The Oyster card is a cost methodology for public transport in London (and sure areas round it) in the UK. A typical Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contact-less smart-card. It’s promoted by Transport for London and can be utilized on journey modes throughout London together with London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Gentle Railway (DLR), London Overground, Tramlink, some river boat companies, and most Nationwide Rail companies throughout the London fare zones. Since its introduction in June 2003, greater than 86 million playing cards have been used.

Oyster playing cards can maintain interval tickets; journey permits and; mostly, credit score for journey (“Pay as you go”), which have to be added to the cardboard earlier than journey. Passengers contact it on an digital reader when coming into and leaving the transport system with a view to validate it or deduct funds from the saved credit score. Playing cards could also be “topped-up” by recurring cost authority, by on-line buy, at bank card terminals or by money, the final two strategies at stations or ticket workplaces. The cardboard is designed to scale back the variety of transactions at ticket workplaces and the variety of paper tickets. Utilization is inspired by providing considerably cheaper fares than with money[2] although the acceptance of money is being phased out. On London buses, money is now not accepted.

The cardboard was first issued to the general public on 30 June 2003,[3] with a restricted vary of options and there continues to be a phased introduction of additional capabilities. By June 2012, over 43 million Oyster playing cards had been issued and greater than 80% of all journeys on public transport in London had been made utilizing the cardboard.[4]

From September 2007 to 2010, the Oyster card performance was experimented on Barclaycard contactless financial institution playing cards.[5] Since 2014, the usage of Oyster playing cards has been supplemented by contactless credit score and debit playing cards as a part of TfL’s “Future Ticketing Programme”.[6] TfL was one of many first public transport suppliers on the planet to simply accept cost by contactless financial institution playing cards, after, in Europe, the tramways and bus of Good on 21 Could 2010 both with NFC financial institution card or smartphone,[7] and the widespread adoption of contactless in London has been credited to this.[8] TfL is now one in every of Europe’s largest contactless retailers, with round 1 in 10 contactless transactions within the UK happening on the TfL community.[9]



Early digital smartcard ticket know-how was developed within the 1980s, and the primary smartcard was examined by London Transport on bus route 212 from Chingford to Walthamstow in 1992. The trial confirmed that the know-how was doable and that it could scale back boarding occasions.[10][11] In February 1994, the “Smartcard” or “Good Photocard” was launched and trialled in Harrow on 21 routes. Marketed as “the brand new passport to Harrow’s buses”, the trial was the most important of its sort on the planet, costing £2 million and leading to nearly 18,000 photocards issued to the Harrow public. It lasted till December 1995 and was a hit, proving that it reduces boarding occasions, is straightforward to make use of, and is ready to document entry and exit stops and calculate the corresponding fare price, i.e. pay as you go. Nonetheless the Upass smartcard of the South Korean capital Seoul would finally be the primary to roll it out formally, on the finish of 1995, eight years earlier than London would because the “Oyster card”.[12]


The Oyster card was arrange beneath a Personal Finance Initiative (PFI) contract between Transport for London (TfL) and TranSys, a consortium of suppliers that included EDS and Cubic Transportation Programs (accountable for day-to-day administration) and Fujitsu and WS Atkins (shareholders with no energetic involvement).[13] The £100 million contract was signed in 1998 for a time period of 17 years till 2015 at a complete value of £1.1 billion.[14]

In August 2008, TfL determined to train a break choice within the contract to terminate it in 2010, 5 years early. This adopted numerous technical failures.[15] TfL said that the contractual break was to scale back prices, not linked to the system failures.[16] In November 2008 a brand new contract was introduced between TfL and Cubic and EDS for 2 of the unique consortium shareholders to run the system from 2010 till 2013.[17]


The Oyster title was agreed on after a prolonged interval of analysis managed by TranSys and agreed by TfL. Two different names had been thought of[18] and “Oyster” was chosen as a recent strategy that was circuitously linked to move, ticketing or London. Different proposed names had been “Pulse” and “Gem”. In accordance with Andrew McCrum, now of Appella model title consultants, who was introduced in to discover a title by Saatchi and Saatchi Design (contracted by TranSys), “Oyster was conceived … due to the metaphorical implications of safety and worth within the arduous bivalve shell and the hid pearl. Its associations with London by Thames estuary oyster beds and the key relevance of the favored idiom “the world is your oyster” had been additionally important elements in its choice”.[19]

The mental property rights to the Oyster model initially belonged to TranSys. Following the renegotiation of the working contract in 2008, TfL sought to retain the fitting to make use of the Oyster model after the termination of its partnership with Transys,[17][20] finally buying the rights to the model in 2010 at a value of £1 million.[21]


A broken Oyster card, revealing the microchip within the decrease proper nook and the aerial working across the perimeter of the cardboard.

The Oyster card has a claimed proximity vary of about 80 mm (3 inches). The cardboard operates as a RFID system and is appropriate with ISO/IEC 14443 varieties A and B. Oyster readers can even learn different sorts of playing cards together with Cubic Transportation Programs’ Go playing cards. From its inception till January 2010, Oyster playing cards had been primarily based on NXP/Philips’ MIFARE Traditional 1k chips offered by Giesecke & Devrient, Gemalto and SchlumbergerSema.[22] All new Oyster playing cards have used MIFARE DESFire EV1 chips since December 2009. From February 2010, MIFARE Traditional-based Oyster playing cards had been now not issued.[23] MIFARE DESFire playing cards are actually broadly used as transport smartcards.

MIFARE Traditional chips, on which the unique Oyster card was primarily based, are hard-wired logic smartcards, that means that they’ve restricted computing energy designed for a selected job. The MIFARE DESFire chips used on the brand new Oyster card are CPUs with far more subtle security measures and extra complicated computation energy. They’re activated solely when they’re in an electromagnetic subject appropriate with ISO/IEC 14443 kind A, offered by Oyster readers. The readers learn info from the playing cards, calculate whether or not to permit journey, assess any fare payable and write again info to the cardboard. Some fundamental details about the MIFARE Traditional or MIFARE DESFire chip could be learn by any ISO/IEC 14443 kind A appropriate reader, however Oyster-specific info can’t be learn with out entry to the encryption used for the Oyster system. Whereas it has been prompt {that a} good reader may learn private particulars from a distance, there was no proof of anybody having the ability to decrypt Oyster info. By design the playing cards don’t carry any private info. Aluminium shielding has been prompt to stop any private knowledge from being learn.[24]

Oyster makes use of a distributed settlement framework. All transactions are settled between the cardboard and reader alone. Readers transmit the transactions to the again workplace in batches however there isn’t a want for this to be performed in actual time. The again workplace acts primarily as a document of transactions which have been accomplished between playing cards and readers. This supplies a excessive diploma of resilience.[citation needed]

In 2008, a vogue caught on for eradicating the RFID chip from Oyster playing cards and attaching it to wrist watches and bracelets. This allowed commuters to cross by the gates by “swiping” their hand with out the necessity to take out a correct card. Though the RFID chips had been charged within the regular method and no fare evasion was concerned, TfL disapproved of the follow and threatened to advantageous anybody not carrying a full undamaged card,[25] though it’s not clear what the precise offence can be, had been a case to be introduced.


The Oyster system is predicated on a closed, proprietary structure from Cubic Transportation Programs. The cardboard readers had been developed fully by Cubic, whereas improvement of the again workplace programs was began by Fujitsu and accomplished by Cubic. The system has the potential to interface with tools or companies offered by different suppliers. The Oyster web site will not be a part of the closed system however interfaces with it. Equally, Oyster readers are actually embedded into ticket machines produced by Shere and Scheidt and Bachmann on the nationwide rail community.

The again of a second era card

In early 2007, TfL and Deloitte labored emigrate the on-line cost programs to a extra open structure, utilizing numerous open supply parts resembling Linux, to resolve problems with lock-in prices, updates, incorporation of latest safety requirements of PCI DSS, non-scalability, low and inconsistent high quality of service, and slower response time to enterprise modifications.[26]


Registration and safety[edit]

The again of a first-generation Oyster card

Oyster playing cards could be registered or protected for loss or theft. Full registration could be performed at a London Underground station, an Oyster Ticket Cease (store) or a Journey Info Centre: an Oyster registration kind have to be crammed in (both at time of buy or subsequently). Registration permits the shopper to purchase any product for the cardboard and to have an after-sales service, and it protects in opposition to theft or loss. The client has to produce a Safety Reply: both their mom’s maiden title, memorable date or memorable place.
All grownup Oyster playing cards bought on-line or by cellphone are totally registered. (This doesn’t embody Customer Oyster playing cards.)

Oyster playing cards obtained at stations or outlets can’t be totally registered on-line. Nonetheless, playing cards could be protected on-line by organising an Oyster on-line account and linking the cardboard to that account. This permits for a full safety in opposition to theft or loss, however the Oyster card will be capable to maintain solely 7-day season tickets and pay-as-you-go.[27]

Gross sales[edit]

Oyster card merchandising machine, put in at London Bridge station in December 2006. All machines of this design have been phased out.

