Oyster is now valid on the trains as well as the tube, buses and trams, which is great news. Indeed an additional 500,000 journeys have been made using Oyster Pay as You Go every week on the National Rail network since 2 January. However, there have been a few teething problems, with a lack of Oyster readers at the local stations and some people have been over charged for their train journeys due to problems touching in and out.
At the moment you cannot buy an Oyster card at the station. LOROL (the people who operate Forest Hill station for TfL) are supposed to be upgrading the ticket counter machines by April so that they will be able to sell PAYG Oyster cards and weekly Travelcards on Oyster, but the machines will not be able to register new Oyster cards so you will not be able to buy Monthly or Annual season Travelcards on a new Oyster card. It is unclear whether you will be able to buy a Monthly or Annual Travelcard on a previously registered Oyster Card
So how should it work?
An Oyster card can hold a maximum of three Travelcards and £90 pay as you go credit on it. You can also add your Disabled Persons, HM Forces, Senior or 16-25 Railcard if you are eligible.
Bus and tram journeys are charged at £1.20 for adults or 60p if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare. You are charged when you touch-in on the Oyster reader. The amount deducted and the remaining balance are displayed on the reader when you touch in. There is no need to touch out when using buses or trams. The Bus & Tram Discount scheme is available to help Londoners on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and those who have been receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for a minimum of 13 weeks.
When travelling by tube, train or DLR using Oyster PAYG, you need to touch in at the start AND end of your journey. When you touch in, an entry charge is deducted from your Oyster card. This is known as the “maximum fare” which is currently £6 (peak) and £4.30 (off peak) within Zones 1-6. When you touch out at the end of your journey, the correct fare for your journey is calculated
and your PAYG balance is adjusted as appropriate.
You only need sufficient credit on your Oyster card to pay the minimum fare when touching in. In other words, your Oyster PAYG can go overdrawn but it will disable any Travelcard you may have on it until the PAYG balance is back in credit.
If you have a Travelcard on your Oyster, you will want to know how to combine your Oyster with PAYG