Transport for London introduces weekly capping for Oyster cards
Adult pay-as-you-go Tube and rail customers will now benefit from weekly capping on Oyster cards, giving them the best possible fares for all of their journeys made between Monday and Sunday.
Credit: Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that, as of 27 September 2021, Oyster card users will benefit from weekly capping for adult pay-as-you-go customers, meaning that anyone travelling on Tube and rail services across London will never need to buy a weekly Travelcard again.
The upgrade, which follows significant technical development and successful discussions with train operating companies, means that those who regularly use the iconic smartcard to travel around London will no longer need to plan how to pay for travel throughout the week, as the system will give them the best possible fares for all of their journeys made between Monday and Sunday.
Daily caps on Tube and rail services are set at one fifth of the price of a weekly cap and, if customers travel more frequently, weekly caps ensure that they don’t pay more than the equivalent weekly Travelcard. Weekly capping is already available for those using pay-as-you-go with contactless debit and credit cards, as well as Oyster customers who only travel on bus and tram services across London.
In addition to providing weekly capping, the new technology will also make it easier for taps that have been accidently missed to be refunded. Weekly capping for those with Zip cards and other discounts is expected to launch during 2022 following further technical development.
Ticketing technology pioneers
London has led the way globally in developing transport ticketing technology, with the first trials of smartcard technology – which would lead to the Oyster card – beginning as early as 1992. This led TfL towards the wider development of ticketing using contactless bank cards, which was first introduced on buses in 2012 and later expanded to Tube and rail services.
Using an Oyster card, contactless card or device to pay-as-you-go is easy and flexible. Customers only pay for the journeys that they make, which is ideal if they commute flexibly.
As ridership continues to increase on London’s public transport network post-pandemic, new analysis shows that eight out of 10 fare paying customers travelling on the Tube are now doing so using pay-as-you-go with contactless or Oyster cards, rather than more traditional Travelcard or paper single tickets.
Almost four million different people travelled on the Tube from 13 September to 19 September 2021, compared to five and a half million people pre-pandemic. At least two million journeys are being made every weekday and, on 22 September, there were 2.4 million journeys made – the highest weekday since the pandemic began.
Analysis of journeys made in early autumn 2021 shows that around 79 per cent used pay-as-you-go with contactless or an Oyster card – with the number of contactless journeys continuing to grow significantly.
On buses, the proportion of fare paying customers using pay-as-you-go is currently around 72 per cent. Bus ridership is currently at around four and a half million journeys a day across London, as more Londoners start returning to their workplaces and heading out to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
Mike Tuckett, Head of Customer Payments at Transport for London, said: “Pay-as-you-go has been a huge success for London and, following the pandemic, we are seeing how the flexibility and convenience that it offers is benefiting those whose travelling habits might have changed.”
“Following significant technical development and successful discussions with the train operating companies, we are pleased to now be able to extend weekly Tube and rail capping to Oyster customers, meaning that they can now benefit from knowing that they won’t pay more than an equivalent weekly Travelcard for their journeys across London,” Tuckett added.
The popularity of pay as you go has seen it expand across rail services in recent years. Pay as you go with contactless extended to services from London to Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City in 2019, and for GWR and TfL Rail services to Reading station in 2020.