Route Validators (Pink Readers)

The network of rail services across London often offers a choice of routes when deciding how to get from A to B.  Usually the zones covered will be the same in all cases, but there are times when a particular route might avoid, for example, zone 1 altogether.  If there are two routes where both can be acomplished without needing to touch out and back in again the system needs a way to tell which one has been used.  To this end there are a number of special pink readers at stations where you would change trains when using the route with the cheaper fare.  All you need to do is touch your Oystercard on one of the pink readers and the system will register that you’ve taken the cheaper route.

This applies both to PAYG users and those with travelcards which do not include zone 1.

If you’re not sure whether to touch a pink validator or not then it is always a good idea to touch it, unless you have a travelcard including zone 1.  With PAYG and non zone 1 travelcards you will not be charged more by touching a pink validator.  In certain circumstances you might be charged more if your travelcard includes zone 1 but not the zone where the pink validator is.

The pink route validators are located at the following stations:

  • Blackhorse Road
  • Canada Water
  • Clapham Junction
  • Gospel Oak
  • Gunnersbury
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Kensington (Olympia)
  • Rayners Lane
  • Richmond
  • Stratford
  • Surrey Quays
  • West Brompton
  • Whitechapel
  • Willesden Junction
  • Wimbledon

Note: Some journeys have been defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and will be charged accordingly, irrespective of the route taken.

Missing Route Validators

Notwithstanding the note above, we believe that there has been an oversight in not installing route validators at Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill on the ELLX.  The Bexleyheath line offers cheaper fares to many South London destinations because it has direct trains to Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill.  This gives users of that line an unfair advantage when making journeys that are more likely to be undertaken via London Bridge.  It also penalises users of the other lines serving Lewisham who could choose to avoid zone 1, but aren’t given the option.

The problem is that a footbridge links all platforms at London Bridge so it is not possible to differentiate changing there from changing at Peckham Rye or Denmark Hill.

282 Responses

  1. Do you know what happens if I do something odd, like Gloucester Rd to Highbury and Islington via Gunnesbury? (PAYG) Do I get charged Z1-4 single or only Z1-Z2?
    Similar example: Wembley Park to Holland Park via Rayners Lane and Ealing Bdy- Z1-4 or Z1-5?

  2. Hi B,

    I don’t know what happens if you touch on pink validators on a longer route. It may well charge you the higher fare. If you don’t touch the validators then you may well run the risk of exceeding the maximum journey time which will result in two unresolved journeys, each deducting a maximum fare.

    If you are making unusual journeys with a lot of riding around without touching out and in my advice would be to buy a paper travelcard.

  3. If TfL are going to make assumptions about the journey you must have taken from A to B, isn’t it reasonable to just assume you made the cheapest one, rather than having these new pink readers to prove that you did?

    Like for example, they assume you took a more expensive route going S to SE London via (zone 1) london bridge when its quicker and cheaper to change in zone 2. But if you’re travelling within zone 1, e.g. london bridge to victoria/Pimlico, they surely won’t assume you went via Stockwell in zone 2, and charge you extra? i.e. they don’t make you touch a pink reader at Green Park to prove you stayed in zone 1.

    So what’s the difference, and why don’t they assume cheapest route like I thought they always had done!? Unless I’m missing something, sounds like a bit of a scam for the unwary? (Thanks also while I’m at it, for a great and very infomative site!)

  4. Hi Greg,

    London Bridge to Victoria via Stockwell. That’s an interesting option. If you did that then you would only get charged a zone 1 fare so you’d be lucky.

    For every route they try to work out what the quickest way is. Usually that will involve zone 1. Certainly my experience of Crayford to Norwood Junction is that via London Bridge is always the quickest way. Next quickest is walking between New Cross and New Cross Gate followed by Overground via Surrey Quays. If my destination was somewhere like Sydenham then via London Bridge wouldn’t be quite so fast, but I’d still expect it to be the quickest.

    They don’t assume the cheapest route because they’d lose too much money as most people will go via zone 1.

    Thanks for the comment and I’m pleased you like the site.

  5. Well I returned to Woolwich Arsenal this afternoon and to my surprise the pink validator has gone, replaced by another entry/exit validator. I’m surprised mainly because I don’t think many people will be joining the DLR there who haven’t already been using Oyster on the SET journey. Anyway, page is edited to remove that entry.

  6. There seems to be a missing route validator on the newly re-opened platform 1 at Highbury and Islington. Alighting from the last car of the train from the East London line and heading for the tube/FCC platforms, there doesn’t seem to be one at all, unless you go down to platform 2/3. If there is one, surely it would be better located where passengers could actually see it. But then, on, say, a Shoreditch High Street – Palmers Green journey, does not touching a route validator mean I’ll be overcharged?

  7. Hi Philip,

    As Shoreditch High Street is in zone 1, touching on a pink validator is unlikely to make any difference to the fare. Platform 1 is only used by ELL trains so there should be no confusion over which route has been taken. Unless I’m missing something, of course?

  8. I often travel West Ham to Canonbury via Stratford. I have seen these pink validators, but not used them. Now the East London Line is open, I could go via Whitechapel, but by the looks of things it would be via Zone 1 at Shoreditch. As far as I remember, I have always been charged £1.30, but does that now mean I have to touch on the pink thing as there is now an alternative route via zone 1?

  9. Hi Elizabeth,

    The short answer is “yes”. If you use the single fare finder on the TfL website then it quotes the fare for that journey as £2.50/£2.90. If you click on the Alternative fares button it shows the via Stratford option as £1.30/£1.40 with the instruction that you must touch on the pink route validator at Stratford to get that fare.

    Hope that helps.

  10. hi

    I travel from brockley and often head out toward hampton court via clapham junction. i’m so confused about the best route and what I do regarding oyster. is there a via point reader at clapham?

    and what if I’m heading north say to camden, do I need to get out and validate to say I’m going via the east london train or will it assume that I went to london bridge?

  11. Hi Ann,

    According to the single fare finder the default fare for Brockley to Hampton Court is avoiding zone 1 so you do not need to touch on any route validators. As for the other journey, because you are passing through Shoreditch High Street you will be charged via zone 1 anyway.

    Hope that helps.

  12. The cheapest way to travel from West Croydon to Elephant & Castle would be to change at Streatham or Tulse Hill. Yet when I enter this journey on nationalrail.co.uk it assumes I’d travel via Blackfriars, giving a more expensive fare.

    There’s no mention of pink validators at either Streatham or Tulse Hill, so am I right in thinking if I did this journey changing at either of those two stations, I’d still be charged as if I’d changed at Blackfriars?

  13. Hi Mark,

    There are a number of issues with the way the National Rail site calculates Oyster fares. Fortunately it is not responsible for actually making the charges on your card. The TfL system gets it right on the single fare finder page. This uses the same calculation as the Oyster system itself.

  14. I did an experimental journey from Honor Oak Park to Watford Junction via Highbury and Willesden on Sunday, to see how it compared to ploughing through town. Couldn’t see any pink validators at either H&I (cross-platform change) or Willesden (high level to low level), so full journey was a touch in at Honor Oak and a touch out at Watford. Charged £2.30. Where are the validators at those stations?!

  15. Hi Phil,

    Shhhhh! The system has charged you as though you went via Crystal Palace, Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction. The pink validators at H&I are near the exit ramps from the North London Line platforms where you go to change onto the Underground. I’m not sure where they are at Willesden Junction. I’m also not sure what it would charge you if you touched on either set as that route isn’t programmed into the system.

  16. Is there a service that allows you to find the cheapest route around London when using Oyster?…

    Honestly? Don’t bother. The system as a whole is so incredibly complex that it is not worth your time. The main question is usually if you take the bus (cheaper) or the tube (more expensive). For finding the means of transport on your personal routes …

  17. Very helpful site! My query relates to travelling from Riddlesdown (Z6) to Stratford. I have been making this trip PAYG, via Canada Water and the pink validators. I have now purchased a Z2-6 monthly oyster travel card.

    Do I still need to use the pink validator? Whilst what will happen if I decide to travel via London Bridge?

  18. No, you don’t need to use the pink validators if you have a travelcard loaded on your Oyster. I’m not 100% sure what will happen if you go via London Bridge. When you touch out at the NR station it will deduct a zone 1 fare. When you touch back in at the LU station within 20 minutes it will continue the journey. When you touch out at Stratford it might effectively refund the earlier charge because it treats the whole journey as one. Where alternative routes are available for a PAYG journey, the cheapest one becomes the default where a travelcard is present on the Oyster. At least that is the experience of several people I know, including myself for one week in July. If you try it I’d be very interested to know the outcome.

  19. I tried it today. I travelled from Z6 to London Bridge. At London Bridge I was deducted £1.50 (off-peak Z1 single). Once at Stratford it informed me of the same deduction. Checking the history confirmed that the first deduction had been zero’d out and the second deduction stood.

    On the way back I went via Canada Water, avoided the pink validator and was charged nothing.

  20. Thanks Adrian,

    Can I just clarify then, the overall charge on arrival at Stratford after travelling via London Bridge was £1.50? That’s quite interesting if it is. I’m hesitating to ask what the deduction would be the other way via London Bridge as I don’t want to incur you extra charges.

    Thanks for letting me know.

  21. Apologies for the delay, the overall charge was £1.90. The return journey via London Bridge was also £1.90.

    On a slightly different topic: my payg history never appears online, whilst for some reason the daily price caps don’t seem to work, I made a few journeys in Zone One this weekend and it took over £8 from me.

  22. Thanks for letting us know. That’s very useful information indeed. On your other issues there sounds like a problem. If the journeys were starting and finishing in zone 1 then they should show on journey history. And as you have a travelcard for zones 2-6 your cap should have been £6.60. I’d contact the helpdesk and ask them to send you a statement (or request it online yourself – see the journey history page). You could also ask why it has overcharged you. My guess is that you either missed a touch out or touch in somehow which would result in a maximum fare being applied and that wouldn’t count towards the cap, or you fell foul of some OSI which joined two journeys together and caused you to exceed the maximum time allowed for a journey and would add two incomplete journey fares which again wouldn’t count towards the cap.

  23. i am travelling from caledonian overground to essex changing at stratford .do i need to use the pink validator at stratford ?i dont seem to see one on platform 1 or 10 where are them all?would it be helpful not to look for one while you are in a hurry or even have to change platform ! I PAYG till stratford and then i have my train ticket to essex.Not sure what to do on the way back .swipe pink reader or yellow?will it be cheaper and save time to get a return paper ticket to stratford ?

  24. Hi Paola,

    I believe that the pink valiadtors are on the overground platform at Stratford. However, if you are changing between Oyster and paper tickets then you need to use the yellow readers to start or end your Oyster journey. You don’t say where in Essex you are going to, but I’ve checked a couple of places and in both cases it is cheaper to mix Oyster and paper tickets. You should only be charged £1.40 (peak) / £1.30 (off-peak) for the overground section each way, so as long as the return is more than £2.80 more expensive it is worthwhile.

    Hope that helps.

  25. I am travling for Hainault to Falconwood Rail Station. (Z4-Z4)

    The Single fare is £2.30 (P) or £1.70 (OP). (Via Z1)But this takes me via zone one. This can take me via London Bridge or London Cannon Street.

    The Alternative oyster single fares (AOSF)tells me £4.60 (P) or £3.50 (OP). So, now I am really confused! How can the AOSF be more that the first charge.

    I will go via Z1 anyway! So, what is it?

  26. Hi Luke,

    The default fare is NOT via zone 1. Take the Central Line to Stratford, change onto the DLR to Lewisham then take NR to Falconwood. I would imagine that going via zone 1 will take longer in this case, as well as costing more. Alternatively, if you don’t want to take the DLR, change at Mile End onto the District Line then at Whitechapel onto the Overground and again at New Cross. Both routes utilise zones 2-4 which are the fares you quoted.

    Hope that helps.

  27. I am planning to make a journey from South Coulsdon to Stepney Green with a change from British Rail to Underground at Victoria. This involves travel through zones 1-6. Will I be charged twice? i.e How do I continue my through-journey at Victoria from overground to underground without already paying the oyster fare at that point? At London Bridge I presume you can continue the through-journey without punching out. Any suggestions or is it simply considered two journeys? i.e South Coulsdon to Victoria and then Victoria to Stepney Green.

