A million extra journeys are being made each week using Oyster pay as you go on National Rail after it was extended to all 350 National Rail stations in Greater London at the start of the year.
The roll-out doubled the number of stations where Transport for London’s (TfL) Oyster is accepted and increased the number of National Rail journeys using Oyster pay as you go from 800,000 to 1.8 million each week.
Using Oyster pay as you go gives many passengers a cheaper option than buying a normal cash single on National Rail. Passengers living across south and north east London have had the most noticeable improvement as Oyster pay as you go was not previously accepted in those areas.
Oyster can now be used on all commuter rail, Tube, DLR, London Overground, London Buses and Tramlink services in the Capital and is also accepted on Thames Clippers river services.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s transport advisor, said: “The Mayor was determined that the thousands of Londoners who use National Rail services should be able to benefit from the ease and convenience of Oyster. He made that a priority and we’re pleased to see that it has been a huge success. An astonishing number of Londoners, particularly in the south and north east of the capital, are using Oyster and benefiting from the cheapest possible fare.”
Pay as you go with Oyster not only charges the lowest fares in nearly every case but also saves time, as there is no need to queue to buy a ticket, passengers simply top up their card at any suitable ticket machine or online. The Oyster system then ensures that the correct fare is charged taking into account any applicable discounts.
Oyster cards and pay as you go top-up can now be bought from all 270 Tube stations, from 4,000 Ticket Stops across Greater London, at TfL Travel Information Centres and online via the TfL website. Oyster cards can also be bought from ticket offices at 202 National Rail station stations including London Overground and can be topped up at 238 stations. Top-up can also be bought from ticket machines at all DLR stations.
Extending Oyster pay as you go was achieved by close working between TfL, Department for Transport (DfT), the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and train companies which run commuter services in Greater London: Chiltern, National Express East Anglia, London Midland, First Great Western, First Capital Connect, Southern, Southeastern, South West Trains and c2c.
To ensure that National Rail passengers using Oyster pay the correct fare and to avoid incurring a maximum fare, they must always touch in and out at the start and end of every journey when using Oyster pay as you go.
Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Fares and Ticketing, said: “The roll-out of Oyster pay as you go to National Rail has been a huge success with 1.8 million journeys now being made each week. Oyster pay as you go will almost always offer the cheapest single rail fare compared to traditional cash single tickets. With Oyster you only need one ticket to travel on public transport across the Capital and with seven million cards in regular use it is now the world’s most successful and popular travel smartcard.”
David Mapp, ATOC Commercial Director, said: “Six months on from the launch, everyone involved has been very pleased with how well the Oyster PAYG roll-out has worked. The aim was to make public transport around the capital easier and quicker for thousands of rail passengers every day. An added bonus for many passengers is that they save money too. This was a project that took a great deal of joint work between train companies, TfL and DfT, and it is great news that it has proved to be so successful.”
The benefits of Oyster have also now been extended to holders of National Rail season ticket Gold Cards, who are now able to load their discount onto Oyster pay as you go cards. With the 34 per cent discount on all National Rail services in London and the South East this provides, customers are now able to travel further, and for cheaper, using just one card. This means that Gold Card holders will no longer need to queue to purchase discounted paper tickets from ticket offices or machines for National Rail journeys within Greater London.