just checked bank again. I hadn’t realised it took so long for money to be taken. The journey was indeed £16.30, it just took a week to go, so I confused it with the next journey.

    Thanks very much for your help.

  609. Hi Frances,

    Thanks for letting me know. So that was a £2.70 saving over Oyster? That’s the best I’ve seen yet.

  610. > If it wasn’t for that then I suspect the charge for
    > East Acton-Feltham would have been the £7.60
    > quoted by the SFF.

    Amusingly, I’ve just noticed that if it wasn’t for the OSIs then the journey would actually have been cheaper!
    East Acton – White City £1.70
    Wood Lane – Hammersmith (H&C) £1.70
    Hammersmith (Dis) – Richmond – Feltham £4.00
    Total £7.40

    Which just goes to show that there’s an anomaly here. I may do as you suggest and email TfL.

  611. Hi Alan,

    You can of course lose one of the OSIs. Just touch in, out, and in again at whichever Hammersmith station you leave from and that OSI will be broken. Total now £5.70. This only works where there are gates but is a good alternative to hopping on and off a bus.

  612. Thanks for the tip, Mike. The journeys I make tend to be one-offs but I’ll bear it in mind for the future.

    On a similar note, while drafting an email to TfL I noticed that if you take the route I did but break the journey at Richmond then the cost is only £5.10: East Acton to Richmond (£2.40) and Richmond to Feltham (£2.70) so I’m convinced that the current charge is an anomaly. I’ll let you know whether TfL agrees 🙂

  613. hi

    just wanted to clarify, if i touch in at 18:30pm from cannon street and touch out at Heathrow at 20:00pm would it count as off peak or peak.

    also if i tocuh in at 6:20am in the morning and touch out at 8am in the morning from zone 6 to zone 1. would taht be off peak or peak.

  614. Hi Ang,

    As the note under the table above says, the touch in time decides whether it is peak or off-peak. 1830 will be peak while 0620 is off-peak.

  615. I live in zone 6 and get a bus to Orpington at 6.45 and go by mainline to Cannon street and return around 6pm. I sometimes work from home so probably only do the journey 180 times a year. What would the current annual cost be if I used an Oyster card?

  616. Hi Tony,

    Orpington to Cannon Street is £6.00 peak single and the bus is £1.50, so £15.00/day. On your basis that’s £2,700.00/year.

  617. I am travelling from watford junction -> London Victoria and return. I have used oyster so far.
    1) What would be the daily cap price for this journey on :
    a) Mon – Fri – peak hours
    b) Saturday –
    c) Sunday –
    2) Will a monthly pass be cheaper in this case? What would be the price for that?
    3) For weekend and off peak travel will it worth buying a family & friends railway card? As i generally travel with my wife during weekend, average would twice a month on a weekend
    Can you please give me a monthly cost comparison please?

  618. Thank you very much. It makes the annual season ticket look reasonable – especially if one forgets to tap out!

  619. Hi Abhishek,

    1) The single fares for that journey are £9.20 peak and £6.20 off-peak including all day weekends. If you only make a return journey each day then you won’t hit the caps which are £22.40 anytime Monday to Friday and £16.80 after 0930 and at weekends.

    2) The monthly travelcard is £321.50 and will save money if you travel at least 18 days in the peak.

    3) The family and friends railcard is only applicable if you have a child. The two together railcard may help, except that if you already have a travelcard you wouldn’t need to pay at weekends.

  620. Hi Mike,
    please if you can clarify something for me as it is a bit confusing:
    travelling by tube in the morning (around 6am) from Heathrow to Wood Green (using Piccadilly Line) – so I guess the oyster top-up will be calculated for off peak travel (for £3.10) – am I wrong or right?
    Thank you.

  621. Hi Leon,

    Yes, the Oyster fare will be off-peak which is currently £3.10. The touch in is well before 0630 so there is no doubt.

  622. Hey Mike, just wanted to know if I can always take my bike through the gates on selective lines off peak? Even if it is busy. Or can the TFL staff refuse entry? Is it up to there descression or do they need a mandate, and if that is the case, does it go both ways? Say, bikes being let on during quiet periods and peak times. Let’s say for arguments sake I had a flat and I was late/desperate to get somewhere 😉 PS your a gent for answering all these very important questions.

  623. Hi Gavin,

    I can’t claim to be an expert on rules around carriage of cycles. I believe that you can’t take bikes on the Underground sections of the deep level (Northern, Bakerloo, Victoria, Jubilee, Piccadilly, Central) tube at any time.

  624. Link for bikes on TFL or use the advanced options in Cycle Journey Planner.

  625. Kathleen Lord

    Does this mean that journeys started from Broxbourne on a weekday after 9:30 a.m. will be charged at off-peak rates? We thought the deadline was 10 a.m.

  626. Hi Kathleen,

    On Oyster and Contactless the off-peak starts at 0930 at the latest.

  627. > Alan White 8 March 2015 10:04 pm
    > I’m convinced that the current charge is an anomaly. I’ll let you
    > know whether TfL agrees

    I emailed TfL but they chose to reply by telephone at a time when I was ill with flu so not able to discuss effectively. The representative was very polite, well-briefed, and very “corporate”, but had no real answers.

    Here are some of the silly things he said:
    “The default route is via Oxford Circus and Waterloo. This is quicker than the route you took” [It’s not: 36km vs. 20km and the Tfl journey planner doesn’t even suggest this route. I believe that no-one would travel from East Acton to Feltham via central London.]
    “[Going from North Acton or Wood Lane] is a completely different journey.” [But they’re all on the same line and in the same zone.]
    “It’s a diagram not a map.” [Referring to a TfL tube map. and disregarding the fact that for this journey the tube map is a very good representation of reality.]

    Well, I tried but all I can say is that TfL merely confirms my belief that train fares, and Oyster’s in particular, are complicated and illogical 🙂

  628. Hi Alan,

    I wonder who you were talking to. Some of those responses do seem a bit weird. The only comment I’d make is that comparing speed and distance isn’t always appropriate.

  629. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I agree. He sounded more like a manager than a typical customer service representative.

    I do take your point. Without taking the journey it’s tricky to calculate timings which is why I prefer using distance and known ease of changes. The inadequacies of the TfL journey planner (JP) also make it difficult.

    As a guide, I looked up the segments of the default route using the JP. This totals 53 minutes excluding transfer times. Say 3 minutes at each – which is probably a tad optimistic at Oxford Circus – and we get 59 minutes. The JP suggests a total of 60 minutes changing at Bond Street so that’s probably about right.

    For the route I took the JP segments add up to 36 minutes. I know that the transfers take 3 minutes each for a total of 42 minutes. I actually took 71 minutes which included waiting for trains, using the facilities at White City, and generally looking around.

    So on paper my route is 30% shorter in time and 45% shorter in distance. More importantly, it avoids zone 1 yet is charged a zone 1 fare. It also seems odd that TfL would suggest adding to the congestion in zone 1, especially during the evening peak, when it isn’t necessary.

    At least TfL listened and politely explained; not all companies would take the time.

  630. I am so confused, what is the actual amount of the off-peak and anytime cap?

    i want to know if i it will cost me less to buy a travelcard zones 1-6 with railcard attached, that being £7.90 rather than using student oyster with railcard attached on it for travelling from zone 5 to zone 1-2 and using the underground twice and back to zone 5 again. I think it will be best to use oyster if i start off my journey on a peak time is that right? but if not i think a travelcard is more worth it.. did i get this right?

    thanks in advance

  631. Hi Panayiotis,

    With a railcard attached to your Oyster card the off-peak cap is £7.20 compared to £10.90 anytime when using just zones 1-5. If your first (and only pre-0930) journey costs less than £3.70 then you’ll still be charged the off-peak cap, plus the cost of the first journey.

  632. Hi Mike ,

    I am visiting London on July 20th and shall be travelling one way from Heathrow Airport Terminal underground tube (zone 6) to Holborn tube station (zone 1) and then cross over to central line for travel to Epping which is in zone 6. Am little confused as to take Oyster pass or travel card or do a cash payment for this particular journey. Also if I buy oyster card then which zone fare will I be charged. The reason I am asking about cash payment is because I shall be doing London sightseeing from 23-26th. So if I buy an oyster card for 7 days and use it for 3 days is it economical.

  633. Hi Rosali,

    Heathrow to Epping would be a zone 1-6 fare which is £3.10 off-peak or £5.10 peak. You only pay for each zone once even though you are going through most of them twice. How many sightseeing days are there as 23-26th is 4 days total? If you use 4 days plus the first Heathrow to Epping journey then a travelcard may just be worthwhile, but if it’s only 3 days plus the Heathrow to Epping journey then pay-as-you-go might be cheaper. Another consideration is whether you intend to use the Thames Clipper riverboats as you pay less if you have a travelcard. If you can come back with more detail on your plans I’ll try and advise which is better.

  634. thank you mike, that was a very clear answer! so at the end of the day it is best to always use student oyster with railcard attached on it rather than getting offpeak travelcards.

  635. Hi Panayiotis,

    Yes, that’s right.

  636. Hi Mike,

    If I travel from cockfosters (zone5) to canary wharf at 7:30am and back at 6:30pm on weekdays, will it be cheaper to get a z1-5 monthly pass or pay as you go? I am also qualify for 16-25 railcard. Thank you!

  637. Hi Gigi,

    If all you do is make one return journey 5 days a week then PAYG will be just about be cheaper as your journey only involves TfL rail. The railcard won’t make any difference to peak fares. If you find yourself making other journeys outside of your commute then the travelcard could become viable.

    Another thing to consider is avoiding zone 1 by changing at Finsbury Park, Highbury & Islington and Stratford. That reduces the peak single from £4.70 down to £2.80.

  638. Hi Mike,

    I’m starting a new job in Vauxhall & was wondering how much my commute will cost me.

    I live in Purley, so I’m assuming Purley to Clapham Jnct, then to Vauxhall.

    Leaving in the morning around 8am – journey back would be around 1730.

    I dont mind walking 10-15 mins either way if it saves me any money.

    Thanks – Rucket

  639. Hi Rucket,

    Travelling into Vauxhall from Clapham Junction will not charge for zone 1, so walking is unlikely to save you anything. I can’t check the fare finder at the moment but it’s the NR only fare for zones 2-6.

  640. Hi,
    I´m a bit confused about the capping. My journey is South Ruislip to Moorgate. I plan to take the rail from South Ruislip to Marylebone, and then the tube from Baker street to Moorgate. It´s before 9.30. Will I have to pay for 2 tickets (rail and tube) or will it count as one?

    Thank you,

  641. Hi Beatrice,

    That will be one journey as long as you don’t exceed the interchange time between Marylebone and Baker Street.

  642. Thank you Mike!
    Very helpful indeed 🙂

  643. Hi,

    What is the earliest time I can touch in at Sutton (SUO) going to London on a weekday morning? The first off-peak service is 0930 to VIC but can I touch in before then (say 0927) to get the train?

  644. Hi Robin,

    Officially 0930. In practice the switchover happens a little before to avoid complaints that the station clock was wrong. 0929 will be off-peak, 0928 is likely to be, 0927 might be, 0926 almost certainly won’t be. You’ll have to try it out, but be aware that any early touch in which does trigger peak fares is unquestionably correct, the not talked about relaxation is simply a bonus if you do get charged off-peak fares.

  645. great website. quick questions.

    Does daily / weekly cap include bus journeys ?

    I am starting a new job in Wimbledon in 2 weeks. I already have a annual travel card, zones 1-4. (2 months in so far).

    Currently I use ONE buse to the station Newbury park then via bank to Waterloo to Wimbledon. Sometimes via Stratford on the Jubilee to Waterloo and onto Wimbledon.

    bus 1.50
    single fare Newbury park to Wimbledon 3.90
    single fare Wimbledon to Newbury park 3.90
    bus 1.50

    what’s the best option. Daily CAP or continue on the travel card ? thanks in advanced.

  646. Hi John,

    Yes, bus journeys are included in the daily cap. The travelcard is cheaper than daily caps as long as you use it more than about 200 days a year (40 weeks).

