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London Travelcard Public Transport Pass In 2016

Transport Pass For 1 Day, 7 Days, 1 Month Or Much Longer For Buses, Trains & Underground

London Travelcard

Travelcard With Rail Logo On
(bottom left corner)

Unless you are going to make just one single journey on public transport in London then you should really be looking to either purchase an Oyster , use a contactless payment card or a London Travelcard travel pass and not pay for single tickets. For example, paying cash for a single Underground journey in the centre of London is more than double that paying with an Oyster Card.

The London Travelcard is the original pass for public transport in London. It is very simple to understand. You pay up front for a ticket which gives you unlimited rides for a stated number of days,

You can currently buy Travelcards for periods of 1 day, 7 days, 1 month or 1 year.

The Oyster Card and contactless payment card options are more complicated, but if you are in London less than 6 days will be cheaper. We have a dedicated page for the Oyster Card and contactless payment cards

Where You Can Use A Travelcard

The Travelcard pass covers :

Travelcard or Oyster Cards In London Discussion

- The London Underground network.

- The London red local bus network.

- The railway network in Greater London.

- Docklands Light Railway, TFL Railway and Overground Railway.

- 33% discount on many scheduled river services.

You cannot use Travelcards on the Heathrow Express train, the Heathrow Connect train between Heathrow and Hayes and Harlington and the High Speed trains between St Pancras and Stratford.

Gatwick, Stansted and Luton Airports are outside London beyond the scope of London public transport so the airport buses and trains from these airports are not covered. City Airport is serviced by the Docklands Light railway (DLR) and is covered.

Fare Zones

The London public transport system is divided up into zones that radiate from the centre. Nearly all the hotels and the main sights are in Zone 1. Heathrow Airport is in zone 6 and the furthest zone out is zone 9.

For the vast majority of visitors you will only travel in the two most central zones 1 and 2.

The Underground Map (link right) has the stations and their zones marked.

Some stations like Turnham Green are in two zones, you use whichever zone for these stations is most beneficial in working out your fare.

The fare you pay is set by which zones your departure and destination stations are in. Your journey starts when you go through the ticket barrier of the station entrance you depart from and finishes when you pass through the ticket barrier at the exit of your destination.

You cannot break a journey on a single fare, once you go though an exit barrier of a station that is journey completed. You can change trains at an interchange station and as you do not go through an exit barrier at the station your fare is not calculated until you exit through a barrier at your ultimate destination after switching trains.

Although with a Travelcard you have unlimited journeys for a flat fee, the price you pay for your Travelcard is determined by the fare zones you want to travel in. The more fare zones you want covered the more expensive the Travelcard.

London's red buses do not have zones. In fact with a Travelcard if you have a Travelcard for zones 1 and 2 you can travel in all the other zones as well using red buses.

Peak & Off Peak Travel For Travelcards

A 1 day Travelcard comes in a choice of peak and off-peak variants, the price differential is substantial.

The peak travel period is if you travel between 04:30 and 09:29 Monday to Friday.

For a 1 Day Travelcard only, if you want to travel during this time you need to purchase the 'Peak' period 1 day Travelcard product, otherwise the much cheaper off-peak Travelcard will do.

Travelcards for 7 days or longer are valid at all times.

Travelcards are valid for calendar days, not 24 hours from when you first use. However you can use your Travelcard the day after the last day if your journey departs before 4:30 a.m.

London Travelcard Prices 2016 (From January 2nd)

Zones Covered

1 Day Travelcards

Travelcards Valid At All Times



7 Days

1 Month

1 Year

Zone 1-2






Zone 1-3






Zone 1-4






Zone 1-5






Zone 1-6






* Peak fares apply for any travel made Monday to Friday before 9:30 a.m. All other travel is off-peak.

Children under 11 travel free on the Underground, DLR and buses. Between 11 and 15 years and with an Oyster 11-15 Photocard they travel free on the buses.

Childrens Travelcards are half the price of the adult rates shown above. Children need an Oyster 11-15 Photocard to obtain these child rates. Children under 11 travel free on buses, Underground, DLR and Overround

Those aged 16 or 17 can apply for an Oyster 16+ Photocard to obtain these child rates on 7 Day, 1 Month and Annual Travelcards.

Contactless Payment Cards & 7 Day Travelcards

In 2014 contactless payment cards (credit/debit cards supporting contactless payments) were introduced on London's public transport.

The fare structure of these contactless payment cards are identical to Oyster cards, which are cheaper than 1 day Travelcards. However, if you are travelling 5-7 days in a 7 day period, several times a day, then 7 day Travelcards will be cheaper than an Oyster.