  28. Hi Shura,

    At both London Bridge and Victoria you need to touch out from National Rail and touch back in to the Underground. These are what are known as Out of Station Interchanges. Providing you complete the two touches within the time allowed, the Oyster system will combine the two journeys into one. See the linked page for full details of the time allowed for each such interchange.

  29. Thanks for the info. This is the most informative site I’ve seen on oyster. Brilliant! TFL is lame compared to this…None of this information is explained clearly at TFL whereas here its all layed out.

  30. Hi Mike-

    Thanks for the site, its great to get some independent information about the Oyster system, especially as I am always looking for new routes and fares.

    Ok, quick question; I’m going to travel from Homerton to Camberwell, as you maybe aware, camberwell has no stations anymore since the 60’s (?) I think. So instead of 2 buses, and instead of travelling through Zone 1, I was going to go Overground to Stratford, DLR to Lewisham, NR Lewisham to Denmark Hill : this is clearly a bit annoying with changes and train waits, but it all takes place in Zones 2 and 3.

    However, my problem is, will it recognise this journey if I use the RV at Stratford? If I use it there, will it charge me the Zone 1 approach to Denmark Hill? On the Single Fare Fainder it gives the Zone 2/3 option £1.50 fare, so, anyway, after writing all this, I’ll give it a go anyway and let you know…

    My main problem is there is no RV at Lewisham for the interchange there.

  31. Hi PineWomble,

    There is only one fare for Homerton to Denmark Hill on the Single Fare Finder. You could reduce the cost slightly by making it two journeys, Homerton to Stratford and Stratford to Denmark Hill. To do that you would need to touch out and in again at Stratford. The Pink Validator will not help you. Also, there is no need for a pink validator at Lewisham because you need to touch out at the DLR and in again at the NR station. Your journey will be combined there unless you take longer than 20 minutes between touches because of the OSI.

    Hope that helps.

  32. Morning. Great site – so much more helpful than the TFL pages!
    I’m having trouble with touching-out at Richmond. Oyster keep telling me I need to do it at a yellow validator, but there are only pink ones there. D’you happen to know if there are any yellow validators? Otherwise I’m going to have to leave and re-enter the station everytime I’m making my journey home (from Ravenscourt Park and out to Berkshire on SWT) which is just daft.
    Any help gratefully received
    Thanks
    Caroline

  33. Hi Caroline,

    I’m pretty sure that there aren’t yellow validators at Richmond, just the gatelines and the pink route validators (which are only for use in the middle of an Oyster journey). I haven’t been there recently, so I can’t be 100% certain.

    If you are using PAYG then you do need to touch out at the end of the Oyster journey. If your Oyster travel is on a travelcard season though, there is then no need to touch out if the whole journey (on Oyster) is within the zones covered. Also, have you considered moving the changeover point to Feltham? Depending on where you’re going to in Berkshire it may be possible to get off another train at Feltham and touch out there. If you sit in the right place on the train you may be able to nip out and back on the same train as there are exits on both platforms at Feltham. I’ve tested a couple of stations and the difference between the SWT fares to Feltham and Richmond is more than the difference between the Oyster fares from Feltham and Richmond to Ravenscourt Park.

  34. Hello, I need to go from Uxbridge to Royal Oak every week. If I take the piccadilly to hammersmith and then the “hammersmith and city” to royal oak I have to pay z2-6, but how can I prove it? There are no pink validator in hammersmith I think…

  35. Hi Simone,

    There are two Hammersmith stations so you have to touch out from one and touch back in to the other. Providing you do this within the time allowed for the OSI it will treat both legs as one journey and know that you have gone that way.

  36. Hi Mike,
    I used my Oyster today to go from Leyton to Kentish Town west and back. As it was my first time using an overground train I didn’t realised I had to touch the pink readers in Stratford, so I got overcharged. Do you think I may be able to get a refund? Thanks

  37. Hi nic,

    You can always ask, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope. At least you know what to do next time.

  38. What is the total peak-time fare for journey:
    “East Ham – (Blackfriars LU – London Blackfriars NR) – Beckenham Hill”?

    Single Fare Finder says £2.40, but, at the same time –

    “Alternative oyster single fares:
    Route 1: Via Zone 1 changing between London Underground and National Rail at Blackfriars[..] – £4.90″

    How can I get this route for £2.40?

  39. Hi Alex,

    Basically you need to avoid zone 1. I think the simplest option is East Ham – Bow Road – Bow Church – Lewisham – Catford Bridge – Catford – Beckenham Hill. You could also take the Jubilee between West Ham and Canary Wharf and/or travel via Nunhead rather than the Catford stations.

    One of my big gripes with the single fare finder is that it doesn’t describe the default route where more than one exists, especially when the default route is the cheapest.

    Hope that helps.

  40. *…-Lewisham – Catford Bridge – Catford – Beckenham Hill*
    At what time should I start to reach the destination at 8ap?

  41. I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Bear in mind that Catford to Catford Bridge is a 2 minute walk and Bow Road to Bow Church is also a walking interchange. I’m also not suggesting that I would do that route, but that is the sort of route you’d have to take to get the cheaper fare.

  42. Hi mike,
    I had a question for the price which travel from Arnos Grove to Cutty Sark DLR pass through shadwell to avoid zone 1. I had already touch the pink vaildator in Highbury & Islington. However, it also claim for the full price of zone 1-4. why?

    the journey as below:
    Arons Grove(tube)- Highbury(overground)- Shadwell(change overground to DLR(less than 3 mins-osi))- cutty sark(DLR)

    thank you for your help.

  43. Hi Cat,

    That’s a nice easy one. Shoreditch High Street is in zone 1. To avoid zone 1 you need to take the overground to Stratford from Highbury, touch the pink validator again, then the DLR to Cutty Sark.

    Hope that helps.

  44. Brian Carson

    Hi mike,

    This may appear a daft question but as I have had two strokes
    trying to get my head around all the oyster rules is not easy.

    I will be travelling to Highbury & Islington tube station and then going up the stairs to Highbury & Islington Overground and catching a train to Hampstead Heath.

    As I have already used my card at the barrier to enter Highbury & Islington Overground do I still need to use the pink-coloured reader as well ?

    I would suspect the answer will be no but its always wise to double check.

    thanks for your help in the past.

  45. Hi Brian,

    I’m a little puzzled here. Are you saying that you will be arriving at Highbury & Islington on foot, entering via the underground station, then going on to the overground station once inside the barriers? If yes, then no you don’t need to use the pink validators. If you were arriving on the Underground itself then whether you need to use the pink validators depends on where you are going from and to. However, Hampstead Heath is sufficiently close to mean there’s only one way to get there from Highbury, so you wouldn’t need to touch pink.

    Finally, whether you need to use them or not, touching the pink validators won’t have a detrimental effect on your charge.

  46. sorry to try and keep it simple I had left out I had started my journey at Bush Hill Park Train station so it was train to Seven Sisters then the tube to Highbury & Islington where I caught the train to Hampstead Heath.

    I made the journey yesterday and while it may sound easy what confused me is it is possible to transfer from train to tube at Seven Sisters without going though a barrier and it is possible to transfer from tube to train at Highbury & Islington also without going though a barrier – just to really confuse people not used to that route there is yellow machine and its not clear if it requires a touch . { at Seven Sisters }

    There is no signs up advising who is supposed to use them .

    checking the Journey history the system did charge me the correct fare { £2.10 } but I would have been less worried if I had to walk though a barrier.

    If I had extended my journey to Clapham Junction I believe I have to use the pink scanner at Highbury & Islington – is this correct ?

  47. Hi Brian,

    Now I completely understand the question. Both Seven Sisters and Highbury & Islington are one station, each serving both tube and national rail. So yes, it’s fine to interchange without touching. The yellow validators at Seven Sisters are for the benefit of people arriving from outside the Oyster area on a paper ticket wanting to start an Oyster journey from there. If you are already in the Oyster system then you shouldn’t touch them mid journey.

    As for the pink reader at Highbury, yes you would need to use it if going to Clapham Junction.

  48. Cheers Mike

    I was interesting to get it right as I am a volunteer at Music festivals and the Coaches always leave from the back car park of Clapham Junction and if I depart from South Tottenham railway station { the nearest London Overground station I can reach by bus } I can change at Gospel Oak onto a train that takes me to Clapham Junction so avoiding Victoria which was a a complete nightmare last year with all sorts of diversions to reach the main line station as the escalators were out { Not easy when I was shifting all my camping gear } – This year I want to avoid Victoria completely { even if they claim its back to normal at Victoria there is still stairs from the Victoria line to the escalator } hence why I was interested to see how easy it was from my local station but changing to the tube is more trouble than its worth .

    Thanks to your advice I now know I only need to touch in at South Tottenham and then touch the pink reader when I change at Gospel Oak and touch out at Clapham Junction and it even works out cheaper as well – but more than money I have cut down on climbing stairs.

    its a ultra cheap fare and its nice to see the Outside world for a change so I will be avoiding Zone 1 whenever possible.

    I would have been lost without your site.

    All the best brian

  49. Why are there no pink readers at Clapham Junction?

    As I understand it, travelling from Worcester Park to Greenford can be done in one of (at least) two ways.

    1 National rail to CJ, Overground to Shepherds Bush then Central Line to Greenford.

    2 National rail to Vauxhall, Victoria Line to Oxford Circus then Central to Greenford.

    Not knowing the stations well enough, I don’t understand how the system knows I changed at CJ and Shepherds Bush with no pink readers rather than travelling through Zone 1 (I have to do this in two weeks, hence the question).

  50. Hi Mike,

    There are actually two stations at Shepherd’s Bush and you’ll have to touch out of one and into the other. As long as you complete both touches within 20 minutes the journeys will be joined together, plus the routeing will be noted so that you are charged the lower rate.

    Hope this helps.

  51. Ah! That way the fact I didn’t have! I guess the trip between stations works to identify the route quite effectively.

    I have a degree of respect for the poor guys who had to work all this out. It’s a complex system of interconnections and it must have taken quite a lot of effort. I’ve never seen the pink machines at Wimbledon, I’ll have to keep an eye out for them (simple curiosity) next time I stop there.

  52. Take a look at my page on Wimbledon. It’ll tell you where to look.

  53. Hello Mike. I’ve got a prepaid day return ticket for Clapham Junction to Brighton and I am wondering if it’s easy to use my oyster card for the journey to Clapham Junction from Feltham using South West Trains. I will be arriving on platform 4 at Clapham Junction and will be departing from platform 13 (4 minutes later) on the Brighton train. Do you know if there is an oyster ‘reader’ on every platform in Clapham Junction or is it best to get the traditional ‘paper’ ticket? Best regards….Danny

  54. Hi Danny,

    Quick answer – use a paper ticket.

    Longer answer. 4 minutes is below the recommended connection time of 10 minutes for Clapham Junction. I would strongly recommend taking an earlier train from Feltham. If you allow at least the minimum time then you get more protection if your train from Feltham is delayed. If your tickets to Brighton are advance tickets (valid on booked train only) then adhering to the minimum connection time means that you will be allowed to take a later train if your first one is delayed.

    Having said all that, if you allow longer at Clapham Junction then using Oyster will be cheaper than using a paper ticket. You will have to go to the exit gates to touch out and then re-enter with your ticket to Brighton.

  55. Thanks Mike. You certainly know your stuff and explain it very clearly. I’ll be getting a paper ticket. Thanks again….Danny

  56. Hi Mike

    How does ones Oyster Card know that they have avoided central London when travelling on a southern service from Clapham Junction to Wembley Central or Harrow and Wealdstone?

    Thanks

  57. I was charged a zone 1 fare from colliers wood changing at balham to white city via clapham junction (rail) yet when I returned from White City on the same route when finishing my journey in Balham Rail I was charged the right fare avoiding zone 1, help?!

  58. Hi Tim,

    Basically it’s because you haven’t touched out or in again along the route. If you go via Euston then you’d need to touch out of the Underground and back into the NR station.

  59. Hi John,

    They’ve decided that the extra change at Balham means that most people would go via Tottenham Court Road for that journey. Therefore it is always charged via zone 1. I suggest you email them and ask them to consider the alternative route.

  60. Hi, I’m trying to go Chesham – Wimbledon avoiding Z1.

    I’m about to try teh following route suggested on TFL’s farer/route finder.

    I plan to use Overground between West Hampstead to Clapham Junction. But don’t want to get off at West Brompton to change/use the Pink Validator. I’ve read there are no Pink Validators at Clapham Junction.

    Will I be charged as per below, or have I missed the point here ?