  647. I really struggle with the whole oyster thing. Have only just started to use it.
    Need to travel daily from Brimsdown in zone 5 to zone 1.
    The zone 1 station will differ every time but i will generally change at Tottenham Hale or Liverpool Street to get to my zone 1 destination.

    The time of day I do this and the return journey is also up to me. Options I have are as follows:

    Clock in at Brimsdown very early (between 06:00 and 07:00)
    Return to Brimsdown a few hours later (between 09:30 and 10:30)

    or I can do the same thing later in the day:

    Clock in at Brimsdown (between 16:00 and 17:00)
    Return to Brimsdown a few hours later (between 19:30 and 20:30)

    Need to know which option is cheaper.

    Thanks in advance.

  648. Hi Paul,

    Option 1 would be off-peak both ways as long as you touched in before 0630 and didn’t touch in on the return until 0930. Option 2 would be off-peak both ways. So unless you hit the morning peak (0630-0930) they should both cost the same.

  649. Thanks Mike.

    So is the Journey calculated on my touch in time only?
    If I touched in at 06:29 and arrived in zone 1 at 07:00.
    Would that cost the same as clocking in at 05:58 and arriving at 06:29?

    Thanks again.

  650. Yes it would.

  651. Thanks for the informative site. My query is about off-peak capping when travelling into Z1 from Z4 on Oyster PAYG with a 16-25 railcard discount.

    According to the railcard discounted fare table the Daily Anytime cap is £9.20 (the same as without a railcard, as expected) while the Daily Off-Peak cap is 66% of this, at £6.10

    But since April 2015 the Daily Off-peak daily cap of £8.00 has been re-introduced if you travel 2-in-7 (or 8-in-28) from Z1-4.

    From June I intend to travel approx. 8-in-28 after 09:30 from the eastern Central Line, so I’m trying to work out how a 7/month/annual travelcard compares to PAYG for a standard 20-in-28 working month. I will also assume that the majority of my leisure days won’t require me to leave before 09:30.

    Would each of my ‘post 09:30′ days be capped at £6.10, or would it be £5.30 (66% of the £8.00 adjusted Z1-4 Daily Off-peak cap) instead?

    I know I might not hit the cap, as simple ‘there and back’ days will cost me £7.80 all in peak and £3.70 after 09:30, but I’m intrigued by this further grey area in the daily capping saga.


  652. Hi Will,

    It will be £5.30. See for more details.

  653. Victoria Mesure

    Hi Mike,

    What a wonderful man you are! I’ve done a lot of research into capping but I’m still very confused. I travel 4 days a week, and occasionally just 3 days a week as I work from home sometimes, from Chelsfield Z6 at 8.12am, taking two tube journeys and then the same to return, starting my journey at 16.30 White City and returning to Chelsfield at 17.30. Occasionally (maybe once a week) I will make one rail journey and one tube journey instead if travelling to our Oxford Circus site. I currently have an annual season ticket costing over £2,300 p.a. Am I paying too much and am I better off with pay as you go? If so, how much will I pay each day? I seem to have come to the conclusion I will pay £17 a day if I do PAYG which is why I opted for a season ticket but I’m sure I’m wrong.

    Thanks in advance,

  654. Hi Victoria,

    It doesn’t matter how many tube trains you need to use, it will always be a zone 1-6 National Rail through fare. Since January this became £7.60 in the peak. However, the change to all-day caps means that daily travel in zones 1-6 is now restricted to £11.70, or 1/5 of the price of a weekly travelcard. Even with an annual ticket only costing the same as 40 weeks, I think with your reduced useage you would be better off with PAYG.

  655. Hi Mike!
    I am visiting London on May 13th until Saturday May 16th
    (travel by tube) . Please can You calculate which amount on Oyster card will be enough:
    1. Wednesday 13th
    1 fare off peak ( Zo 1 to Zo 3 )
    1 fare off peak ( Zo 3 to Zo 1 )
    3 fare peak ( Zo 1 16,00 – 19,00)
    1 fare off peak 23,00 ( Zo 1 to Zo 3 )
    2. Thursday 14th
    1 fare (after 09,30 Zo 3 to Zo 1 )
    3 fare off peak ( Zo 1 )
    2 fare peak ( Z0 1 16,00-19,00)
    1 fare off peak after 23,00 ( Zo 1 to Zo 3 )
    (*What is the difference if the first journey is at 08,30 and everything else remains the same?)
    3. Friday 15th ( same as Thursday 14th)

    4. Saturday 16th ( all day off peak )
    1 fare Zo 3 to Zo 1
    3 fare (all in Zo 1 )

    ?? Travelcards 7 days Zo 1 – 3 37,7 GPB or Oystercard

    Thank You !

  656. Hi Toni,

    The daily cap for zones 1-3 is £7.50 which you would easily reach given your plans, thus total for the four days would be £30.

  657. Hi Mike,
    I travel monday to friday from Watford J to Vauxhall, via Euston, and s/b victoria line. I’m currently using a zone 1 to 6 travel card which costs me 17.00 a day (I have a 16-25 rail card.) I’m hoping using an oyster may be cheaper. Could you advise?


  658. Hi Leon,

    That’s an odd one. The paper travelcard is over the maximum fare charged before 10am on your railcard. For travel in the peaks there are no discounts on single fares on Oyster (unless you have a disabled railcard). However, there is a saving to be made. Using Oyster, travel via Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction and you avoid zone 1. The peak single fare is then £4.80. If you can time your journey to be on the Southern service direct from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction then it probably won’t take much longer either.

  659. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling to and from Watford to Aldgate 5 days a week. I aim to leave around 6:00am (Off peak) and return around 18:00pm (Peak).

    Can you suggest the cheapest fares (Travel cards/tickets/oyster) for the journey to and from? I don’t mind any suggestions to travel after 18:00pm on the return, or alternative routes/buse routes to make the journey as cheap as possible.



  660. Hi Jim,

    Assuming you mean Watford (Met) rather than Watford Junction then the single fares will be cheapest. You’ll be charged off-peak in the morning and peak in the evening. You’ll need to wait until 1900 to touch in for the return to make it off-peak. There undoubtedly could be alternatives using buses for the last part of the journey, but the time penalty is likely to be significant.

  661. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the confirmation and speedy reply. Do you have any idea on the pricing for both journeys? I’m assuming around £10 per day.

    If i were to catch the train at Aldgate before 4:00pm would i be charged off peak?

    Thanks again!


  662. Hi Jim,

    The single fare finder has all the details. If you touch in at Aldgate before 1600 then it will be off-peak, even if the train leaves after 1600.

  663. I travelled in May from Zone 6 to Zone 1, and back – with a few trips in between, using contactless. Hit a daily limit of £10.70.

    In April, I did a similar type of travel, though I started before morning peak, but it capped at £9.40. I don’t know why.

  664. Hi Peter,

    You’ve benefited from the superior way that contactless payments are capped. In both cases you have been charged a zone 1-2 all day cap of £6.40. In April you then had two zone 3-6 off-peak singles at £1.50 while in May one of them was replaced by a zone 3-6 peak single at £2.80.

  665. Hi Mike,
    I travel from West Drayton to Canary Wharf for work 5 days a week. According to me its Zone 2-6 fare but my oyster is being charged as £5.1 for one side fare (Zone 1-6 ). I take West Drayton ->Ealing Broadway ->Bond Street -> Canary Wharf as my daily route. Oyster touch points are at West Drayton (Zone 6 ) , Ealing Brodway (Zone 3) and Canary Wharf (Zone 2) . Please suggest.

  666. Hi Jeni,

    My first suggestion is to read my FAQ page. My second suggestion is not to touch at Ealing Broadway as you are already in an Oyster journey at that point. It shouldn’t make any difference, but it has been known to cause issues with some RPIs. If you want to avoid zone 1 then you need to follow the route suggested in the alternative fare on

  667. Hi Mike,

    I understand that if a journey starts outside of zone 1 between 4-7pm, and ends in zone 1 – it counts as off peak. can you tell me if a that holds true if the journey ends in zone 2? For eg. I start my Journey from Grays (zone G) between 4-7pm, and ends in Limehouse (zone 2) either before or after 19.00 – what fare would apply, using Oyster? (Oyster is applicable on C2C up to Grays)

  668. Hi Bindi,

    The concession is only for journeys ending in zone 1, so in your case it would be a peak fare.

  669. hie mike

    what is the cheapest price fare from Romford to Maryland Monday to Friday 08.30 to 14.30. is the monthly travelcard cheaper than oyster.
    please suggest.

  670. Hi Kate,

    If you’re saying that you work from 0830-1430 and travel either side of that then PAYG is likely to be cheapest as the afternoon journey will be off-peak. Currently the single fare finder says it’ll cost £3.40 peak, £2.40 off-peak. However, this route changes operator at the end of the month and the fares may well change, probably downwards.

  671. Hi Mike,

    Can I just check on what Bindi asked. If between 4pm-7pm I’m coming from Zone 4 in west london, passing through zone 1 and exiting in Zone 2, East London, is that a £3.10 off-peak or some other fare? I ask as i can get out at Zone 1 and walk the last 10 minutes.


  672. Hi Sam,

    A journey using zones 4-3-2-1-2 in the afternoon peak will be charged as a peak fare. What you will be charged depends on whether TfL fares, NR fares or NR+TfL fares are charged. At the moment this is £3.90, £3.80 or £5.40 respectively. If you end in zone 1 then the respective fares are £2.80, £2.70 or £4.20. If you confirm your actual stations then I can check which fare applies.

  673. I’m slightly confused. If all journeys after 0930 contribute to both the offpeak and anytime cap, and the two caps are the same level, how does the offpeak cap have any meaning?

  674. It doesn’t for normal adults in zone 1-6, but it’s still different beyond zone 6, with a discount entitlement or if you are a child.

  675. Noel Turner

    Hi Mike
    One of my commuter stations has fitted upgraded barriers for BR smart cards (St Albans). They are not enabled yet.

    Do you have a link on how to get a card or how they will integrate with oyster?

    I can as easy use the Met tube or Watford line.

    I can see your site might have an additional set of rules maybe?


  676. Hi Noel,

    The readers at St Albans will be for Thameslink’s “the key”. They may also work with Oyster in the future, but not just yet.

  677. Noel Turner

    Hi Mike

    Neither Midlands nor Southerns ITSO cards are convienient as yet for me as I mainly travel at weekends.
    These two and my bus pass will leave me with three… As well as oyster…


  678. I currently have a weekly peak travel card up to zone 6 and can use this on the tube. I’m trying to work out the best ticket/s to buy to save some money. I travel into zone 1 and 2 from Brighton on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, stay in London and use the tube on Wednesdays and travel back to Brighton on Thursday evenings. Is there a cheaper alternative to the weekly peak travel card which is £129.30 per week?

  679. Hi Rachel,

    A travelcard season is probably the best way, but you can get a Thameslink only version for £101.40/week. This ties you to Thameslink trains between Brighton and East Croydon where you can then change onto any train in the London zones. If you only travelled on two days then a pair of anytime travelcards for Thameslink only would be cheaper, but the third day tips the balance to a season.

  680. Hi Mike

    Wanted to find out if its best using PAYG if I travel 5 days a week from Feltham to Waterloo London station. Journey starts (bus) at about 7:20am and return I tap in at Waterloo at about 5:30-6pm. Would that be the daily cap of £11.80?


  681. Hi Athina,

    Yes, although the cap is only £11.70.

  682. Hi Mike
    I have just moved to Clapham Junction and work near Hyde Park Corner. I got a monthly travel card as I was getting the train from CJ to Victoria and then the tube to HPC. I discovered this week the beauty of walking! So now I don’t need to get the tube. I get the train every morning between 8am and 9am and return at night between 5pm and 7pm. I also get 2 buses (there and back) 4 times a week. I also go to Waddon from CJ (8 or 9pm) and from Waddon to Victoria (8am) once a week. I occasionally use the tube in Zone 1 & 2 outside of these journeys.
    My question to you is this, is it worth me renewing my railcard? £123 a month for 2 trains a day, a few buses and the odd trip to Zone 5 seems very steep. Is there a cheaper way of me doing this?! (also, I really do not want to get the bus to and from work).

    Many thanks! 

