People who currently buy a weekly travelcard will no longer need to do so from next week as TfL is introducing a weekly price-cap on Oyster pay-as-you-go fares for rail and tube travel.

At the moment, people who use pay as you go on contactless cards are never charged more than the equivalent cost of buying a daily or weekly travelcard, and this already applies to Oyster cards used on buses and trams, but it’s taken a while to adapt the Oyster system to work across all the various rail services in London. The introduction of the weekly cap for Oyster on tube and rail had been hoped to be launched in 2018, but it’s taken longer than expected to complete the upgrades.

However, from Monday 27th September, the weekly price cap will go live for train or tube passengers as well.

Although usage by Oyster, at 30 percent of journeys is declining compared to contactless cards, it’s highly unlikely that it will vanish anytime soon, not least because not everyone has a bank account with a contactless card to replace it. Hence the requirement for ongoing upgrades to the system, such as the weekly cap.

Although there’s now no difference in cost between a pay as you go weekly cap and buying a weekly travelcard, there’s a flexibility improvement as people no longer need to buy a weekly travelcard, but also if for an unexpected reason, someone were off work later in a week, they aren’t wasting money on having paid for a travelcard they then didn’t use.

The weekly cap is calculated for journeys using contactless (card or device) or an Oyster card that start on a Monday and end on a Sunday.

Weekly capping is already available for those using pay as you go with contactless, and for Oyster customers who only travel on bus and tram services across London. The upgrade to include rail and tube required some technical development and discussions with the train operating companies before it could be switched on.

Welcoming the TfL upgrade, Andy Bagnall, Director General of the Rail Delivery Group said that “We want to be able to offer this type of flexible ticketing to people in towns and cities beyond the capital, including tap-in, tap-out with a price cap for commuters, which is why we have long called for government to undertake wholesale reform of the regulations that underpin the fares system.”

Weekly capping for those with Zip cards and other discounts is expected to launch during 2022 following further technical development. As well as providing weekly capping, the new technology will also make it easier for taps that have been accidentally missed to be refunded.

In other news, ridership on public transport continues to recover – and last week, almost four million different people travelled on the tube, compared to around five and a half million people a week before the pandemic. This past Wednesday (22nd Sept) reached the highest weekday level since before the pandemic, with 2.4 million tube journeys.

For City workers, journeys on the Waterloo and City line saw around 60,000 journeys a week made in September, compared to around 15,000 journeys when the line reopened in June.

Meanwhile, bus ridership is currently at around four and a half million journeys a day across London.

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25 comments
  1. Peter G says:

    The only disadvantage is for people who want a week’s travel that doesn’t coincide with the fixed Monday-Sunday cycle that TfL has for contactless and Oyster weekly price cap.

  2. Brian Butterworth says:

    I suspect the biggest issue here is that TfL do not issue daily or weekly caps if you miss a tap-out at any point during the day/week period.

    For example, if a DLR machine isn’t working you can get a cascading set of BOTH £5.80 charges by the system AND be excluded from capping.

    I’ve just been on the phone to them today – and it took 27 minutes – to get a tenner back from these kind of problems on Tuesday.

    The problem is bad on the DLR and NR stations like Blackheath where there are no directional ticket machines and the system can get you direction of travel totally wrong…

  3. Mark Walsh says:

    Im unable to see what I’m being charged using contactless, I know I have been overcharged and Oyster contact centre are unable to assist.

    • Ryan says:

      You can register your contactless card in the Oyster App and gain access to a view of its history.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      Go to contactless.tfl.gov.uk and register?

    • kt1974 says:

      Ryan, Brian, the history on the app and website is COMPLETELY different from the amounts charged on your card and when – both timing and quantum are different. e.g. if you travel on Friday, it’s usually charged on Monday; but if you travel on Saturday, sometimes it’s charged on Sunday; Tuesday and Wednesday travel are both usually charged on a Thursday; sometimes there’s a 10p pre-charge, and the balance is charged later. It’s completely random…

    • ianVisits says:

      I suspect there may be something odd about your card, as I’ve not heard about these problems before to the degree that would suggest a widespread problem, and I’ve checked my own account and can’t see any problems with my card payments.

