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LauraRW 20, forum posts. London underground London buses Airport transfers Travelcards. The most recent issue of the standard Oyster card has TfL branding on its front, removed from the back of the card in the previous issue. TfL published guides to the limitations of pay-as-you-go validity [] diagrammatic maps illustrating PAYG validity were published in November by National Rail, [] but these were rarely on display at stations and had to be obtained from transport websites. Pay-as-you-go funds are also used to cover any additional fares due from season ticket holders who have travelled outside the valid zones of their season ticket see Travelcards above. In Ken Livingstone then Mayor of London began a process of trying to persuade National Rail train operating companies to allow Oyster PAYG on all of their services within London, but a dispute about ticketing prevented this plan from going ahead.

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The same information is available as a print-out from ticket offices, and also on board London Buses by request. The balance is displayed on some Underground barriers at the end of journeys that have caused a debit from the balance, and can also be requested at newsagents and National Rail stations that provide a top-up facility.

A complete 8-week 'touch' history can be requested from TfL: Oyster online also displays up to 8 weeks of journey history. Travellers touch the card on a distinctive yellow circular reader a Tri-Reader, developed by Cubic Transportation Systems on the automated barriers at London Underground stations to 'touch in' and 'touch out' at the start and end of a journey.

Physical contact is not necessary, but the range of the reader is only a few millimeters. Such a step is not needed if transferring between trains within a station unless they are run by different operators. Oyster cards can be used to store season tickets of both travelcards and bus passes of one week or more , and a Pay-as-you-go balance. An Oyster card can hold up to three season tickets at the same time. There is no essential difference in validity or cost between a 7-day, monthly or longer period Travelcard on Oyster and one on a traditional paper ticket; they are valid on all Underground, Overground, DLR, bus, tram and national rail services within the zones purchased.

See the main article for a fuller explanation of Travelcards. Trams may also be used if the travelcard includes Zones 3, 4, 5 or 6. As long as the Travelcard holder stays within their permitted zones no fare will be deducted from the pay-as-you-go funds on the card. The Oyster system checks that the Travelcard is valid in the zones it is being used in. If users travel outside the valid zones of their Travelcard but within Oyster payment zones , any remaining fare due may be deducted from their pay-as-you-go funds see below for how this is calculated.

Oyster card Travelcards can be renewed at the normal sales points and ticket machines at London Underground or London Overground stations, Oyster Ticket Stop agents, or some National Rail stations. Travelcards can also be renewed online via the Oystercard website, or by telephone sales from TfL; users must then nominate a Tube or overground station where they will tap their card in order to charge the card with the funds or season ticket purchased.

There are further restrictions on when an online purchase can be "collected" by tapping in at a station, after the date of online purchase Travelcard: For more Travelcard renewal information, see the section on Recharging in this article. Travelcard renewals cannot be added by a reader on a bus. In addition to holding Travelcards and bus passes, Oyster cards can also be used as stored-value cards , holding electronic funds of money.

Amounts are deducted from the card each time it is used, and the funds can be "recharged" when required. This system is known as "pay as you go" abbreviated PAYG , because instead of holding a season ticket, the user only pays at the point of use. When Oyster cards were introduced, the PAYG system was initially named "pre pay", and this name is still sometimes used by National Rail. TfL officially refers to the system as "pay as you go" in all publicity. The validity of PAYG has a more complex history as it has only been gradually accepted by transport operators independent of TfL.

Additionally, the use of PAYG differs across the various modes of transport in London, and passengers are sometimes required to follow different procedures to pay for their journey correctly. It is possible to have a negative pay-as-you-go balance after completing a journey, but this will prevent the card from being used even if it is loaded with a valid Travelcard until the card is topped up.

In , TfL introduced a new type of Oyster card validator, distinguished from the standard yellow validators by having a pink-coloured reader. They do not deduct funds, but are used at peripheral interchange points to confirm journey details. Oyster pay-as-you-go users travelling between two points without passing through Zone 1 are eligible for a lower fare, and from 6 September can confirm their route by touching their Oyster cards on the pink validators when they change trains, allowing them to be charged the appropriate fare without paying for Zone 1 travel.