  683. Hi Alison,

    A Clapham Junction to London Terminals season ticket would cost less than the travelcard, but wouldn’t help with any other travel. To be honest it looks like you’re doing enough to justify the travelcard just with your extra bus trips. With the travelcard on an Oyster card you’ll only pay for zones 3-5 when you go to Waddon.

  684. Hi mike,

    Let’s say im travelling from heathrow terminal 1,2,3 to london king cross at 8am in the morning which is peak hour, can i know how much i would need to spend after to reach the daily cap? Thanks for your time

  685. Hiya Mike!
    So much handy info here, thank you!! I just wanted your opinion please; I’m heading over there soon and will be staying with a friend in Slough (Berks). I’ll be traveling into London (specifically Clerkenwell, Kensington, Canary Wharf), probably half a dozen or so times over 3 weeks. Looks like I will mostly travel off-peak (departing Slough between 10am and 2pm and returning well after 7pm). What is my best (cheapest) option for public transport travel? Thanks so much in advance!!

  686. Hi Robin,

    The peak fare is £5.10 and the daily cap is £11.70. If you are using contactless then you might pay slightly less than £11.70 depending on what travel you actually do.

  687. Hi Laura,

    As Slough is outside the London fare zones I think an off-peak day travelcard at £13.30 is your best option. If you need to return before 1915 then it is valid on the stopping services (which is most trains to Slough).

  688. Hi!
    I’m a Little confused about the off- peak fares and the daily capping. I’m taking the London midland from Euston to Watford junction on a weekday at 9 am and returning from Watford to Euston at 2 pm (approximately). How much will I spend? two off peak fares (4.90 + 4.90)? and how much is the daily capping? (I’m sorry if I made any mistakes, English is not my native language) thank you!

  689. Hi Lucia,

    Yes, both those journeys will be off-peak and charged at £4.90. The anytime daily cap is £22.40 while the off-peak (after 0930) cap is £16.80. The caps won’t come into play unless you make several other journeys.

  690. ok, great! I understand it now. thank you very much, Mike!

  691. Hi.
    Could you pls advice the cheapest option for me to go to my new job from Grays (essex) to Feltham .i have to take london bus from feltham train station to about 4 stops away in feltham ,i can walk down from felthan station it is about 20 MINS if it will be cheaper i only go to work from mon to fri and ended paying £322 for monthly travel card .Kindly advise pls i normally leave grays with 7:13am train but can leave earlier if this will be cheaper as well i also have oyster card but so confuse if to use oyster or paper tickets.thxs

  692. Hi Jay,

    The cheapest sensible option is to get a Grays to zones 2-6 travelcard at £208.90/month. Change at West Ham, Canada Water and Clapham Junction.

  693. Hello,
    I am taking the tube from Baker Street Underground Station to Plaistow Underground Station via West Ham Underground Station where I make a tube line change. Will I have to pay for two separate journeys or just the one. I will be travelling at off-peak time. Also when I make a change at West Ham station, do I need to touch a yellow card reader or only at the end of my journey at Plaistow station?

  694. Hi Raimonda,

    It’ll just be one journey. You don’t need to touch at West Ham as you are only interchanging. You do realise that there are direct trains from Baker Street to Plaistow on the Hammersmith and City line which would avoid the need to change?

  695. Hi Mike,
    My son will be travelling from Purfleet to Great Portland Street and i am having great difficulty trying to work out the cheapest/fastest route. I thought Purfleet to West Ham then change to Ham & City Line, journey will be during peak time, but it looks like it will cost £19.00 per day which is pretty hefty!! Is there a cheaper route.

  696. Hi Sharon,

    I’m not quite sure where you get £19.00 from. According to the single fare finder the peak fare* is £7.80 each way or £15.60/day. You can reduce the fare slightly, but it will be at the cost of plenty of time. He’d need to split the journey in two at East Ham, meaning that he’d need to change at Barking and then get off and leave the station at East Ham before re-entering and continuing to Great Portland Street. Purfleet to East Ham is £4.10 peak single and East Ham to Great Portland Street is £3.30. This only works because East Ham is on the boundary between zones 3-4 so you don’t pay for a zone twice. Total is £7.40 one way or £14.40 return.

    * Note that peak fares apply in the afternoon 1600-1900 on the return leg.

  697. Hi, I was wondering if I can use my oyster at Rainham Essex station?

  698. Hi Romena,

    Yes, Rainham Essex is in zone 6.

  699. ameer khimani

    I want to travel from monday to fri(7.30am to 6pm) from east croydon to aldgate east..please let me know the cheapest option and how much would it be..thnx

  700. Hi Mike,
    Wanted to know to travel from east croydon to holborn station what type of ticket should we have? I have to travel on a daily basis for work.


  701. Hi Ameer,

    There are two options from East Croydon, but the cheapest one is from West Croydon via Whitechapel.

  702. Hi Suchitra,

    Does it have to be Holborn? Would City Thameslink be a viable alternative? If it does have to be Holborn, would West Croydon be an alternative at the other end? Is speed or cost the most important factor?

  703. Hi Mike,
    £19.00 was from C2C Purfleet to Fenchurch Street including zone 1&2 travel card, it must be cheaper to use Oyster? Can you just tap in at Purfleet and out at Gt Portland Street? On Purfleet station info page it says ‘Oyster PAYG unavailable’ i didn’t know what that meant. Would it be cheaper to get a monthly travel card for this journey and how would i get that? As you can tell i’m not up on train travel! Your help is very much appreciated.

  704. Now i’ve looked on National Rail and that journey can be done for £12.20 return with a 16-25 Railcard, can the Railcard be used every day? Should i get one? So many different options!!

  705. OK, I can see the £19 ticket now. I can’t see the £12.20 with railcard fare though. The 16-25 railcard has restrictions when used before 1000 apart from in July and August. There is also a minimum fare when used with a travelcard. If you intend to make several leisure journeys during the year then the railcard will be worth it, but for commuting only you are probably better off using Oyster or buying a travelcard season.

    You definitely can use PAYG from Purfleet, but you can’t actually get the Oyster card there from the ticket office. You also can’t put travelcard seasons on it including Purfleet.

  706. How do i find out how much a monthly card would cost and how would i get one?

  707. You can find prices on the National Rail website season ticket calculator. Use Purfleet as the origin and Fenchurch Street as the destination. You need the prices including zones 1-6.

  708. Thanks Mike, i’ll have a look at that.

  709. Hi
    I am visiting London for the day and plan to do some touristy things. If I travel from Epping (zone 6) to London on a weekday (off peak) what is the cheapest way?

  710. Hi Jodie,

    The cheapest way for one day will be to use a contactless payment card. Oyster would be slightly more because of the different ways that the cap is calculated. Either will be significantly cheaper than paper tickets.

  711. Hi mike great site so much good infomation. I am going to be in london for 5 days using zones 1-3 prob 5 or 6 journeys per day is oyster payg best option and what will the cap be? i will always be travelling after 9.30

  712. Hi,
    im going to be travelling multiple times across london’s zone 1 and zone 2 and am a bit confused with the oyster cap also i have a 16+ oyster so what fares would apply to me???

  713. Hi Darren,

    The daily cap for zones 1-3 is £7.50 and it doesn’t matter whether you travel before 0930 or not anymore.

  714. Hi Devanshee,

    The all day cap for zones 1-2 with a 16+ zip card is £3.20. Individual fares are half the adult rate.

  715. Hi Mike,

    First of all, thanks for such a helpful website: certainly much easier than navigating round the TFL pages!

    I was wondering if you were aware of any differences in time of touch in to stay within the off-peak cap in the morning. The reason I ask is that I tapped in at 6:32 at Newbury Park, but still enjoyed my railcard discount when I reached Waterloo.

    Any extra time in bed would be much appreciated!

  716. Hi Mollika,

    The peak charging period starts 2-3 minutes after the advertised time and ends 2-3 minutes before the advertised time to avoid any queries along the lines of “the station clock said it was still off-peak”. You can use that to your advantage, but if they ever changed the system you would have no comeback because it is an unofficial concession.

  717. Hi Mike!
    I need to go from Borough tube station at 1 pm to Putney Bridge and back again, leaving Putney before 4:30. What would be better- PAYG or a one day travelcard?
    I have a 16-25 rail card as well.

  718. Hi Sash,

    For two journeys like that then it’s definitely PAYG. If the railcard discount is enabled on your Oyster then the first journey will be cheaper too.

  719. Hi, do you know what the 7pm time is based on? e.g. The rail station digital clocks? I’ve found that touching in 30 seconds before 7 will still charge me at the off peak rate. So wonder if anyone has more concrete experience of how far before 7pm would be charged at off peak?

  720. Hi Paul,

    Yes. Officially off-peak starts at 1900. In practice it starts about 2-3 minutes before 1900 to avoid complaints along the lines of “But the station clock said it was off-peak”. If you get off-peak before 1900 then treat it as a bonus.

  721. What actually determines the Oyster charge rate for a journey… it the time of touching IN or the time of touching OUT. In other words if I touch in at Kentish Town at 15.40 (off-peak)weekdays and touch out at Elstree at 16.10(peak) am I charged peak or off-peak for such a journey ?

  722. Hi Colin,

    It’s the time of touch in.

  723. Thank you Mike. I am also very glad to read that you indicate ticket offices at London Overground stations remain open, with many offering assistance with all aspects of the Oyster for the user. I was beginning to despair hearing of the total closures of London Underground ticket offices!

  724. Hi Mike,

    I’ll be travelling to London to do the sights this Sunday arriving at Kings Cross, and returning to Kings Cross on the Friday (so 6 days in total). I’m trying to determine the best value for travel while I am there for 2 Adults and 2 Children (5 & 9). We will be tube hopping most days mainly within zones 1 & 2, but may take a foray out to zone 6. We will only travel after 9.30am. We have a Family and Friends Railcard but even using that it looks cheaper to hit the off peak cap? Any advice would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  725. Hi Phill,

    As long as your travel within London is on Underground, DLR or the parts of National Rail where TfL fares apply (see the definitions page) then neither of your children will need tickets as under 11s travel free on TfL.

    For the adults I think a 7-day travelcard for zones 1-2 would be best. You then use PAYG if you venture beyond zone 2, only paying for zone 3 onwards. The Family and Friends Railcard will only discount day tickets, and then only a zones 1-6 travelcard which will be more than the zones 1-2 daily cap without any discount. If you do need to use NR services where the kids need to pay then get them a zones 1-6 child travelcard for that day.

    I hope this helps, but feel free to provide more detail of likely trips and I can check any other options.

  726. Hi Mike,

    I have been comparing (section “Calculating daily anytime and off-peak capping”) with
    My input was as follows:
    Journey 1: Zones 7-7, between 0630 and 0929
    Journeys 2, 3, 4: Zones 1-7, between 1600 and 1900
    The calculator then showed £18.50 (from “Show workings” it’s clear that it applied a Peak Cap to all the journeys).
    Now, from the TfL website I would rather assume it should be an Off-Peak Cap plus a single peak fee for the first journey, i.e. £13.50.
    Am I missing something here or the calculator is wrong?
    Thanks for any clarification.

  727. Hi
    I travel to Feltham (zone 6) by bus then to London Waterloo (Zone 1) by train 5 times a week (with return) during peak time. that’s 2 bus journeys and 2 Zone 1-6 train journeys. I understand daily capping may be cheaper than a day/7day but have not been able to find the exact price of a daily cap. Simply that it exists and I have looked everywhere on Oyster. Could you help if a day, 7 day or PAYG will be cheaper?

  728. Hi Luc,

    Thanks for pointing me at that site, and the newish page on the TfL site. Sadly that calculator seems to have more holes than a cheese grater which is a real shame. The idea is great but the logic is completely flawed. Assuming one of the journeys is zone 7 to zone 1 then that should be charged off-peak in the afternoon peak. The overall charge as you say should be £13.50. The time periods are wrong too – the off-peak cap starts at 0930 and 1900 (not 0931 and 1901), and the 0430-0629 period ought to be at the start of the list.

  729. Hi Georgia,

    The daily cap for zones 1-6 is £11.70. A 7-day travelcard is £58.60. If you only use the card for 5 days then it’s 10p cheaper to use PAYG. If you’re not sure how many days you’ll use then a contactless payment card will apply the weekly cap of £58.60 during any Monday to Sunday week.