Oyster playing cards could be bought from numerous completely different shops within the London space:

  • Ticket machines at London Underground stations, which settle for banknotes, cash, and credit score and debit playing cards.
  • London Overground & TfL Rail ticket workplaces
  • On-line, utilizing the TfL web site
  • Via the TfL app
  • Chosen Nationwide Rail stations, a few of that are additionally served by London Underground
  • Journey Info Centres
  • About 4,000 Oyster Ticket Cease brokers (normally newsagent’s outlets)
  • By phone gross sales from TfL.[28]

Customer Oyster playing cards could be obtained from Go to Britain shops world wide, and from different transport operators, resembling EasyJet and Gatwick Specific, and on-line and from any ticket workplace. Nonetheless, these limited-functionality playing cards can’t be registered. A £5 deposit is required which can be refunded in money upon return of the cardboard. Any remaining credit score on the cardboard is refundable as effectively.[29]

The playing cards had been initially free, however a refundable deposit of £Three was subsequently launched,[30]
elevated to £5 for a refundable Oyster card in January 2011.[31] The deposit and any unused credit score is refundable by posting the cardboard to TfL; nonetheless, refunds are paid solely by kilos sterling cheque, financial institution switch to a UK checking account, credit score to a different Oyster card, or a TfL net account voucher, and refunds of over £15 require the shopper to offer proof of id and tackle.[32] Refunds of as much as £10 in credit score plus the deposit could also be claimed at London Underground ticket machines, which pays the refund in money.[33] Despite the fact that the £5 deposit is formally for the cardboard itself, the ticket machine has no facility for relieving the shopper of the cardboard who departs the transaction nonetheless in possession of a (now ineffective) Oyster card.

A registration kind could be obtained at or after the time of buy, which if not accomplished restricts the Oyster card to Pay-as-you-go and weekly tickets.[34]

Ticket merchandising machines on most Nationwide Rail stations will top-up Oyster playing cards and promote tickets that may be loaded on to Oyster. New Oyster playing cards will not be out there at most Nationwide Rail stations and termini.[35] At a number of predominant line termini, TfL runs Journey Info Centres, which do promote Oyster.


Contact-screen ticket machines report the final eight journeys and final top-up quantity. The identical info is accessible as a print-out from ticket workplaces, and in addition on board London Buses by request. The steadiness is displayed on some Underground boundaries on the finish of journeys which have precipitated a debit from the steadiness, and can be requested at newsagents and Nationwide Rail stations that present a top-up facility.

Oyster On-line service can even ship common Journey Statements through e mail.

An entire 8-week ‘contact’ historical past could be requested from TfL: for registered and guarded Oyster playing cards, TfL can present the historical past for the earlier Eight weeks, however no additional again.
Oyster on-line additionally shows as much as Eight weeks of journey historical past.

Touching out and in[edit]

Travellers contact the cardboard on a particular yellow round reader (a Tri-Reader, developed by Cubic Transportation Programs) on the automated boundaries at London Underground stations to ‘contact in’ and ‘contact out’ initially and finish of a journey. Bodily contact will not be mandatory, however the vary of the reader is just a few millimetres. Tram stops have readers on the platforms, and buses even have readers on the driving force/conductor’s ticket machine, and on these modes passengers should contact their card to the reader initially of their journey solely. Most Docklands Gentle Railway stations and sometimes London Underground stations resembling at Waterloo (for the Waterloo & Metropolis line) shouldn’t have computerized boundaries; therefore, passengers should contact their card on a reader at each the start and finish of their journey in the event that they want to keep away from being charged the utmost fare for an unresolved journey. Such a step will not be wanted if transferring between trains inside a station.

Season tickets[edit]

Oyster playing cards can be utilized to retailer season tickets of each travelcards and bus passes (of 1 week or extra), and a Pay-as-you-go steadiness.

An Oyster card can maintain as much as three season tickets on the identical time. Season tickets are Bus & Tram Passes or Travelcards lasting 7 days, 1 month, or any period as much as one yr (annual).

There isn’t a important distinction in validity or value between a 7-day, month-to-month or longer interval Travelcard on Oyster and one on a standard paper ticket; they’re legitimate on all Underground, Overground, DLR, bus, tram and nationwide rail companies throughout the zones bought. See the primary article for a fuller rationalization of Travelcards. Tube, DLR and London Overground Travelcards could also be used on buses in all zones. Trams may be used if the travelcard contains Zones 3, 4, 5 or 6.[36]

Though TfL asks all Oyster customers to faucet their card at entry/exit factors of their journey, in follow Travelcard holders solely have to “contact in” and “contact out” to function ticket boundaries or as a result of they intend to journey outdoors the zones for which their Travelcard is legitimate. So long as the Travelcard holder stays inside their permitted zones no fare can be deducted from the pay-as-you-go funds on the cardboard. The Oyster system checks that the Travelcard is legitimate within the zones it’s being utilized in.

Journey outdoors zones[edit]

If customers journey outdoors the legitimate zones of their Travelcard (however inside Oyster cost zones), any remaining fare due could also be deducted from their pay-as-you-go funds (see beneath for a way that is calculated). From 22 Could 2011, Oyster Extension Permits (OEPs) had been now not required.[37] Earlier than that date, customers who travelled outdoors the zones of their Travelcard, and whose journey concerned the usage of a Nationwide Rail service, had been required to set an OEP on their Oyster card earlier than travelling, to make sure that they paid for the extra-zonal journey.


Oyster card top-up machine at Emirates Royal Docks

Oyster card Travelcards could be renewed on the regular gross sales factors and ticket machines at London Underground or London Overground stations, Oyster Ticket Cease brokers, or some Nationwide Rail stations. Travelcards can be renewed on-line through the Oystercard web site, or by phone gross sales from TfL; customers should then nominate a Tube or overground station the place they may faucet their card with a view to cost the cardboard with the funds or season ticket bought. Alternatively a person can select to mechanically add both £20 or £40 each time the steadiness on the cardboard falls beneath £20. On-line purchases could be collected at any Oyster contact level (together with buses) 30 minutes after buy; the earlier requirement to appoint a station at which to gather the top-up and wait till the following day has been eliminated.


Along with holding Travelcards and bus passes, Oyster playing cards can be used as stored-value playing cards, holding digital funds of cash. Quantities are deducted from the cardboard every time it’s used, and the funds could be “recharged” when required. The utmost worth that an Oyster card could maintain is £90. This technique is called “pay as you go” (abbreviated PAYG), as a result of as a substitute of holding a season ticket, the person solely pays on the level of use.

When Oyster playing cards had been launched, the PAYG system was initially named “pre pay”, and this title continues to be generally utilized by Nationwide Rail. TfL formally refers back to the system as “pay as you go” in all publicity.

The validity of PAYG has a extra complicated historical past because it has solely been regularly accepted by transport operators impartial of TfL. Moreover, the usage of PAYG differs throughout the assorted modes of transport in London, and passengers are generally required to comply with completely different procedures to pay for his or her journey appropriately.

It’s doable to have a unfavourable pay-as-you-go steadiness after finishing a journey, however this may stop the cardboard from getting used (even whether it is loaded with a legitimate Travelcard) till the cardboard is topped up.

Oyster route validators[edit]

In 2009, TfL launched a brand new kind of Oyster card validator, distinguished from the usual yellow validators by having a pink-coloured reader. They don’t deduct funds, however are used at peripheral interchange factors to substantiate journey particulars. Oyster pay-as-you-go customers travelling between two factors with out passing by Zone 1 are eligible for a decrease fare, and from 6 September 2009 can verify their route by touching their Oyster playing cards on the pink validators once they change trains, permitting them to be charged the suitable fare with out paying for Zone 1 journey. The pink validators are positioned at 15 interchange stations.

  • Gospel Oak
  • Gunnersbury
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Kensington Olympia
  • Rayners Lane
  • Stratford
  • West Brompton
  • Willesden Junction
  • Blackhorse Highway
  • Wimbledon
  • Richmond
  • Whitechapel
  • Canada Water
  • Surrey Quays (launched September 2013)
  • Clapham Junction (launched September 2013)

An instance journey can be Watford Junction to Richmond, which as of January 2017 prices £5.00 peak and £3.10 off-peak when travelling through Zone 1. If travelling on a route outdoors Zone 1 through Willesden Junction, the fares are £4.10 and £1.80 respectively, which could be charged appropriately if the Oyster card is validated on the pink validator when altering trains at Willesden Junction.

Underground and DLR[edit]

London Underground ticket boundaries with yellow Oyster readers

Oyster card pay-as-you-go customers should “contact in” initially of a journey by London Underground or DLR, and “contact out” once more on the finish. The Oyster card readers mechanically calculate the right fare primarily based on the beginning and finish factors of the journey and deduct that fare from the Oyster card. Pay-as-you-go funds are additionally used to cowl any extra fares due from season ticket holders who’ve travelled outdoors the legitimate zones of their season ticket (see Travelcards above).