    I’d appreciate any help/suggestions you have.
    many thanks

    ———————————–
    Route 3: Avoiding Zone 1 via West Brompton (or Clapham Junction), Willesden Junction and West Hampstead (or Brondesbury/Kilburn)
    Oyster
    £4.30
    Monday to Friday from 0630 to 0930 and from 1600 to 1900.

    £2.60
    At all other times including public holidays.

    To ensure you are charged the appropriate fare you must touch on the pink card reader on the Oyster route validator if interchanging at West Brompton

  61. Hi Rich,

    That’s an interesting one. You could either change at West Brompton onto the District line or Clapham Junction. I’m not 100% sure, but I’d say that once you’ve changed at West Hampstead (or Kilburn/Brondesbury) the route will have been set. The route description doesn’t insist on going through West Brompton, so it should work. If it doesn’t charge the right amount of money then you’ve got a very good complaint which I’ll help follow through as well.

  62. Thanks Mike – I’ll give it a try and let you know how I get on.

    Can’t see how it knows if I’ve changed at West Hampstead though – maybe this would become apparent because I’d have to go through the gates at Waterloo or Vauxhall when changing on to South West Trains to get to Wimbledon.

  63. West Hampstead is three different stations so you’ll need to touch out and in again when interchanging.

  64. I took a trip with my son this afternoon (just so he could travel on an Overground train!) and changed to the tube at West Brompton.

    Oddly, the pink validators at platform level have big blue labels on them exhorting passengers to only touch the readers if they want to begin or end an Oyster journey and have paper tickets for the National Rail portion of their trip.

    Given the fact that the machines are pink and the big signs on poles clearly say ‘Route Validator’ it looks like someone’s screwed up the signage to me.

  65. Thanks for the heads up. I must try and visit there soon.

  66. Ralph Ayres

    Someone did. It’s in hand.

  67. Nice to know. Now I want to back and see! (Actually, I’ll be passing through on Friday. I may stop off and have a look.)

  68. Hi Mike,
    I’ve refined my route to Wimbledon.
    The route via West Hamp is a bit slow).

    I’m now going, from Chalfont & Latimer, Z8, normally via Chiltern Rail – Marylebone, then Tube via Bakerloo line , change at Oxford Circus to Victoria line to Vauxhall, then NR to Wimbledon.
    At Peak I get charged £6.40.

    However if I travel instead use a Met line train from Chalfont & Laitmer, to Baker St, change on to the Bakerloo and onwards via the same route I get charge £6.90.
    Any idea why its 50p more when I’ve used x1 less NR train ?

  69. Hi Rich,

    That’s an anomaly. You are supposed to be charged the higher fare if you use South West Trains at all when the journey has gone via zone 1. For some reason the system is getting confused when you change at Marylebone and is charging you as if you used the District line to Wimbledon. I’m surprised that it does this, but I guess it’s a side effect of the complicated system that Oyster is.

  70. Hi, is it required to touch in on pink readers?
    If I travel from Sudbury Hill station to Kings Cross underground station via Rayners Lane taking the Met line rather than just the Piccadilly as the journey planner suggests, would I get charged I higher rate?
    Am I supposed to touch at Rayners Lane or not?
    Thanks in advance :)

  71. Hi Rajesh,

    You will never be charged a higher fare by touching a pink validator. The one at Rayners Lane is intended for people travelling outside zones 1 and 2, e.g. Acton Town to Wembley Park. Although your journey involves an extra zone by going to Rayners Lane you will only be charged extra if the single fare finder says so. Because pink validators are supposed to indicate cheaper routes there is no compulsion to touch them. There should also be no effect if you touch one when you don’t need to.

  72. Hi there, I travel from Ickenham to Kingston via the Piccadilly line and then change at Earl’s court to catch the district line to Wimbledon (I avoid zone 1) but on early mornings I have to catch the Metropolitan line to Rayners lane and then change for the Piccadilly line… There is a pink validator at Rayners Lane.. And another one at Wimbledon… My question is which one should I touch on to get the cheapest fare? Please note: I do have my 16-25 railcard and oyster linked together. Thanks :)

  73. Hi Diane,

    The answer is neither as you are using the default route. Rayners Lane is intended for people changing between the Metropolitan line eastwards and the Piccadilly line southwards. It won’t make a difference if you do touch either or both though.

  74. Hi,
    Where along my journey route between New Cross Gate and Putney, via East Croydon and Clapham Junction, should I touch for the cheapest fare, if I’ve already touched the pink validator at Canada Water when changing from the tube to the Overground? (I can’t go direct to CJ from Crystal Palace Overground due to engineering works on part of the Overground.) Thanks.

  75. Hi Alistair,

    If you don’t touch anywhere else then it should give you the same fare as you would usually get, as per the single fare finder. You don’t say where you are starting from so I can’t check, but as long as you don’t exceed the maximum journey time for the zones the journey would usually go through then you shouldn’t be charged any more.

  76. Hi…I need a help…I m travelling from Blackhorse Road to Wandsworth Town – I change at Highbury and Islington or at Gospel Oak and then take overground towards Clapham Junction…then take overground towards Wandsworth Town…I buy 2-3 zone travel card…I touch pink reader at Gospel Oak or at Highbury and Islington…but still it takes £2 extra for each journey. Do I need to touch pink reader more than once ? Please guide…Many Thanks, M

  77. Hi Mani,

    Unfortunately Blackhorse Road to Wandsworth Town is defined as going through zone 1, probably because the number of changes required to avoid zone 1 is deemed too many. However, what you need to do is touch out and back in again while changing trains at Clapham Junction. That will make two separate journeys both within zones 2-3 so you won’t be charged extra.

  78. Hi Mike,
    It will be my first time travelling to Putney. I’ve never changed at New Cross Gate before either. From Prince Regent (zone 3) at the start of my journey, I change onto the tube and then onto the Overground at Canada Water where I touch the pink validator. To get to Putney from there I was going to change at NXG for national rail to East Croydon, then jump on a train to Clapham Junction where I can get a connection to Putney. Single fare finder says it will cost £3.40 off peak but that sounds like a fare which includes travel in zone 1. Do you think the journey might take me too long to be recognised and if so is there possibly a way around it? I’m not even sure how many zones oyster will say I am crossing – does it only take into account the zone at the start and end of your journey? Also I think Putney is in zone 2 and 3. Thanks for you help.

  79. Hi Alistair,

    Prince Regent to Putney is defined as via zone 1 because the alternative requires too many changes. You can save a little by splitting the journey in two at New Cross Gate. Just touch out and back in again while changing trains. The default route for New Cross Gate to Putney is via Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction, but if engineering work gets in the way you can still travel via East Croydon. Just make sure that the overall journey from New Cross Gate is completed in 110 minutes on a Sunday. It’s the same from Prince Regent to New Cross Gate.

  80. With the final part of the East London line opening in December, I hope Oyster will finally either add a route validator at Surrey Quays as it will become a more viable station to change for New Cross/New Cross Gate from the new stations on the extension in South London.

  81. Hi Martin,

    I agree, though I’m not sure that they will. It’s only a problem if the default route involves going via London Bridge. In many circumstances I expect the default route to change, especialy where the whole journey is made using London Overground.

  82. Hi Mike

    Yesterday, I was traveling by bus from crystal palace to oxford circus and back. On our way into town we took the 432 Bus from Crystal Palace to Brixton and from there the Bus Nr 3 to Oxford Circus.

    On our way back we took the Bus Nr 3 all the way to Crystal Palace.

    But instead of being charged £4.05 my card was charged £5.40. It’s looks like that the Oyster-Mind-Computer thought I tried to cheat and I did charged my card with 4 Busfares (4x£1.35)

  83. Hi Oliver,

    Can you check your journey history online? This should list all your fares for the day. I have to say that it is practically impossible to be charged £5.40 just on buses in one day because the bus daily cap kicks in at £4.20.

  84. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I have checked my journey history online and made a print screen, which I try to upload for you here. [link removed]

    My girlfriend did the same journey with me on Sunday, but she was charged the right amount.

  85. Hi Oliver,

    Thanks for the screenprint. You have actually only been charged £4.05. If you check the running balance you’ll see that £1.35 has been deducted each time. There does appear to be a bug in the software though. I think it relates to the previous bus journey. Although that says it was early on Saturday morning, would I be right in thinking that it was actually early on Sunday morning? If yes then I think that the bus has allocated it to Saturday’s total, but because it was after 0430 the journey history software has also added it on to Sunday’s total. Would you be happy for me to pass your email address to the developers so they can look into it?

  86. Hello Mike,

    I have a zone 2-3 travelcard and travel from turnpike lane to shepherds bush via the overground to avoid zone 1. Reading the above article I see there are pink readers at Highbury and islington and willesden junction, both of which I go through. Do I need to touch the pink readers at both stations to avoid being charged the zone 1 fare or just one? Also, depending on when I travel the overground occasionally goes straight through to shepherds bush and I’m not required to change at willesden junction. Would this have any baring? Would I have to get off just to touch the pink reader or would the one at Highbury and islington have been sufficient. Thank you for this great site and all the help you are providing.

  87. Hi Adam,

    The single fare finder only mentions using the pink validator at Highbury and Islington so you don’t need to worry about Willesden Junction. You are not supposed to need to use pink validators with a travelcard so you should be ok. I’d be interested to know if you encounter any problems.

  88. Thanks Mike, I have actually had to touch the pink validators otherwise I’m charged £2.00 even with the travelcard. I don’t mind too much as I have to walk right past it but it would be nice not to have to worry about it.

  89. Hi Adam,

    That is very interesting. Signs on the pink validators say that they are for PAYG use only, so this seems to be a departure from previous experience. At least you know how to avoid the zone 1 charge now.

  90. Hi Mike,

    I was reading about pink oyster validators today; I was hoping that if i touched one at an interchange i could reduce the cost of my journey.

    At the moment i travel from Watford junction to Clapham Junction at off-peak times; a single fare costs me £1.70 using a pay and go oyster card combined with a 16-25 railcard.

    But what would happen if i were to stop half-way at Willesden Junction to validate my journey at the pink validator. Would this further reduce the cost of my journey?

    I just don’t understand how the system knows that i have skipped zone 1 otherwise.

  91. Hi Megan,

    Touching a pink validator only has an effect if the fares table lists an alternative route involving that validator. In your case it will make no difference. £1.70 is the off-peak with railcard price for Watford Junction to Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction. It knows that you’ve avoided zone 1 because you haven’t touched out at Euston. I also have to say that £1.70 is a cracking value fare for a journey of that length.

    Hope this helps.

  92. Hi Mike
    I have a Zone 2-6 season ticket to go to Imperial Wharf from Lingfield. On occasion, I have to continue through to Victoria. I have an oyster, but is there a way to validate it without detraining at Clapahm. And where is the pink reader at Clapham if I have to detrain…
    thanks

  93. Hi Brian,

    Unfortunately if your season ticket is not on your Oyster then you will have to detrain to touch in. You’ll need the yellow validators which are on the gatelines at each side of Clapham Junction. The big downside is that you will be charged a 2-zone fare from Clapham Junction. If time isn’t critical then you can reduce this by travelling to Vauxhall on your season ticket then taking the Victoria line to Victoria. Vauxhall is dual zoned 1/2 so your season covers you and the tube is just a zone 1 journey.

  94. Fatima Siraja

    Dear Mike,
    My husband is travelling via Overground from Stratford to WIllesden and Willesden to Watford each day. He has been touching the pink card reader at Willesden to and fro during his journey. He seems to be charged £6.40 a day and on the online account it says ‘You have been charged for travelling through zones not covered by your oyster card’.
    My husband has a Annual Gold card for zones 2-3 and he just adds a top-up to cover him from zones 3-9. Not sure what he is doing wrong. We dont want to be spending £6.40 a day when TFL fares show £1.50 for a single fare.

    Please advise. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you !
    -Fatima

  95. Hi Fatima,

    This is actually an easy one. There is a special case when travelling wholly on the line from Euston to Watford Junction which says that travel in the contra peak direction is charged at off-peak rates. So Euston to Watford in the morning and Watford to Euston in the afternoon is all off-peak fares. As soon as the journey ventures off the Euston to Watford line the full peak at both morning and afternoon becomes payable in both directions. Your husband’s journey is Stratford to Watford so that is what it is charging even though the only part outside zones 2-3 is towards Watford.

