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Railcards and Discounts

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1,108 Responses

  1. Every moth i renew my monthly travel card zone 1-3 and whenever i have to travel beyond zone 3 i just top it up and i can travel.

    On the other hand my wife purchased zone 1-3 goldcard (paper ticket)think it is more beneficial for her to buy a goldcard and when ever she had to traver beyond zone 3 she will need to purchased another ticket from the ticket office. But many staff dont know about boundary zone ticket and the will sell her a noraml ticket even though she will ask.
    the station run by london overground.
    my question
    1 why they dont give the right ticket to the passenger.
    2 all the staff of london overground instead of helping us passengers they will spen time chatting on their phone WHY (we dont pay for such service)
    3why when one london overground ticket staff made a mistake another london overground ticket office cant rectify it.
    4. why when my wife showed them her gold card they refused to open the gate (even though she told them that it is not working properly).
    ======ARE WE HAVING A GOOD SERVICE I !!!!!!=====


  2. Hi Kamal,

    You can put an annual travelcard on an Oyster card as well. You’ll get a record card to enable you to get discounts on travel outside London while the discount flag gives you discounts on off-peak single rail fares and the off-peak cap. As to your other complaints I suggest you contact London Overground customer services.

  3. Hi Mike,
    I really appreciate your website (and your helpful comments here and other rail sites).
    A question if I may, I renewed my Annual Z1-3 travel card earlier in the week and the ticket clerk went to re-add the Gold Card and noticed that my YP railcard was also registered and he said it was better to leave that on rather than replace it with the GC. Now it doesn’t bother me as I so rarely use my oyster outside of my zones, and indeed thought that it was my GC rather than my YP that was registered with the account, but I was wondering if you could think of any situations where having the YP rather than the GC would be advantageous? The only possible thing that I could think of was that the restrictions for minimum fares for the YP are lifted July and August. Are there similar restriction easements on the times for off-peak caps / LUL Rail fares with a YP in the summer? I would have asked the clerk why he felt that the YP was better but there was a queue and is was the only window open.
    Many Thanks, Nick.

  4. Hi Nick,

    Is the 16-25 railcard a three-year version with more than a year still to go? If yes then he’s saved you the hassle of linking cards again until it expires.

    Oyster treats all NR railcards the same. Discounts are given on off-peak single fares and off-peak caps. This includes discounts on fares between 0430 and 0630 but also no discounts on most fares between 1600 and 1900. It uses the same setting for all railcards so the only way he would know that it was a 16-25 railcard would be the extended expiry, or possibly a guess if the expiry didn’t match your season.

    Obviously you need to carry the 16-25 railcard with you whenever you travel beyond your zones.

  5. I have always had my Network Railcard linked to my oyster meaning Pay as You Go fares off peak are lower – presumably like the YP Railcard mentioned by Nick. Was the card incorrectly linked or have the rules changed?

    My Network Rail Card expired last week, will I no longer be able to link this card with my Oyster?


  6. Hi seb,

    The card was incorrectly linked. The rules have not changed. The minimum fare on weekdays means that the card is effectively useless within the Oyster area.

  7. I have perviously tried to get my senior railcard attached to my oyster to no avail. I contacted oyster customer services who stated my discount hadnt been put on hence i have not had my discoun t applied since the 21st JAN.
    I was assured by the person at the station it had been added. I even called the tfl oyster people to confirm they said it had as well —– but no discount. when I received my oyster statement I asked where my discount for my journeys are, to be told there is no sentior railcard added to my account.Well as I have not received any discount so far maybe your instructions will help many thanks.
    Staff need to be trained on putting these on .

  8. Hi Maureen,

    Can you confirm as many details as possible. What sort of Oyster card is it? In particular, is it the 60+ card issued to those over 60 but not quite old enough for a freedom pass? And when are you travelling and over what routes. You won’t get any discount applied before 0930, nor will single fares be discounted between 1600-1900. Also, can you spill the beans on which station you are using?

  9. Hi Mike

    I have a question about Chiltern’s free travel at the weekend with a season ticket offer. I wanted to know if I could get the same deal if I bought the ticket from their website rather a Chiltern station.

    I used a Z1-4 travel card and their website says you can get the free travel at weekends using a season ticket in Oyster if you show your ticket receipt.

    The response from Chiltern to my email says the free travel deal only applies for Chiltern point to point session tickets and not travel cards. Grrr confusing. Are you able to help? Thank you

  10. I understood it also applied to travelcards on Oyster as long as they were purchased from a Chiltern station. Can you get a travelcard on Oyster from the Chiltern website? See http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/tickets-and-fares/season-tickets/new-customers for more details.

  11. Hello,
    Please can you help? i am confused about best tickets.
    My husband & i + 3 children are visiting London in March for 5 days.
    We do qualify for both Disabled railcard OR friends and family rail card. Our children are aged 13, 9 and 8 so 2 adults + 3 children traveling together.

    iI need help on which would be best and offer best discounts.

    Kind regards Patricia

  12. Hi Patricia,

    You will almost certainly be better off with paper travelcards using the family and friends railcard. If your travel can be restricted to Underground, DLR and buses, plus London Overground* then your 8 and 9 year olds will not need to pay.

    * There are a few National Rail routes as well as London Overground that operate on the TfL basis. Any FGW, Chiltern, London Midland or C2C routes within the London fare zones will also be fine. See the definitions page on this site for details of a few other routes.

  13. I have a YP railcard and im using a temporary (normal adult) oyster card but im getting another one through the post with money on that TFL owe me.. so can I add the YP discount on the current card and then add it on to the new one when it comes through? as i will be returning my current card to receive the deposit back

  14. Hi Hannah,

    Yes you can. You can attach a railcard to more than one Oyster card, but obviously only one can be used at any one time because you have to carry the railcard with you as well.

  15. Hi Mike,

    Great website, thanks for all the info.
    I just want to clear up something. I live in London within zone 3. My wife has an annual 1-3 travelcard and i use oyster payg within zones 1-3. I have seen that she can get me a Network railcard for £1 which is great. Can that be put on my oyster and then used for my payg journeys? I travel at peak times (around 8.30am and 6pm). I also occassionally travel within the Network Railcard area so once this has been loaded on my Oyster can I still use it for National Rail services?

  16. Hi Rob,

    No, the Network Card cannot be added to an Oyster card because the minimum fare on weekdays means it would never be useable within the Oyster area.

  17. Hi Mike, just wanted to say great website, it’s actually more helpful in many ways than the official ones.

    Do you happen to know if the link shows up at oyster.tfl.gov.uk after the cards are associated? I asked for a receipt but they didn’t provide any because it was a simple registration process. So I asked if it would appear on the aforementioned website, and they nodded. I’m not sure if that was a confirmation though. I checked the website right afterwards and nothing seems to be there yet confirming the link, but sometimes the website takes a while to update.


  18. Hi Schiez,

    I don’t think the railcard discount appears anywhere apart from the full printout which would be the receipt that you asked for. The last time I added one for my son they also wouldn’t give me a receipt, but the clerk did turn the screen so I could see it on there.

  19. Hi
    I have an anual Gold Card paper ticket from Banstead to London Terminals and pay as you go oyster. Can I have the gold card added to my Oyster to receive the travel discounts on other journey’s?

    Great site by the way

  20. Yes, absolutely. Just take the Oyster and Gold Card to an Underground station, preferably one attached to a mainline terminal.

  21. I’m finding it a bit hard to decipher. Seems that one of the discounts only apply if I but a ticket each day using my Oystercard (rather than a weekly). But then I would lose money on not buying a weekly, if that makes sense.

  22. Hi Toby,

    I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say here. National railcards newver give discounts on season tickets. Only the student Oyster card offers reduced travelcard seasons. If you can explain in more detail I’ll try and understand what you are saying.

  23. Sorry, I was talking to someone else when I typed my query, so it got a bit muddled. I have been buying a weekly oyster card as this is cheaper than getting tickets every day. Can i still get a discount on my weekly with a 16-25 rail card or does this just operate in single tickets.

  24. Sarah Akinsanya

    Hello. I’m coming to London on Friday and arriving at Liverpool street station. I have an Oyster card and family and friends rail card. There will be 2 adults and 2 children (both 8 years old) travelling together. We are only going to South Kensington and back to Liverpool street off peak both directions. What is the cheapest ticket option? Thanks in advance.

  25. Hi toby,

    The railcard only gives disounts on single and return tickets. A season ticket is already discounted compared to five anytime return tickets.

  26. Hi Sarah,

    Kids under 11 travel free on the Underground. Liverpool Street to South Kensington is zone 1 only so you’ll be better off using an Oyster card for the adults (£2.10 each way). The family and friends railcard won’t help you on this occasion.

  27. Matthew Dickinson

    The Chiltern offer is definitely available on Oyster, but you have to go to the Chiltern Railways ticket office at Marylebone.
    You must carry both the Oystercard and Record when using the offer. It does sometimes cause a little confusion when I show my Oystercard to the gateline staff at Moor Street 🙂

  28. Hi, I have a 16-25 rail card….. so do i just go to any understand station to add my discount to my oyster? Could i go to Wimbledon Station as its the closest one to me and could start my discounted journey?

  29. Hi Melissa,

    Yes, I believe you can go to Wimbledon to get the discount added. Depending on how much you travel on that day though, you may cap at the discounted rate even if your first journey was undiscounted. The only thing it won’t do is refund any overpaid charges, so don’t leave it until after you’ve passed the disocunted cap for the zones you will use.

  30. I am visiting my son for a few days in surrey and thinking of getting an oyster card in advance as i live in nottinghamshire. I have a senior railcard and would like to know how to get this added correctly to the oyster card. Do i need to register the card first. thanks

  31. Hi Carol,

    Although it’s technically possible to add a railcard to an unregistered Oyster, the instructions given to staff seem to indicate that it must be done. In your case I would buy the Oyster card online so it can be registered at the same time. Then take it and your railcard to a Central London tube station where most of the staff will know what to do right away. You might need to know the security word which you’ll set up as part of the application process.

  32. Danny Campbell

    Hi there,

    Don’t know if you can help (nothing to do with Oyster) but I hope so. I commute in from Diss, sometimes to Liverpool Street (a week at a time), sometimes to Stratford (London) as my firm has two offices. I was wondering why I can’t buy a weekly season ticket from Diss to Stratford, but I can buy one from Diss to Liverpool Street or Diss to U1. If I was travelling from Ipswich it would be ok (on the same line), but not from Diss. It just doesn’t come up on the online fares calculator. The cost difference would be massive over a month. I know this hasn’t got a lot to do with Oyster, but I couldn’t see where else to post this. Thanks!

  33. Hi Danny,

    I don’t know why it isn’t offered either, but do you realise that a season ticket entitles you to make any intermediate journey along the line of route? So a season to Liverpool Street is valid to alight at Stratford (or Colchester, Chelmsford, etc etc)

  34. When my 3 year Senior Railcard to which my Oystercard was linked expired, I renewed it again for 3 years. Will the renewed Railcard have been linked automatically to my Oystercard or do I have to link it?


  35. Hi John,

    You have to link it each time. The Oyster system has no way of knowing whether you’ve renewed or not.

  36. Danny Campbell

    That’s useful thanks Mike, I didn’t know that I could make intermediate journeys with a season ticket. Nobody tells you these things do they? In fcat it’s really useful as it means if I have a weekly season ticket and have a day off during the week, I can use my season ticket to go into Ipswich or Colchester. The main reason I wanted a season ticket option from Diss to Stratford though is I expect it would cost a fair bit less than a season ticket from Diss to Liverpool Street. Comparing prices for the same options from Ipswich show £146.00 from Ipswich to Liverpool Street for seven days and £138.60 from Ipwich to Stratford. But that’s the furthest on the line you can do it- Stowmarket and Diss allow season tickets for Liverpool Street and U1-6 but not for Stratford, and Norwich only allows U1-6. I’ll try and email them and ask why.

  37. Mike

    I noticed after I loaded my gold card discount that online my card now is occasionally flagged as a non-adult card which confused me.

    I got the following reply from TFL:

    In answer to your enquiry, when you have a discount loaded on to your Oyster card it changes the way it is recognised on the online system. As the majority of discounted cards are the photocards available for children and students it will show this as an error message online. This will not affect using your adult Oyster card in any way.

    As a result you will not be able to use some of the online options in place for a standard Oyster card.

    I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.

    This seems a bit of handy for TFL assumption as most folks with an NR Gold Card are adults, as are most holders of Senior/Disabled/Forces cards.

    How much it impacts folks (how often do you transfer season tickets/travelcards between Oyster cards – one of the functions now blocked online) compared to the benefit is open to discussion, but thought you’d like to know.

  38. Hi Charles,

    I think the distinction is between a normal adult PAYG only card and anything else. You can’t apply for refunds on incomplete journeys online if you have a travelcard or a discount.

  39. Hi,

    Do you have a list of overground stations that you can go to to link your GC with your Oyster please? I read last week it could be done at St Pancras but they looked at me like I was mad and told me to go to the Underground ticket office but the queue was too long so I didn’t receive my discount.

  40. Hi Susy,

    Was it the FCC ticket office or the EMT one at St Pancras. The FCC one will do it while the EMT one doesn’t have the equipment. Otherwise the list on this page should help.

  41. Hi Mike,
    This is a great post. I just wanted to clarify before I buy. I am travelling to london from birmingham (3 adults and a 12 yr old) in april. Stopping in zone 1 or 3 (havent decided yet) but will be travelling between zones 1,2 & 3.
    I have a friends and family railcard that i want to use. Will i need to buy my underground tickets with my train tickets to get the discount or can i go to a tube station with my railcard and get discounted tube tickets. Also how much would the daily travel card be with the railcard discount.


  42. Hi Sam,

    With paper tickets you can only get discounts on the zone 1-6 and zone 1-9 versions. These cost £5.90/adult and £2.00/child for the off-peak tickets. They can be bought at Underground stations as well. The travelcard is valid on all rail (inc tube and dlr) apart from St Pancras to Startford International (HS1) and Hayes&Harlington to Heathrow Airport (Heathrow Express/Connect).

  43. Mike Shelley

    I have a Senior Railcard and will be spending 2 full days and parts of 2 other days in London next month, travelling solely on the Underground Zones 1 and 2. It seems to me that a Visitors Oyster Card would be best for me, but I can I have this linked to my Senior Railcard? And if so, do I have to annoy everyone in the queue at my first Underground ticket office (the very busy Paddington one) by asking for it to be linked there (and possibly taking ages for it to be sorted)?

  44. Hi Mike,

    I wouldn’t recommend a visitor Oyster card. You cannot get a refund of the fee on them and you can’t load travelcard seasons either. I’m not sure about adding a railcard, but it would not surprise me if this was barred as well.

    You don’t have to get the card added before the first journey, but it will have to be done by before the third one, or you won’t fully benefit from the reduced cap that day.

  45. Hi Mike

    This is a fantastic resource!

    I noticed that the National Rail booking engine allows me to plan journeys from London using a network card before 10am as long as the National Rail portion of the journey starts after 10. For example Oxford Circus to Southampton. I can’t see anywhere a justification that this is OK – all the Ts&Cs I can find specify no travel before 10. Do you know if it is in fact allowed? And would it be any different if I was starting on the tube at a NR station like Finsbury Park?



  46. Hi Alan,

    I don’t think it is allowed, but if you print out an itinerary at the time of booking the tickets and stick to it then you should be allowed to travel. As to Finsbury Park, it might work if the tube is clearly the first train, but I don’t know.

  47. Hi Mike,

    Just wanted to thank you and your visitors for all the information regarding gold card discounts.

    I purchased a Zone 2-3 Annual Travelcard from Golders Green Station yesterday, and checked for the discount at Finchley Road and Frognal this morning. Lo and behold, it had not been added… However, I showed the ticket booth staff the instructions, and my discount was dutifully loaded.


  48. hi!
    recently purchased an oyster card and was hoping for some advice! I travel from Bushey to Old street most days, normally during peak times. I have a 16-25 discount card and was just wondering whether it is cheaper to use my oyster or just get a travelcard with my railcard ?

  49. Hi Alice,

    You can’t get discounts on anytime travelcards with a 16-25 railcard. If you only travel to and from work up to 10 single journeys a week with little other useage, a travelcard is not going to save you anything over PAYG.

  50. Hi Mike.
    Great site thank you. I am a 26 year old londoner looking to purchase a railcard. I was about to buy a network railcard but then I read about the goldcard. I travel most days in london. I have read on another site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mindthegap/2011/01/mind_the_gaps_mind_your_wallet.html) that linked me to yours to purchase a season ticket with a goldcard for a train journey on the Isle of Wight, for Ryde. I will never use that – but that’s the way to get a goldcard and be able to get 1/3 off oyster card travel pay as you go, with no minimum, after 9:30am. Is that correct? Do you know what train journey they might be referring to? Does the goldcard discount when applied to oyster pay as you go refer to all means of transport (I have read that it does, but wanted to check)
    On a separate note, what is the evening off peak for pay as you go? I always thought before 9:30am/after 9:30am was the two price brackets. Please inform!
    Thanks in advance. Emily

  51. Hi I travel 7 days in 1to 4 zone at 8:30 and return at 20.00 evening just want to know got friends and family railcard if I attach that to my oyster will I get the discount on my fares thnxx

  52. Hi Emily,

    Ryde St Johns Road to Ryde Esplanade is one of the cheapest fares within the Network area. It still costs £156 though for an annual gold card season. Another example is Newhaven Town to Newhaven Harbour at the same price. I don’t think you can get it for less. With that ticket added to your Oyster you will get 1/3 off all off-peak single rail tickets (inc tube and dlr) and the off-peak caps. Between 1600-1900 you will be charged peak single fares for most journeys, but the off-peak cap still applies. You also get off-peak fares between 0430-0630, but they don’t count towards the off-peak cap. It’s all explained on the Peak, Off-Peak and Caps page on my site.

    Hope this helps.

  53. Hi Amanpreet,

    You cannot link a friends and family railcard to an Oyster card.

  54. Thank you Mike!

  55. Hi Mike

    Yours is the first site that is making the confusing UK travel system clear! We are a South African family & will be spending about 9 days in and around London in July and we will be doing some longer trips as well. We are 2 adults, 2 18year olds and 1 15 year old so I see we qualify for a family card. The one 18 yr old already has the 16-25 card as he is in the UK for a year. Two questions – Do we use the family card for the 18 yr old or is it better for him to use his card? Would it be better to use the 7day travel card rather than the family card?

  56. Hi Clairanne,

    The discount for a 16-25 railcard is the same as the adult discount on the family and friends railcard, so it doesn’t really matter. The 7-day travelcard includes travel before 9.30am which makes it quite expensive. If you can avoid travel before 9.30am then daily off-peak travelcards discounted with your railcards will be much better value. You should also search for Britrail passes online in case they are an option.

    Hope this helps.

  57. Mike
    My question is about the senior railcard. We are outside the Freedom Pass area so have an Oyster Card that tops up as needed. We rarely travel before 9.30. Would we get a discount on the underground fare from Epping to say Oxford Circus?

  58. My wife and I each have PAYG card. I have listed them both in my online Oyster account. Today my wife presented herself, her Oyster Card and her NR Senior Railcard at the Underground booking office at Liverpool Street, and requested Senior Card be added to Oyster Card. She was rebuffed with the response that she would have to register the card, and handed a form to fill in. As we had better things to do and no immediate requirement to travel, we haven’t done this yet.
    We will be going to Liverpool Street again on Saturday, can you advise whether she should obey this instruction, or simply present the booking clerk with you instructions, which seem to imply that a Senior railcard can be added to an unregistered PAYG Oyster Card.

  59. Hi Pam,

    Yes, National Railcard holders get discounts on all off-peak single rail fares and the off-peak daily caps.

  60. Hi John,

    Although the instructions above do seem to say that railcards can be attached to unregistered Oyster cards, I believe that the instruction to staff is that they must be registered.

  61. […] I believe that if you have a senior rail card you can get more discounts on the Oyster card – see http://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/railcards-and-discounts/. […]

  62. Hi Mike
    Your advice on here seems really useful and following what seems like an endless trawl through various websites for info on the best way to travel on public transport I hope you can help! We (2 adults and 1 child aged 14) are off to London next weekend (Fri – Tues) and want to know what we should be purchasing to get the cheapest travel around London. We have a family and friends railcard but don’t know whether its cheaper to get Oyster cards or off peak travel cards? Can we use the f&f railcard (already purchased) to get a discount on either of these options? I have to say I’m very confused! Your help would be appreciated 🙂

  63. Hi Sara,

    Yes, you can use the f&f railcard to buy travelcards at £5.90 per adult and £2 per child. That covers all travel on rail, tubes and DLR in zones 1-6 (except St Pancras Int – Stratford Int and Hayes & Harlington – Heathrow) plus buses and trams throughout the TfL area. There are no discounts on the smaller zone 1-2 and 1-4 travelcards. Monday to Friday you cannot travel before 0930.

  64. Hi Mike!

    Maybe you can help! I currently travel from Wandsworth Common to Woking about 4 days per week. I currently purchase a London all Zone and Woking travel card monthly.

    I am debating, in order to get a 1/3 off railfares to get an annual gold card from WC to Woking and then use my Oyster card for any other travel in London. What’s your thoughts – is this the best way?

    All very confusing!!



  65. Hi Russell,

    If you travel via Clapham Junction without going via Waterloo or Victoria then you only need Woking to zones 2-6. This would then cover you for everything in London apart from zone 1 on trains/tubes. If you buy an annual ticket then you can get that recorded on your Oyster card to give you discounted off-peak fares when you have to go into zone 1.

    Hope that helps.

  66. Ok that makes sense, thanks! Any idea on what zones 2-6 and the woking addition would be for 1 month, I can’t seem to find that – can then see if it would be worth it.

    So if I get the annual pass and add to the Oyster Card – will it allow me to use my Oyster in zones 2-6?

    Last Q! Is the 1/3 off rail fares with Gold applicable to most routes?

    Great – thanks Mike, there should be one of you for all services!!!

  67. Hi Russell,

    To get prices including travelcards enter Woking and Clapham Junction in that order into the season ticket calculator. This usually gives you 3 options being the point-to-point price, the travelcard for just the zones you need and the all-zones travelcard. For Woking there is an extra option adding a more roundabout route.

    If you get an annual point-to-point season ticket then you can add that to your Oyster and get 1/3 off all rail off-peak singles and the off-peak caps. If you include zones 2-6 on your season ticket then you will only want to use Oyster on journeys involving zone 1 as everything else is covered by your paper ticket.

    The discount applies to all rail, tube and dlr off-peak journeys apart from SEHS between St Pancras and Stratford Intl and also between Heathrow and Hayes & Harlington.

  68. Russell Danks

    Mike that is really useful, so thank you.

    Last question – if you travel from zones say 6 -1 I can use my travel card (zones 6-2) do I have to get off and go back in or can I go straight to zone 1 – so check in at zone 6 with my travel card and then check out at zone 1 with my oyster?


  69. Hi Russell,

    If you had your travelcard on Oyster then you could stay on the train, but unfortunately you can’t because your Oyster only knows about the discount rather than what season you own. However, coming in from Woking isn’t too bad. If you just want Waterloo then you can buy a return from Vauxhall to Waterloo at Woking and use it with your season ticket. The train doesn’t need to stop at Vauxhall either. For other places, Vauxhall is your friend because it is dual zoned (1 and 2). Thus you can arrive on your season ticket, change to Underground, and start using Oyster from there. As long as you can get off at Clapham Junction on a fastish train then connections to Vauxhall are very frequent and only take about 5 minutes.

    Hope that helps.

  70. Russell Danks

    Thanks Mike – I do travel quite a lot in zone 1 on weekends, I suppose for the saving of £500 it would make sense, depends if I can be bothered with the hassle of always getting off at a dual zoned station!

  71. Hi Russell,

    Do you live in Woking or Wandsworth? If it’s the latter and your travel that day is only in zones 1-4 then you might as well use the Oyster card as the cap with a railcard is only £5.10.

  72. Hello Mike. For the last fewf years I’ve applied for a Gold Card partner Network Rail card alongside my Annual Gold Card.

    When I’ve purchased the partner card the station staff have added (on request) the discount flag to the partner’s oyster card as well as my own oyster (which has the annual ticket), which has enabled the parter to get 1/3rd off of off-peak PAYG fares for the year. However this year they have refused to add the flag to the partners card.

    Should it not have been done in the past?
    Have the rules changed at some point?
    Or which page of the national fares manual do I need to quote at them to get them to do it?


  73. Hi Tom,

    Sorry, but you were lucky before. Only the holder of a gold card is entitled to the discount flag on Oyster. The partner card is simply a Network Railcard at a nominal rate and suffers from the minimum fare restriction on Mondays to Fridays which renders it useless in the Oyster area.

  74. Hi Mike
    I have a monthly travelcard on my oyster. Can I use Family & friends card to get a discount to buy a day travelcard for our kids? Thanks

  75. Hi Edita,

    Sorry for the delay replying. You can only use your season ticket with the railcard if it is an annual ticket. For seasons less than a year duration you will need to buy a discounted ticket for yourself. It may be cheaper just to buy the child tickets in that scenario.

  76. I am from Canada and never been to London before, so I don’t know if I can use my oyster card to get from Heathrow terminal 3 to Paddington station?

  77. Hi Marsha,

    Oyster (and travelcards) are valid from Heathrow, but ONLY on the Piccadilly Line. To get to Paddington you would need to change at either Earls Court or South Kensington. Oyster is NOT valid on either Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect* services from the Airport.

    * For completeness you can use Oyster on Heathrow Connect between Hayes & Harlington and Paddington, but not from the Airport.

  78. Hi, Mike , Hi, I have 60+ oyster card and I was told that if I have to travel on national rail to anywhere in the UK will get discount and if yes how much.

  79. Hi Satish,

    I don’t quite understand what you are asking. However, my understanding is that the 60+ Oyster card is a special one which only gives concessions in the same area as the TfL Freedom Pass which you become eligible for a year or two later.

  80. Hey Mike,

    I have a disabled rail card. However, I find it really frustrating that when I travel to work in the morning I have to buy a paper ticket to get the discount. It just seems really absurd to me that I can’t use my Oyster card with rail ticket loaded onto it. Can I ask, from your experience have you had many opinions on this, and whether I can do anything else! Thanks

  81. Hi Chris,

    The system isn’t ideal, but it’s better than not allowing discounts at all. All railcards are treated the same on Oyster so they had to mix and match the conditions as best they could.

  82. Hi
    I am wondering how a disabled person’s companion gets a discount on the oyster system. I know I have to link my disabled r/c to my oyster, but what about my companion?

  83. Hi Fay,

    There is a special concession that allows your companion to purchase a zones 1-6 travelcard at the child rate when accompanying a disabled railcard holder.

  84. Thank you Mike, your web site is fantastic!

  85. Hi
    My hubby & i will be travelling to London for a few days & staying in Zone6. We have Senior Railcards. Which Oyster cards should we buy & should we buy them in advance?

    many thanks

  86. Hi. Family of 4 (2 ad plus 13 & 15 ch). visiting from wed to Monday. have f&f railcard. travelling in by train to heathrow t5 hotel. visiting Thorpe park thurs and fri. queens theatre to see les mis at 2.30 on the sat and poss arsenal stadium in morning. Sunday harry potter at Watford junction. Monday back into kings cross using already purchased train ticket, visit madame tussauds then back to kings cross to depart for sunny Dundee. I have looked into buses to Thorpe and harry p so wont be travelling into London those days. Was about to buy zip cards and payg oysters and try to link railcard then found your site. I know it a bit garbled, but any advice would be appreciated. ta

  87. Hi Mike,
    My daughter has an 18-25 railcard and is moving to acton in September and will be travelling in zone 2/3 during the day at peak times (1 return journey a day) From what I can work out if she links her railcard and her Oyster card she can get single peak fares of 80p (75p off peak) as opposed to £1.60 and £1.50 with an adult oyster or 18+ student oyster. This is a huge saving over a year. (She will only be there term times ). Are my calculations correct?

  88. Hi Pat,

    Sorry for the delay. Just buy the normal PAYG adult card and get the senior railcards logged on each one so that off-peak fares and caps are discounted. You can buy the cards in advance, but adding the senior railcard discount can only be done at an Underground station.

  89. Hi Ashley,

    You can’t link a friends and family railcard to Oyster card(s) because the F&F is only valid in a group while Oyster cards are only ever for independent people. The £10 charge for zip cards will negate most savings on a short trip, so I think I’d advise buying travelcards with the railcard.

  90. Hi Julie,

    This is where the discounts get a little complcated. The 16+ zip card (issued to students in years 12 and 13) gives 50% discount on adult fares on TfL rail fares. On the NR set rail routes the 16-25 railcard provides 23% discounts on off-peak fares. You get whichever is the better discount for the journey you make. The 18+ student card is just like an adult Oyster for PAYG fares, but it goes give a discount on period travelcards. With the 16-25 railcard added you get the 34% discount on off-peak PAYG fares and caps for all rail routes.

    Hope that helps.

  91. Hi I’ve had a gold card for travel between East Croydon and Brighton since February but just this week i’ve found out that it can lead to discounts for other travel incl tube travel. I understand i could take my oyster to a station like East Croydon to have my gold card discount added to my oyster; is that correct? And also, is there anywhere I can find a full list of the benefits available in relation to a gold card. I can’t believe the ticket office didn’t tell me at the time that my gold card resulted in other benefits!

  92. I am ex BR retired and have Oyster cards for myself and my partner for the odd occasions we visit London.These have to be renewed against our BR passes at a LUL office. This means a special journey from Leeds to Borisland. Can I renew mine and my partners cards, or does she also have to appear in person?
    Nobody else seems to know the answer……you are my only hope !

  93. Hi Mike, I wondered if I could ask you advice as I am getting very confused. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children aged 7 and 13 years and a baby. We are travelling to London via train in July for one week staying in Kensington and we are planning on doing all the tourist attractions via tube or bus. We have a family rail card but my children both have disabilities so we are considering getting each of them a disabled rail card as it reduced our train fare down to London if we travel first class (my son has autism and is really keen on the quieter cabins). I was going to pay for an Oyster card prior to coming as it states this would be needed for my son to get reduced fares. If they both have a disabled rail card would we get any discount travelling with them once in London? I wasn’t sure whether I had read we can travel at a child’s fare? I don’t know what we should be buying on arrival and what would be the cheapest overall, any help would be appreciated. We also have a friends and family railcard which I have just applied for. thanks

  94. Hi Carol,

    This page on the National Rail website lists the benefits of a gold card. East Croydon is one of the few National Rail stations which ought to be able to add the discount as they have a machine enabling access to the Oyster system. I’d be interested to hear what response they give if you ask them. If they can’t then try at London Bridge or Victoria Underground stations next time you go to London. If you do it after the first journey in you will still get the reduced cap for that day so shouldn’t lose out.

  95. Hi Les,

    My experience is that if you know the secret word associated with the Oyster card then you should be able to do it without her being present. I’ve certainly managed to add my Mum’s senior discount without her being there.

  96. Thanks Mike…….not sure I remember having a secret word

  97. Hi Jackie,

    Sorry, I’ve been trying to get my head round this one with little success. Might I suggest hopping over to the nice people at Rail UK Forums and posting your question there. It’s a bit beyond my specialist knowledge, but there are others on that site who may be able to help.

  98. Hello,we are coming to london in july and we are going to book a hotel in east croydon. We are 2 adults and 2childs. Which is the best and cheapest way to get there from gatwick airport and 2. the best and cheapest way to get into the city? Thank you

  99. Hi Rupert,

    Best is a very subjective statement. It depends on what is important to you. The cheapest way is obviously to walk, though that probably isn’t feasible. Assuming you mean by train, from Gatwick Airport to East Croydon you need the FCC only single and must travel on one of the FCC trains (destination Bedford) which are every 15 minutes. If buying a ticket at Gatwick you may need to be sure that they understand what you want as I have heard reports that they often try to sell a more expensive ticket, especially where the destination is London. If you want to use any train between Gatwick and Croydon then the Any Permitted single is a little more expensive.

    Assuming that the kids are both under 16 then you may want to consider buying a family and friends railcard. They last for a year and offer discounts on both adults and children. Under 5s don’t need a ticket, but if both are under 5 then you can buy child tickets for one of them to get the generous adult discounts. The whole group must travel together at all times.

    As for the city, that can mean a number of things. If you have the railcard then your best bet is a one-day travelcard as long as you only travel after 0930 Mon-Fri. After that time they are valid on all buses, trams, dlr, tube and almost all National Rail services (only excludes Hayes& Harlington to Heathrow Airport and St Pancras International to Stratford International) within the London zonal area (zones 1-6).

    Hope that helps.

  100. Hi Mike,

    I have a quick and rather confusing question. Assuming that i have an oyster card and load the 16-25 rail card benefits on it, what happens when I load a weekly zone 1-2 travelcard as well but travel further out to say a station on zone 3? Will I get the 1/3 discount when paying the zone 3 bit?

  101. As long as the entire journey started in off-peak times, yes. So if you touch in in London at 1555 you would be fine even though it won’t get to zone 3 until after 1600.

  102. Still problems with National Rail, Oystercard and the Tube. I used to have an annual zone 1 to 3 season ticket on my Oystercard issued by National Rail at Wimbledon. Having changed jobs, I asked them to swap it for zones 2 to 5. They said that it wasn’t possible to issue a partial season ticket on an Oystercard so issued me with a paper ticket and removed the zone 1 to 3 season ticket from my Oystercard. I then realised that on the occasions I want to go to zone 1, I now need to pay for a cash fare or use my payg Oystercard which will charge me for a zone 1 to 3 fare rather than a zone 1 only fare. I then found out that it is possible to load a partial season ticket on to an Oystercard, it’s just that National Rail don’t have the software but tube stations do and would have charged me just £5 to do this. I then rang Oystercard to tell them all of the above and they told me they sympathised but apart from complaining to National Rail that they should have advised me to swap my zones at a tube station, there’s nothing I can do now, since I now have a paper ticket and this can’t be converted back to a season ticket on Oystercard. Finally, I thought well at least I can reduce the cost of off peak trips to zone 1 by getting the goldcard entitlement added to my Payg Oystercard, so asked South Wimbledon tube to do this. No such luck, the clerk told me I could only have that if I had a season ticket on an Oystercard, in which case I wouldn’t need the goldcard entitlement registered, would I. Advice to readers is to avoid buying season tickets at National Rail. Problem is that tube office opening ours around here are very restricted, however. Grrrr.

  103. Hi James,

    Oh dear. That is indeed a sorry tale. I am aware that there are issues with changing a travelcard loaded on Oyster part way through it’s validity, but I didn’t think it would end up with a paper season instead.

    South Wimbledon is a very poor show though. Not only can any Gold Card be added to an Oyster for discount purposes, having a gold card on the Oyster DOES NOT switch the discount on automatically. When will LU get the training up to standard with this discount? It’s only been around over 3 years already!

  104. Hi Mike,

    I had my Young Person’s Railcard linked to my Oyster card a while back, but now that the Railcard has expired (and I won’t be getting a new one) will I automatically start getting charged full fares on Oyster? As in I don’t have to arrange to have it unlinked or anything do I? Thanks very much.

  105. Hi Gareth,

    You don’t need to do anything. The railcard is added with the expiry date and it will stop applying discounts after that day unless the railcard is renewed and relinked.

  106. Hi Mike

    We will be in Ldn for 2mths. 2 ad, 2kids(age4&7). We will be traveling within Ldn mostly but may visit friends in Dorking, Surrey, Harrow, etc. What do you recommend I get? Network rail or F&F card? What’s the difference??

  107. Hi Su,

    As long as you will usually have kids with you then the Family & Friends will be better as it has less restrictions. The four year old will never need a ticket, while the 7 year old will get you sizeable discounts for the adults even if they don’t need a ticket for the travel you are making. Within zones 1-6 at off-peak times you will need £5.90/adult and £2/child for a travelcard with F&F discounts.

  108. Hello Mike,
    I already linked my rail card and oyster card.
    But I lost my rail card and I reissued it.
    In this case, should I request again to link my rail card and oyster card at underground ticket office?

  109. If the replacement railcard has the same expiry date then you don’t need to do anything. If it was a new railcard with a later expiry date then take it and the Oyster card back to a tube station to get the discount entitlement extended to the new expiry date.

  110. Hi mike,
    Just a quick question I currently have a 16+ oyster card which is due to expire in September, is it still possible to purchase an annual travelcard which will be valid until a years time to this date?

  111. Hi Richard,

    I don’t think so. The card should stop working at the end of September. It may be possible to transfer the ticket to your new card, but I’d check that at an Underground station first, before buying the travelcard.

  112. Hi
    I will be travelling to London for one week in August, one adult and two children aged 16 and 14. We will be travelling after 9:30 everyday on tubes and buses. I have an Oyster card but my children don’t. I have a family and friends railcard, what combination would you suggest to be the cheapest to travel and does my 16 year still qualify for child fares as she is still a student? Many thanks

  113. Hi Julie,

    As long as you bought the family and friends railcard before your daughters 16th birthday she can continue benefitting from child fares until the railcard expires or the day before her 17th birthday if it is a 3-year one which expires after that. On that basis I think paper travelcards discounted with the railcard will be your best bet. A further advantage is that paper travelcards are valid for 2 for 1 offers at top attractions while Oyster is not.

  114. Hi Mike, thank you for a great website! As I am still confused what the best option is for me, I would appreciate your thoughts. I plan to spend a week in London, together with two kids aged 13 and 17. As I work outside London, I usually use Oyster pay and go. What would be the best option to use for this week? We do plan to see a few 2for1 attractions, so I guess we’ll need to buy train tickets for those days? Thank you very much for your reply!

  115. Hi Suzana,

    Assuming that the kids haven’t already got Zip Oyster cards, I think paper tickets are probably best. If you have a family and friends railcard then you can get discounts on off-peak day travelcards for all three of you with the 13-year-old counting as a child. If you haven’t got an F&F card then you only need to buy travelcards for the zones you are using, either 1-2, 1-4, 1-6 or 1-9. For travel just in the centre the zone 1-2 is cheapest. The railcard only allows discounts on the 1-6 and 1-9 varieties but the discounted 1-6 is cheaper than an undiscounted 1-2.

    Hope that helps.

  116. Jawaid Karim

    Hi Mike,

    I’m travelling to London for a few days in August with my 2 nieces and wanted some advice as to what would be best to buy oyster or day travel cards. We will mostly be travelling over the bank holiday weekend and off-peak on the Tuesday in zones 1 – 3.

    One of my nieces is 12, so my guess is that the 12-15 Oyster card would be better?

    My other niece is 19, but she has a 16-25 railcard so guessing again getting the Oyster card and adding the railcard when we get down to London is the best?

    I myself have an Oyster card as I travel down more regularly.


    Best Regards

  117. Hi Jawaid,

    If your niece already has an 11-15 card then it is worth it, but if this is the only time you’ll use it then the £10 fee may not be worthwhile. Also, you’ll need to get the application in quickly as they take a week or so to produce the card. Alternatively, if you have access to a friends and family railcard then you may be better off using that. Otherwise you can get a child paper travelcard for the youngster and use an adult Oyster with the 16-25 railcard for the elder niece.

  118. Jawaid Karim

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your suggestion, I’ll get a paper card for my youngest niece and ask the eldest one to order an Oyster card online and then register the 16-25 railcard when we arrive in Euston.

  119. Hi Mike
    I was wondering if you could advise for our weekend in London. We’re coming to London by train on a Family & Friends Railcard and will be staying in the Lee Valley campsite in Chingford from Thursday to Sunday. There will be 2 adults, an 11 year old & a 9 year old. The journey will involve tubes & buses to the campsite, but I’m not sure which zone it’s in.
    I had planned on getting all of us Oyster Cards, but would we be better getting paper cards for everyone apart from the youngest & get her a zip card?
    Thanks for any advice.

  120. With a family and friends railcard you will be better off getting paper travelcards with the discount. The 9-year-old will travel free on all tubes and buses anyway, so you only need to pay for them if you want to use National Rail. You only need to get a zip card for an under 10 if they will regularly use NR trains or travel on tubes alone. At £10 each they are not recommended for occasional travel.

  121. Thanks a million – that’s really helpful

  122. Hi Mike

    My wife and I are over 60 and travel to London fairly frequently. We know we are not entitled to the over 60’s Oyster cards but is it possible to get Oysters and then get a discount with our senior railcards?

  123. Hello, I find this site really helpful!

    I lost my 18+ student oyster card and 16-25 railcard which were linked together, since my purse was stolen. Fortunately My replacement railcard came quickly but I didn’t get 18+ oyster yet (it takes more than 5 days, they say). After they were stolen I bought a normal oyster card for temporary use which I’m using now.

    So, I’d like to link my railcard to normal oyster card I have now and use until my 18+ oyster card comes. But when I link this to a normal oyster card, will it be possible to link my railcard to 18+ oyster card when I get it? Or can the railcard only be linked once?

  124. Hi Don,

    Absolutely. Just take the Oyster and the Railcard to an Underground station.

  125. Hi Jiyun,

    The railcard can be linked as many times as you need. Once linked the railcard must be carried with the Oyster giving the discounts. It can be linked to more than one Oyster as long as only one is used at once.

  126. Hi Mike,

    I tried to link my oyster card and my 16-25 railcard yesterday but it made my oyster stop working giving error ‘seek assistance 01’ The attendants let me through and told me to explain it to the assistance at my destination station as they didn’t know what to do. I ended up going to two more stations and none of the attendants knew what was wrong.

    The discount was registered on my oyster and was in date and there was money on my oyster.
    Can you help?


  127. Hi Martin,

    Code 01 suggests a gate fault (I think). Did you get errors anywhere else? I’d call the helpdesk for advice on this issue.

  128. Hi Mike,
    I have a senior railcard and will be staying in zone 3 for 2 weeks, commuting to zone 1 each working day and back at PEAK times; also some off peak leisure travel at weekends (and at other times). Is it worth getting an oyster or just buying a couple of weekly Peak travelcards with railcard discount? Many thanks, Terry

  129. Hi Terry,

    You can’t use a senior railcard to buy season tickets, nor can you use one in London before 0930. I think a zone 1-3 weekly travelcard on Oyster is your best bet, but get the discount loaded as well in case you want to go beyond zone 3 one day.