    Hope that helps.

  730. Hi Mike, Is it cheaper for me to use oyster to travel from E Croydon to St pancras international tomorrow off peak, or book train ticket, ticket for myself and my 15yr old is £9 one way? Thank you in advance!

  731. Hi Caron,

    It’s cheaper to use Oyster, even if your child doens’t have a zip Oyster card.

  732. Hi Mike,

    I am starting a new job which will require travelling from Walthamstow Central to Slough Rail Station. Could you please provide any advice about the best/cheapest fare for this journey?

  733. Hi James,

    Best is a very subjective word. Ignoring walk all the way, the cheapest option will be a zones 1-5 travelcard and use the 81 bus between Hounslow West and Slough. It will take ages though. For speed you’ll need a Slough to zones 1-6 travelcard which means you can take the fast trains from Slough to Paddington.

  734. Hi Mike,
    I’m using contactless payment and I’m trying to understand how my fare is calculated. Every morning I travel peak from Brentwood to Piccadilly Circus (shows as £8.20) [8.06-9.06am]

    In the evening I travel the return leg [18:29-19:28] and this shows as £6.10 highlighting a daily cap.

    Total is £14.30 per day which is well under the price of a weekly travelcard.

    How is this worked out?

  735. Hi Ryan,

    Got to admit I’m struggling on this one. Do you touch anywhere else on the way home? Stratford?

  736. Hi Mike,

    I use PAYG oyster which railcard discount applies.

    Today (Friday) I found a funny thing. The first time I use my card today at 17.25(peak time) from Barking to Fenchurch St, £1.85 was deducted, then at 18.00(peak time) from Tower Hill to Barbican, still another £1.85 was deducted. What are these come from? I remember peak time from zone 4-zone 1 costs £3.9.

  737. Hi Carson,

    That’s a nice easy one. Journeys from outside zone 1 ending in zone 1 in the afternoon peak are charged at off-peak rates. Fenchurch Street to Tower Hill is an OSI so the two legs will be joined together. At Barbican the system will confirm the overall journey charge, although nothing more will have been deducted.

  738. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the explanation, so how is the price calculated?

    Zone4-Zone 1 off peak single is £2.8 and after 34% discount is £1.85, so barking to fenchurch st fare is understandable now. However from Tower Hill to Barbican how was the price calculated?

    And what’s OSI? Is that means Barking to Barbican is redeemed as one single journey? So off peak rates for zone4-zone 1 is £2.8 and after 34% discount is £1.85? So why was I charged £1.85 twice?


  739. You weren’t. The system confirms the total journey charge on each touch out.

  740. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for being there to clarify confusing tfl matters for us. Could you please tell me what would he the best thing to do if I travel from Brent Cross tube station ( zone 3) to cheshunt (zone 8) via Euston and then Tottenham Hale, 5 days a week during peak hours and return during peak hours as well.

    Thank you very much.


  741. Hi Danielle,

    As described you would need either a zone 1-8 travelcard, or if you will only make 5 return journeys each week then PAYG will be slightly cheaper. Add a couple of buses or a weekend trip to the West End and the travelcard will be better.

    However, you can save quite a bit by changing at Camden Town, walking to Camden Road, taking the Overground to Hackney Central and using the new link bridge to Hackney Downs. You also get the benefit of trains via both routes to Cheshunt. This way you would need a zone 2-8 travelcard and if it is monthly or longer then it will also be cheaper than PAYG.

  742. Thank you very much Mike. Effectively, what I’m doing is travelling from Zone 3 to Zone 8 (Brent Cross to Cheshunt). Does that not mean I can purchase the annual Zone 3-8 pass?

  743. Hi Danielle,

    Sadly not quite. If you avoid zone 1 by changing at Camden and Hackney then you need zones 2-8. If you travel via Euston then you need zones 1-8. The Oyster system knows what you’ve done and will deduct PAYG if you don’t have enough zones.

  744. Hi Mike,

    Can you tell me what the Monday to Sunday weekly capped fare is for travel from Shenfield to Stratford when paying with a contactless card please?

  745. Hi Emily,

    At the moment it is £75.50.

  746. Hi Mike- I was wondering if you could give me advice on the cheapest option on my underground journey everyday. I travel from Preston road to king cross – I usally touch my oyster in Preston road after 8.00am and check out from kings cross at about 18:00pm.what would be the cheapest option to reach kings cross from Preston road everyday please?

  747. Hi Neetu,

    That’s just a simple zone 1-4 tube journey. A weekly travelcard won’t save money unless you make other journeys apart from your daily commute. Monthly or longer travelcards will save a little as long as you don’t have one while you take a week off work.

  748. Hi Mike,

    Firstly I want to congratulate you on maintaining such a fantastic resource for those with oyster queries!

    My question is this: I’m was looking to travel from Denmark Hill to St. Pancras via thameslink, arriving around 9:50am to get to nearby classes for 10am. I have a young persons railcard linked to my oyster, and would only be eligible for the off-peak daily cap (£4.25 odd instead of £6.40) if I tapped in after 9:30am, which logistically isn’t quite possible from Denmark Hill.

    If I were to instead travel to Vauxhall via bus before grabbing the Victoria line to Kings X (tapping in at Vauxhall around 9:32) would my pre 9:30am bus journey make me ineligible for the discounted (off-peak) daily cap? I assumed that all bus travel is classed as off-peak, however I have been informed from other sources that any pre 9:30am tap in – even on a bus – would scupper my cunning plan to save approx £10 a week, a tidy sum for a poor student like myself!

    Thanks in advance for considering my question!

  749. Hi Maxim,

    The pre 0930 bus will be charged separately to the off-peak cap, so if you do cap it would be £5.75 total. Do you qualify for an 18+ Student Oyster card? If you do you can get a zone 1-2 weekly travelcard for £22.40.

  750. Hi there,

    I’m gonna be travelling from New Malden to Waterloo a few times a week and wanted to know the cost of both on and off peak, both with and without a 16-25 railcard?

    The rest of the week i shall travel by bike,

    Massive thanks in advance for your help,


  751. Hi Adam,

    Try the single fare finder. Select National Railcard for the fares with a 16-25 Railcard.

  752. Hi Mike, I hope you can help me with a bit of confusion.

    I have a 16-25 railcard linked to my oyster card. A friend says that when I travel into Heathrow from zone 1, then travel back into zone 1 I’ll benefit from the daily cap in zones 1-2 and so shouldn’t need more than £4.25 today.

    But I was under the assumption that the cap you receive is subject to any travel you’ve done in a certain number of zones, so I’d be under the zones 1-6 cap and not the zones 1-2 cap even if I keep my travel in zone 1-2 afterwards. Is this correct?

  753. Hi Luke,

    You will cap at zones 1-6.

  754. Hello. What a great resource! My wife and I are visiting London and staying in Elephant and Castle. We are planning on visiting the Harry Potter studio tour next Friday or Sunday, aiming to be there around 10am. I believe it is Watford Junction that we need to get to but I can’t seem to find the most economical way of getting there and back! I haven’t been able to find the off-peak cap for zone 1 to Watford Junction anywhere. We will probably have a Two Together Railcard just to complicate things further! Thanks in advance for your help.

  755. Hi Colin,

    The two together railcard can’t be combined with Oyster cards because there is no way to link two Oyster cards together. The off-peak cap for Watford Junction is actually quite high so you might not reach it. If you let me know what times and days you need to travel, there may be a trick to reduce the fare in either or both directions.

  756. I start jury service tomorrow (Monday) and so I have to go to the Old Bailey, I accidentally bought an Off-Peak 1-Day Travelcard rather than an Anytime one (Zone 1-6, I live in Zone 6), peak hours are between 6:30am to 9:30am right. So would it work if I touch the ticket in BEFORE 6:30am, like 6:20am or something. TFL says Off Peak tickets work from 9:30am, but it is technically off-peak time before 6:30am so would that work? Or will I have to buy an Anytime ticket and get a refund on the original Off-Peak one I got?

  757. Hi Gary,

    You get off-peak fares on Oyster between 0430-0630, but paper off-peak travelcards are not valid until 0930. Are you sure that the court won’t accept Oyster or contactless journey statements? Last time I served at Woolwich it was fine.

  758. Hi, I travelled from Stratford Station(zone 3) to Warren Street(zone 1), i’ve got a travel card covering zone 2-6. On the day, I travelled at 6pm and I was charged £2.3 which is a peak time fare. As you mentioned in the exception, travelling outside zone 1 to zone 1 during 4pm to 7pm is off peak. So I’m confused.Can I ask how it counted? Thank you.

  759. Hi Rachel,

    Zone 1 tube fares are £2.30 all day.

  760. Hi Mike, thank you. But I’m still confused as it always cost me £1.5 when I travel from East Croydon(zone6) to Euston (zone 1)changing at Victoria during off-peak time. Oh, do you mean the “exception 1” only applies when travelling by rail, not tube?

  761. Hi Rachel,

    The exception applies to all services. When you travel from zone 3 to zone 1 using a travelcard covering zones 2-6 you are charged a zone 1 single fare because that zone hasn’t been paid for. The zone 1 single fare is the same peak and off-peak.

  762. hi,
    I have a national rail discount on my oyster card and live between bermondsey and london bridge stations and commute to canary wharf underground station every day (7 am and 6 pm) I also travel into central london on the tube on the weekend and take the occasional bus. It seems that the cheapest solution for me is pay-as-you go …getting on at bermondsey in the morning but getting off at london bridge in the afternoon due to travel into zone 1 from zone 2 being off peak in the evenings… does this sound right to you?
    Thanks !

  763. Hi Layla,

    Yes, that sounds perfect.

  764. Hi Mike,

    I’m having difficulty understanding something. So I’m travelling from zone 1 to zone 4 at 7:45am. Doing the same at 5pm. Then one day a week I catch a bus twice after 7pm but I’m not getting a daily cap.. This is equating to £7.80. Does the online oyster card system have a delay in working this out?


  765. Hi Thomas,

    The daily cap for zones 1-4 is £9.20.

  766. Thanks for your response Mike. Great help.

  767. Hi Mike.
    I have a quick question.
    My was this journey not capped:

    Wednesday, 23 September 2015
    17:31 – 17:56 Kings Cross [National Rail] to Hornsey [National Rail] £3.30 £27.60

    10:50 Bus journey, route 43 £1.50 £30.90

    09:35 – 10:10 Hornsey [National Rail] to Old Street £2.40 £32.40

    And this one was?

    Friday, 25 September 2015

    18:48 – 19:09 Capped fareKings Cross [National Rail] to Alexandra Palace [National Rail] £2.70 £14.70

    10:13 Bus journey, route 214 £1.50 £17.40

    09:08 – 09:33 Hornsey [National Rail] to Old Street £3.30 £18.90

    I thought i might be to do with off peak but that is the time you touch in and not out..


  768. Hi Chris,

    The all day cap for zones 1-3 is £7.50. The peak morning journey tips your overall travel cost above that so the last journey is capped. When you start off-peak you don’t actually reach the cap for the day.

  769. Hi Mike,
    outbound travel from Dartford before 06:30 arriving at Waterloo east at 07:20
    Return Journey
    Touch in before 16:00 and touch out at 17:00

    what would be the total cost for the day?

  770. Hi Martin,

    Touch ins before 0630 and 1600 mean both journeys will be charged £4.00, total for the day of £8.00.

  771. Hi Mike,

    If I tap in at Chalfont & Latimer at 18:00 this evening and finish at Camden Town, how much would this be?



  772. Hi Natalie,

    It depends which way you go. All the deatils are on the single fare finder.

  773. linda monteith

    I am flying into london city airport for a long weekend with my 15 year old daughter next July 2016 to stay at canary wharf. We need to get to watford junction (via Euston station?) on Saturday morn leaving canary wharf about 9am returning from watford junction around 5pm and we also want to travel on the fri evening and sunday in and around London doing touristy things. Do you think an oystercard woukd be the cheapest option for both if us? I have spent about 10 hours trying to get my head roundtit all and as I have never visited London before I don’t want our trip to be a disaster. Money is very tight so any help you can offer is greatly appreciated , thanks 🙂

  774. Hi Linda,

    Yes, an Oyster card will be the cheapest option. You won’t need to worry about peak on Saturday or Sunday, while the daily cap for zones 1-2 will keep costs down on Friday. If your daughter will still be under 16 next July then you can follow the instructions on this page to get half fares for her.