The pink validators are located at 15 interchange stations. Oyster card pay-as-you-go users must "touch in" at the start of a journey by London Underground or DLR, and "touch out" again at the end. The Oyster card readers automatically calculate the correct fare based on the start and end points of the journey and deduct that fare from the Oyster card. Pay-as-you-go funds are also used to cover any additional fares due from season ticket holders who have travelled outside the valid zones of their season ticket see Travelcards above.

Passengers enter or exit most London Underground stations through ticket barriers which are operated by scanning an Oyster card or inserting a valid ticket. Some tube stations such as those at National Rail interchanges and DLR stations have standalone validators with no barriers. In both instances, pay-as-you-go users are required to touch in and out. London Overground services are operated by TfL and Oyster pay-as-you-go users use their cards in the same way as on Underground journeys, touching their card on a card reader at the entry and exit points of their journey to calculate the fare due.

Users must touch the Oyster card only once at the point of boarding: In July , cash became the deprecated form of payment for travel on London Buses, with TfL heavily promoting the use of a contactless card or Oyster card. As London buses do not accept cash payments, TfL introduced a "one more journey" incentive on Oyster cards. Doing so may result in a negative balance, but the card can be topped up at a later date.

When using the 'one more journey' feature, customers receive an emergency fare advice slip to acknowledge that the Oyster 'One More Journey' feature has been used and to remind them that their card needs to be topped up before another journey can be made. Some London bus routes cross outside the Greater London boundary before reaching their terminus. Pay-as-you-go users are permitted to travel the full length of these route on buses operated as part of the London Bus network, even to destinations some distance outside Greater London.

London's trams operate on the same fare structure as buses; the rules are similar, and users with pre-pay must touch the Oyster card only once at the point of boarding.

Users with Travelcards valid for the Tramlink zones need not touch in unless travelling to Wimbledon with a Travelcard not valid in zone 3. A more complex arrangement exists at Wimbledon station; tram passengers starting their journey there must pass through ticket gates in order to reach the tram platform, and therefore need to touch their Oyster card to open the barriers. They must then touch their Oyster card once again on the card reader on the Tramlink platform to confirm their journey as a tram passenger.

Tram passengers arriving in Wimbledon must not touch out on the card reader on the Tramlink platform, but must touch-out to exit via the station gates. If the card is touched on the platform, the touch-out at the gate would be seen as a touch-in and cause the maximum fare to be charged to the card.

Passengers boarding a Thames Clippers riverbus service must present their Oyster card to the ticket office before boarding; staff will use a hand-held card reader to deduct the appropriate fare from their pay-as-you-go balance.

Thames Clippers operates a pay-before-boarding policy. Oyster pay-as-you-go is valid only to purchase tickets for London River Services boats operated by Thames Clippers. Pay-as-you-go is not accepted for payment by other riverboat operators. Freedom Pass holders and visitors in possession of ordinary magnetic stripe Travelcards have to buy a cash ticket if they wish to take advantage of the discount.

PAYG funds may also be used to cover any additional fares due from season ticket holders who have travelled outside the valid zones of their season ticket see Travelcards above. Many large National Rail stations in London have Oystercard-compatible barriers. At other smaller stations, users must touch the card on a standalone validator.

In such cases, the card holder touches out at one station and then touches in again before starting the next leg of the journey.

The PAYG fares are then combined and charged as a single journey. Examples include transferring between the Jubilee line at Canary Wharf and the DLR where Oyster card holders must tap their card at the ticket barriers in the Tube station, and then touch in on the validator at the DLR station.

In some cases e. Out-of-Station Interchanges can be temporary or permanent. A temporary arrangement may exist between two stations at short notice routinely during weekend work but also when an emergency closure occurs. The two journeys that result are only charged as a single journey. All ticket offices at stations run by London Underground will sell or recharge Oyster cards, or handle Oyster card refunds. However, some Tube stations are actually operated by National Rail train operating companies, and their ticket offices will not deal with Oyster refunds.