    There is an easy way round this which is to split the journey in two. Instead of touching the pink validator at Willesden Junction your husband should touch out and back in again at the yellow validators or gateline. Then the journey from Willesden to Watford is only using the Euston to Watford line and will be charged at off-peak. As you say, the zone 4-W part will then cost £1.50 each way.

    I hope this helps,

    Mike.

  96. Hi Mike,

    Travelling from Bexleyheath to Beckenham Junction appears to be a Z4-5 fare. I think it is easier (and may be faster) to change at Victoria rather than at Nunhead and Shortlands. If changing at Victoria, do I need to touch out and in again, which would triple the cost?

  97. Hi Jason,

    That’s a zone 3-5 fare where they expect you to change at Lewisham and Petts Wood. Technically you should pay for zone 2 if you change at Nunhead, but one of the beauties of Oyster is that you can’t be off route as long as you touch where you need to, and with just an island platform you won’t need to at Nunhead. Victoria is probably pushing it a bit though, especially if you need to go through barriers when changing trains. I’m not sure of the layout of the station, but if you did need to touch out and in again then you would be charged twice for fares including zone 1.

  98. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Forest Hill to Blackfriars every day, via Whitechapel. Thus far, I’ve been ignoring the pink scanners, as I didn’t know what they were for. Should I be scanning my card on them for every trip?

  99. As it happens, via Whitechapel is the default route so you don’t need to touch the pink validators. If the single fare finder says you need to touch a pink validator then you need to do so to get the right fare.

  100. I have been reading the various questions and comments about Route Validators and Travelcards. I have a Z23 Travelcard and rigorously use the pink validators where there is an alternative fare routed away from Z1 which requires the pink validator to be used. I am also rigorous about touching in and out even within the zones on my Travelcard even though there is a small inconsistency on this point between the various sets of Conditions of Carriage. I know the stickers on the validators are not terribly helpful but it is clear to me that TfL have tied together the routeing logic for PAYG with the Travelcard Zones. The lack of suitable routing options, especially via Clapham Junction, which would support the valid use of a non Z1 Travelcard is irksome in the extreme.

    TfL do actually cover the requirement to validate on pink validators if using an Oyster Travelcard in the Conditions of Carriage.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/conditions-of-carriage-september-2012.pdf

    See Clause 6.9 for the relevant entry about part PAYG use and also Travelcards not including Zone 1.

    I hope this helps even if it adds considerably to the burden of people having to check routes and fare options when using a supposed “ride at will” ticket. I have lost count of the times when I have had to check the fare finder while en route in order to work out where to split a journey to avoid being charged a default via Z1 fare. Your website is something of a “tour de force” on Oyster issues – well done for providing something so helpful.

  101. Thanks PC,

    That is very interesting indeed. I’m wondering if that has changed recently. I might have to buy another weekly travelcard to check some things out again.

  102. I don’t think it has changed recently. I raked through the C of C documents much earlier this year to try to suss out this point. I left TfL earlier this year so lost my staff pass so had to learn the intracacies of public fares. Pink validator touches register in my online Oyster history and do affect whether I am charged or not. The TfL Staff Guide to 2012 Fares and Ticketing was released under a FOI request and it uses similar wording to the C of C about using pink validators.

    You may have spotted the FOI request (TfL Ref: FOI-1149-1213) but TfL have recently provided details about fare and alternative fare routes that change or are added as a result of the new ELLX Phase 2 service. It also says no pink validators for Surrey Quays. There is no sign that a pink validator will be provided at Clapham Junction either.

  103. Hi PC,

    OK. I know that some journeys used to be charged differently with a travelcard loaded, and some pink readers have notices suggesting that they are only for PAYG use (eg Whitechapel last time I was there). I’ll have to take a further look into this, although it may not be until next year due to other pressures.

    Oh, and I made that FOI request, so yes I have seen it.

  104. Hi Mike,
    Interesting update to the recent posts – I noticed yesterday that the pink validators have had the signage updated to include reference to both PAYG and ‘non-zone 1 travelcards’, so clearly your campaign for clarity has has some effect! This was at Gunnersbury, though I imagine others have been changed too.

  105. Hi Michael,

    It’s funny that you should notice that because I saw the same thing at Willesden Junction on Sunday. Whether it’s clarity or just a desire to stop defaulting to a cheap fare if a travelcard is present I’m not sure.

  106. Hi Mike,
    I have a question. If I want to go from West Brompton to Surrey Quays or Canada Whater how many times I need to touch my oyster card? Or where I can find this information?

  107. Hi Victoria,

    If you use the default route via Clapham Junction then you only need to touch in at the start and out at the end.

  108. Hello
    This week I’ve had a go at using the new Overground service on my way into work. I board at Tooting Broadway and travel to Clapham North, make the interchange to Clapham High Street and then travel to Canary Wharf via Canada Water.

    I’ve made this journey 3 times this week and on all occasions have been charged the fare for entering Zone 1, even though I touch in on the purple validator at Canada Water (I have PAYG).

    I used to make this journey but in the reverse a few months ago to go home, so I used to get the DLR to Lewisham & get a train to Denmark Hill, change and get another service to Clapham High Street and then pick up the tube again from Clapham North.

    This journey meant that I was supposed to be paying £2.00 as it’s a tube-underground ‘throughfare’, although the system never got it correct and I had do request a refund every time.

    I know that Overground falls into the pricing remit of the tube system, including DLR but excluding National Rail, so am wondering why on the Single Fare Finder the new route is listed as “travelling via Balham and Canada Water” is £2.00, when it should be £1.50.

    Also, browsing through TfL’s site today, there used to be National Rail/Overground pricing map that showed which parts of the network where you paid the tube fare and where you paid the National Rail fare. I can’t find it.

    Have you come across this anomaly before as I’ve heard that taking multiple modes of transport to make a single journey often forces the system to pick the fastest/most direct route (with least changes) even though when you get statements sent to you the journey is correct but the fare is wrong.

    On a lighter note, I have managed to get back 1 refund out of the 3 journeys made so far.

  109. Hi Dave,

    There do seem to be some routes missing involving the new ELL extension.

  110. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for all the information, this website has been a great help! I’ve read through all the comments on this page but I still want to clarify something:

    1. If I have a monthly Z2-6 travel card added to my Oyster card with 16-25 railcard and I’m travelling from Whitechapel to Teddington via Clapham Junction, do I need to touch in and out at Clapham Junction to make sure I won’t be charged for z1 fares? As the journey planner gave me the default route of going through Waterloo instead, but the Single fare finder showed only £3.60, while the Fares table for 2013 showed £3.80…

    Thanks in advance!

  111. Hi JZ,

    The journey planner takes no account of Oyster charges when suggesting routes, so I’d ignore that completely. If the default fare for your journey covers the correct zones then that is what will be charged. So no extra touches required.

  112. Unless there has been a change to the way we are supposed to use these, there seems to be a problem with them today (or at least the one on the northbound Overground platform at Canada Water). I touched in at Canary Wharf, and went one stop on the Jubilee Line to Canada Water. I changed to the Overground there, like I do every day, and touched the pink reader, like I do every day. Today it appeared to deduct the cost of the journey, which I haven’t seen it do before. I assumed that at Wapping it would realise I had just changed lines, and display the same final balance.

    But no. At Wapping a further £4.60 was deducted. I queried this, and was told that I had touched out on a yellow reader at Canada Water, and therefore had no “start” for my second journey, which ended at Wapping. (They couldn’t explain how I would have got back into Canada Water station had I actually touched out on a yellow reader).

    I said that I had been nowhere near a yellow reader at Canada Water. They said I was wrong. Then they asked why I had touched the pink reader anyway. I explained that I did it every day, because there were notices requiring PAYG users to touch it, and a £50 penalty for not doing so They said no, there weren’t, and it was totally unnecessary to touch the pink reader unless I was leaving the station (although surely that is what the yellow readers are for…).

    So keep an eye on your PAYG balances if you have travelled today, and particularly if you have used the pink readers at Canada Water.

  113. Hi Susan,

    That sounds bad. I don’t think that the notices say you might get a £50 penalty because failure to touch them can end up with you being charged more. However, it doesn’t excuse their ignorance as to the difference between pink and yellow readers.

    For future reference you don’t need to touch the pink validator when making that journey because the default fare is already a single zone fare. But it shouldn’t matter if you do.

    Contact the helpdesk from tomorrow to arrange a refund. Hopefully they will understand what has happened. They certainly should be able to see which physical reader you touched and whether it has acted correctly or not.

  114. Hi Mike,

    I think I pressed “send” on my comment before adding that one of the staff did eventually agree to refund me the charge, so I want to add that for the sake of completeness.

    They printed out my travel history and said that the reader was an exit reader, which leads me to think there is a software problem of some sort, because it was definitely a pink reader, and it’s the same one I have used countless times with no problems at all.

  115. Hi Mike,
    Could you help me to know what would be the best way of travelling from Spring Gardens (Islington) to Perivale? The Tfl suggests me to go through zone 1 but I was wondering if it would be better (and cheaper!) to take the Overground from Canonbury (as this is my nearest overground station) to Shepherd’s Bush, and change to the Central Line to Perivale from there.

    I’ve also seen in your post that there is no pink readers at Sheperd’s Bush so I don’t know if it will be possible.

    Thanks in advance!

  116. Hi Patricia,

    The TfL journey planner has little if any idea of cost, prefering to concentrate on the fastest/shortest options. Avoiding zone 1 will certainly save you money; better is too subjective to predict. There is no need for a pink validator at Shepherd’s Bush as there are two separate stations. Just don’t take longer than 20 minutes between touching out of one and in to the other.

  117. Hi Mike,

    I am planning to go to Heathrow Terminals 123 from Brockley via Surrey Quays, Clapham Junction, West Brompton and Earl’s Court. I believe it should be a zone 2-6 fare, while “single fare finder” shows me a 1-6 fare without cheaper alternatives. Does this mean I will surely be charged the latter fare regardless of the route chosen?
    Many Thanks!

  118. Hi Cassie,

    Unfortunately yes. You will avoid the NR+TfL through fare which you would get if changing at a London terminal, but the default route is assumed to be via Canada Water and Green Park.

  119. Wasn’t sure if it’s been mentioned anywhere here, but the interchange between the Northern Line at Clapham North and the Clapham High Street on London Overground has had the fare costings corrected.

    So you will be able to interchange there, if your whole journey doesn’t include Zone 1, you will no longer get charged the cost of entering Zone 1 – as what was happening.

    They’ve also ‘fixed’ the Alternative fare finder. Route 1 is correct, but Route 2 still makes no sense.

  120. Cheers Dave,

    Route 2 involves changing from Overground to Southern anywhere between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace to get to Balham and then Northern Line from there. It’s slightly more expensive because you are charged the NR rate instead of the TfL rate.

  121. Katherine Read

    On Saturday i travelled from Walthamstow Queens Rd (London overground) to Denmark Hill via Highbury and Islington. I have a Zone 1-3 Oystercard but I was charged in both directions. I have already raised this with Oystercard and will get a refund. However I have been told that, for the purposes of this route, Walthamstow Queens Rd. has been reclassified as zone 4. Apparently i should have gone to Walthamstow Central and taken the tube to Highbury! Alternatively I could use the route validator at Highbury. However i have previously travelled to Stratford via this route with no problem. This makes no sense.

  122. Hi Katherine,

    You’ve been misinformed. Walthamstow Queens Road is in zone 3 but the default route for a journey from there to Denmark Hill is via Barking (zone 4) and Whitechapel. This benefits PAYG users because a zone 2-4 journey is cheaper than a zone 1-3 journey, but you suffer because your travelcard covers the higher price journey but not zone 4.

    Walthamstow Central to Denmark Hill is charged as a zone 1-3 journey so would work. You could also split the journey in two by touching out and in again while changing trains, say at Blackhorse Road or Highbury & Islington. The pink validator at Highbury might work, but it might not.

  123. Hi Mike,
    I travel from EAST HAM to FULHAM BROADWAY daily.
    Just got to know about oyster validators.
    My question is do i need to tap in once at oyster validator or at both stations where i interchange?
    Like when i start my journey from East Ham do i need to validate at stratford or west brom , or at both?
    Incase i have to at west brom , then i can take district line direct to wimbledon come out at west brom , validate and use district line to next station i.e fulham broadway.
    I will just be charged almost half using the same route by just validating ?
    or i need to validate at stratford by East Ham -> West Ham -> Stratford -> West Ham and then to Fulham Broadway?
    and what will be my route back?