  775. Hello Mike, this is a very helpful site!

    I travel from Bow Road to Euston Station and then on to Watford Junction in the morning, and reverse the journey at night. Sometimes I leave during traditional peak hours and sometimes leave off-peak. My fare varies from £6.20 to £6.40 to £9.20. The last one, £9.20, is what I see charged most often.

    Since northbound travel from Euston to Watford junction is off-peak in the morning and southbound is off-peak in the evening, why does the journey cost this much? I calculate my fee to be £2.90 for the on-peak zone 2-1 trip, and £5 for the off-peak journey to Watford, for a combined £7.90.

    Thanks for any light you can shed.

  776. Hi Mark,

    Travel in the ‘wrong’ direction between Euston and Watford is only off-peak if the whole journey is on that line. If you change between Euston Square and Euston within the specified OSI time the system will join the two journeys together and thus charge the peak fare.

    Thankfully there is a way around this which I call the hokey-cokey. When touching back in at the end of the OSI, touch in, touch out and touch back in again, going through the gates each time. This will break the OSI and charge the journey in two parts.

  777. Hi Mike,

    I wondered how caps work with extension fares. I have a 16-25 railcard, and here’s what I did:
    Canons Park (z5) – Canary Wharf (z2) 6.20am £2.05
    Canary Wharf (z2) – Westminister (z1) 11am £1.50
    Westminister (z1) – Canary Wharf (z2) 5pm £2.75
    Canary Wharf (z2) – Canada Water (z2) 8pm £0
    Canada Water (z2) – Canons Park (z5) 10pm £2.05

    I think it did a zone 1-2 off peak cap (£4.25 with the railcard) hence the £0 journey. However why didn’t it take part of Canada Water – Canons Park in the zone 1-2 cap and only charge me for the extension zone 2-5 (£1 rather than £2.05). It’s not a huge difference, I’m just trying to understand their ways!


  778. Hi Saj,

    At the moment that is how it works. The Oyster system has to assume you’ll carry on travelling so it will keep adding each journey until the 1-5 cap is reached. It doesn’t take account of previous caps. Had your first journey been after 0930 as well you’d actually have been charged more.

    When Oyster moves to back office processing like contactless it will work out the caps and extensions properly.

  779. Hi Mike, thanks for the response. However I wasn’t suggesting a 1-5 zone cap (although if my first journey was after 9.30 or if morning off peak was included in off peak cap, that would have made my total for the day £7.20 instead of £8.35).

    I meant if I had a zone 1-2 travelcard, then the last journey (via zone 1) would only have been charged the zone 2-5 extension fare. Since the system had already decided to cap for zone 1-2 earlier, shouldn’t that cap cover the zone 1-2 part of the last journey and only charge for zone 2-5?

    Hope that makes sense.

  780. Hi Saj,

    It makes sense, but it’s not the way Oyster works. At the time of touch out the system compares how much you’ve paid already with the cap applicable to the zones you’ve now travelled through. If you haven’t reached the cap it charges you for the whole journey, unless that takes you over the cap. This was all written using the technology available about ten years ago. It will change when Oyster converts to the back office system already used by contactless.

  781. Hi Mike,

    I arrive at Heathrow early in the morning on a Thursday and may start my tube journey into town prior to 0930. I will head directing to my hotel in zone 2, and the rest of the days tube journeys will not be outside of zones 1-2. What is the pricing cap for that?

  782. Hi Bill,

    You’ll be charged the peak fare for zones 2-6 (£2.80) plus the all-day cap for zones 1-2 (£6.40). If you use an Oyster card and touch in after 0930 at Heathrow then you may be charged up to the zone 1-6 cap of £11.70. A contactless payment card will charge £1.50 + £6.40 when starting after 0930.

  783. The 9:20 train from Hampton (London) to Waterloo arrives in Waterloo at 10:06. South West Trains say that trains which arrive into Waterloo after 10am are charged off-peak fares, but TfL say that tapping-in Oyster before 9:30am will be charged as off-peak. Which is it?

    If it’s peak, then this leads to a curious situation. The same train stops at Norbiton station at 9:35. A peak journey from Hampton to Norbiton (£2.30) plus an off-peak from Norbiton to Waterloo (£3.10) works out at just £5.40. This is cheaper than the single peak fare from Hampton to Waterloo (£6.00). With practice you could tap out and in again at Norbiton station and jump back onto the same train. Would the system allow this?

  784. Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, there is no such thing as an off-peak train. SWT off-peak tickets are generally available on trains timed to arrive at Waterloo after 10am, though there are no off-peak tickets from Hampton (or any other zone 1-6 station) apart from the £12.00 one-day travelcard. That is valid on trains deaprting after 0930. Oyster PAYG isn’t actually a ticket; it’s terms say that touch in after 0930 will cause off-peak fares to be charged.

    As to your curious situation, yes, the system would allow it. I don’t know Norbiton station well enough to know where the gates/validators are so I can’t advise how feasible it is. If there is a reader on the platform and you put yourself in the right position on the train then it would certainly be possible. If it’s like Surbiton where you’d have to run up the stairs and across the footbridge to touch out and back in again, then back down the stairs again, it would be unlikely to work.

  785. Thanks for the reply Mike.

    Yes, it would be feasible at Norbiton – the entry/exit validators are at platform level.

    It happens elsewhere too. For example if you take the 09:23 direct from Hampton Court to Waterloo, you’ll pay £6.00 and arrive at 10:01; whereas if you tap out and in again at Surbiton and catch the next fast train to Waterloo, you’ll pay only £5.60 and you’ll actually arrive a couple of minutes earlier. Or at the other side of the capital, Romford to Liverpool Street with a split at Chadwell Heath will save you £0.30. They’re small sums but it’s curious that such cases even exist.

  786. Hi Andrew,

    These little anomalies are always going to exist without making the overall system far more complicated than it already is. If enough people start making use of them then they might have to do something, but most people just want a hassle free ride on as few trains as possible. But thanks for sharing, it’s what this site is all about.

  787. Hi Mike,
    Firstly I have a 16+ oyster and I want to travel from Orpington to London victoria then get a tube to Oxford circus station and then make the same journey home during peak times so how much do you reckon I would need to put on my oyster?

  788. Hi Megan,

    The single fare finder says £7.60 for two peak journeys, but the daily zone 1-6 cap will limit that to £5.85.

  789. Hi Mike, Thanks for your help here. I’m coming Wed next week from stansted airport to liverpool street station and then moving within zone 1 in the tube using Oyster all day, maybe 6-8 trips. How much am I going to pay? For what I see it’s £6.40 capped, right? Thanks again.

  790. Hi Guis,

    Yes, the daily cap for zones 1-2 is £6.40.

  791. Hi Mike
    I am travelling from Surbiton (Z6) and need to be in Angel Islington by 10am. What is the cheapest way of getting in to London to do this? Should I just wait until 09.30 and use an off-peak day travelcard? If I buy a Zone 1-3 off-peak travelcard, can I travel by bus before 09.30 from Z6 to Z3 (Wimbledon)? Is it cheapest to travel on PAYG and do I need to be registered to do this?

  792. Hi Narsha,

    I don’t think you’d manage to get to Angel by 1000 if you leave Surbiton after 0930. You also can’t use an off-peak day travelcard on buses before 0930 weekdays. Yes, PAYG will be the cheapest way and no, you don’t have to be registered to do it.

  793. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your creative suggestion a month ago. I wanted to be sure I tried it thoroughly before replying again. It seems that the system is too smart than to let me get away with breaking the journey into two. Even though my journey history shows two trips (Bow to Euston, Euston to WJ), the second trip is charged at £6.40 instead of £5.00 for a train that departs Euston after 10:00am. This actually adds up to £0.10 more than a trip from Bow to WJ with no attempt to break it in the middle.

    On the way home, I am charged £5.00 for WJ to Euston, and then £4.20 for Euston to Bow. Clearly, that is much more than a normal tube trip should be (peak or off-peak), but it seems to be adjusted for the fact that I started in Watford.

    I guess the moral of the story is that the Watford Junction – Euston peak exception is only applicable to those who do not use the tube as part of their journey (or wait until the OSI time expires). Three of four legs of my journey are off peak, yet all four are charged on peak. TfL could certainly be more forthcoming about this.

    What I have not yet tried is traveling with two Oyster cards. It seems to me that this will eliminate any possibility of joined journeys.

  794. Hi Mark,

    Can you copy and paste your journey history (expanded version to show all touches) so I can see what is going on? Can you also confirm that you use gates at both Euston and Euston Square in both directions?

  795. Mike,

    You may be onto something. I am transferring to the Northern Line to avoid the walk from Euston Square to Euston. As such, I arrived at Euston underground, tapped out, tapped in, and tapped back out again. I then tapped into the National Rail platform for the London Midland part of the journey. Does that make a difference?


  796. Hi Mark,

    Using Euston Underground instead of Euston Square doesn’t make a difference. BUT, you’re doing the hokey-cokey the wrong way round. You need to do it at the end of the OSI, which means at Euston NR if you’re going to Watford. What you’re doing is breaking the OSI, but starting the new journey at Euston LU which doesn’t qualify for the off-peak fare.

  797. Hi,
    Could you tell me how much it costs a 16 year old with an Oyster card to get from Romford to Shenfield on a Saturday afternoon and can you just touch the oyster or do you need to buy a ticket upfront

  798. Hi Amanda,

    A 16 year old with a 16+ zip Oyster card would need £1.35 PAYG balance for a single, £2.70 to return. If the card is an 11-15 zip Oyster card (valid until Sept 30th following the Sept-Aug school year that they turn 16) then it is 75p single, £1.50 return. There is no need to buy a ticket, just ensure that the balance is high enough.

  799. Hi Mike,
    I’m going to be a new oyster user from next month, travelling from Goodmayes rail station to Alperton tube station both are in zone 4, do you have any suggestions on the best and cheapest way to go, I’m a complete noob never used Oyster before.
    Hope you can help cheers.

  800. Hi Chris,

    I don’t envy you with that commute. The single fare finder offers 3 routes. The default route takes you through zone 1 and would require a zone 1-4 travelcard. The next option is the cheapest requiring a zone 2-4 travelcard. You circle round the North of London avoiding zone 1, but it will take a bit longer. The third option requires zones 2-5 as it goes via Rayners Lane. That’s going quite a way too far before coming back, but the Met trains from Finsbury Park to Rayners Lane are quite fast. It’s the middle option price-wise.

    Finally, although I have suggested travelcards, if you only commute there and back 5 days a week without using buses or any leisure travel, you might be better off just using PAYG. I would certainly try each of the routes a couple of times before committing to a travelcard. If you think you’ll normally take the 2-4 option then a travelcard would give you the option of zipping across zone 1 for a £2.30 deduction from your PAYG balance.

    Hope that helps.

  801. Hi,
    I am visiting London next weekend and need tube travel for 2 days. I am staying near Paddington Station. The Saturday we will be travelling around zones 1 and 2 visiting different places through the day and the second day will be the same but with the addition of travelling to Watford Junction and back Sunday evening. I have an oyster card already, do you know what the cheapest way to travel around would be?

  802. Hi Lucy,

    The absolute cheapest way on the Sunday will be to use a contactless payment card. You will be charged a £6.40 zone 1-2 cap plus two £2.40 singles between zone 3 and Watford Junction. If you use Oyster then the Watford singles are likely to be charged from zone 1 at £6.40 each way with an overall daily cap of £17.20.

  803. Hi Mike,
    On 29th December I will be travelling from Streatham to Ipswich and back. My question is, should I buy a through ticket (£13.80 one way) or use my Oyster from Streatham to Liverpool St, and then by a ticket (£9 one way)?
    Many thanks.