DLR does not have any ticket offices which sell any Oyster card top-ups or handle refunds as its stations are usually unmanned , except for the information office at London City Airport. This should be done as part of a normal journey to avoid the risk of paying an Oyster maximum fare. It will remain at the gates for 7 further days before dropping off the system.

If the customer purchases a Travelcard season ticket, it will 'arrive' at the gates, up to 5 days before the start date of the ticket and will remain there until 2 days after the ticket has started. If the customer does not make their pick up in time, it will take a further 14 days to refund automatically to the bank card they made the purchase with.

For further information on recharging and renewals, see the section on Renewals in this article. Customers can set up and manage Auto top-up online for their existing Oyster card. There is a constraint in the design, that requires a journey to be made via a nominated station, before auto top-up can be enabled. There are a number of services such as Thames Clippers, for which this initiation transaction is not offered. A light on the Oyster reader flashes to indicate the Auto top-up has taken place and an email is sent to confirm the transaction.

Payment is then taken from the registered debit or credit card. To ensure successful transactions, customers must record any changes to their billing address and update their debit or credit card details as necessary. Oyster photocards, with an image of the authorised user on the card front, are issued to members of groups eligible for free or discounted travel.

NB peak National Rail fares may be cheaper with discounted paper tickets. A small selection of universities outside London have also registered on the scheme. A new photograph is not required. The funds and remaining travelcard is transferable to a new student Oyster photocard. On 7 January , Transport for London unveiled the Zip card, an Oyster photocard to be used by young people aged 18 years or under who qualify for free bus and tram travel within the capital, with effect from 1 June To qualify, one must live in a London borough and still be in full-time education if they are Freedom Passes are generally issued on what is in technical terms an Oyster card, though it does not bear that name.

Freedom passes are free travel passes available to Greater London residents who are over a specified age 60 until March , increasing in phases to 66 from March or with a disability specified in the Transport Act ; individual London boroughs have exceptional discretion to issue Freedom Passes to disabled people who do not meet the national statutory requirements though they have to fund them.

Holders cannot put any money or ticket products on a Freedom Pass; to travel outside these times, a separate Oyster card or other valid ticket is required. This comes about because although both stations are outside Greater London, both Dartford and Swanley have expanded sufficiently that parts now technically lie inside the Greater London boundary, though their postal addresses are still 'Dartford, Kent' and 'Swanley, Kent' respectively.

Both types of concessionary card have to be visually inspected at stations not equipped to read Oyster Cards. Cards also have to be visually inspected on any non-TfL buses whose routes accept the concessionary cards on journeys partly entering Greater London including routes equipped with readers that accept the national standard ITSO bus pass cards with which Oyster is not compatible.

They look identical to concessionary bus passes but are additionally marked "Freedom Pass" with the word "Pass" in red. A credit card variant of the Oyster card was launched by Barclaycard in September and is called OnePulse. The card combines standard Oyster card functionality with Visa credit card facilities. In , Transport for London shortlisted two financial services suppliers, Barclaycard and American Express , to add e-money payment capability to the Oyster card.

Barclaycard was selected in December to supply the card, [51] but the project was then temporarily shelved. In February Barclaycard announced that the OnePulse card would be withdrawn from use and all functionality would cease after 30 June This came about because the Oyster readers will now also recognise contactless cards and the presence of both on one card will cause 'card clash'. Customers had their OnePulse card replaced with the Freedom Rewards credit card.

A number of different ticket types can be held on an Oyster card, and validity varies across the different transport modes within London. Travelcards only provide discount, not valid for travel. The introduction of Oyster pay as you go on the National Rail commuter rail network in London was phased in gradually over a period of about six years see Roll-out history. Additionally, PAYG may be used at a selected number of stations which lie just outside the zones.

