Oyster and contactless payment

using 'Pay As You Go' Oyster on London Midland services

Oyster Card ImageSelected services on London Midland and other rail transport services now accept Oyster ‘Pay As You Go' (PAYG), as follows:

  • London Midland services between London Euston and Watford Junction, including intermediate stations
  • Southern services between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction, including intermediate stations.
  • Transport for London (bus, Tube, tram, Docklands Light Railway) and all London Overground services
  • From January 2010 the availability of Oyster PAYG was also extended to most National Rail services within the London Travelcard area (i.e. except Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect services between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow and Southeastern high speed services between St Pancras International and Stratford International.)

Click here to view a map of where Oyster Pay as You Go is available on National Rail services

Please note that Oyster ‘Pay As You Go' is not available for use on London Midland services north of Watford Junction.

'Pay As You Go' Oyster on National Rail services

Click here to view detail on Oyster Pay As You Go being extended to most National Rail services.

what is the 'Pay As You Go' Oyster card?

Oyster 'Pay As You Go' makes buying and using tickets easier.  The card can store up to £90 on it for you to use on recognised Oyster travel routes.  Additionally, it can also store your Travelcard or bus pass season ticket.

It is available for adults and children (5-10 years & 11-15 years). 

Oyster cards have the following benefits:

  • They are faster, because there is no need to queue for tickets as you can pay in advance
  • They are smarter, because it automatically calculates the cheapest fare for journeys you make in a single day, and Oyster single fares are generally cheaper than cash single fares
  • They are easier, because the card can be used as and when you need it and it will not expire

where can I obtain an Oyster card?

Oyster cards can be obtained from Oyster Ticket Shops, a few National Rail stations, London Overground station ticket offices, Tube station ticket vending machines, on line at www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster or by phoning 0845 330 9876.

how do I purchase PAYG value/top up for my Oyster card?

  • At the London Midland ticket offices at London Euston and Watford Junction stations.
  • Top ups (plus 7 day Travelcards) are also available from the London Midland Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at these two stations.
  • Online at www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster
  • At selected other National Rail stations where Oyster pay as you go is accepted for travel. Please check with your local station or online here.
  • At ticket offices and touchscreen ticket machines at most Tube and London Overground stations.
  • At over 2,200 Oyster Ticket Stops across London, find your nearest one at www.tfl.gov.uk/fares

how do I use Oyster at the station?

  • 'Touch in' at the appropriate point where you need to show your ticket at your starting station. ‘Touch out' at the appropriate point where you need to show your ticket at your final destination station
  • To 'touch in' and 'touch out' place your Oyster card flat on the yellow readers in the station, this will ensure that you always pay the correct fare for your journey. The yellow reader will give you a visual and audible signal which means you can proceed onwards. Some locations are fitted with newer readers which will also display the cost of your journey and the remaining balance on your card.
  • When you 'touch in' on National Rail services you will automatically be charged an 'Entry' charge of up to £8. It will automatically be adjusted when you 'touch out' at your destination. It is very important to ‘touch out' otherwise you will be charged more than the advertised Oyster single fare for your journey, additionally the daily price capping promise which ensures that the best value ticket is issued for your journey will not apply.
  • If you do not ‘touch in' and ‘touch out' then you may also be liable to pay a Penalty Fare or be prosecuted.
  • If there are no ticket gates at stations to use your Oyster card then you must use the validators provided, otherwise you will be charged the maximum fare.

daily price capping

  • When using Oyster Pay As You Go the daily price cap will ensure that you can travel as many times as you like in a day (from 04:30 and before 04:30 the next day) and you will pay no more than the price of an equivalent Day Travelcard/

extra discounts on daily price capping with a railcard

Daily price capping is the most you will be charged a day when you use Oyster to pay as you go on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and some National Rail services.

If you hold one of the National Rail Railcards mentioned below, you can get an Oyster card and have the Railcard discount entitlement loaded on to it. You can then use Oyster to pay as you go at adult-rate, but your Off-Peak Oyster daily price cap will be up to 34 per cent lower than the equivalent adult-rate cap.

Holders of the following National Rail Railcards can benefit from discounted daily price capping:

  • Disabled Persons
  • HM Forces
  • Senior
  • 16-25

You will need to get an Oyster card and have your Railcard discount concession loaded on it.

This can be done at Tube station ticket offices, London Overground station ticket offices and some National Rail station ticket offices.

what are the price differences for travelling using an Oyster ‘Pay As You Go' and a normal National Rail fare?

National Rail v Oyster comparison fares (January 2015)

Between Anytime Day Return Off-Peak Day Return Oyster PAYG - Peak Single Oyster PAYG - Off-Peak Single
Watford Junction and London Euston        £16.60 £10.60 £8.10 £4.90
Bushey and London Euston £16.80 N/A £6.20 £4.00
Harrow & Wealdstone and London Euston £11.60 N/A £4.40 £3.10
Watford Junction and Bushey £6.00 N/A £1.70 £1.50
Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone £9.60 N/A £2.80 £1.70
Bushey and Harrow & Wealdstone £9.60 N/A £2.80 £1.70

Towards London Euston: Peak - Monday to Friday 0630-0930hrs, off-peak - all other times.

Towards Watford Junction:  Peak - Monday to Friday 1600-1900hrs, off-peak - all other times.

contactless payment

Contactless paymentIn addition to Oyster, if you have a contactless payment card (or ‘CPC’) you can now use this for ‘Pay As You Go Travel’ within London zones (see the above ‘Using 'Pay As You Go' Oyster on London Midland services’ for services which accept contactless payment.

Contactless payment cards are debit, credit, charge or pre-paid cards which can be used to make quick, easy and secure payments for everyday purchases under £20. There's no need for a PIN or a signature, just touch your card on a contactless card reader.

Please note that contactless ‘Pay As You Go' is not available for use on London Midland services north of Watford Junction.

If you currently use pay as you go, travelling with a contactless payment card can be a good alternative. You'll still be charged an adult-rate pay as you go fare, but you won't have to worry about running out of credit and you could also benefit from daily and Monday to Sunday capping.

You'll also be able to use a contactless payment card if you forget your Oyster card or if it runs out of credit and you can't top it up, e.g. late at night.

If you currently buy a 7 Day Travelcard on a Monday, using a contactless payment card can be a convenient alternative. If you use the same card to pay for all your journeys all week until Sunday, your fares will be capped at the price of an equivalent 7 Day Travelcard.

If you're eligible for discounted travel, you should carry on using your existing Oyster card or Oyster photocard - discounts can't be added to contactless payment cards.

more information

For more information on Oyster, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster or call TfL Customer Services helpline on 0343 222 1234 for further information.

Download Oyster Conditions of Use (pdf file)

For more information on contactless payment, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/contactless or call the TfL Customer Services helpline on 0343 222 1234 for further information.

Alternatively customers can contact TfL by post:

Transport for London Customer Services
14 Pier Walk
SE10 0ES

prices shown apply from 2 January 2015 until further notice 


Outward journey:


Return journey

Passengers & railcards

Start date & duration:



End date

Or for


register with us to manage your account online and keep up to date with news, offers and everything London Midland