Passengers enter or exit most London Underground stations by ticket boundaries that are operated by scanning an Oyster card or inserting a legitimate ticket. Some tube stations (resembling these at Nationwide Rail interchanges) and DLR stations have standalone validators with no boundaries. In each cases, pay-as-you-go customers are required to the touch out and in.

London Overground[edit]

London Overground companies are operated by Arriva on behalf of TfL and Oyster pay-as-you-go customers use their playing cards in the identical method as on Underground journeys, touching their card on a card reader on the entry and exit factors of their journey to calculate the fare due.


Oyster validators are positioned at most entrances on London buses.

Customers should contact the Oyster card solely as soon as on the level of boarding: as London buses have a flat fare of £1.50 (which permits for limitless bus journeys inside 70 minutes from the purpose of touching in), there isn’t a have to calculate an finish level of the journey.

In July 2016, money turned the deprecated type of cost for journey on London Buses, with TfL closely selling the usage of a contactless card or Oyster card.[38] All main contactless playing cards are accepted which carry the ‘contactless image’, nonetheless vacationers are suggested to examine with their financial institution earlier than journey for validity particulars.

As London buses don’t settle for money funds, TfL launched a “yet another journey” incentive on Oyster playing cards.[39] This meant that clients are in a position to take a bus if their playing cards have £Zero or extra. Doing so could end in a unfavourable steadiness, however the card could be topped up at a later date. When utilizing the ‘yet another journey’ function, clients obtain an emergency fare recommendation slip to acknowledge that the Oyster ‘One Extra Journey’ function has been used and to remind them that their card must be topped up earlier than one other journey could be made.[40] It’s estimated that by eliminating money from buses, TfL will save £103m by the yr 2023,[40] which can be reinvested into the capital.

Some London bus routes cross outdoors the Larger London boundary earlier than reaching their terminus. Pay-as-you-go customers are permitted to journey the complete size of those route on buses operated as a part of the London Bus community, even to locations a ways outdoors Larger London.


An Oyster validator at a tram cease

London’s trams function on the identical fare construction as buses; the foundations are comparable, and customers with pre-pay should contact the Oyster card solely as soon as on the level of boarding. Customers with Travelcards legitimate for the Tramlink zones needn’t contact in until travelling to Wimbledon with a Travelcard not legitimate in zone 3.

A extra complicated association exists at Wimbledon station; tram passengers beginning their journey there should cross by ticket gates with a view to attain the tram platform, and subsequently want to the touch their Oyster card to open the boundaries. They need to then contact their Oyster card as soon as once more on the cardboard reader on the Tramlink platform to substantiate their journey as a tram passenger. Tram passengers arriving in Wimbledon should not contact out on the cardboard reader on the Tramlink platform, however should touch-out to exit through the station gates. If the cardboard is touched on the platform, the touch-out on the gate can be seen as a touch-in and trigger the utmost fare to be charged to the cardboard.[41]


A Thames Clipper river bus service

Passengers boarding a Thames Clippers riverbus service should faucet their Oyster card on the reader located on the pier earlier than boarding. Thames Clippers operates a pay-before-boarding coverage.[42]

Emirates Air Line[edit]

Oyster playing cards are accepted on the Emirates Air Line cable route between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks. The Emirates Air Line is outdoors of the London Travelcard validity. Nonetheless, a 25% low cost applies to Travelcard and Freedom Cross holders for each single and return journeys.[43] The low cost is mechanically utilized to Oyster card customers, however provided that their Travelcard is loaded onto their Oyster card. Freedom Cross holders and guests in possession of strange magnetic stripe Travelcards have to purchase a money ticket in the event that they want to make the most of the low cost.

Nationwide Rail[edit]

Nationwide Rail ticket boundaries with yellow Oyster readers

Standalone Oyster readers offered at interchange stations between Nationwide Rail and the Tube

As with Underground and DLR journeys, Oyster PAYG customers on Nationwide Rail should faucet their card initially and finish of the journey to pay the right fare. PAYG funds may be used to cowl any extra fares due from season ticket holders who’ve travelled outdoors the legitimate zones of their season ticket (see Travelcards above).

Many giant Nationwide Rail stations in London have Oystercard-compatible boundaries. At different smaller stations, customers should contact the cardboard on a standalone validator.

Out-of-Station Interchange (OSI)[edit]

At numerous Tube, DLR, London Overground and Nationwide Rail stations which lie in shut proximity, or the place interchange requires passengers to cross by ticket boundaries, an Out-of-Station Interchange (OSI) is permitted. In such instances, the cardboard holder touches out at one station after which touches in once more earlier than beginning the following leg of the journey. The PAYG fares are then mixed and charged as a single journey. Examples embody transferring between the Jubilee line at Canary Wharf and the DLR the place Oyster card holders should faucet their card on the ticket boundaries within the Tube station, after which contact in on the validator on the DLR station. Balham (Nationwide Rail) to/from Balham (Tube) is one other OSI, as is Camden City (Tube) to/from Camden Highway (London Overground).[44] Failure to the touch in or out on the validators in these circumstances will incur a most fare which is deducted from PAYG funds. In some instances (e.g. at West Hampstead NR stations) the OSI replicates interchanges which have existed for a number of many years earlier than the invention of the Oyster system however had been usually used with season tickets quite than day tickets.

Out-of-Station Interchanges could be momentary or everlasting. A short lived association could exist between two stations at quick discover (routinely throughout weekend work but additionally when an emergency closure happens). The 2 journeys that end result are solely charged as a single journey.


When the PAYG steadiness runs low, the steadiness could be topped up on the regular gross sales factors or ticket machines at London Underground or London Overground stations, Oyster Ticket Stops or some Nationwide Rail stations. All ticket workplaces at stations run by London Underground will promote or recharge Oyster playing cards, or deal with Oyster card refunds. Nonetheless, some Tube stations are literally operated by Nationwide Rail prepare working corporations, and their ticket workplaces is not going to take care of Oyster refunds. DLR doesn’t have any ticket workplaces which promote any Oyster card top-ups or deal with refunds (as its stations are normally unmanned), apart from the knowledge workplace at London Metropolis Airport.

PAYG funds and Journey card season tickets (however not Bus & Tram Passes) can be bought on-line through the Oyster on-line web site or by calling the Oyster helpline. The highest up could be collected 30 minutes later by touching in or out as a part of a traditional journey at any station or on any bus. There isn’t a requirement to pick out a selected station nor to attend till the following day, which was the case up to now.

For additional info on recharging and renewals, see the part on Renewals on this article.

Auto top-up[edit]

Clients can arrange and handle Auto top-up on-line for his or her present Oyster card. They register a debit or bank card, make a PAYG top-up buy (minimal £10) and choose both £20 or £40 because the Auto top-up quantity.
Alternatively, a brand new Oyster card with Auto top-up and a minimal of £10 pay as you go could be ordered through Oyster on-line.

There’s a constraint within the design, that requires a journey to be made through a nominated station, earlier than auto top-up could be enabled. There are a variety of companies resembling Thames Clippers, for which this initiation transaction will not be provided.

At any time when the pay as you go steadiness falls beneath £10, £20 or £40 is added to the steadiness mechanically when the Oyster card is touched on an entry validator. A light-weight on the Oyster reader flashes to point the Auto top-up has taken place and an e mail is distributed to substantiate the transaction. Fee is then taken from the registered debit or bank card.

To make sure profitable transactions, clients should document any modifications to their billing tackle and replace their debit or bank card particulars as mandatory.

Oyster photocards[edit]

Oyster photocards, with a picture of the authorised person on the cardboard entrance, are issued to members of teams eligible free of charge or discounted journey. The playing cards are encoded to supply discounted fares and can be found for college students in full-time training (30% off season tickets), 16+ playing cards (half the adult-rate for single journeys on the Underground, London Overground, DLR and a restricted variety of Nationwide Rail companies, discounted interval Travelcards, free journey on buses and trams for college students that stay and attend full-time training in London) and for youngsters beneath 16 years previous (free journey on buses and trams and discounted single fares on the Underground, London Overground, DLR and most Nationwide Rail companies). A ‘Bus & Tram’ Low cost Card is particularly given to deprived and ‘unwaged’ teams, primarily these on ‘Job Seekers Allowance’, ‘Employment Assist Allowance’ and receivers of quite a lot of disabilities allowances, at half-fare charges for bus and tram companies solely; these playing cards merely cost the complete fee on journeys not included within the low cost scheme.