  804. Hi Sarah,

    The Oyster fare is £4.90 if you touch in between 0630-0930 or £3.90 otherwise. If you do use Oyster then make sure you leave plenty of time to cross London. There is also another alternative which is to change at Peckham Rye onto an Overground train to Shoreditch High Street. The fares then become £3.30/£2.40. Shoreditch High Street is 5-10 minutes walk from Liverpool Street although I’d allow 20-30 minutes before a long distance departure.

  805. Hi Mike,

    I am going to travel:
    Victoria-Piccadilly Circus(Bus)1.50
    Piccadilly Circus-Bank(Tube)2.30
    Bank-Piccadilly Circus(Tube)2.30
    Piccadilly Circus-Victoria(Bus)1.50

    In this case total to pay is 6.40 anytime in the day?
    I have read through TfL website but it was not very clear for the bus & tube combination capping..

  806. Hi Mai,

    Yes, the last journey will only charge 30p as you will have reached the £6.40 cap for the day.

  807. Hi
    I travel each day from Brentwood station to Farringdon station in London
    I use Applepay and tab in around 10.00am at Brentwood and then leave to go home about 7.00pm from Farringdon
    Ive noticed if I leave before 7.00pm I’m charged £11.80 per day but if I leave after 7.00pm I’m charged £9.80, is this correct

  808. Hi Mark,

    Yes it is. 1900 is the end of peak fares so if you touch in after that both journeys will be off-peak.

  809. Hi Mike. Just browsing through and replying to recent comments, in reply to Narsha on November 3rd, I used to work in Kingston and depending on what time I arrived I would sometimes take the 8.00 Alton train from Clapham Junction (first stop Surbiton) and then walk or bus it round to the office. The train took ten minutes so even if you left Surbiton smack on 9.30 you’re looking at CJ at 9.40 and I can’t see any possible way of getting from there to the Angel in twenty minutes.

  810. Hi Mike,

    Perhaps you can help, given TfL keep changing the National Rail TfL off pages on their site, and don’t seem to know what’s going on! Daily off-peak cap from Hertford East is stated as 17.30, I won’t go into the issues of the peak cap! Somehow or another I’ve travelled in in the peak and returned via Liverpool Street in the off peak, but I am being capped at 14.50. The outbound leg to Underground z1 is charged correctly (9.70) but then I am only paying the difference up to this cap and not what is stated! If this an error with their capping, or some odd mix of peak/off-peak cap?

  811. Hi Toby,

    Assuming you are using contactless then you are being charged a zone 1-3 anytime cap of £7.50 plus Hertford to zone 4 extension singles at £4.00 and £3.00. That is how it is supposed to work.

  812. A few times recently my contactless travel has been capped at £8.10, which doesn’t appear to be a daily cap in the fare table.


    Woolwich Arsenal -> Bond Street £3.90
    Oxford Circus -> North Greenwich £2.90
    Bus 422 £1.30 (capped)

    Can you shed some light on why this would be? I presume it has something to do with not returning to zone 4 – is it calculating the Z1-3 daily cap (£7.50) plus a 60p “extension” for the first journe?

  813. Hi LS,

    Nearly! It’s a £6.40 Z1-2 daily cap plus £1.70 extension for the first journey.

  814. Hi Mike, what a brilliant site – thanks! It’s slowly making sense of a complicated and convoluted tangle of systems 🙂

    I’m trying to get my head around travelling from Southwark to Watford Junction return and my brain is hurting…

    My journeys between Euston and Watford Junction are in the ‘right’ direction to not be peak, but the tube from Southwark to Euston and back will be.

    Could you check I’ve got the right end of the hokey cokey stick?

    I think from what you say above that in the morning I should do the hokey cokey when entering Euston train station to separate the tube and train legs.

    On the return though the OSI will work in my favour I think? Since the Watford Junction to Euston leg is off peak then the tube to Southwark will be counted as a continuation of the off peak journey? Or should I hokey cokey when entering Euston underground station too?!

    If I get the right foot in the right place then could you also confirm whether the Oyster cap applied will be the Watford Junction peak (£22.60) or off peak (£17.20) amount?

    Many thanks!

  815. Hi JH,

    You’re all correct with the morning journey. In the evening you don’t need to do the hokey-cokey as long as the overall journey ends in zone 1. If you were finishing at Bermondsey for example then you would need to do it before entering Euston LU.

    The caps apply regardless of the type of fares charged. All your travel will be limited by the anytime cap (£22.60) while all journeys started after 0930 will be limited by the off-peak cap (£17.20). If you only make the journeys described then neither cap will actually be reached. If you use contactless then you may well pay less than you would on Oyster.

    Southwark to Euston LU: £2.40
    Euston NR to Watford J: £5.00
    Watford J to Southwark: £6.40
    Total charged on Oyster: £13.80

    Zone 1-2 anytime cap: £6.50
    Zone 3 to Watford J: £1.80*
    Watford J to Zone 3: £1.80
    Total on contactless: £10.10

    * You must still do the hokey-cokey at Euston NR to make the extension fare off-peak.

  816. Hi

    I travel from Tadworth to London Bridge on weekdays. If I take the train leaving Tadworth station at 0600 and return on train leaving London Bridge Station at 1845, will I get charged off peak for the outward journey and peak for the return journey?

    Also, I looked at the 2015 rate card and the tariff shown for a Zone 6 to Zone 1 journey is much lower than the TfL single journey price quote. Please can you explain what is happening.

  817. Hi Amish,

    Yes, touch in at 0600 will be an off-peak fare. I guess you were looking at the page for one of the TfL rates. You need to check the National Rail fares page, or look at my page for 2016 fares using the NR1 column.

  818. Hi Mike
    What a wonderful website and forum you are managing. Extremely helpful!

    Can you help me please in the scenario below;

    I need to commute Monday to Friday from Orpington to Whitechapel using first train and later Overground from Newcross. Leaving time at Orpington is 6:19 am and return from Whitechapel is 4:05 pm.
    Q. will both my journeys be off peak?
    Q. Can I and if yes, which 1/3 discount rail card I can upload on my oyster?
    Q. Am I right that staying PAYG will be cheaper for me compared to buying an annual travel card from zone 2 to 6, considering annual 6 weeks annual leave etc?

    Many thanks in advance.

  819. Hi Mike,

    I am going from Victoria coach station tomorrow at about 10:30 to oxford street . What would this cost on the tube ? Is it only one off peak journey in zone one ? So only £ 2.40

  820. Hi Basit,

    Leaving Orpington at 0619 will definitely be off-peak. The time of your touch in at Whitechapel will determine the afternoon fare. Strictly speaking this needs to be before 1600. There is an unadvertised grace period of 2-3 minutes before peak fares start being charged to avoid complaints that the station clock was slow.

    Yes, you can add a railcard. Any one of the 16-25, Disabled, Forces or Senior railcards, or an annual season ticket (gold card). PAYG will be cheaper than an annual travelcard because you will mostly be using off-peak fares, and even more so if you are able to add a discount card.

  821. Hi Gabrielle,

    Sorry this is a bit late. Yes, Victoria to Oxford Circus is one tube fare of £2.40 at any time of day.

  822. Mike

    Thanks for your email – very helpful and correct (having done the journey). Good website and response (including speed).

    Why doenst the TfL page have the correct info!


  823. Hi Amish,

    To be fair, they did have the correct info, they just didn’t explain it very well. They seem to have taken on board the confusion though; they’ve stopped publishing the individual single fares in a table form. You can still get them on my site though (for adults).

  824. Hi Mike,
    I have a young person’s railcard on my Oyster card. I thought that with this on it, it would follow that fare pricing system unless on peak time in the morning. I still get charged peak time prices in the evening, so I’m a little confused as it conflicts with how the young person’s railcard works when I get a normal paper ticket. Any ideas?

  825. Hi Dani,

    Yes. The Oyster charging system requires peak single fares to be charged in the afternoon. You will still be capped at the railcard discounted off-peak rate after 0930. It is possible that some journeys between 1600-1900 will be cheaper with a paper railcard discounted ticket.

  826. Hi Mike,
    I will be in London next Thursday, from Victoria to Ilford and then to grays return the same way (route), using oyster card do I have a cap for the day. my travels will be from 9.30 till 14.00 hrs.
    Kindly please do advice

  827. Hi Kim,

    The off-peak cap including Grays is £17.20, but you shouldn’t get anywhere near that.

    Victoria to Ilford is £2.80 off-peak single.
    Ilford to Grays is £3.10 off-peak single.
    Total for the day should be £11.80.

  828. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for such a useful blog.
    In your blog, it says “if you make one journey starting before 0930 you are likely to hit the off-peak cap before the anytime cap.” And also the table shows the trip before 9:30am will be counted toward anytime cap. Then how come you will hit the off-peak cap first? Because any trip before 9:30am won’t even count for off-peak.

  829. Hi Kiddy,

    That comment was written before the introduction of all-day caps for zones 1-6 last year. I may need to re-word it. Thanks for querying it.

    It is still sometimes applicable if you have a railcard. If you make a £2.40 journey from zone 6 before 0930 and then travel extensively after that you will reach the £7.80 off-peak with railcard cap. Your total for the day would be £10.20 which means you wouldn’t reach the £11.80 anytime cap.

  830. Hi,
    I live in Redhill, have a young persons railcard, and I’ve been trying to get my head around the cheapest fares now we have the new oyster extension. I leave Redhill at 17:19 to London Victoria and then take the tube to Oxford Circus and take the train back from Victoria at 23:02. What I’ve been doing up until now is paying £6 return from Redhill to Victoria and then 1 off-peak and 1 peak journey in zones 1. That works out cheaper than a travel card from Redhill. I’ve been trying to work out if this journey is any cheaper if I used Oyster the whole journey, what with daily capping or if I’m better off sticking to what I’ve been doing. Would you be able to give me some advice please?

  831. Hi Robyn,

    The £6 ticket is a super off-peak return which pretty much makes Oyster irrelevant if you can abide by the restrictions. The best I can do with Oyster is £10.40 if you’re prepared to touch out and in again at East Croydon on the way home. Your £10.00 total without that extra change has to be better.

  832. Thank you for your advice. So what about if I left before 4pm (and therefore travelled off peak instead of the 5:19pm peak time)? Is that better off with my normal off peak return ticket too, or would I benefit from using my oyster in those cases? I’m assuming not but it’s worth asking! Thanks very much!

  833. Hi Robyn,

    Towards London your ticket isn’t restricted in the afternoon. Also, Oyster journeys ending in zone 1 are off-peak all afternoon as well, hence why there’s no benefit to splitting at Croydon on the way in. You can’t get the super off-peak ticket to anywhere other than London so you can’t make the tube journey off-peak. You’d need to be touching in at Victoria LU before 1600 to make it cheaper.

  834. Hi Mike,

    I am planning a trip to london, stopping overnight at watford. Would it be cheaper for me to purchase a day travel card or a oyster card? I only plan on spending a saturday in London starting my journey from watford highstreet to Euston and then the general sight seeing throughout london and then a return trip back to watford high street?

    Any help would be great as I am very overwhelmed by all of the different options.

  835. Hi Rebecca,

    The cheapest way to make those journeys is likely to be a contactless payment card. This is because the capping is worked out differently to Oyster. A CPC should cap at £6.50 for zones 1-2 plus two extension fares for zones 3-8 at £1.80 each, making a total of £10.10. The off-peak zone 1-8 cap on Oyster is £11.90. A day travelcard would cost £12.90.

  836. Hi, I need to travel between zones 1-6 for a day, icluding the tube, the train and the buses. What is the cheapest option? Thanks

  837. Hi Rafaela,

    Either an Oyster card or a contactless payment card.

  838. Hi Mike,
    Soon I’ll be coming in from Wimbledon Rail station to the elephant and Castle Rail station via Thameslink, during afternoon peak.
    Now I understand e&c counts as zone 1/2, and one of your rules above says that a journey made into zone 1 during afternoon peak counts as off peak, but the single fare finder specifically states that 1600 to 1900 for this journey counts as peak. Do you know if this is the case?


  839. Hi Sunny,

    Yes it is. Travel to Elephant & Castle from the south is counted as zone 2. You should note that a zone 2-3 peak fare at £2.40 is still cheaper than a zone 1-3 off-peak fare of £2.50.