  4. kt1974 says:

    There is a SERIOUS problem with TfL’s contactless charging. The online journey/payment history is not reflective of what is actually charged to the underlying card, and when. The actual payment deduction doesn’t happen on the day, but in batches sometimes 2-3 days later. I get overcharged on the underlying card roughly 2-3 times a month, usually duplicate charges after the weekend. Whenever I call TfL, they point to the online account, which is accurate. But that’s not what’s charged! So far I’ve been able to recover this from my credit card company, but it’s tedious and time-consuming to match card transactions with journey history… And ultimately TfL is in the wrong. It’s irresponsible to broaden contactless payment while this overcharging is taking place…

  5. Matthew Jones says:

    The contactless system is broken they don’t have all the possible journeys on there. If your delayed they charge you for not touching in and out.
    Also the machines don’t always work correctly even if it beeps and lets you through I can still charge you for not touching in.
    So simple journeys it works ok ask long as the machines are working.
    I will still be getting a travel card at least I know they can’t rob me blind.

  6. Olusoji Akindipo says:

    I might have a problem here.I usually buy a weekly zone 2 -3 oyster card.I am always on the tube and buses on several times of the day.Due to the nature of my job.I am care assistance who visit clients from one place to another and about 2 – 3 times a day.Please,how will the new prepaid card works for me?

    • ianVisits says:

      It’s not a new prepaid card, it just means that if you use an Oyster or contactless card, you no longer need to buy a travelcard in advance, as the weekly pay as you go fare will never be more expensive than a travelcard would cost.

  7. Tolhuin says:

    The TFL system has millions of failures. All the people coments above are true. Just tge system is not working properly and TFL is taking hour money

  8. Zk says:

    They took away daily travel card for specific zones excluding zone one, now they introduce weekly cap on contactles which probably will always consider you use zone 1. How they want people to switch to public transport if they keep ripping people off. Shame on you TFL. Not a public service you expect. BIC corpo like any other. All that counts is profit.

  9. Kenny Ball says:

    Can you tell me when is the freedom pass going to go back to 24/7 …as now it’s being stopped at 04.30am till 09.00am to allow more room on the buses.for people to go to work . Yet I’m 66yr old and I’m still working a full time job and I start work at 04.15 am so I have to pay a fare even though I have a freedom pass ..please can you help me . Thank you Kenny ball .

  10. Alhassan Jagne says:

    I totally agree with Kenny Ball, is high time the cap on the freedom card be ease. People 66yrs and above are still working full time and part-time. Consideration will be nice. Thanks Alhassan Jagne.

    • Graham says:

      I have contacted the Mayors office, TFL and trading standards about this very problem, all without an answer. Mayor Khan said the reduction in hour usage was a temporary measure to ensure social distancing and was never a cost saving scheme. Well, we are all heel to toe on the transport system and the restriction needs to be rescinded.

  11. Fareezah Torabally says:

    I have travelled couple of weeks ago to hayes and Harlington station to Paddington when i reached to paddington station to touch out is not wking so they charged me more

  12. Anna Szabo says:

    So when the Council going to stop charging older people from having to pay travel fares before 9:00? This was supposed to be a temporary measure and has been going on for more than a year. Even the city council have said this should stop.

  13. Mrs S Ward says:

    Yes I think it is very bad that I’m an early riser and leave home at 7am and cannot use my 60+ Oyster card.When is it going to change it’s been well over a year now.And was only suppose to be for a short time

  14. Mr.G says:

    I think you still need a real oyster card to use the 15 and other heritage routes or a paper travel card last time I tried.
    They do not accept contactless.

  15. Salih says:

    My question is why oyster is not working anymore from next week I don’t understand really

  16. gurdarshan deol says:

    i am school support worker who travel to Ealing from Southall. I have problem as a lot traffic some driver do not let me in bus as my 60 plus does not touch in. Please do help me what can I do

    • Siobhan Gibbons says:

      I don’t trust daily cap. There have been many occasions when I have been out and about and it’s not capped. Then spent a huge amount of time claiming my money back, your on hold, then you have to wait for you money to be put oyster card which can take anything between 3 to 5 working days. No compensation and I’m then left having to find money to put on my oyster card to travel. Day light robbery

    • ianVisits says:

      You can make refund claims in seconds via the TfL website – very quick and easy and no problem at all.

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