Unlike Oyster Cards, contactless payment cards have a 7 day fare cap facility where the maximum you can pay in fares between Monday and Sunday is the same fare as a 7 day Travelcard. The key difference with a 7 day Travelcard is that a 7 day Travelcard can start on any day of the week and be valid for the 7 days commencing from that day, the contactless payment card has a fixed Monday to Sunday duration.

Contactless Payment Cards - Full Information

Seniors Concessions

There are no seniors fares for visitors. If you reside in London and are over 60 you can get a Freedom pass or 60+ Oyer ID Card that makes free bus travel available. You can apply on-line or get a form from your local Post Office.

Anybody with an English National Concessionary bus pass can use that on London's red buses too and travel free of charge.

If you have a railways Seniors Railcard you can get your 1/3 rd discount on off-peak Oyster fares. You have to ask a member of staff to load the concession onto a standard Oyster Card (note, not a Visitors Oysters Card) at an Underground Station after showing your Seniors Card.

If you have a railways Seniors Railcard you can also buy 1 day off-peak zone 1-6 Travelcards at with the discount applied.

Child Concessions

This is a very complex subject and is covered in detail at the foot of the page.

In crude terms a child is defined as under 16 years old, but in the last couple of years it has been possible to get child fares after jumping through a few hoops up to the age of 17.

Children under 11 can travel free on the London Underground, DLR and buses without a ticket. If a child is between 11 and 15 years old you require an Oyster 11-15 Photocard (which has a fee see below). This allows 11 to 15 year olds to travel at child fares on the Underground, DLR, Overground and some trains, free on the buses.

If you are a short term visitor (in London for up to 14 days) with kids between 11-15 you can take advantage of the Young Visitor Discount. This means you can get half price fares on an Oyster Card on a temporary basis for your child without going through the hoops and expense of getting an Oyster ID card. You do need to read carefully the rules of this scheme though.

Child Fares - More Details

London Group Travelcard Public Transport Tickets

Group Tickets - 1 Day Group Travelcard For Groups Of 10 Or More

This ticket is for groups of 10 or more travelling together.

This in scope is the same as a 1 day off-peak Travelcard for zones 1-6 and 1-9 providing unlimited travel on all services after 9.30 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays

The pricing is particularly attractive if you have kids in the group and those staying in one of the outer zones, (however if you are staying in the centre of London zones 1 to 3 it will be cheaper to purchase individual Oyster Cards.

If you are a group of 10 or more then do check out this product. Click through on the blog link right for more details.

Qualifying For The Railways 2 For 1 Promotion By Using Travelcards

The railways sponsor a hugely popular and long running promotion that allows those people using the train to visit leading attractions to get two people admitted for the price of one.

When visiting London you can you can get 2 for 1 admission to many of London's major sights including the Tower of London, the full list is very, very long and covers all of Great Britain. If you have train tickets to London and you are doing some sightseeing its a very worthwhile promotion to look into.

If like many visitors you are not using the national train services to get to London but are using a Travelcard to ride the London Underground to get around then there is a loophole in the scheme whereby if you buy your Travelcard from a railway station ticket office you qualify for the 2 for 1 promotion. There are a few further hoops to jump through but the rewards are significant, so its worth checking out.

Railways 2 For 1 Promotion More Details

Where You Buy From And What You Buy Determines The Format Of The Travelcard

  • If you buy Travelcards from a railway ticket office, (not Underground) they come on card and will have a rail logo on, (just like the image at the top of the page). If you buy a 7 Day Travelcard or longer you will need a rail photocard. This is made up on the spot and is free of charge, but you have to bring your own passport size photo. You cannot use the rail photocard as id at non-rail ticket outlets.

  • If you buy Travelcards from anywhere else 1 day Travelcards come on a card, but all other Travelcards come loaded on a Oyster Card. Children between 11 and 17 years require an Oyster ID Photocard to buy Travelcards at child rate 7 days or longer. Adults do not need photo id.

Underground Ticket Office Closures in 2016

By April 2016 all manned ticket offices at Underground Stations are due to have closed and most will have closed well before that. All ticketing will now be performed by ticket machines including Oyster refunds as well as purchases. At busy entry points for visitors to London visitor centres have been opened for assistance and advice, these are open at Gatwick, King's Cross St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, Victoria, Euston, Paddington and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3.

The manned ticket offices run by the national railways still remain open and at the main train stations in Central London many offer near 24x7 opening times. You cannot buy Oyster Cards at these ticket offices but you can buy Travelcards.

Where You Buy From Determines What Photo ID (If Any) You Require To Purchase

  • For adults the only time they will need photo id is if they purchase a 7 day Travelcard or longer from a railway station ticket office. A photocard is made up on the spot and is free of charge, but you have to bring your own passport size photo.