  130. Many thanks Mike, Terry

  131. Hello Mike, I have a 3-year Senior railcard, which is about half-way through it’s validity, and had my Oyster card linked to it in May 2012, during a visit to London. After a recent visit in early July this year, I checked the journey history, and noticed that discount had not been applied for a London Overground journey from Crystal Palace to Battersea Park. (I noticed because my wife’s card, also on my Oyster account and ‘linked to her Senior railcard was about 55p cheaper for the same journey we did together.

    I queried with OYSTERENQUIRIES@tfl.gov.uk whose response stated: “the validity of the discount is applied for a years duration. Therefore the discount will expire annually”.

    This seems to be at variance with the information in your explanation, viz:

    “You then ask the clerk to add your discount entitlement to your Oyster card. It will be valid until the expiry of the railcard”.

    Which situation is correct please – or am I missing something? Thanks for a useful site…Jim

  132. My understanding was that it should be for the duration of the railcard, although I’ve only ever added annual ones for my Mum. My son has a 16-25 card for 3 years but the 16-18 Oyster card is only issued for a year which kind of trumps that. According to the Oyster helpline it should be possible to add the discount for the duration of the railcard, so I wonder if the clerk who did yours made a mistake.

    You’ll need to get the discount reapplied next time you are in London, and assuming the railcard still has more than a year I would ask the clerk at the time what they’ll do.

  133. Thanks Mike
    That sounds like what probably happened – the clerk only applied the discount for a 1-year period. I’ll make a note to point out that it is a 3-year railcard, when I’m getting it linked again. (It is quite possible that my wife’s card, which was linked on a different occasion to mine, DID have the full 3-year period applied, so she will continue to receive the discount until her card eventually expires).

  134. Hi Jim,

    If you take your wife’s Oyster along to the tube station, they can tell when her discount will expire.

  135. Hi Mike, I am looking to purchase a Family and Friends Railcard to travel in and out of London over 3 days with my 5 year old and my OAP parents. If I purchase an Oyster Card for myself will I get a discount by having a Railcard? And can this Oyster card then be used for travel on buses? The more sites I read, the more I get confused lol

  136. Sorry, no. The Family and Friends Railcard cannot be added to an Oyster card to provide a discount.

  137. Sarah Waterfield

    I am travelling in London with my 11 year old son for 3 days in London (Thurs,Fri, Sat) We will be using the tube after 10 in the morning, mainly zones 1-2. We have a family and friend railcard. What is my cheapest options, oyster or travelcard?

  138. Hi Sarah,

    You’re best off with paper travelcards discounted using the F&F railcard. Adult is £5.90 and child £2.00 valid throughout zones 1-6.

  139. Hi Mike. I have some questions. I had a National Rail Card but this was expired, so I renewed one. Before buying the new card, I could discount during off peak. For example, from Zone 3(national rail) to Zone1(national rail), it cost £1.45, but now it cost £2.20.

    What shall I do to get the same discount. I went to ticket office but the clerk did nothing. Can I do something online?? I have registered my oyster card. I am not English speaker, so it is difficult to explain by talking. My card type is Network Rail Card.

  140. Unfortunately you were very lucky to get the discount applied on your last Network Railcard. That railcard is not eligible for Oyster discounts because the minimum fare on weekdays renders it useless within the Oyster area most of the time.

  141. which national rail ticket offices can you add railcard – I am arriving at Euston can i do it there or do I have to go down to the underground ticket office?

  142. Hi Stew,

    I think one of the Euston ticket offices should be able to do it, but it’s the LM one tucked away down a ramp. You will be better off going to the Underground ticket office.

  143. Hi Mike,

    I would like to know if the 16-25 railcard discount would apply to purchasing an annual pass for the London Underground? If it does, should I go about the same process in order to set it? Thanks, James.

  144. Hi James,

    Sorry, railcards cannot be used to buy season tickets. If you are eligible for a student Oyster card then that does give a discount on travelcards only, but that is nothing to do with the 16-25 railcard.

  145. Hi Mike, Brilliant Site.
    My question! My son has a 16-18 Oyster Card and a 16-25 railcard. My son starts College in Victoria in September and we Live in Brookmans Park Hertfordshire. My son will have to travel Brookmans Park to Finsbury Park then underground to Victoria. Could you please please advise me on which is the best way to pay and the cheapest way. We would like if possible to get a season ticket or monthly pass for Him. The trouble is we keep getting told different stories, and most of them come from the ticket booth staff. So for once and all could you please help Us solve the problem on which is the cheapest and best way for My sons Travel.
    Many thanks, and look forward to your reply in due Course,
    Regards KENNY

  146. Hi Kenny,

    The 16-18 Oyster card entitles your son to half-price period travelcards which pretty much can’t be beaten if you make 2-3 return trips a week. A zone 1-6 travelcard costs £106.80/month and covers him from Hadley Wood onwards. Brookmans Park to Hadley Wood season costs £88.80/month. To use two season tickets on a through train it must call at the changeover point, but as all your trains are stoppers that isn’t a problem.

  147. Hi Mike, great site. One question, my partner has an annual oyster travel card through work, she didn’t receive a gold record card with it (so not benefitting from discounted travel outside London at present) – how do we get this record card, given that we seem to be losing out on some substantial savings given the amount of NR travelling we do outside of London. Thanks!

  148. Hi Paul,

    Initially your partner should ask at work whether the record card was issued. If it wasn’t then they may need to request it. I’d imagine that an Underground station can issue one, although they would need to be satisfied that it hasn’t been issued already.

  149. Thanks for the swift reply Mike, I am on the case now so will see what happens. Many Thanks
    Regards KENNY

  150. Mike, You say that the trains my son will use are stoppers. what does this mean. For instance we get the monthly Brookmans Park to Hadleigh wood, then the monthly oyster from Hadleigh wood to Victoria. But how do you swipe the Oystercard on the outward journey??? or on the way home?? Do you have to get off the train at Hadleigh wood ?? If you could please explain how the journey would work and how you swipe your card, this would be a great help. Sorry for being a bit thick about this. Regards Kenny

  151. Hi Kenny,

    To use two season tickets on a journey the train must call at the place where you switch from one to the other. In your case that means Hadley Wood and the tickets wouldn’t be valid on a train that runs fast from Potters Bar to Finsbury Park. But as the trains that serve Brookmans Park are all stopping services that also call at Hadley Wood, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    And with a travelcard on your Oyster there is no requirement to touch in or out providing the whole journey (as far as the Oyster card is concerned) is covered by the travelcard. In your case it would be.

  152. There is an interesting case travelling into Zone 1 in the evening peak with an OSI and railcard. E.g. Wood Lane to South Kensington, changing at Hammersmith. The journey up to Hammersmith costs £1.60. However, Wood Lane to Hammersmith costs £1.40. When the journey is completed at South Kensington, would the difference in fare be credited?

  153. Hi Bruce,

    No, it won’t be credited.

  154. Hi Mike,
    Couple of things.

    I’m thinking of buying a 16-25 railcard because of the cheaper oyster pay and go rates. I am slightly confused though by the way tfl segment the pricing out on the single fare finder page on their site.
    Whilst they have an option to see how much journeys will cost with a national railcard they also have another option which allows you to check how much journeys cost you with a 16+ National Railcard.
    As an example:- a journey from East Ham to Fulham Broadway would cost £3.20 (peak) and £1.80 (off peak) with a National Railcard and yet with the 16+ National Railcard it goes down to £1.60 and £1.35 respectively.
    The latter clearly provides considerably cheaper prices.

    I want to know, if I bought a 16-25 Railcard would it come under the second set of pricing or the first? Sorry if I’ve been all over the place explaining it. It is best if you check the single fare finder page on tfl. Btw, I am mainly interested in the cheaper pay and go rates.

    Also, as my 18+ student oyster is due to expire on the 31st August, would It still work as a normal oyster card and should I purchase the railcard would I still be able to merge it with my oyster and receive the cheaper rates?

  155. Hi Uzzy,

    The 16+ Zip Oyster card gives half price travel on TfL rail routes but full price on NR rail routes or combined ones. The 16-25 railcard gives you a 1/3 discount on off-peak fares and caps unless the TfL discount has already reduced it by half. I’ve had conflicting information as to whether the student or zip cards carry on as adult cards after expiry. They might do, but it doesn’t matter because you are not limited to linking the 16-25 card with just one Oyster. The only stipulation is that you must carry the railcard whenever you use an Oyster card with the discount applied.

  156. Hi Mike

    I will be travelling from Paddington to Cutty Sark DLR on a Thursday after 09:30, and returning the other way on a Sunday morning. I am intending to buy a Visitor Oystercard online, and add the Senior Railcard discount entitlement onto it when I get to Paddington. Three questions:
    1) will I need to fill in a form at Paddington to have the Senior Railcard entitlement added (I know I have to show the Senior Railcard and the Visitor Oystercard!)?
    2) Would it be better to buy an ordinary Oystercard online (£5) rather than the Visitor Oystercard (£3)? I don’t mind leaving a small amount of credit (less than £10) on whichever for use next year.
    3) (tongue-in-cheek) wouldn’t Whelkcard have been a more appropriate name for (East) London than Oystercard?


  157. Hi John,

    1) I don’t think you can add railcard discounts to visitor cards. You certainly can’t add travelcards.
    2) Yes, I think it is. The £5 is refundable whereas the £3 is not.
    3) The (London) world extends beyond East London.

  158. Hi Mike,

    My YP railcard expired last weekend & I’ve just tied the replacement YP railcard to my Oyster. When I asked at the ticket office if I could tie the YP railcard to more than one Oyster (which I did without a problem last year) the clerk suggested I would lose the discount on the first Oyster card as soon as I register the second. Can you confirm if this is true?


  159. Hi Harry,

    Absolutely not true. However, it must be remembered that when using an Oyster card with discount entitlement loaded you must have the relevant discount card with you at all times as well.

  160. Hi Mike

    2 questions which nobody seemed to be able to answer me, inculding station staff, giving conflicting info!!

    1) What is the difference in terms of the benefit you get for purchasing a young person’s rail card vs Network rail card?

    2) My student oyster card which gives me discount only on monthly and weekly travelcard expires in Oct. But if i purchased an annual travelcard, for which i obtained a discount, would i still be able to use it after the expriy of my student oystercard? If i can, do i continue to use the student oyster card even though its expired (i.e i cease to be a student) or do i need to transfer my “travelcard credit” to another adult oystercard? if i can’t use my “travelcard credit” then what happen to the money i paid?

  161. Hi Van,

    1) The young persons railcard is valid throughout the UK to 16-25 year olds and students over that age range. The Network Railcard is only valid in the South East area but anyone can buy one. There is a minimum fare Monday-Friday which is why the Network card cannot be added to an Oyster card. If a young persons card is available to you then get it, otherwise the Network card can give benefits, but not as much.

    2) I don’t think you are allowed to buy a travelcard which expires after the end of your student Oyster card.

  162. If I have gold card. How do I get discount on rail tickets if I buy them online. Or I can only get discount with gold card if i buy them at the ticket counter at train station?

  163. Hi Varut,

    Simply select “Network Gold Card” in the railcards drop down list.

  164. I have to travel into London on South-eastern 3 days a week(M,W,Th) for school as a mature student – to Charring Cross and either walk 20 minutes to destination or take Northern to Central Line. What’s the cheapest way to make the journey and back? Will Oyster and Network Rail card be of benefit or just Oyster or just Network Rail? Time of travel before 9:00 am and after 4:30 pm.

  165. Hi Heather,

    You’ll have to give me the names of the stations involved at the very least, otherwise there are just too many variables.

  166. Hi Mike
    I am an OAP but do not have a senior railcard. I was visiting grandchildren in Barnes today when my son dropped in on his way up to the City. He had forgotten his Oyster card so I offered to lend him mine. I assume that my Oyster fares are the standard adult fare. However when he tapped in, the screen apparently said that my card was a pensioner card so he decided to buy a ticket because he was not entitled to a pensioner discount. A ticket inspector on the train confirmed that he had been correct to do so.
    Two questions for you please. Was the inspector correct? Can I get my money back?
    Thanks in anticipation.

  167. Hi Mike,

    Is your card a freedom pass or a 60+ card? If yes then the inspector was absolutely right. If money was taken then call the helpline and they will arrange a refund.

  168. Hi Mike

    Thanks for the rapid reply. I don’t live in London so don’t have a freedom pass. So far as I am aware my card is a standard card. I don’t recall being given the option to buy a 60+ card. As a non-London resident, would I qualify for such a card and what discount would it give?

    Kind regards


  169. Hi Mike,

    The 60+ card bridges the gap between the holders 60th birthday and when they are now eligible for the freedom pass. It gives the same discounts as the freedom pass, and as a non-London resident you almost certainly aren’t eligible.

    Which leaves me puzzled. I don’t know what sort of card, or discount, would produce that message. When you travel, do you know what fares you get charged? Are they standard adult fares?

  170. Hi Mike

    So far as I am aware, the standard fare is deducted from my Oyster card when I use it (which is rarely nowadays).


    Mike Post

  171. Hmmm. I’m not sure what has happened there then. As far as I know all the NR Railcards are encoded the same, and I don’t remember my son seeing anything which confirmed that he had a discount when he touches in. If you’re concerned then take it to an Underground station ticket office next time you’re in London and ask them to confirm what you’ve got. Sorry I can’t be more help at this time.

  172. Thanks for your time Mike. I shall be seeing my son later today so hope to be able to work out what happened. I already know a lot more about the Oyster system.



  173. Hi Mike, a quick question on young person’s rail card: After i have loaded the rail card onto my oyster card,do i get discount on single trips and/or season ticket for buses?

  174. Hi Van,

    No, railcard discounts only apply to rail journeys, although they do apply to all rail journeys whether or not they include National Rail.

  175. Hi Mike,
    A quick question – apologies if you have answered it above.
    I have just become a student in London so have now got an 18+ student photocard. Can I add my 16-25 railcard discount to that oyster photocard as well, or is the discount only eligible to add to adult oyster cards?

  176. Hi George,

    Yes you can add the 16-25 discount. You’ll get whatever provides the better discount on each journey.

  177. Hi Mike

    I think there may be another ‘gotcha’ or ‘when not to use Oyster’ for holders of Disabled railcards on national rail during the morning peak, if you are correct that all railcards are treated equally on Oyster.

    I hold a DPRC and a Freedom Pass; if I travel on national rail before 0930 (pretty rare) then I need to pay for it, so I came here wondering about linking my DPRC to an Oyster card.

    The DPRC is valid on Anytime day single/return tickets (unlike most other railcards) so, if this is not reflected in the behaviour of a linked Oyster card, I guess it’s cheaper to stick with paper tickets.

  178. Hi Keith,

    Yes, you’re right. To be fair, the DPRC website does say you get discounts on off-peak fares and caps, so they’re not hiding the restriction. I agree that travel in the morning peak may well be cheaper on paper tickets though.

  179. Hello, I work for NYU in London and have a question regarding the student oyster photocard and 18-25 railcard discounts.

    Firstly, is it advisable to purchase both cards, what is the difference in discount.

    and with regards to the discounted fares, will they still apply if the oystercard is linked to auto-top up? is the 1/3 off applied here automatically each time the card tops up?


  180. Hi Ruth,

    The two cards offer discounts on different things so yes, it is best to get both if you are eligible and will use them. The student Oyster card allows travelcard seasons (and bus/tram seasons) to be purchased at a 30% discount off the adult rate. This will automatically be applied when a travelcard is added to the Oyster card. Auto top-up is a different system for maintaining the pay-as-you-go balance and has no effect on any discounts.

    The 16-25 railcard gives 1/3off off-peak fares and the off-peak daily price cap, but has no benefit for season tickets. The actual railcard works throughout the UK, but to get discounts on Oyster journeys it needs to be logged on the Oyster card.

    Hope that helps

  181. Mike,

    I’ve read almost all the questions and answers (you’re doing fantastic work here, by the way) and am a bit puzzled about why you repeatedly state that a (standard, not gold) network card cannot be linked to an oyster card due to “the minimum fare restriction on Mondays to Fridays which renders it useless in the Oyster area”.

    Why would it not be reasonable for the cards to be linked in order to provide a discount on Saturdays and Sundays?

    What is actually the recommended way to obtain what appears to be a discount to which holders of both cards are entitled at weekends, if it isn’t by linking the network and oyster cards?

  182. Hi Mike,

    In an ideal world you would be able to link the cards for use at weekends only. Unfortunately the facility only exists to link ‘national rail railcards’ as a single entity. All the different railcards have their own time and fare restrictions so it was necessary to match the best set into a common restriction for Oyster. Only being valid at weekends was sadly not an option. With other railcards the pros and cons are deemed to cancel each other out in the eyes of the TOCs, but they weren’t prepared to allow Network railcard discounts all week, and only allowing any railcard discounts at weekends would have been a serious barrier to uptake.

  183. Hi,
    I am an International Student.
    I have purchased the 16-25 railcard. Can this Railcard be Linked with the oyster card?
    as for the 18+ oyster card, if i’d opt for the pay-as-you-go method, i would be charged adult rates so, would it still mean i would be entitled for the 30% discount off adult rate?
    Could you please suggest to me the most economical means on traveling from east croydon to egham.

    Also one more question, If it could be linked, how does it work?..should i bring both cards to the ticketing counter and what should i tell them?

    From then on, how would the oyster card function when i am traveling out of london zone? Should i still purchase a paper travel card or would the oyster be good enuf?

    I’m looking to travel with just one card thus hassle free…

    Thank You and hoping to hear from you soon.

  184. Hi Nan,

    Unfortunately Egham is outside the Oyster area. This means that the 18+ Oyster card would not work for the whole way. You will therefore need to have two tickets/cards to get the cheapest fare. Weekly rates are as follows:

    East Croydon to Egham via Clapham Junction: £60.70 (just one ticket)
    Zones 2-6 travelcard with 18+ discount: £26.20 (on the Oyster card)
    Feltham to Egham rail only season: £28.80 (paper ticket)

    You would use the Oyster to touch in at East Croydon and the paper season to exit at Egham. Providing the train stops at Feltham you can use this combination without getting off the train. If you want to go directly into zone 1 from Egham then you will need to get off to touch in somewhere in zones 2-6. If you do it at Clapham Junction you won’t have long to wait for another train. When you touch out in zone 1 the system will deduct a zone 1 fare. If it’s off-peak then you can get the discounted fare if your 16-25 railcard has been linked.

  185. Hi Mike,

    I’m also an international student and my question is similar to the previous post. Does it make more sense to buy travel cards through my 18+ oyster card (for which I get a 30% discount) or should I go for the 16-25 railcard and get 34% discount on pay as you go journeys on my 18+ oyster card?


  186. Hi Joe,

    The discounted travelcards usually make more sense. The 16-25 railcard only discounts off-peak fares and caps on Oyster, plus there is a minimum fare before 10am when buying paper tickets (except in July and August).

  187. Hi Mike. I wasn’t sure where to post this question, so I’ve gone for “Discounts”…

    It SHOULD be easy – positively encouraged, in fact – to add a child or 16+ Oyster Photocard to my online account – after all, I’m the responsible adult who made the application and who has to finance and monitor its use – but TFL don’t appear to mention this and it isn’t easy at all. Every year when we get new cards, a tedious game of “Helpline ping-pong” ensues, and it’s just happened again with my daughter’s first 16+ card. (At least they now last for two years…)

    I understood that a child/16+ card is already “registered” in the application process. In the past with paper application forms, there was a PIN code (the last four digits of the application ref – confusing in itself, as there are 11-digit and 28-digit versions of the number). But I saw no mention of the PIN when applying online this year or last – but the Helpline say I still need it and it is still the last four digits etc. They told me to go online to add the new card – even though I said I thought this hadn’t worked in the past. So I tried, but there’s nowhere to enter a PIN at “Add existing card” – only a previously entered memorable name, date or place. Any input gives an error message: “The Oyster card you are trying to register does not have a password. Please call the Oyster Helpline on 0343 222 1234 to update your card details.” (Yes, I tried to tell you that…!) So back on the phone tomorrow…

    On a related point, I don’t understand the apparent distinction between “protecting” your card and “registering” your card, as referred to at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14836.aspx. I had assumed they were the same thing, but apparently not, as the web page says “If you have protected your card online, you can register it at a Tube station.” My 18 year old will shortly be going to university outside London and so can only get a normal adult card (boo!) plus YP Railcard discount. Does he have to register his Oystercard before adding it to an online account? If so, can this only be done by filling out a form and taking it to a Tube station? It really doesn’t seem clear!

  188. Hi Dave,

    Where to start? Yes, it’s good news that they’ve made the 16+ card valid for two years now. I guess it’s appropriate as they’ve raised the school/education leaving age to 18.

    Embarassingly I should be able to answer your main point very easily, having added my youngest’s 11-15 card a month ago. I think I might have used the same password as my adult cards, or maybe the password for the photocard account, but I can’t remember. My eldest has just received his second 16+ card which I will try to add when he remembers where the safe place he put it is. He has a small balance on the old card which he’ll be using up before the end of the month.

  189. Thanks Mike

    Any idea about the distinction between “protecting” and “registering” an Oyster card and whether it’s possible to “register” a new adult card online, etc? (Entirely understandable if you fell asleep before my second question above!)

  190. Hi Dave,

    Oooops, yes I missed that. My understanding is that an online purchased card will be both protected and registered by default. I think protecting is attaching a password to the individual card (one of name/date/place) while registering is linking it to an online account with your name, address and contact details. I may be wrong here, because it sure is confusing having two names for what would seem to be a similar purpose. Almost! Registering gets done at a tube station and involves storing your name, address and password on the card. Protection involves linking the card to an online account. This means that you can report it lost and get a replacement, but not at a station. Only registered cards can get monthly or longer travelcards stored on them.

  191. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx

    For those of you confused on the 16-25 railcard and 18+ Oyster combination, such as myself.. this paragraph from the website below is helpful.

    “You must have an 18+ Student Oyster photocard to get 30 per cent off 7 Day, Monthly and longer period Travelcards
    You can get 34 per cent off off-peak pay as you go single fares and off-peak daily price caps on Tube, DLR and London Overground if you get a 16-25 National Railcard and add the discount entitlement to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard”


  192. Hello,
    Please can you tell me the most economical way for my daughter to travel from Vauxhall to Kingston each day. She has to leave just before 9.30 am. She is just about to get an 18+ Oyster and also has a railcard.
    Many thanks. L

  193. Hi,

    A point-to-point season between Vauxhall and Kingston is £26.80/week. With the 18+ Oyster she can get a zones 2-6 travelcard for £26.20/week which will also cover any other travel apart from rail in zone 1. I think I’d go for the travelcard option.

  194. Thank you so much for your help – it is most appreciated. L

  195. hi there,

    i’ve got a situation i couldn’t figure out myself, so i thought i might just ask here, as you seem quite fit with the tfl system. 🙂
    today i checked what would be the cheapest way to go to surbiton from dalston junction and the single fare finder told me that it would be 5.70 during peak times but the last time when i went there (going to waterloo and then taking the train) i had to pay 7.20 with the oyster card. Could you probably tell me how i get the 5.70 fare? Maybe when i get a ticket from dalston junction to surbiton at the ticket counter?

    Kind regards

  196. Hi Martin,

    The £7.20 fare is the mixed TfL+NR fare for using the Underground and National Rail on a journey involving zone 1. The journey still involves zone 1*, but the £5.70 fare means you will travel by Overground from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction then by SWT to Surbiton. A paper ticket will be more than the oyster fare whichever way you go.

    * Unfortunately you go via Shoreditch High Street which is in zone 1.

  197. ah, now i understand! thank you very much for the quick help.

  198. Hi Mike,

    I have an 18+ student oyster card with an annual 1-6 loaded on to it which runs until 01/11/2013 (also the printed expiry of the 18+ card on the front). TfL have sent me an email advising that the expiry date of my 18+ card has been brought forward by one month (to 01/10/2013). Does this mean the card will stop working on 1st October and that I won’t be able to use the remaining month of the season ticket? What should I do?

    Thanking you,

  199. Hi Annie,

    Call the helpline and ask them. I’ve not heard of bringing forward the expiry date on photocards before. They do usually expire on 30th September though, so I wonder if there’s been some error here.

  200. Can I add my senior railcard to my Oyster card at Euston rail station or doI have to go down to the underground station?

  201. Hi Stewart,

    I think you can do it at the London Midland ticket office next to the platforms used by them and London Overground. The main ticket office won’t be able to help.

  202. I am a mature student at Birkbeck university. (50 years old ) I currently use an oyster card but do not have a railcard. I always travel in to London after 9.30 am and before 5 pm and I leave after 7.30 pm. Is there any point in my having a rail card or is the oyster always going to be cheaper.

  203. Hi Cathie,

    Is the Oyster card a student version? If it is then it depends what your journey is. If it is a standard adult version then you should also get a railcard to get discounted off-peak fares and caps on the Oyster.

  204. Hi mike,

    I have recently moved to twickenham and was looking into getting a zone 1-5 travel card. Would I be able to get a discount on this if I linked my YP railcard to my Oyster card

  205. Hi Louise,

    Unfortunately no. The 16-25 card discounts daily fares with a minimum fare applied before 10am to disuade commuting. Discounts on travelcard seasons are available to London students via the 16+ and 18+ Oyster cards.

  206. Hi,

    I travel from Bexleyheath to Cannon Street mon- fri. For the last 10 months I have been using my Oyster card to make payment. My outbound journey is before 6:30am so is charged at the off peak price meaning the savings for an annual season ticket are not so large for me.

    However I finally decided to bite the bullet and get my hands on an annual season ticket this morn. I requested that my season ticket be added to my Oyster card but was advised that this would not be possible. The lady at the station kiosk advised that only a travel card can be added to an Oyster card but definitely not a season ticket.

    This seems completely ridiculous to me. I’ve become quite accustomed to using an Oyster card on my daily commute. Touching in and out is far more convenient than the hassle of dealing with a paper ticket. With auto top up enabled it really was super easy to use.

    Do you know if it there are any plans for this situation to change in future? It seems a bizarre situation to me. There are oyster readers at Bexleyheath and Cannon Street. They can be used for daily tickets but not for season tickets….unless it’s a travel card?



  207. Hi Steve,

    Oyster works largely in zones rather than lines, so restricting validity to sections of line would make the system more complicated. Also, be thankful that you still have the option of a point to point season, as those lines priced by TfL do not.

  208. Hi Mike

    I have an annual national rail season ticket (gold card) between Winchester and London which doesn’t include tube travel. I do occasionally use the tube during the evening peak and have an oyster card for this, is there any value in getting my gold card registered on the oyster card?


  209. Hi Simon,

    It depends how much you do. Single fares are not discounted, but the off-peak cap is. In zones 1-2 the £7.00 cap comes down to £4.60 so you could save on the second or third journey.

  210. Hi Mike,

    I commute from Harringay (Green Lanes) to Richmond 5 days a week using the tube through central London on Sundays due to engineering works. What is the cheapest option for me? I spend a lot on travel around London during my days off work. Can I use my 16-25 railcard for a zone 1-4 travelcard and does this include bus?


  211. Hi Annie,

    The 16-25 railcard will not discount travelcard seasons, but it will discount off-peak fares and the off-peak caps on Oyster. A travelcard does also include buses. If you travel at least 4 days a week on Mon-Fri during peak hours then I suggest a zone 2-4 travelcard season and load some PAYG credit for your occasional trips through zone 1.

  212. Hi Mike,
    I will be moving from London to Chichester in the New Year and I am trying to work out my cheapest route(s) to commute back to London St Pancras.

    I need to be in London for 9:30ish Mon-Fri.

    Could you help me please?

    Thank you

  213. Mike

    Thank-yoU for you many responses! I have been in contact communication with rail and Oyster card staff but can’t resolve a way to purchase in advance of arrival from US an Oyster card preferably registered and a senior rail card. Is it possible to order the railcard on line and have send to my B&B then forwarded to me in US? Having the railcard when I arrive at Heathrow then allows me to purchase an Oyster card at the tube station at the airport and hopefully linked and registered at the same time? Is it true that a railcard can only be purchased with a credit card with an UK mailing address? Any other suggestion on how to get these cards in advance? Thanks!

  214. Hi Jamie,

    Sorry for the delay. This is a little beyond my speciallity as it is outside the Oyster area, but I think you’ll need to ask for a season ticket to St Pancras as a named station rather than London Terminals. Travel from Chichester to East Croydon, then change onto an FCC service to St Pancras.

  215. Hi Thom,

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know any rules about purchasing railcards. I suggest you try contacting them from their website at http://www.railcard.co.uk/.

  216. Hi just to help out anyone who is about to apply for a 60+ Oyster card

    The application is straight forward but where someone can get stuck is when they have to add their passport number as its not the normal number but the full number that appears at the bottom it looks like this { this is not a real number }

    3142729832GBR5310226M2302232 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 06

    its split into areas so the fields will look like this

    3142729832 GBR 5310226 M 2302232 06

    as the form is time limited your best to save the details in a text file so that you can copy them over after double checking everything.

    The image you use is similar to a passport type image – the one I used was 978 by 800 – for some daft reason they don’t give you a hint as to the size but it accepted my one.

    You can apply 14 days before you are 60 and it costs £10.

    The only tricky area was agreeing to the terms and conditions as its in a fixed window and you have to scroll to the bottom where the tick box is – if you don’t tick you don’t pass go.

  217. Here is a update – I applied just after midnight { 14/11/2013 }
    and at 07.20 { 14/11/2013 } they had approved my image and they posted the card out at 09.50 { 14/11/2013 } so that is amazing fast work.

    I know filling in a form can be a pain but seeing I have had two strokes so if I can manage it then most should be able to get though it quickly – the trick is to have everything prepared.

    Be sure to have a read at


    and fully read ‘ Q: If I get a 60+ London Oyster photocard, do I need to complete another application when I become eligible for a Freedom Pass ? ‘

    by opting in they will let you know when you can apply for a Freedom Pass.

  218. Hi,
    I am not sure how helpful having a railcard is. I have a 16-25 railcard, I live in zone 1 and just started working in zone 4. Is it more suitable to buy a monthly travelcard to work and back or should i register my railcard and load PAYG credit? Should i register it anyway even if i buy the monthly travelcard?

  219. Hi peny,

    The answer depends a lot on which line you use to get to work. Returning into zone 1 in the afternoon peak is charged at off-peak rates and discounted if the fares are set by TfL, but not if they are set by NR. If you can let me know the details of your journey then I can offer fuller advice.

  220. I travel from Elmstead Woods to Cannon Street about 180 times a year. Occasionally I travel to St Pancras off peak. I am wondering what the best annual reason ticket for me to purchase is. I can get a Zone 1-4 Travelcard for around £1750 or I can get a Gold Card season ticket to London Terminals for £1244.

    If I get a Gold Card season ticket to London Terminals I can then use my gold Card to get 1/3rd off off peak travel around central London.

    Alternatively I could just use PAYG for £7.20 per journey.

    Which arrangement would be the best value for money.

    Also if I buy a ticket to London Terminals I cannot travel further than City Thameslink. For the same cost I can get an annual ticket to St Pancras but could I still use this ticket to go to other London Terminals. Nationalrail online seems to suggest so but it’s not entirely clear!

    Many thanks for any advice you have.

  221. OK. First thanks to my friends at RailUK for a solution: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=93103

    Note that the price to West Hampstead does seem to be a bit of an anomaly, but that isn’t your problem. It is just as valid to walk from either Cannon Street or Waterloo East* to Blackfriars as it is to take the train from London Bridge. All you can’t do is use the Underground*. Season tickets are valid for intermediate travel so you don’t have to go to West Hampstead.

    You may encounter issues at Cannon Street. I don’t know how likely it is, but if you don’t want potential hassle then this solution isn’t for you. If you are prepared to argue your corner then I am pretty confident that it’s all valid. You should read through the routeing guide as refered to on that thread on RailUK so you can confidently explain why it’s valid.

    * Whether you will be able to walk through Southwark LU station is another potential issue with the Waterloo option.

  222. Mike, many thanks for your efforts looking into this problem. Before investing in an annual travel card I will try a daily ticket and see what happens at Cannon Street! I will let you know.

    Really grateful for your assistance and the help from Rail UK.

  223. That’s a good idea. A weekly could also expose any problems you might face without the commitment of an annual, but don’t forget that you can always do a changeover from one annual to another with the charge or refund calculated pro-rata.

  224. Mike – great website, as usual.

    I am about to buy my annual travelcard-oyster for 2014. I will need to buy it before 24Dec, when I will go on holiday, and I won’t be able to use it until after 10Jan, when I am back… I think I read somewhere that you must use your travelcard in the first week of validity… is that correct? Is there anything that I can do if it is?

  225. Hi Robert,

    You don’t have to use it in the first week.

  226. That’s good to know then, many thanks!

  227. Eleanor Wilson

    Mike –
    Glad to have found you.

    I will be in England this summer with my two sons (one will turn 16 during the trip on 7/7/2014 and the other will be 12). I will purchase a Friends & Family rail card when we arrive in Scotland (early June) for our travel there and later in the summer. My understanding is that my 15-year-old will be eligible for the child rate on trains for the entire trip since we will initiate the F&F rail card when he is 15.

    We will be in London for a week after my son turns 16. Does it make the most sense to use the F&F and paper tickets, get both boys the 11-15 discount card, Travelcards, something else?

  228. Hi Eleanor,

    The child 11-15 discount cards cost £10 to get and I’m not sure they issue them to overseas travellers. Unless you’ll be doing a lot of travel in London it probably isn’t worthwhile. The F&F railcard will get you discounted child travelcards and you are correct that it is valid for the duration of the one-year railcard if the child turns 16 after the railcard is bought.

  229. Hi,

    I was in London at the weekend with my daughter and attempted to buy discounted travel cards using our Family Railcard. This was at Rayners Lane about 09:00 Saturday. The ticket office was closed and neither the staff or myself could see how to do this using the machine.

    Luckily the very helpful staff member went behind and sorted it out. Do you know whether this is possible using the machine or is this a small oversight?

  230. Hi Dave,

    It should be possible as far as I know. Did the staff member sort it out on the machine or did they open the ticket office?

  231. He couldn’t work it out, so went behind the scenes and did it in the ticket office. We couldn’t see a way to get the £2.00 child ticket. I might have a look again if I am in town with a little time to spare.

  232. Ah! Did you already have a travelcard season and just require a child one with the railcard?

  233. No in this case just a F&F railcard and we needed both an adult and child day travelcard.

  234. Well that’s bad then. I’ll make some enquiries.

  235. Hi Mike,

    I just have a question. I have just added my 16-25 railcard discount entitlement to my 18+ oyster card with the help of a staff at London Bridge Underground Station. The process took only a few seconds and it was done! But I’d like to know how I can check whether the entitlement was actually loaded or not. I’ve already checked my online oyster account and there’s nothing changed yet. Or does it take some times to be updated on the website? Is there any other way I can check I’ve got both 18+ student discount and 16-25 railcard discount? Thank you very much for your help!

  236. Hi William,

    Discount entitlement is not shown on the online system unfortunately. If you are given a printout after adding the railcard then that will show everything, but some clerks don’t do that. Last time I had my son’s done I asked for a printout and had the screen turned round so I could see both discounts. For piece of mind I’d take it back to a tube station and just ask them to confirm what the discounts are.

    Obviously you’ll find out about the 16-25 discount next time you make an off-peak rail journey.

  237. Hi Mike.
    Great web site by the way.
    I have a disabled railcard and a Disabled Freedom pass for Greater London. (I live and work in Bromley)
    Is there any advantage in my having an Oyster card and having the disabled element added to it? The lady in the booth said to me there was no point but amended my Oyster card anyway.
    Many thanks

  238. Hi Bob,

    As far as I know the disabled freedom pass gives you free travel in the zones, so the only benefit might be if you use Oyster outside the normal travelcard zones (ie in Essex or Hertfordshire).

  239. Hi Mike, I emailed Southeastern trains and they responded first to say a ticket from Chislehurst to West Hampstead would be valid through VIC, WAE and CHX but not CST. Then they replied to say the following “I can confirm that, Chislehurst to West Hampstead would be valid only to London Terminals stations where there is a legitimate break of journey, so that would include:

    London Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras

    And not:

    Waterloo East, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Victoria

    Unfortunately, I am unsure if your ticket would work through the barriers at London Bridge or Blackfriars”.

    I decided to buy a ticket to London Terminals and pay the extra for the times I need to go to St Pancras or Farringdon.


  240. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for letting us know. You’ve had some pretty hopeless advice there. It may be worthwhile revisiting this when the details about alternative routes while FCC can’t serve London Bridge are published. Also, while your ticket might not work the barriers at London Bridge or St Pancras, it would indisputably be valid there.

  241. Hi Mike

    I really need some advise on gold cards

    My sister has a annual gold card between Slough & london
    Inc all zones.
    It has another 5 months left on it

    She has no use for it anymore as she has left her job in london, she would like to give it go me
    I work in London travelling between 3-4 stations on daily basis.

    My questions are;
    Im i allowed to use it?
    How can i get around to using it?
    Can i get it changed over to my name?
    What would happen if i did use it?

    I have heard about paying £1 to add another person
    Is this true?

    I would gladly appreciate all the help and advice

    Kind Regards

  242. Hi Rav,

    Season tickets cannot be transfered. The £1 you mention is to get a Gold Card Partner Railcard which is basically a Network Card for a quid. Your sister has two options, basically. First is to ask for a refund of the unused season. This will be calculated as if she had bought period tickets for the time used. If there are 5 months remaining then she’ll get between 2 and 3 months worth back. An annual ticket has no refund value after about 10 months (40 weeks). The other alternative is to ask for a changeover to a local season for one stop. This will be calculated pro-rata on the annual price and she would get back the difference between 5 months of her ticket and the cost of the same period on the new ticket. Depending on the prices involved this might work out better. She also still has the Gold Card with it’s benefits for off-peak travel.

    Hope that helps.

  243. Hi Mike,
    From January my son will be working with a training theatre company in London. He’ll be living in zone 1 and travelling to work at various locations in zone 3 at peak times on weekday mornings and some weekend mornings, and returning to zone 1 at peak time in the evenings. He’ll also be travelling socially in the evenings and at weekends.
    His company doesn’t qualify him for the 18+ card but he will be linking his 16-25 railcard to his oyster card. I know that the railcard only discounts off peak and caps so would it be better to buy a monthly zone 1-3 travel card and top up with payg for other journeys ( say outside zone 3,) or just stick to payg?
    Would be grateful for some help
    Best wishes,

  244. Hi Anne-Marie,

    The answer depends on (a) how much use above 5 peak commutes he does and (b) which lines he uses to return in the evening. If they are TfL priced lines then because the journey ends in zone 1 it will be charged as off-peak and discounted.

  245. Hi Mike,
    Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly and also for this fantastic site.
    He will be doing his 5 peak, zone 1-3, commutes on the Northern and London Overground lines. Leaving from, and returning to, zone 1. He would make this same commute on some Saturdays.
    Any social use would be on friday nights after work, and at weekends using the tube and probably no further than zone 3.

  246. In that case I think PAYG is probably better. The zone 1-3 travelcard costs £35.60 per week and the peak single is £3.20. He would get discounted off-peak travel in the afternoon though, which is only £1.80. There would need to be a lot of extra travel to justify the travelcard.

  247. Hi Mike,
    My wife and I both have senior railcards and live in Yorkshire. We travel to London fairly frequently and wonder if it would pay us to attach our railcards to our PAYG Oyster cards. We usually use the underground for travel to and from central London into Essex.
    Many thanks,


  248. Hi Malcolm,

    Yes, it would probably be a good idea. As long as your travel is off-peak you will benefit from a reduction, even if the whole journey is on the tube.

  249. Hi Mike. I have an Oyster card with a gold card discount loaded onto it. If I touch in during the week after 9.30am, but before 10am, will the discounted, £5.60 off peak cap apply to journeys made during the day? I ask as gold card discounts don’t normally kick in until 10am. Thank you.

  250. Hi Tom,

    Yes. All railcards are treated the same way on Oyster. This means that you get the discounted fares and cap from 0930 rather than 1000. You can also get discounted fares before 0630 as well.

  251. Thank you, Mike. That’s great news.

  252. Mike,

    There will be 3 of us, 2 adults ( 55 and 21) and 1 child (13). We have plans to use the train to visit Watford Junction for Warner Bros. and Warwick for the castle. We are staying in central London and plan to get paper 7 Day travelcards from National Rail for zones 1&2 for using the Underground in the city. Is there any benefit to getting F&F or other discount plans before arriving or while in London to get a better deal on rail tickets outside the city? I will be in London again in June. Thank you.

  253. Hi Gehrig,

    The F&F Railcard will almost pay for itself for the Warwick trip, so it would seem to be a good idea.

  254. If I add a young persons railcard to an oyster card can I still return the oyster card to receive the deposit back at the end of my visit or is the card then linked to me?

  255. Hi Josh,

    You can still get the deposit refunded.

  256. hi I have a 16plus zip oyster card and a 16-25 railcard I live in zone 1-4 . would it be possible for me to get my railcard linked to my zip oyster ?.

  257. Hi Shile,

    You can link them but it doesn’t do anything now because the 16+ card now gives you 50% discount on all rail fares.

  258. Hi, I have a disability and therefore was given a disabled railcard by my case to do with the traffic accident that I was in to get this injury. My question is that I have lost my purse which has my disabled railcard, oyster card, disabled bus pass, everything in but i had already booked my tickets to get up to Loughbrough from Harrow on the Hill. Is there any way I can still get by with the receipts that I was sent (i can even bring my disability letter to prove i am disabled!) etc or am I now going to pay out money I don’t have… only because I am running on emergency funds due to losing my bank card too….?

  259. Hi Jess,

    Obviously I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. Unfortunately I don’t think you would be allowed to travel on discounted tickets without the railcard. If you can get another railcard before you travel then you will be fine, otherwise you will need to change the tickets to full price ones before you travel. If you are found with discounted tickets and no railcard after your journey has started then you will need to buy completely new tickets, and you could be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution.

