25 March 2010

Oyster PAYG - What is the cheapest fare?

The Off Peak Day Return which used to be available on the trains has been discontinued with the introduction of Oyster PAYG. You can still buy a paper ticket, and we have tried to work out the various costs for you. There is still some confusion as to what fares will be charged for the East London Line, but at the moment, it looks as though we will be charged TfL rates for stations served by the ELL.

TfL have taken advantage of the flexibility of Oyster to introduce an evening peak period. As a result, the Peak Fare now applies Monday-Friday 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. Off-Peak fares are charged at all other times and on Public Holidays. The fare will be determined by the time the Oyster card is touched in, rather than the time of departure of the train, so be careful when travelling around 0930, 1600 or 1900.

As can be seen from the table below, the cheapest fare currently available is with a Gold Card discount followed by Oyster, with cash fares (Paper tickets) being the most expensive single fare.

JourneyOyster PeakOyster Off-PeakPaper SingleGold Card SinglePaper ReturnGold Card Return
Forest Hill – Underground 1-3£3.70£3.10£5.10£3.50£8.60£5.70
Forest Hill – London Bridge£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – Victoria£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – New Cross Gate£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.15£3.70£1.90
Forest Hill – Honor Oak Park£1.40£1.30£1.70£1.15£2.90£2.90
Forest Hill – Norwood Junction£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.40£3.70£2.45
Forest Hill – West Croydon£2.20£1.70£2.60£1.70£4.50£2.95

If the fares switch to TfL's Zonal system when the East London Line starts operation, then these fares could be reduced by up to £1 (However, fares to Victoria and London Bridge might increase by 10p or 40p, but this is unclear at the moment).

Does Oyster have a One Day Travelcard?

Oyster cards work slightly differently from paper tickets. Instead of buying a One Day Travelcard in advance, with Oyster you simply touch in and out on all your journeys but the amount you are charged each day is capped to the equivalent Travelcard. However, be warned that if you fail to touch out then you will be charged the maximum fare for that journey and it will not count towards your daily cap.

If you only travel on buses and trams between 0430 one day and 0429 the next, then your charges will be capped at £3.90 for adults or £1.95 if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare.

When you travel on the tube, trains or DLR, then the daily price cap is the same price as an equivalent One Day Travelcard for adults and 16+. The child fare is capped at half the Adult fare for peak and £1 for off-peak. The current Adult caps are

Zones CoveredPeakOff Peak
Travelcard 1-3, 1-4£8.60£6.30
Travelcard 2-6£9.00£5.10
Travelcard 1-6£14.80£7.50

Once you reach a cap, you must continue to touch your Oyster card on the card reader on every journey, to ensure you pay the correct fare for the zones you travel through. If you do not, you could be charged a maximum cash fare, a Penalty Fare or you may be prosecuted

However, the cheapest way to travel at the weekend or on Public Holidays is with a Network Railcard. This allows you to buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard for only £5.00. The railcard itself costs £25 unless you are lucky enough to know someone with an Annual Gold card, in which case it will only cost £1.

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