Pupil playing cards[edit]

Pupil Oyster photocards providing a 30% low cost on interval tickets, can be found to full-time college students over 18 at registered establishments throughout the space of the M25 motorway, an space barely bigger than Larger London, at a value of £20.[45] Till the 2009–10 tutorial yr, they value £5 however required changing every year of multiple-year programs. There isn’t a low cost for Pay-as-you-go, though many college students maintain the Nationwide Rail 16-25 Railcard, which could be added to an Oyster card at an Underground station ticket workplace to acquire a 1/Three discount on off-peak caps and a 1/Three low cost on off-peak Oyster single fares on all rail companies. (NB peak Nationwide Rail fares could also be cheaper with discounted paper tickets). A small number of universities outdoors London have additionally registered on the scheme.

A substitute for misplaced or stolen playing cards prices £10 and entails making use of for a substitute card on-line or by calling the Oyster helpline. A brand new {photograph} will not be required. The funds and remaining travelcard is transferable to a brand new scholar Oyster photocard.

Since Eight September 2006, college students at some London universities have been in a position to apply for his or her 18+ Oyster photocard on-line by importing a digital {photograph} and paying with a credit score or debit card.

Zip playing cards[edit]

On 7 January 2008, Transport for London unveiled the Zip card, an Oyster photocard for use by younger individuals aged 18 years or beneath who qualify free of charge bus and tram journey throughout the capital, with impact from 1 June 2008. To qualify, one should stay in a London borough (and nonetheless be in full-time training if they’re 18).[46] Kids outdoors London (and certainly the UK) may apply for a Customer model of the Zip card (which affords free bus and tram journey for under-16s, and half-rate fares for 16–18-year-olds) on-line, which they need to gather from one in every of TfL’s Journey Info Centres. From 1 September 2010 a price of £10-15 (Depending on age) has been charged for the cardboard.[37]

Freedom Passes and 60+ Oyster Playing cards[edit]

Freedom Passes are usually issued on what’s in technical phrases an Oyster card, although it doesn’t bear that title. Freedom passes are free journey passes out there to Larger London residents who’re over a specified age (60 till March 2010, growing in phases to 66 from March 2020) or with a incapacity specified within the Transport Act 2000; particular person London boroughs have distinctive discretion to challenge Freedom Passes to disabled individuals who don’t meet the nationwide statutory necessities (although they must fund them). Journey is free always on the Tube, DLR, buses and Tramlink, and after 09:30 on most Nationwide Rail journeys fully throughout the Larger London boundary. Holders can’t put any cash or ticket merchandise on a Freedom Cross; to journey outdoors these occasions, a separate Oyster card or different legitimate ticket is required.

Residents who’re over 60 however who don’t qualify for a Freedom Cross can receive an analogous 60+ Oyster Card for a single price. The outer boundary of the realm during which Freedom Passes and 60+ Oyster Playing cards can be utilized is usually the identical as the realm inside which strange Oyster Playing cards can be utilized.[47][48][49] Oyster PAYG playing cards can be utilized to Broxbourne station, however Freedom Passes and 60+ Oyster can’t be used north of Turkey Road or Enfield Lock stations.[50] That is solely as a result of Nationwide Specific East Anglia Railways took the choice to simply accept Oyster PAYG solely so far as Broxbourne. Playing cards additionally must be visually inspected on any non-TfL buses whose routes settle for the concessionary playing cards on journeys partly coming into Larger London together with routes geared up with readers that settle for the nationwide commonplace ITSO bus cross playing cards with which Oyster will not be appropriate.

Freedom Passes issued to qualifying individuals are additionally an English Nationwide Concessionary Bus Cross. They appear equivalent to concessionary bus passes however are moreover marked “Freedom Cross” with the phrase “Cross” in crimson. In contrast to the Freedom cross, the 60+ Oyster card will not be legitimate for concessionary journey outdoors of the realm authorised by the Larger London Authority.[51] It’s because the concessionary bus journey scheme is centrally funded by authorities, however the Oyster 60+ and the Freedom Cross’s validity on Tube, tram and rail networks is funded regionally by the Larger London Authority.

Oyster and bank card[edit]

A bank card variant of the Oyster card was launched by Barclaycard in September 2007 and is known as OnePulse. The cardboard combines commonplace Oyster card performance with Visa bank card amenities. The Barclaycard OnePulse incorporates contactless cost know-how, permitting most transactions as much as £20 to be carried out with out the necessity to enter a PIN (in contrast to the Chip and PIN system).[52]

In 2005, Transport for London shortlisted two monetary companies suppliers, Barclaycard and American Specific, so as to add e-money cost functionality to the Oyster card. Barclaycard was chosen in December 2006 to produce the cardboard,[53] however the mission was then quickly shelved.[54] The OnePulse card was later launched utilizing a mix of Oyster and Visa, however with no e-money performance.

In February 2014 Barclaycard introduced that the OnePulse card can be withdrawn from use and all performance would stop after 30 June 2014. This took place as a result of the Oyster readers will now additionally recognise contactless playing cards and the presence of each on one card will trigger ‘card conflict’. Clients had their OnePulse card changed with the Freedom Rewards bank card.[55]


A variety of completely different ticket varieties could be held on an Oyster card, and validity varies throughout the completely different transport modes inside London.

Crystal Project success.png = Legitimate throughout the marketed TfL fare zones.

Crystal Project cancel.png = Not legitimate.

Heathrow Join: is now beneath TFL Rail as of Could 2018 to organize for the launch of Crossrail

Crystal Project tick yellow.png = River: PAYG solely out there on Thames Clipper; Travelcards solely present low cost, not legitimate for journey.
Crystal Project tick yellow.png = Emirates Air Line: Travelcards solely present low cost, not legitimate for journey.

! = should embody Zone 3, 4, 5 or 6

‡ = PAYG is legitimate between both St Pancras and Stratford or Victoria and Gatwick Airport, however particular fares apply

* = Particular Fares Apply to Heathrow (Zone 1 £12.10/£10.10 Zone 2 £7.30/£6.00) and Shenfield

TfL companies[edit]

Oyster is operated by Transport for London and has been legitimate on all London Underground, London buses, DLR and London Tramlink companies since its launch in 2003.

Nationwide Rail[edit]

The introduction of Oyster pay as you go on the Nationwide Rail commuter rail community in London was phased in regularly over a interval of about six years (see Roll-out historical past). Since January 2010, PAYG has been legitimate on all London suburban rail companies which settle for Travelcards. Moreover, PAYG could also be used at a particular variety of stations which lie simply outdoors the zones. New maps had been issued in January 2010 which illustrates the place PAYG is now legitimate.[56][57]

Sure limitations stay on Nationwide Rail, nonetheless. Airport companies Stansted Specific and Thameslink Luton Airport companies all run outdoors the Travelcard zones, so PAYG will not be legitimate on these companies both.

Heathrow Specific accepts Oyster pay as you go since 19 February 2019.[58]

In November 2007, the metro routes operated by Silverlink had been introduced beneath the management of TfL and operated beneath the model title London Overground. From the primary day of operation, Oyster PAYG turned legitimate on all Overground routes.[59]

London Oyster Playing cards and contactless playing cards can be accepted on many Southern, Gatwick Specific and Thameslink companies in early 2016. These embody to Gatwick Airport station and 5 different Surrey railway stations, in addition to to Luton Airport.[60][61][62]

London River Companies[edit]

Since 23 November 2009, Oyster PAYG has been legitimate on London River Companies boats operated by Thames Clippers solely.[42] Oyster playing cards are accepted for all Thames Clippers scheduled companies, the DoubleTree Docklands ferry, the “Tate to Tate” service and the O2 Specific. Reductions on commonplace fares are provided to Oyster cardholders, besides on the O2 Specific. The each day worth capping assure doesn’t apply to journeys made on Thames Clippers.[63]

Emirates Air Line[edit]

Oyster card holders (PAYG, Travelcard or Freedom Cross) obtain reductions on the Emirates Air Line cable automotive service throughout the River Thames between Greenwich and the Royal Docks, which opened in June 2012. Like London River Companies, the cable automotive is a privately funded concern and isn’t totally built-in into TfL’s ticketing system.[64] To encourage use of the Air Line as a commuter service, substantial reductions are provided with a “frequent flyer” ticket which permits 10 journeys inside 12 months.[65]


Pricing beneath is appropriate as of January 2019

The pricing system is pretty complicated, and modifications occasionally. The hottest fares could be discovered on Transport for London’s FareFinder web site.[66]

Grownup single fares[edit]

Money is now not accepted on London’s buses and trams and, with a view to encourage passengers to make use of Oyster or contactless, money fares for tubes and trains are usually far more costly than PAYG fares. A contactless debit or bank card can be utilized instead of an Oyster card on the identical fare.