  260. Hi, I have a 60+ oyster. If I want to go from London Bridge to Haywards Heath in the afternoon, do I show my oyster, then they charge me from the boundary of the last zone (I think it is East Croydon on that route) and then take off my one third discount for my Senior railcard? Thanks

  261. Hi Stephen,

    Yes, that’s right, as long as you have a senior railcard, of course.

  262. Hi. I’d attached my 16-25 student railcard to my oyster. Unfortunately I’ve lost my oyster, how do I go about linking my railcard with my new oyster?

  263. Just take your new Oyster and the railcard to a tube station ticket office. A railcard can be linked to more than one Oyster, but each Oyster is then only valid if carried with the railcard. Also, if your Oyster is the 16-18 variety then you needn’t relink it as the zip card discount now exceeds the railcard discount at all times.

  264. Hi I have a annual season ticket for Zone 1-2, is it right we get a 1/3 off all zones outside our ticket limit but off-peak only..?

  265. Hi Lidia,

    Yes, that’s right. A third off off-peak single fares and the off-peak caps. If it hasn’t already been, the discount flag needs to be set by a tube ticket office.

  266. nellypledge

    Hi Mike
    I have an annual gold card zones 1-6 from upminster. It’s frustrating that you can’t just buy Upminster to Fenchurch street but nevermind. What is the link posted on HOTUKDEALS about switching to an Oyster and getting a network railcard for £1 instead of £30. Can you explain what I would do and if it’s of benefit.

  267. Hi Nelly,

    Your annual gold card is already valid as a network card for you. If you put it on Oyster it still is, but you need to show the gold record card to get discounted paper tickets. The £1 network railcard is an offer to any gold card holder (oyster or paper) which is designed to allow your partner to have their own Network card to use when you are at work. Each gold card holder can get one partner Network card each year, but it can be given to anyone, as long as the recipients name is on the application form.

    Also, if you really only want the ticket to commute between Upminster and Fenchurch Street, and rarely use trains on any other line or buses etc, then you can get an annual season from Ockenden to Fenchurch Street via Upminster for £104/year less.

  268. nellypledge

    Hi Mike
    Thanks. I do use tubes and buses now so I’ll keep my ticket as it is. So can I just show my gold card and get a network card for my partner for just £1 as it is now?

  269. Hi Neil,

    Yes, you can.

  270. nellypledge

    thank you

  271. nellypledge

    Oh at any railway station?

  272. Any National Rail station within the South East (Network) area. There’s a map on the NRE website.

  273. I had my Senior Railcard linked to my registered Oyster card in May of last year. A few days ago I was challenged by a bus inspector, as his reader showed that it was a discounted Oyster card and required a photocard. I spoke to tfl yesterday who seemed a little uncertain, but undertook to call me back. As the call did not materialise, I callewd them back today, only to be told that I would need to exchange my Railcard for an up to date version that included a photo. This was news to me and I can find no evidence on the Railcards website or anywhere else that such a Senior Railcard exists. As far as I can ascertain, only the 16-25 Railcard requires photo id. Any helpful suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks/

  274. Hi John,

    They are getting confused with other discounts. Any Oyster discounted with a National Railcard simply has to be presented with the railcard. In the case of the senior card there is no photo as you say. The same goes for Gold Cards. The expiry date of the railcard should match the expiry date on the discount field of the Oyster.

    Please do let me know if they refuse to accept this.

  275. Alex Griffiths

    I commute from Clapham Junction to Syon Lane, and I am just weighing up my option with regards to tickets. I have a 16-25 railcard as well.
    Would it be cheaper to get a year season pass for Clapham to Syon Lane or attach my railcard to my oyster card and use that pay as you go?

  276. Hi Alex,

    The answer depends on when you use the trains. If it is always in the peak time 5 days a week then a paper season ticket will be better value. If you can make some of your journeys off-peak (before 0630, 0930-1600, after 1900) then discounted off-peak PAYG singles may well work out cheaper.

  277. steve richatds

    Mosy of these transactions take place at ticket offices
    Where will they be done when all the offices close

  278. Hi Steve,

    I believe that the newer POM machines have the capabilities to do these things when under the control of one of the visible staff.

  279. Hi,

    2 Adults + a 14 year old with a f & f railcard. Liverpool St to Wembley & about 4 single train journeys in london off peak over weekend. Single tickets with discount or oyster card – confused :/

  280. Hi Lorraine,

    The Underground only trip suggests that discounted paper travelcards will probably be cheapest. You’ll need one each day, so if there isn’t much travel on one day then single tickets might be better. I’d need more info to be sure.

  281. Thanks very much

  282. Hi Mike

    I am commuting into London full time from Chesham (zone 9) to St Pauls, I have been using a monthly oyster card but have just discovered I could get a 16-25 one.
    Seemingly this is only valid in zones 1-4? So would I still be able to use it from zone 9/ would I make any savings?
    PAYG oyster seems a good solution if valid as I do not want to commit to an annual oyster pass.


  283. Hi Alice,

    A 16-25 railcard is a National Rail discount card. It can be linked to an Oyster card and gives discounts on all off-peak fares and caps. This is not limited to zones 1-4 but anywhere where Oyster is accepted. The catch is that it doesn’t discount peak fares. If you commute both ways at peak times then you are probably better off getting a travelcard on your Oyster. If you can time your travel to make use of off-peak fares (e.g. touch in before 0630) then PAYG with a 16-25 discount should make sense.

  284. Hi Mike,

    Could you please tell me if TWO TOGETHER railcard may be linked to an Oyster card? Is it eligible for discussion?


  285. Hi Zulfiqar,

    Sorry, the two together railcard cannot be linked to an Oyster card. I’ve updated the page above to reflect that.

  286. Thank Mike for the assistance.

  287. i have a senior rail card and normal oyster card which I would like to register to take advantage of senior citizen discounts. how can i do this.

  288. I am travelling to London from Manchester tonight. I would like to take advantage of discounts while travelling in London – How Plz?

  289. Hi Amjad,

    I suggest you take the Oyster card and the senior card to a ticket office window at the Underground when you arrive. They should be able to do both functions (register and link).

  290. Hi Mike,
    I intend travelling from Stevenage at 10.20 Sun 4th May to York (arr. 12.49) then from York at 18.59 to Kings Cross, arr. 20.58. The 2 single fares with EC trains advance tickets using a senior railcard amount to £37.85.
    Then using my Oyster card for £3.90 from zone 1 to zone 7.
    Can I better these prices using the combined cards and if so how do I go about ordering the NR East Coast tickets as I can’t see anywhere on their website when booking tickets to allow for this.
    I have had my Oyster card registered with my Senior railcard.

  291. Hi Bruce,

    I don’t think you can better that. Sorry!

  292. Hi Mike,

    What a great website!

    I have just received my 16+ zip card. I have also got a 16 – 25 railcard which I will link to it when next in London.

    However, I am still confused as to whether or not I will receive an extra discount with the railcard, on top of the 50% discount I will already be getting off the adult fare. Please could you advise?


  293. Hi Jack,

    No, there is no benefit linking 16+ zip cards now that the discount is 50% across the board. You don’t get any extra discount.

  294. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply. This is what I thought too.

    However, yesterday, I also contacted TFL Oyster team on the helpline to ask the same question and was given the impression that I would receive an extra 1/3 off fares on top of the 50% discount. As well as this, on the TFL website, it does list the 16 – 25 railcard as being available to use to gain a discount on the 16+ zip card.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares?intcmp=14736 (On the drop down list under ‘National Railcards and Gold Cards’)

    Therefore, is it a definite that I cannot gain any further discount? I am just a bit confused.


  295. Hi Jack,

    That’s an error. On that page there is a link to another page on railcards which correctly doesn’t mention the 16+ zip card.

  296. Hi Mike,

    I buy the monthly/weekly season from Brighton to Clapham Junction, and then take the bus to Chelsea for placement.

    Someone told me that if I had an 18+ photocard Oyster I would be eligible to get 1/3 off my train tickets. I am also eligible for a mature student railcard if this helps. I was wondering if you could clarify this as I don’t seem to be able to find any such information online. Would be really great if I could save some!

  297. Hi Perpetua,

    Sorry, the 18+ Student Oyster is only availble to students living in London during term time.

  298. Hi Mike,
    I am traveling mostly in off peak time from High Wycombe to stratford, so using both national rail and underground services. Recently got network rail card and using it to get day travel card.
    Is it useful for me to get oyster card, if so how to use it.? May i need to get ticket from high wycombe to london marylbone using network rail card and from london marylebone to stratford using oyster card ?! please clarify me ..
    Thank you very much…

  299. Hi Kowsalya,

    For that journey you are better off with the discounted travelcard from High Wycombe. An off-peak return to London would be subject to the minimum fare during the week and would not save enough to pay for the tube travel.

  300. […] on the one day to minimise cost. If you happen to hold a National Railcard, you can sometimes transfer this discount on to your Oyster card, […]

  301. Hiya, I have an 18+ oyster card registered in London. Can I get 1/3 off a East Croydon-London Victoria monthly/weekly season

  302. No, but you can get the discount on a zone 1-5 travelcard season which may then be cheaper than the full price rail only season.

  303. Hi, I am visiting London May 17 with my mom.
    We are going for 4 days. I don’t know which tickets we need to get. We travel on the underground zone 1 and 4.
    Piccalilly and Victoria. We want to travel anythime.
    No certain times. I hope you can help me, it would be nice !

  304. Hi Daimy,

    From what you’ve said it looks like an Oyster card is the best bet. If you travel a lot it will cap at less than a paper travelcard.

  305. Hi Mike

    Great site – Really helpful. I got a DPR on 17/4/13 and presented it at an underground station to have the discount applied to my Oyster card. I was told it was done and was given my oyster back – today I have found out that this evidently didn’t happen and I have been charged full price – using auto top up it was less evident as I just ‘get in with my journey’ but thought it was wrong so called customer services to check. When I called the customer centre I was told to email in and request a refund for the overcharging and they could work it out, which I have, but wondered if you had any other advice to expedite the overcharge they have made, which quick maths tells me could be quite a lot?

    Any insight gratefully received.

  306. Hi Mark,

    Does the DPR only last a year and need renewing? If it does then you need to renew the link to the Oyster each year as well. Other than that I’m not aware of anything more you can do.

  307. The TFL site states an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard is required to get child-rate travelcards. Does this also apply to discounted child-rate Travelcards when travelling with a Friends & Family Railcard holder?

  308. Hi Alfred,

    You may need a photocard at LU stations, but at NR stations you won’t.

  309. Thanks, Mike, for the clarification. Much appreciated.

  310. I had no problems loading my Gold Card (came with Zone 1-3 annual travel card) discount entitlement onto my the other spare Oyster card last year at one of the London underground station offices but they refused to do it this year for me on this particular spare Oyster card upon the renewal of my annual travel card insisting that the Gold Card (imprinted with my primary Oyster card number) must link back to the same Oyster Card. Have they changed their rules/practices? Tried to reason out with them but to no avail. At the end they only loaded the gold card discount entitlement on my primary Oyster card.

  311. Hi Zak,

    I’m not surprised that they wouldn’t do it (and quite surprised that they did it last year). The discounted Oyster card is only for use by yourself and you must have proof of the gold card entitlement with you when using it. If the gold card is a travelcard on a different Oyster card then you will pay more than you need to unless you travel entirely outside the zones of your travelcard.

  312. Mike- you are a hero. Thank you for answering so many of our questions.

    I am a full time student doing a one year MA program- my student oyster card expires in September this year.

    I would love to purchase an annual card, but don’t understand what will happen when my oystercard expires. Will I lose the balance on my card? Do I have to wait until my student card expires to buy an annual travelcard, can I buy one with a partial discount?

    Thank you!

  313. Hi Gin,

    I’m pretty sure that you can’t buy annual travelcards with a student Oyster because they would almost certainly extend beyond the validity of the Oyster. It’s also unlikely that many students would want an annual travelcard covering the summer. You can’t buy one with partial discount either.

  314. Thanks for the quick reply, Mike! I only intended to use the spare Oyster card exclusively for journeys outside (not involving) zones 1 to 3 on certain odd occasions. That’s why I wanted to load the Gold Card discount entitlement on this particular Oyster card. I thought, as pointed out in your much earlier reply to someone above, one could link a railcard to more than one Oyster card. And I presume Gold Card is a type of railcard? Thanks again!

  315. Hi Zak,

    Yes, a gold card is a type of railcard, but it is a special type when the actual ticket is loaded onto an Oyster card. Whilst you can load 16-25 and senior railcards, for instance, onto more than one Oyster you can only use one at a time. The main reason you might want to load a 16-25 card onto more than one Oyster is when the Oyster itself expires before the railcard. The other good reason is when you lose the Oyster card. In your case, if you lose the Oyster card with a travelcard on it you’ll be getting it stopped and a replacement issued, which can of course have the discount loaded again.

    I’m not suggesting that you were thinking of doing this, but the thought that crops up is that you wanted the other Oyster card for a partner. Unfortunately, without it’s own validating railcard that Oyster would be invalid for travel. If caught by an inspection the holder (and possibly the donor) could be liable for prosecution.

  316. hi Mike,
    travelling from pembroke dock to london in july. my fare will be less expensive if i purchase an advance ticket and as i understand it even more so if i purchase a senior rail card. do i just present my senior rail card when i purchase an oyster card?

  317. Hi Philippa,

    Yes, get your Oyster card from a tube station ticket office and ask them to add the senior railcard discount at the same time.

  318. Can I register my new H M Forces railcard with my oyster card online?
    Regards Pete.

  319. thanks for your help, Mike. very much appreciated. what an excellent forum this is 🙂

  320. Hi Pete,

    Linking a railcard with an Oyster card can only be done at a tube station.

  321. Hi I have an 18+ discount Oyster card. I want to get a monthly travelcard from Shenfield to zones 1-9. However it won’t let me do this online even though I have a student account? Do I have to go to the Shenfield station in order to get the travelcard with the discount?

  322. Hi Oliver,

    Yes, you will need to go to a station to add that travelcard. You can’t buy any discounted travelcard seasons online.

  323. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the useful website. I have a maths problem for you as I really want to find the best way of travelling and saving money. During the term time, I travel from Rickmansworth station (Zone7) to South Kensington station (Zone1) everyday. In the morning it is always peak time for me and I will use the tube/ train again after 7pm to go back to Ricky. My question is will it be better if I buy an annual ticket from Chiltern to travel or shall I buy an annual oyster card or just use PAYG? The reason why I ask this is because I am not sure if the annual tickets from Chiltern will cover from London Marylebone to other Zone 1 station. If not, does that mean I will need to use my oyster card once I enter the Bakerloo line in Marylebone if I take Chiltern to work in the morning? Currently I use PAYG and there is no rail card that I can load to the Oyster card to save money. Hope this makes sense. Thank you for your reply in advance.

  324. Hi Fei,

    Simple answers. You can’t buy rail only seasons between Rickmansworth and Marylebone, it has to be a zone 1-7 travelcard season which then will be valid to South Kensington. However, if you only use your Oyster to commute then there isn’t much benefit to buying an annual travelcard. If you regularly return home off-peak there is even less benefit. I’d probably use PAYG unless you regularly use buses or make other train trips on days you don’t commute.

  325. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the reply. I hardly use buses and only go to central during weekends once in a while. Hence your suggestion confirms what I have thought as well. Thank you very much.

  326. I’ve just bought my first Senior Railcard, and was hoping to link it to my Oyster to use for a family London trip on my 60th. Went to Croxley the day before, but the clerk told me the card was not registered – I’ve had online access since the start of Oyster so was told to ring the helpline! They said I needed a paper registration. So took it all to Watford the next day @ 13:00 but the clerk said the ticket office was shut, so tough, but I didn’t need to re-register?! Another call to helpline elicited the same response.
    They really don’t seem to know the rules… Will try again between 07:00 & 10:00, together with your instructions.

  327. Hi Nick,

    There is some confusion about whether the card needs to be registered or not. I think the reality is that the system doesn’t require it but the company do want it for security purposes. I’d always recommend registering anyway.

  328. Hi there

    I have just purchased an annual zones 1-4 travel card via a southwest train station in London. They said TFL no longer allow them to deal with annual goldcards on Oyster so I chose to take their paper ticket. Is there a way of transferring the zone 1-4 paper ticket onto an oystercard in the future as using the paper ticket may end up a pain everyday?


  329. Hi Jack,

    I’m not convinced that TfL are to blame, but it’s complex so I won’t expand any further. You might have a problem converting the season to be held on Oyster though. Very few NR stations handle Oyster at ticket offices. I’ve heard good reports about Marylebone, so I’d probably try there if anywhere.

  330. Hi
    Me and my partner are going to London for 3 days. We both have a 16-25 railcard.
    We’re staying in zone 2 (Kilburn is nearest tube) and will be be spending time around central and won’t be going outside of zone 2.
    On a morning we won’t be travelling until after 9.30am but we’ll be out all day and into the evening/night.
    Would it be better for us to get an Oyster card and link the railcard to them or get an all day travel card and with the railcard discount?
    Thanks for your help

  331. Hi Riley,

    Definitely cheaper to get Oyster cards and attach the railcard discount. The paper ticket costs £5.90/day while the Oyster cap for zones 1-2 with railcard discount is just £4.60/day.

  332. I have a paper zones 1-4 gold card, yet when I try to get an extension I am charged more than the correct fare. I also have a pay as you go Oyster card. If I want to travel z1 to z6 then the oyster fare is 1.50 but both Tfl and national rail want to charge me 4.70. Will linking to my Oyster card fix this problem? If so how?

  333. Hello Mike,

    I have an 18+ oyster due to expire in a month. Any idea if the discounted travel cards can extend past this date? I would ideally now buy a z1-3 annual and get a tidy discount but I’m unsure if 1) this will even be allowed on the machine and 2) if I’m breaking some terms of the agreement and leaving myself open to a fine if I do buy it

  334. Hi Aaron,

    Oyster extension fares are only available when the travelcard is loaded on the Oyster card, unfortunately. However, if £1.50 is the off-peak single for zones 5-6 you will only be charged £1.00 when the annual gold card is taken into consideration.

  335. Hi Joe,

    My understanding is that all season tickets purchased with a student Oyster card must expire by the last date of the student card. For this reason, I don’t think it’s possible to get an annual season ticket with a student Oyster card.

  336. Hi Mike,

    I am a foreign language student and I would like to find out what is the cheapest way to travel between Surrey (Addlestone) and Wimbledone for a person minor 25 years in the period of July and August. 16-25 railcard does not cover July and August. Your response will be much appreciated.

  337. Hi Maria,

    The 16-25 railcard does cover July and August, it’s just that there’s no minimum fare before 10am. This makes them more valuable in the summer months. Depending on the route taken and day and time of day you’ll pay between £5.15 and £10.15 for a return fare. As long as you travel off-peak and avoid Clapham Junction you won’t pay more than £6.40.

  338. Is there a way to remove the railcard discount from a specific Oyster card? My oyster with my discount wouldn’t register for automatic top up so I registered a different card, without remembering I had a discount on the original one. Is there a way to remove the discount or switch it from my old to my new card?

  339. Hi Mike
    Is it now possible to see whether my Gold Card discount is logged against my Oystercard on my online Oyster account? If not, how do I check?

  340. Hi Tuzisnow,

    As far as I know the best way to check is to ask at an Underground station. The online facility doesn’t show it.

  341. Thanks Mike

  342. Hi Emma,

    You can add the discount to the new card in the same way as you did it to the old one. Just remember that neither card is valid without the supporting railcard. If you needed to, an Underground station would be able to remove the discount from the old card. It will cease working anyway on expiry of the railcard.

  343. Hi, Mike

    I have a disabled persons railcard. Is the discount added to my oyster just as a 16-25 railcard would be?

    Could you suggest somewhere I could go to get this put on my oyster?

    Also how much of a discount am I entitled to with it when buying a weekly ticket for example?

  344. Hi Marcio,

    Yes, the disabled railcard works exactly the same as the 16-25 railcard with Oyster. Just take them both to an Underground ticket office to get the discount applied. There is no discount on weekly tickets, nor on peak fares with Oyster.

  345. Hi, my current oyster card expires on the 30th of September, so obviously I’ll need to get a new one, but I’ve lost my current one and I need to use it before the 30th of September. So would I be able to get a new one early or wait until my current one has expired?

  346. Hi Ryan,

    I assume you had a zip photocard or a student Oyster if it expires at the end of September. If that is the case then you can report it lost and order a new one on payment of a £10 fee. It can be done online, or over the phone to the Oyster helpdesk. The replacement will have the same expiry date as the one you’ve lost unfortunately.

  347. Hi,
    I am an international student eligible for the student Oyster as well as the 16-25 railcard. I was wondering, since I will be using the visitor Oyster for about a month before I receive my student Oyster – is it recommended for me to attach the railcard to the visitor Oyster first? Or should I wait for the student Oyster before I attach the railcard? How does the discount work with the ‘pay as you go’ on the visitor Oyster if my railcard is not attached to the visitor Oyster?
    Also, which are the stations where I can buy the railcard?

    Thank you!

  348. Hi Mike – We are spending 3 days in London (Thurs-Sat). Our hotel is near Park Royal (Zone 3) and we are going to the New London Theatre (Zone 1) on Friday evening. Otherwise we are intending to do a fair bit of walking (instead of taking the Tube). We are 2 adults, 2 children (10 & 15). It looks like the Oyster card is the best thing for us but we are very confused, to say the least!! Would you agree that the Oyster card is the best value for money for us? How do we work out how much to load each card with? Thanks in advance.

  349. Hi Meri,

    I don’t believe that you can link a railcard discount to a visitor Oyster card. However, you can buy a normal Oyster card when you arrive and the deposit is fully refundable when your student Oyster arrives. The £3 charge for a visitor Oyster card is non-refundable.

    The railcard can be purchased from any National Rail station. You’ll need a passport type photo and proof of eligibility.

  350. Hi Fred,

    Oyster cards will be best for the adults. You can find fare information using the single fare finder for a guide to how much to top up. The 10-year-old travels free on the Underground, DLR, London Overground and selected National Rail routes as long as they acompany a fare-paying adult. The 15-year-old is slightly more problematic. Child Oyster fares are only available with a photocard which costs £10. You probably wouldn’t save enough over 3 days to make that worthwhile. Their best bet is likely to be a child travelcard at £3.60/day as long as you don’t travel before 0930 Mon-Fri.

  351. Hi Mike,

    Rather than travel into London to an Underground station, do you know if a Ticket Stop or Travel Information Centre can (or should be able to) add a railcard discount to Oyster?

    It seems to be possible so TfL point out on their page (under how do I apply):


    Just wondering if I’m likely to be met with a confused look or just told that they can’t do it…


  352. Hi Si,

    I don’t doubt that ticket stops should be able to do it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you got a confused look. Perhaps take along that page from the TfL website and they might check their training manuals. You might have to shop around. I’ll ask around the local ticket stops here to see if they know what to do.

  353. I’m an occasional visitor to London with a Disabled railcard loaded on my Oyster. I’m aware of the concession that allows an adult companion (I have an invisible disability and don’t need a carer as such) to travel with me on a child rate Off-Peak Travelcard. I’m also aware of the advice to carry a print of the rule for the benefit of rail staff unfamiliar with it. My companions have thus far been unwilling to test this out!

    A couple of points:

    Is it just a normal child Travelcard and can it can it be purchased from a machine to avoid lengthy discussions at ticket offices?

    Presumably the Travelcard would also be valid for bus travel in the normal way? I’m a little apprehensive about arguing its validity in front of a bus load of impatient passengers and wonder if any of your readers have experience of this?

  354. Hi Nigel,

    Yes it is a normal child travelcard. A printout would be useful in case of questions. I’m not aware of any people using it and whether they encounter problems. An invisible disability might cause questions, but the disabled railcard and the Oyster should be enough to answer them.

  355. Hello Mike
    Very helpful site – thank you. If we link out Two Together Railcard, does that mean as with the railcard’s conditions, we’d always have to travel together on TfL services when using that linked Oyster card please?

  356. Hi Simon,

    Two together is one of the railcards which cannot be linked to an Oyster card.

  357. Thanks for the great information source. I am still a bit confused:
    We are 2 adults (with oyster payg) and 2 children (5&6 applying for oyster photocards) and have a friend & family railcard. We live in Streatham Hill. If we use rail within London we all 4 go on Oyster fares. But if we only use buses and tube and are doing several journeys can we just get discounted travelcards for £5.90 for the adults and none for the children as they are free on buses and tube anyway? Do I buy the discounted travelcard at the railway station?

  358. Hi Stephen,

    To get adult discounted fares with a friends and family railcard, at least one child must buy a ticket as well. You are actually better off using the railcard to get discounted travelcards when using the train as well, except that one child should use their zip card to get the cheaper off-peak cap.

  359. Hi Mike,
    Im getting a little confused, I will be traveling from Grays to the Barbican for university. i understand that I can get a discount oyster but i will be having to travel in peak times so will i still be able to benefit from the full discount and will i have to buy my tickets in advance to benefit from the discount? Am I right in thinking I would not be able to use pay as you go facilities?

  360. Hi,

    The 18+ student Oyster is only available to students living at a London address during term time. Also, travelcard seasons are not available on Oyster for the Grays group of stations, so your best bet will be a paper ticket.

  361. Hi Mike,

    I will be travelling from Hatfield ( Herts ) to london waterloo.
    My partner works in barnet and on certain days could take me to high barnet underground where I could tube it to waterloo. This will not happen every day and chances are he can drive me to barnet but I would need to find my way back. What would be the cheaper way to do this? I understand with the train type of tickets when its done weekly,montly or yearly its for return and not pay as you go like the Oyster ? can you please help.

    Thank you

  362. Hi Caterina,

    Hatfield is outside the Oyster area, so to travel from there you will need a paper season. There are two options. (1) £62.50/week season from Hatfield to London Terminals will get you as far as Kings Cross. You’d then need to use Oyster PAYG to get to Waterloo which is £2.20 per journey, so £22.00/week making a total of £84.50/week. (2) £90.70/week for a Hatfield to zones 1-6 travelcard season. This would cover you for the whole journey and also allow you to use High Barnet at no extra charge. If you buy period seasons of a month or more then the travelcard is likely to be slightly cheaper because the PAYG wouldn’t reduce in the same way as the season cost. Also, if you make any other trips in London then the travelcard becomes more beneficial.

    I hope that helps.

  363. Hi Mike, thank you for your reply.

    I have another question if you dont mind please. My partnet works in barnet and on some days he can take me to high barnet to save on cost etc but there are two problems with this: 1- dont know if he can then take me back 2 – on some days he may not be able to take me to high barnet at all. is there a flexible card that I could buy and use as and when for my journey from Hatfield to Waterloo when I cant travel from high barnet ?

    Thank you

  364. Hi Caterina,

    If you can travel to/from High Barnet most days then your best bet is to get a zone 1-5 travelcard on Oyster. This will cover you from High Barnet and also New Barnet if coming from Hatfield and costs £53.40/week. To travel from Hatfield to New Barnet you’ll need a paper ticket costing £6.40 return or £5.60 single. For five days travel that is cheaper than the travelcard from Hatfield, but longer periods won’t work out so well.

    There is no need for the train to stop at New Barnet because one ticket (the travelcard) is a season and the other is not.

  365. Hi Mike, thank you for your answer. Have you heard of the carnet tickets ? Are they worth buying, in my case that I will not know for sure how many days a week I will be using the train.
    Thank you

  366. Hi Caterina,

    Yes, I’ve heard of carnet tickets. If you buy them be very careful about filling them in. Preferably ask for and use a pen provided by the ticket office. In my personal opinion they are not worth the potential hassle if you have trouble writing the date on the ticket.

  367. Hi Mike,

    I am going to start my second year of study on a 3 year university course in London.

    My journey would normally be in the morning from about 8-9AM, and I would return at about 5-6PM. The stations I would leave from are either Cricklewood station with the National Rail or I would take the bus to Golders Green Underground station. My destination will be to Holborn Underground station and then I will make a return journey.

    My question is, that since I will be making a daily commute, would it be worth getting a 16-25 National Rail discount card?

    I’ve read that there is a minimum fare of £12 if you travel between 4.30am and 10am, but I don’t understand how this works in conjunction with the 30% discount of the Student 18+ Oyster.

    Thank you for your time

  368. Hi Alex,

    The discounts work on different tickets. The 16-25 railcard can be used to buy singles and returns with the minimum fare to restrict commuting. The 18+ Student Oyster allows you to buy discounted travelcard seasons, but it has no effect on singles or returns. So for your commute the 16-25 railcard will make no difference, but you may still find it worthwhile for other leisure journeys. If you get one then you should still put it on your Oyster to reduce travel costs in the holidays when you might not have a season ticket.

  369. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for your answer, but may I ask, does this mean that when I use my Oyster card to touch in to National Rail and/or Underground stations, there is no discount?
    For a daily commute to uni, what kind of card or ticket would you recommend?
    Thanks again

  370. Hi Alex,

    You should get a zone 1-3 travelcard on your student 18+ Oyster. This will then give you unlimited travel in zones 1-3 and also on TfL buses throughout London. The student discount means it costs £25.70/week or £98.70/month.

  371. Hi Mike,
    Twice a week I travel in the morning and evening peak from zone 5 to 1 and back (I have a 16-25).

    Would it make sense to purchase a paper ticket (presuming this is possible?) from a ticket office prior to the evening peak rather than use my oyster in the evening. I don’t use any other transport on either day.

    I’d appreciate your help Mike.

  372. Hi Jack,

    If you travel using NR services then yes it probably will make sense. If you tell me your stations then I can advise further.

  373. Hi Mike,

    Well it would either be Bond Street or Baker Street in zone 1. In zone 5 it would be North Harrow which is obviously not a NR service. Is this not possible then?
    But if I were to travel to Headstone Lane, it would be possible?

  374. Hi Jack,

    Railcard discounts are only applicable to paper tickets which are valid for travel on NR. This used to be the case with Oyster as well until a couple of years ago when they extended it to all off-peak rail fares.

  375. Hi,

    I am a student moving to London, and have a 16-25 railcard. I can also apply for a Student Oyster Card but currently have an adult oyster card.
    Is the discount for a student oyster+railcard more than an adult oyster+railcard??

    I do not understand if the discount will be the same and therefore if it is worth me buying a student oyster, please help!


  376. Hi Chloe,

    The student Oyster card gives you discounts on travelcard season tickets while single fares and daily caps are the same as adult cards. The 16-25 railcard has no effect on season tickets but will discount off-peak single fares and caps. It can be added to both student and adult Oyster cards.

  377. I have an outside london station to zone 2-6 Gold card.

    Am I eligible to travel on ALL london buses with my gold card? E.g. Even the ones in zone 1?


  378. Hi James,

    Yes you are.

  379. Hi Mike. I have found all these questions and answers very informative however I havnt quite found the answer to my question. I just got married and moved to london so my young persons railcard is still in my maiden name till it expires next year. I went to enquire about a zone 1-7 monthly travelcard and the supervisor quoted me basically £240. With my young persons railcard I thought it would be cheaper but he said it’s only cheaper after 9:30, although I will always travel before 8:30. Why is that? Have I been overcharged?

  380. Hi Precious,

    Unfortunately you cannot use the 16-25 railcard to get discounts on season tickets.

  381. How can I find out if my Forces discount card has been linked to my Oyster card? I registered it at Borough tube station but I am not entirely sure it has been linked?
    Regards in advance Pete.

  382. Hi Pete,

    The only surefire way to know without using the card is to ask an Underground station for a full statement.

  383. Hi Mike,
    I am a student and I’m commuting from Seven kings station to Colchester station. I wanted to know the cheapest way I can do this? My travelling times aren’t set, they change every week. Also, can I use my oyster card till the station? Or do I need to buy a paper ticket? (Side note: I have a 16-25 railcard!)

  384. Hi Sadia,

    If you are eligible for a Student 18+ Oyster then there might be a benefit getting a discounted travelcard for Seven Kings to Romford. If you can travel after 10am some days then your railcard will discount the return fare. It’s a bit difficult to advise without having a clearer outline of your travel times.

  385. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for providing such an informative and useful website. I will like to inquire if it is possible to link one 16-25 railcard to two different Oyster cards. Will I have to register the second Oyster card under the same name?

    Many thanks in advance!

  386. Hi Jess,

    You can link a railcard to more than one Oyster and they do need to be registered to the same name. You can only use one Oyster at a time though, because you must carry the railcard with you at all times when using a discounted Oyster card. If checked by revenue staff you may be asked to show the railcard.

  387. Hi Mike,
    Thanks to your site I now have my gold card discount loaded on to my Oyster card. My question is according to National Rail site once you have an annual gold card you can purchase a Partner Network Rail Card for £1. Can I do this when my gold card/season ticket is on my Oyster card? (It’s Z1-5) National Rail stations say I need a paper ticket to get one & LU say railcards have nothing to do with them. Also is it really worth getting one if you get the discount when my partner travels with me anyway

  388. Hi Tilly,

    If you have an annual travelcard on your Oyster then you should have been given a gold record card. This is what you need to use to get discounts on paper tickets and the £1 partner card. Obviously if your partner always travels with you then there is little point, but it doesn’t have to be a partner – do you have a friend who could make use of it?

  389. Hi Mike,

    My journey for my new job is from Headstone Lane train station to Gerrards Cross. The optimum route is from Headstone Lane train station to Wembley Central and then from Wembley Stadium train station to Gerrards Cross. Therefore, I decided to buy a monthly travel card (including return at any time) between Gerrards Cross and Zones 4-6 at £175.90. I was wondering if I have to use an Oyster card for zones 4-5 for the first part of the route or there is no need for that.

    Thanks in advance,


  390. Hi Chris,

    No, your paper ticket covers everything you need.

  391. Thanks Mike for your advice.
    Regards Pete.

  392. Hi

    If I use an oyster with 16-25 railcard discount (which doesn’t apply to buses) and use a bus, will the price cap then be set at the price of a standard day travelcard? If I do one journey off-peak and one journey during peak travel time how will the charge (and price cap) work?


  393. Hi Anna,

    The railcard doesn’t discount single bus fares or the bus cap, but using it on a bus doesn’t affect the daily cap when using rail. After 0930 all travel counts towards the off-peak cap. Between 1600-1900 you will be charged peak single fares, but only up to the off-peak cap. Hope that helps.

  394. Hi,

    i’m a student who recently moved to London. I just got the student oyster card, i usually travel between zone 1-6, in the afternoons and evenings, say from 4 – 5pm and return say about 9pm. I just realised i pay so much for the trips. What would you advice on best travel ticket to get and, including best times to travel, all to save cost and get value.
    I don’t have the student rail card yet.

  395. Hi Uzo,

    Can you start the afternoon journey just before 4pm? If you can then you’ll get off-peak fares both ways. Even if you can’t, the 16-25 railcard will give you discounts on the off-peak cap so the most you’ll pay would be £5.60 each day.

  396. Hi,
    im a student here and have a 18+ oyster card. my travel time is always between 9am to 5/6pm and i travel between zone 1-6 and it costs me SO much. i somehow end up paying more then 12pounds :/
    If i get the rail card what is the cap for peak times?

  397. Hi Shez,

    With a student 18+ Oyster card the benefit is discounted travelcard seasons. Zone 1-6 costs £40.00/week or £153.60/month. The 16-25 railcard will not affect peak prices, the anytime cap or travelcard seasons.

  398. My daughter has an 11-15 Zip Card which still has money on it. She has now got a 16-18 Zip card. Can the balance of the 11-15 cad be transferred to the 16-18 card and how do we go about this if it is possible?

  399. Hi Roy,

    When my son made this transition the balance was transfered automatically. If you have added money to the old card since the new card was ordered then you can probably get it transfered at an Underground station. The letter which came with the new card should confirm if any balance was transfered.

  400. Hi Mike,

    I asked you on the 12 September would it be possible to travel in the afternoon peak between Bond Street and Headstone Lane. After one failed attempt at Bond Street where I would told there was no such discount available for a 16-25 railcard, I tried again last week only to be told I would have to purchase such a ticket from a NR station.

    This ticket is available on National Rail Enquires, so it does exist, but was that the correct response? If not, what do you suggest?

    Unfortunately, I cannot purchase it beforehand as I do not know of my timings from day to day, so it has to be purchased on the day of travel.

    Any help would be great.

  401. Hi Jack,

    Underground stations should be able to sell through tickets to National Rail stations, so I’m unsure what the problem is. As you say, the ticket exists. Did you ask for a ticket from Bond Street to Headstone Lane or from Zone U1256 to Headstone Lane? The latter of these descriptions is the technical name for such a ticket and might yield different results.

  402. Hi Jack,

    Further enquiries seem to suggest that this is a bit of a grey area. It looks like the fare shouldn’t be available with the discount and thus it certainly won’t be available from Underground stations. It can be purchased online and collected from a machine at a TOD enabled station. Headstone Lane is such a station, so if you can predict your requirement in the morning you could order it and pick it up on the way in. There doesn’t seem to be a solution if you only know you’ll need it at Bond Street in the afternoon.

  403. Hi Mike,

    I tried again this evening, quoting the Zone U1256 to headstone lane. He insisted that I could not be sold the ticket from the station and if it could, the fares system and training was completely wrong.

    Good point, I’ll bear that in mind. Thanks for your help

  404. When my senior railcard expired, I purchased an updated 3 year one (hopefully I will stay alive that long!!) I assume that they system is not clever enough to recognise the fact that it has been renewed, so I will have to go to an underground station to get it re-added. Having turned up at a station this morning to do this, only to find the ticket office closed, made me wonder what will happen when all the ticket offices are closed under the new proposals. Why can’t they have them linkable on the web-site; it’s not exactly rocket science.

  405. Hi Russ,

    My understanding is that the staff on the concourse will be able to access special menus on the ticket machines to accomplish this task, and some others.

  406. Hi Mike,

    Does the oyster payg price cap with 16-25 railcard discount loaded cap the bus fares too?

    I see that the discounted off-peak price cap for zone 1-2 is £4.60 but if I take a decent amount of bus journeys, would it be wiser if I would buy a zone 1-6 paper travel card instead which costs £5.90 as it includes buses as well?

    Because a zone 1-2 off-peak daily price cap with buses is up to £7.00 which could be more expensive than £5.90.

    Thanks so much!

  407. Hi Ernest,

    Yes, the railcard discounted daily caps all include buses as well.

  408. Hi Mike,

    Would like to seek your advice. I would be staying in Dorking with friends, but would be commuting between Dorking and London on a daily basis for a week (9 – 16 Oct) during off peak hours (depart Dorking at 9:30am; return to Dorking from Waterloo station at 7:00pm). I would also likely use the London Underground frequently (as a visitor to London). Could you advise what might be the best travel card to purchase? Thank you!

  409. Hi Nick,

    If you intend to travel to London on 6 or 7 days then a weekly travelcard will be worthwhile and you won’t have to worry about waiting for off-peak. Any less than 6 days and you should get daily off-peak travelcards. If you want to save a little money then you could buy Southern only versions of the Dorking to zones 1-6 travelcard, but you would have to travel on Southern trains between Dorking and Ewell East (effectively via Sutton). You could still change at Clapham Junction for Waterloo and once inside the travelcard area you can use any trains.

  410. Hi Mike,

    I was wondering that can my family use my monthly travel card when I am not using it? However, the monthly ticket is on my photo card, which was expired a few years ago. Thanks for your help.

  411. Hi Mike,

    I’m moving to Uxbridge (zone 6)and will be commuting to London Bridge (zone 1) Monday to Thursday (most probably travelling during peak times and probably 1 journey in and 1 journey back out again each day) with the odd trips into Zone 1 on the weekends.

    I also have 16-25 Railcard which I would like to make use of.

    I’m wondering if I should purchase an annual travel card or am I better off on a PAYG oyster and linking the railcard so I can get the discounts on the single off peak journeys on the weekends?

    Its costing almost £2200 for an annual travel card for zones 1 -6 and am looking to reduce my transport costs!

  412. Hi Fei,

    No. An Oyster containing either a travelcard or a discount entitlement is not transferable.

  413. Hi Ying,

    A travelcard for a zone 1-6 commute on Underground only is only worthwhile if you use it 5 days a week and a few weekends as well. In your case I think PAYG would be cheaper, especially if you can avoid the actual peak times some days (ie touch in before 0630 or after 1900) because the railcard discount will then reduce the costs considerably.

  414. Hi Mike,
    Wondering if you’ve come across this situation before. I have an 18+ student oyster card, which entitles me to 30% off travelcards. The card states “Discount expiry date: 31 Aug 15”, as that is when I graduate. When I went to renew my annual Z1-2 travelcard, I was told I would have to buy monthlies instead, because the discount can’t overlap two months. I can’t find anything online about how travelcards and expiry date overlap works, but I have a feeling I was told incorrect information.

  415. Hi Jake,

    Yes, they are right. The travelcard validity cannot exceed the student card validity.

  416. Hello, I was wondering if there is a possibility for me to save some money on my travel to work. I travel from East Croydon to Farringdon and back Mon, Tue and Wed. Currently I pay a return ticket for £10.80 going on the Thameslink service.

    With the announcement today about capping travel and making it cheaper for part time workers from the beginning of next year, would I be able to save anything and what should I put up on the oyster card?

    Also, would I be able to save any money right now or is £10.80 the cheapest option?


  417. Hi there, thanks for your helpful info, I really appreciate it!
    I just reaised my 16-25 railcard expired in July, but as it is ongoing I was issued with another card in time for expiry. However, I wasn’t aware I’d have to reattach my renewed card to my oyster so I’ve been paying full fare since July. Do you know if it’s possible to claim back the difference had I attached my new railcard at the time? Thanks!

  418. Hi Antje,

    Yes, if you use Oyster PAYG you will pay £4.80 each way in the peak. If either journey can be made at off-peak times then it’s £3.00 single.

  419. Hi Luke,

    Unfortunately they can only go back 8 weeks with Oyster journey history. Call the helpdesk and see what they are prepared to agree.

  420. Hello. I’m new to Uk so I’m not really sure how railcards and everything work. My father is going to Southampton. So does he need a railcard in order to buy the ticket? If yes, what kind of railcard should he buy since he is only 58 years old, hence not eligible for the senior railcard? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

  421. Hi Rabi,

    Depending on where he is travelling from, the Network Railcard may be suitable.