  • For children to buy a 7 Day Travelcard or longer from any outlet but the railways or the TFL Visitor Shop you will need an Oyster Photo ID Card to get the child rate Travelcards. (See childrens fares section at bottom of page).

  • If children buy a 7 Day Travelcard or longer from the railways its the same as for adults. A photocard is made up on the spot and is free of charge, but you have to bring your own passport size photo.

  • To buy any child Travelcard on-line from the TFL Visitor Shop (see banner below)for delivery to your home address, (including internationally) no photo id is required.

London Oyster Card and Travelcards For Sale On-line

Using Your Travelcard To Gain Access To Trains

London Underground Ticket Barrier London Underground Wide Ticket Barrier

Standard & Wide Barriers

To gain access to the trains of all types, and again to exit a station you have to pass through automatic barriers, (pictured right). There is always one wide ticket barrier for wheelchairs, pushchair's and people with large suitcases.

If you have a card Travelcard you insert the Travelcard into the ticket slot, the barrier will check that your Travelcard is valid for both date and zones travelled and then return it to you and open the barrier.

If you have a Travelcard loaded onto an Oyster Card you swipe the Oyster Card over a bright yellow pad, the barrier will check validity and then open the barrier. This process is repeated at the destination station.

On buses there are no ticket barriers. Inspectors may check the validity of your Travelcard at any time.

Children's Fare Concessions
- Children Under 5

Children under five can travel free at any time on the Tube, DLR, buses and trams as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. You do not need a ticket for free travel. Children in this category do not need Oyster ID Cards*.

- Children 5-10

Under-11s can travel free at any time on buses and trams without the need for a Oyster ID Card*. You do not need a ticket for free travel.

They can also travel free at any time on the Tube, DLR , Overground and any TFL train service when they are travelling with an adult who has a valid ticket. Up to 4 children under 11 years old accompanied by a paying adult travel free.

Travel on the national railways which operate suburban commuter trains in London only have free travel for those under 5. In the last year or so many train routes in London have switched from the railways to TFL Rail. Confusingly a few national railways routes where both rail and TFL rail operate on the same tracks children under 11 can travel free on the railways trains - this includes the popular route for visitors between Euston and Watford Junction (for Harry Potter Studio Tour).

Unaccompanied children between 5 and 10 must have a valid Oyster ID Card*.

- Children 11-15
Child Fares On London Public Transport

Children aged 11 to 15 years must get an 11-15 Oyster ID Card* to travel free on buses and trams and at child-rate on Tube, DLR and London Overground services. You do not need a ticket for free travel, just the ID Card.

You cannot get a standard child rate Oyster Card without an Oyster ID Card.

Young Visitor Discount (for visitors to London staying up to 2 weeks)

If you are a short term visitor to London you can get child fares on a special child Oyster Card that expires after 14 days. There are restrictions. You can only get these Oyster Cards credited with a Young Persons Discount at Underground stations, TFL Rail stations, Visitor or Travel Information Centres and Victoria National Rail station ticket office. For full details of this scheme click through on the Child Fares banner to the right.

Alternatives To Oyster Cards For Children

You can get around the Oyster ID card requirement by purchasing a 1 day Travelcard for the child, (longer length Travelcards do require an Oyster ID Card) or paying the cash fare or purchasing your Child Travelcard on-line in advance from the TFL Visitor Shop.

You can buy 7 day child Travelcards at railway stations (not Underground or Overground) with a railway ticket office. The railways will issue a railways photocard free of charge if you bring along a passport size photo of your child. You can only use this for buying tickets from the railways which in practise for visitors means Travelcards.

Children 16-17

All 16 to 17-year-olds can travel at child-rate on bus, Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground services with a 16+ Oyster ID Card*.

However, you can only use this concession on Oyster cards and 7 Day Travelcards or longer, not 1 day Travelcards.

Students 18+

If you are 18 or over and enrolled with a participating education establishment registered on the TFL scheme and are resident in London whilst studying there is an Oyster ID card that gives a 34% discount on Oyster Pay As You Go.

*Oyster ID Cards

Visitors to London from overseas can order an Oyster Photocard in advance for their children and collect on arrival at a travel centre. (There is a Travel Centre at Heathrow Airport as well as in Central London). If you are resident in the UK but live outside London you can again order on-line but the Oyster ID Card is sent to your home address.

Note you need to apply (online) at least 4 weeks prior to arrival.

Note: There is a non-refundable £10-£20 administration fee for each Oyster ID Card

Advance application for Child Oyster ID Card

London Oyster Card and Travelcards For Sale On-line
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