The only Oyster fare for a bus or tram journey is £1.50, though the Hopper fare guidelines permit limitless bus and tram journeys inside one hour of first touching in for no extra value. Passengers want to the touch in utilizing the identical card on all of the bus and tram journeys made and any free fares are utilized mechanically.[67]

Utilizing PAYG, a single journey on the tube inside zone 1 prices £2.40 (in comparison with £4.90 if paid by money). Journeys inside every other single zone value £1.70 at peak occasions and £1.50 off peak (£4.90 for money at any time).[66] Journeys in a number of zones are progressively costlier.[66]

The zoned fare system beneath which Oyster operates inevitably offers rise to some quirks within the fares charged. A 21 cease journey between Stratford and Clapham Junction on the overground is charged at £1.70 at peak occasions (£1.50 off peak) whereas a 1 cease journey between Whitechapel and Shoreditch Excessive Road on the overground prices £2.40 always.[66] This happens as a result of Shoreditch Excessive Road is the one station in zone 1 on its line, whereas the whole Stratford to Clapham Junction line runs in zone 2 solely.[68] The money fare is £4.90 in each instances and always.[66] Related anomalies are a function of zoned fare programs worldwide.

Fare capping[edit]

A ‘capping’ system was launched on 27 February 2005, which signifies that an Oyster card can be charged not more than the closest equal Day Travelcard for a day’s journey, if penalty fares will not be incurred. The each day cap is £7.20 inside zones 1-2 and £13.20 inside zones 1-6, offered no penalty fares are incurred for failure to the touch in or out, or for touching in or out on the identical station.[69] A decrease cap of £4.50 applies if the day’s journeys are restricted to buses and trams solely.[70]

Value capping doesn’t apply to PAYG fares on London River Companies boats and on Southeastern excessive velocity prepare companies.[63]

Railcard low cost[edit]

Holders of Disabled Individuals, HM Forces, Senior, 16–25, 26-30 Nationwide Rail Railcards and Annual Gold Playing cards (as of 23 Could 2010) obtain a 34% discount within the off-peak PAYG fares and worth cap; Railcard reductions could be loaded on at London Underground ticket machines (with assist from a member of workers).

Bus and tram low cost[edit]

On 20 August 2007, a ‘Bus and Tram Low cost photocard’ was launched for London Oyster card customers who obtained Revenue Assist. It permits cardholders to pay £0.75 for a single bus journey (capped at £2.25 per day), and to purchase half worth interval bus passes.

This was initially the results of a deal between Transport for London and Petróleos de Venezuela to offer gas for London Buses at a 20% low cost. In return Transport for London agreed to open an workplace within the Venezuelan capital Caracas to supply experience on city planning, tourism, public safety and environmental points.[71] The take care of Venezuela was ended by Mayor Boris Johnson shortly after he took workplace, and the Bus and Tram Low cost photocard scheme closed to new functions on 20 August 2008; Johnson stated that “TfL will honour the low cost [on existing cards] till the six-month time durations on playing cards have run out”.[72]

The Bus and Tram Low cost Scheme reopened on 2 January 2009, this time funded by London fare payers. The scheme has been prolonged to individuals receiving Employment and Assist Allowance (ESA) and to these receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance for 13 weeks or extra.

River Bus reductions[edit]

Boats operated by Thames Clippers supply a 10% low cost on commonplace fares to Oyster PAYG customers, besides on their O2 Specific service, and a 1/Three low cost to passengers carrying Oyster playing cards which have been loaded with a legitimate interval Travelcard.[63]

Penalty fares and most Oyster fare[edit]

As a way to stop “misuse” by a said 2% of passengers, from 19 November 2006 pay as you go customers are mechanically charged the “most Oyster fare” for a journey on that community once they contact in. Relying on the journey made, the distinction between this most fare and the precise fare due is mechanically refunded to the person’s Oyster card upon touching out. The utmost fare is mechanically charged to a passenger who touches out with out having first touched in. Two most fares are charged (one for touching in, one for touching out) if a passenger touches in at a station, waits for over twenty minutes, after which touches out on the identical station, as a result of the system assumes that the passenger has been in a position to journey to a different station in that point, taking no account of conditions the place there are extreme delays.

Customers should contact out and in even when the ticket boundaries are open. At stations the place Oyster is accepted however that shouldn’t have ticket boundaries, an Oyster validator can be offered for the needs of touching out and in. The utmost Oyster fare applies even when the each day worth cap has been reached as this doesn’t rely in the direction of the cap.

Most Oyster fares could also be contested by phone to the Oyster helpline on 0343 222 1234[73] or through e mail. This entails offering the Oyster card quantity and the related journey particulars; additional journeys showing on the cardboard are useful to validate the person’s declare.

If the declare is accepted then the utmost Oyster fare minus the price of the journey can be refunded. The person can be requested to appoint and make a journey from a selected Tube, DLR, London Overground or Nationwide Rail station, or Tram cease. On touching in or out, the refund is loaded to the cardboard. The one option to gather a refund is as a part of an precise journey, in any other case an additional penalty fare is charged. It’s because when the passenger touches the reader with their Oyster card, not solely will the refund go on to the cardboard, however a brand new journey will begin.

The beginning date to choose up the refund could be the following day (on the earliest) and the refund will stay on the nominated station for Eight days in whole. The client does have the choice to delay the beginning date for as much as Eight days, and the refund will nonetheless stay on the gate for as much as Eight additional days. After this time the refund can be deleted from the gate line, and the shopper should re-request the refund.

Clients claiming a refund should achieve this inside 28 days of the overcharge.

Oyster customers who don’t contact in earlier than making a journey could also be liable to pay a penalty fare (£80) and/or reported for prosecution if caught by a income safety inspector.

Refunds for delayed journeys[edit]

Commuters who had been delayed 15 minutes or extra on the Tube & DLR,[74] and 30 minutes or extra on London Overground & TfL Rail,[75] are eligible to say a refund for the price of their journey. Commuters with Travelcards that don’t pay for particular person journeys can be refunded the Pay As You Go worth of that single delayed journey.[76] Clients wishing to say these refunds should create a web based TfL account, after which both manually declare on-line every time they’re delayed, or use the free Prepare Reeclaim software which mechanically detects delayed TfL journeys and claims a refund on behalf of the commuter for each.[77]

Roll-out historical past[edit]

The roll-out of Oyster options and migration from the paper-based system has been phased. Milestones up to now have been:

  • London Underground ticket boundaries, bus ticket machines, Docklands Gentle Railway stations and Tramlink stops fitted with validators. Playing cards issued to Transport for London, London Underground, and bus operator workers (2002)
  • Playing cards issued to the general public for annual and month-to-month tickets (2003)[3]
  • Freedom Passes issued on Oyster (2004)
  • Pay as you go (PAYG, first known as ‘prepay’) launched on London Underground, DLR, and the elements of Nationwide Rail the place Underground fares had beforehand been legitimate. (January 2004)
  • Off-Peak Oyster single fares launched (January 2004)
  • Annual tickets out there solely on Oyster (2004)
  • Month-to-month tickets out there solely on Oyster, until bought from a station operated by a prepare firm quite than TfL (2004)
  • Payg on buses (Could 2004)
  • Day by day worth capping (February 2005)
  • Pupil Oyster Photocards for college students over 18 (early 2005)
  • Oyster Little one Photocards for beneath 16s—free journey on buses and diminished fares on trains (August 2005)
  • Computerized top-up (September 2005)
  • Weekly tickets out there solely on Oyster (September 2005)[78]
  • Oyster single fares value as much as 33% lower than paper tickets (January 2006)[79]
  • Auto top-up on buses and trams (June 2006)
  • Journey historical past for Pay as you go transactions out there on-line (July 2006)
  • Means for energetic and retired railway workers who’ve a workers journey card to acquire privilege journey fares on the Underground with Oyster (July 2006)
  • £Four or £5 ‘most money fare’ charged for Pay as you go journeys with no ‘contact in’ and ‘contact out’ (November 2006)
  • Oyster card for guests branded playing cards launched and offered by Gatwick Specific.[80]
  • Oyster PAYG prolonged to London Overground (11 November 2007)
  • Holders of Railcards (however not Community Railcard) can hyperlink their Railcard to Oyster to have PAYG capped at 34% beneath the traditional fee since 2 January 2008.[81]
  • Oyster PAYG can be utilized to purchase tickets on river companies operated by Thames Clipper (23 November 2009)[63]
  • Oyster PAYG prolonged to Nationwide Rail (2 January 2010)[82]
  • Contactless playing cards can be utilized on London Buses (Finish of 2012)
  • Money now not accepted on buses. Money ticket machines faraway from bus stops in central London (Summer time 2014)[83]
  • Contactless playing cards can be utilized on London Underground, Docklands Gentle Railway, London Overground and Nationwide Rail service. Weekly capping launched on contactless playing cards. (September 2014)
  • Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay accepted. (September 2014)
  • ‘One Day Bus and Tram Cross’ launched in 2015. Can be utilized for a most of someday solely and can’t be reloaded with credit score. Permits the person to have limitless journeys on buses and trams. (March 2015)
  • On-line high ups prepared to gather at any station or on any bus inside 30 minutes – beforehand customers needed to nominate a station and gather subsequent day. Assortment on buses was additionally unavailable (July 2017) [84]
  • Official TfL Oyster card app launched for iOS and Android units (August 2017) [84]
  • ‘Hopper Fare’ launched whereby customers could make 2 journeys for £1.50 inside 1 hour. This was improved in 2018 with the flexibility to make limitless journeys inside 1 hour for a similar fare (January 2018) [85]

Roll-out on Nationwide Rail[edit]

Till January 2010, many rail operators didn’t settle for Oyster PAYG and posted warning notices inside their stations.