    Thanks in advance mate.

  124. Hi Mike,
    I travel from Lewisham DLR to Fulham Broadway.
    Please tell me the cheapest route.
    And on which station/s to validate my oyster card.
    Can i make a Zone 2-3 Pass?

  125. Hi John,

    As per the alternate fares on the single fare finder you can travel via Stratford, Willesden Junction and West Brompton. Use the pink validator at Stratford and West Brompton where you change trains.

  126. Hi Ali,

    Same response again, validate at Stratford and West Brompton. Take the same route in reverse for the return.

  127. Cheers Mike , you are a gem !
    Keep up this excellent work !
    many thanks again

  128. Hi,
    I have a query regarding a journey between Stratford to Hounslow.
    When i check in TFL, i get an alternate cheaper route via Canada Water (or Shadwell or Whitechapel) & Clapham Junction saying i change over at Canada Water (or Shadwell or Whitechapel).
    It also says, i have touch at the Pink reader in Canada Water.
    Will it be sufficient if i touch at the pink reader in Canada Water? Will i not have to touch in the pink reader in Clapham Junction.

    Can you kindly clarify?

    Thanks,
    Karthick

  129. Hi Karthick,

    There are no pink validators at Clapham Junction. If you touch the pink reader at Whitechapel or Canada Water, or switch between the two stations at Shadwell, then that is enough to prove you’ve avoided zone 1.

  130. Hi Mike

    First, thanks for the site. It lays out a lot of information that should be clearly explained by TFL on their own website!

    Many mornings, my journey to work is on the 0805 Leytonstone High Rd – Hamptead Heath LO service (yes it does exist – have a check on journey planner) before continuing from Hampstead Heath – Gunnersbury and then Gunnersbury – Ravenscourt Park on the District line. As this is all within Z 2-3, I should pay less than if I had travelled via Central London (£1.60 I believe). However, as there is no route validator at Hampstead Heath (I guess as this service is a peak time anomaly – normally the train would terminate at Gospel Oak instead.

    Oyster helpline are always willing to refund the difference between the fares (i.e between £3.20 and £1.60) but seem unwilling to acknowledge that it’s their problem and the default route on the system should change. I do touch the pink reader at Gunnersbury so I’m clearly not going via central London.

    What do you suggest as a solution?

    N.B. the Leytonstone High Rd – Hampstead Heath service I take does not stop at Gospel Oak. I want to take this service rather than the previous or following service as it gets me to work on perfect time and is also a lot quieter than other services at that time of morning. Taking the same train ca. 3 times a week means that this is a significant consideration and can make a big difference to ones well being!

  131. Hi Tom,

    There are two problems. Firstly you are expected to change at Gospel Oak and touch the pink validator there. Secondly, they recognise the route via West Brompton and Earls Court, but not via Gunnersbury. Personally I would have thought that via Gunnersbury ought to be recognised and thus work. It would be unreasonable to install a pink validator at Hampstead Heath for just the one train. I’m not sure whether the route requires both pink validators to be touched, but you clearly can’t do the one at Gospel Oak on that train.

    If the helpline don’t seem to want to acknowledge the problem then I suggest that you involve London Travel Watch.

  132. I moved home… Help!!

    I was wondering if I can get away with a weekly pass Z2-Z3 if I travel from Lewisham(National Rail) to Newcross (overground) straight up to Highbury and Islington(Pink Oyster) and change to my last stop in Camden Road. I actually passed 2 pink oyster along the way (Whitechapel and Canada water)

    OR

    maybe its better to change @ Canadawater (pink oyster) then Jubilee line to stratford(another pink oyster) to Camden road (Overground)

    OR

    maybe its better to change @ Londonbridge (pink oyster) then Jubilee line to stratford(another pink oyster) to Camden road (Overground)

    or maybe just PAYG instead of travel card??

  133. Hi Rich,

    Lewisham to Camden Road via New Cross and Shoreditch High Street requires a zone 1-2 travelcard. If you change at Canada Water and Stratford then you’ll only need a zone 2-3 travelcard as long as you touch the pink validator at Stratford. You could also take the DLR straight to Stratford from Lewisham if that’s easier. There is no harm, but also no need, to touch the pink reader at Canada Water. If you really want to go via London Bridge and Stratford you would need a zone 1-3 travelcard. There is no pink reader at London Bridge as you have to touch out and back in again when changing between NR and LU.

    If you only make 5 return journeys then PAYG will be cheaper unless you go via London Bridge.

    Lewisham NR to Camden Road via London Bridge is £3.90 peak, £3.30 off-peak single.
    Lewisham NR to Camden Road via Shoreditch HS should be £2.40/£1.90 but actually costs the same as via London Bridge.
    Lewisham NR to Camden Road via Stratford is £2.10/£1.70.
    Lewisham DLR to Camden Road via Stratford is £1.60/£1.50. This is my recommendation if using PAYG.

    Hope this helps.

  134. Incredibly helpful Mike. Thanks!!!!

  135. Hello

    I’m a bit new to this, didn’t realise quite how much brain power this takes.

    I’m travelling from Thames Ditton (NR) to Shepherds Bush (or from there change to Central and get off at White City if i’m feeling super lazy) – I’m choosing the ‘alternative route’ on the single fare finder (changing at Clapham Junction) which is almost half the price – when I go to the journey planner it suggests this route so also refers to my ‘alternative route’ as ‘Route 1′.

    What I’m now confused about is – do I need to touch out and back in again at Clapham Junction in order for the card to know I’ve avoided Zone 1?

    Currently I’m using pay and go and think it’s over charging me and I’m going to buy a travel card for zones 2-6, so my question is do I need to touch in and out at Clapham Junction using pay and go and/or a travel card?

    And, why are there not pink readers at Clapham Junction? That just seems silly to me…

    Cheers

  136. Hi Penny,

    You don’t need to touch at Clapham Junction on either journey. If you can copy your journey history for an occasion where it has overcharged then I’ll try and work out what is going on. I believe that South West Trains are blocking any platform validators at CJ because they fear revenue loss.

  137. I recently travelled from Canning Town including interchanging from jubilee line onto the overground to get to Kensington Olympia avoiding zone 1. However even if you touch the pink validator at Canada water the system won’t recognise your route. The route has been available since December 2012 and is still charging users zone 1 prices regardless of touching appropriate validator. Users only option (if you notice the fault) is to pay for zone 1 route, and then call up for a refund.

  138. Hi Alistair,

    It looks like you’ve stumbled across another inconsistency. There is an avoiding zone 1 route, but it means travelling via Stratford. I agree that either direction round the circle is logical from Canning Town, and it’s got to be a no-brainer from Canary Wharf which ridiculously also insists on travel via Stratford. It looks like this is another area that TfL need to consider.

  139. Hi
    I come in on Greater Anglia from Manningtree in Essex to Stratford then take the Overground to Canonbury. There is no yellow reader at the Stratford OG station so I touch the pink one and then touch out on a yellow at Canonbury. This works fine (£1.60 fare). On my return journey I touch in at Canonbury (yellow) and touch out on the pink at Stratford. This never seems to work and I get charged the maximum fare. Any ideas as how I fix this?

  140. Hi Steve,

    Pink Route validators are not supposed to be used to start or end journeys. You need to visit the gateline at Stratford to touch out, unless there are still yellow readers in the corridor to the DLR Pudding Mill Lane branch. There is an unpublished oddity that if you are not touched in and use a pink validator then it will treat it as a touch in instead, but this doesn’t work (because it can’t) as a touch out.

  141. Hi Mike
    Please can you let me know what is the cost of a single journey from Turnpike Lane to Gunnesrbury, travelling through High & Islington and getting the overground from there. All in zone 2 & 3 and providing that I touch the Oyster card on the pink reader at H & I. Thanks.

  142. Hi Monika,

    The single fare finder says that this will cost £1.60 peak or £1.50 off-peak.

  143. Thanks Mike

    Strange system, I think they call it user hostile… I will end up missing a train trying to find a reader! When you say gateline do you mean a barrier somewhere in the station?

  144. Hi Steve,

    Any of the gatelines leading out of the station, or the standalone validators near the DLR to Pudding Mill Lane platforms. To be honest, I don’t think pink readers should record entry at all as it’s just confusing.

  145. Mike, just wanted to say, I spent a good hour reading your responses and just… well done. Well done. You’re incredible.

  146. Hi Mike

    Just came across the website, very informative.

    If I travel from East Croydon to Waterloo via Clapham Junction (only on a Sunday) should I use an Oyster Card? From what I can see there is no pink card reader at Clapham Junction? If that’s the case how does it work out. Or should I just buy a paper ticket? Many thanks.

  147. Hi John,

    Yes, definitely use an Oyster card. There is no need for a pink reader for this journey as you are taking the default route.

  148. Hi Mike

    Thanks for answering the question, it’s most appreciated. I see what you mean now in how is the default route.

    Though one more thing, the national rail enq website it says that a return is £5.80, but how is this calculated? On the way there, I’ll scan out and money will be deducted. Though can’t the return trip be seen as a completely new journey in its own right, a “single” and a single fare will deducted from the card, how does it know that it’s a return trip?

    I only ever use oyster on trams and busses, never on the train as I hardly use the train, which is why I’m not getting it.

    As ever many thanks
    John

  149. Hi John,

    The off-peak single fare is £2.90 and NRES doubles it to get the return fare. It is however charged as two singles. NRES tries to work out whether a peak fare might be charged depending on what time trains appear, but it’s not a precise science.

  150. Hi Mike,
    while browsing the cheap way to travel on tube i came across this blog and i would like to ask if i can save some money while commuting from home to work. As i commute from Arnos grove to Hillingdon and have an interchange in zone1, and this is the only travel way tfl website shows. and fare rate is £10 per day on PAYG and around £55 on weekly pass.Could you help me in this regard. As i only pass through from zone-1 I pay more, Could you please tell me if i could ignore zone1 charges if i touch pink reader at Rayners lane station.

  151. Hi Rizvi,

    Not Rayners Lane, no, but there is a way. It will add some time to your journey but will save you loads. From Arnos Grove change at Finsbury Park onto the Victoria Line (cross platform interchange). Then change at Highbury & Islington onto the North London Overground line. Take that to West Hampstead and change to the Jubilee line, then change onto the Met at Wembley Park (cross platform interchange).

    Is it worth it? Your £10 daily commute comes down to just £5.40. The only extra thing you must do is touch the pink validator on the Overground platforms at Highbury & Islington.

  152. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the advice, I have started saving money now.
    One more question to ask if I go for zone 2-6 pass and for instance some morning go via zone 1 (my old route from Arnos grove to Hillingdon) how much the extra charge I have to pay one way, or topup my oyster excluding weekly pass

    Regards,
    Rizvi

  153. Just a zone 1 single which is £2.10 on LU routes.

  154. yellow route validators at foot of starirs to c2c platforms (7 & 8) at West Ham are to be made pink. c2c staff have been there for a couple of nigts getting people to swipe them. I wonder if it will be necessary to swipe them and the L Overground ones at Stratford.

    BTW, what is the default route from Barking to Caledonian Road & Barnsbury? In other words,do I have to pink at Stratford? I’m using PAYG only.

  155. Hi Colin,

    Thanks for the tip off, I’ll keep an eye on that one. The default route is via either Whitechapel or Moorgate and Highbury & Islington which both require zone 1. If you want the cheaper fare then you do need to do pink at Stratford.

  156. Do you have an example of a route which would require a pink validator touch at West Ham? I see there’s an Evening Standard Article today re. Pink validators: tinyurl.com/nr58ots
    It says “West Ham to Crystal Palace costs £4.60 (peak) or £3.60 (off peak) via Zone 1, but just £1.60 (peak) or £1.50 (off peak) if a pink validator is used” I think that’s incorrect – journey planner says the default single fare is £1.60/£1.50, so no pink validator is required (I presume at Canada Water).
    Also in the same article the tfl spokesperson says “Pink Oyster validators are located in interchange stations to ensure passengers pay the lowest possible fare for their journey. We provide clear information in stations and on our website,”
    In fact they still don’t have information on their website regarding the need for travelcard holders to use the pink validators. It still refers to PAYG only http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14871.aspx

  157. Hi Doug,

    What, are you expecting TfL to update their website? It took years after 2010 for them to add all the new NR stations into their help and contact section.

