How to use your Oyster Card

As all London residents know, Oysters are invaluable to any traveller navigating the often-hectic maze that is the capital’s public transport system. Owning one can make life a lot simpler – once you know how to use it of course. Let’s take a look at how to use an Oyster Card.

How do I use an Oyster Card at a station

When using your Oyster at a station, it’s crucial that you remember to ‘touch in’ before you begin your journey. ‘Touching in’ at the appropriate point where you need to show your ticket indicates that your journey has began. When you reach your final destination you must ‘touch out’, signaling that your journey has reached its end. Touching in and out helps ensure that you pay the correct fare for your journey.

How do I ‘touch in’?

To touch in or out at a destination, place your Oyster Card flat on the yellow card readers found in stations. When you touch in or out the light on the reader will turn to green and emit a single beeping sound. This means that you can proceed onwards and that you have touched in or out successfully. Some locations are fitted with newer card readers, which will display the cost of your journey and how much balance is left on your card.

What happens if I don’t touch in?

You might be thinking, “Well who’s going to notice if I don’t touch in?”. This is highly unadvisable – if you do not touch in and out of your journey you may be liable to pay a Penalty Fare or be prosecuted. You should always touch in and out at the appropriate card readers.

How do I touch out on a bus or tram?

You only need to touch in on buses and trams – the journey cost will automatically deduct from your card.

How do I touch in on the river bus?

When using the Thames Clipper River Bus service, you should only touch in on the read when a member of staff tells you to do so. After touching in, remember to touch out again at the end of your journey.

What are pink card readers for?

There are pink card readers at some Tube and London Overground stations. These tell TfL which route you have taken, allowing them to charge you the right fare. If you’re changing trains to avoid Zone 1 and you see a pink reader, touch your Oyster onto it to pay the correct fare.