The Nationwide Rail community is usually outdoors the management of Transport for London, and passenger companies are run by variety of impartial rail corporations. Due to this, acceptance of Oyster PAYG on Nationwide Rail companies was topic to the coverage of every particular person firm and the roll-out of PAYG was a lot slower than on TfL companies.[86] For the primary six years of Oyster, rollout on Nationwide Rail was gradual and uneven, with validity restricted to particular traces and stations.

A number of rail corporations have accepted London Underground single fares as a result of they duplicate London Underground routes, they usually adopted the Oyster PAYG on these sections of the road which run alongside the Underground. When TfL took over the previous Silverlink Metro railway traces, PAYG was rolled out on the primary day of operation of London Overground. As a consequence, some rail operators whose companies run parallel to London Overground traces had been compelled to simply accept PAYG,[87] though solely after some preliminary hesitation.[88][89]

Examples of those companies embody London Midland trains from Watford Junction to London Euston and Southern trains to Clapham Junction.

The rising PAYG rail community 2006–08: extra stations added

The method of persuading the assorted rail companies concerned a protracted strategy of negotiation between the London Mayors and prepare working corporations. In 2005 Ken Livingstone (then Mayor of London) started a strategy of attempting to influence Nationwide Rail prepare working corporations to permit Oyster PAYG on all of their companies inside London, however a dispute about ticketing prevented this plan from going forward.[90]
After additional negotiations, Transport for London provided to fund the prepare working corporations with £20m to offer Oyster amenities in London stations; this resulted in a top level view settlement to introduce PAYG acceptance throughout the whole London rail community.[91]

TfL introduced a Nationwide Rail rollout date of Could 2009,[92] however negotiation with the non-public rail companies continued to fail and the rollout was delayed to 2010. Oyster readers had been put in at many Nationwide Rail stations throughout London, however they remained lined up and never in use.[93] In November 2009 it was lastly confirmed that PAYG can be legitimate on Nationwide Rail from January 2010.[82] The rollout was accompanied by the introduction of a brand new system of Oyster Extension Permits to permit travelcard holders to journey outdoors their designated zones on Nationwide Rail. This technique was launched to handle the income safety considerations of the rail corporations, however it was criticised for its complexity,[94][95] and was abolished on 22 Could 2011.[37]

Because the introduction of the Oyster card, the variety of clients paying money fares on buses has dropped dramatically. As well as, utilization of station ticket workplaces has dropped, to the extent that in June 2007, TfL introduced that numerous their ticket workplaces would shut, with some others lowering their opening hours. TfL prompt that the workers can be ‘re-deployed’ elsewhere on the community, together with as prepare drivers.

In August 2010 the difficulty of the influence of the Oyster card on staffing returned. In response to The Nationwide Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Staff (RMT) poll for a strike over deliberate job cuts, TfL said that the rise in individuals utilizing Oyster digital ticketing playing cards meant just one in 20 journeys now concerned interplay with a ticket workplace. Consequently, it goals to scale back workers in ticket workplaces and elsewhere whereas deploying extra employees to assist passengers in stations.[96]

Utilization statistics[edit]

By June 2010 over 34 million playing cards have been issued of which round 7 million are in common use. Greater than 80% of all tube journeys and greater than 90% of all bus journeys use Oyster. Round 38% of all Tube journeys and 21% of all bus journeys are made utilizing Oyster pay as you go. Use of single tickets has declined and stands at roughly 1.5% of all bus journeys and three% of all Tube journeys.[citation needed]

Because the launch of contactless cost in 2012, over 500 million journeys have been made utilizing contactless, utilizing over 12 million contactless financial institution playing cards.[9]

Past London[edit]

Since January 2010, Oyster PAYG is legitimate at c2c stations Purfleet, Ockendon, Chafford Hundred and Grays in Thurrock (Essex).

On 2 January 2013, Oyster PAYG was prolonged to Shenfield (the terminus of the long run Crossrail service) and Broxbourne by Abellio Larger Anglia.[97][98]

With regard to London’s airports, TfL and BAA studied acceptance of Oyster Pay As You Go on BAA’s Heathrow Specific service and the Southern-operated Gatwick Specific service in 2006, however BAA determined to not go forward.[99] Nonetheless, Oyster has been legitimate to Gatwick Airport on each the Gatwick Specific and Southern Rail and Thameslink companies since January 2016 [100]

Oyster was prolonged to Hertford East when London Overground took over suburban companies beforehand operated by Larger Anglia in Could 2015.

Oyster was prolonged to Epsom, Hertford North, Potters Bar and Radlett in Summer time 2019.

Contactless cost[edit]

In 2014, Transport for London turned the primary public transport supplier on the planet to simply accept cost from contactless financial institution playing cards.[8] TfL first began accepting contactless debit and bank cards on London Buses on 13 December 2012,[101] increasing to the Underground, Tram and the Docklands Gentle Railway in September 2014.[102] Since 2016, contactless cost can even happen utilizing contactless-enabled cell units resembling telephones and smartwatches, utilizing Apple Pay,[103]Google Pay and Samsung Pay.[104]

TfL designed and coded the contactless cost system in-house, at a value of £11m, after realising present industrial options had been rigid or too targeted on retail use.[8] Because the launch of contactless cost in 2012, over 500 million journeys have been made, utilizing over 12 million contactless financial institution playing cards.[9] Consequently, TfL is now one in every of Europe’s largest contactless retailers, with round 1 in 10 contactless transactions within the UK happening on the TfL community.[9]

In 2016, TfL licensed their contactless cost system to Cubic, the unique builders of the Oyster card, permitting the know-how to be offered to different transport suppliers worldwide.[9] In 2017, licensing offers had been signed with New York Metropolis,[105]New South Wales[106] and Boston.[107]

The identical requirement to the touch out and in on underground companies applies to contactless playing cards. The identical worth capping that applies to the usage of Oyster playing cards applies to the usage of contactless playing cards (offered the identical card is used for the day’s journeys). The fare paid on daily basis is settled with the financial institution and seems on the debit or bank card assertion. Detailed utilization knowledge is written to Transport for London’s programs and is accessible for patrons who register their contactless playing cards with Transport for London. In contrast to an Oyster card, a contactless card doesn’t retailer credit score (past the holder’s credit score restrict) and there’s no want or facility so as to add credit score to the cardboard.

An Oyster card can have a long run “season” ticket loaded onto it (both at a ticket workplace or on line). Such a ticket can begin on any day and be legitimate for at least seven days and a most of 1 yr. In contrast to an Oyster card, a contactless card can mechanically apply a seven-day journey card fee. If the cardboard is commonly used between any Monday to Sunday interval, an computerized cap is utilized. The seven-day interval is fastened at Monday to Sunday, it can’t be any seven-day interval, in contrast to a seven-day ticket utilized to an Oyster card. There may be at the moment no computerized cap for longer durations.[108]

Because the Oyster readers can’t write to a contactless card, the reader when touching out is unable to show the fare charged for the journey, as the cardboard doesn’t have the place to begin saved in it. That is calculated in a single day as soon as the contact in and contact out info is downloaded from the gates and collated.[108] When a contact in with a contactless card is made, the validity of the cardboard is checked by debiting the cardboard account with 10 pence. The ultimate fare charged contains this preliminary cost. As with Oyster, a failure to the touch both in or out, prices the utmost doable fare. Transport for London state that if ticket inspection is happening, that it’s essential to current the contactless card to the ticket inspector’s moveable oyster card reader. Because the reader on the beginning station can’t write to the contactless card and the cardboard’s use will not be downloaded till the next night time, the moveable card reader can’t decide whether or not the cardboard was used to the touch into the system. Nonetheless, a nightly reconciliation takes place to make sure that the utmost fare is charged to any card that was introduced to an inspector not having been used to the touch in for that journey.


In late 2017, TfL launched the Oyster card app which permits customers to examine their steadiness on a appropriate Android or iOS smartphone. The app is free to obtain and customers can high up their Oyster card on the go or examine journey historical past. Prime ups can be found to gather at any London Underground station or bus inside 30 minutes. The app additionally has a notification function which alerts customers when their steadiness is beneath a specified quantity.

First era Oyster playing cards will not be appropriate with the app and TfL recommends customers to improve their playing cards to newer ones to make use of them within the app.[109]

Visible design[edit]


Trial variations, Transport for London workers variations and the primary model of the usual Oyster card for the general public had been launched with the roundels on the entrance of the playing cards in crimson. Normal problems with the Oyster card have been up to date for the reason that first public launch with a view to meet TfL’s Design Requirements.