In November , the metro routes operated by Silverlink were brought under the control of TfL and operated under the brand name London Overground. London Oyster Cards and contactless cards will be accepted on many Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services in early These include to Gatwick Airport station and five other Surrey railway stations, as well as to Luton Airport.

Discounts on standard fares are offered to Oyster cardholders, except on the O2 Express. The daily price capping guarantee does not apply to journeys made on Thames Clippers. Like London River Services, the cable car is a privately funded concern and is not fully integrated into TfL's ticketing system. The pricing system is fairly complex, and changes from time to time. The most up to date fares can be found on Transport for London's FareFinder website.

To encourage passengers to switch to Oyster, cash fares are generally much more expensive than PAYG fares including Bus and Tram fares:. Cash is no longer accepted on London's buses, but a contactless debit or credit card can be used in place of an Oyster card at the same fare. The Oyster pay as you go system coupled with the zoned fare system inevitably gives rise to some quirks in the fares charged.

A 'capping' system was introduced on 27 February , which means that an Oyster card will be charged no more than the nearest equivalent Day Travelcard for a day's travel, if penalty fares are not incurred. In return Transport for London agreed to open an office in the Venezuelan capital Caracas to offer expertise on town planning, tourism, public protection and environmental issues.

The deal with Venezuela was ended by Mayor Boris Johnson shortly after he took office, and the Bus and Tram Discount photocard scheme closed to new applications on 20 August ; Johnson said that "TfL will honour the discount [on existing cards] until the six-month time periods on cards have run out". Depending on the journey made, the difference between this maximum fare and the actual fare due is automatically refunded to the user's Oyster card upon touching out.

The maximum fare is automatically charged to a passenger who touches out without having first touched in. Two maximum fares are charged one for touching in, one for touching out if a passenger touches in at a station, waits for over twenty minutes, and then touches out at the same station, because the system assumes that the passenger has been able to travel to another station in that time, taking no account of situations where there are severe delays.

Users must touch in and out even if the ticket barriers are open. At stations where Oyster is accepted but that do not have ticket barriers, an Oyster validator will be provided for the purposes of touching in and out. The maximum Oyster fare applies even if the daily price cap has been reached as this does not count towards the cap.

Maximum Oyster fares may be contested by telephone to the Oyster helpline on [68] or via email. This involves providing the Oyster card number and the relevant journey details; further journeys appearing on the card are helpful to validate the user's claim. If the claim is accepted then the maximum Oyster fare minus the cost of the journey will be refunded. On touching in or out, the refund is loaded to the card. The only way to collect a refund is as part of an actual journey, otherwise a further penalty fare is charged.

This is because when the passenger touches the reader with their Oyster card, not only will the refund go on to the card, but a new journey will start. The start date to pick up the refund can be the next day at the earliest and the refund will remain at the nominated station for 8 days in total. The customer does have the option to delay the start date for up to 8 days, and the refund will still remain at the gate for up to 8 further days.

After this time the refund will be deleted from the gate line, and the customer will have to re-request the refund. Commuters with Travelcards that do not pay for individual journeys will be refunded the Pay As You Go price of that single delayed journey [71]. Customers wishing to claim these refunds must create an online TfL account, and then either manually claim online each time they are delayed, or use the free Train Reeclaim tool which automatically detects delayed TfL journeys and claims a refund on behalf of the commuter for each one.

The roll-out of Oyster features and migration from the paper-based system has been phased. Milestones so far have been:. The National Rail network is mostly outside the control of Transport for London, and passenger services are run by number of independent rail companies.

Several rail companies have accepted London Underground single fares because they duplicate London Underground routes, and they adopted the Oyster PAYG on those sections of the line which run alongside the Underground.

As a consequence, some rail operators whose services run parallel to London Overground lines were forced to accept PAYG, [81] although only after some initial hesitation. The process of persuading the various rail firms involved a long process of negotiation between the London Mayors and train operating companies.