  840. Ah I see, thank you for the clarification! Interestingly, I made the journey just now, having touched in at Wimbledon at half 5, touching out at e&c at 6pm, and I was only charged 1.30! No idea why as that’s the off peak fare, and I hadn’t reached the daily price cap for today either!

  841. Hi Sunny,

    Can you confirm what journeys you have made and when today. Is it possible you’ve spent £5 since 0930?

  842. Sorry, forgot to mention the linked railcard I have, so my zone 1-3 off peak cap is 5 quid. I hadn’t travelled before 9:30, and after that I’d only taken a train from Waterloo to Wimbledon around 1pm, at the railcard-discounted off-peak rate. And then this e&c to Wimbledon journey I mentioned before, for which I was charged 1.30.

    Not complaining, its cheaper than I expected, just puzzling!

  843. I’d worked out the £5 when you said the off-peak fare was £1.30. 😉

    It looks like the system might work out which fare is cheaper. Might be one to investigate when I get the chance.

  844. Hi Mike,i just need some information about oyster weekly pass from grays (c2c) to erith station.i am traveling to erith from grays and paying nearly £8 per day and want to know how much it vl charge if i make weekly pass.pls reply thanks

  845. And one thing it cost me morning time 4.80 from grays to erith and evening time £4 and together 8.80 .pls tell me about weekly pass

  846. Hi Harpreet,

    The cheapest weekly ticket you can buy is a Grays to zone 3-6 travelcard. This actually costs more than you are paying in daily fares (£51.90). The £4 fare is off-peak so it looks like you start your return journey outside the 1600-1900 window.

  847. Hi mike thanks for your reply .i amgoing for 6 days .i checked weekly pass that is nearly £33 for 3-6 zone but i am bit confused becoz grays is outer london and don’t know about which zone is could u pls tell me is it in zone 6 when i check it shows zone G . I think weekly pass is better than daily tickets.pls reply thanks

  848. Hi Harpreet,

    Grays is not in the numbered zones. The travelcard you would need would be Grays to zones 3-6 which costs £51.90. If you are travelling on 6 days then it is just worth it as your PAYG would be 5x £8.80 + £8.00 = £52.00. A saving of just 10p. Obviously you lose if you miss one day for some reason.

  849. Mike

    If travelling late afternoon during the week from
    Putney railway station to Bexley changing at Clapham Junction, Denmark Hill and Lewisham, is it necessary to touch in at Putney or any of these stations before 1600 to qualify for off-peak fares,
    or is there no afternoon peak rate when travelling on this route which avoids Central London (Waterloo/London Bridge/Victoria)?

  850. Hi Jo,

    Yes, you would need to touch in at Putney before 1600 to get off-peak fares.

  851. Hi Mike,

    I have purchased an off-peak open return from Reading to Shortlands. I plan to be at Paddington station before 4pm but the latter half of my journey will be during peak hours. Will my off-peak ticket still be valid London tubes and trains during this time?

    Thank you.


  852. Hi Sophie,

    If your ticket is a Reading to Shortlands off-peak return and you are only talking about the outward portion then you’ll be fine. From Reading the ticket is only restricted in the morning. On the return you will not be able to travel on most fast trains from Paddington between 1600-1900.

  853. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the quick response, apologies I didn’t make myself clear. What I meant by the latter half of the journey was the same route from Paddington to Shortlands in the same journey- this section would be during peak time. Would this be considered as a peak or off-peak fare? Hope this makes sense.

  854. Hi Sophie,

    Your off-peak ticket is fine. The outward journey is only restricted to not leaving Reading before 0930. There are no restrictions on the Underground or Southeastern. On the return journey you cannot leave Shortlands before 0930; there are no restrictions on the Underground and you can’t use fast trains from Paddington between 1600-1900.

  855. Touching in @09:29 for a 09:30 train?
    Hi mike
    Does touching in at an overground station before the next scheduled train leaving after 09:30 (or leaving at exactly 09:30) get considered as an off peak journey? If not shouldn’t it? (Saves touching in at the last minute and sprinting for the closing doors?)

  856. Hi Jules,

    The Oyster system has no knowledge of when the trains leave. The official answer is that a touch in up to 09.29.59 will trigger a peak fare while one from 09.30.00 will trigger an off-peak fare. In reality there is a 2-3 minute grace period such that a touch in at 09.27.00 will likely trigger an off-peak fare. This is an unpublished feature designed to minimise complaints that the station clock was wrong. If you usually make use of it and one day touch in slightly earlier and get charged a peak fare then there is no comeback, because officially touch in up to 09.29.59 will result in a peak fare.

  857. My question relates to return journeys.
    Touch in national rail after 9:30 (off peak). OK so far.
    Return journey – touch in during peak times : do both journeys count as peak, or just the latter return?

  858. Hi Peter,

    Just the return would be charged at peak rates.

  859. Hello Mike,
    My wife travels off peak from Chaffered hundred station to aldgate east using her oyster card, it is costing £13.80 return, is there any other cheaper options? travel card or maybe a different route. She travels from chaffered to west ham then to aldgate east.


  860. Hi Phil,

    She is paying a hefty premium for using the first station within zone 1. Depending on where she actually needs to go there are 3 cheaper options. Whitechapel is the last station in zone 2 where the off-peak single from Chafford Hundred is £4.20, or £8.40 return. The same price also applies to Shadwell using the Overground from Whitechapel. Another option is Fenchurch Street which avoids using Underground trains and costs £4.90 off-peak single, £9.80 return. Finally, if she touches out at the gates at West Ham and back in again she can split the journey in two. Chafford Hundred to West Ham is £4.00 off-peak single and West Ham to Aldgate East is £2.40 off-peak single. Daily total of £12.80. This last option has been made possible by the dual zoning of West Ham meaning that you don’t pay for a zone twice.

  861. Mike

    I had always assumed that when using an Oyster Card that I would be charged extra for every different means of travel (such as travelling by train combined with underground or DLR or when changing buses)
    and I often find that journeys are cheaper if completed entirely by train than rather than changing buses.

    I plan to travel off peak from Bexley to Greenwich by train but just in case my train is cancelled I am seeking a fall back plan.
    When checking the tfl single-fare-finder for the cost of a train from Bexley to Cutty Sark (for Maritime Greenwich) DLR, the cost remains unaltered.

    I would have expected that I would be more expensive to travel by train from Bexley to Lewisham then change at Lewisham for the DLR to Cutty Sark (for Maritime Greenwich) DLR.

    Please could you clarify?

  862. Hi Jo,

    When you travel by bus you do pay a new fare on each bus, until you reach the daily bus cap. With trains it is different. A single rail journey can have many parts, including use of different modes. The different modes have their own scales, but if you mix modes you generally continue to use the more expensive mode. National Rail in south London is usually the most expensive mode so a short section of DLR which doesn’t add any extra zones will not cost more. You can use the DLR for free between Lewisham and Cutty Sark because that section is all in both zones 2 and 3.

  863. Hello Mike,
    I use an Oyster PAYG. I travel from Alexandra Palace to Old Street Mon-Fri. I can often travel after 9:30am(off peak), but nearly always travel back around 6pm. I also occasionally take tube or bus journeys with zone 1 during the day (Mon-Fri), but very rarely use it my Oyster at weekends.

    Should I stick with my PAYG Oyster, or go contactless? Is it worth it traveling after 9:30 if I can?

  864. Hi Rupert,

    For that sort of useage I would expect Oyster PAYG and contactless to charge the same. If you just make the single train journey each way in a day then travelling after 0930 will make a difference. If you also travel during the day as well then you could well end up capping so there would be less/no benefit to waiting until 0930.

  865. Hi Mike,

    I am travelling from Amersham to Knightsbridge on a weekday next week after 930am returning around 6pm? Is it cheaper for me & my daughter (over 18) to get an Oyster Card or One day off peak Rail Card?

  866. Hi Karen,

    Either Oyster or a contactless payment card will be cheaper. The off-peak cap is £11.90 compared to the off-peak travelcard for zones 1-9 at £12.90. The single fares are £4.10 and £7.00 so you shouldn’t actually cap unless you make another journey during the day.

  867. As many before have commented – this is a really really useful site. I am due to receive an 60+ Oyster card next month. I have to work and currently have an annual travel card for zones 1-2. About 0730hrs, I take a bus to Mile End and then a tube to Westminster – I generally arrive at work 0800 to 0815. As this is peak time should I get a PAYG to pay the fare as the 60+ can only be used from 0930hrs or is my information incorrect. Should I be looking at trading in my annual card for a monthly PAYG – grateful for any guidance you can provide that will allow me to travel to work using the best economical oyster card possible.

  868. Hi Petra,

    You’re ok. Free travel is at any time on bus, tube and DLR. It’s only some National Rail services where you are restricted to travel after 0930. See this map on the TfL website.

  869. Thanks Mike

    That is good news. I’ll apply for refund on the annual travel card once I get the 60+. Thanks for the speedy response.

  870. Hi,

    Thank you for very useful information about everyday capping.
    I currently have my 16-25 Railcard attached to my adult oyster, and don’t quite understand the capping.
    As far as I understand, the off-peak day capping for zones 1-2 is 4.30, and the anytime cap is 6.50. If I make 2 off-peak journeys and a peak journey in the evening in zones 1-2, would the capping be still 4.30, or would it increase to 6.50?
    Does the peak capping apply whenever I make a single peak journey (evening) or does off-peak capping apply even if I make a peak journey in the evening?

    Thanks for the help, in advance.

  871. Hi Yuki,

    The anytime cap only applies if you travel before 0930. Although peak single fares apply in the evening, they are still capped by the off-peak cap.

  872. HI Mike,

    I’m really confused about how capping works on my contactless card, and I wanted to check if you could help decipher what’s going on

    A typical day would look like

    Canons Park–>Farringdon in morning peak – 4.70

    Farringdon –> Canons Park in evening offpeak (after 7pm) – 3.10

    Bus Journey #1 to mid-way between Canons Park and home – 1.50

    Connecting Bus Journey #2 from that mid-point to home – 1.50

    Strangely, TFL has capped this at 10.40 (saying the last journey cost 0.10, rather than 1.50). Any ideas on why this might be happening?



  873. Hi Mike, I have found that, intentionally or otherwise, there is a degree of leeway at the start of the peak fare period on the tube, such that if I touch in at 06:29, 06:30, 06:31, 06:32 and 06:33, and perhaps a bit later too, my fare is calculated using the off peak rate. Do you know if this is an official allowance and if so, what time it operates until, and is that time based on the time displayed on train indicator boards? I assume similar may apply before the end of peak and either side of the evening peak, but I haven’t tried it out. I guess this is different to your “Exceptions” section above. Cheers.

  874. Hi Jon,

    It is an unofficial allowance to prevent issues caused by an out of sync station clock. It operates in the customers favour at each end of both peaks. It should be treated as a bonus because if you are just beyond the period, or they decide to change it, there will be no claim for overcharge.

  875. Hi. I hope you can help.
    I’ll be travelling from Ruislip manor to St pauls on the underground 5 days a week (never Sundays) for work, at varying times across peak and off peak as it’s shift work. Is it more beneficial to do pay as you go and risk a varying amount of peak and off peak travel costs? Or to do a monthly travel card (I which case I could get the 1-5 travelcard and get the bus to south Ruislip which is zone 5 and slightly cheaper for a travelcard as buses are included)

    I apologise if I’ve confused you haha
    Would be great if I could find the cheapest option. Thanks

  876. Hi Amber,

    10 peak single tickets from zone 6 to zone 1 is just cheaper than a weekly zone 1-5 travelcard, so unless you want to use buses and/or make other journeys on top of your commute I would stick to PAYG. The more journeys become off-peak the better it gets. If you use contactless you’ll be capped at the weekly rate should you make a few extra journeys, so you wouldn’t be too much out of pocket.

  877. Dear Mike,

    If I start a journey at east Dulwich at 6.29 am and end in Surbition at 7.40 am I am I charged off peak rate?
    Is my maximum travelling time 100 mts. ?

  878. Hi Gum,

    Yes, it’s off peak as long as you touch in before 0630. If you travel via Peckham Rye and Clapham Junction then you have 110 minutes. If you travel via Waterloo then it’s 130 minutes.