    I think the pink validator at West Ham is probably to say you’ve avoided zone 2 when travelling between C2C and DLR. It’s not in their list yet, so I don’t know when fares will make use of it. There is a regular update due at the beginning of September.

  158. Matt E Raffles

    There is a beta version of TfL’s new website available, which suggests that there may be at least some changes coming to the Oyster information held in the ‘tickets’ section.
    The default routes for fares between c2c and the DLR seem to already be on the cheaper (non-Zone 1) pricing structure, so, unless there are plans to change this, routeing validators would not be of much help in these cases.

  159. Hi Matt,

    I know they are already avoiding zone 1, but they may want to avoid zone 2 as well. It’s possible that they’ll increase the default fare to include zone 2 and allow the cheapest fare when changing at West Ham.

  160. Matt E Raffles

    Fair comment Mike although, at least for the time being, all of the key journeys between c2c and DLR stations in Zone 3 are set on a non-Zone 2 basis. A number of journeys, via the DLR, to Southeastern territory (destinations such as Charlton, Erith and Slade Green) are also set at Zone 3-based prices.

  161. Wow, it’s actually been updated. Must have been at the weekend. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14871.aspx

    It now mentions non-zone 1 travelcards and the need to use pink validators.

  162. Good to know we’re still being watched by TfL.

  163. Hi Mike.
    I travel from Burgess Hill (NR – Southern) to Victoria (always after 9am). I usually buy a NR ticket to East Croydon, get off the train, exit using my NR paper ticket and then re-enter using oyster (payg) and continue to Victoria. (After that, I always make enough bus/tube/dlr journeys to reach the daily cap.
    My question regards returning on NR from Victoria. I touch in with Oyster and then again, get off the train at East Croydon, touch out and re-enter using my paper ticket to Burgess Hill. On the return journey, what would be the effect of not touching out and re-entering at East Croydon? Could I just stay on the train? My Oyster card is a tourist card (but I don’t think that makes any difference).

    Thanks.

  164. Hi Andrew,

    The tourist card doesn’t make any difference to what you’re doing, but staying on the train would. Take a read through the latest page to be added to this site – An Oyster Rail Journey and you’ll see that on touch in you get a maximum fare deducted. That is adjusted down to the correct fare when you touch out. If you have capped already then it deducts the maximum fare on touch in and refunds it all back on touch out.

  165. Hello all. I’m travelling from Surbiton to West Brompton, changing from over ground to tube at Wimbledon. Do I need to use the pink card reader with my oyster card, or do I just touch in at Surbiton and touch out at West Brompton? Thank you for help.

  166. Hi Frances,

    That’s the default route for that journey so you don’t need to touch the route validator at Wimbledon. It won’t make a difference if you do though.

  167. sharon ajodha

    Hi do you know if there is a way to travel from Norwood Junction to Richmond without entering Z1 or Z2 ?

  168. Hi Sharon,

    There is, but it’s only feasible with a travelcard. You’ll need to touch out and in again at both Tulse Hill and Wimbledon which will turn the journey into 3 separate journeys. There are two sensible routes; Norwood Junction to Tulse Hill to Wimbledon to East Putney (walk) Putney to Richmond which works with just zones 3 and 4; and Norwood Junction to East Croydon (tram) Wimbledon to East Putney (walk) Putney to Richmond which also requires zone 5. Unfortunately the whole route via Tulse Hill is not recognised when using PAYG and the tram would add more using that method as well.

  169. Hi

    Recently I took a journey from Surrey Quays to WImbledon during peak time and was charged £3.20. I made sure I avoided zone 1. According to a customer service rep at TFL and their website, one can still be charged as if they went through zone 1. How is this legal? If I bought some milk from my corner store, I wouldn’t be expected to be charged for eggs too?

    Thanks

  170. It’s in the terms of use of the Oyster system. Unfortunately there is a big problem with journeys onto the ELL from Wimbledon because the option of District line to Whitechapel seems to over-ride the change at Clapham Junction option. Please do complain to TfL, because the more people do the more likely it is that they’ll change it.

  171. Hi Mike,
    I just wanted to check something. I need to get from Heathrow Underground to Surbiton (off-peak). Single fare finder says £2.40 (Z2-6). Does that mean the default route is Heathrow – Earls Court – Wimbledon – Surbiton? So I don’t need to touch the route validator at Wimbledon, but it won’t make a difference if I do?
    Great site, by the way. Puts the TfL site to shame.

  172. Hi Simon,

    Yes, that’s all correct.

  173. It is worth pointing out that the two pink readers at Rayners Lane are in fact yellow. The signage is for a pink reader, the LCD display indicates they are route validators and they operated as a pink reader, however the pad itself is yellow.

  174. That’s brilliant! Thanks for the info. How do they expect people to know how to use the system when they can’t get simple things like this right?

  175. Hi Mike,

    My daily commute is from West Ham to Imperial Wharf via Canada Water and Clapham Junction. The only way to avoid overcharging is to touch pink reader at Canada Water and touch out/in at Clapham Junction. Touching pink reader at Canada Water is not enough – tested. It is fine if I am using Zone 2-3 weekly travel card. But recently I am commuting less regularly, so I am using PAYG and there is a problem – if I touch only pink reader at Canada Water – I will be charged like using Zone 1. If I touch out/in at Clapham Junction – I will be charged for Zone 2-3 but twice – one journey from West Ham to Clapham and another from Clapham to Imperial Wharf.

    Could you please advise??

    Thank you

  176. Hi Piotr,

    The Oyster system doesn’t think you’d go that way, at the moment. You can go round the other way changing at Stratford and touching the pink validator there. Alternatively there is due to be a pink validator installed at Clapham Junction and I would imagine that this is the sort of fare which might be included once that happens.

  177. Can anyone tell me which zone monthly pass I will have to buy if I travel from Stratford (3) to Eastcote (5)?

    I will take overground upto West Hampstead, then jubilee upto Wembley Park and finally metropolitan to eastcote.

  178. Hi Vid,

    You’ll need a zone 2-5 travelcard for that journey.

  179. Hi Mike. i was told by one of the officers at shepherd bush that a pink validator has been installed at Clapham junction but i am yet to see one. do you by any chance know if this has been installed and where because i commute from west drayton to south quays regularly and i only get overcharged at the point of touching out at shepherd bush on my way back despite using the validator at Canada water. although i have complained about this, i was refunded for one and the other is yet to be refunded.

    moreover, i was thinking if touching out and touching in at clapham Junction would rectify this anomaly so to speak if there was no pink validator at Clapham junction.

  180. Hi Ayo,

    Yes, there will be pink validators at Clapham Junction, but they weren’t there on Sunday when I visited. Whether they will solve your problem or not depends on them defining a route via the south. At present the avoiding zone 1 route involves changing at Ealing Broadway, Shepherds Bush, Willesden Junction and Straford.

  181. thanks Mike

  182. I have a zone 1-3 gold card and regularly use the interchange between London overground and LU at Blackhorse rd. today I was stopped and told that I had to touch on the route validator. I replied that I did not need to as I had a gold card not a pay as you go. I showed him the card but he still said I had to . I ignored him and continued and he did not try to stop me.

  183. Hi Katherine,

    Interesting. If your season doesn’t include zone 1 then there is benefit to touching a pink reader as it might save you a zone 1 fare. However, touching a pink reader is never required because it only ever saves you money.

  184. I travelled from theobalds grove (nr) zone 7 to Bermondsey zone 2 via Highbury & Islington and Stratford and I tapped my oyster on the validator at highbury but was charged £7.80 rather than £3.90 ( 1-7 single peak fare) could you tell y this is pls becsuse im trying to get it refunded

  185. Hi Colin,

    Firstly the zone 1-7 peak fare is £5.70, not £3.90 which is the off-peak fare. Secondly there is only one fare between Theobalds Grove and Bermondsey, so it doesn’t matter which way you go or how many pink readers you touch. £7.80 is the fare for mixing NR and TfL fares over that route which you have to do as Theobalds Grove is NR while Bermondsey is TfL. So I’m afraid that no refund is due.

    However, for future reference you can reduce the fare by touching out and in again at Stratford. Theobalds Grove to Stratford via Highbury & Islington is £4.10 peak, then Stratford to Bermondsey is £1.60 peak, total £5.70.

  186. Hi Mike,

    I am just about to start a job which comes with a TFL Oyster card for free travel on all Oyster routes. I live in Ifield in Sussex, and have determined that I have to get to South Coulsden to join the Oyster zone. Do I really have to get of the train and swipe in? It just doesn’t make sense givens that at Ifield there is a Southern trains swipe card system. What is the best way to solve this?

    Regards

    Paul

  187. Hi Paul,

    I’m assuming that your Oyster card comes loaded with a travelcard if it gives free travel. It may or may not include all routes as some go outside the standard zones 1-6. If that is the case then the good news is that there is no penalty for not touching in within the zones covered. The problem might be if you also have a season ticket for Ifield to Coulsdon South. If that is the case then the train will need to call at Coulsdon South for the combination to be valid. You may get more flexibility with a season from Ifield to East Croydon where pretty much all trains call.

    Southern’s “The Key” and TfL’s “Oyster” are separate systems. You can’t use Oyster outside of it’s area, while The Key will only work at selected stations within the London area.

  188. Hi Mike,

    Sorry if this has been covered already but I currently have a zones 2-3 travelcard on my Oyster card.

    Yesterday I began my journey at Shadwell Overground station, taking the OG via Peckham etc to Clapham Junction where I changed to the OG service to Stratford, getting off at Shepherd’s Bush.

    Now I assumed as I had avoided zone 1 (which was the whole reason I went that route) that I wouldn’t be charged any extra, however I was charged as if I’d been through zone 1.

    As there are no route validators at Clapham Junction, how was I supposed to tell the system that I hadn’t been through zone 1? Is there something I was doing wrong? Or is there a case to be made to TfL to put RVs at Clapham?

  189. Hi Alex,

    Unfortunately there is no fare for that journey avoiding zone 1 at the moment. As you are using a season ticket you can trick the system by touching out and back in again at the gateline near the overground platforms at Clapham Junction. That should make the journey appear as two separate journeys where neither goes into zone 1. It’s not ideal, but is a workaround at the moment.

    The good news is that route validators are being installed at both Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays. All that will need to be added is a fare in the database avoiding zone 1 and then you will be fine. You could certainly contact the helpdesk and ask whether such a fare will be introduced along with the new validators.

  190. Hi Mike,

    Pink validators have now been installed at Clapham Junction – I just used one this evening. Long overdue!

    Dan

  191. Hi Mike,

    I have recently started travelling from Oval to Canada Water. When searched on the single fare finder, the default route via zone 1 comes up.

    I clicked on alternative fares available, and found a cheaper route available with a change at Clapham North onto the overground. How can I ensure that tfl charges me for the cheaper alternative, as there doesn’t seem to be pink validators at Clapham North?

    Thanks so much!

  192. Hi Cheryl,

    You don’t need pink validators because the system knows you’ve gone that way because you have to touch out and backwards in again.

  193. Ah I see. To confirm my understanding, there will be a exit and entrance gantry at Clapham North then? Thanks!

  194. There will be a gateline at Clapham North and Clapham High Street may have gates or you might need to touch a yellow validator.

  195. I usually go from Willesden Junction to Teddington via Richmond on a z3-6 Oyster season. If, however, I go via Clapham Junction, that should cost more as I’m going out of zones. However, given that the stated purpose of the validators is to reduce your fair by showing you went the cheaper route, could I be challenged for not touching one at Clapham Junction and therefore not paying the extra ?

  196. Hi John,

    As long as you follow the rule of touching in at the start and out at the end of your journey you should not be challenged. In your case it is possible that TfL will increase the default fare to include zone 2 at some stage which would mean that you’d have to touch the pink validator at Richmond to avoid the increase. While they haven’t done that, touching the pink validator at Clapham Junction will have no effect as it is not logged as a significant via point on your journey. Note though that if you don’t touch in at the start of your journey you will get charged after touching the pink validator at Clapham Junction as that counts as a touch in if not already in the system. You may also be challenged if checked within zone 2 before Clapham Junction.

  197. Interesting, thanks. I used to always validate at Richmond when I was on PAYG, as that did default to assuming zone 2. When I went to season, it seemed to then assume I’d not gone via zone 2, and I often didn’t validate.
    I was once challenged by an inspector at Willesden Junction who said I’d come via Clapham, despite the fact that I’d just got off the Richmond train! All other times, though, the inspectors have not had a problem, and I usually validate anyway just to avoid the argument!