In Ken Livingstone then Mayor of London began a process of trying to persuade National Rail train operating companies to allow Oyster PAYG on all of their services within London, but a dispute about ticketing prevented this plan from going ahead. TfL announced a National Rail rollout date of May , [86] but negotiation with the private rail firms continued to fail and the rollout was delayed to Oyster readers were installed at many National Rail stations across London, but they remained covered up and not in use.

This system was introduced to address the revenue protection concerns of the rail companies, but it was criticised for its complexity, [88] [89] and was abolished on 22 May Since the introduction of the Oyster card, the number of customers paying cash fares on buses has dropped dramatically. In addition, usage of station ticket offices has dropped, to the extent that in June , TfL announced that a number of their ticket offices would close, with some others reducing their opening hours.

TfL suggested that the staff would be 're-deployed' elsewhere on the network, including as train drivers. In August the issue of the impact of the Oyster card on staffing returned. In response to The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers RMT ballot for a strike over planned job cuts, TfL stated that the increase in people using Oyster electronic ticketing cards meant only one in 20 journeys now involved interaction with a ticket office.

As a result, it aims to reduce staff in ticket offices and elsewhere while deploying more workers to help passengers in stations. Use of single tickets has declined and stands at roughly 1. Since the launch of contactless payment in , over million journeys have been made using contactless, using over 12 million contactless bank cards. In , Transport for London became the first public transport provider in the world to accept payment from contactless bank cards. In , TfL licensed their contactless payment system to Cubic, the original developers of the Oyster card, allowing the technology to be sold to other transport providers worldwide.

The same requirement to touch in and out on underground services applies to contactless cards. The same price capping that applies to the use of Oyster cards applies to the use of contactless cards provided the same card is used for the day's journeys.

The fare paid every day is settled with the bank and appears on the debit or credit card statement. Detailed usage data is written to Transport for London's systems and is available for customers who register their contactless cards with Transport for London.

Unlike an Oyster card, a contactless card does not store credit beyond the holder's credit limit and there is no need or facility to add credit to the card. An Oyster card can have a longer term "season" ticket loaded onto it either at a ticket office or on line. Such a ticket can start on any day and be valid for a minimum of seven days and a maximum of one year. Unlike an Oyster card, a contactless card can automatically apply a seven-day travel card rate.

If the card is regularly used between any Monday to Sunday period, an automatic cap is applied. The seven-day period is fixed at Monday to Sunday, it cannot be any seven-day period, unlike a seven-day ticket applied to an Oyster card.

There is currently no automatic cap for longer periods. Since the Oyster readers cannot write to a contactless card, the reader when touching out is unable to display the fare charged for the journey, as the card does not have the starting point stored in it. This is calculated overnight once the touch in and touch out information is downloaded from the gates and collated. Transport for London state that if ticket inspection is taking place, that it is necessary to present the contactless card to the ticket inspector's portable oyster card reader.

As the reader at the starting station cannot write to the contactless card and the card's use is not downloaded until the following night, it is not clear how the isolated portable card reader can determine if the card was used to touch into the system.

In late , TfL introduced the Oyster card app which allows users to check their balance on a compatible Android or iOS smartphone. The app is free to download and users can top up their Oyster card on the go or check journey history.

Top ups are available to collect at any London Underground station or bus within 30 minutes. The app also has a notification feature which alerts users when their balance is below a specified amount. First generation Oyster cards are not compatible with the app and TfL recommends users to upgrade their cards to newer ones to use them in the app.

Trial versions, Transport for London staff versions and the first version of the standard Oyster card for the public were released with the roundels on the front of the cards in red. Standard issues of the Oyster card have been updated since the first public release in order to meet TfL's Design Standards. There have been three issues of the standard Oyster card, including the original red roundel issue, but all three Oyster cards have retained their original dimensions of 85mm x 55mm, with Oyster card number and reference number located in the top right-hand corner and bottom right hand corner of the back of the card respectively, along with the terms and conditions.

The second issue of the standard Oyster card had 'Transport for London' branding on the back of the card, with the Mayor of London having replaced the 'LONDON' branding in the blue segment of the card's back.