  879. Dear Mike,

    Dear Mike
    Thank you the reply. I will go via Tulse Hill or Peckham Rye which is cheaper than going via Waterloo. Hope all the national rails trains are illegible for oyster…… express or slow when going from Clapham Junction. Some times for the same journey google maps gives different route from TFL map…any idea for the reason?

  880. Lol,

    I wouldn’t take much notice of routes displayed by mapping apps. Oyster is accepted in one form or another on all trains within the zones, apart from Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect at the airport. Your trains are all fine.

  881. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your advice.

  882. Hi can you advise me on the following
    I travel from Southall to Paddington before 6:30 and then Paddington to Southall most days
    But I live in the West Midlands and often travel in on a Monday morning from Lichfield Trent valley and return on the same route on a Friday

    Can you advise on what would be the cheapest system to travel by using the trains
    Network rail cards are they relevant during my week day traveling in London

    Thanks in advance and great site

  883. Hi Stephen,

    The Network Railcard isn’t helpful as it can’t be used in the morning peak and there’s a prohibitive minimum fare after that on weekdays. As you only commute 4 days a week, and the morning one is before peak fares are charged on Oyster, I recommend using either a contactless payment card or an Oyster card.

  884. Hi, I would like to ask for your advice.

    So I have an 18+ oyster with national railcard attached. If I am not mistaken, the off-peak cap should be £4.30 (Zone 1-2).

    On Tuesday about 1.30pm, I took the tube from Gloucester Road (Z1) to Queensway (Z1). Then after that I traveled from Queensway (Z1) to Cutty Sark (Z2) at 2.30pm. After that, I took at bus at Cutty Sark to Blackheath and from there I took another bus to North Greenwich. At 4.03pm, I took the tube from North Greenwich (Z 2/3) back to Gloucester Road (Z1). As far as I know, all my travel fees will contribute to the off-peak cap, so in total I should be charged £4.30. However, I was charged £7.80 (as if I traveled without capping). I am not sure why that is the case. I hope I am not confusing.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for this website.


  885. Hi Sam,

    Something does appear to have gone wrong. Can you cut and paste your journey history and I’ll try and work out what’s happened. It looks like you might have an incomplete journey – did you touch out at Cutty Sark?

  886. Hi Mike,

    It actually happened today. I don’t think my journey history is updated yet. Could it be the case that it takes time for the credit to return?

    Also, you mentioned Cutty Sark. It was actually quite strange that there are no touch-out points or validators, but there are a few TfL staffs carrying a small device to validate the card (if I am not mistaken), and mine was validated. So, there should be nothing wrong there.

  887. Hi Samuel,

    There are validators but they are in the least obvious position possible. They are on the intermediate landing between the platforms and the street. You would not be the first to miss them. The device carried by the staff was simply checking that you had touched in – it would not end the journey.

    You’ll need to call the helpdesk tomorrow and explain what happened. They should refund the £3.50 incomplete journey charge as the rest of your journeys have made the expected £4.30 cap.

  888. Hi Mike,

    Alright, I see. Thanks a lot.

    By the way, is it true that most DLR stations have validators but no touch-in/touch-out points?

  889. Hi Samuel,

    Most DLR stations have validators rather than gates. Both gates and validators can be used to touch in and out.

  890. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your help once again. Indeed, I was charged 3.50 for an incomplete journey. I called the helpdesk of TfL, and the officer said that I will receive a refund of 1.10 (because off peak price is 2.40 for normal Oyster, not Oyster with railcard) instead of 3.50. In that case, what should I do? Will I be able to get a full refund? Thanks in advance.

  891. Hi Samuel,

    OK, the officer hasn’t fully understood what has happened. You’ll need to call back again and point out that you have a railcard on your Oyster and that you had capped at the off-peak railcard discounted zone 1-2 cap and therefore you are due a refund of the whole £3.50. If the person you speak to doesn’t agree then ask to be transferred to their manager. You’ll need to be quite assertive. If they say that they can’t add to the refund until it has been collected I would be inclined to request a bank transfer of the second amount (£2.40).

  892. Hi Mike,

    Apologies for too many questions. This is the first time I am in such situation. I have not make a second call yet, but I already specified the station which the refund will be received when I touch in. The thing is I am gonna take a bus elsewhere, but I am taking the tube back to the specified station. Will that affect anything? Thanks a lot once again.


  893. Hi Samuel,

    As long as you touch at the nominated tube station it will be fine. The refund will be picked up on entry or exit. Don’t leave it too long before making the second call. You are supposed to claim refunds for overcharges within a month of the travel.

  894. Vic Matthews

    Hi Mike,
    I just got a 60+Oyster card and want to travel Monday to Friday from Norwood Junction to Bank or London Bridge. I planned to travel Overground to Shadwell then change to the DLR to Bank. Can I only use this after 0930 and outside 16:00 to 1900? I also have a senior railcard for travel on network rail which I have been using for the single journey back from London bridge and have a PAYG oyster just in case! Whats your best advice? Thanks. Vic

  895. Vic Matthews

    I suppose if I have the time, there’s always the number 75 bus to Lewisham then DLR to Bank… ?

  896. Hi Vic,

    There are no evening restrictions on use of the 60+ Oyster card. From Norwood Junction you can travel at any time on London Overground services but you must wait until 0930 to use Southern services. If Bank is where you want to get to then changing at Shadwell is reasonable. For London Bridge I’d change to the Jubilee Line at Canada Water.

  897. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much, that clears up my misunderstanding about when and where I can use it and, incidentally, made my day!.
    Cheers. Vic

  898. Hi Mike,

    So I travel from Norbury to London Bridge for work. If I tap in before 1600 but my train arrives at London bridge during peak times (around 1630) and then I travel back to Norbury around 2200 will I be charged the peak time oyster card rates or the off peak rates?

    Thank you!

  899. Hi Ray,

    That’ll be off-peak. In fact, it’ll be off-peak even if you touch in after 1600 because the journey starts outside zone 1 and finishes in zone 1.

  900. Hi,
    I’ll be visiting London for two days in September. We will be arriving to Heathrow on morning of first day and leaving on evening of second day. I have two questions regarding capping on contactless:

    1. Each day we’ll make one trip between Zone 6 (Heathrow) and Zone 1 and then plenty of trips in zones 1-2. Are we going to be charged daily cap for zones 1-2 and single fare for zones 3-6, or daily cap for zones 1-6?

    2. We’re also going to use buses. Are these included in rail cap, or are they charged separately (4,50 per day)?

    Thank you 🙂

  901. Hi Samo,

    On contactless you’ll be charged the zone 1-2 daily cap plus one extension fare for zones 3-6. And yes, buses are included in the rail cap.

  902. Hi Mike

    Will be in London with the Mrs 6th October arriving london City Airport 7.45am to the 11th leaving Paddington 7pm we hope to get in as much sight seeing in as possible.

    What is my best option cause the fares confuse the bejusus out of me.

    Thanks in advance

  903. Hi Mike,

    Sorry for the delay. A contactless payment card each is likely to be the best option. If you haven’t got one of those then an Oyster card is next best. I can’t really add much more without knowing where you’ll be staying and a bit more detail about where you want to go (i.e just places in zone 1/2, a bit further out possibly to zone 6, include Windsor, Watford or other out of town places).

  904. Hello again

    We are staying in a hotel by Hackney Central we will be sticking to zones 1 and 2 for all the usual sight seeing touristy stuff



  905. Hi Mike,

    OK, so you’ve got 6 days across a weekend. The daily zone 1-2 cap is £6.50 and you’ll need £7.60 on day 1 because City Airport is in zone 3. On contactless that will cost you £40.10. With Oyster you can get a zone 1-2 weekly travelcard for £32.40. If you have Oyster cards already then you can order the travelcards online about a week in advance and set it to pick up at Canning Town. You then need to touch in at City Airport and get off and touch out and back in again at Canning Town. This will cost £1.70 single and you’ll then be covered throughout zones 1-2. If you haven’t got Oyster cards already then you can order them online with the travelcard already loaded. You’ll still need £1.70 for the first journey but you won’t need to get off at Canning Town because the Oyster system will already have the travelcard. The Oyster card will cost a £5 refundable deposit plus however much PAYG credit you add. You can get a refund at Paddington Underground station once you’ve finished.

    Hope this helps, but do ask again if it isn’t clear.

  906. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your help and for producing an incredibly informative site! I am going to be travelling between Woodford and London Bridge for work, certainly at peak times for morning travel and sometimes at off-peak for evening travel – although this will vary from day to day. This coupled with the fact I need to get a bus to and from Woodford means that if I were to go PAYG over a week I could be paying £46.50 for 5 days of travel.

    With this in mind, I have two questions – 1) on TfLs website they say the weekly PAYG cap is £46.50 for Zones 1-4, does this mean if I hit the daily-cap 5 times, I effectively get free weekend rail travel? 2) If not, would you recommend a travelcard for zones 1-4?


  907. Hi George,

    If you are happy with Monday to Sunday capping then use contactless because if for any reason you don’t complete 5 days travel you won’t pay for the full travelcard. If you need any other ‘week’ then it will have to be a travelcard on Oyster.

  908. Hi Mike,

    I take the tube from Tottenham Hale to Angel and back 5 days a week. Arrival around 9-10 and departure to go back home around 5. I have a student oyster and a 16-25 railcard. Am I best off getting an annual travelcard with the student discount rather than any other method?

  909. Hi Alex,

    You are better off getting a travelcard with student discount. Unfortunately I don’t think you can buy an annual travelcard unless it is starting on the first day of validity of the Student Oyster. The travelcard certainly can’t have a later expiry date than the Oyster discount entitlement.

  910. Hi Mike,

    Really appreciate your efforts to help out people. I am new to London and currently staying nearby emerson park station and my office is in Southwark. I buy a weekly travel card worth 59.10 bucks. Is there any alternate option to reduce this ? My weekday routine is from 8:30 – 5:30 and I change Emerson park -> Upminster -> Westham -> southwark.. Weekends does include travel to zone 1 tourist spots but over the time, its reducing.

  911. Hi Sunny,

    The peak single for that journey is £5.10 so the travelcard is over-priced for just 5 day commuting. It really depends how much you do at weekends. The off-peak single to zone 1 is £3.10 so if you just make 1 return journey you’re still better off with PAYG. But make another zone 1 single or travel both days and the travelcard would be better. If you have a contactless payment card then use that. It caps at the weekly travelcard rate if you reach it, otherwise it just charges single journeys.

  912. Hi Mike,

    I live in Slough and joining university in Farringdon soon. Will I be eligible to use Oyster 18+ ? What is the best option for me with the options available ?

  913. Hi Mike
    what should i be charged from amersham to canary wharf at 1700, was under the impression that going into london was off peak?

  914. Hi Bob,

    It is, but only if you stop in zone 1. Canary Wharf is zone 2 so you pay peak fares.

  915. Hi Bala,

    This page on the TfL site explains all about the 18+ Student Oyster. You can’t use it at Slough station on the trains, but you can use it on the TfL bus to Hounslow.

  916. Hi Mike,

    If I make one or two bus journeys in the morning before 9:30, and make several underground journeys after 9:30 between zones 1-2, would I be charged a peak cap of 6.50 or an off-peak cap of 4.30 (I have a 16-25 Railcard attached to my oyster)?

  917. Hi Yuki,

    It depends whether you are charged 1 or 2 bus journeys. Your bus travel will be added to the off-peak cap and will be limited by the anytime cap if necessary. If your second bus journey starts within an hour of the first then it will be free under the new bus hopper ticket.

  918. Hi,

    Another question regarding boundaries that will affect me on Friday; I’m travelling from King’s Cross to Romford changing from the tube to the rail at Liverpool Street; I will leave King’s Cross before 9:30 but the train from Liverpool Street is at 9:38 so I will touch in after 9:30. Would the Liverpool Street to Romford journey be charged as a continuation of my journey from King’s Cross so at the peak amount, in which case should I try to touch onto a bus at Liverpool Street to avoid this?

  919. Hi Harry,

    It depends what other journeys you are going to make that day and whether you have a railcard which will give you a cheaper off-peak cap. On that journey alone it isn’t worth it.

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