  198. Ah yes, I remember your case before. A while ago you used to be able to get more lenient treatment when you had a travelcard, but that isn’t normally the case now. It may be that they have concentrated on the avoiding zone 1 loopholes, but I wouldn’t rule out yours changing in the future.

  199. Do you know what happens in the following case?

    The single fare finder for Upminster to Kensington Olympia gives default fares using zone 1. There are two alternative routes that avoid zone 1. Route 1 is via Stratford, and mentions the pink validators at Stratford. Route 2 is via Barking, Gospel Oak, and Willesden Junction but does not mention pink validators; I would have expected that Gospel Oak would be mentioned.

    How can the system know that Route 2 was used, rather than a route through zone 1 without an OSI? Anyway, if Route 2 does not require a validator, then neither would Route 1.

  200. Hi David,

    I agree, that is confusing. I’m sure that you will have to touch at least one validator to get the route 2 fare, with either Gospel Oak or Willesden Junction being my favourites.

  201. After submitting my question about Upminster to Olympia, I tried each of the stations from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction. Apart from WJ, which does mention validating at Gospel Oak, they all exhibit the same problem. I tried a few of the stations from WJ to Richmond; they mention validating at Gospel Oak.

    By the way, WJ is not the place to validate. The validators are at the top of the stairs to the Bakerloo/Watford DC platforms, and are intended for passengers transferring from one of those lines to the NLL or vice versa. Passengers for the Clapham Junction branch of the NLL reaching WJ on a Richmond train merely need to wait on the same platform and need not go near the validators.

  202. It doesn’t surprise me particularly. Stations usually are grouped together in the fares table. In fact it would have surprised me if Kensington Olympia had been isolated.

    Agreed about Willesden Junction.

  203. Hi Mike,
    Incorrectly charged via Zone1 fare for Gants Hill – Leytonston – walk – Leytonstone High Road – Gospel Oak (route validator touched) – West Hampstead (overground).
    I usually go via Stratford (had engineering work Stratford-Hackney Wick yesterday) which provided I touch Stratford route validator is charged avoiding Zone1.
    Is a torturous route to go via Zone1 to come out of West Hampstead Overground and I think unreasonable to charge via Zone1 even if not route validated.

    This may be the same problem as Tom 18/2/13 although I did validate route at Gospel Oak.
    Tony
    PS. Gants Hill – Leytonston – walk – Leytonstone High Road – Upper Holloway is correct fare.

  204. Hi Tony,

    I agree with your assesment, though compared to the normal route via Stratford, the route you took could be considered tortuous. However, I’m sure a simple call to the helpdesk will resolve the matter. You could leave it a couple of days in case an automatic refund is forthcoming, but it will be sorted one way or another.

  205. I am travelling from Canada Water > Wimbledon via the overland and getting charged 3.20, there is no option to authenticate my journey at clapham where I change, to say I am not travelling through zone 1. Anyone got any suggestions?

  206. Hi P,

    There is a pink reader at Clapham Junction. It is at the foot of the stairs (London end) up to the overbridge.

  207. Highbury and Islington to canada water..by National rail. . Will I be charged fare zone 1-2 or fare zone 2 only. Thanks.

  208. Zone 1-2 as you pass through Shoreditch High Street.

  209. Hello Mike. Im going to be going to work in camberwell soon and I live in wood green. Im going to go from wood green (zone 3) to finsbury park (zone 2) to highbury and islington (zone 2) and finally to denmark hill (zone 2) Im going to buy a yearly pass on my oyster. Will I be able to get away in just getting a zone 2-3 pass or will i need to get a 1,2,3 pass? Your help is much appreciated, thanks.

  210. Hi Joe,

    You’ll need a zone 1-3 travelcard for that journey because you go through zone 1 at Shoreditch High Street.

  211. I often make a journey from palmers green station to highbury and islington then take the overground to shadwell and from there take the dlr to cutty sark. Though I touch in on the pink reader at highbury and islington, I have checked online and noticed for whatever reason I am not getting a discount and I am being charged the same as if I was going through zone 1. Anyone know why it does that?

  212. Another quick question. If i was to go from wood green to kings cross to london bridge to lewisham this would be zones 1,2,3 aswell right? Thanks

  213. Hi Kat,

    It does that because your journey goes through Shoreditch High Street which is in zone 1. If you want to avoid zone 1 you’ll need to go via Stratford instead of Shadwell.

  214. Hi Joe,

    Yes, that is entirely within zones 1-3.

  215. Ive got a quick question on setting up my oyster card..

    i bought it at a ticket office and have set it up online at home and put some money on it, it says the registration will be complete when i scan it at a nominated station. i selected stratford as that is where i will be changing from overground to underground. my question is, as i change at stratford will the pink card readers register my top up and activate my card? or do i have to come out of the station with my overground ticket that i have already purchased to then scan my oyster card to register it for the first time?

  216. Hi Nick,

    As long as you are effectively touching in you will get your top-up at the pink reader. However, the pink readers are on the London Overground platform which is a long way from the Underground platforms. There is a yellow validator on the Jubilee concourse, or if you are using the Central line you are probably better off using a gateline.

  217. Hi Mike,

    This is a really excellent website and well played for helping so many people!

    I’m moving to London this week and trying to get my head around it all! In terms of these pink readers, I noticed there is one at Highbury & Islington. I’ll be traveling to Brockley and one option is to go via Canada Water – will I need to touch the pink readers at a) Highbury & Islington, b) Canada Water, c) both stations or d) neither?????

    Thanks in advance!

  218. Hi Matt,

    You don’t say where you are travelling from, but the likelihood is that you don’t need to touch any pink readers. Between Highbury & Islington and Canada Water the line dips into zone 1, so there is no benefit to get from touching a pink reader.

  219. Hello Mike, Hopefully you can advise on an issue with using Oyster on the London Overground. There are direct trains from Highbury and Islington to Clapham Junction both via Gospel Oak and also via Shoreditch High Street – the route via Gospel Oak avoids zone 1 but the route via Shoreditch High Street does go through zone 1. How would the system know which route you took, since if you’re on a direct train there would be no opportunity to touch a pink reader anywhere? Thanks.

  220. Hi Marcus,

    The system can’t tell. From Highbury and Islington, Canonbury and possibly Dalston Junction, it gives you the benefit of the doubt and says you’ve avoided zone 1 even if you haven’t.

  221. Hi Mike,

    I currently travel from Streatham Hill (Zone 3) to Richmond (Zone 4) via Clapham Junction and have a travelcard Zone 3 – 4. Would using the pink oyster card bypass paying for Zone 2 or would i need to include Zone 2 on my travel card? Thank you

  222. Hi Terry,

    If you travel through a zone then you need to pay for it. The pink reader at Richmond only bypasses zone 2 for journeys in West London which actually do avoid zone 2.

  223. Hi Mike

    Firstly thank you for this fantastic website, it’s so helpful!

    I am commenting in response to Marcus’ comment above – I just travelled from finsbury park to clapham junction, changing at highbury & taking the overground via gospel oak, not Canada water. I have a zone 2-3 travelcard but was charged £2.30 for the journey – is the only way around this to get off along the route & touch one of the pink readers…?

    Thanks

    Nikki

  224. Hi Nikki,

    Did you touch the pink validators at Highbury and Islington before getting on the Overground train? If you did then you should have been charged the cheaper fare. If not then it seems to assume you’ve gone through the middle.

  225. Hi Mike

    I’m wondering if you can help. I’m very new to London and a bit confused by these pink validators. I start my journey at New Cross and end up at Piccadilly Circus. Do I have to use the pink validators at Canada Water? (Overground > Canada Water, Jubilee > Waterloo, Bakerloo > Piccadilly Circus).

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Chloe

  226. Hi Chloe,

    The single fare finder treats that route as the default, so you don’t have to touch the pink reader. It won’t make any difference if you do though.

  227. Hi
    My name is khusy
    And m travelling daily from sutton to wembley central .and i take southern to clapham n than clapham to willesden by over ground n than finnally wembley . So do i need to touch pink reader? N does they charge me more? Or what is the best option for trvell my two end points?

  228. Hi Khusy,

    Your route is the default route for that fare so there is no need to touch pink validators. It won’t make any difference if you do, however.

  229. I used the outer card for the first time yesterday. Used it whenever I needed to. It had charged me 2 penalty fares & one day journey around London costed £15.60 compared to a dy travel card around £9. I didn’t know that te journeys weren’t all linked, maybe should’ve got out and in on every station I had to change which isn’t easy in the underground.

    I don’t feel oyster is a card for infrequent use as I’m not a Londoner. There’s a lot of complex procedures and not getting everything right, leaves you ripped off.

  230. Hi Martin,

    Sorry to hear your experiences. If you contact the Oyster helpline they will probably arrange a refund for you, and if you aren’t often in London then that can be made direct to a bank account. If you look at my page When not to use Oyster you’ll see that I don’t recommend using it to rove around London for the very reasons you mention. However, I definitely do recommend it to infrequent visitors who want to make a few specific journeys with a purpose between each one.

  231. Hi
    I am going to be making regular journeys from North Greenwich to Seven Sisters. If I avoid zone 1 and go via Stratford and Highbury and Islington I see that it is a cheaper fair. In terms of the pink oyster validator there is one at Stratford and one at Highbury, would I need to touch in on both of them or would it just need to be the once at Stratford which is the first one I would come across?
    Thanks

  232. Hi Jake,

    The single fare finder says both, so I’d be inclined to use both.

  233. Hi,

    Commuting from West Ham to Imperial Wharf via Canada Water and Clapham Junction – the most logic choice for me (total journey about 45 minutes). Official route avoiding Zone 1 via Stratford is about one hour. Using pink readers on Canada Water and Clapham Junction is fine with my 7 days travel card. When I am on PAYG I am charged as traveling via Zone1. Really don’t get it :/

  234. Hi Piotr,

    I don’t get that either. I know that there are sometimes different routes defined for travelcard holders, but I thought most (if not all) of those had been eliminated once people started taking advantage of them. I’d be inclined to write/email the helpdesk and ask the fares people to consider adding the southern route to the PAYG tables.

  235. Hi,

    I’m considering getting a year travel card for University, I will be travelling from Finsbury park (zone2) to New cross or New cross gate (both zone 2).

    On a student Oyster card a zone 2 only card is significantly cheaper than zone 1-2 . Would I be able to get a zone 2 only card on this route if I touch the pink reader at Highbury & Islington?

  236. Hi Kay,

    Sadly not. You will pass through Shoreditch High Street which is in zone 1. The zone 2 only travelcard is actually zones 2-3 and would be valid if you touch pink validators at both Highbury and Stratford.

  237. I travel from Cuffley (One stop outside the Oyster scheme) on First Capital Connect to Lambeth or Tower Hill. At the moment I have to buy a return ticket to Finsbury Park, change onto the underground, and use my Oyster for that part of the journey. This entails walking out onto the street, and into another entrance. If I were to pay my train fare to Highbury and Islington, where I just step across the platform in order to get the tube, could I swipe my card on the pink reader and the Oyster scheme recognise that I had started my underground journey from there? It’s not practical to buy a train ticket just the one stop to Crews Hill, where the Oyster starts, from Cuffley as this would entail me getting off of the train to swipe the Oyster, and then waiting for the next train.

  238. Hi Dave,

    You don’t want to use the pink readers because they are on the Stratford to Richmond platforms which would be an even more tortuous route than at Finsbury Park. There are however yellow readers between the GN and Vic platforms at Highbury. If they still work* then they would do what you want. Otherwise it’s not going to help. On the way back you can’t end a journey at a pink reader, so you’d have to touch out properly anyway.

    * Last time I was there the platform validators were switched to “out of use” but that could be because it was a weekend and the GN service to Moorgate wasn’t running.

  239. If I go from say Northwood to North Ealing using the metropolitan line and going via Rayners Lane, do I have to touch the pink reader?

  240. Hi Angus,

    As that’s the most obvious route for that journey there is no need to touch the pink validator, but it won’t make any difference if you do. The sort of journey that validator is designed for is Wembley Park to Acton Town where you could reasonably go via zones 1 and 2, or not if you use Rayners Lane.