The roundel on the front of the card was changed from the colour red to white, as white was seen to represent Transport for London whereas a red roundel is more known to represent London Buses. The most recent issue of the standard Oyster card has TfL branding on its front, removed from the back of the card in the previous issue.

The Mayor of London branding has also been moved from the blue segment on the back of the card to underneath the terms and conditions, where it is more prominent. With the release of the Oyster card, TfL released an accompanying Oyster card holder to replace the existing designs, previously sponsored by companies such as Yellow Pages , Direct Line and IKEA , as well as London Underground's and London Buses own releases of the holder which came without advertising.

The official Oyster branded holders have been redesigned on several occasions, keeping up with various iterations of the card and to increase service awareness. The initial version mimicked the blue design of the card itself, and was later modified to include the line "Please reuse your card" on the front. The designer wallets were available for a limited period of time from Oxfam's street teams in London who handed them out to people who signed up to the I'm In movement.

Also, to celebrate years of the Piccadilly line , a series of limited edition Oyster card wallets were commissioned from selected artists from the Thin Cities Platform for Art project. The previous wallets handed out were sponsored by IKEA who also sponsor the tube map, and did not display the Oyster or the London Underground logos. In late the standard issue wallets were redesigned with the only changes being the colour scheme changing from blue to black, and the removal of the resemblance to the Oyster card.

The most recent variation of the wallet came with the introduction of contactless payment acceptance on the network in , where light-green "Watch out for card clash" wallets have been issued to raise awareness of "card clash", and replace the previous simplistic designs. The inside of these wallets reads "Only touch one card on the reader" on the clear plastic. In addition to the official wallets distributed by TfL, which may or may not carry advertising for a sponsor, Oyster card holders and wallets are sometimes used as a marketing tool by other organisations seeking to promote their identity or activities.

Such items are normally given away free, either with products or handed out to the public. Although customers are usually given a free wallet when purchasing a card, the wallets themselves, including the most recent design issue, can be picked up for free at most stations or newsagents. The standard public Oyster card is blue but colour variants are used by transport staff. Similar cards are issued to police officers. A number of limited edition Oyster card variant designs exist.

These are produced in limited quantities but otherwise function as standard Oyster cards. The cards performed the same as any other card and also include all the same text, apart from a differentiating line listed below , and the London logo. Cards like these were distributed solely to select volunteers who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies. They were used for the duration of the games and therefore are no longer valid for use on the transport system.

The colour of these Oyster cards is pink with a coloured stripe:. Card users sometimes forget to touch in or touch out, are unable to find the yellow readers or it may be too crowded to touch out. Its been 15 years since Londoners first got their hands on the Oyster Card, the travel card that's now synonymous with wallets across the capital.

The piece below, originally written in , explains exactly what makes your little blue friend tick. The gates clunk open. Place an Oyster card near a suitable RFID reader, and an electromagnetic field is created between the reader and the chip in your Oyster card.

This powers up the microchip in the Oyster card long enough to let the reader access the data stored inside, allowing it to check whether the card contains a valid Travelcard or enough pay-as-you-go balance for the journey, and then write data back to it.

Transport for London retain the data of a particular Oyster card for eight weeks. This technology was widely used for workplace ID cards and electronic wallet applications.

This allowed them to freely read data from the MIFARE Classic chips, add money to empty payment cards, generate new users with access rights, or even clone cards in their entirety. The current cards based on this technology are far more advanced than their Classic predecessors.

Pretty clever stuff for something that looks like a credit card.

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Confirming that you are the card holder. We will ask you to confirm a security question and answer, or to give us details of the last journey you made with the Oyster card. The journey must have been made within the last 8 weeks (but not today). Oyster is a smartcard which can hold pay as you go credit, Travelcard and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets. Use it to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, . Register your Oyster card. Register your Oyster card by adding it to your account. This means that no one can use it once you've reported it as lost or stolen. You might also be eligible for a refund or replacement for any remaining pay as you go credit or the unused value of your Travelcard, or Bus & Tram Pass.