  422. Hi Mike
    can you please assist we are visiting London for 3 days and I have a disabled person railcard. Is the discount able to be added to a visitors oyster card or is it just the standard oyster card. Also is my husband able to get discount on his oyster card if travelling with me. Thanks 🙂

  423. Hi Fiona,

    I’m pretty sure it’s just an adult Oyster that can take railcard discounts. Your husband can’t get a discount on his Oyster, but he can buy a child rate day travelcard to accompany you.

  424. Thank you Mike 🙂

  425. Hi Mike

    Does linking my 19-25 railcard to my oyster get me a discount on my annual z1-2 travelcard?


  426. Hi Ash,

    No. If you have a TfL issued 18+ student Oyster then you do get a discount on travelcards. The 16-25 National Railcard only discounts off-peak fares and caps.

  427. Hi Mike

    I would appreciate your help with the following. I have a DPRC attached to my Oyster and last Friday my card was capped at £7.50. I am having a hard time figuring out whether my Oyster has been charged correctly. My journeys for the day were as follow:

    17:08 – 17:33 Angel to Belsize Park £2.10
    15:56 – 16:13 Hampstead Heath to Highbury & Islington £1.00
    15:49 Bus journey, route C11 £0.00
    10:52 Bus journey, route 168 £0.05
    10:30 Bus journey, route C2 £1.45
    09:18 Bus journey, route C2 £1.45
    08:54 Bus journey, route 168 £1.45

    Is the £7.50 capping correct as I checked the TfL website for the fares and there does not seem to be any capping at this particular amount for Zones 1 and 2?

    Many thanks

  428. Hi Dem,

    Yes, you have been charged correctly. The first two buses were in the morning peak so they were added to the discounted off-peak cap of £4.60.

  429. Hi Mike, many thanks. I am wondering if in this case I could have used a paper ticket to save some money?

  430. Hi Dem,

    Not really. You’d need an anytime travelcard to use the bus before 0930 which would have cost more than you were actually charged.

  431. Mike

    I want to buy a zone 2-3 annual Oyster Card. If halfway through the term I want to update to a zone 1-3 Oyster Card – will I be able to do this at an adjusted cost or will i need to buy a brand new card with overlapping terms?


  432. Hi Phil,

    You can get an exchange travelcard from an Underground station on payment of the difference plus an admin fee.

  433. Hi,

    Question related to getting a Gold Card.

    If I buy an annual travelcard (zones 1-5) online from tfl.gov.uk website, then is the gold card automatically added to my oyster card? Or do I need to add it at a ticket office?

    My friend bought his annual travel card at a ticket office and they also issued him a seperate paper gold card (which says ‘Travel Gold Card’ on it).

    – Dilip

  434. Hi Dilip,

    The paper card is called a Gold Record Card and is what you show to get your discounts on train travel outside the London area. The discount flag on the Oyster card may not be set by default, particularly if you pick up the travelcard before it starts. You won’t have any trouble getting it added though because the clerk can see the annual travelcard on your Oyster. I imagine that the paper card will be sent in the post.

  435. Hi Mike,

    I am a student but leave in Woking, I want advice on the best transport option to Russel Square where I school and must attend and come back at least thrice a week.


  436. Hi Lovina,

    For only 3 days a week I’d get a return ticket to Waterloo from Woking and use Oyster for the tube or get a bus to save a bit. If you need to go in on 4 or 5 days travelling in the morning peak then get a weekly season for the rail part.

  437. Hi Mike,

    Great site. It’s very interesting reading.
    Question I hope you can help me with:
    I get the 6.15am New Barnet to Moorgate (£3.00 with Oyster PAYG) and the 17.08 Moorgate > New Barnet (£4.80 on PAYG) 4/5 days a week.

    Would I benefit by getting a Lichfield Gold card, and then loading onto my Oyster card? Would that save me £1.00 a day?

    In addition, could I use the gold card to get 1/3rd discount on off peak travel (£5.90) if I purchased a paper ticket for the 17.08 Moorgate > New Barnet?


  438. Hi Graeme,

    Woah! Slow down! The gold card area doesn’t expand to include Lichfield until Jan 2nd 2015. You could buy the Lichfield season beforehand to avoid the price hike on the same day, but you might then need to get the physical season swapped onto Gold card stock before you could get the discount applied to your Oyster. Once you’ve done all that, the £3.10 morning fare would reduce to £2.05. The £4.90 afternoon fare could be replaced by a £6.00 paper single reduced to £3.95. So yes, you could save £2 per day. All the prices I’ve quoted are applicable next year. The Lichfield annual season rises from £108 to £144 at the same time.

  439. Hi Mike, TfL confirmed that gold card discount still applies to the off-peak daily oyster cap (or rather, it applies to the anytime cap after 0930): https://twitter.com/TfLWaystoPay/status/551011269218955264

  440. Thanks Liwen, that confirms my understanding too.

  441. website says my 60+ Oyster card can be used on all southwest and southern trains. Does it mean I can travel for free from Richmond to Reading and Richmond to Gatwick Airport?
    Many thanks for your assistance.

  442. Hi Paul,

    Unfortunately not. You can use your 60+ Oyster within the Freedom card validity area which stretches to Feltham and Coulsdon South on the lines you’re interested in. It is valid on all SouthWest and Southern trains within that area.

  443. Hi Mike,

    I have an annual travelcard/gold card between Carshalton Beeches and zones 2-5. I work in zone 2 but travel to zone 1 quite often. My queries are:

    (1) As I understand it i need to come out of a station on the zone 1/2 border and check in with my Oyster card to travel in zone 1, then again break my journey at the zone 1/2 border coming out of zone 1. Is this correct?
    (2) To avoid getting off and breaking my journey I often buy a discounted off peak zone 1 to 6 travel card in advance. In 2014 this was £5.90 with discount and only slightly more expensive than the oyster components on main line and tube in zone 1. However I’ve been told the discounted price has risen to £7.90 from 1st January. Is this correct as it no longer make this option viable?

    Many Thanks

  444. Hi Nigel,

    1) Yes.
    2) Yes.

    Your best bet is to get your travelcard loaded on Oyster. That way you will only be charged for a zone 1 single and it doesn’t matter if you stay on the train as long as you touch in at the start and out at the end.

    Unfortunately finding somewhere to do this may pose a bit of a problem. East Croydon may be your best bet as it is run by Southern (who presumably issued your paper ticket), but I’m not sure whether they have authority to transfer travelcards.

  445. Thanks Mike – that’s helpful.

  446. Hi Mike, I have an expensive problem I’m hoping you can help.
    I have a 16-25 railcard, which up until 2nd Jan I was using to get 1-6 day travelcard at £5.90.
    My route to work is a long one, beginning at Mile end and ending at Hinchley Wood.
    My issue here is the cost of travel. Before price rises, I was getting a 1-6 discount travelcard to take me as far as Surbiton (last zone 6 station on route) and a discount return ticket from surbiton to hinchley wood at £2.45… In Total costing £8.35.
    Now the prices have changed drastically for travelcards, is there a way you can recommend I can travel without spending £10 plus a day??
    I have yet to link my oyster with my 16-25 card so hopefully this Will save me some money.
    I should mention that I also make a trip to the gym 3-4 Times aweek in Bethnal green.. so maybe the travelcard is still the best option! Racking my brains trying to find a solution! Please help!

  447. Hi Sam,

    Firstly, get your 16-25 card linked as it will definitely save you money. The off-peak daily cap with a railcard discount is now £7.75. However, two off-peak singles between Mile End and Surbiton are only £6.90 so you may not always cap. The drawback, of course, is that you’d have to get off the train at Surbiton to touch your Oyster out or in. There is also a bigger saving, though you would need more time. If you travel via Whitechapel and Clapham Junction using London Overground you avoid zone 1 and the off-peak single fare with railcard discount becomes £1.70 (£3.40 return)

  448. Please Help

    Traveling to London for the first time with husband and two teenagers. Only for a four day visit but really confused which tube ticket to get. Are we best getting four oyster cards (as I don’t want to spend £10 each on junior ones) or is a there such a thing as a daily family ticket? We will be staying in zone 1-2 for 3 days and going to Harry Potter on the 4th day. We will only be using the tube not the buses.

  449. Hi Wendy,

    There are no family tickets for use wholly within London apart from the discounts offered by the family amd friends railcard. However, since the recent fare change even that option would be more expensive if you restricted yourselves to zones 1-2. Basically, Oyster PAYG is the way to travel.

    You don’t say how old the teenagers are, but for a four day stay you might find the zip photocards worthwhile. The adult zone 1-2 cap is £6.40 (you’ll be saving on the third tube journey each day) while as long as you start after 0930 M-F the child cap is £1.50 (age 11-15). For 16-17 year olds the zip card offers half adult rate fares and caps. For Watford Junction the benefits of the zip cards are even greater as the fares are not set by TfL. Adult off-peak single from Euston to Watford Junction is £4.90, £2.45 for both 11-15 and 16+ zip cards. If you make any other journeys on the same day then the caps including Watford Junction are £16.80 adult and £8.40 with zip cards.

    Hope that helps.

  450. Hi Mike,

    I have a quick question regarding the student oyster card. My student oyster card expired a while ago and my wife has been using it as a normal oyster card paying full amount. She top ups weekly bus pass to go to work. Recently one TFL member accusing that it was a crime and took away the oyster card and took my wife’s details (such as DOB , address etc). She wasn’t even informed when she topped up at a station this morning. Is this an offence? She only topped up the weekly bus pass this morning and had to use the underground because of the bus strike and going to lose the money.

    Can we make a claim to TFL? She has been using with my consent and I don’t use that? Why would someone pay another £5 to get an oyster card?

    Is there a way to claim refund for incurring additional charges to top up for the rest of the days?

    Much appreciated for your comments.


  451. Hiya,
    Please help,

    I am abit confused. I am think of getting an annual season ticket Oyster through work, Will i get 30% off that? or do i need to buy an annual gold card or is a annual season ticket Oyster the same thing as an annual gold card?


  452. Hi Mayu,

    Only normal adult non-photo Oyster cards are allowed to be transferred between people, and then only if using undiscounted PAYG. Although an expired Student card acts like an adult Oyster it is still has a photo on it. You can try explaining the situation to TfL and see if they’ll be lenient, but by the letter of the rules you have broken them.

  453. Hi IC,

    The annual season ticket is an annual gold card. If it is loaded onto an Oyster card then you get a separate gold record card to use for the benefits. These include discounts on off-peak tickets on National Rail within the gold card area. There is no discount on the actual season ticket price which is the same as 40 weekly tickets (ie you get 12 weeks free).

  454. Hi Mike,

    I travel from Zone 1-5 everyday. I have an 18+ student oyster card and a national railcard. I recently linked my railcard to my oyster card. However, today, when I left Zone 1 at 4.30pm, I noticed that I was charged £4.70 upon tapping out (the normal price for a peak single). I was under the impression that a railcard would give a 1/3 off on prices in the region 4-7pm along with all other off-peak times. Is this not the case?

    Thank you for you all help,

  455. Hi Yohan,

    The railcard discount applies to off-peak fares and the off-peak cap. Individual single fares between 1600-1900 will be charged at full price subject to the discounted off-peak cap not being reached.

  456. Hello again Mike…still a great site…. I have linked my senior rail card to oyster every year. I have just renewed my Senior Rail Card again and notice it has the same number. Do I have to link this again to my Oyster. In other words is it necessary to re link a travel card to the Oyster card regardless every time it is renewed?

  457. Hi there, thank you for this website!

    With my railcard on my oyster card my zone 1-5 journeys used to cap at £5.60. I used to take the train into London Victoria from East Croydon (zone 5). I’m angry because now, to cut costs due to price capping increasing, I have to take the train into London from Thornton Heath station (zone 4).

    1. How much is the capping with a 16-25Railcard for travelling in zones 1-4?
    Also, could you let me know what the capping is for all the other zones, so 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6?

    2. Often in one day I take multiple trains within zone 4 and 5. Is there separate capping for staying within these zones or will I just be capped at the 1-5zone price?

    3. How much is a Bus and Tram cap, £4.40 or £5?

    Thank you for your time and help!

  458. Hi Jeffers,

    Yes it is necessary. The key data used in linking is the expiry date and that has to be extended on the Oyster each time you get a new railcard.

  459. Hi George,

    1) 1-2: £4.25; 1-3: £4.95; 1-4: £6.10; 1-5: £7.20; £1-6: £7.75.
    2) Not since the zone 2-6 travelcard was abolished a few years ago.
    3) £4.40. The one-day bus and tram pass is £5.00.

  460. Thanks for the confirmation on that Mike. I will link it next visit to Waterloo.

  461. Thank you very much! This information will be really helpful in finding the cheapest travel option.

  462. Being incensed over how pensioners have been treated with this unprecedented £2 increase for a Senior Railcard 1-6 Travelcard, I am about to get my station to link my Senior Railcard with an Oyster just obtained. I am anxious to know if it will be cheaper to use Oyster for Travelcard journeys, or is the newly increased£7-90 payment still the better option ?

  463. Hi Colin,

    The Oyster cap will be better, especially if you stay nearer the centre of London. The caps increase from £4.25 for just zones 1-2 up to £7.75 for zones 1-6.

  464. Once TFL ticket offices in London close, how will we be able to load our Senior Railcards on to our Oyster cards?

  465. Hi Keith,

    The visible staff will be able to do it using special codes on the ticket machines.

  466. Hi,

    I have recently found out that I qualify for a disabled persons railcard – I have bought a 3 year one. I currently buy a zone 1-3 monthly travel card on my Oyster card each month for my work travel in peak times, using top up for any journeys outside of my zones.

    Can you tell me – is it worth my while going to a ticket office to add the disabled railcard to my registered Oyster card? Will it give me any discount in daily use? Thanks!

  467. Hi Mike,
    Searched high and low, but can’t find the answer, so hope you can help! I have got my Oyster card setup for Gold card discount recently, but don’t understand the discount pricing on the buses. Mon-fri, on the bus in zone 4 I am being charged at the cap of £4.40 but at the weekend I am being charged max of £4.25. Two questions:
    1. what is the percentage discount that I’m getting?
    2. on weekdays after 9/9.30 shouldn’t I be getting the same discount?


  468. Hi Emily,

    Definitely. You may find that you no longer need to buy travelcards. The disabled railcard now gives you discounts on all rail fares and caps. But not on travelcards.

  469. Hi Sanjuti,

    Technically there is no discount on buses. The off-peak zones 1-2 cap is £4.25 so buses also cap at that amount if you don’t use rail or only use it in zones 1-2. The railcard discount only applies after 0930 on weekdays so if you use a bus before that then the normal £4.40 cap applies.

  470. Hi Mike,

    I’m struggling working out my options around Watford. I need to travel on a Friday from Watford (can get to high street or junction) at about midday to Euston. I’ll then need to go to Liverpool Street for a bit and then on to Hainault for a bit (all before 4pm). I’ll then leave Hainault between 4 and 7 to head back to Euston and then back to Watford.

    If I use oyster will I only pay the off peak cap of £11 odd? The tfl website is confusing and suggests that I might pay the off-peak cap plus the peak fare?

    Also is Watford Junction more expensive than High Street? What if I got touch in at high street can I go up to junction and then travel back down again?

  471. Hi Dave,

    Watford Junction is much more expensive than Watford High Street, largely down to the availability of fast trains to Euston. However, you can touch in at High Street and go via Junction as long as you don’t leave the paid side of the barriers. The off-peak cap for zones 1-8 is £11.80 which is all you will pay as long as you start after 0910 from High Street. Although peak fares are charged between 1600-1900 the off-peak cap still applies. If you did need to start at Junction the off-peak cap is then £16.80.

  472. Hi Mike

    Can you get the railcard linked to a contactless card?

  473. Hi Lee,

    Not at the moment, no. The problem is that inspectors would have no way of knowing whether you should have a railcard with you or not.

  474. Thanks Mike for your helpful reply above!

  475. Hi Mike,

    Was wondering if you could clear something up for me. Currently travel off-peak between zones 1-4 and hit the cap a couple of times a week (not enough to make a annual travelcard worth it).

    I notice the railcards discount this to £6.10 from £9.20, so I would like to definitely get this done.

    But what card should I get? It says that Network Rail Cards can’t be loaded onto the Oyster?

    My partner has a annual travelcard so I presume I could get a ‘partner’ gold card, but this seems to be a Network rail card as well? (http://www.network-railcard.co.uk/partner-card/)

    Also, the application form on that page seems to be out of date (for use up to 1/1/15).

    So which card would I need to get the cheaper off-peak 1-4 cap?

  476. Hi Simon,

    It all changed from Jan 2nd. Rather than a partner card for £1 you now get a discount off any normal railcard. Unfortunately the only ones you can add to the Oyster card are the 16-25, Senior, Disabled, Forces and the Annual Gold card. The network railcard is scuppered by the minimum fare on weekdays because you’d never get a discount just travelling in the London area. The other railcards require more than one person to travel together which is incompatible with the individual nature of the Oyster card.

    So in summary, unless you qualify for one of the specific 5 cards you can’t get the discounted cap.

  477. Thanks Mike.

    Would it be possible for my partner to add the Gold Card onto a PAYG Oyster card or would it have to be the same Oyster as the one the season ticket is on??

  478. Hi Simon,

    In the case of an annual travelcard on Oyster the discount can only be loaded on the same Oyster card. Also, to use an Oyster card with a discount loaded, the relevant railcard must also be carried at all times, even on buses.

  479. Hello I have a disabled persons bus pass issued in Northamptonshire … Is there a disabled persons Oyster card please

  480. Hi Carole,

    There is a disabled persons freedom pass for residents of London Councils. If your bus pass has the ENCTS rose on it then it will be valid on London buses. If you are eligible for and have a disabled railcard then you can record the discount entitlement on your adult Oyster card and get 1/3 off all rail (NR, LU and DLR) fares within the Oyster area.

  481. Hi mike

    If travelling from East Croydon to London with 3 children 8 years and under do they need to have tickets? They will be accompanied by to fare paying adults



  482. Hi Danielle,

    On NR services (which those from EC are) children under 5 do not need a ticket. If you travel from West Croydon and use the London Overground services to Canada Water then Underground, you are then on TfL services where children under 11 do not need a ticket.

  483. Thought that May be the case thanks for confirming

  484. Thanks mike

  485. Hi Mike,

    Having turned 60 and living outside London I’m planning to get a NR Senior Railcard principally for use on other rail journeys. Having done so I might as well associate it with my Oyster to get the occasional off-peak discounts.

    However, I was also considering switching from Oyster to contactless. I take it that Railcard discounts cannot currently work with contactless?


  486. Hi Alan,

    Sadly not.

  487. Hi

    I presented my Oyster Card with my Senior railcard to the ticket office at North Woolwich yesterday. I was first told the Oyster card was not registered when I said it was and I had been in my account that day I was asked for my account password, after a discussion as to why I had to give my password, I reluctantly wrote it down. I was presented with my cards but on checking my account today I can’t see any discount for the travel to London yesterday. How do I tell if the travel card has been registered?



  488. Hi Vaughan,

    I don’t think it’s been done correctly. You can either call the helpdesk or take it to another Underground Station. The best ones to use are those linked to main National Rail stations. You can’t see the discount itself on Oyster online, sadly, but the fares should be adjusted to the correct level.

  489. Hi,
    Can I link my Senior Railcard with my Visitor Oyster card at a DLR station, eg London City Airport?

  490. Hi Jim,

    If there is a ticket office there then you might be able to, but I think pretty much all DLR stations are machine only.

  491. Mike
    Thanks for a quick answer , having expanded the transactions i can now see that discounts have been applied . Still can’t understand why they need the account password to link the travelcard .


  492. Neither can I!

  493. Hi Mike

    How would you unlink a railcard from an oyster? Presumably you’d have to take it to a ticket office?

  494. Hi Tracy,

    Yes, that’s right. If it’s just because the railcard has expired though then don’t worry, the discount will stop on the same date.

  495. Hi Mike,

    I have a student oyster card and would like to buy a raildcard, combine it with my student oyster card and “take” the monthly ticket for zone 1-3.

    Could you tell me how much discount I would get by doing this compared to a “normal” student monthly ticket for zone 1-3?

    Many thanks!

  496. Hi Paopi,

    The 16-25 railcard does not offer any discounts on season tickets or peak fares.

  497. hi Mike
    This is like a minefield of info to me! We live in zone 6 at gidea park and that is the closest station (national rail red route) although I can get to hornchurch on the district line if I drive and park.

    My question is… From April my child is 5 years old. She occasionally models, and we have to go to central London or further sometimes (zone 6 at other end). It’s only occasional, but I have been paying full fare of £13 or whatever it is for a travel card. She currently goes free but from April I will have to pay.

    So, should I get an Oyster card? Is it worthwhile buying a railcard of some kind to get a further discount? If so which one? I’m so confused!

    We probably go to London approx 15 or so times a year. It comes in fits and starts…. Pls could you advise me..

  498. Hi Jewels,

    It’s a bit complicated because it depends where you go to and sometimes how you get there. It could well change when London Overground take over the route to Shenfield, but I’ll try and explain your options as they currently stand.

    First the travelcard. You pay £12 for an off-peak travelcard. If you buy a family and friends railcard (£30 for a year) then you will pay £7.90 and your child £2.30, so a total of £10.20. You can do that now because you can choose to buy tickets for an under 5 to enable adults to get the railcard discount. At £30/year you will need to make a reasonable amount of travel to make it worthwhile, but it discounts tickets across the country on National Rail.

    You can get an Oyster card for yourself (or use a contactless payment card) which means you will pay single fares up to the daily cap of £11.70. If you only go to Liverpool Street then the off-peak single is £3.70 (£7.40 return). If you go on to say Oxford Circus then it increases to £5.20 (£10.40 return) and the discounted travelcard is just about cheaper. However, if you drive to Hornchurch then the fare drops to only £3.10 off-peak single because you are then on the TfL scale. So it really depends where you have to get to. If it’s Elstree and Borehamwood and you travel via Stratford and West Hampstead then it’s National Rail avoiding zone 1 at £2.60 off-peak single from Gidea Park. But if your destination the other side is on a TfL route (eg Wembley Park) then if you can avoid zone 1 you only pay £1.50 off-peak single. Suggested route for that is Hornchurch – West Ham – Stratford – West Hampstead – Wembley Park. I could go on, but you can find out the options for actual journeys using the single fare finder.

    When your child is 5 then your best bet for regular travel in London involving National Rail is to buy a 5-10 zip Oyster card. This costs £10 but lasts until their 11th birthday. Child off-peak fares are a flat 75p with a daily cap of £1.50. If you can make the whole journey on TfL fares then the child is free up to 10, but for National Rail journeys you really can’t beat the zip cap.

    I hope that helps a bit, though I admit that it is very confusing.

  499. Hi Mike,
    i will be travelling to london in April for the day(saturday) with my son (11) to watch football, we will be travelling in zones 1-4 on both underground and southern rail. i have already booked train tickets on trainline.com using my friends and family railcard.
    what will be the cheapest way of travel in london, Buy a one day travelcard for both of us from my local rail station using my F&FR card or use my visa debit contactless card for me and buy a travelcard for my son?
    Thanks in Advance.

  500. Wow, Mike thank you for that reply. That must have taken such a long time…That is amazingly complicated! So, am I right in understanding that all round it’s easier and cheaper for us if I go via hornchurch station rather than gidea park until London overground take over the route to shenfield (when will that be?)

    And am I right in understanding if I stick with tfl, buy an Oyster card then my daughter will still be free to travel with me on tfl until she is 10 yrs old?

    One last question, I have to get to Caledonian Road Station on Friday this week…. Will I be able to get an Oyster card by then? Where do I go to get one? Do I need a photo or I.d? Sorry, as you can see I know nothing about Oyster cards and normally drive everywhere. I was planning on going from hornchurch to Mile End then to Holborn on the central line, then to Caledonian Road on the Piccadilly line. Just to avoid gidea park station….

  501. Hi Paul,

    Without knowing where you arrive and which station you are heading to it’s impossible to advise properly. I’ll take a wild guess that the Southern station is Norwood Junction, but is the terminal Kings Cross or Euston?

  502. Hi Jewels,

    Yes, Hornchurch will definitely be cheaper if you can stick to TfL priced services. I’m not sure when the overground takeover is, or whether the fares will change at the same time, but I believe it is some time this year. And yes, your daughter is free on all TfL services until her 11th birthday.

    You can get an Oyster card at Hornchurch Underground station, or any of the local ticket stop shops. For Caledonian Road I think I’d avoid zone 1 by changing at Barking, Blackhorse Road and Finsbury Park.

  503. Yesterday was my first visit to London since receiving my Senior Railcard and I wanted to associate my Railcard with my Oyster. After reading many comments here and elsewhere about difficulties others have had I was a little apprehensive and went prepared with Mike’s instructions, passwords, keywords etc.

    The first LU station I arrived at was Baker Street. I presented myself at a ticket window and the conversation went like this:
    “Morning. Please could you associate my Railcard with my Oyster”
    “Is the Oyster card registered?”
    “Yes, it is”
    [Click, click, tap, touch]
    “That’s all done for you”
    “Excellent. Thank you very much.”

    All very painless, and the staff member seemed very efficient. I didn’t ask about a statement or receipt so I can’t confirm that he’s put the right expiry date on, but I can confirm that I was given a discount on a journey a few hours later.

    Perhaps Baker Street, with its many tourist visitors, is more accustomed to transactions like this: out-of-towners like me, wanting to get discounts while they’re in London.

  504. Hi Mike, thanks for the reply
    we arrive at king cross and can go to either Selhurst or Norwood junction, depending on where we go for lunch. more likely victoria onto selhurst.

  505. Thanks Alan!

  506. Hi Paul,

    If there are likely to be 3 journeys involved then I think buying travelcards with the F&F railcard will be the way to go. I hope you enjoy the day, although me and my son will want a different outcome at Selhurst Park.

  507. Hi Mike,

    I am just about to sign up for a disabled railcard which allows me to get discount of oyster and off-peak daily travelcards is that right?

    With that in mind, what is the cheapest way to travel on a Saturday from Witham to Belsize Park return from about 1pm?

    Would it be cheaper to use the discount card for a one day travelcard OR go from witham to shenfield with a paper ticket and the rest of the journey use an oyster from Shenfield to Belsize (would i need to tap anywhere if so)?

    thanks, joe.

  508. Hi Joe,

    Firstly, the disabled railcard offers discounts on all fares, and all fares and caps on Oyster too. On a Saturday you can get the super off-peak one-day travelcard from Witham to zones 1-6 for £17.65 with the Disabled Railcard. You could save 40p by getting off at Shenfield to touch in and continuing on Oyster (and getting off to touch out on the way home). Note that you would already need to have the disabled card linked to your Oyster to get these fares and that can’t be done AFAIK in Shenfield. Your best bet is the Underground ticket office at Liverpool Street.

    If you have a bit more time then you could save a further £1.70 each way with Oyster by avoiding zone 1 and changing at Stratford and Camden Road/Camden Town.

  509. Hi Mike

    Thanks for this information. So the way you put it:

    Super off peak paper ticket – 17.65

    Paper ticket x2(return think £8) singles witham – shenfield + Oyster – 17.25

    Is this right?

    Can you explain the final paragraph with regards 1.70 and oyster, I dont understand.

    Thanks once again, joe

  510. Hi Joe,

    Yes, super off-peak return Witham – Shenfield + 2 Oyster singles = £17.25. If you avoid zone 1 you can knock a further £1.70 off each way, so just £13.85.

  511. Hi Mike,

    I’ve typed it all in and got this:

    Paper ticket – Witham to Shenfield – railcard – return –
    Oyster card – Shenfield to Camden Road – railcard – return –
    – £17.55
    Where am i going wrong? Thanks Joe

  512. Hi Joe,

    That’s the via zone 1 fare. If you scroll further down you get the alternative via Stratford touching the pink reader on the overground platform at Stratford while you change trains.

  513. Hi Mike,

    So, when I touch in at Shenfield with Oyster, touch a PINK READER at Stratford, before touching the next pad to get OVERGROUND…is that right?

    Sorry to be a pain, thanks once again, joe

  514. Hi Joe,

    Touch in at Shenfield, touch the pink reader on the London Overground platform at Stratford (plat 1 I think), touch out at Camden Road, touch in at Camden Town within 20 minutes, touch out at Belsize Park. All 5 touches join together to make one zone 1 avoiding journey.

  515. Hi,

    I have a 18+ oyster card
    plus linked my 16-25 railcard discount.

    I live in ockendon(which is outside of London zones and incurs a charge of 1.50 from ockendon to any London zone). I get the get the c2c into London

    If I purchase a 7 day travel card on my oyster zones 3-6
    Will I get the 34% railcard discount on the extra 1.50 I pay to travel from a London zone to ockendon? Does this railcard also discount journeys I make outside of zones 3-6, for example if I travel from zones 1-6?

    It’s all very confusing and as a student I’m trying to save money!

  516. Hi Mike,

    Thanks ever so much for explaining this properly. It’s a huge
    saving if you have time and the railcard, especially if it’s nearly £5.

    With regards the disabled railcard I must go to a London office to get them to give me the discount on my Oyster card, do you know if this card discounts Oyster monthly/weekly travelcards on it, on a pay as you go card, but it will not give u discount on a PAPER monthly travelcard will it?

    Thanks for all the work/explanations again, Joe.

  517. Hi Ashleigh,

    The 18+ card discounts the purchase of the weekly zone 3-6 travelcard. The 16-25 railcard discounts off-peak singles and the off-peak cap for other journeys, so it depends when you travel. Peak is touching in between 0630-0930 and between 1600-1900, but finishing in zone 1 is only peak in the morning. Hope that helps.

  518. Hi Joe,

    The disabled railcard won’t discount season tickets on either paper or Oyster.

  519. Ah shame.
    Many thanks for your time and help, Mike.
    Oyster is so confusing! 😉
    kind regards, Joe

  520. Hi Mike,

    I commute from Brighton and had my Annual Goldcard added to my oyster card. I used the tube the other day for a zone 1 journey in the morning peak and then another zone 1 journey in the evening. I was charged the full £2.30 for each journey.

    When I questioned this at an LUL ticket office the guy said that because my first journey was in the peak that all fares for that day would not be discounted. He also claimed that the discount only applies to the daily price cap. Is what he told me correct?

    Reading the information available it does look like I should be able to get discounted single off peak pay as you go fares?

    Many thnaks

  521. Hi Alex,

    No, what he told you is not correct. You get the discount on off-peak fares and the off-peak cap. Off peak fares are charged other than 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. The off-peak cap runs from 0930-0430. If your evening journey was started between 1600-1900 then you will have been charged full price, unless it took your post 0930 travel over the off-peak cap. From what you’ve said it seems like you were charged correctly.

  522. Hi Mike

    I have just bought two blue Oyster cards for me and my husband. If I purchase a Two Together railcard for us can this be linked to our Oyster cards and will we get further discount?



  523. Hi Elaine,

    Sorry, there’s no further discount for Two Together railcards. An Oyster is an individual travel card and cannot be linked to another which would be required for Two Together.

  524. Hi Mike

    Thank you, is my Oysyer Card the cheapest way of travelling in London or could I link my Two Together card to any other form of tickets?

  525. Hi Elaine,

    It depends how much travelling you do. The cheapest day travelcard you can get with the Two Together is a zones 1-6 at £7.90 each. If you only travel within zones 1-2 you will cap on your Oyster at £6.40 each and even zones 1-3 is only £7.50 each. Travel any further out and you could well pay more than the discounted travelcard.

  526. Hi Mike,
    hoping you can advise – I am starting uni in September as a mature student. I will need to get from brookmans park to Pimlico daily. I know I can apply for a student railcard (even though over 25yrs) and I already have a regular adult oyster card (is there one for students too?) … so really I’m trying to work out if it is better to get a ticket from Brookmans park to Finsbury park with a railcard (return- either daily/weekly etc) and then use the oyster from Finsbury park to Pimlico return or whether there is a better combination/discount/ journey route I should use? I will only be travelling Monday – Friday and could buy a season pass if better.. any advice would be very much appreciated as my eyes are swimming with various calculations atm!!

  527. Hi Mo,

    There is a student Oyster card, but you have to live in London during term time to be eligible for it. The problem with using the 16-25 railcard before 1000 is that there is a £12 minimum fare. There is also a £17 minimum for an all-day travelcard with discount.
    I think the cheapest combination is a weekly season between Brookmans Park and Kings Cross and then Oyster PAYG from there to Pimlico. Changing at Finsbury Park will cost more because the weekly season from Brookmans Park is only 50p cheaper while the PAYG fare is 60p more per journey (£6 per week). Sadly your railcard will only help if the Oyster journeys are off-peak or you make additional off-peak journeys so that the off-peak cap applies.

  528. I have a 60+ Oyster card – its very handy except the rules are not as straightforward with regards Rail Travel within London and even looking at the map does not explain things


    I know that there will be no Victoria line stopping at Tottenham Hale tube station between Sat 8 Aug to Sun 30 Aug 2015 due to track work.

    But the Stansted Express from Liverpool street does stop at Tottenham Hale Railway Station.

    The map has a red line between Clapton Railway Station and Enfield Lock Railway Station but for some reason it does not display Tottenham Hale Railway Station although that station is in the middle.

    Will I be able to use my 60+ Oyster card on the Stansted Express and leave at Tottenham Hale Railway Station to catch my local bus ?

    any trips I make will be in the early evening. I just don’t want to get caught out by a ticket inspector. – thanks for your help.

  529. Hi Brian,

    Yes, that’s fine. I agree that the map could be clearer. The only caveat with the Stanstead Express is that most northbound services are pick-up only at Tottenham Hale. It might be worth checking before boarding at Liverpool Street. Once inside the PIS advertises Tottenham Hale, but they don’t want to fill it up with local passengers to the detriment of airport users. Southbound is no problem because by then all the airport passengers are already on and seated. There are of course other services between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale.

  530. Its only when the underground is out as I have never caught a train from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale – I do know there is other trains but the Stansted Express is the most frequent .

    So will the Station Outside board say ‘ pick-up only at Tottenham Hale ‘ ? although there is no guards to stop people getting off at Tottenham Hale.

    The Victoria line upgrade will improve things as there will be no need to change at Seven Sisters but I can imagine big problems in August as its already a busy station and I don’t fancy waiting for a bus replacement so I would imagine that many locals will be using the Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale connection so avoiding the Victoria line completely.

    they already have a warning at


    but it may be a problem for people who are going direct to Stansted Airport as it will be far more busy than normal.

  531. Hi Brian,

    The station boards will not mention Tottenham Hale at all. The Stansted Express is every 15 minutes but there are at least as many other services as well and they usually leave a couple of minutes after the express.

  532. Mike:

    Many thanks from a new member for your helpful comments and guidance, including replies to the more arcane problems others have already identified. I think/hope my query is a simple one: my Senior Railcard, linked to Oyster, expires at the end of this month. I’ve already renewed it to April 2018: will my local (Tube) station staff be able to make the substitution now, ie, overwrite the old card details, or would it be best to wait until the present SR expires?

  533. Hi Linmann7,

    They should be able to do it now. If you take your existing railcard as well to prove that your existing discount was valid there should be no problems. Do let me know how you get on.

  534. Ludovic-perre

    Hey there
    I would like to know how much is a travel card and if I can have discount , because I’m going to use it only for new cross gate to East Croydon

  535. Hi there
    I’m moving to London in the coming months and just had a few questions regarding oyster cards.
    1. I have a young persons rail card and will be heading to Victoria coach station for a departure of 7am 3 days a week and was wondering if the doscpund applied before 6:30? And also how, in general, the discount worked
    3. Is there such a thing as a student oyster card?
    Hope you can help 🙂 The whole thing is alien to me!

  536. Hi Ludovic,

    For New Cross Gate to East Croydon only you just need a point-to-point season ticket which costs £23.90/week.

  537. Hi Kathryn,

    1) Yes, the discount is applied when touch in is before 0630.
    2) You get 34% off all off-peak fares and 34% off the daily cap if travel starts after 0930. You may still get some reduction if you make one journey before 0930.
    3) Yes. The 18+ Student card gives you 30% off travelcard season tickets.

  538. Hi Mike

    My wife just turned 60 and now has a 60+ Oyster card which gives free travel on some trains.
    Our local station is Hornsey, from which she can travel free after 9.30am. But what if she needs to travel into Central London before that time? The journey will be chargeable from Hornsey to Finsbury Park, then free the rest of the way.
    Can you put money on a 60+ Oyster and does the Oyster system recognise that part of the journey is free and part charged?
    Alternatively she can use her old Oyster card between Hornsey and Finsbury Park, but then she’ll have an incomplete journey.
    There’s no barrier at Hornsey. What happens if she walks through without swiping her 60+ card then swipes out in Central London?

  539. Hi mb2,

    If she wants to travel from Hornsey before 0930 then she’ll need to use a normal Oyster and alight to touch out at Finsbury Park to avoid an incomplete journey. If travelling to Moorgate then it may be possible to touch out on the platforms at Highbury & Islington and get back on the same train. The fare is the same to both Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington. You can’t put cash on a 60+ Oyster card unfortunately. As to the final question, she would be leaving herself open to a penalty fare or prosecution if checked on the train at an invalid time.

  540. Mike:

    As you predicted, having the new Senior Railcard added to my Oyster card, in place of the soon-to-expire Railcard, proved to be a quick and and painless procedure at my station (Chalfont & Latimer) today. No ID required – just presentation of both SRs plus of course the Oyster card itself.

  541. Thanks for letting us know.

  542. Hi
    I live in Gidea Park and wondered where I can have my 16-25 railcard added to my oyster card. I understand that they don’t do it at Gidea Park station

  543. Hi Maureent,

    Try the Underground ticket office at Stratford or Liverpool Street.

  544. Hi Mike,

    I was recently issued a fine for travelling on London Overground with an Oyster that had my 16-25 railcard loaded on to it and was penalised for not having my railcard on my person. Seeing as I wasn’t planning on making any journeys on a national rail service, am I still eligible for the fine?
    Thanks in advance.

  545. Hi James,

    London Overground is a National Rail service, despite their reluctance to admit it. You also get discounts for travelling on tube and dlr as well, and since January there is even a 15p discount if you travel on 3 or more buses and nothing else. So yes, the penalty fare is appropriate and the railcard should always be carried when using an Oyster card with discount enabled.

  546. Hi Mike
    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! I feel that London travel fares are unnecessarily confusing.
    I have been buying a paper travelcard every time I needed to travel into central London (I’m in zone 5) with my 16-25 discount it now totals around £8 and I never seemed to have time restrictions. My question is if I link the card to my oyster will it still cap at the discounted travel card rate? Since I’ve only seen mention of discounted single fares. In the past I’ve been reluctant to use my oyster as sometimes I’ve ended up having more than the cost of a travelcard deducted, essentially spending more than I would have if I’d just bought a paper ticket.

  547. Hi Sirinda,

    Yes, with a 16-25 railcard attached you will cap at £7.20 as long as all travel is after 0930 M-F. If you get more deducted then it is likely that you’ve missed a touch in or out and been charged an incomplete journey fare which doesn’t count towards the cap. You can usually get the difference refunded if you call the helpline, but it’s best to try and remember to always touch in and out, even where there are no gates.

  548. Noel Turner

    Hi Mike

    I understand that the terms and conditions say I need to have the NR rail card in my possession as well as a valid paper ticket or swiped Oyster, etc…
    But does the Oyster card not have the date of expiry of the Railcard as well as the class of concession?
    I can see it would be necessary if my railcard needed a photo or if was using a paper ticket.And since I keep my railcard in the Oyster wallet to avoid the default case, I’d lose both anyway.
    If the Oyster does not have a concession expiry date (I could transgress inadvertently) if I don’t renew the rail card but it still allows a concessionary max fare, at a barrier…
    Are NR being picky? Ive never been asked to demonstrate the paper ticket when traveling on Oyster, but I have been asked regularly on a paper ticket.


  549. Hi Noel,

    The Oyster card does record the expiry date. You need to have it with you at all times because otherwise you could be lending the card to another person for discounted travel. Some people have even been asked to show a railcard on buses when using Oyster PAYG.

  550. Hi Mike – great website – I have a question. My Oyster is not registered. Can I still associate it with my Senior Railcard?
    Also have just renewed my Railcard online (just noticed it expires tomorrow!) I have received my confirmation email. I have a journey planned for Wednesday. If the new card doesn’t arrive do you think I can use my Railcard to buy a discounted ticket on Wednesday by showing the old Railcard and my confirmation email ?

  551. Hi David,

    Although the instructions above suggest that it can, I believe staff instructions are not to link unregistered cards. Railcards ordered online usually arrive in 2 working days so you should be ok. If it doesn’t arrive then unfortunately you cannot get the discount.

  552. Hi Mike,

    It’s that time of year again when I renew my NR point-to-point gold card, and then attempt (at several different tube stations) to get the gold card discount re-set on my oyster card. This year, I came prepared: I printed off the gold card discount information from the TfL website, and the instructions on this page, but it made no difference: 3 ticket offices so far have refused to do it for me. The spurious reasons I got today (all from the same guy) included:
    – It has to be travelcard gold card
    – It has to be a travelcard loaded on my oyster card
    – NR-issued gold cards (even if it’s a travelcard) aren’t eligible
    – NR-issued gold cards are eligible but I have to go to a NR ticket office
    – The stations on my gold card aren’t in the gold card area (huh?)
    – One of the stations on my gold card have to be in the TfL zone
    – Both of the stations on my gold card have to be in the TfL zone
    – I have to call TfL and “do it electronically”
    – My oyster card has to be registered (it IS)
    – Whoever set the discount flag for me last year made a mistake

    Clearly it shouldn’t be this hard.

    Do you have any advice on how to convince TfL staff to set the gold card discount for NR-issued point-to-point gold cards? e.g. can I refer them to a specific page in their fares manual? Or are there any particular stations that are more likely to be correctly informed?

    I’m also curious to know how many other people have had similar difficulties.


