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Oyster PAYG customers pay up to £92 more a week than those using Contactless

New analysis of tube and bus fares in the capital has revealed a vast gap between prices paid by some passengers using the new Contactless system and those using Oyster cards. The analysis from London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson Val Shawcross AM has shown passengers using Oyster PAYG fares are paying up to £92 a week more than those using Contactless and making the same journeys. Shawcross said the figures throw serious doubt upon the Mayor of London’s pledge that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel.

Despite promoting Contactless as “the same fare as Oyster” TfL’s introduction of weekly capping on Contactless but not Oyster, which only has daily caps, means those using Oyster are left paying significantly more.

Daily caps on Oyster mean that once customers have spent a certain amount they are not charged any more no matter how many journeys they make that day. With Contactless users able to take advantage of weekly caps they could save significant amounts with some weekly caps coming into effect after only one day and a half days of travel compared with daily caps.

A peak-time commuter who hits the daily cap travelling between zones 4 and 7 for example would pay £19.60 a day using Oyster. On Contactless this would only cost £29.40 for a whole week meaning savings of £91.80 over Oyster if they were to hit the daily cap for a whole week. For those only commuting Monday to Friday, the saving on Contactless would still be £68.60.

A zone 1-9 commuter who hits the peak-time daily cap could save £60.90 per week by switching from Oyster to Contactless.

With TfL surveys showing that only 26% of Londoners had made a payment with a contactless card, Ms Shawcross has questioned why the Mayor chose not to introduce weekly capping on Oyster as well.

London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM, said:

“Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel but that simply isn’t true. There is now a worrying gap between the prices paid by Contactless passengers and those using Oyster.

“What we now know is that many people in London who regularly hit the Oyster daily fare cap are potentially paying far more than those using Contactless despite being told it was the cheapest way to travel.

“When Boris Johnson launched Contactless he could have chosen to add weekly caps to the Oyster Card. Instead he purposely chose to give Contactless card users a better deal despite almost half a million Londoners not having a bank account let alone a Contactless card.”


-          TfL’s schedule of Daily & Weekly PAYG Fare Caps can be found here

-          Passenger survey results provided by TfL show that :




Have made payment with contactless card/ device



Have contactless card/ device but have not made a payment with it



Aware of contactless card/ device but do not have one



Unaware of contactless card/ device




-          440,000 people in London do not have bank accounts according to research in April 2014 from Ffrees Family Finance.

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