Oyster Cards

Oyster cards can be used at some of our station

Oyster Card logo

Oyster map

What are they?

Oyster cards are London's smart ticketing system. They can be used as a pay-as-you-go card, a Travelcard season ticket, or both.

New Oyster cards are available from London Underground stations, for a deposit of £5. If you register your card, this ensures that if you lose it, it can be cancelled and replaced. Any Travelcard or pay as you go balance will also be replaced.

Pay as you go on Oyster

On Greater Anglia services you can use Oyster to pay as you go between any two stations shown on the map. Pay as you go can also be used on virtually all public transport in Greater London. This covers scheduled buses, trains, the Underground, DLR and trams. The only exclusions are the Heathrow Express, the Heathrow Connect service between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport, and a very few non-TfL bus services in outlying areas that cross the Greater London boundary.

Contactless bank cards, Barclaycard payment devices and Apple Pay can all be used to pay as you go in the same way as Oyster.

On Greater Anglia and other National Rail services, Oyster pay as you go is only valid in Standard Class. If you wish to make a journey within the Oyster area in First Class, you will have to buy a paper First Class ticket.

Ticket machines at all stations shown on the map can top up Oyster cards.

To ensure you are charged the correct fare, you must always touch in at the start and out at the end of each journey on a yellow Oyster reader.

Pay as you go rail single fares are charged at the peak rate when you touch in between 06:30 and 09:30 or between 16:00 and 19:00 on working weekdays. Off-Peak fares are charged at all other times. The only exception to this is on journeys from other zones that end in Zone 1, where off-peak fares are charged all day after 09:30, with no evening peak period applying.

Capping applies to daily Oyster use. An Oyster day runs between 04:30 and 04:29 the following morning. No matter how often you use your card to pay as you go, as long as you touch in and out for each journey you will never be charged more than the daily cap. Caps are priced as peak and off-peak and by how many zones are used. Peak caps are charged if the card is touched in between 06:30 and 09:30 on a weekday, off-peak caps are charged at all other times.

If you have a Senior, 16-25 or Forces Railcard or an annual Gold Card you can have this discount added to your Oyster card which will give you 1/3 off Off-Peak pay as you go fares and caps. With a Disabled Person's Railcard you can get discounted peak and off-peak pay as you go fares and caps. Railcard discounts cannot be applied if you use a contactless payment card.

Full details of all Oyster fares are on the Transport for London website


  • Remember to touch in and touch out when using Oyster pay as you go otherwise a maximum Oyster fare will be charged and in addition you could get a penalty fare.

Travelcards on Oyster

Travelcard season tickets are available on Oyster for all combinations of zones within Zones 1-6 (you must have a minimum of two adjacent zones), and also on selected zonal combinations to central London from stations in the Oyster area outside Zones 1-6. These allow unlimited travel on the Underground, buses, the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, Tramlink and almost all National Rail services within your chosen zones.

Oyster Travelcards are available in weekly, monthly and annual periods, or for any period from one month to one year.

Travelcards are not available on contactless payment cards, but weekly capping applies so that you never pay more than the weekly Travelcard fare for the zones you have used in that week (a week runs from Monday to Sunday).

If you commute on Greater Anglia services only, a traditional point-to-point rail-only paper season ticket may be a cheaper option.

Combining Travelcards and pay as you go on Oyster

If you hold a Travelcard on Oyster you can add a pay as you go balance to cover any extra zones that you wish to travel through.

For example if you have a Zones 1-4 Travelcard on your Oyster card and you travel from Stratford (Zone 3) to Enfield Lock (Zone 6) you will be charged the peak or off-peak Oyster single rail-only fare from Zone 5 to Zone 6.

Even if you are starting your journey within the validity of your Travelcard, as in the above example, you must touch in when you start your journey. Otherwise, when you touch out, the system will not know where you started your journey and will charge you the maximum fare. You may also be liable to pay a penalty fare.

Travelling outside the Oyster area with an Oyster card

Pay as you go

If you are travelling from within the Oyster area to a station outside it (e.g. Chelmsford or Harlow Town), you cannot use your Oyster or contactless payment card to make a pay as you go journey. There are no Oyster readers at stations outside the Oyster area, so there is nowhere for you to touch out. Therefore the system cannot calculate the correct fare to charge you.

If you arrive at a station outside the Oyster area with only an Oyster or contactless payment card which has been touched in, then:

  • You will have paid the maximum entry charge from the station where you touched in. As there is nowhere to touch out, this charge will remain deducted from your card balance.
  • You will not have a valid ticket for the journey that you have made, so you will either have to purchase a ticket or be liable to pay a penalty fare.

If you wish to travel part of the way using Oyster or contactless pay as you go, you will have to leave the train at a station within the pay as you go area, touch out, then re-enter the station using a paper ticket from there to your onward destination.

Travelcard on Oyster

If you already have a Travelcard or a 60+ Oyster Card or Freedom Pass, then when you book a ticket to a station outside your Travelcard’s area, you only need to pay the excess to or from the boundary station.

At the ticket office, these tickets are issued to or from the zonal boundary, which will show as, for example “Boundary Zone 6” on the ticket.

From self-service ticket machines, you can select a “Boundary Zone” origin or destination and the correct excess fare will be shown.

The exceptions are journeys to/from stations north of Ipswich, where boundary fares are not available, but fares from the boundary stations are – see below.

On the GA website or app, boundary tickets are not available, but you can easily buy the same ticket by using a boundary station instead. In all but a few cases the fare from the zonal boundary and from the boundary station is the same. Exceptions are where the boundary fare is priced by another train company, for example, to Southend or Cambridge.

Simply enter the boundary station that corresponds to the outermost zone on your Travelcard as your origin or destination station instead of London.

The train does not need to stop at the boundary station for the combination of tickets to be valid.

Greater Anglia Boundary stations are:

Zone Great Eastern line towards Chelmsford and Southend West Anglia line towards Harlow, Bishop’s Stortford and Cambridge
2 Stratford Hackney Downs
3 Manor Park Northumberland Park
4 Goodmayes Meridian Water
5 Chadwell Heath Brimsdown
6 Harold Wood Enfield Lock

To use a ticket to or from a zonal boundary or boundary station when your journey starts or ends at London Liverpool Street, your Travelcard will need to include Zone 1.

Find out more about using Oyster