  553. Hi Liwen,

    Oh dear! Please can you name and shame with as much info as you can (station/s dates times). I won’t publish but it can be fed back to TfL. My usual recommendation is to try Underground stations attached to mainline terminals, but apologies if this was one of those you tried. Kings Cross and London Bridge have usually been helpful.

    Just thinking, you haven’t got a Lichfield gold card have you? It shouldn’t make any difference, but it might explain the “not in gold card area” comment as they weren’t last year.

  554. Hi Mike, Just wondering if you can help with some advice. My daughter and her friend are travelling from Australia – arriving late next week. They will be getting the Oyster card but will also be purchasing the 2 together card as they are travelling from Sturry to Southend on Sea and back to London. They will also be travelling from Waterloo to Watford Junction and from Waterloo to Hampton Court. I believe that this Railcard can be added to their Oyster card which should mean extra savings if they travel off peak. The will not be using their Oyster card to travel to Hampton Court as they will purchase a paper ticket to get the 2 for 1 deal for entrance to the Palace. At present I am suggesting that they go to Charing Cross station to purchase the 2 together card and also purchase their travel from Ashford to Sturry on their return to London in July to help eliminate any time wasting when they catch arrive from the Eurostar train. The could also purchase their oyster card at this time. Will the people there be aware of being able to put the 2 together card onto the Oyster card and is there any benefit to doing that. Thanks for your help. Cheers Kelly

  555. Hi Kelly,

    Sorry but the Two Together railcard cannot be added to an Oyster card. Oyster is an individual card and there is no way to ensure that two cards are always being used together.

  556. Hi,
    Can I link my Disabled Railcard to a Visitor Oystercard? Also will my carer still get a discount – would this be applied to his visitor Oystercard?

  557. Hi Emma,

    I don’t believe either railcards or travelcards can be applied to Visitor Oyster cards. You would need to have an ordinary adult Oyster card while your carer will get a child rate day travelcard. The details are here on the TfL site.

  558. Hi,

    I am going to Westminster Uni in September however the Halls are in Wembley so I will be travelling between zones 1-4 almost on a daily basis. For this reason I was thinking of a annual travel card however this costs £1288 which is a lot for a student! I also have a 16-25 railcard so I was wondering if I would be able to get some discount off the overall price?


  559. Hi Hannah,

    £1288 is the discounted student rate. There are no discounts on season tickets with the 16-25 railcard.

  560. Hi Mike,

    I called the TfL helpdesk, who were very helpful – they confirmed that a NR point-to-point gold card entitles me to a discount on my oyster card, regardless of whether the stations are in the TfL zones; and said if I had trouble the next time I tried, I should ask the ticket office to call the oyster helpdesk and quote my call reference number.

    I did try the ticket office at Kings Cross, but they insisted that I can’t get the discount unless at least one of the stations is in the TfL zones. When I pointed out that the TfL website and the TfL oyster helpdesk both say otherwise, and politely asked if she could call the oyster helpdesk to confirm, she basically told me I need to call TfL back to tell them they are wrong and to remove the wrong information from their website!

    I eventually got the gold card discount set on my Oyster card at the London Victoria TfL Travel Information Centre (not the ticket office) – far more helpful and polite than any ticket office staff I’ve ever dealt with.

  561. Hi Li-Wen,

    I have to say I’m surprised that you had trouble at Kings Cross because that is one of the better ticket offices in my experience. However, it’s anyones guess what the effects of the closure program are having on staff so maybe things are changing. Glad you did get it sorted in the end.

  562. Hi Mike,
    My son has had an apprentice travel card since March and this week he’s had an email and tfl have cancelled it as they cannot verify the college details.
    He’s been given another ULN and the college number and now has to apply for a new card but has lost 2 weeks travel on his card amounting to £80 plus pay another registration fee.
    Any ideas ?

  563. Hi Julie,

    Unfortunately this sort of issue is beyond the scope of an independent site like this. I can only suggest contacting the college and/or TfL.

  564. Regarding the gold card discount, I was wondering how we would receive the physical gold record card and how the discount could be registered on oyster cards, when the ticket offices have all closed.

    So I emailed TfL Customer Services. Here’s their response:

    “If you’re purchasing an annual Travelcard from a station, as long as the card is registered you’ll receive your gold card in the post within ten working days.

    Once the gold card is received, you’ll have to take the card along with your Oyster card to an underground station with a ticket office to apply the discount. I’m aware the stations are slowly closing, we will be implementing functions online and on machines where you can apply certain discounts.”

    So all a bit vague really, and doesn’t really address my question which was what to do when there’s going to be hardly any ticket offices left.

  565. Thanks Mike, after speaking to both of them it looks like someone somewhere has decided (as you need to be a resident in a London Borough to qualify)
    That Romford isn’t London yet it is London Borough of Havering ?????
    The saga continues

  566. Hi Julie,

    Romford definitely is in London for TfL fare concessions purposes. However, some postcodes starting RM are not in London (eg Tilbury). Good luck chasing it.

  567. Hi Al,

    The railcard (inc Gold card) discount can be applied by staff at the new machines in the ticket halls. There shouldn’t be a problem.

  568. Kerry Humphreys

    Can you tell me the cheapest way for my husband to travel please. He mostly will go from Knockholt Kent into London Cannon street with very occasional bus/tube. The weekly season ticket is £47.40 is there any advantage to getting an Oyster Card aswell? Many Thanks in advance

  569. Hi Kerry,

    If his commute is just Knockholt to Cannon Street then the weekly season is what he needs. An Oyster card with PAYG credit will be the best way to cover occasional tube/bus journeys. If his commute regularly involves a bus or tube then consider putting a zones 1-6 travelcard on the Oyster card instead.

  570. Hi Mike,

    I get the NR from Shenfield to London Liverpool St on weekdays.

    I currently use my 16-25 railcard to buy dailies as I’ve been told this is the cheapest method.

    However my station has oyster card enabled on the barriers. Might it be cheaper for me to add my 16-25 railcard to my oyster and travel this way?



  571. Hi Tom,

    Not for peak time commuting. The Oyster system doesn’t discount peak single fares or the Anytime cap. Shenfield is far enough away from London that the £12 minimum fare before 1000 doesn’t defeat the discount. If you can travel off-peak then Oyster with the discount will be better value.

  572. Hi Mike,

    Great website – so much more useful than any of the official ones I’ve used!

    I’m only asking because I spoke to someone in a ticket office about this and he got pretty confused. If I’ve got a 16-25 railcard, and am commuting for three months this Summer from a z2 stop to a z1 stop and back every day (but taking the tube/buses in z1-2 about once every couple of days outside of that), am I still best off paying as I go, because the 16-25 discount won’t apply to any season tickets? This was the conclusion that the ticket officer and I came to, but I’m not sure if it’s right. Thank you!

  573. Hi Tom,

    The 16-25 railcard won’t discount peak fares on Oyster either. Whether you would benefit or not depends on exactly what your commute is, stations, route, times of day and how much extra travel you’d do.

  574. Hi Mike,
    Using my disabled railcard to great effect on travelcards so far, so thanks for that….BUT….

    I have a pay as you go oyster card – and to get my railcard loaded onto my oyster i need to get the oyster registered is that right….? if so my question is…can i register the oyster online or do i need to do it at a station, or do i need to do it at all, seeing as its a pay as you go card?

    thanks, joe

  575. Hi Joe,

    You do need to get the card registered. It can be done at Underground stations and ticket stop shops as far as I know. If you order a new Oyster card online then it will be registered, but I don’t think you can do an existing one online.

  576. Hi mike, My son will be attending university from September2015. I am totally unfamiliar with travelling cards and options available to him as a student. Would you please point me in the correct direction for zone 1 to 3 from finsbury park to kings cross daily and the most inexpensive way to travel via tube . I was wondering if a monthly pass would be the most reliable and the best option . your advice is greatly appreciated. thank you

  577. Hi Tracy,

    If his journey is just Finsbury Park to Kings Cross then he only needs zones 1-2. His best bet will be to get a student Oyster which entitles him to discounted travelcards. Full details on the TfL website.

  578. Hi Mike,

    Hope you’re well.

    I am going to travel from Finsbury Park to Watford Junction for work daily. I plan on getting a zone 1-9 + Watford Junction from commuter club to ease the blow, taking the Victoria line to euston and then London Midlands service to Watford.

    Is there a cheaper way? Do London midlands accept travelcards on their services or just PAYG (top up) oyster.

    Many thanks,

  579. Hi Sam,

    There is a cheaper way, but it will add quite a bit of time to the journey. If you change at Highbury & Islington and Willesden Junction you can avoid zone 1, but you will be on the slower London Overground service rather than London Midland. LM do accept both PAYG and travelcards.

  580. hi me and my partner are both carers and i have been awarded income support for both of us – i went to the post office to apply for bus and tram discount card for us both, they let me have one as it was my name on the income support letter but wont give one to my partner even though the letter states the award is for ‘me and my partner.
    how can i get a bus a tram discount for him too?
    cant find anything on tfl or online anywhere about this

  581. Hi Claire,

    Does the letter name both you and your partner? Has your partner actually tried to get the discount card in person? I think the TfL helpdesk is going to be the best place to ask about this.

  582. thanks for the reply, income support only address letters to one partner, which is to me as i am the main claimant – the letter just says £xx per week ‘for you and your partner’
    it does later on mention both names for carers allowance but not for income support – anyway we went back to the post office just now and i managed to get the clerk who did mine last time, she is quite new there and just accepted it as she remembered me from when she did mine a few weeks back. i was lucky this time round i guess, didnt question it so were good till 31st December! who knows about next time though.
    surely other people must encounter this same situation yet it isnt mentioned anywhere on tfl t&c’s.

  583. I’m glad it’s sorted out. This is not an area I have much, if any, experience of unfortunately.

  584. I go to London a few times a year. I usually come in at Liverpool Street, and when I have a new Senior Railcard, go straight to the ticket office and get it connected to my Oyster. The next time I go, I will be travelling by car direct to my hotel in Docklands. I will also have a new Senior Railcard. Can I get the card connected to my Oyster at Canary Wharf please?

  585. Hi Tommo,

    Yes you can at the Underground station. If there is no ticket office then approach the visible staff members who will be able to do the job using special staff functions at one of the ticket machines.

  586. We lived in Hertfordshire, my daughter start secondary school in September and will occasionally get a bus home (From Potters Bar) will I need to get her an Oyster card?

  587. Hi Kelly,

    If the bus is operated by TfL then she will need a zip Oyster card to confirm eligibility for free travel. Technically this is required from age 11+, but is certainly advisable if she will be wearing a school uniform.

  588. Hi Mike
    We are travelling to London via coach in August and am looking at getting Friends and family railcard. Two adults, one 16 year old and one 15 year old. Can we use f and f railcard for discount on travelcards. Am very confused! TIA

  589. Hi Jo,

    Yes you can.

  590. Hi Mike,
    I am about to start working in London. I have been told that if I have a 16-25 railcard that I can apply for a 16-25 oyster card which will give me a discount of 1/3 on my monthly travelcard, zone 1-4. Can you confirm this is the case?

  591. Hi Nick,

    Not quite. The 16-25 railcard can be added to your Oyster card to give you 1/3 discount on off-peak fares and the off-peak caps. There is no discount on season tickets or travelcard seasons. There is an 18+ Student Oyster which gives 30% discount on travelcard seasons, but I don’t think you can get that unless you are a student or on a work placement as part of a course.

  592. I am struggling to get my new Network Rail card linked to my Oyster card due to the absence of manned ticket offices. (I have had it successfully linked for the past two years.)

    Do I understand from a comment you made above that the staff in stations should be able to do this at the machines via enhanced staff functionality?

    Thank you for the excellent website and the time you put into answering all the comments / questions.

  593. Hi Richard,

    Which sort of Railcard do you own? If it is the Network Railcard then you’ve been very lucky to get it linked in the past. It’s not supposed to be linked to an Oyster card because of the £13 minimum fare on Mon-Fri. If it’s another National Railcard (16-25, Senior, Forces or Annual season ticket gold card) then yes, staff should be able to add the discount using special menus at the ticket machines.

  594. Yes, I do have a Network Rail card. I must have been lucky as I’ve never been told it isn’t possible in the past.

    The staff at Blackfriars Underground Station today seemed clueless about linking the card, but I tried again at Cannon St Underground on the way home and they did it for me without any problems. I wanted the process they followed on screen and I think there was a Network Rail card option (I am fairly certain) and I think they just pressed that. Hopefully it continues to give me a discount!

  595. Hi Richard,

    I’d say you’ve been very lucky. The option should say “NR Railcard” and is used for all valid railcards except the disabled one which now offers discounts on peak fares as well as off-peak. My only caution to you would be that if your Oyster is checked by an inspector and they ask to see your railcard there might be an issue.

  596. hi Mike
    I’m going to get a goldcard season ticket from London Midland, and would like to know if I can use it to get a discount of Zone 1 Tube fares as well? It says you can get a discount on off-peak fares but as zone 1 tube fares are the same on and off peak, I am unsure if this means that I can get a discount or not? I would be using the tube before 9.30am in most cases.
    thank you for your help!

  597. Hi Rebecca,

    Zone 1 tube journeys actually have two fares, peak and off-peak, just like all other fares in London. The difference is that they are the same price, unless you have an off-peak dscount. So your railcard won’t discount between 0630-0930 or 1600-1900, but at other times it will.

  598. Hi,
    I have friends visting London for about 2 weeks. I bought then a Two Together Card.
    Can this be registered against Visitor Oyster Cards that they will buy so that the discounted cap applies?
    Many thanks

  599. Hi Anthony,

    Sadly not. Oyster is an individual card whilst two together does what it says. Therefore TfL won’t link the cards together.

  600. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the prompt reply. Confusing information given then by Southeastern Trains website (I think I found this there) which said it could be linked as per “You can also register your Oyster card for Railcard discounts. A 34 per cent discount will apply to the off-peak daily price cap with the following Railcards: 16-25, Senior, Disabled, Two Together, HM Forces and Annual Gold Card.”

  601. Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for that pointer. I’ve reported it to Southeastern Customer Services and they are going to raise it to the web team for correction. She agreed that the TfL site makes it clear you can’t link a two together railcard. Also I notice confirmation that Oyster will be valid at Dartford from September 6th, news which is very close to my heart.

  602. I renewed my Senior Railcard and discovered that it had to be re entered onto my PAYGO Oyster as the old one had expired. I rang the Oyster phone number and they told me I could do this myself at a ticket machine by swiping both my Railcard and Oyster card. Swiping the Railcard would bring up the necessary menu to complete the transaction. This had apparently been introduced due to the lack of ticket offices. Can you confirm this?

    Thx Jon

  603. Hi Jon,

    I’d be very surprised if this could be done solely by a customer. The staff available in the ticket hall can bring up an additional menu which enables them to do it. Just ask one of them for assistance.

  604. Hi Mike,

    The system for student discounts is quite confusing for me (never lived in London), so I would be grateful if you could provide some clarification xD

    I already have a 16-25 railcard. This article says that I can link this to an Oyster card for the 1/3 discount and so on, which is great. However, I noticed that there is an 18+ Oyster card too? Can I link the railcard to that? If so, does that give me an even bigger discount? Quite confused here lol.


  605. Hi Omar,

    The two cards offer discounts on different things. The 18+ Oyster discounts travelcard season tickets only. The 16-25 railcard only discounts off-peak fares and caps when linked to an Oyster. So yes, you can link the two, but no, you’ll only get whichever discount applies to the ticket you’re buying.

  606. Hi mike,

    I’m 21 and live near upper Warlingham station and will be starting a commute to work in Wimbledon. I have an Oyster card and was told a weekly of £28.40 was the best option, but if I get the 16-25 discount added to my Oyster card would this be cheaper? Thank you so much for your help as I am confused.

  607. Hi Holly,

    Sadly not. The 16-25 card does not discount season tickets. However, there is a slightly cheaper option. You can buy a zones 5-6 weekly travelcard for £24.10 and then use the tram between East Croydon and Wimbledon.

  608. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to be travelling to Angel station from Hounslow West on weekdays. I’m confused as to which option will be cheapest for me. If I buy a monthly travelcard am I able to get a discount on it as I have a 16-25 railcard? If not which option will be cheapest for me?

    Thank you

  609. Hi Sam,

    The 16-25 railcard doesn’t discount season tickets. If you only commute on the tube 5 days a week then PAYG will be cheaper. If you make other journeys then a travelcard might be worthwhile.

  610. Hi
    I am trying to book tickets to York for 3 adults. I have an annual Gold Card and my daughter has a 16-25 card. I thought the same discount of 1/3 is available on all card but I have noticed that the 16-25 rail card gets a greater discount. Is this correct?

  611. Hi Jeannie,

    I’m not aware of a difference, but if a booking site is giving you a better discount then take it. Some sites do have special offers for their own trains at times.

  612. Hi Mike,

    Ive heard that I can get 30% off on monthly travelcards with a 18+ student oyster. Wanted to confirm if this is true?

    Thank you in advance

  613. Hi Naura,

    Yes, that’s right.

  614. HI Mike,
    trying to top up my apprenticeship oyster, expires in sept 2016. When topping up online, choosing the monthly travelcard option, then selecting zones 1-4, it says “The selected Travelcard overlaps an existing Travelcard. Please select another Travelcard”
    I haven’t topped it up with anything except a fiver when I got caught short one day, of which £1.20 is left, any ideas as to how I go about this?

  615. Hi Nicholas,

    I’d call the helpdesk on that one. It sounds like there could be a travelcard on there.

  616. Hi Mike,
    My daughter is traveling from Purley to Epsom UCA (via West Croydon) and I have been advised that she cannot use her 18+ Oyster Card at Epsom Station. If she buys a weekly travelcard is there any way she can get a student discount applied to her journey? There is a bus route but it is only an hourly service. Thank you

  617. Hi Mike,
    I have a three year 16-25 railcard linked on my oyster card. I purchased and linked the railcard around a year ago.

    I made a return journey this weekend, from Headstone Lane to Warwick Avenue (and back), but both times it was via Euston (as I had to meet someone). I was charged £2.05 in the morning, but £1.50 in the evening.

    This was a little confusing to say the least. My only thought is, do three year railcards stay linked to an oyster for a full three years or is it just the one year?

  618. Hi Clare,

    Sadly Epsom is currently outside the Oyster area. It is due to be extended there in the coming months, but I haven’t got a date. If it is added into a zone (one of 7, 8 or 9) then she will be able to get a discounted travelcard.

    At the moment she can get a zone 5-6 discounted travelcard and combine it with a Ewell East to Epsom ticket. If the train she catches calls at Ewell East then the extra ticket can be a season as well. If it doesn’t call then it will need to be a daily ticket. In either case the tickets can be bought at Purley.

  619. Hi Jack,

    The good news is that you still have discounted fares. There is only one fare between Headstone Lane and Warwick Avenue which would cost £1.00 using the direct London Overground and Bakerloo services. Where you have walked between Euston NR and Euston Square the system has joined your journeys together. What it won’t do is refund anything already paid, so in the morning you were charged for Headstone Lane to Euston while in the afternoon it was Warwick Avenue to Euston Square.

  620. Hi, my partner and I live in London and generally travel in zones 1-2, with fortnightly day trips together outside of London or to Gatwick Airport. I have an annual gold railcard, is a Partner Network Railcard or a Two Together railcard better to get for my partner, given that we don’t always travel together but would like the discount for trips less than £10?

    Thank you

  621. Hi Kim,

    When you travel together your gold card allows both of you to travel at the discounted rate. If travelling separately then a two together railcard will be of no use because it is only for the two named people traveling together. So unfortunately there is no option to avoid the minimum fare condition of the network railcard.

  622. Hi, I am a university student in London and I am going to be traveling a lot via train and bus from Syon Lane Station to Barnes Station. I just wanted to ask how much it would cost from going between zone 1-4 weekly and daily and I have just got myself an 18+ oyster card so can I use that on trains and would I save money if I buy myself a 16-24 railcard and attach it to my oyster card. How much is the fare for Bus and Southwest Trains.

  623. Hi Amy,

    I’m a little confused. You’ve mentioned Syon Lane and Barnes but you only need zones 3-4 to get between them by rail. With a zone 3-4 travelcard you can also use buses throughout London. The 18+ Student Oyster gives you a 30% discount on travelcard seasons. You won’t save any money on travelcard seasons with the 16-25 railcard, but if you use PAYG outside your zones off-peak then you will get reduced fares.

    Just to confirm, a zone 3-4 travelcard entitles you to use trains and tubes and dlr in those zones plus trams and buses throughout London.

  624. Hi Mike,
    If I buy a National rail season ticket to go from King’s Cross to Welwyn Garden city (cost £2700 per year) is that include the underground and buses?
    Thanks a lot.

  625. Hi Max,

    No. That only covers trains between Welwyn Garden City and Kings Cross or Moorgate. You can also use a small subset of Underground services between Finsbury Park, Highbury & Islington, Old Street, Moorgate and Kings Cross St Pancras, but only at those specific stations.

  626. Hi Mike,

    I have just moved to Harrow on the Hill ( Zone 5) and I travel to Southwark daily ( Zone 1). Its costs me around 54 as weekly. Me and my wife travel daily at 8:30 and this is becoming very expensive. Is there any way to get a rail discount(Couples ) attached to the oyster and save money or any other way of saving . Appreciate your Answer/help.

  627. Hi Omar,

    The two together railcard is (a) not valid before 0930 and (b) can’t be attached to an Oyster card because Oysters are individual. If the only journeys you make are 5 return trips a week then don’t bother with a travelcard. The peak single fare is £4.70. If you do sometimes make other trips then use a contactless payment card each and you will still be capped at the weekly travelcard rate.

  628. Dear Mike,

    Thank you very much for this detailed informstion. This really helped me a lot. However, I’m still a bit lost in all of this. I’m a full time student and have a 16-25 railcard. I life in zone 2, my closest stations being Brixton and St Johns. I’ll be going almost every day to Eustob square. So I wonder what will be best to do? Buy a monthly travelcard for 86£ or judt an Oyster 18+ and add the discount I get from my railcard? I’m afraid I don’t understand the cap thing… Is it correct that my cap would be 4.25 provided I travel off peak? In that case 4.25£ every day is still way more expensive than the 86£ monthly travelcard ord did I get this all wrong?

    Thank you in advance for your kind help!

  629. Hi Leandra,

    Yes, the cap for zones 1-2 with a railcard is £4.25 as long as all travel is after 0930 M-F. If you literally travel every day then a monthly travelcard with the 18+ discount will be cheaper, plus you can use it before 0930 if you need to.

  630. Hi,

    I’m eligible for an 18+ zip oystercard and apparently that gives me 1/3 off travel. Would there then be any point of getting a 16-25 rail card as well – as in would that get me any additional discount if I added it to my oyster card? Also would you recommend a monthly travelcard if I’m going to be travelling every day from Waterloo to South kensington?

  631. Hi Aditi,

    The 18+ Student Oyster only discounts period travelcards by 30%, not PAYG fares or daily caps. The 16-25 railcard discounts off-peak fares and caps by 34% but has no effect on period travelcards or peak fares. So, if all you do is commute from Waterloo to South Kensington then yes, get a discounted monthly travelcard. The railcard won’t give you any discount on your commute, but if you make other journeys, especially longer distance by train, then it may still be worth it.

  632. I have a station to station Gold Card not a zone gold card. Can I have this added to my oyster card?

  633. Hi Grant,

    Yes it can.

  634. My daughter has just got a 16+ zip, I recently had a long conversation with the Oyster customer services before buying a 16-25 railcard for her. I was told eventually after checks with supervisors, that she will get 50% off rail in London with the 16+ Zip, and that a 16-25 Railcard can be added to the 16+Zip and this will result in a third being taken off the already half price rail fare. Upon further reading I am now wondeing if they gave me the correct information and if the Railcard will offer any additional benefit at all and in fact whether it can even be added to the Zip. Please could you clarify ?

  635. Hi Kevin,

    Oh dear. The 16+ zip card used to give 50% discount on TfL fares and 34% discount on NR fares with a railcard attached. Then 2 years ago TfL persuaded NR to offer the same 50% discount so there was no point adding the railcard after then. However, the 16-25 railcard is still useful for longer distance rail trips beyond the Oyster area.

  636. Hi Mike,
    My girlfriend and I have just moved very close to Bromley south station (zone 5). We both have 16-25 railcards, but are considering getting Oyster cards and attaching the railcards to them, but we’re not totally sure whether it’s really worth it.

    Weekday travel is sorted. However we plan to travel into London probably 2/3 weekends a month, so a couple of quid saving each time would add up over the year.
    We can currently get the 1day travel card for £7.80 each using our railcards. Would an Oyster card work out any cheaper?


  637. Hi Cal,

    Yes. The off-peak zone 1-5 cap for railcards is £7.20. Plus, there is the chance that this might be refunded down to £5.90 if you travel both days on the same weekend.

  638. Hi Mike,

    just wonder that if I add my 16-25 railway card on my oyster card, and travel before 1000 am on the weekdays, will I be charge the minimum fare 12GBP or just the usual oyster card fare? thank you!

  639. Hi Ping,

    No, the £12 minimum fare isn’t applied on Oyster for journeys before 1000. You get the discounted off-peak fare whenever normal off-peak fares apply.

  640. Hi Mike, great website!
    My daughter is turning 18 next week and is a full time student travelling peak time from GRAYS, Essex on C2C to Barking where she changes onto District Line back 1 stop to Upney which is in zone 4. She currently uses a 16+ Zipoyster card with 50% discount off adult fare and I have discovered that she is not eligible for a 2nd year’s discount because we live outside a London borough. I think this is unfair and it goes on age so my other daughter who is a July baby would have got the 2nd year discounted fare had she been doing the same journey! I have ordered a C2C smartcard and am waiting for it to arrive at her college which will give 30% discount off adult fare. She can then use it to get to Barking and I thought if I give her my payg oyster which i have amended to her name and add a zone 3-4 travelcard she can then touch in with oyster at Barking platform and then out at Upney. This is going to cost me £200 a month with the 2 cards which will double what I currently pay!
    My question is do you know of a cheaper way short of moving to a London Borough?

  641. Hi Maureen,

    All she needs is a Grays to zones 4-6 travelcard for the whole journey. This costs £169/month for an adult. The C2C only ticket for Grays to Barking is £146.40/month for an adult. Barking to Upney on Oyster is £1.60 single and if that’s all she’s doing then a zone 3-4 travelcard is overkill. 22 return trips is £70.40 compared to £92.60 for a two zone travelcard. It’s not clear on the C2C site whether the discount applies to travelcard season or just C2C only season tickets.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  642. Hi Mike staying in hemel Hempstead visiting harry potter studios and london for theatre etc over 3 days. Have f&f railcard but realise I.m outwith zones for 1 day travelcard, would it be cost effective buying them and paying extra fares from last zone to hemel Hempstead, advice much appreciated, and do you know exact discounts with railcard applied thanks

  643. Hi Margaret,

    When travelling to and around London you can get a Hemel Hempstead to Zones 1-6 travelcard which gives you one return trip from Hemel to the boundary of zone 6 plus unlimited travel within the zones. Discount is usually 34% for adults and 61% for kids, but there are sometimes differences for travelcard fares. The off-peak travelcards are £12.60/adult and £3.65/child. Monday to Friday you can’t arrive in London before 1000 or leave between 1649-1900. You can travel around in London between those evening times, you just can’t travel between zone 6 and Hemel. For Harry Potter you’ll just need return tickets to Watford Junction unless you are going on to London afterwards.

  644. Thanks Mike thought this would be the case, are travel card prices you quoted inclusive of any f&f railcard discount or are these standard prices to pay? Have already booked train from glasgow-euston and onto hemel Hempstead to hotel then onto harry potter studios, will be travelling in and out of london on 2nd day, and into london 3rd day for sightseeing before boarding train home that night, looking for travel to be cost effective, website is great very informative and detailed.

  645. Hi Margaret,

    Yes, those were the discounted travelcard prices.

  646. Hi Mike, sorry to ask stupid question but how do I book this ticket as oyster doesn’t give me option to book travelcard from Grays, (only Watford Junction, Broxbourne and Shenfield are listed outside zone 9) and c2c online doesn’t recognise Upney? C2c offer 30% Discount off student smart card on it’s own and advised adding a travelcard would invalidate this discount and they suggested using Oyster as well with travelcard zones 3-4. My daughter also gets bus back to Barking which Oyster covers but not sure if C2C/travelcard you mentioned above would allow this?

  647. Sorry, just rechecked C2C website and can see the £169 Grays to zone 4 travelcard option which would be cheaper if it includes bus? I would be grateful if you could kindly confirm that for me please? So confusing when you live outside London. I even spent an hour at Fenchurch st going over all the options and they weren’t much help, unlike you Mike!

  648. Hi Maureen,

    Yes, any travelcard includes all TfL operated buses throughout London.

  649. Many thanks for the info Mike, so Is there any point in linking the Oyster and NR at all ? If we did would my daughter be at risk of getting 34% off national rail in london instead of 50% ?

    I wish TFL customer service, including their supervisors, knew anything near as much as you !

  650. Hi Kevin,

    There’s no point linking the railcard and 16+ Oyster anymore. I don’t think it would make a difference, but there really isn’t any point.

  651. Hi Mike,

    my family are staying in central london for 4 days in december. Have 2 children aged 14 and 16 . Have a family and friends railcard . What is our cheapest options for travel ? Is it worth buying my son a 16 – 25 railcard ?

  652. Hi Sue,

    Not if it’s only for 4 days Central London travel. How old was he when you bought the railcard? As long as he was 15 you can continue to claim discounts for him until the railcard expires (1 year version) or the day before his 17th birthday (3 year version).

  653. HI Mike. Unfortunately I will have to renew our family railcard at the end of November. My son was 16 in January.

  654. Hi Sue,

    Oh well, as long as you’re aware of the situation. It’s surprising how many don’t read the small print about 16 year olds.

  655. Hi Mike,

    I have just lost my oyster card which was linked to my 16-25 rail card. Unfortunately i don’t think that I have an oyster card account so I was wondering if there was anyway I could get the card info (and credit) through the link with my rail card? Could you help with this? Thanks a lot

  656. Hi Olivier,

    Sadly not. The link between the two cards is only recorded on the Oyster card.

  657. jeff chambers

    Hi Mike – I currently have a 60+ Oyster until March 2016 when I guess it would be renewed. However, we may be moving to Watford soon. Although it has a tube and several Overground stops, and will shortly have the Metropolitan extension I’m guessing I won’t be able to ask for another Oyster 60+ as I’d be living in Herts. Is there a way round this?! I expect to be coming in quite often.

  658. Hi Jeff,

    I think the best you can do is get a senior railcard and apply it to an adult Oyster. The 60+ Oyster and Freedom Passes are paid for by London taxpayers so you won’t be able to get one if you cease to be one.

  659. Johnthecrash

    Hi Mike. Doesn’t Olivier (7 Oct) just trot off to TfL and report the loss? He must have registered it (via a paper form filled in at the time of linking: I remember my daughter having to despite having an account online listing the card) so they can “stop & reissue” and transfer the credit?


  660. It depends. It should be registered, but that doesn’t always apply.

  661. Hi Mike, my daughter’s zip 11-15 ran out at the end of September but I’ve been unable to get online to renew it to the 16+, all I get is an error code HTTP status 500 every time I try to access the 16+ part of TFL website – have you heard whether this is a general problem?

  662. Hi Andrea,

    I’m not aware of any issues, and I seem to be able to get into that part of the website ok from here. Have you asked the helpdesk? It might be a case of removing cookies relating to TfL from your browser cache.

  663. Hi Mike,

    I started my first journey (zone 2-1) before 6.30am and then took a journey within zone 1 before 4pm, and a zone 1-2 journey just after 4pm. In the past, I have been charged £4.25 for this, as I have started my day’s journeys in the off-peak period, but for some reason I was charged £6.40. Is that correct, or has there been an error? If it is right, has TfL changed something within the last month or so?

    Thanks in advance.

  664. Hi Chris,

    The 0430-0630 period is charged off-peak fares but they count towards the Anytime cap. Unless it’s a disabled railcard you only get the reduced cap after 0930.

  665. Hi Mike,
    I have a Zone 1-4 Oyster Annual Pass that I just renewed online ahead of expiration on October 20th. That is when my Gold railcard will expire as well. I am looking at buying a train ticket for next weekend (October 23rd) where I normally should get a discounted fare using my Gold railcard. But I don’t think I will receive the new physical card by then. All I have is the old one (which shows Oct 20 as the expiration date) and the printout receipt showing that I’ve renewed my annual pass on Oyster. Is that enough you think to still purchase a discounted train ticket for Oct 23rd? Maybe there is a way to reflect the Gold railcard on the Oyster… Or is this a loophole in the system?

  666. Hi Utku,

    I understand that the Gold record cards are sent out as soon as the tickets are ordered so there’s a chance that it will arrive in time. If it doesn’t then my best suggestion is to go to a National Rail station with Oyster facilities and see if they’ll accept it without the record card.

  667. Hi,
    I got a 90£ pay as you go travel bursary from my university, how can i enter it in my oyster card ?

  668. Hi Pantelis,

    I don’t understand. What exactly have you received?

  669. Hey again,

    Quoting the email sent to me by TFL ” Imperial College London has approved your application and awarded you a travel bursary £90 of pay as you go credit.

    If your photo meets our guidelines, your new photocard will arrive with £90 pay as you go credit on it in aproximately 5 working days. ”

    My new photocard arrived but doesn’t contain anything in it !
    I was also given a reference number if that makes any difference.


  670. Hi Pantelis,

    What have you done to check how much is on the card? If a ticket machine at a station says it is empty then you need to go back to the Oyster helpline.

  671. Hi Mike,
    We have an Oyster Card linked to a 16-25 Railcard for one daughter. is it allowed to be used during a different visit to London by another daughter who has her own 16-25 Railcard or is it only able to be used by the currently linked railcard?

  672. Hi Dave,

    Although you wouldn’t be defrauding the railway, Oyster cards with either travelcards or discounts loaded cannot be transferred to other people. If stopped by an RPI she may be in hot water, especially if the expiry date doesn’t match. Best to get another Oyster and link the second railcard to that.

  673. Hi Mike,

    I am a student and I travel around 4 days a week, excluding the weekend, every morning before 10am
    So far I have always bought a return travel ticket which goes from Motspur Park to Egham which costs £11.60
    I know Egham is outside the oyster fare zone and the railcard cannot be used during peak-time, are there any other ways I can get my tickets cheaper/ discounted?

    Thank You

  674. Hi Gemma,

    Sadly it would appear not. The return price is discounted because you are travelling away from peak flow for most of the journey. This also means that splitting Oyster/paper at Feltham isn’t going to save you either.

  675. Hi Mike, I was wondering if a 16-25 railcard will give me a 1/3 discount off the price of a monthly travelcard (zones 1-2)? Thank you!

  676. Hi Hazel,

    Sorry, no it won’t. If you are a student and eligible for an 18+ Oyster then you can get a 30% discount on travelcard seasons.

  677. Mike,

    How much is an off-peak return (not same day) from boundary zone 4 to Stansted airport, on a goldcard discount, please?

    Can’t trust the guys at my local station.

    Is there an online tool for this?

  678. Hi Jeff,

    There are only two return fares: £18.60 Anytime return or £8.80 Off-peak day return. The website is brfares.com.

  679. I recently renewed my Senior Railcard and got a 3-year version. When I tried to get this added to my Oyster Card at King’s Cross the TfL helper there said that the system could not cope with an expiry date nearly 3 years ahead (2018) so he added the discount with an expiry date of Oct 2017. So when that comes around I have to remember to have the discount set up again, which is annoying.

  680. Hi Clive,

    That is annoying. I understood that this functionality had been added after it was discovered that 3-year railcards exist. Have you tried contacting the helpdesk and asking whether they think it should be possible?

  681. Hi Mike,
    I have recently got a job in Chelmford and have to commute from Stratford. Are there any cheaper options than the £339 a month option with Abellio Greater Anglia?

  682. See my post on 4th March 2015 above. I didn’t mention it there but my Senior railcard is a 3-year one and the clerk didn’t mention anything about a date restriction. Of course, I can’t tell whether he’s put the right date of 27 Feb 2018 until then, or until I stop getting the discount.

    It’s also annoying that it’s not possible to check the date anywhere. Gateline readers obviously can because they apply the correct charge, so why can’t ticket machines?

  683. Hi Terry,

    If you are commuting at standard peak times then probably not. If you commute usually outside of the peak hours (0630-0930, 1600-1900) then you may be better off using PAYG to Shenfield, but you’d have to get off there to touch out before continuing on the next train to Chelmsford.

  684. Hi Alan,

    You should be able to ask one of the helpful staff members to check the expiry.

  685. Hi Mike,

    I am student and usually travelling between Borough and Temple. My 18+ oyster card has registered with my 16-25 oyster, which is shown as Priv All Rail-N in my online account. I think my journey between Borough and Temple should be normally charged 1.5 pounds during off peak time, but recently I was charged only 60p on the same journey same time. BTW, I also added a monthly travellcard to my 18+ last month, but it has expired. Thanks a lot!

  686. Hi Mark,

    You’ve been given the wrong discount code. I suggest you take the Oyster and 16-25 railcard to a tube station and ask them to adjust it to the right code. As it clearly isn’t your fault you should get no trouble, but the longer you leave it the more likely that an inspection may yield some awkward questions.

  687. So on 12th September i bought my anual season ticket with my 18+ discount which gave me a 33% discount. My ticket looked the same as it aways had, with Gold Card on it.

    My ticket stipped working today – held it too close to my phone. Went to get it changed at my local station only to have my normal Gold Card ticket revoked!? I was told I was not eligable for one. At the time of original purchase I specifically clarified this with the guy in the ticket office and he said I was.

    Can someone please explain?

  688. Hi Harriet,

    According to the National Rail website only full priced adult annual seasons qualify for gold card status, so it appears as though you might have been lucky in the past. If you are eligible for a 16-25 railcard then you can use that to get virtually the same discounts as a gold card.

  689. Hi,
    I just apply for the 18+ Oyster card student I don’t understand the difference between click yes and no for the statement below:

    “If you’d like your new photocard to arrive with pay as you go credit or a Travelcard on it click on the ‘Yes’ button below. Once your application has been approved we will email you. Then you can sign into your web account and add pay as you go credit or buy a Travelcard.”

    If I click Yes so what benefit I get?
    If I click No, what benefit I get?

    What do you mean by “pay as you go” for the student card? I understand that the student will get 30% discount using this photo card, but I’m not sure if I click yes, what will happen next.

    Thank you.

  690. Hi Su,

    The 18+ Student Oyster is just like any other adult Oyster card except that travelcards get a 30% discount. Single fares and daily caps are all at full adult rates. If you click “yes” you will be given the opportunity to add credit and/or a travelcard before the photocard is posted to you. If you click “no” you’ll just get the photocard and will need to add credit or a travelcard yourself before you can use it.

    Either way you get an 18+ Student Oyster photocard.

  691. Thank you so much for your kind information.

  692. Im 17 y.o. student and need to travel from chelmsford to Cannons parkm underground a few days a week what would be the most ecconomical way to acomplish this?

  693. Hi Mike,

    The question is really too vague to be answered concisely. A day travelcard costs £36.20 while a weekly is £117.60, so worthwhile if travelling 4 or 5 days a week. If you are happy to change at Stratford and West Hampstead to avoid zone 1 then the weekly rate drops to £102.50. You may be able to get cheaper day tickets by using Oyster PAYG but you’d need to be prepared to de-train at Shenfield which would increase your journey time.

  694. Sorry…I guess what I shoulkd have been asking is if I would be privy to any student discounts for this journey

    thank you

  695. Hi Mike,

    If you live in Chelmsford then you won’t be eligible for any TfL student discounts. I don’t know what help Essex council might provide.

  696. Hi

    Only earlier this year find out can link disabled railcard to Oyster card. I don’t live London. I sometime go there visit but not often. Website say you need go ticket office London link card. When next time I go London will Kings Cross so do you know where ticket office is? I heard they close down and how add railcard to Oyster card??

  697. Hi Jay,

    Yes, the ticket offices have closed down. However, the ticket halls have staff who can add railcards using staff functions on the ticket machines.

  698. Hi Mike

    Thanks reply. Ok I try do that next time I go London.

  699. Alastair Holmes

    Has anyone had experience of renewing an annual travelcard now that ticket offices have closed.

    The oyster helpline told me today that the process is:
    1. Purchase annual travelcard at station or online
    2. Gold record card sent in the post (3-5 working days)
    3. Take gold record card to station to register railcard discount on oyster – which can be done by passenger at machine (although the helpline couldn’t explain how).

    Helpline wasn’t sure if step 3 could be done at same time as step 1.

    Helpline also said, when I asked the question, that if I made a national rail journey and had to pay full fare because the gold record card had not been received in time, then I would be able to claim back the discount from the oyster helpline. I’ve never heard of that before, and wondered whether it was true.

  700. Hi Alastair,

    Step 3 will require the assistance of a staff member, but it doesn’t take long. I’ve not heard about getting a refund if the gold record card doesn’t arrive in time, but it makes sense. I’ll try and find out more information on this. Steps 1 and 3 could only happen together if the travelcard was picked up from day 1 of validity, but the logistics of this mean it won’t happen with online purchases. At the station it will be possible as long as the travelcard has started.

  701. Hi Mike

    I contacted Oyster help line this morning re Alastair’s annual travelcard/gold card matter, and was given a slightly different answer.
    I was told that the gold card would be posted once the Oyster card was first used (assume used, not travelcard added). Then (with help from a manager), I was told that the gold card would automatically be linked to the Oyster card and there is now no need to add it manually.
    I’ve just ordered an annual travelcard to start Mon 21/12 and would like to get an NR discount on 23/12 – not sure if I will be able to!

  702. Hi Eskimo,

    Thanks for the information. Please let me know how you get on with your order. It would be especially good if you were able to add the travelcard at your nominated station before the weekend as that might help decide the difference between added/used. I’m highly skeptical that the discount will be added to the Oyster card automatically, but again, if you can feedback how you get on it would be appreciated.