  241. Hi Mike
    i am confused about the cost of my trip today. It was from Wimbledon to Waterloo by train and then to Goodge Street by overground. Since the interchange access was closed, i touched out in waterloo railway station and touched in tube station. The whole trip cost me 3.8pound. I wonder how it is calculated and if you don’t mind please offer an optimal route between wimbledon and goodge st. by using train and underground. Thank you~

  242. Hi Li,

    That is a mixed NR+TfL through fare and includes the premium for mixing when the journey includes zone 1. You still need to touch out and in again if you use the peak-hour access to the tube. The only way to make that journey cheaper is to take the District Line from Wimbledon and change to the Northern Line at somewhere like Embankment/Charing Cross. That truly is a no touch required route and is charged as a TfL only fare of £2.70 off-peak.

  243. Thank you for your reply.And I’d like to know if I purchase a zone1-3 travelcard, will my trip(wimbledon-train-waterloo-tube-goodge st.) be covered or should I pay for premium? And what is the difference in everyday cap between mixed NR+TfL and only tube?
    Many thanks~

  244. Hi Li,

    A zone 1-3 travelcard covers any travel within those zones (except St Pancras Intl – Stratford Intl). Likewise the daily caps apply to all travel. The premium is only applied to single fares and thus makes the cap/travelcard more attractive.

  245. London Overground – Canonbury to South Hampstead is a Zone 1-2 journey unless you touch a pink reader at Willesden Junction (according to the single fare finder).

    However, there was a direct service this weekend from Camden Road to South Hampstead and on to Willesden Junction due to engineering. I got charged £2.20 for Canonbury to South Hampstead instead of £1.50. I imagine a lot of people were overcharged if they got off before Willesden Junction. Had there been no engineering I’d have gone to Finchley Road & Frognal.

  246. Hi Doug,

    I would expect this case to be automatically refunded in the next day or so. If it isn’t (ie you don’t get an email) then I’m sure that the helpdesk will sort it out.

  247. Hi Mike,

    I will be making a trip soon from Oxfordshire Banbury to Wimbledon and I looked at the Single Fare Finder on TFL and it said that if I go through Shepherd’s Bush and West Brompton it’ll be cheaper. But I was wondering where exactly are the pink validators located in West Brompton?

  248. Hi Mike,

    If I get the overground from Highbury & Islington to Denmark Hill will my zone 2-7 travelcard be valid?

    Will it know that I’ve gone via Shoreditch HS (Zone 1) it’s quite annoying that it’s the only stop on the overground in zone 1!

  249. Hi Ashleigh,

    They are between the District line and Overground platforms

  250. Hi Sam,

    Sadly it will know..

  251. @Sam, you could always go via Stratford, touch pink validator there, change to Central Line, change to District/H&C at Mile End, change back to Overground at Whitechapel.

    Am I correct in thinking, as the Single Fare Finder gives this as an alternative cheaper route, Sam would not run into any problems?

  252. Hi Alun,

    Yes, you are correct. I did think of mentioning this yesterday but I was on a smartphone and struggling to type at the time. The key is being prepared to extend the journey time to get the cheaper fare.

  253. Hi Mike

    I didn’t get an automatic refund. I phoned tfl Oyster refunds line, explained my situation and was told that they can’t give refunds in the case of planner engineering works!! I said that was ridiculous and repeated that I hadn’t gone via Zone 1, and after some debate they agreed to refund me…

  254. Well I’m glad they refunded you. I’m tempted to try a similar journey this weekend as the same work seems to be taking place again. I certainly won’t put up with being fobbed off.

  255. Hi, I need to travel from Hillingdon to Cutty Sark. I know that the cheapest fare needs to use the pink card readers but can you please tell me the route I need to take as well as where I can touch on the pink reader to get the cheapest fare. Thank you.

  256. Hi Amy,

    You need to change at Finchley Road and walk to Finchley Road and Frognall* then touch the pink validator at Stratford. You can then take either DLR or Jubilee line to Canary Wharf where you need to change most of the time onto a Lewisham DLR.

    * You can also change at West Hampstead where the stations are a bit closer together, but the Met doesn’t stop there.

  257. Nick Mitchell

    I recently traveled from Hackney central to Wandsworth Town on the Overground touching the pink validator at Clapham Junction and was charged £3.50 with a code of 5576.. I was told by TFL that there is no default fare for this journey without going via zone 1.What is the pink validator for at Clapham Junction and why was i charged £3.50.Cheers.

  258. Hi Nick,

    The pink validator at Clapham Junction does indicate avoiding zone 1 on lots of routes. Unfortunately in your case it doesn’t work. I think this is a mistake because clearly a direct train to Clapham Junction plus one stop on SWT is a reasonable route. Indeed you can buy paper returns for three routes: Any Permitted, via Surrey Quays and via Kensington Olympia (where the prices reflect the zones and modes used). I would email the helpdesk and ask them to pass on a request to the fare setting people. I’ll do this as well because it is an obvious omission.

    I don’t know whether they would be prepared to refund you, probably not, but you can always ask.

  259. Hi Mike,

    just to say what an amazing site! your comments are brilliant and helpful! however i have one quick query..

    I am from Milton Keynes so i get the train once every fortnight to see my girlfriend in London. I always put £10 on my oyster card which lasts me the whole day. However i have just realised i can attach my 16-25 railcard to my oyster, so what would be the new cap for all day travel? would i still need to put £10 every time i top up for all day travel? and if i have the money left over which is sufficient for all day travel, could i just get away with not topping up?

    hope you can help

    regards,
    Bando

  260. Hi Bando,

    The railcard affects the off-peak caps which become: Z1-2 £4.60 (£7.00), Z1-4 £5.10 (£7.70), Z1-6 £5.60 (£8.50). The undiscounted amount is in brackets.

  261. Reuben Kandiah

    Hi Mike,

    I travel daily between Gunnersbury & Aldgate East – I thought that by changing my route & taking the overground from Gunnersbury to Highbury & Islington, then on to Whitechapel (getting off at zone 2) that I would be avoiding zone 1 and be charged the zone 2-3 fare rather than zone 1-3. Do I have that right?

  262. Hi Reuben,

    Not if you travel through Shoreditch High Street, which is in zone 1. If you carry on to Stratford, touch the pink reader, then take the Central Line to Mile End and the District to Whitechapel you will then avoid zone 1.

  263. Anubhav Malhotra

    Hi Mike,

    I need to travel daily for work from Stratford in Zone 3 to Wembley Park in Zone 4. Can I use a Zone 3-4 travel card for this journey. If this is possible, the how should I plan it. Thanks for any help.

  264. Hi Anubhav,

    You’ll need zone 2-4 and you use Overground from Stratford to West Hampstead then Jubilee to Wembley Park. You can also change between Finchley Road and Frognal and Finchley Road to make use of the fast Met trains.

  265. hi mike,

    i have to travel to shepherd bus every day from slough what would be cheapest way to be there please.

  266. Hi kewlsilence,

    This is a definite case of cost or time. The cheapest, but very slow way is to use the 81 bus to Hounslow West, then the Piccadilly, District and Central lines via Acton Town and Ealing Broadway. All you would need is a zone 2-5 travelcard season. The fastest way is much faster but costs more too. FGW train from Slough to Ealing Broadway and then Central line.

  267. Hi Mike,
    I have to travel from Chadwell Heath on the national rail into Stratford and then overground to Highbury&Islington using the pink validators. Is this the most cost effective route?

  268. Hi Harley,

    Yes it should be. You must touch the pink validator though.

  269. Hi Mike,
    I wanted to avoid zone1.
    I need to travel from barking to brentford, could you please suggest which is possible route for that?
    Barking to Canadawater — i can go via westham so that zone 1 is not required

    from there to claphanjunction and then to brentford is there any way by avoiding waterloo i,e zone 1?

    thanks
    Sri

  270. Hi Sri,

    Yes, you can go either way round London. The single fare finder has the details.

  271. Hi Mike,

    I have a question about the pink validators. I would be travelling to Clapham Junction via Highbury and Islington and then Surbition. Before I start my journey I know I have to touch the pink validator at H&I so that I avoid zone 1, however I was wondering if I have to touch the pink validator again when I arrive at Clapham junction and then take the train to surbiton ? if so when I go back to H&I there is no pink validator at the platform that the train stops at, do i need to go to the platform that has it and then go to the underground ? sorry for any inconvenience caused and many thanks

  272. Hi Abby,

    The answer depends on where you start your journey on the Underground. It might be slightly more complicated. Also, are you going via Willesden Junction or Surrey Quays on the way to Clapham Junction?

  273. I start from seven sister to H & I to Clapham Junction I do pass Surrey Quays however Is don’t get off

  274. Hi Abby,

    Would you believe that you’re the second site visitor today trying to do Seven Sisters to Surbiton avoiding zone 1?

    Things to note. Shoreditch High Street is in zone 1, but, the system gives you the benefit of the doubt if you travel from Clapham Junction to Highbury & Islington because it can’t tell which way you go. If your train arrives in the platform without pink validators then you will have to go over to touch one of them before getting the Underground. Likewise the other way if your train is due to leave from that platform. If you go the other way then there are pink validators on both platforms because you genuinely do avoid zone 1 via Willesden Junction.

    Now the extra complication. TfL don’t believe that anyone travelling from Seven Sisters to Surbiton would avoid zone 1 so there is no fare set. If you are using PAYG then that is a real pain, but if you have a travelcard there is an easy workaround. Basically you have to touch out at Clapham Junction and touch back in again. This makes it two journeys: Seven Sisters to Clapham Junction via Highbury & Islington and Clapham Junction to Surbiton. You can do that on a zone 2-6 travelcard. If you don’t touch out and in again at Clapham Junction then it will charge you £2.20 extra each way as it thinks you’ve gone via zone 1. There is still a saving if you use PAYG, but it’s not as much as it should be. You pay £3.90 peak each way for the SWT bit and £1.60 peak each way for the Overground/Underground bit. If it was programmed as a valid alternative route it would only be £3.90, but at least it’s better than the £7.50 via zone 1 peak fare.

  275. After you saying that I actually checked and he/she is trying to do the same thing as me :)

    I am so sorry for keep on asking questions and bothering you I just want to be sure. taking the other way (Willesden) would be harder for me as I guess i will have to go seven sisters to highbury then willesden then clapham and then surbition

    So if I take the overground at highbury and islington all the way to clapham juncation exit and go back in, it would be ok ? or because I am going through Shoreditch High st it would automatically charge even though I touch the pink validator

    Once again very sorry and thank you

  276. No problems. As long as you don’t touch between Highbury and Clapham Junction it assumes you’ve avoided zone 1 because it can’t tell. There are some direct trains via Willesden Junction and I believe it takes a similar time either way.

  277. With the recently publicised (localy at least) arrival of Oyster at Epsom next September (part of the new TSGN franchise agreement apparently) I’m wondering if Epsom will also get a pink reader?

    I’ve always thought of them as ‘avoiding zone 1′ indicatiors but surely there must be some savings to be made from avoiding zone 2 (i.e. Clapham) and changing between SWT and Southern services at Epsom? I guess I’ll go and look at some fare tables :)

  278. There is at least one validator further out than zone 2 (Rayners Lane), but I’m not sure how much you might save by saying you’ve gone via Epsom. You might get a small saving going from Ewell East to West, but most sane people would walk or get the bus.

  279. Here’s an interesting one (I think).

    My son went out around London with the scouts yesterday and, against my better judgement, used his zip card to do it. On the way back, they came via the W&C to Waterloo but didn’t bother to touch out before heading for the SWT gate line.

    When I did that a year or two ago I got a maximum charge and had to top up to get home, this time, however, he was allowed through and his journey history simply records a touch on the ‘pink card reader, Waterloo (platforms 1-11)’.

    He clearly didn’t touch a non-existent pink reader so do you know if they have reprogrammed the Waterloo gate line to handle missed W&C touches? Whatever the answer is, we correctly paid £1.50 for the day and I’m quite happy.

  280. To be honest I’m not surprised that they’ve done something. That interchange is probably the most troublesome on the network. It’s similar to the arrangement at Finsbury Park where you can still enter the gates to the NR station if you haven’t touched out on the validators from the LU station. It’s possible that calling it a pink validator is the result of allowing the intermediate touch, the reverse if you like of allowing pink validators to start a journey if you aren’t already touched in.

  281. If forced to use a more expensive route because of issues on the overground, is one entitled to somehow claim the difference back from TFL? In my case I probably wasn’t delayed (overall) by 30 minutes or more, but my journey cost twice the amount as I was forced to travel via zone 1.

  282. Hi Tom,

    If you were following advice from London Overground then I would suggest contacting them re any overcharge.

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