There have been three problems with the usual Oyster card, together with the unique crimson roundel challenge, however all three Oyster playing cards have retained their authentic dimensions of 85mm x 55mm, with Oyster card quantity and reference quantity positioned within the high right-hand nook and backside proper hand nook of the again of the cardboard respectively, together with the phrases and circumstances.

The second challenge of the usual Oyster card had ‘Transport for London’ branding on the again of the cardboard, with the Mayor of London (having changed the ‘LONDON’ branding within the blue phase of the cardboard’s again). The roundel on the entrance of the cardboard was modified from the color crimson to white, as white was seen to symbolize Transport for London (whereas a crimson roundel is extra identified to symbolize London Buses).

The newest challenge of the usual Oyster card has TfL branding on its entrance, faraway from the again of the cardboard within the earlier challenge. The Mayor of London branding has additionally been moved from the blue phase on the again of the cardboard to beneath the phrases and circumstances, the place it’s extra outstanding.

Oyster card holder/pockets[edit]

With the discharge of the Oyster card, TfL launched an accompanying Oyster card holder to exchange the prevailing designs, beforehand sponsored by corporations resembling Yellow Pages, Direct Line and IKEA, in addition to London Underground’s and London Buses personal releases of the holder which got here with out promoting.

The official Oyster branded holders have been redesigned on a number of events, maintaining with numerous iterations of the cardboard and to extend service consciousness. The preliminary model mimicked the blue design of the cardboard itself, and was later modified to incorporate the road “Please reuse your card” on the entrance.

In March 2007 the Oyster card pockets was designed by British designers together with Katharine Hamnett, Frostfrench and Gharani Strok for Oxfam’s I am In marketing campaign to finish world poverty. The designer wallets had been out there for a restricted time frame from Oxfam’s avenue groups in London who handed them out to individuals who signed as much as the I am In motion. Additionally, to have fun 100 years of the Piccadilly line, a sequence of restricted version Oyster card wallets had been commissioned from chosen artists from the Skinny Cities Platform for Artwork mission. The earlier wallets handed out had been sponsored by IKEA who additionally sponsor the tube map, and didn’t show the Oyster or the London Underground logos.

In late 2007 the usual challenge wallets had been redesigned with the one modifications being the color scheme altering from blue to black, and the elimination of the resemblance to the Oyster card.

The newest variation of the pockets got here with the introduction of contactless cost acceptance on the community in 2012, the place light-green “Be careful for card conflict” wallets have been issued to boost consciousness of “card conflict”, and change the earlier simplistic designs. The within of those wallets reads “Solely contact one card on the reader” on the clear plastic.

Along with the official wallets distributed by TfL, which can or could not carry promoting for a sponsor, Oyster card holders and wallets are generally used as a advertising and marketing software by different organisations looking for to advertise their id or actions. Such gadgets are usually given away free, both with merchandise or handed out to the general public.[citation needed]

Though clients are normally given a free pockets when buying a card, the wallets themselves, together with the newest design challenge, could be picked up free of charge at most stations or newsagents.

In September 2019 TfL introduced that they had been discontinuing their free Oyster Card wallets citing the fee and in addition the usage of plastic.

Employees playing cards[edit]

The usual public Oyster card is blue however color variants are utilized by transport workers. Related playing cards are issued to cops.


The usual Oyster card designs are as follows:

  • Normal Oyster card, Blue: Design has remained largely the identical since its introduction in 2003, however very minor textual content modifications on the reverse proceed to happen. These are issued when restricted version playing cards will not be in circulation
  • One Day Bus and Tram Cross, Inexperienced: Launched in January 2015, this card carries the “Oyster” branding and may solely be used for a most of someday, because it can’t be reloaded with credit score. It’s half the thickness of a normal Oyster card, as it’s meant to be discarded when it expires. The cardboard permits the person limitless journey on bus and tram till the following day.
  • Customer Oyster Card: A customer card is designed to be used by vacationers to London and could be delivered to their dwelling tackle earlier than they arrive. Vacationers can profit from particular affords and reductions and lower your expenses in main London eating places, outlets and leisure venues on presentation of this card. A reduction can also be provided on the Emirates cable automotive service.

A variety of restricted version Oyster card variant designs exist. These are produced in restricted portions however in any other case operate as commonplace Oyster playing cards. These embody:

In 2012, TfL additionally launched numerous playing cards to mark the Olympic Video games happening in London that yr. The playing cards carried out the identical as every other card and in addition embody all the identical textual content, other than a differentiating line (listed beneath), and the London 2012 emblem. Playing cards like these had been distributed solely to pick out 2012 volunteers who took half within the opening and shutting ceremonies.
They had been used at some point of the video games and subsequently are now not legitimate to be used on the transport system. The color of those Oyster playing cards is pink with a colored stripe:

  • “London Olympic Video games”, Pink stripe.
  • “London Paralympic Video games”, Blue stripe.
  • “Olympic Volunteer”, Inexperienced stripe.
  • “Paralympic Volunteer” , Orange Stripe.
  • “2012 Ceremonies Volunteer”, Purple stripe.

Three design variations of the Oyster customer playing cards additionally exist:


In October 2018, TfL partnered with Adidas to have fun 15 years of the Oyster card. A restricted variety of trainers from the “Oyster Membership pack” went on sale on with every of the three varieties costing £80 and being primarily based on a component of the Tube’s historical past. These designs embody Mood Run, ZX 500RM and Continental 80. Solely 500 limited-edition Oyster playing cards had been produced, and every kind of coach accommodates a distinct card design within the field. Additionally included with the trainers is a real leather-based case (with TfL and Adidas emblem engraving) and a credit score of £80 preloaded on the Oyster card.[110]

Points and criticisms[edit]

Touching out penalties[edit]

Card customers generally overlook to the touch in or contact out, are unable to search out the yellow readers or it might be too crowded to the touch out. Such card customers have both obtained penalty fares by income inspectors, been charged a most money fare, or been prosecuted in courts which might challenge excessive penalties.[111] Card customers are additionally penalised for touching out and in of the identical station inside a two-minute interval, and charged the utmost doable fare from that station.[112] The system applies two penalty fares (one for touching in, and one for touching out) to passengers who contact in, wait greater than twenty minutes for a prepare, however are unable to journey as a result of there aren’t any trains, baulk on the ready, and contact out. It’s because the system assumes that, after such a protracted delay, the passenger has travelled to a different station the place they’ve failed to the touch out and failed to the touch in, thus leading to two penalty fares.

Extension fares[edit]

Holders of Travelcards can add pay-as-you-go credit score on their Oyster playing cards. This credit score is used as ‘extension fare’ when customers journey past the zones during which their Travelcard is legitimate. This extension fare equals the common Oyster fare for a journey from/to the respective station outdoors of the validity space of the Travelcard to/from the closest zone nonetheless lined by the Travelcard. To tell apart between peak and off-peak fares, nonetheless, the beginning of the journey is taken under consideration. Which means travellers may be charged the (costlier) peak fare as extension fare even when they’d not but left the realm of validity of their Travelcard by the top of peak time.[citation needed] Conversely, a journey beginning within the lined zones shortly earlier than the beginning of the height time can be charged as off-peak.

There may be an exploitable function of the system, in that if a touch-in (or touch-out) is made in a zone the place the oyster card is loaded with a legitimate season ticket or Travelcard however there isn’t a related touch-out (or touch-in), the system doesn’t deal with this as an unresolved journey. Though inspired to take action, such ticket holders will not be obliged to touch-in or touch-out throughout the zones of their ticket’s validity (apart from to function a barrier). Which means a passenger holding (say) a legitimate zone 1&2 Travelcard, can touch-in at a zone 1 station (to open the ticket barrier) after which journey to a zone 3, 4, 5 or 6 station that doesn’t have a barrier with out touching out or paying the extension fare. Ticket inspectors often function at such areas to catch these fare dodging passengers. Because the system maintains a document of each contact the cardboard does make (even with a legitimate travelcard), TfL will assiduously search to recuperate all of the unpaid fares when a passenger who’s caught is prosecuted for fare evasion.


The system has been criticised as a risk to the privateness of its customers. Every Oyster card is uniquely numbered, and registration is required for month-to-month or longer tickets, that are now not out there on paper. Restricted utilization knowledge is saved on the cardboard. Journey and transaction historical past is held centrally by Transport for London for as much as eight weeks, after which the transactions and journey historical past are disassociated from the Oyster card and can’t be re-associated; full registration particulars are held centrally and never on particular person Oyster playing cards; current utilization could be checked by anybody in possession of the cardboard at some ticket machines.[113]

The police have used Oyster card knowledge as an investigative software, and this use is growing. On 13 April 2006, TfL said that “Between August 2004 and March 2006 TfL’s Info Entry and Compliance Workforce obtained 436 requests from the police for Oyster card info. Of those, 409 requests had been granted and the information had been launched to the police.”[114] Nonetheless, in response to a different request in February 2012, “TfL stated this had occurred 5,295 occasions in 2008, 5,359 in 2009, 5,046 in 2010, and a document 6,258 in 2011”.[115]

Moreover, in 2008 information reviews indicated that the safety companies had been looking for entry to all Oyster card knowledge for the needs of counter-terrorism. Such entry will not be offered to the safety companies.[116]

As but,[when?] there have been no reviews of buyer knowledge being misused, outdoors the phrases of the registration settlement. There have been no reviews of Oyster knowledge being misplaced.