  703. The travelcard is now on my Oyster but how do I know if the gold card is on it too?

  704. You can ask at a tube station where the staff can access a special menu to check your card. If it isn’t they should be able to add it, but not until the first day of validity of the season ticket. It will be interesting to see when the gold record card turns up now you’ve picked up the season.

  705. Thanks Mike – helpful! The Travelcard starts on Mon so I’ll pop into a station (after peak hour!) and ask. And then watch my mail for the actual card.
    I already tried to add a discount to a NR ticket online just now and couldn’t see anything like ‘Gold Card’ on the list of rail cards – guess I will figure that out in due course!

  706. Hi EskimoPie,

    Thanks for the update. Which website were you using? Most popular ones call it an Annual Gold Card.

  707. Hi Mike – I think it was Southern.

    On the ‘add to Oyster’, got to see the ‘staff only’ screen at Chancery Lane just now! Gold card was not added automatically but v helpful staff member offered to do it there and then…provided I had the piece of cardboard!

  708. Hi EskimoPie,

    Ah, Southern has recently had a major change to it’s ticket website. I haven’t yet tried it out to know what they might call the gold card.

    As to needing the gold record card at a tube station where they can see that you’ve got the annual travelcard – that’s ridiculous. I’d seriously complain about that, especially as you were told it would be added automatically.

  709. Update: tried the ‘can you add my gold card please?’ at Holborn tonight and got the same answer with a bit more info: ‘I need to key in a serial number from the physical card’. Maybe a fraud prevention thing? Anyhow, will deal with it in the new year!

  710. Thanks for the update. Please do let me know when the record card arrives.

  711. Hi Mike,

    Firstly, many thanks for maintaining such an excellent & useful website – I learn something new most times I visit.

    My daily commute is offpeak (leaving before 0630) from Crossharbour to Reigate, avoiding Zone 1, via Canada Water. With Redhill accepting Oyster from next week, I’m looking for the best ticketing options for my commute, but have a few questions:

    1. Off-peak Oyster from CrossHarbour to Redhill – single fare finder currently shows the main fare being £8, and avoiding Zone 1 at £8.60 (it’s more expensive to avoid Zone 1 ?? – surely this isn’t correct !).

    2. I can’t find anywhere what Zone Redhill will be, so I’ve assumed Zone 6, and so offpeak daily and contactless weekly caps for Zone 2-6 would be £11.80 & £40.50 respectively, according to TFL’s website. Do you know yet what Zone it’ll fall into ?

    3. I’m considering buying an Annual Gold Card for travel from Redhill to Reigate – am I correct in thinking this would allow 1/3 off my off-peak Oyster travel & also off the daily/weekly price caps.

    4. If I’ve got it right, I’ll be able to travel home at any time, as the off-peak cap applies during the evening peak between 1600-1900 – I won’t have to rush anymore to get back into the Oyster Zone before 1600.

    5. I assume that once I’ve purchased the Gold Card, I can then get it registered into my Oyster account, and then all pricing & caps will work when touching in/out via contactless (not Oyster card) at Crossharbour & Redhill each day.

    6. By my calculations, the weekly cost should be a shade under £37, rather better than £67.90/wk that Southern want to charge for Z2-6 to Reigate.

    Thanks again for your efforts with this site.

  712. Hi CrossRei,

    1) I hope not, but the fares beyond Coulsdon South are a bit of a mess.
    2) It’s another out of zone extension like Grays, Watford Junction and Hertford East.
    3) Yes.
    4) Yes the off-peak cap applies after 0930. Because your morning journey will not count towards it you will still save money if you get to Redhill before 1600.
    5) No. Railcard and Gold Card discounts can only be applied to Oyster cards, not contactless cards.
    6) I’m not sure that is right. The railcard discounted off-peak single is £5.30 (don’t touch the pink reader if the fares are not in error) meaning you’ll pay £53/week. The morning journey doesn’t count towards the off-peak cap. You’ll still save a bit though, even with the share of the annual Redhill to Reigate season. If the avoiding zone 1 fare is wrong and works out less then you might save more.

  713. How do I get my Goldcard loaded onto my Oyster? I have an annual zones 1 & 2 travelcard, bought online. I have received by paper Goldcard.
    – Rail ticket office at London Bridge say I have to go to tube station
    – TFLWaystoPay (on Twitter) say I can do at tube station
    – Tube station say I have to go to tourist information
    Clearly a lot of confusion here, caused by lack of staff training when ticket offices closed?

  714. Hi Helen,

    National Rail ticket office correctly sent you to the Underground who should have been able to do it. Did you report back on twitter that they sent you to tourist information?

  715. Re Crossrei’s query about Reigate. The Annual Season from Redhill to Reigate is over £500. A Weekly from Reigate to Zones 2-6 is £67.90 or £2716 annual (same as Redhill). It might be better to get a Southern Season on The Key which will just need picking up outside the zones. The weekly caps look very messy on the Redhill route, and only seem to relate to Zones 1-9, presumably so that people won’t switch from The Key.

  716. Thanks Ben, that’s very interesting.

  717. I’d like to add the gold card on a TfL issued annual travelcard. In the past, I could do this at the tube station booking office but they have all been rationalised away. What I do now? Can the TfL run tourist info centres at eg. Victoria do it?

  718. Hi Richard,

    Yes, the information centres can do it, but so can the visible staff at Underground stations using the staff functions at the ticket machines.

  719. Thanks. I didn’t realise the visible staff actually did very much to do with ticketing any more so that’s good to know!

  720. Hi Mike

    Is it necessary to go to an underground station and have your oyster and railcards linked every time you renew the railcard? Can the renewal not be done online?

  721. Hi Felicity,

    The renewal can’t be done online because your card needs to be present to set the discount entitlement. It should be possible to do at any Oyster ticket stop, though whether individual staff know what to do is another matter, especially if they rarely do it. You can also go to any of the National Rail stations listed here.

  722. I live in zone 4 and I work full time in zone 2. I travel about 6 times a year from Waterloo to Poole to visit my family and I go out in zone 1 at least once a week. Is it cheaper to buy a zone 2-4 gold card or a zone 1-4 gold card? If I get a zone 2-4 gold card, what ticket do I buy when I travel to Poole – is it cheaper to buy a return ticket with gold card discount from Waterloo to Poole? Or is it cheaper to buy a ticket from Waterloo to the boundary of zone 2, plus a ticket from the boundary of zone 4 to Poole, and if I did the later how would I touch in and out if I don’t get off the train at the boundaries of zone 2 & 4?

  723. Hi,

    I’d get a zone 2-4 travelcard. You can then use PAYG credit for trips to zone 1. For Poole it depends on whether the trip is an off-peak day return or just an off-peak return. For a day return you can buy Waterloo to Vauxhall and Boundary zone 4 to Poole. You don’t need to worry about touching in or out as there is no penalty for not doing so when you are using a travelcard. For a longer return the Vauxhall tickets will need to be singles. It’s still just about cheaper than a through ticket.

  724. Hi Mike,
    If I have a zone 2-4 travel card and I buy a ticket from the boundary of zone 4 to Poole, then I use PAYG for the section from Waterloo to the boundary of zone 1, won’t I get charged the daily maximum because I have touched in at Waterloo using PAYG but I have not touched out?

  725. Hi,

    Sorry I wasn’t clear enough. For Poole you want to buy two paper tickets. You’ll use PAYG if you are only going into zone 1.

  726. Hi Mike,
    I bought zone 1-4 annual ticket on 14-Jan-2015 which was loaded into my oyster and it expired on 13-Jan-2016. I was also issued gold card at that time. after my season ticket expired, started to use my oyster as PAYG but when I travelled in underground on 11-Feb-16, I was stopped by ticket inspector and requested to produce National Rail Card identification document, which I don’t have because didn’t apply one in the first place. When I explained he said that he can see my oyster has National rail discount loaded, so I have to pay penalty of 4 pounds which I paid. Now I’m planning to appeal. Can you please give me guidance.

    Ticket bought – Moorgate Underground station
    travel route – moorgate to palmers green (NR station)


  727. Hi Sensek,

    If I am correct you are saying that you purchased an annual travelcard to start on that day at an Underground station. It would appear as though the member of staff applied the gold card discount flag at the same time. That is one of the cards known as a National Railcard. This is a good thing as you would have benefitted had you used PAYG outside zones 1-4 while you had your travelcard. The discount should have been set to expire on the same day as the annual travelcard. It appears as though it wasn’t and is still on the card.

    Take your Oyster to an Underground station and ask the member of staff if they can check whether there is a railcard discount and when it expires. If it is in the future then ask them if they can remove it. That will prevent a repeat problem. I’m guessing that it was either set for 2 or 3 years rather than 1. Some National Railcards are valid for 3 years so the system has to allow it. Check with the staff member that their actions in removing the discount will be visible on the Oyster system – in the unlikely event that they say no then you need them to confirm in writing that they’ve done it, or leave it there as evidence.

    Then put in an appeal and explain that it was not your error. Request an immediate refund. You should have no problems, but please do come back to me with the outcome and I will assist further if they refuse to refund.

  728. Hello. I have a Senior Railcard loaded on my Oyster and live in Zone 6. If I buy a paper one day Travelcard it costs me £8.00 and I can travel any time after 09.30 including the afternoon peak. I thought I would get the equivalent deal with Oyster i.e. maximum £7.90 but TfL has been charging me more for travelling in the afternoon peak? Is TfL correct? So is there any advantage to having the Railcard loaded on to my Oyster? Thanks, Sandra

  729. Hi Sandra,

    Peak fares are charged in the afternoon peak but the railcard discount should still apply. Zones 1-6 is £7.80. If it is charging more than that then either the railcard discount isn’t properly set or you are making incomplete journeys. Take the Oyster and Railcard to a tube station and ask one of the concourse staff to check whether the discount is set.

  730. Hi,
    I currently buy a monthly travel card from swanley costing £303. As swanley is now becoming in the oyster zone 8 I see a travelcard with oyster is only £291. However if I connect my 16-25 railcard to the oyster, would a daily travel card individually each day be the cheapest option? I travel monday to Friday peak times and occasionally at the weekends.

  731. Hi Adam,

    There is a minimum fare with a 16-25 railcard before 10am M-F. A discounted Oyster card will still charge full peak fares and the Anytime cap is also undiscounted. Therefore the zone 1-8 travelcard is still likely to be the best option for you.

  732. Thanks to the closure of tfl ticket offices, I don’t know where I can go to get this done. Was at a charing cross and waterloo today and the underground ticket offices weren’t open. Great. Why can’t this be done online?

  733. Hi Martin,

    It can’t be done online because you need to present your Oyster card to a reader for it to be updated. It can however be done at any Underground station, just ask one of the visible members of staff who will access a special menu on the ticket machines.

  734. Judith Thompson

    Can I have my Senior Railcard removed from my Oyster card so that my son can use the Oyster card?

  735. Hi Judith,

    I’m sure that it is technically possible, but would this be a permanent thing? Also, if your son has a contactless payment card then it’s better for him to use that as he may well pay slightly less than with an Oyster card.

  736. My wife and I have oyster cards, and my wife has just got a Disabled Persons Railcard which also entitles me the discount when I travel with her, If she links her Railcard to her Oyster she gets a discount on Oyster journeys , but has I have to travel with her all the time can I get any discount when using my Oyster card

  737. Hi Barry,

    If you are accompanying a disabled railcard holder you can buy a day travelcard with a 1/3 discount. Sadly you cannot apply the discount to your Oyster card because you are free to travel without the railcard as long as you pay full price.

  738. Hi Mike,
    I have a zone 2-4 annual gold card. I asked two people to add the discount on to my oyster so that I get a discount when I travel into zone 1 however they say I am not entitled to it. Can the discount only be added for a railcard and not a gold card? Please advise.

  739. Hi Lee,

    Oh dear, I thought/hoped that this issue had gone away. You absolutely are entitled to the discount with any annual season ticket within the gold card area. Did you also produce the gold record card? Can you name and shame the stations involved?

  740. Hi Mike,
    Yes I did show them my gold record card. So far I have asked at Holborn and Canary Wharf. Both people looked at the discount section on the machine but didn’t know know which one to select. The lady at Holborn asked for my railcard, I showed her my gold record card. The gentleman at Canary Wharf went to ask one of his colleagues however he said I wasn’t entitled to a discount. I also phoned the oyster help line who said it could be added at any station. I’m not sure what to do – any suggestions would be very welcome.

  741. Hi Lee,

    Try a tube station linked to a National Rail terminal station. They are more likely to see gold cards more of the time. I’d also write/email into TfL customer services about your experiences because there is clearly some training still required. If it helps, the Gold Card is treated like any eligible National Railcard apart from the Disabled one which provides different discounts.

  742. Hi Mike,
    Success at Stratford!

  743. Great, thanks for letting us know.

  744. I am travelling to London soon with 7yr old and 15yr old children. I have a F&F railcard and would like to know how and where we now get the discounted paper day travelcards-as I haven’t been since the tfl offices were closed.
    Many thanks

  745. Hi Michelle,

    Paper travelcards should be available from the ticket machines at Underground stations, or they can definitely be bought at the National Rail stations, either from machines or at the ticket offices.

  746. I have moved to Redhill and travel reasonably often within the London area. I hold a Senior Railcard, currently not linked to my Oyster card. Am I right in thinking that I am better off getting the paper Travelcard than attempting to get my Senior Railcard linked to the Oyster card?

  747. Hi Peter,

    I’d do both. Use the paper ticket if you are travelling around, but Oyster with the discount may be cheaper for simple rail only return trips. The caps are certainly not cheaper than the paper travelcards.

  748. Hi Mike,

    Many thanks for maintaining such a useful website, I always refer to it whenever I have a query.

    I recently became entitled to, and received, a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass. As far as I’m aware the only restriction is to do with most National Rail services before 9:30am.

    However, one area I’m not clear on is the process of touching in and out- for example at my local National Rail station, without barriers, I had to do a same-station exit due to cancellations, however the reader would not let me touch out due to the card having “already been used.”

    Is the main reason for touching in/out just so TfL can claim expenses back from local councils and less to do with the individual’s use? I’ve also noticed that inspectors ‘read’ the Freedom Pass to check validation, apart from on busses, when it’s acceptable to just flash it. Is there an official stance on this? For example what happens if the individual doesn’t touch in/out and is stopped by an inspector.

    I appreciate this may be a trivial issue but it is very difficult to find definitive information on this as local councils, TfL and National Rail often provide conflicting information.


  749. Hi Jack,

    The freedom pass is treated as an off-peak travelcard season with additional validity on TfL services. As with other travelcards there is no penalty if you don’t touch in or out as long as you stay within the zones covered by the travelcard. As long as you are on a valid service when inspected then there won’t be a problem. Note that the freedom pass isn’t valid on all services beyond zone 6, nor on most National Rail services before 0930 M-F.

    As for your issue touching back out again, I suspect that you tried to touch out too quickly in relation to your touch in. This is a standard protection against multiple use by more than one person. It won’t have made any difference to you as long as you were let out, or were using validators and could just walk out.

  750. Hi, Mike.
    I am going to Ascot from Waterloo and can I use my oystercard?My oystercard is a student one and it has already been linked to 18-25 railcard. In that case, is there any differences if I buy the ticket on online? I would like to choose a cheaper way.


  751. Hi Rummy,

    No, the Oyster card cannot be used between Ascot and Feltham.

  752. Miles Harper

    Hi Mike
    I have just got a Senior Railcard and got an underground staff member to register it with my Oyster card to get the discount. Is there anywhere on the ‘my oyster’ page that confirms this has been done as I can’t see it anywhere.
    Many thanks

  753. Hi Miles,

    I don’t think there is. When you first make a journey which is eligible for the discount check the on-card journey history (at an LU ticket machine). It’s almost certain that it has been applied though.

  754. Hi Mike,

    I’m wondering what the best thing is to do about my travel expenses.
    I travel from North Fambridge (abellio greater Anglia) to High Street Kensington every day for work. Do I go for the Abellio annual season ticket (North Fambridge to London Zones 1-6 for £5,076) or do you have any other cheaper ways?
    I have an Oyster card and a 16-25 railcard too.

    Thanks in advance!


  755. Hi Grace,

    Yes, there is a cheaper way. North Fambridge to Stratford annual season is £3,564. Zones 1-2 travelcard is £1,296. Total cost £4,860. The only restriction is that the train must stop at Stratford. You railcard will not discount seasons so isn’t really helpful for your commute.

  756. Hi Mike,

    I will travel for work 5 days/ week from Wimbledon Park to Wimbledon to Woking and back. Can you please advise me which is the cheapest way to travel? After my research I know that the season ticket for rail is £229.30/ month. But I have to pay extra for my journey to Wimbledon from Wimb. Park.

  757. Hi Oana,

    Sorry for the delay replying. You can get a travelcard season from Woking to zones 3-6 for £295.00/month. Woking has to be the origin but the ticket can be used either way round.

  758. Yagya Shree

    Hi Mike,

    What would be best ticketing combination possible for family traveling to london for a single day and would use combination of tube, bus and trams?

  759. Hi Yagya,

    I’d need much more information to give a comprehensive answer. Eg where from, how many adults, kids, ages of kids. In general terms a travelcard will give you the flexibility to use any transport in London. A family and friends railcard will discount the price of that. You can buy day travelcards from most stations in the south east.

  760. Hi, great site. I will bookmark this one! I currently hold an annual gold card, zones 1-4 (loaded onto an Oyster), which my company pay for. I also have a paper Gold Record Card. It is coming up for renewal and am not sure how/where to renew. In the past I used to get a company cheque and pay at an underground or TfL station. However, is it correct that cheques are no longer accepted? If they are, can I pay at an underground station? (can the concourse staff deal with cheque payments?) Or is it best to go to somewhere like London Liverpool Street and pay at the ticket office? I have tried searching on the official website for info but can’t find the information I am looking for.

  761. Hi Yiota,

    I’m not sure about cheques. Many places now don’t accept cheques since the guarantee card scheme ended. I’d suggest calling TfL customer services and asking them.

  762. Hi Mike, thanks for the response. I tried asking at Holborn station this morning. The two members of staff I spoke to didn’t seem too sure about how to renew but said they thought that all annual renewals have to be now done online. Company cheques are no longer accepted apparently. My question to TfL would be, “so what if you can’t afford to fork out around £2k for a ticket upfront and then claim it back from your company in expenses??” Anyway, I will call TfL and see what they say. I’ll post the answer here for others who may be in the same boat.

  763. Update: I spoke with TfL customer services regarding renewal of my annual travel card. I spoke to a very helpful lady who explained the complete process. It is correct that company cheques are no longer accepted. The easiest way to renew is to pay online via your own Oyster account, or you can do it over the phone by phoning TfL customer services. The card you use to pay for the travel card has to be registered to the same address as the one registered on your Oyster account. Thankfully my company will transfer the money into my bank account and I can then use my debit card to pay for the travel card. With regard to the Gold Record Card that comes with an annual travel card, they send this to you in the post. It can take up to 10 working days to arrive. If, in the meantime, you have bought tickets that would have been eligible for a discount with your gold card, just keep the receipts and then call TfL for a refund of the difference. One other useful bit of information is that if you try renewing online and for some reason it doesn’t accept the payment, don’t enter the details again – apparently you have 3 attempts before you get locked out for 24 hours. If you experience a problem, it is recommended that you call TfL customer services for assistance. Hope this information can help someone else too.

  764. Thanks for the update, Yiota.

  765. Problems getting peak Gold Card discounts
    Hi. Terms of the Gold Card scheme are clear on the National Rail website – also confirmed by their customer services and mainline stations: You can get a discount on an anytime and off-peak (1/3 for yourself and accompanying adults, 60% for children) but only when buying a ticket in person. However your local station will be incredulous and say has to be off-peak – even if you show them the official literature and website conditions – so is hit and miss getting it. The customer services say get the name of the person serving you and the time, so they can escalate the issue. Fine but still a pain. I’ve got an annual national rail ticket and also have an annual oyster (cheaper then oyster only for free bus without tube) and both have the ‘gold discount’. Have you come across this problem?
    With thanks

  766. It depends what you are actually asking. You can get discounts on Anytime tickets, but you can’t use discounted tickets before 0930 weekdays as per this note on the NRE page: “Discounts are available for travel at or after 09:30 hours on Mondays to Fridays. Valid at any time on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.”

    Does that answer the question?

  767. Dear Mike,
    For 2 Adults and 2 children ( 11 and 14 years) what will be the price of Zone 1-4 daytravel cards ( usually it is 12 pounds for one adult peak or off peak without any other cards) using friends and family card ? Possible to take weekly travel card 1-4 using it ?

  768. Hi South,

    The only railcard discounted travelcards are for zones 1-6 and 1-9. With a family and friends railcard, zones 1-6 costs £8.00 per adult and £2.30 per child. You can’t discount weekly tickets with a railcard.

  769. Hi Mike, I have a family and friends railcard. What would be my best option ticket wise for2adults 3 kids 12, 10 and 8 visiting London for 6 days traveling in zone 1-2 for 4 days zone 1-6 for one day and zone 1-9 including watford junction for one day.

  770. Thank you Mike,

    Same for me what is the cheapest mode of transport for 2 adults and two kids ( 11,14) travelling in London for one week.

  771. Hi Gail,

    It depends where you are staying and what services you’ll use. For the zone 1-2 days, if you stick to buses, dlr, underground, and most National Rail services north of the river then the 8 and 10 year olds are free. The adults can use either Oyster or contactless payment cards where the daily cap of £6.50 applies and the 12 year old can have an Oyster with the young visitor discount flag set for a daily cap of £3.25. You can find out more info on the TfL site here. For the other days you’ll find that using the family railcard to get discounted paper day travelcards is cheapest. Adults cost £8.00 for zones 1-6 while kids are £2.30. Depending on where you travel to you may find that the younger kids need a travelcard as well. If the only reason for wanting zones 7-9 is to get to Watford Junction then you can buy boundary zone 6 to Watford Junction extension tickets. The younger kids will NOT need tickets to travel to Watford Junction.

    Hope this helps.

  772. Hi South,

    See reply above. With a bit more detail about plans I can give further advice on options.

  773. Hi Mike, Me and my girlfirned have a 4 year 16-25 Railcard. I will be staying in Zone 1 for the duration of my stay. I only plan on using the tube in zone 1 return. IWhat would be the cheapest method of using the tube? Should I buy papertickets each day or apply the discount to my card?

  774. Hi Paul,

    I assume you mean that both of you have 16-25 railcards. The cheapest way by far will be to get an Oyster card and link your railcard to it. There might be an issue if the expiry date of the railcard is more than 3 years away, but if that is the case the staff should link it for part of it’s validity and you’ll just need to link it again when that runs out. This can be done by asking the concourse staff at any Underground station.

  775. Hi Mike
    I’m moving down to London in the next few weeks to live and am likely staying in the West End (possibly Chiswick area). I’m going to be regularly travelling to Brighton and am looking at the options available for travel cards, etc. My journeys will likely be off peak one way, and peak the other, maybe once or twice a week, with occasional weekend travel as well, and travel to and from Luton/Gatwick and home in London.

    I’m looking at the Network Railcard as the places I’ll travel to are within that Area, but also the fact that I’ll use an Oyster card for daily commuting on the Tube means I’m struggling to see an alternative to using the Oyster for daily travel and using the Railcard to purchase tickets/travel cards for the Brighton/Gatwick/Luton trips?

    Any suggestions are most definitely welcome – was life easier under British Rail…?

  776. Hi Gary,

    I’m struggling to understand what a typical weeks travel might look like. Is there a 5-day commute? What is that journey? How often will other journeys occur?

  777. Hi Mike

    So a typical week will be travelling from west end (zone 2/3 – Turnham Green/Chiswick Park) into zone 1, 5 days a week, Monday to Friday – peak times both ways – there’s a choice of LU and NR stations (Turnham Green or Chiswick NR) nearby and up to now have been using LU and Oyster to make the daily commute.

    In the future, there will be a need, over and above the commute, to make regular trips to Brighton – maybe twice a week, including some weekends too. It’s likely that these will be outbound from London off peak, and return peak next day/day after.

    I don’t want to faff about with various cards if I can help it but understand that this convenience might come at a price (!), so just trying to find a middle ground.

  778. Sorry, I should’ve said that the Brighton journeys are likely to start at City Thameslink or thereabouts and return there, or perhaps divert back to Chiswick if there’s an appropriate point to change on the way back.

  779. Hi Gary,

    OK. Turnham Green is on the boundary of zones 2 and 3 so from there to Central London you only need a zones 1-2 travelcard. Chiswick and Chiswick Park are both in zone 3. If you usually use a Chiswick station then you need zones 1-3 on your travelcard. For Brighton you can buy a boundary zone X to Brighton ticket where X is the outer zone of your travelcard. It will need to be single tickets if you are staying overnight.

    Hope that helps.

  780. Thanks Mike. So basically boundary zone 3 (or 2) ticket to Brighton – that would be from whatever station is within that zone. I’ve a National Railcard as well which will help to knock down the off-peak costs a bit too so assume that I can use that for that part of the journey?

  781. Hi Gary,

    As it happens named stations cost the same as boundary zone tickets on that line, but it isn’t always the case. Yes, you can use a network railcard when buing the paper tickets.

  782. Hi, what a fab site! Was hoping for some help.
    If I were to get my 2 youngest children a 5-10 oyster photo card, would they then travel for free on the trains from Wallington? Usually we travel into London Victoria.
    Also my eldest has an 11-15 photo oyster. What’s the cheapest option for him please?

  783. Hi Laura,

    Yes, a 5-10 zip card will give free travel from Wallington. The card must still be touched in and out but no money will be deducted. The 11-15 zip card is the cheapest option by far. After 0930 within zones 1-9 there is a flat single fare of 75p* with a daily cap of £1.50.

    *higher single fares might be payable between 1600-1900 weekdays, but the £1.50 cap still applies.

  784. Thanks so much Mike, will save me a fortune not keep buying the kids travel cards.

  785. Hi Mike, was just wondering what the cap would be on the 11-15 zip if I also took him on the tube around London? Thank you

  786. Both 5-10 and 11-15 cap at £1.50 after 09.30 and all day weekends.

  787. Thank you Mike

  788. Hi, just want to say that this is the most fabulously helpful site. Answered all the questions I had (most recently – how to load the gold card onto my oyster…). I can’t believe how patient and helpful the responses are. Great work, and thank you.

  789. Hi Mike, I am starting college next week and I have to travel from Ewell East to Carshalton 3 times a week at peak time. At the moment I have an 11-15 oyster card until the 30th when I will need to transfer to the 16+ oyster. My main question is, if I apply for a 16+ oyster can I still use my 11-15 oyster until the 30th or do I have to transfer straight way? Also is there a better cost efficient way to travel other than just using an oyster? I thought about adding a 16-25 rail card but I am not sure if it would be worth it? Thank You!

  790. Hi Emma,

    When my son changed from 11-15 to 16+ four years ago the 11-15 still worked up to the end of the month so you should be ok. I’ll be doing it for number 2 shortly so I’ll be able to check again.

    And no, there’s no benefit to adding a 16-25 railcard to a 16+ zip card. The zip card gives you half price everything whereas the railcard only gives you a third off adult off-peak fares and caps.

  791. Hi Mike,

    I will be traveling between London Paddington station and Oxford station during school terms. Would Oyster 18+ student card gives me an discount on monthly National Rail ticket?


  792. Hi Mike,

    Can I check on my Oyster account, if my Senior Railcard has been linked to my Oyster Card? if so where?

    Thanks Paul

  793. Hi Carl,

    No, it only discounts travelcards.

  794. Hi Paul,

    Unless they’ve fixed this missing facility then the answer is no. A tube station can check for you.

  795. You wrote “You need to take your Oyster card and your National Rail discount card to an Underground station*, Overground ticket office or some National Rail ticket offices. You then ask the clerk to add your discount entitlement to your Oyster card. It will be valid until the expiry of the railcard. Once your Oyster has a discount attached to it you can no longer share it with other people as it is only valid with the associated discount card.”
    My friend also has a senior rail card so can he borrow my Pay as You go when in London?

  796. Hi Chris,

    Technically no. The expiry date of your railcard is noted on the Oyster and can be checked by revenue staff. It would be better if your friend got his own card.

  797. Hi Mike. I have tried to find this information to no avail. I live in South Ockendon (Essex) and have just applied for a 16+ oyster photocard for my son, who takes the 370 bus to college. Before now travel with his oyster photocard was free for him. He’s still in full time education, travelling on the exact same route, but from the 30th he will need to use the 16+ (obviously). Because we live in Essex, I will have to pay for his travel. Is there a ‘monthly rate’ to pay for full time students taking one straight bus on a daily basis? If not, how much would his travel to college with his 16+ oyster cost per month? Is there a ‘cap’?
    Ta very much.

  798. Hi Tienche,

    There is a bus cap for 16+ zip cards, but it is £2.25/day which is three journeys. There are also weekly (£10.60) and monthly (£40.80) caps, but again they are based around more than two journeys a day. Each single journey is 75p which is half the adult rate. So assuming one return trip a day on 22 days in an average month you’re looking at £33.00 for a month.

  799. Thanx ever so much. Very helpful information.

  800. Hi Mike

    I have an annual gold card from zone1-3.
    But now I need to travel in zones 1-5,
    Please advise which are the best ways?

    Many thanks


  801. Hi Sunny,

    You can either get a changeover from zones 1-3 to zones 1-5 and pay the difference for the remainder of the year, or you can buy (a) separate travelcard(s) for zones 4-5. You can buy any length from 1 month to 1 year.

  802. Hey!
    I am starting my uni soon which is in Zone 1, but I live in Ashford, Surrey what is outsude Greater London. As I will be traveling to central London almost every day, I would like to know how to makr that journey less expensive. I found out that I can not apply for 18+ student oyster as I don’t live in Greater London. And now I am dissapointed and lost about how to get to uni as my limit for travelcards are 180£ pm.

  803. Hi Laura,

    That’s quite a difficult situation. There are two ways to sensibly reduce the cost, but both will make the journey slower. First off, you need to lose zone 1 from your travelcard. This means you must get off your train at Vauxhall and continue the last bit of the journey by bus. Buses are free whatever travelcard you have, so you can go wherever you like in zone 1 by bus. You don’t say where your Uni is – if you can let me know I’ll try and work out the quickest way. An Ashford (Surrey) to zones 2-6 travelcard is £196.30/month – can you find an extra £4/week from somewhere?

    If you can’t then you’ll also have to chop off the train at the other end. A zones 2-6 travelcard is £155.60/month. Again, all TfL buses are included in that so you have a few choices depending on where you are in Ashford and how far you are prepared to go. The quickest option is likely to be the 117 to Feltham. From the Hospital you have the 116 to Hounslow which would connect with the Piccadilly line, where Earls Court is the last stop in zone 2. Similarly the 203 runs to Hatton Cross which is a couple of stops further out on the Piccadilly line. Finally the 216 takes you to Hampton and the 290 runs near to Fulwell and finishes at Twickenham.

    Apart from these options I can’t really see anything sensible, unless moving house to within Greater London is a possibility. Let me know where the Uni is and I’ll suggest options in zones 1/2.

  804. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the response, How much will it cost me for a changeover from zones 1-3 to zones 1-5 on an annual gold card for the remainder period of three months?


  805. Hi Sunny,

    Assuming the original travelcard was purchased in December 2015 then the calculations go something like this:

    Zone 1-3 cost £1508, divided by 366 gives a daily rate of £4.12.
    Zone 1-5 cost £2188, divided by 366 gives a daily rate of £5.98.
    The old ticket has 91 days unused if there are 3 months left before the end of September.
    Amount to refund = £4.12 x 91 = £374.92.
    Amount to charge = £5.98 x 91 = £544.18.
    Therefore total to pay should be £169.26.

    If it was purchased from a National Rail station then that is it. If it was an Underground station then I think there is a small admin fee to pay on top. You need to go to the same sort of station, though not necessarily the exact same station. The exact figures used may vary slightly, especially if there aren’t 91 days left, but you should have a good idea. Note that in both cases last years price is used as that is when the ticket was bought.

  806. Hi

    I’m a mature student at uni. I travel from zone 6 (Upper Warlingham or Whyteleafe) to campus which varies between London Bridge and Waterloo. On average I will need to travel before 9.30 am 2 mornings per week, most evenings after 4pm and some days after 10.30 and returning before 4pm. Some weeks I’m only in for 4 days. So far I have been using contactless payment and have just received my student oyster. My last 7 days spend is cheaper than a weekly or monthly travel card, however my travel times will vary. Would it be cheaper to add a 16-25 rail card and link it to my oyster or should I carry on as I am doing?

  807. Hi Tabby,

    Add the railcard to the Oyster. Whenever you travel outside the peak hours (0630-0930, 1600-1900) you will be charged off-peak fares which can be discounted with the railcard. Also, if you travel in after 0930 but return between 1600-1900 you will benefit from the discounted off-peak cap. If you know you will use the Oyster for 5 days in any 7 then you are probably better off with a student discounted weekly travelcard at £41.30.

    Assuming you only use National Rail services, these are your daily fares where peak single is £6.10 and off-peak single is £2.50 with railcard:
    In before 0930, out 1600-1900: £11.80 (daily cap)
    In before 0930, out before 1600: £8.60
    In after 0930, out 1600-1900: £7.80 (off-peak cap)
    In after 0930, out before 1600: £5.00

  808. Thanks for this really helpful site!
    A couple of questions from newbie with an Oyster 60+ card.

    What do I need to do to get to Gatwick Airport from London with the 60+ card, do I need to buy a train ticket from East Croydon (?) to Gatwick ? I know I cannot use the Gatwick Express. Is there a ticket that can be used on all operators?
    And likewise to get from Waterloo to Kempton Park Station ?



  809. Hi John,

    You can either buy a boundary zone 6 to Gatwick or an East Croydon to Gatwick ticket. They’re the same price and they can be used on any trains except Gatwick Express. There are cheaper Thameslink only fares from East Croydon which mean you would be restricted to Thameslink trains between Croydon and Gatwick.

    For Kempton Park it’s a ticket from boundary zone 6 or Hampton, and again they are the same price.

  810. Hi Mike
    I have just purchased a senior railcard. I regularly go to London. I have an Oyster card. As I live in Brighton can I still ask for my Oyster card to take into account that I am over 60?

  811. Hi Shirley,

    Yes you can. Just take your Oyster card and railcard to an Underground ticket hall and ask one of the staff to add the railcard discount. You’ll then get 1/3 discount on off-peak single fares and the off-peak cap.

  812. Awesome website with some really useful stuff here. I’m hoping you can help me out. I normally buy a zones 1-2 monthly travelcard. My commute to/from work includes one bus and one tube journey each way, with both bus and tube tap-ins occurring during peak time. I have purchased a 16-25 railcard, and I’m wondering if it would be cheaper for me to continue with a my month-travelcard or switch to discounted PAYG. Thanks for your help!

  813. Hi Teague,

    Keep with the travelcard. The 16-25 railcard does not discount peak single fares or bus fares. It only affects off-peak single fares and the off-peak cap.

  814. Hi Mike

    Senior railcard discount indicates it is linked to expiry date of card. Does this mean you have to re-apply each time you renew your card – in my case annually – to keep the discount on your Oystercard.

  815. Hi Terry,

    Yes you do.

  816. Hi I’m trying to understand the annual gold card area as on the map the on the national rail website the gold part highlighted is just London zones 1-6 etc.
    Is the gold card area zone the London zones or does it include the whole map http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/documents/content/routemaps/Gold_Card_scheme_area_from_02_Jan_15.pdf

    Many thanks

  817. Hi Chris,

    It’s the whole map.

  818. Hello and well done !
    Great website
    Can you please tell me best way to go about travelling zone 1-5 mon – fri . I have a disabled railcard as well.

  819. Hi Tim,

    You’ll need to be a bit more specific. Zone 1-5 is a huge area.

  820. What a great website – thank you Mike!
    I have read through the above, and I don’t think this issue has been addressed, but forgive me if I am repeating anything.
    I make around 4-5 return journeys into London a week, from Zone 2 to Zone 1, occasionally going out, and thus reaching the day-rate cap. I use Oyster PAYG because it seems cheaper over a year than having a season ticket. However, now I understand about Mon-Sun capping on Contactless and was thinking I would switch – for those occasions where it is cheaper to have the weekly cap it seems worth it. However, I note that you can apply a Network Rail card to Oyster, to get discounted off-peak journeys. Can you apply a Network Rail card to your registered Contactless card in the same way? If not am I facing a choice between discounted off-peak fares using Oyster but no weekly cap vs no discount with Contactless but a weekly cap?

  821. I think I just answered my own question – it seems that there is a minimum fare threshold of £13 on Mondays to Fridays to which the discount can be obtained, and therefore it really cannot be used for commuter travel (even after 10am). Is that correct?

    Does leave the intriguing possibility that it could be cheaper to buy a discounted ticket to a otherwise more expensive destination and then get off the train early!

  822. Hi John,

    Because of the £13 minimum fare on weekdays you are not allowed to link a Network card to an Oyster card.

  823. Please can you advise which railcards can be used to link to an oyster card to get the discount?

    Alos, for season tickets, can eg monthly ones be added, or does it have to be an annual card?

    THank you.

  824. Hi Jon,

    As stated above, 16-25, Forces, and Senior Railcards plus Network Gold Cards get off-peak discounts when linked to Oyster. Disabled Railcards get discounts at all times.

    Only Annual season tickets qualify for the Gold Card discount.

  825. Hi,

    I visited London last year and at a tube station I attached my student (16-25) railcard to my dad’s oyster card (which I had borrowed). My student railcard expires on the 3rd so I renewed it today. I’m going back to London for 6 weeks soon and want to attach my current student railcard to an oyster card again, the only problem is that I’m not sure which oyster card my old railcard is attached to (as my mum and my dads got mixed up). Does it matter if I take an oyster card that is not attached to my railcard and attach it when I get there, even though my old railcard was attached to a different oyster card? Does that make sense?
    Basically I want to attach my new railcard to a new oyster card but am worried I won’t be able to because I have done this previously.

  826. Hi Holly,

    I think you were very lucky if you managed to add your railcard to your Dad’s Oyster. The Oyster card is supposed to be registered in the same name as the railcard. Your Dad may also have been in an awkward situation if he’d been asked for his railcard when using an Oyster with your discount on it.

    I suggest that you get yourself an Oyster card, register it and then add your railcard to it. Once it has a discount entitlement it is no longer ok to share the card with others, so perhaps keep it in the same wallet as your railcard.

    Oh, the answer to your original question is that it’s fine technically. If you lose your Oyster card then you can add the discount to a new one. It must also be your Oyster card and it is not valid without the railcard.

  827. Hi there,
    Great information here – I hope I’m not repeating a recently asked question. My husband and I both have 3 year Senior Railcards about to expire this weekend. They are linked to our Oyster cards. We mainly travel on the tube from Epping (Zone 6) to central London for theatre etc, and occasionally use overground trains to Chester to see friends. I just wondered if it would be better to get a Two Together Railcard this time and save ourselves £30. I realise we would always have to travel together to get the 1/3 off rail fares, but I wondered if the Senior Railcard and the Two Together one have exactly the same benefits/discounts and conditions? I have spoken to Railcard and TFL but neither seemed up to speed on this. Advice would be appreciated please. Many thanks

  828. Hi J Thoms,

    It’s a juggling act. You can’t link a Two Together Railcard to Oyster cards so you would be limited to buying discounted paper zone 1-6 travelcards. If most of your usage is in London then you might be better off with individual railcards. Otherwise the conditions for both railcards are similar. Senior railcards can sometimes be used before 0930, but not in the South-east where you are based.

  829. Many thanks Mike, that’s helpful. Have renewed them both online for a year using our Tesco Clubcard voucher codes. Do we need to register them again/link them to Oysters, or does this happen automatically as we renewed online?

  830. The railcard system and the Oyster system are completely separate so you need to link them again once you have them.

  831. Hi,

    I have an Annual Travelcard – Zones 1/2, and have been sent a Gold Record Card.

    Once I link this to my Oyster Travelcard, do I need to carry the Gold Record Card for journeys within the Oyster area? Or is it only if I stray outside the Oyster area that I need it?


  832. Hi Chris,

    It’s only for journeys made with paper tickets, or anything that isn’t Oyster. Any RPI checking your Oyster will see that you have an annual travelcard.

  833. Cheers Mike. Much appreciated.

  834. Hi Mike
    Have followed your site for very useful advice for some time, and have now finally registered as I have a query of my own (do I really need to scroll to the end of 800 posts to ask a question or is there a quicker way?)
    I’m about to get a 60+ Oyster and a Seniors’ Railcard. I will keep a standard blue PAYG Oyster for occasional travel before the 9.30 peak cut off. Is there any point in adding the Railcard discount to the PAYG Oyster? If so, what types of journeys would benefit from having the Railcard discount on the PAYG Oyster?

    Many thanks for what is undeniably a most helpful resource,


  835. Hi Giardd,

    You can click the browsers End button to get to the bottom of the page. There is no benefit for a senior railcard holder before 0930 weekdays. You could add it anyway in case you find yourself without the 60+ card for some reason – there is no negative effect to having the discount loaded.

  836. Hi Mike

    I recently purchased a 3 year 16-25, for the main purpose of adding it to my blue adult Oyster card. When I went to my local tube station however, the member of LUL staff was unable to add my railcard to my Oyster for the full 3 year period. So instead, he added it for just one year, and then said I would need to come back the same time every year until it expired (all in all three times). I just wanted to check with you if it would be possible to add the same railcard to the same Oyster card 3 times, or if I will need to purchase a new adult Oyster everytime.


  837. Hi Will,

    If you tried to add the railcard immediately then you might have hit the issue that the validity is a few days over 3 years to allow for delays in the post. The LU systems won’t let you register more than 3 years. If you take it back once the extra validity has passed then the staff should be able to add the extra 2 years.

  838. Hi,

    I bought an annual travel ticket (Z1-6) on my oyster at the beginning of the year, and I applied the golden card discount on an other oyster card. Now my situation is changed and I might no longer need to have the annual travel card.
    Question is if I cancel (apply for refund) the annual ticket on my oyster, will it automatically cancel the golden discount on the other oyster card as well? Or is this discount still applied on the other card for the whole year, even if I no longer have the annual ticket? Don’t know if they are still connected to each other or not.