The system has been criticised for usability points on the whole system, web site and top-up machine design.[117]

Oyster pay-as-you-go customers, on London Underground, DLR and Nationwide Rail (together with London Overground) companies are required at all times to “contact in” and “contact out” to trigger the right fare to be charged. This requirement is much less clearly enforced at stations the place there are solely standalone yellow reader quite than ticket boundaries. With out a bodily barrier, pay-as-you-go customers could merely overlook to “contact in” or fail to the touch their card appropriately, which can end in a most fare being charged. Equally, if the boundaries don’t operate (studying ‘SEEK ASSISTANCE’) and the TfL or prepare working firm workers member has to open the gates manually, then the utmost fare could also be charged. If this happens a refund could also be requested by telephoning the Oyster helpline the day after the incident happens (to permit time for the central computer systems to be up to date); the overcharged quantity could be added again to the pay-as-you-go steadiness on the cardboard from the next day when the Oyster card is used to make a journey.

Using Oyster playing cards on buses has been topic to criticism following numerous profitable legal prosecutions by TfL of bus passengers whose Oyster card, when checked by Income Safety Inspectors, didn’t present that the passenger had “touched in” appropriately on boarding.[118][119][120] Specifically, issues have been highlighted in reference to the standard of error messages given to passengers when touching in has failed for any cause. In a single case, a passenger efficiently appealed in opposition to his conviction for fare evasion when the courtroom famous that the passenger believed he had paid for his journey as a result of the Oyster reader didn’t give ample error warning.[121][122]

In 2011, London Meeting member Caroline Pidgeon obtained figures from the Mayor of London which revealed that in 2010, £60million had been taken by TfL in most Oyster fares. The statistics additionally detailed a “high ten” of stations the place most fares had been being collected, notably Waterloo and London Bridge. In her criticism of the figures, Pidgeon claimed that “structural issues” with the Oyster system had been guilty, resembling defective tools failing to register playing cards and issue in acquiring refunds.[123][124] A report by BBC London highlighted the system of “autocomplete” (during which Oyster playing cards journeys are mechanically accomplished with out the necessity to bodily contact out, exceptionally used when giant crowds are exiting stations) as notably problematic.[125]

Technical faults[edit]

In January 2004, on the day that the pay-as-you-go system went stay on all Oyster playing cards, some season ticket passengers had been prevented from making a second journey on their travelcard. Upon investigation every had a unfavourable prepay steadiness. This was broadly reported as a significant bug within the system.[126] Nonetheless, the rationale for the “bug” was that some season ticket holders had been passing by zones not included on their tickets. The prevailing paper system couldn’t stop this type of misuse because the boundaries solely checked if a paper ticket was legitimate within the zone the barrier was in.

On 10 March 2005 an incorrect knowledge desk meant that the Oyster system was inoperable in the course of the morning rush hour. Ticket boundaries needed to be left open and pay as you go fares couldn’t be collected.[127]

On 12 July 2008 an incorrect knowledge desk disabled an estimated 72,000 Oyster playing cards, together with Travelcards, workers passes, Freedom Passes, little one Oyster playing cards and different digital tickets. The Oyster system was shut down and later restarted throughout site visitors hours. Some clients already within the system had been overcharged. Refunds got to these affected and all disabled playing cards had been changed. Freedom Cross holders needed to apply to their native authority for substitute passes (as these will not be managed by TfL).[128]

An extra system failure occurred two weeks afterward 25 July 2008, when pay as you go playing cards weren’t learn correctly.[129]

On 2 January 2016 the Oyster system failed, with readers failing to course of Oyster playing cards however persevering with to course of contactless playing cards and Apple Pay transactions.[130]

The distinction between pay as you go and Travelcards[edit]

Transport for London promoted the Oyster card at launch with many adverts looking for to painting it as a substitute for the paper Travelcard. In late 2005 the Promoting Requirements Authority ordered the withdrawal of 1 such poster which claimed that Oyster pay as you go was “extra handy” than Travelcards with “no have to plan prematurely”. The ASA dominated that the 2 merchandise weren’t immediately comparable, primarily as a result of the pay as you go facility was not legitimate on most Nationwide Rail routes on the time.[131][132]

Transport for London has made a major surplus from extra fares deducted for these travelling utilizing PAYG and failing to the touch out as they exit stations. In accordance with info obtained beneath the Freedom of Info Act[133] TfL made £32m from pay as you go playing cards of which £18m was most fares for failing to the touch out. Solely £803,000 was paid in refunds, exhibiting that while clients can apply for a refund, most don’t. The oyster on-line web site doesn’t checklist all penalty fares eligible for refunds on the entrance web page, and customers should seek for fares charged on a specific day to find all penalty fares which have been charged. The utmost fares for failing to the touch out had been launched late 2006.[134]

Validity on Nationwide Rail[edit]

Till the supply of Oyster pay-as-you-go on the entire of the Nationwide Rail suburban community in January 2010, the validity of PAYG was not constant throughout completely different modes of transport inside London, and this gave rise to confusion for Oyster pay-as-you-go customers.[135] Many passengers had been caught out attempting to make use of Pay as you go on rail routes the place it was not legitimate.[136][137]

On some Nationwide Rail routes the place pay-as-you-go was legitimate, Oyster validators had not been put in at some intermediate stations. Whereas Oyster pay-as-you-go customers may legally journey alongside these traces to sure locations, they weren’t permitted to board or alight at intermediate stations. If their journey started or ended at an intermediate station, they might be unable to the touch out and consequently be chargeable for penalty fares or prosecution.[138][139]

The complexity of Oyster validity on these routes was criticised for growing the danger of passengers inadvertently failing to pay the right fare. Criticism was additionally levelled at prepare working corporations for failing to offer enough warnings to passengers about Oyster validity on their routes and for not putting in Oyster readers at sure stations.[140][141]

TfL revealed guides to the restrictions of pay-as-you-go validity[142] diagrammatic maps illustrating PAYG validity had been revealed in November 2006 by Nationwide Rail,[143] however these had been hardly ever on show at stations and needed to be obtained from transport web sites.[140]

On-line and telesales[edit]

Oyster card ticket renewals and pay-as-you-go top-ups made on-line permit customers to make purchases with out the necessity to go to a ticket workplace or merchandising machine. Nonetheless, there are particular limitations to this technique:

  • tickets and pay-as-you-go funds can solely be added to the Oyster card from 30 minutes after buy (if purchased on-line);
  • customers should choose a station or tram cease the place they need to contact in or out as a part of a traditional journey to finish the acquisition (as playing cards can’t be credited remotely);
  • customers should nominate the station prematurely – failure to enter or exit through this station signifies that the ticket will not be added to the cardboard;
  • tickets bought on this method can’t be added from a bus reader (on account of these not being fastened in a everlasting location).[144]

Safety points[edit]

In June 2008, researchers on the Radboud College in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, who had beforehand succeeded in hacking the OV-chipkaart (the Dutch public transport chip card), hacked an Oyster card, which can also be primarily based on the MIFARE Traditional chip. They scanned a card reader to acquire its cryptographic key, then used a wi-fi antenna hooked up to a laptop computer laptop to brush up in opposition to passengers on the London Underground and extract the knowledge from their playing cards. With that info they had been in a position to clone a card, add credit score to it, and use it to journey on the Underground for no less than a day.[145][146] The MIFARE chip producers NXP Semiconductor sought a courtroom injunction to stop the publication of the small print of this safety breach, however this was overturned on enchantment.[147]

The Mifare Traditional—which can also be used as a safety cross for controlling entry into buildings—has been criticised as having very poor safety, and NXP criticised for attempting to make sure safety by obscurity quite than robust encryption.[148] Breaching safety on Oyster playing cards shouldn’t permit unauthorised use for greater than a day, as TfL guarantees to show off any cloned playing cards inside 24 hours, however a cloned Mifare Traditional can permit entry into buildings that use this technique for safety.

Strategic analysis[edit]

Transport for London, in partnership with tutorial establishments resembling MIT, has begun to make use of the information captured by the Oyster smartcard system for strategic analysis functions, with the overall purpose of utilizing Oyster knowledge to achieve low cost and correct insights into the behaviour and expertise of passengers. Particular tasks embody estimation of Origin-Vacation spot Matrices for the London Underground,[149][150] evaluation of bus-to-bus and bus-to-tube interchange behaviour,[151] modelling and evaluation of TfL-wide fare coverage modifications,[152] and measurement of service high quality on the London Overground.[153]

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