  839. Hi Jozsef,

    That’s an interesting combination. I’m struggling to work out whether that is allowed or not.

    On a practical level, no, cancelling the annual travelcard will not cancel the discount. However, should an RPI ask to see that travelcard when checking the Oyster card you might well be issued a penalty fare if it can’t be shown. A discounted Oyster card is only valid with the appropriate discount card.

    My understanding is that the discount should only be applied to a PAYG Oyster card if the actual season ticket is held on paper. The gold record card is only used to get discount on paper tickets for travel elsewhere on the National Rail network. The discount can be applied to the Oyster card holding the travelcard so that travel beyond the zones covered is discounted.

  840. Hi Mike
    I’m trying to get some information about child fares. We don’t live in London (yet) but will be visiting shortly. My youngest child will be 11 shortly after we visit so I don’t think it will be worth getting him a 5-10 Zip card as we won’t be using NR much but I can’t find any information about the fares for a 10 year old without a Zip card. I know TFL services are free and we can take his local bus pass in case we need to prove his age. As for the 11-15 Zip card are the fares the same for people living outside London? I ask because there are fare guides for 11-15 year olds but the TFL site talks about travel at half adult rate on the first page about 11-15 Zip cards although it is not clear who this applies to. If it is half adult rate we might as well get the young visitor discount set. Finally, if it would be cheaper would it be possible to get an 11-15 Zip card for our not quite 11 year old and only use it on NR?

  841. Hi Nick,

    Both the 5-10 and 11-15 zip cards charge the same fares wherever you live. As long as you avoid travel before 0930 you’ll be charged a maximum of £1.50 per day. Most of the time the single fares are 75p within zones 1-6 and the cap applies throughout zones 1-9. Without a zip card you will be charged half adult rate for paper tickets on National Rail services where travel is not free for under 11s. You could also buy a child day travelcard at £6.10 for zones 1-6 after 0930.

    You can buy the 11-15 zip card once the child has reached 10 years and 11 months. The only mention I can find for half adult rate travel for 11-15 zip card holders is on the Thames Clipper river boats.

  842. Thanks Mike that’s what I thought but the information on the mobile TFL site under fares, under 18 travel threw me as it seemed to say something else. Also have I correctly understood that the off-peak cap applies in the afternoon peak even though the single NR peak fare for 3 or more zones is higher than the £1.50 cap?

  843. Hi Nick,

    I’ve just looked and you’re right, but 11-15 zip holders definitely pay child fares rather than half adult fares. And yes, the off-peak cap always applies during the afternoon peak, and with some child fares it can cap just one single journey.

  844. Hi Mike, thanks again for your help here. This has probably been mentioned in previous comments but thought I would ask just to make sure… I have just purchased a annual travelcard zones 1-4 on my Oyster card. It comes with a gold record card to get the discounts to travel outside of my zones and on National Rail services. Is it true that a photocard is not needed to access any of these discounts including those on National Rail services? The gold record card doesn’t come with a photocard nor does it appear there is an option of getting one.

  845. Hi Derry,

    As far as I know you don’t need a photocard. The cancellable nature of the travelcard because it’s on Oyster reduces the possibility that two would be in circulation after a reported ‘loss’.

  846. Hi, My wife & I along with our three young children will be spending four days in London at the end of this month. I have bought pre loaded Oyster cards for myself & my wife and have been told to bring them along with our family & friends discount card so it can be ‘loaded’ onto the Oyster card at a self service machine/kiosk is this right?

  847. Hi Mark,

    No, it is not. Who told you this?

    Fortunately you will probably spend less on full-fare adult caps than you would on discounted travelcards, unless you’re staying out in zones 5 or 6.

  848. Hi Mike. Thanks for your reply. I did check at the visitor centre in Piccadilly Circus as I was passing and they confirmed that annual travelcards on Oyster cards don’t require a photocard. In addition to the cancellable nature of the travelcard I suppose the fact that the underground ticket offices have now closed would make any photocard system difficult to implement?

  849. Thanks for your reply Mike… I wish I’d found this website a week or so ago! I got this info from Oyster customer services. All of our travel will be within zone 1 and we envisage making 8 journeys in total. Can I make use of the family & friends card? Is it worth the hassle? I mean travelling down to London late on a Friday night with 3 tired children and then having to ‘faff’ around with a self service machine is not my idea of fun. Thanks again Mark.

  850. Hi Mark,

    The adult daily cap for zones 1-2 is £6.60. The cheapest travelcard you could get with a friends and family railcard is £8.10 and you’d also have to buy a child one too at £2.30. Therefore I’d just forget about the railcard while zapping around zone 1.

    It is disappointing that customer services incorrectly advised you though. You can’t add friends and family railcards to Oyster because the Oyster system has no way of enforcing the group aspect of the railcard terms and conditions.

  851. Many Thanks for your advice Mike!

  852. Hi Mike
    I have an annual Gold Card discount set on my Oyster Card which has a Travelcard for zones 1-3. One day next week I will be making a couple of journeys with my wife, who usually uses PAYG, but one of the journeys will be out to zone 8. Clearly a discounted Travelcard would be better value for her, however with the discount set I would be better off using PAYG for the part outside my zones. The problem is the wording on the National Rail website suggests that if I buy a discounted Travelcard for someone else but am travelling outside my zones I need to buy a discounted Travelcard for myself whereas the TfL website only says I need a valid ticket, which seems an obvious statement, but is using PAYG on an Oyster Card a valid ticket in that sense? I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. My out of zones travel will be on South Eastern if that makes any difference.

  853. Hi Nick,

    The discounted travelcard rules for Gold Cards are as described on the National Rail website. TfL may be more relaxed on their routes, but I wouldn’t risk it with someone like Southeastern. You’ll have to weigh up whether the full price PAYG for your wife plus your discounted extensions will be cheaper than two discounted travelcards.

  854. Thanks Mike
    I thought it might be something like that but once again it’s impossible to get the definitive answer without coming back to this site which has been a godsend since I moved to London! The TfL site differentiates between Gold Cards and other Railcards and the link they have to the National Rail website doesn’t include Gold Cards which is what threw me but the Gold Card leaflet clearly states it as you said. All I can think is that Gold Cards are an NR product so not London oriented but TfL realise that people have Travelcards with reduced zones and so are flexible on their services. In any event I think in our case the Travelcard route is the one to go and certainly cheaper than a penalty fare!

  855. I have discovered another problem which is not publicised namely that it appears to be impossible to actually buy a zone 1-9 Travelcard. I tried the ticket machine at Wandsworth Road Overground and it didn’t give me the option, the member of staff present said the machines only issue up to zone 6 so I need to visit a ticket office. When changing at New Cross the ticket office attendant asked where we were going outside zone 6, which happened to be Dartford, and could only seem to be able to issue a Dartford to zones 1-6 ticket for £8.65 even though I repeatedly asked for zones 1-9, he just said yes, yes that’s good but don’t put the ticket in the barrier at Dartford just show it, which seemed odd. As it happens the barriers were open. All in all we overpaid by £1.60 but it is more the principle, why advertise a ticket without saying where you can buy it?

  856. Hi Nick,

    Buying a zone 1-9 travelcard has always been a bit of an oddity. You need to state the origin as a zone 7, 8 or 9 station with the destination as zones 1-6 travelcard. You then get a ticket with AAA Zones 7-9 printed on it. Unfortunately, the only station where that doesn’t work is Dartford. Amersham is my personal favourite.

  857. Hi all,

    I recently went to have my Annual goldcard discount applied to my Oyster using the Oyster machines.

    Mistakingly, the member of staff initially applied the discount code of ‘Priv All Rail’, as opposed to ‘NR-Railcard’.

    Another member of staff oversaw him do this, and quickly told him to correct the code. What is the ‘Priv All Rail’ code, and does it give you a different discount to ‘NR-Railcard’?

    Just curious!

  858. Hi Bill,

    Priv All Rail is a staff discount and it is definitely different to NR-Railcard. 75% vs 34%.

  859. I’ve had a couple of tube staff tell me that they can only add ‘proper’ Railcards and not Annual Goldcard discounts at the station. They said I need to go to a National Rail station for an Annual Goldcard. Does anyone know if that’s correct?

  860. Hi Cat,

    No it’s not. The Gold Card is treated like any other valid railcard (apart from disabled). The expiry date is that of the gold card.

  861. Hi
    current situation is that we are living just outsde a London Brough so my daughter has to pay for bus/tram journeys to school with her 16+ zip card. However, we are moving inside the boundary were the free transport kicks in. I’ve updated the address in the TFL system, but I’m told by an advisor that I need to purchase a new zip card at £20 for the discount to be applied. Is this really correct? Sounds like a poor system if this is the case.
    do you know any different?

  862. Hi Peter,

    It’s not a scenario I’ve ever encountered. It’s probably considered an edge case where they didn’t really think through the consequences. Rather like the ridiculous situation where you can’t get a refund on unused PAYG credit if the Oyster has a travelcard on it without cancelling the card and getting a refund on the unused travelcard.

    To be honest I’d try again calling the helpdesk, and ask to be transferred to a manager if they still say no. The free bus travel is simply a flag set on the Oyster card. It should be possible to update it.

  863. bevfromkent

    my Daughter is starting a college based in Staines in October she will be 16 Our nearest station is Hayes (kent) have had mixed responses from Oyster/NR etc, trying to work out the best and cheapest way for her to travel there Mon- thurs she needs to be there by 10am. am thinking that her getting a bus to East Croydon then trains from there would be the quickest and cheapest, she will have a 16+ oyster and a 16-25 railcard.

  864. Hi Bev,

    OK, Best is a subjective term depending on your priorities. Cheapest and quickest will often not be the same. The 16-25 railcard will only help with travel after 1000 weekdays because of the minimum fare and the fact that she only needs it for Feltham to Staines.

    What you need is a zone 2-6 travelcard at the 16+ rate on her zip Oyster card and a season ticket for Feltham to Staines. In both cases 4 days a week is enough to justify a season ticket. This combination is valid on trains without getting off at Feltham and is what I’d describe as quickest.

    For cheapest you just need the zone 2-6 travelcard and use the 117 bus between Feltham and Staines. That will add quite a bit to an already long journey though.

    In either case you are free to choose how to travel at the Hayes end as long as you don’t go into zone 1. Bus to East Croydon is one way, train to Elmers End then a tram is another.

  865. Hi Mike,

    Throughout the summer my daughter will be making a couple of weekly day-trips from SE14 to St Albans. Arrival time not really an issue. Has an Oyster 16+ and a 16-25 Railcard.

    Had a nightmarish experience trying to buy a Thameslink ticket from Nunhead on Monday, and she’s subsequently decided to travel from New Cross Gate > West Hampstead, which went smoothly enough yesterday and works out quite a bit cheaper than the fare from Nunhead.

    Nunhead – St Albans by Thameslink is £15.25 return with the railcard
    NXG – West Hampstead / West Hampstead Thameslink – St Albans is £1.45 x2 + £7.35 = £10.25 with railcard and Oyster

    But it set me wondering… is there any way of linking the 16-25 Railcard to the 16+ Oyster to receive 50% rather than 33% discounts on the London zonal sections of the journey?


    I’ve lived in London for thirty years and I’ve still not got the hang of pricing. Seems crazy that (for example) an adult Anytime return from Nunhead to West Hampstead Thameslink is £6.10 if bought as a Thameslink ticket, whereas exactly the same journey would be £4.90 with contactless/Oyster. In a sane world, surely all tickets between Zone X and Zone Y would be the same price regardless of vendor?

  866. Hi Mike
    My son will be moving to twickenham and he works at Euston. do you know the cheapest way he can travel? is there a season ticket or oyster card that will cover the entire journey?
    Many thanks

  867. Hi Moj,

    Several issues here. With paper tickets a 16-year-old is charged adult fares, some of which can be discounted by 34% with the 16-25 railcard. Holders of a 16+ zip Oyster enjoy a 50% discount on all adult fares and caps. Thus the railcard cannot be linked to a 16+ zip Oyster because it’s already giving a bigger discount.

    As to the pricing within London there are multiple issues. The one you are refering to is the bribe to encourage use of Oyster. Off-peak single and return fares were abolished within zones 1-6 leaving only the day travelcard with a cheaper post 0930 price. Even peak paper fares are usually slightly more than their Oyster equivalents. Further to that, different rules apply to different lines giving rise to EIGHT different fare scales for journeys wholly within zones 1-9. This will not change until control for all rail fares within the zones is handed to TfL/The Mayor.

  868. Hi Anne-Marie,

    This journey is a bit of a problem. You can make the journey using National Rail only services by changing at Richmond and Willesden Junction. However, Euston is not listed as a valid London Terminal for stations served by South West Trains (except Richmond). Before using this route regularly with a through season ticket I would advise getting clarification from South West Trains that it is valid.

    Twickenham to London Terminals costs £40.90/week.
    Twickenham to Richmond costs £14.80/week.
    Richmond to London Terminals costs £31.90/week.
    Combination of last two costs £46.70/week.
    Zones 1-5 Travelcard costs £56.20/week.

    So, if SWT agree that it is valid, you should be able to use the first option. If they don’t agree then the split season is definitely valid at £5.80 extra per week. If you want complete flexibilty then the travelcard will cover everything and can be put on an Oyster card. The station to station tickets can only be issued on paper.

    I hope that helps a bit.

  869. anne-marie

    Hi Mike

    thank you so much for such a detailed and helpful response – I would never have been able to work through all this. Kind regards Anne-Marie

  870. Terry Pipe

    I recently renewed my Senior Railcard for a further three years. I went to Waterloo Underground station and asked a member of staff to apply the new expiry date to my Oyster Card. He said he would only add one year’s Senior Railcard discount to my Oyster Card and not three. Does this mean that I have to keep going back every year to have another year’s worth of my Railcard discount added to my Oyster card?

  871. Hi Terry,

    There’s a known issue with 3-year railcards. Because they are sent by post they are set to expire a few days later than 3-years hence. If you try and add the discount to an Oyster card too quickly the Oyster system says no. Once you are within the 3-year validity try again and they should be able to update it for the whole duration.

  872. Thanks for your prompt reply. I will certainly do that.

  873. Mike, many thanks for your reply of 30 June. West Hampstead it is, then! Here’s hoping for a pan-London joined-up fare structure in future, although I’m not going to hold my breath…

  874. Hi Mike
    I have a friend and family railcard.I also have an oyster card.Is it possible to get the railcard discount added to the oyster card for just one journey when whole family travels together as at many other times I travel alone and so am ineligible for the railcard disount in my oyster.Seondly is there any discount on oyster for senior people who are not UK citizens.

  875. Hi Karen,

    Sadly no, you can’t apply the F&F discount to Oyster cards at all. There is no mechanism for ensuring that all members of the family travel together and there is also no discount structure for the kids. It also has to be said that kids with a zip card get a fantastic deal off-peak (75p single, £1.50 cap).

    As for non-UK citizens, I’m not sure. If they can get a senior railcard then yes, they can get the discount. The railcard site says it’s valid for all over 60s. It doesn’t expand on validity beyond needing a passport, birth certificate or UK driving licence.

  876. Thanks for your reply Mike and providing useful information

  877. Hi, I’ve recently applied for my Disabled Persons Railcard. How do I connect it to my Oyster card? And can it be somehow done at my local train station in Swansea before I go to London?

  878. Hi Emma,

    You need to take it to an Underground station when you get to London. The details are in the page above these comments under “How to get the discount”. It can’t be done in Swansea.

  879. I recently travelled from suffolk to london and purchased an oyster card from the Liverpool street underground ticket office. I asked for my Senior Railcard (national) to be added to it, but was told by the clerk that he couldn’t do it because it had to be registered first. Is that the case?

  880. Hi Russ,

    Yes, it does have to be registered. But, the ticket office should have been able to do that for you.

  881. Hi,
    I’m looking at getting an annual travelcard when I start working in London soon. Can I link my 18-26 Railcard to this? Or would it be better to stick to Oyster PAYG with the railcard discount?

  882. Hi Ada,

    The 16-25 railcard does not offer discounts on season tickets. When attached to an Oyster card it only discounts off-peak fares and the off-peak cap. This limits its use somewhat for commuting. If you can tell me what your regular commute involves (ie stations at each end) then I’ll try and help minimise the cost.

  883. Thanks Mike,
    regular commute would be Stratford to Bond St, although of course will go other places too.

  884. Hi Ada,

    Stratford to Bond Street as a 5-day a week commute is cheaper using PAYG. If you regularly do extra within zones 1-2 then a travelcard for those zones becomes worthwhile. There are no secret tips to reduce that journey, sadly.

  885. Hi Mike,

    I would appreciate your advice with the following. So I have a DPR linked to my Oyster. I am wondering if PAYG or an annual pass would be better for the following journey – from Camden to Peckham Rye 5 days a week, peak hours. I have tried the single fare calculator, compared it with the annual pass cost but I can’t understand the single fares alternative journeys e.g through Clapham North. Thanks!!

  886. Hi Dem,

    The alternative routes are journeys which don’t involve the National Rail line via Elephant & Castle. For the Clapham one you stay on the Northern Line to Clapham North then take a short walk to Clapham High Street and pick up London Overground to Peckham Rye. The other alternatives involve travelling on LU/DLR to East London and coming in to Peckham Rye from the other direction – I wouldn’t bother personally.

    If you really have the time to spare to do East London then consider taking London Overground from Camden Road to Stratford, touch the pink reader, then take the Jubilee line to Canada Water and pick up London Overground again. This avoids zone 1 completely and is the cheapest option by far, but it will take time.

  887. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this.

    If I go through Zone 1, what would be the better option? PAYG with my card linked to DPR or an annual Zones 1-2 pass?

  888. Hi Dem,

    PAYG with your discounted card. The DPR gives you discounts at anytime, including caps. You’d need to travel 6 days a week for all 52 weeks before the annual travelcard was worthwhile.

  889. Thanks Mike!

  890. Hi Mike, I am struggling to get my gold card discount added to my PAYG Oyster. Tried two “Ticket Stop” Newsagents – no idea. Phoned the helpline they said the staff at any Tube Station – Tried at Canary Wharf: they were absolutely certain they could not, and that it could only be done at a Visitor Centre. Is that your understanding?

  891. Hi David,

    Absolutely not. It is on the staff menu for the ticket machines in Underground stations. Try a different one, and make a complaint about Canary Wharf.

  892. Mike, I will try again – I suspect that there is a certain “shrug” as I am talking to my mate and don’t want to be disturbed with anything so complicated. The website said that Ticket Stops are able to do it, but the helpline said “Generally Not”.

    Many thanks!

  893. Hi David,

    Yes, shops are able to do it, but the fact that so few people ever go to shops for that means that many of the staff haven’t a clue what they’re doing. Coupled with the fact that shops probably don’t get paid for doing that and I’m not really surprised.

  894. I have now had success. According to the person who added it, not all staff are able/authorised to add the railcard discount – so moral is, ask for the more senior person

  895. Thanks for the update.

  896. I had this trouble too recently…shops and NR stations weren’t interested, and I assumed that since tube ticket offices were now all closed you couldn’t do it there either, so good to know it is possible. I actually got mine done at Surrey Quays overground station in about 15 seconds flat by a very helpful member of staff.

  897. Hi Mike,
    Can you tell me if a disabled RC can be linked to a contactless payment card? I am trying to see if I can make use of the 7 day cap with my RC.
    Thanks in advance

  898. Hi Fay,

    Sadly no, you can’t link any discount entitlement to a contactless card or device. However, the daily caps in zones 1-6 are all 1/5 of the weekly travelcard so you only pay more if you use it more than 5 days a week. The disabled railcard discounts all day on Oyster whereas other railcards only discount off-peak.

  899. Hi Mike,

    My 16-25 railcard is linked to my blue adult Oyster card, and was meant to expire on 28th October 2017. However, this morning I discovered that it was no longer registered on my Oyster card, even though it is still meant to be valid for 2 more days. I asked a member of staff, and she was as puzzled as I was. When she logged onto the ticket machine to check the expiation date, it was still 28/10/2017. Now, my railcard is actually valid until 28th October 2019, so she then tried to re-link the two cards. That didn’t work either. She said I would just have to come back after the 28th to re-link the cards.

    So why have I lost two days of validity when it is set to expire on the 28th? Would it have anything to do with the fact that I originally linked the cards on the 25th Oct 2016? If so, it has been over 12 months now, has the system just made a mistake?


  900. Hi Will,

    There are multiple issues here. The first is that the TfL system won’t allow a railcard discount to be set for more than 3 years. All 3-year cards are sent out via the post and an extra few days are added to mitigate against any delays.

    The fact that you linked the cards on the 25th may well mean that that was the date set. They may have tried the actual end date and found it wouldn’t accept it, then tried a year ahead but got the date wrong. But that doesn’t explain why she said it expired on Saturday.

    Can I ask what journey you made this morning, and especially what time was the touch in?

    Anyway, there should be no problem getting the extra 2 years added now, so I’d go back and ask again.

  901. Hi Mike,

    The journey I made this morning was Hammersmith to South Ealing, and the time of touch-in was approximately 09:31.

    I’ll definitely try to re-link it again, hopefully with more luck this time!

  902. Hi Will,

    I’d be interested to know the exact touch in time. I think there’s a chance you may have been charged an undiscounted peak fare. That would explain why your discount hadn’t run out. There’s only 20p difference between peak and off-peak fares for adults (£1.70/£1.50).

    Good luck updating the expiry date anyway.

  903. Hi Mike,

    Well, good news, my railcard is working again, and yes, sorry my bad, I was charged a peak fare! Apparently I touched in at 09:28, and I was indeed charged £1.70. Anyway this morning I did a Zone 1-3 journey (definitely off peak!) and it charged me the correct railcard fare of £1.85.

    So, I will still need to re-link the cards tomorrow, but everything is working again now. Sorry for any confusion caused!

    Thank you!

  904. Hi Will,

    It’s good news that there seems to be an explanation. Do you actually have access to your journey history? Can you confirm whether it was definitley 09:28? The reason is that TfL start off-peak fares a little early to avoid questions about the clocks being wrong. My understanding is that that should be at 09:27, thanks to a Freedom of Information request.

  905. Hi Mike,

    Well, my journey history says I started my journey at 09:24, so three minutes out! Never mind, all sorted now!

    Thanks again for all your help!

  906. Thanks for clearing that up, Will.

  907. Hi Mike

    I’ve have just bought a new Annual Gold Card and will be linking it to my Oyster when I can get to a Tube station (which won’t be until Friday evening). On Friday afternoon, I will be travelling into Zone 1 from Zone 6 using NR only (and on a line where the booking office is not Oyster equipped) and so will, of course, need to pay the non-Railcard fare then as the cards won’t be linked. I will then be making other trips on Friday evening, after getting the linking done. Will the fact the I have already used my Oyster on a full fare journey present any problems and will the discount automatically apply to later trips on Friday made once the linking had been applied? I guess I am clutching at straws to think that the discount will be retrospectively applied to the first fare.

    Cap-wise presumably (and assuming the linking works!) the lone non-Railcard fare will be treated separately but the Railcard Cap will apply to the post-linking discounted fares on Friday?

  908. Hi Reg,

    The first fare will stay undiscounted. It will, however, count towards the newly discounted off-peak cap. Also, remember that any journeys started between 1600-1900 won’t be discounted unless they end in zone 1 and start outside of zone 1. They will also count towards the discounted off-peak cap, which you may well reach quicker than normal.

  909. Hi,

    I take almost exclusively off peak journeys and the “cheapest gold card” ruse is clearly going to be worth it to me (to get linked to my Oyster card). The main disadvantage however is the requirement to bring the gold card, photo card etc on every journey along with my Oyster card. This is quite a deterrent to going down this route in terms of added wallet clutter.

    Is there any way around the need to have all this clutter in my wallet? And if I only brought my discounted Oyster card, on which sorts of journeys is anyone likely to care?


  910. Hi Chris,

    You could go 100 journeys with no-one asking for it, but if asked and you haven’t got it then you could get a penalty fare or prosecution. There is even a small benefit if using only buses or trams, so I really wouldn’t take the chance.

  911. Thanks. Yep, I can see I might be asked for it. My main worry is that I will end up losing the Gold Card (I am quite good at losing wallets), which unlike Oyster cards seem quite hard to replace, thereby wiping away all my savings. I calculated I would “only” come out about £60 ahead through the course of the year, factoring in the fact I wouldn’t need a Network Card (which I renew annually), but bearing in mind I have no use for the ‘partner network card’ discount.

    There’s still a bit of a fun appeal to it though! I’m almost a bit surprised it doesn’t get more of a mention on this site 🙂

  912. Hi, I have already got the Bus & Tram Discount photocard scheme on my Oyster card, I was wondering if i could still apply for the two together railcard and can still get it connected with my Oyster?

  913. Hi Julie,

    You can’t link a Two Together railcard with an Oyster card regardless of any other discounts. This is because the Oyster system cannot enforce the concept of two people travelling together.

  914. Hi Mike, I was wondering whether you can link a 16-18 railcard with the existing oyster card. I first ordered a Oyster instead of a 16-18 railcard and then realised I should have got a zipcard. If i order a zip which will i need to use, the zip or oyster card? I would probably prefer the oyster if i can put the zip’s perks on it.

  915. Tfl website says “If you buy a Family & Friends Railcard, you can buy discounted Off-peak Day Travelcards for yourself, up to three adults aged 16 or over and up to four children aged between 5 and 15 to travel:

    At any time on weekends and public holidays
    After 09:30 Monday to Friday.
    Please note that if two adults each have a Family & Friends Railcard, you can buy discounted Off-peak Day Travelcards for up to two adults aged 16 or over only and up to four children.

    Is the last sentence simply a badly worded way of saying that if both named cardholders are travelling, only two additional adults can get the discount?

  916. Hi Theo,

    Sorry for the delay replying. If you are eligible for the zip Oyster 16-18 card then that is the one you will need to use to get the benefits.

  917. Hi Nigel,

    Yes, that would be my understanding. I agree that it’s a poor choice of words.

  918. Not so much a question more a comment. My annual Travelcard was renewed this week so today I thought I’d get the Gold Card added to my Oyster being the first time I was in a tube station outside the rush hour. I was at King’s Cross St Pancras and there were two members of LU staff in the old ticket hall and one said no we can’t do that on these machines and said I would have to go to the Visitor Centre which was closed. The other one shook his head in agreement as if to question why I dare request such a thing. Not to be deterred I went to the new ticket hall and found someone who immediately knew exactly what I wanted and did in in seconds with a smile. Makes me wonder if the difference really was the machine or perhaps the staff?

  919. I’m just renewing my 3 year Senior RC. Will I have to get it linked to my Oyster again?

  920. Hi Gerry,

    Yes you will. Try not to do it straight away if you can. The railcard will have a few days over 3 years validity (to mitigate against postal delays), but the ticket machines will only allow up to 3 years when entering the expiry date.

  921. Hi Mike,

    Can you use Android Pay in conjunction with a railcard discount?

    i.e. can you link your oyster account to android pay?

    My oyster card has the 16-25 YP railcard discount applied, and i would like to start using android pay for TFL journeys, but am concerned I will lose my YP discount.

    kind regards


  922. Hi Giles,

    No, Android pay is like any other contactless payment method, only full adult fares are charged.

  923. Hi Mike,

    I’ve got an interesting observation regarding service delay refunds on an annual Oyster with the Goldcard discount loaded. I only benefit from the Goldcard discount when I travel outside my zones off peak. However, TfL also apply the discount when refunding me for a delayed journey that didn’t involve me going outside the zones on my annual Oyster. As a result, I was refunded £2.05 instead of the usual £3.10 I’m entitled to. What’s your take on this issue, please?

  924. Hi Jeff,

    Is the delay refund based on the undiscounted single fare or the price of the travelcard divided by the number of single journeys expected to be made?

  925. Mike,

    more generous than train operating companies – it’s based on the full single fare. The discount only bites when I go beyond Zone 5 and have to pay extra. So applying it to a refund for a journey from Zone 5 to 2 is a bit cheeky!

  926. Hi Jeff,

    Not being a regular user, and rarely using TfL services, I’m not that clued up about their service delay refunds. I suggest that you query the calculation with them because from what you say it does appear that you are being hard done by.

  927. Hi Mike,

    Yesterday I renewed my annual season point-to-point ticket (Stanford-le-Hope to West Ham on c2c). I have the annual Gold card paper ticket.

    I don’t travel on TfL services enough to warrant paying for a Z1-6 card, so I use a blue Oyster PAYG with the relevant Gold card 1/3 discount loaded. I have had this discount loaded onto my Oyster PAYG for a few years, without ever having much hassle when renewing (always based on using the same/similar Gold card each year).

    Yesterday I got the discount re-loaded onto my Oyster using my new Gold card… but only after a lot of hassle!

    Three separate LU staff refused to apply the discount because my Gold card is a NR issued point-to-point ticket only from Stanford-le-Hope to West Ham. Whatever that means.

    So someone is right, someone is wrong. I’m 99% sure I’m entitled to the discount based on the info at TfL’s website (the Gold card page seems clear to me!), but I just want to be absolutely sure and check that I haven’t simply ‘got lucky’ over the past few years.

    Many thanks in advance.

  928. Hi D,

    You are 100% right. Any National Rail annual season printed on Gold Card stock is eligible for the discount. It doesn’t even have to involve London at all (Hatton to Lapworth is popular at the moment due to its price).

    Please raise a complaint about the misinformation that you received.

  929. Thanks Mike. Good to know. I don’t usually complain, but I certainly will for this. After finally getting the discount from somebody else, I returned to the senior LU staff member who originally denied me. I politely explained how I think the discount should be applied, not to gloat, but so that other customers don’t miss out. His response?:

    – He knows that he is right because he has 22 years experience and that I wouldn’t understand the issue without such experience. Anybody else saying otherwise is wrong!
    – Accused me of committing FRAUD by knowingly travelling with a wrongfully-discounted Oyster.
    – Asked me to surrender my “now-fraudulent” Oyster card to him, so that he could cancel the discount.
    – He said I was rude for refusing to surrender my Oyster and that my only reason for doing so was because “you know you’re WRONG”
    – He would take the issue “to the top”, so that the information on the website would be changed to make clear that point-to-point Gold cards are ineligible for Oyster discount!

    Outrageous! Even if he was right, there is no excusing his approach.

  930. Hi i need to travel Hatfield on daily basis from goodmayes station is there best solution or discount I can get? How to get the annual discount card or ticket ? Please help me

  931. Hi Jyothi,

    Apologies for the delay replying. You need a travelcard season ticket which can only be specified with the out-boundary station (Hatfield) as the origin. You can still use it the ‘wrong way round’ though. You have three options depending on how much flexibility you need. The cheapest is Hatfield to zones 3-6 which would allow you to travel via Barking, Harringay Green Lanes, walk to Harringay and then to Hatfield. In the middle is Hatfield to zones 2-6 which then allows Goodmayes to Stratford to Highbury & Islington to Hatfield. Finally Hatfield to zones 1-6 allows you to travel via Liverpool Street and Moorgate.

    The ticket itself can be bought at any National Rail station, you just need to ask for Hatfield to zones X-6.

  932. Hi Mike. I had a 18-25 railcard discount applied to my old Oyster card which allowed me to travel from Zone 9 to Zone 1 for £1.95 during peak (Amersham to Baker Street, typically) and £1.05 off-peak! However my Oyster card was stolen, cancelled, and I got a new one. After putting my railcard back onto my new Oyster card, it costs me either £7 or £4 to do Zone 9 to Zone 1 during peak (and £2.70 off peak). I’m assuming I was just very lucky originally and this was an anomaly on the original Oyster – I spoke to staff when I checked the fares originally, who told me to not mention it to the phone support people… Would appreciate any advice or clarification!

  933. Hi Henry,

    You were extremely lucky. You had the wrong discount entitlement set.

  934. Hi Mike. Thought so! Out of interest, do you know who would typically get that discount entitlement?

  935. Hi Mike, I’m planning on renewing my 16-25 railcard and wanted to switch to a digital version – do you know if that’s still able to link to my oyster card? Otherwise should I get a physical card to be safe? Thanks!!

  936. Yes, you can link a digital railcard to an Oyster card.

  937. Hi Mike, you seem to be the man in the know.

    Last year I’ve acquired a Network Railcard and was able to link it to my (registered) Oyster card with the help of a friendly staff member at a station’s office. I’ve been enjoying the 1/3 savings during off-peak which is extremely valuable to me.

    Now I’m coming closer to the end of my 1-year Network Railcard. On the TfL website it states that Network Railcards cannot be combined and used with Oyster.

    Has this recently changed? Will I not be able to enjoy the discount any longer?

    Any advice on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

  938. Hi Fred,

    Sadly nothing has changed. You were very lucky to get a member of staff who didn’t realise that the Network Card cannot be added to an Oyster. The reason is the minimum fare applicable on Mondays to Fridays which is higher than almost all Oyster fares.

  939. Is it just me that thinks there is something very slightly perverse about the fact that, as a Railcard holder, I am incentivised to take the Underground during the off-peak outside zone 1 (£1.00) as opposed to the bus (£1.50)? I know the bus cap is reduced to the level of the z1-2 cap, but as it stands this a negligible discount over the standard bus cap of £4.50.

  940. Apologies if this has been answered on a previous post but I cannot get a definitive answer from anyone !
    My daughter is starting Uni in September and will need to travel in peak time from brentwood rail station (TFL) to Shepherds Bush Underground station. At the moment, we don’t know if she will have to travel 5 days per week (monday-friday) or just 2-3 days per week.
    What is the cheapest way for her to travel ? If it is 2-3 days per week I think it is a daily travelcard using a railcard discount? If 5 days per a week , a weekly travelcard loaded onto a student oyster.
    can anyone clarify/advise?
    thanks in advance Kerry

  941. Hi Kerry,

    If you live in Brentwood then you are not eligible for the 18+ Student Oyster card. This limits you to full price travelcard seasons and (potentially) 16-25 railcard discounted daily fares. There is a £12 minimum discounted fare before 1000 Mondays to Fridays (except in July and August). For a simple return journey you will be better off using Oyster PAYG. This even applies for 5 days a week travel, unless additional travel is undertaken at weekends or a longer period season is purchased (eg monthly).

    There are two sensible routes for this journey. You can either use the Central Line straight through zone 1, or use the London Overground between Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush and avoid zone 1. The two stations at Shepherd’s Bush are adjacent to each other.

    The relevant fares are:
    Weekly travelcard zones 1-9: £88.70
    Weekly travelcard zones 2-9: £60.10
    Two peak single Z1-9 fares: £16.40
    Two peak single Z2-9 fares: £13.40

  942. Hi Rob
    I want to travel between Gravesend and East Croydon, without having to go into Zone 1 if possible. Could you advise if there are possible routes to cater for this?
    Thank you in advance

  943. Thanks for your reply – presumably the travel card prices would be discounted by a third if a 16-25 railcard is used?
    I think we are going to apply for a student 18+ card and see what happens . I know people who live in brentwood that have got one .
    If we did get a student Oyster card how would that effect the fares ?

  944. Hi Kerry,

    Travelcard season prices are not discounted by a 16-25 railcard. However, if you can get a Student 18+ Oyster card then you do get 30% off travelcard seasons. You can still add the railcard to discount off-peak fares if not using the travelcard, because single fares are normally at the full adult rate.

  945. Hi Amrik,

    Firstly, you cannot use Oyster at Gravesend. Dartford is as far out as it goes. To avoid zone 1 you can travel via Lewisham and Peckham Rye, or walk between New Cross and New Cross Gate. Either route would be valid with a Gravesend to zones 2-6 season ticket.

  946. Just a note on the Brentwood fare situation – as far as I’m aware, you can get an paper return ticket from Brentwood to any Zone 1-2 tube station for £19.40, which can be discounted to £12.80 with a 16-25 railcard (and as this is above the £12 minimum fare it can be used even before 10am). This works out cheaper if both journeys are in the peak (but if one or both journeys are off-peak it’s better to use Oyster).
    Thank you for all your helpful guidance!

  947. I tried to get my 16-25 Railcard added to my registered Oyster yesterday at Waterloo. The system said “Oyster Not registtered” so the operator said I would have to call TfL. I did this, and they didn’t seem to have a clue what a 16-25 railcard even is. They also could not help with the unregistered registered Oyster.
    We see headlines about millions of unregistered cards … are they really, or is the system just unfit for purpose?
    Now I have to travel in to Waterloo again some time to try and get my railcard added. Perhaps they could refund my travel expenses to do a simple task that should be possible online.

  948. Hi Ed,

    I suspect that the problem may be the difference between protected and registered. It’s one that I sometimes struggle to understand. As for not understanding about the 16-25 railcard, that is poor. Adding a railcard discount cannot be available online as there is no way to centrally verify the authenticity and expiry date of the railcard.

  949. Hi there , I used to have an oyster card with my youth railcard registered. But for some reason , my oyster card stop working ( god knows why ) and I was told I need to get a new one, which I did. I am wondering if is possible that I transfer my youth railcard to my new oyster card ? Thank you so much !

  950. Hi Gigi,

    Yes it is. Just take the railcard and Oyster card to a tube station and ask one of the staff members to add it.

  951. Layne Lathram

    Thank you for providing such a valuable resource! I will be visiting the UK for 6 weeks in September and October. I will be in London for a week, then go on a tour for 19 days, stopping in Edinburgh. I will remain there for six days, take a train back to London, where I will remain for another 12 days before departing for the States. I expect to take several day trips via train during my time in London (Cambridge, Chichester, Salisbury, Kelvedon Hatch). I will be staying in Zone 2 throughout my time in London. I will, of course, get an Oyster card. I also plan to get a Senior Railcard, because the £30 will be offset by the savings on my train fares. I will have that added to my Oyster card. My question is whether I should get a 7-day Zone 1-2 travel card as well (to add to the Oyster card), or if the 30% discount on off-peak tube fares will be a better deal and I won’t really benefit from the travel card. Thanks!

  952. Hi Layne,

    If you can avoid travelling before 0930 weekdays then the discounted cap will be less than a travelcard. Even if you travel in zones 1-2 for all 7 days you’ll only pay £4.50 x 7 = £31.50 compared with £34.10 for the weekly travelcard.

  953. Thank you, Mike!

  954. John Collier

    Hi. I’m a BR pensioner with a retired Rail Priv Travel Card. How can I replace a lost Oyster card. I now have 2018/2019 Priv Card which was not yet registered with lost Reduced Rate Oyster Card..Thanks.John

  955. Hi John,

    I don’t know whether there are any special restrictions on your type of discount, but for a normal railcard you just take the railcard and a new Oyster to a tube station and the staff there can add the discount using a special menu.

  956. Hi
    I will be travelling from Epsom with one or two boys – aged 5 and 7. They will have Zip Oysters, so they will travel free within London. I would usually get a return to the London border for them and tickets for the full journey for me.
    Could I use a Friends and Family Railcard – to get a discount on my ticket and on their ticket to the London border for the children?

  957. Hi Neil,

    I’m not sure. However, you will probably be better off getting tickets for yourself and one child (which will be cheaper than your own ticket without the railcard) and a return to boundary zone 6 for the other child.

  958. Thanks, Mike.
    It’s a tricky one. I’m weighing up a Network card (which does not require travel with a child) against a F&F railcard (which can be used by my partner – less frequently), potentially in combination with Zip Oysters (already ordered). If I could do as above, it would be a ‘no-brainer’ to get the F&F card.
    Do you know how I might find out for sure?

  959. Hi Neil,

    It looks like the answer is no. From the railcard terms and conditions: “Discounted price tickets purchased by a Family & Friends Railcard holder should be issued for travel for the same origin and destination and should normally be of the same ticket type (example all Off-Peak Returns).”

  960. Thanks, Mike.
    Interestingly, the word ‘should’ is used not ‘must’ (which is used in much of the text). It seems that this pretty much addresses the query (while I suspect that this scenario was not envisaged on drafting).
    Via the internet, I’ve since found that we could get a Family Travelcard (not mentioned when we have bought tickets) that is cheaper than the undiscounted Travelcard and child ticket to zone 6 (so no use of the Zip Oyster required).
    It’s a ‘minefield’. I’ll have think and take a punt.
    Thanks, again.

  961. Hi Mike,
    I was just wondering about my Apprentice discount photocard that expires soon. Can I buy another 12 month travelcard season just before the end date of the photocard at a discounted rate and this be valid past the discount expiry date of the photocard? Many thanks

  962. Hi Lewis,

    In a word, no.

  963. Hi mike .
    My daughter is starting uni next month and will be travelling from Brentwood to Shepherd’s Bush Market underground . She will be travelling a mix of both daily journeys in peak time , Outward peak/return off peak and outward off peak/return peak. She will be only be travelling 3 or 4 days out of 5 so a weekly ticket is not cost effective . She will have an adult oyster and a 16-25 railcard . What are the cheapest options for all these different permutations ? I have worked out the following –
    Peak day return using railcard £15.10 / 2 peak single oyster journeys £16.40
    Off peak out/peak home – £9 using railcard / £11.90 oyster ( using added railcard)
    Peak out/ off peak home using railcard £15.10 / £11.90 as above
    Have I worked these out correctly – she would be going through zone 1. Thanks

  964. Hi again – I have asked this before but she will definitely have an adult oyster now rather than a student Oyster card so just wanted to double check. I have also just seen Daniels comments on 23rd June – is this price correct ?

  965. Hi Kerry,

    I’ve looked again at the prices for these journeys. The ones you have stated do seem to be accurate. The railcard discounted off-peak day return can only be used atfer 1000 because of the railcard restriction. I need to check Daniel’s fare. It would have been fine before Brentwood moved into zone 9; I’m not sure if it still is. I’ll come back to you later today hopefully.

    Is it definitely Shepherd’s Bush Market on the Circle and Hammersmith lines? I ask because Shepherd’s Bush Overground is less than half a mile along Uxbridge Road and does give you a reasonable alternative route avoiding zone 1.

  966. Thanks for the suggestion about the overground – I’ve looked at the journey but it will be too long.

  967. Hi mike – I wondered if you’d been able to confirm the date that Daniel had mentioned in a previous post (£12.80 peak paper return ticket with a 16-25 railcard ) thanks Kerry

  968. Hi Kerry,

    Yes, sorry for the delay. That price is correct. The ticket is a Brentwood to “ZONE U12* LONDN” return.

  969. Thanks Mike

  970. Zip Oystercards and PRIV discount

    I am posting this in order that it may help other ‘Safeguarded’ British Rail Staff who have child dependants with a Zip (11-15) Oystercard.

    Children 10 and under get free travel on London Underground, so it doesn’t apply to them (but you can still get the PRIV discount added to an under 11 Zip Oystercard in case you want to travel on National Rail services, but this issue doesn’t seem to affect 5-10 Zip Oystercards).

    My child turned 11 earlier this year, so I obtained the 11-15 Zip Oystercard for him. I got a London Underground station to put the PRIV discount on it.
    Unfortunately, after having the discount added, it wouldn’t work the ticket barriers, displaying an error code of ’01’. The reject code of ’01’ does not appear on the reject code sheets held by staff, so no one could tell me what the problem was. The strange thing was, he could still use the card at Ticket Machines, and also on buses without any problem.

    Having done some research, I found out the code of ’01’ basically meant that the child discount was incompatible with the PRIV discount which had been loaded onto the Zip Oystercaard, so the ticket barriers simply rejected it. The discount which had been loaded onto the Zip Oystercard was ‘Priv All Rail-N’, which means it is the National Rail discount to be loaded onto a ‘Nominee’ Adult Oystercard (or Spouse/Civil Partner in Rail Staff terms). To get a child’s Zip Oystercard to work, you need to make sure the staff load the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount onto it without the ‘N’ at the end – this is the same discount they would put onto the employee’s Adult Oystercard. I don’t know why the Oyster system is set up like this, but it is in their manuals. I think it is just something that Underground staff very rarely come across.

    So, I sorted that out earlier this year, then went to an Underground station to have the discounts renewed in June once the new Staff Travelcards had come, and somehow the staff had uploaded the ‘Nominee’ discount onto my son’s Zip Oystercard again. I didn’t realise this until last week when we tried to use it, so had them sort the problem out again this morning. So, when renewing the Rail Staff Discount on a Zip 11-15 Oystercard, you need to make sure the staff do not put the ‘Nominee’ discount on it, but the proper ‘Staff’ discount. The ‘Nominee’ discount works fine on adult Oystercards, but not child ones.

    I hope this post is of use to others.

  971. Jane MacDonald

    My son has now visited three underground stations, including one with a main line rail link, in order to get his 16-25 card linked to his Oyster card, but nobody seems to know how to do it. He has missed out on a year of Oyster discount now and I am reluctant to renew his card this year. Can you advise how he should do this?

  972. Hi Jane,

    I’m sorry to hear this. As far as I know there are staff at every Underground station who should be able to help. The process takes less than a minute once logged into the staff section of the ticket machine. I’d suggest writing to complain to TfL about any recent attempt, especially if it was at a London terminal Underground station. The only thing you need to do first is ensure that the Oyster card is registered in your son’s name. Also, I assume it’s a blue adult Oyster or an 18+ Student Oyster? If the card is a 16-18 zip Oyster then the railcard discount cannot be added because it is already discounted 50% on all fares and caps.

  973. Hello Mike,
    My child has a 16+ zip card. She will attend college in Reigate four days a week. on 2 days she will travel at peak times and two at off peak times travelling from Purley DIRECT to Reigate. The zip card is only valid to Redhill? What is the cheapest way by train?.

  974. Hi Fiona,

    As is so often the case, cheapest and fastest are not the same. The half-price fares with the 16+ zip card mean that using that as far as Redhill is part of the cheapest way. The problem is that she MUST touch out at Redhill (and in again on the return). She will then need the appropriate adult return ticket between Redhill and Reigate (Anytime if departing Redhill before 9am, otherwise Off-peak).

    If travelling direct is the most important consideration then she can’t use the zip card.

  975. Hi Mike,

    thank you so much for setting this site up!

    I’m a student with a 16-25 Railcard, and I’m wondering whether an annual 18+ Student Travelcard would be worth the cost if I go into London 4 days a week for a year, from zone 4 to 1 and back again on the Underground only. Outbound journey would be off-peak, return would be peak time.

    Should I stick to pay-as you go with a railcard, or would an annual travelcard with the 18+ Student discount + railcard be cheaper?

    Many thanks!

  976. Hi Martin,

    A simple Underground only journey does not make a travelcard worthwhile, unless you can get a discount on the travelcard. But then you are only using it 4 days a week and half your journeys are off-peak and thus discounted by the 16-25 railcard. Also, to make an annual travelcard worthwhile you need to use it for at least 45 weeks. So I don’t think the travelcard would be worthwhile, unless you’ll also do alot of other travel when you’re not commuting.

  977. hello , my son has to travel from Tulse hill to North Greenwich atleast 3 times a week for college during term time . He has to be there by 10 am . He has an Oyster card and 16-25 railcard . Please could you advise the cheapest route for him ( i know he can link his railcard to his oyster card )
    many thanks for your advice

  978. Hi Nicola,

    Tulse Hill to Peckham Rye, then London Overground to Canada Water, touch the pink reader on the way to the Jubilee line and on to North Greenwich. This avoids zone 1. He might not get any benefit from the railcard if his evening journey starts between 1600-1900.

  979. Hi mike
    Love your website and all the answers you give.
    I am a toc employee and both me and my partner have payg nr priv oyster facility and it seems that any journey we have made on lu dlr and other tocs has received 75% off within the London zones. Was wondering if my partner was entitled to use her payg nr priv oyster to get to and from work, Monday to Friday during peak from zone 4 to 1. Thanks in advance.

  980. Hi Gridsset,

    I’m not a railway or TfL employee so I cannot answer priv specific queries. You’ll need to check with your staff travel facility. Sorry.

  981. Hi Mike,

    I’ve sadly lost my registered Oyster card. Were I to request a direct replacement, would the new card retain my Railcard discount? Or would I need to have the discount re-added?


  982. Hi Chris,

    I don’t think the discount would be transferred over, but I could be wrong. I’d get it checked at the earliest opportunity.

  983. Been singularly unable to get my daughter’s 16-25 railcard attached to her Oyster card. The staff at the first station said it can only be done by staff at a major ticket office. Next staff tried using a special code on the machine but it came back with an error and they said that the card was un-registered (not true), we would have to call the phone helpline. The staff on the telephone said that it is registered but railcard can only be added by the staff at the station. What to do? Are they all simply unhelpful / incompetent, or could the card be somehow faulty?

  984. Hi Ed,

    I doubt the card is faulty. The helpdesk cannot do it over the phone as it needs the physical card to be touched on a reader. It should be possible to do it at any tube station, but smaller ones may not know what they are doing. I would usually try a tube station attached to a London NR terminal as they are most likely to be doing it all the time.

  985. Now that this discussion thread is nearing its sixth birthday, would it be better to turn it on its head so that the most recent comments are at the top? Some of the older advice might not still be relevant if terms and conditions have changed in the meantime. Either that, or split it into two threads: one covering the most recent 12 months, after which stuff could transfer to a searchable archive.

  986. Thanks for the suggestions, Paul. I’m looking at changing some things this year, but I can’t go into details just yet.

  987. On another point: as a new senior railcard holder, I found this thread because I want to link my card to my Oyster. The info says this can be done at ‘ …. some National Rail ticket offices.’ Is it possible to link to a list of the offices where this can be done? I asked at my local station (Purley) and they can’t do it there. But they said I could do it at a London terminus, so I’ll wait till I’m next in London.

  988. Hi Paul,

    I have a list here. Both East and West Croydon should be able to do it.

  989. Not the most used discount at rail stations, but the new style London Overground TVM’s are capable of selling discounted Bus & Tram Passes for those with the photocard added to the blue Oyster.

  990. Hi Mike

    Great site. I have just bought an annual season ticket for the first time rom West Dulwich to London Terminals. Helpfully and unexpectedly it is also marked ‘also valid from Tulse Hill’ which opens up a number of other travel opportunities. However, I have a few questions arising:

    – Today I needed to travel from another local station West Norwood to Victoria. I tried my ticket in the barrier at WNW expecting it not to work and to need my oyster from there, yet it did open the barriers. Does this mean the ticket is valid from here? I can only assume TUH to VIC via WNW is a valid route?
    – Can you clarify the gold card discount on the tube, as the language on the TFL website is a bit confusing. Does it apply to single off peak tube fares (ie the £2.40 single z1-2 fare) or just daily caps?
    – Out of curiosity, when you look up a season ticket from WDU to London the first (and cheapest) option which comes up is one to Vauxhall. What routing would this cover – the obvious one is by tube via Brixton (or Victoria) but I imagine this must be a main line only ticket?
    – Final question – when changing from a mainline (paper) season to the Overground (paying by Oyster) at Clapham Junction, what’s the correct procedure for touching in and out? I can see yellow readers only on the little-used platform 17, and pink ones on the overground platforms, but none on other NR platforms – is it necessary to touch in and out at the exit barriers to follow correct procedure (a long walk)?

    Many thanks and sorry for all the random QS!

  991. Hi Tim,

    Not much about Oyster here, but I’ll try my best.

    1) I can see how Tulse Hill to Victoria could be valid via West Norwood, but it is quite a bit longer than the shortest route via Herne Hill. Knowing how the lines in South London interact for permitted routes it’s quite possibly an unintended validity. You’re not leaving zone 3 though, so there’s no loss of revenue.
    2) The Gold card discount applies to both off-peak single fares and the off-peak cap.
    3) West Dulwich to Vauxhall is probably a clustering anomaly. It is only valid via Clapham Junction and into Vauxhall from there. It’ll make sense from other local stations (like West Norwood perhaps), but not from West Dulwich.
    4) Touching in/out at Clapham Junction is a pain. You can use the pink readers to touch in (you shouldn’t be able to IMO, but it does work), but to touch out you’ll need to visit a gateline. Fortunately there is one under the Overground platforms.

  992. Many thanks Mike

  993. Hi Mike,

    I have an 18+ Oyster Card and a 16-25 railcard. They’ve already been linked. My railcard is for 3 years and will expire sometime in 2020, whilst my oyster card will expire later this year (2019). I’m still eligible for a replacement 18+ oyster so will get another one. At that point, do I need to link the railcard again?

    Thanks for your help!

  994. Hi Charlotte,

    Yes you do.

  995. Hi Mike.

    I will coming to London (from Canada) and will be there April 6-8 and then heading to Scotland and Wales for some time and back to London from April 20-27. I know I will be using the tube in zones 1-2 every day I am in London. I plan on buying a Two Together railcard when I get there so I can save on my train trips around Scotland and Wales. I was also thinking about buying a visitor Oyster card for the time I am in London. Just wondering if this is the best thing to do or perhaps a combination of things like Oyster, Travelcard, etc. Just looking for some advice on what maybe the least expensive option.



  996. Hi Doug,

    Three separate tube journeys (zone 1-2) in a day will result in the daily cap of £7 being applied. For the second part of your trip you can get a 7-day travelcard for zones 1-2 at £35.10, so just 10p for the 6th day and the 7th is free. You can’t put a travelcard onto a visitor Oyster card, so I’d get normal blue Oysters when you arrive. There is a £5 deposit per card, but you can get that refunded along with any excess PAYG balance when you’ve finished using the cards. The visitor card fee is non-refundable which is why I rarely recommend them.

  997. I have just renewed my Seniors rail card which was connected to my Oyster card. Do I have to register the new Seniors card to my Oyster card ?

  998. Hi Eileen,

    Yes you do.

  999. Hi. We are planning a trip to London in the near future for a few days and plan to link our senior railcards to Oyster cards. Should we set auto top up and what is a reasonable amount to put on the cards initially?

  1000. Hi Jim,

    If you are only an occasional visitor to London then I wouldn’t recommend auto topup. You could quite easily end up with nearly £30 on the card siting there until your next trip. How much to put on the cards depends on what you are doing, but the discounted off-peak cap for zones 1-2 is £4.60 so £20 would cover 4 days zipping around the middle.

  1001. Jamie Penman-Smithson

    I’ve bought an annual travelcard for zones 2-6, I’ve now got a Gold Record Card and the Oyster card with the travelcard loaded on it.

    I tried getting the Gold Card discount added to my Oyster card at Waterloo underground station yesterday but they said that I have to get a photocard in order for the discount to be applied.

    Is this correct? There seems to be conflicting information above.

  1002. Hi Jamie,

    I’ve not heard about that requirement. Oyster travelcards don’t require a photocard, although they must be registered to buy more than a weekly version. I’d try again, maybe at a different station.

  1003. Jamie Penman-Smithson

    Thanks Mike, I went to Vauxhall underground station and they knew exactly what to do. It’s a shame TfL don’t make this easier by publicising it more!

    It’s a bit odd because they seem to have to select the Network Railcard discount option even though I have a Gold card but I’m guessing that’s the same thing? Since you can’t load a Network Railcard onto an Oyster card..?

  1004. Hi Mike,

    I’ve just purchased a 26-30 railcard – can this be loaded onto my oyster like the 16-25 one can be?


  1005. Hi Andrew,

    Sorry for the delay. Yes you can.

  1006. Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for updating us. I think they probably select National Railcard as the same discount is used for all the applicable railcards apart from Disabled.

  1007. Hi Mike,

    I lost my Oyster card with my 16-25 railcard attached to it. Is it possible to get a new Oyster card and link my railcard to it?

  1008. Hi Nicholas,

    Yes it is. Just take the railcard and your new Oystercard to a tube station. Make sure that the new Oystercard is registered first.

  1009. Hi there,

    Looking to get an annual travel card for the first time since I moved to London. I just moved flats and, going forward, will be using the Tube instead of the bus for my commute to/ from work. Work commute will be between Finchley Rd and Southward, so Zone 1-2. Other than that, there will be some leisure/ weekend travel and possibly commute to and from the gym.

    What’s the best option for me? I think my work commute alone warrants for an annual card (pay-as-you-go would amount up to something around GBP 1,200.00 I think), but am unsure if monthly or annual card is the best way forward. Also, would any railcard make sense in my case?

    Many thanks

  1010. Hi jms777,

    Railcards do not discount season tickets so they won’t help with the commute. An annual travelcard would also be a gold card which gets you discounts on off-peak travel throughout the country by rail. Whether one is worthwhile for you depends on how much additional travel you do. On a weekly basis your commute is 10x £2.90 = £29, whereas the weekly travelcard is £35.10. Monthly (say 22 days average) is 44x £2.90 = £127.60 versus £134.80 for the monthly travelcard. So you don’t need to do too much extra travel to make the travelcard worthwhile. The annual travelcard is 40x the weekly cost and takes into account the fact that you’ll not commute for around 6 weeks (holiday allowance and bank holidays).

  1011. Hi Mike,

    I commute into Farringdon from Ilford every week day. I have a 16-25 railcard added to my oyster card. I can’t prevent the morning peak as I have to start work between 8-9am. I usually leave work at 7pm but can leave earlier, at 6pm. I have been preventing leaving at 6pm because my return journey just costs £1.90 or so as leaving at off-peak and using a PAYG 16-25 railcard is very helpful. If I start leaving at 6pm, do you happen to know how much it might cost me per journey?



  1012. Hi Peter,

    It’ll be the same as the morning fare – £3.90.

  1013. Hi Mike
    Sorry if this has been answered before, but I’ve searched but can’t see
    I have a annual season ticket from Derby to Any London station, inc zones 1 to 6. Is there any way to get the zone 1-6 put on to an Oyster card, at the moment I’m not able to tap in and out of stations, which can be tiresome

  1014. Hi Carl,

    Sorry, that’s not possible.

  1015. Thanks Mike,
    I had been given some conflicting information, it’s a shame as it would negate the need to be let through ticket barriers due to my ticket not being accepted
    Again, thanks again

  1016. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for your useful website. I am wondering if I’ve figured this out correctly.
    I will soon be commuting Zone 2 Clapham Jcn to Syon Lane (Zone 4) to arrive at ~8:15am for West Mid Hospital 5 days a week. This is a change to peak hours from previous where I could not do point to point as sometimes had to go to Feltham or via Twickenham with a bus very early in the morning.
    I also go to Victoria 2-4x in the evening or Saturday and to Waterloo on Sundays.
    Is my best option to do an annual point-to-point Clapham Junction to Syon Lane and then get a Gold card to get an off-peak discount for Victoria or Waterloo? Or should I be thinking a Zone 1 to 4 travelcard? Or something else?
    Thanks much,

  1017. Hi Lisa,

    Taking weekly figures your options are: £24.00 for Clapham Junction to Syon Lane only, £29.20 for zones 2-4 and £50.50 for zones 1-4. The point-to-point cannot be put on an Oyster so to make journeys into zone 1 you’d need additional paper tickets, or to get out at Clapham Junction and touch in with PAYG Oyster/contactless. Using PAYG you’d be paying for both zones 1 and 2. I don’t recommend that option.

    The other two options can be put onto Oyster. Including zone 1 adds £20.70 per week. Each single trip into zone 1 will cost £1.50 off-peak (assuming the gold card) and £2.80 peak. Ending in zone 1 in the afternoon peak will be off-peak. So you’d need to make a return trip into zone 1 every day to make the zone 1-4 travelcard worthwhile. The annual travelcard costs 40x the weekly. I think I’d get the zone 2-4 version in your case.

  1018. Hi Mike

    As far as I can see, all of the discussion above relates to people attaching their discount railcards (Senior in my case) to their Oyster cards. I dispensed with my Oyster card some time back when contactless cards were enabled. Does that mean that I need to obtain an Oyster again to link the railcard to? Or can one link the railcard to a specific contactless bank card?
    This has just become an issue as my local station (Epsom) has at last been brought into Oyster!

  1019. Hi Barry,

    You need an Oyster card to link a railcard to at present.

  1020. Hi Mike,

    I have a Senior Railcard linked to my Oyster Card. The SR is due for renewal next month. If I purchase a digital (smartphone) version, will TfL still make the link?

  1021. Hi John,

    Yes, that should be absolutely fine.

  1022. hi mike
    does having a 16-25 railcard rigged up to my adult oyster benefit me in my zone 1-5 travel card, normally its £230.40 just wondering when I put the two together will I get any money off


  1023. Hi Alfie,

    No, the railcard discount is only for off-peak single fares and caps.

  1024. Mike, great site, can you help please? Can you register a two together card with individual oyster cards held by the people named on the railcard? And if we arrive in Redhill on a return from Leeds (changing in Stevenage to Thameslink), will our tickets be valid for “2for1” discounts during the period we are in London/Surrey?

  1025. Hi Dave,

    You can’t add a two together railcard to Oyster because there is no way that the system can track that it’s being used correctly.

    On the 2-for-1 offers I’d suggest you check with the attractions. A period return to London is definitely valid, but I’m not sure whether Redhill would be considered as London. However, if two railcard discounted day travelcards ends up being cheaper than using Oyster then the travelcards would definitely be valid for the offers.

  1026. Hi
    By way of a warning – Bought oyster cards on arrival in London )as have done previously) but now have senior railcards . staff at underground added the discount – and a s part of process also postcodes and date of birth.
    Returned home and tried to link oytster to existing Tfl account to claim refund for cards.- NoCanDo – cards showing as already registered . TFL customer services say registration is incomplete and doesnt have security so they cant link. Suggest I go to ticket office and get them to sort it – bit difficult from 300 miles away.
    Awaiting response to written enquiry.
    Suggest maybe better to buy railcard online if have time to do so before travel, or cash out at ticket machine at end of visit – tho £10 limit may prevent this.
    Bit of a flaw in the system to me

  1027. Viswanath

    Hi, My mom aged 60+ came to London recently on a visitor visa, and will be staying here for close to 6 months. Can she avail the oyster 60+ card ?

  1028. Hi Viswanath,

    You can find out who is eligible for the 60+ Oyster here: https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/60-plus-oyster-photocard?intcmp=54724#on-this-page-1

  1029. Hi, I will travel with my 6 years daughter in London. I will get a Travelcard for 7 days and my daughter for free. We are eligible for 2for1 offers?

  1030. Hi Sorin,

    For the 2for1 offers you will need a paper travelcard from a National Rail station.

  1031. Hi Mike and thanks for the great site. I have a question re linked 16-25 Railcards to Oyster. My son usually gets a capped discount on Z1-4 from £10.10 to £6.65, but yesterday he was charged £10.10 for the day which began with a bus at 9.40 and a train at 9.57. Would catching a train after 10 have been ok? Or would the bus also have to be after 10 too? Thanks for any clarification you can give – I can’t find this info anywhere!

  1032. Hi Mikey,

    The key time is 0930 for all railcards on Oyster. This means that the railcard discount has expired. You have to add it again each time you get a new railcard.

  1033. Hi Mike,

    I have always had my Network Railcard linked to my oyster card to avail discounted PAG fares for my daily commute from Zone 4 to Zone 1. My first journey in the morning is off peak, so I get discounted daily caps on the 3-4 days I travel.

    When I recommended linking to a friend of mine, he shared this info from the TFL site which I was not aware of:
    You can’t add this (Network Railcard) discount to an Oyster card.

    Was the card incorrectly linked or have the rules changed in this regard?

  1034. Hi GP,

    You were lucky. The Network Card has never been eligible for Oyster discounts. Some staff have not understood the difference between it and other National Railcards. The problem is the insistance on a minimum fare on weekdays which is higher than pretty much any Oyster fare.

  1035. Hi Mike, many thanks for your reply re my son’s 16-25 card’s Oyster discount not working. You were absolutely right – it had just expired! Mystery solved. Cheers, M.

  1036. Hi Mike
    My wife and I travelled up to Waterloo from Epsom this afternoon (Sunday). She bought a normal Senior Railcard offpeak return, I just used my Oyster bat each end.
    Her fare was £7.00, mine on Oyster came in at £6.65. The difference of 5% looks like an exact discount, but I can’t find any reference to a reduction for using Oyster anywhere in TfL’s guidance.
    Do you know of anything?

  1037. Hi Barry,

    Oyster fares are often slightly cheaper than those for paper tickets. The £7.00 fare for a railcard discounted off-peak day return is definitely right. As far as I can tell, the railcard discounted off-peak single Oyster fare is £3.35, so you should have been charged £6.70 for the return.

  1038. I am 65 & live in Esher but I usually travel from Thames Ditton zone 6 to London to save on the fare. What’s the advantage of registering a senior discount Oyster card when I already have a senior railcard ?

    If I travel after 9.30 am from Thames Ditton to London using the senior oyster card, will my fare be capped to the daily cap limit of £8.20? Or is it cheaper to get a one day travel card using my senior rail card.

    Many thanks

  1039. Hi R Tanner,

    The discounted one day travelcard is £8.60 so definitely cheaper to use a discounted Oyster. You also have the benefit that you may not get capped if you just travel to Waterloo (or Victoria, Charing Cross etc) and back.

  1040. William Downie

    Hello Mike,

    I have a Zone 1 – 3 travel card with Gold Card attached. Recently, on a Sunday, I asked for two day return tickets from London Fenchurch Street to Southend. I asked for GC discount for both ticket and a boundary discount for one of the tickets. I was charged:

    GC discount only – £9.45
    GC and boundary discount – £10.90

    On querying this I was told the GC discount only was Super Off Peak, but a boundary discount could not be applied to a Super Off Peak, only an Off Peak ticket, so making it more expensive.

    Is this always the case ? Should boundary discounts be avoided when a Super OP ticket is available ?

    Thanks for looking after this great web site.

    Best wishes, Will

  1041. Hi Will,

    The boundary of zone X is actually a pseudo station rather than a discount. Fares were generally set years ago when travelcards became available, and in those days there were generally fewer types of tickets. In particular, super off-peak didn’t exist. Sadly the available fares from boundary zones has tended to remain just the simple anytime and off-peak while other fares have gained things like super off-peak and advance.

    Further to that, the boundary of zone 3 is a lot nearer to London than the boundary of zone 6, so in the latter case the off-peak fare is cheaper than the super off-peak fare from London. The other thing to note with Southend is that the boundary tickets are actually valid from both Fenchurch Street via Barking and Liverpool Street via Romford.

  1042. Hi Mike Great site, have read it for years but only just joined. I have bought my Senior Railcard online and took advantage of the 3 year £70. Option, but three different stations, Northwood, Watford and Amersham could only register it to my oyster for a maximum of two years, all three staff were very helpful and showed me the screen which just wouldn’t accept a 3 year expiry date, I can update in a year so not a great problem but thought it worth mentioning. Regards Alan

  1043. Hi Alan,

    The expiry date will be a couple of days over 3 years away if you’ve just received it. If you take it back to a station in a few days they should be able to set it for the three years.

  1044. Hi Mike

    Many thanks for your prompt reply, you may be right it’s June 2022 expiry, I’ll give it a bash in a couple of days and update.

  1045. I’m about to buy my first train season ticket from Three Bridges to Travelcard 1-6. I was wondering how the 1-6 travel card will be provided to me – will I be able to load it on my existing Oyster card or will they issue a new Oyster card?

  1046. Hi Sorinc03,

    You can’t put that ticket on Oyster. It will either be loaded onto The Key, or issued on paper.

  1047. Hi Mike,

    I’ve searched through the comments but I can’t find something which matches my situation. I have a Greater Anglia annual ticket including zones 3-6. I know how I can get the Gold Card discount on Oyster added – got your instructions elsewhere on the site, thanks.

    My question is about how my GA and Oyster cards work together. If, for example, I’m travelling from zone 4 to 1, I’d have to use Oyster (because I don’t have a season ticket for 1-2). How does the Oyster card ‘know’ I’ve already paid for zones 3 and 4? Or do I just pay the discounted 4 to 1 fare? If that was the case, in effect, I’d be paying a second time for a part of the journey. Can you explain how this works?

    Thanks for your work on the site. It’s really great, even if I didn’t find the specific answer I needed this time.

  1048. Hi Paddy,

    If you’re using Oyster PAYG and the travelcard is on paper then there is no way for Oyster to know what you’ve already paid for. For GA I would recommend either getting off at Stratford to touch in the Oyster, or at Seven Sisters/Tottenham Hale. With Stratford you don’t overpay because it’s dual zoned 2/3. At all three you can interchange onto the Underground so it may not actually lose you much time, depending on your final destination.

  1049. Tyler Denyer

    First of all Mike just amazing you are still keeping up to date with this!

    Just want to ask I have just attached my railcard to my Oyster card, and only travel between zones 1-2 five days a week sometimes further out over weekends anyway my question is would it be cheaper for me to purchase a monthly travelcard or with my railcard on my oyster is that now cheaper?

    Thank you


  1050. Hi Tyler,

    It all depends on what journey you make, whether it’s always at peak times and how much extra travel you make. Your railcard doesn’t discount peak single fares, or the anytime cap or travelcards. Let me know your actual stations and I’ll suggest some pointers.

  1051. Tyler Denyer

    I travel between Hammersmith and Green Park or St James Park If I travel on the weekends in London it’s generally to Kings Cross to catch a train. Occasionally I might go to Richmond or Hampstead but this is rare I don’t generally travel out of Zone 1 or 2 unless it’s to get out of London which I do about once a month. For a weekend or longer

    I do travel in peak time in the week usually 8 or 9 am and then again at 5 or 6pm

  1052. Hi Tyler,

    That commute doesn’t justify a travelcard on its own. 10 single journeys is £29 and the weekly travelcard is £35.10. If a month has 22 working days then 44 singles are £127.60 compared to £134.80 for a monthly travelcard. The odd evening or weekend journey will be discounted by the railcard. A monthly would be worthwhile (just) if you were going to work every working day and make 2+ extra return trips. Hope that helps.

  1053. I have had an Oyster card for many years which is ‘registered’: I have a tfl account where I can log in and view the details of the card (number, journey history etc).
    I just received a 3-year Senior railcard. It was valid for 3 years plus a few days. Yesterday whilst travelling in to London I asked to have the railcard added to my oyster.
    My reason for writing is that when adding the discount using the oyster machine, my oyster was shown as ‘not registered’. I was obliged to ‘register’ it i.e. give a postcode and create a password.
    When I log in to my tfl account, I can see that the discounted cap has been applied to my journeys yesterday. So all seems to be well, but can you fathom why my oyster card showed as not-registered? If so, where I have additionally registered my oyster card and when I might need to use the password that I created yesterday?

  1054. Hi Jules,

    Originally there were two terms: registered and protected. I never really got the hang of the difference, but I understand that now there is only one registration process. Your card will be registered on the central system and you may need the password if you phone the helpdesk about anything to do with the card.

  1055. Hi Mike,

    I am planning on travelling from Zone 1 to Zone 3 on a daily basis to and from university in September, mostly at peak time. What do you think will be the cheapest way to travel?

    Maybe the 18+ Oystercard with a Travelcard added?
    Or 18+ Oystercard with 16-25 Railcard added?
    Or just the 16-26 Railcard alone?

    Thanks a lot!

  1056. Hi Aba,

    Assuming your daily usage will be mainly at peak times then the 18+ Student Oyster with the discounted travelcard is likely to be the best option. You can add a 16-25 railcard so that any off-peak travel outside zones 1-3 is discounted, but it won’t affect the price of the travelcard.

  1057. Hi Mike

    My student son will soon be travelling from Hertford East, from where we can use Oyster, to Canada Water. I can see that there are several options that can be used together, student Oyster and railcard, season ticket etc., but I can’t get to the bottom of which one is the most cost effective. We think that he’ll mainly be travelling at peak times but we’re not altogether sure at the moment. Any help that you could offer would be appreciated.

    Many thanks

  1058. Hi Peter,

    The 18+ Student Oyster allows him to buy discounted travelcard season tickets, but I’m unsure whether residents of Hertford are eligible. A 16-25 railcard allows him to buy discounted return tickets which may be cheaper than a full price season ticket. It won’t help with peak travel on Oyster though. If he is eligible for the 18+ Student Oyster then the railcard can be used to discount other off-peak single fares, but there are very few places that won’t be covered by a travelcard from Hertford East. It’s difficult to be precise without more detail of travel plans.

  1059. Hi Mike,
    I have looked through the posts, but can’t find one about this; can a digital senior railcard be linked to Oyster? I thought I would ask before renewing my railcard.


  1060. Hi… have just found the relevant answer back in April. Thanks anyway.

  1061. Hi Cathy,

    That’s good. And for anyone else just looking here, the answer is yes.

  1062. Antonio Duarte

    Hi Mike,
    I travel most days from Richmond to East Croydon via Clapham junction. The journey cost me £3.80 peak time.
    One of my colleagues has recently told me that he has bought a railcard and is doing a similar journey (from Kew Bridge instead) and the railcard is giving him around £1 off of every journey. He just said that the only downside is that he needs to buy the tickets from the machines every day (No oyster).
    I tried searching online and I couldn’t find any info about this. It seems to me for what I read that railcard is useless for travels within London.
    Do you know how or why is he getting cheaper tickets with the railcard?

  1063. Hi Antonio,

    Is the railcard a 16-17 Saver? If not, please can you let me know which one it is?

  1064. Antonio Duarte

    Hi Mike,

    mmmh im not sure but he is 27 years old so I dont think he has a 16-17 card. I am 32.

  1065. Hi Antonio,

    No, I’m completely stumped there. He could have a 26-30 Railcard, but he shouldn’t be getting discounted tickets to use before 10am. The only plausible explanation is that he has a disabled railcard (disability doesn’t have to be visible). But if this is the case he can add that to an Oyster and get discounts on peak fares too. If he’s using a 26-30 Railcard and hoping not to get caught in the morning then he’s playing a very risky game.

  1066. Robert Sather

    Hi Antonio, I have a Senior Railcard, and three different oyster cards. I no longer know which oyster card is tied to my Railcard. How can I find out?



  1067. Hi Bob,

    If you call the helpline they should be able to tell you. If they are linked to an Oyster online account and you’ve made any journeys in the last 8 weeks then you can check the prices using the fare finder. Or take them to a tube station and ask the staff in the booking hall to check using their menu on the ticket machines.

  1068. Antonio Duarte

    Hi Mike,

    I asked a bit more and indeed he has a 26-30 railcard. He doesn’t use it before 10am, he uses it at peak time afternoon. Is there something similar i could also benefit using a railcard? I am 32 though, is this only available before 31?

  1069. Hi Antonio,

    Using it after 10am makes all the difference. Sadly there is nothing between 31-59 for single people that works for short journeys. The Network Railcard has a £13 minimum fare on weekdays. There is a two-together railcard which is valid after 0930, but both people have to make the whole journey at the same time.

  1070. Hi Mike,

    I will be moving jobs to Zone 2 so thinking of getting an Annual Zone 2 to Zone 5 travelcard. I currently have a Zone 1 to 5 travelcard and am trying to work out how many journeys to a Zone 1 destination I would need to make in a year to make a Zone 1 to 5 travelcard still worthwhile after I start my new job. Extension fares confuse me, but I think I’d need to make c 210 off peak journeys to Zone 1 to justify the Zone 1 to 5 travelcard? Is that right?

  1071. Hi Paula,

    It’s 210 return journeys, or 419 singles.

  1072. Thanks Mike!

  1073. Good morning Mike

    I am 60 next year, live in South Wales, and am ” looking forward ” to applying for my senior railcard : I have an existing oystercard for trips to London once a year, but have been told ( by a relative ) that I would NOT be able to link my oystercard to a senior railcard as I DON’T have a London address – is this correct ?

    Kind regards

  1074. Hi Alex

    No. Any senior railcard can be linked. The 60+ Oyster card is only for those living in London and gives the benefits of a freedom pass at age 60 instead of retirement age.

  1075. Thank you Mike !

  1076. Andrew C Jackson

    Does any one know which National Rail ticket offices will put my Senior Railcard discount onto a Oyster card?

  1077. Hi Andrew,

    You should be ok at any of the stations on this page, or ask the visible staff at any Underground station.

  1078. Hi
    It sounds like to get a Disabled Railcard discount on a Victoria to East Croydon journey in the morning peak I need to get a paper ticket? It wont work on an Oyster card loaded with the railcard (or contactless) Is this right?
    I have a Freedom Pass to get home again.

    The Key Smartcard doesn’t seem to work journeys for inside London(?) If the KeyGo system ever gets the ability to add a railcards it could be a solution.
    Any other ideas?

  1079. Hi James,

    The Disabled Railcard discount on an Oyster card does work at all times. You can’t attach it to a contactless card though.

  1080. Hi
    After the exchange above I got an Oyster Card ad added my disabled railcard to it.
    I’ve twice been charged £5.40 to go from VIC to ECR in the morning peak and not used the card at all otherwise.
    The contactless card was charged the same £5.40 so the railcard disount doesn’t seem to work.
    National Rail says the journey costs £6.50 (£430 with DPRC)
    TFL Single Fare Finder says 7.10
    Your new fare finder says £5.40 (£3.55 with DPRC)
    I’m confused!

  1081. Hi James,

    Whoever added your railcard used the wrong code. The disabled railcard has it’s own code which is different to the other railcards because it gives you discounts off all fares and caps. Take both Oyster card and railcard back to an underground station and explain what’s happened. They should change the code for you. Then contact the helpdesk and see if they’ll agree to refund the overcharges. They should be able to do that for the last 8 weeks.

    As to the fare finders, mine and TfL’s will say the same because they are both driven by the same source. Where you saw £7.10 you had selected Victoria Underground station and just the normal railcard rather than disabled. The National Rail prices of £6.50/£4.30 are for paper tickets. If you look in the blue heading it has a box for “Oyster (pay as you go) from £3.55”.

    I hope you can get this sorted out.

  1082. Hello Mike.
    I travel from Ware to Dalston Kingsland and tap in 15:50 and the train leaves at 16:11 do I still pay off peak rate or not.
    I have a Disabled Railcard added to my Oyster Card.

  1083. Hi Frank,

    As long as touch in is before 1600 then the off-peak fare will be charged.

  1084. Hello Mike
    I have a Zone 2-5 Oyster Travelcard with an Annual Gold Card reduction applied for off-peak discount. Last Thursday I travelled from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town at approx 18:15. I was charged £2.40 for this fare but I’m a bit confused as the tfl website seems to suggest any off-peak travel from 09:30 onwards is discounted. I know I was in the 16:00-19:00 peak so does this not apply? Also, if the peak price from Liverpool Street to Zone 2 (Bethnal Green/Cambridge Heath – where I always get off/on) is £2.90 wouldn’t TFL have charged me this rather than the £2.40 they actually did?
    Thanks for great website

  1085. Hi Mike

    I have an annual z1-3 oyster travel card. And travelling to Luton airport

    I know I have to pay from z3 to Luton on paper ticket with GC discount. Do I purchase at starting station in z3. South of the river Use oyster to z3 north go out and buy ticket from there

  1086. Hi James,

    The confusion is between fares and caps. The off-peak cap applies after 0930 but peak fares are charged between 1600-1900. And the fare is just zone 1 because you’ve paid for zone 2. It’s as if there’s an imaginary station on the boundary on every line that doesn’t have one.

  1087. Hi Andrew,

    You need a ticket from Hendon to Luton. This can be bought at any station. There is no need for the train to even call at Hendon when used in conjunction with a season ticket.

  1088. Hi Mike

    Thanks for the quick reply. Will the oyster card season show as no exit and get a penalty fare?

  1089. Hi Andrew,

    There is no penalty for missing a touch with a travelcard when you have tickets to cover the whole of your journey.

  1090. James Shoebottom

    Ok. Thanks Mike for the explanation.

  1091. Hi, Just to update the posts above. I got Underground staff to reapply the *disabled* railcard to my Oyster and now it does seem to be discounting the fiare before 9.30am Thanks for the tip.

  1092. Thanks James, glad it’s been sorted.

  1093. danielCodrington

    Hi Mike, I was wondering if you could tell me wether you could tell me is it cheaper to get return tickets or London Travelcard the same day on a Saturday to Watford Junction from Gatwick airport with 2 together Railcard or just use our contactless debit cards for whole journey. We plan to change at Clapham Junction and just use National Rail services. Many thanks.

  1094. Hi,
    I managed to lose my Oyster card yesterday, but the silver lining is discovering a way to see that a discount is registered against an Oyster Card via the web site.
    When you click the link to report an Oyster card as Lost, it provides a warning that the discount won’t be transferred. From experience it doesn’t display that once the discount expires.
    This question comes up from time to time so thought I’d mention it here. The other way of course is to tap it at a tube station TVM.

  1095. Hi Daniel,

    You’ll be much better off using the two together railcard and getting returns “route Kensington Olympia”.

  1096. Thanks for that Chris.

  1097. danielCodrington

    Thanks Mike.

  1098. I’m going to get a 16-25 railcard (3yr) and want to get off peak tube discounts with it. I was going to get a 18+ student oyster photocard.
    However, I don’t think I will actually use a travelcard for the first term/s because of covid. This is because I need to go there and back at peak times and 5 times a week to save money which won’t happen. I’m more likely to have a travelcard in a year’s time.

    Should I get a 18+ oyster and put the railcard on it or should I just put it on a normal oyster card?

  1099. Hi Thomas,

    You might as well get the Student card. It lasts as long as the course does so unless you think you’ll never use it it’ll cost the same.

  1100. Good point. Thanks for the advice Mike.

  1101. Is it possible to get auto top-up on an 18+ card?

  1102. Hi Kian,

    Yes it is. You need to add it to a normal Oyster online account, then you can order auto top-up. You can still only order discounted travelcards from your photocard account.

  1103. Hi there, it seems that 16 year olds pay full price for travelling in London zones 5&6 with Southeastern and that using the 16+ zip oyster photocard does not give them a discount. Is that correct? does this mean we need to get a railcard on top of the zip card to get a discount? Many thanks

  1104. Hi Sara,

    That shouldn’t be the case. Fares and caps with a 16+ zip card should be half the adult rate across the board. This is more expensive than the fares paid with an 11-15 zip, but not adult fares. If you genuinely are paying adult fares then call the helpdesk – you may have an incorrectly set discount code on the card.

  1105. Hello,

    Last night I topped up my 18+ oyster card online however I realised that I had used the oyster card before it had been 30 minutes (which is how long it says the order will be ready to collect). I thought that I would just be able to collect it when I used the bus again today but it did not work and now my oyster balance is -£1.00?

    What do I do? Shall I try top up my oyster again and use it on the bus tomorrow?

  1106. Hi Grace,

    I think the bus you were on today may not have received the latest top-up requests. If you can I would visit a ticket stop shop and put some on before trying it on the bus again. One more journey doesn’t work if you start with a negative balance. If your next touch in still doesn’t load the ordered top-up then call the helpdesk.

  1107. Hi Mike,

    Great site, thanks for all the helpful info, I come here a lot.
    I have a question about a daily cap that was applied on my Oyster the other day and the relationship bus fares had in it, which I had previously thought did not have any relation to zonal caps.

    I have a standard Adult oyster with the 1/3 off Railcard discount applied. So I made two tube journeys in the zones covering 1-6. The daily cap for these zones is £13.20. With my Railcard discount it would be £8.70 (using the formula subtracting 34% and rounded down to the nearest 5p).

    The first journey was off-peak costing me £1.85, the second journey was peak costing me £3.85. When I tapped out, I thought that seemed unusual, as I was expecting the full non-discounted £5.10 fare to have been charged. When I checked my journey history later that evening, I saw that the reason I had only been charged £3.85 was because I had hit the £8.70 daily cap for these zones 1-6. But I didn’t make any other tube journeys that day, however I had earlier in the day taken two buses, exceeding than the hopper time apart, thus costing me £3.00. This added to the two rail fares made me hit the £8.70 daily cap.

    But I thought buses/trams were not part of the daily cap as it says at the top of this article that there are no discounts when it comes to adding bus or tram fares towards the cap?

    If I’m wrong and buses and trams are in fact included in the cap I experienced, then does this mean I could have taken an unlimited number more buses that day, for no further charge? I.e once I see that green cap symbol in the TfL app, I will not be further charged on buses or trains that day (trains within zones 1-6).

  1108. Hi Dean,

    What it actually says is: There are no discounts for bus or tram single fares.

    The fares you pay still count towards any cap that you might reach, so yes, had you carried on travelling by bus or train you would have paid no further charges.