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|Trains||Cash||Oyster||Travelcards (Trains & Buses)|
|Aged under-11 and accompanied by an adult, or with a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard|
|Aged 11-15 with a Young Visitor Discount applied to their Oyster card|
|All zones||–||Half the adult fare||–||–||–||–||–|
|Aged 11-15 with an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard|
|Aged 16-17 with a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard|
|Zone 1-4||Same as the 11-15 fare||Half the adult fare||£13.10||n/a||Same as the 11-15 fare|
|Aged 11-17 without any kind of discount or photocard|
|All zones||Same as the adult fare|
Adult fares? See our adult train fares page
Return fares? There are no return fares. You just pay for two single journeys
Anytime, peak and off-peak? Off-peak for Oyster is outside the hours of 6.30-9.30 AM and 4-7 PM (Mon-Fri). For travelcards it’s after 9.30 AM (Mon-Fri). Weekends are always off-peak. Off-peak is determined by what time your journey begins
Young Visitor Discount? Buy your child a normal pay-as-you-go Oyster card (not a travelcard), load some credit onto it, then ask a TFL staff member to apply the ‘Young Visitor Discount’ to it. It will then charge them the child-rate for the next 14 days
Daily cap? If you make multiple journeys in one day then the computer will stop charging you once your total amount reaches the daily cap. Journeys after that will be free if you stay within those same zones
Aged under-11: Children under the age of 11 can travel for free on London’s train provided they are accompanied by an adult (up to a maximum of 4 children per adult). If they are unaccompanied then they will need a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard.
Aged 11-15: 11-15 year olds get cheaper cash fares, Oyster fares and travelcards with an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. If they don’t have a photocard then they can get a ‘Young Visitor Discount’ applied to a normal Oyster card instead, which gives them a reduced rate for fourteen days.
Aged 16-17: 16-17 year olds carrying a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard pay a reduced rate for Oyster fares and travelcards. There are no discounts for cash fares. If they don’t have a photocard then they will have to pay the adult rate instead.
Oyster cards look like a blue plastic credit card. You load them up with money before you travel and the computer will automatically deduct the correct fare every time your child touches it against the gate. When it starts running low on money you simply top it up again at a ticket machine. Read more about Oyster cards.
Visitor Oyster cards work in exactly the same way as normal Oyster cards, but they are aimed primarily at tourists. The biggest difference is that they already come with some money pre-loaded on to them, to save you the bother of having to load it on yourself. Read more about Visitor Oyster cards.
Travelcards are only valid for a set period: 1-day, one week, one month, or one year, and you have to choose the date you want to begin when you buy it. You also have to choose which zones you want it to cover. Depending on which type you get and where you get it from, it will either come as a paper ticket or be loaded on to a blue Oyster card. Read more about travelcards.
Oyster cards users benefit from a daily cap. This is the maximum amount of money that will be taken from your card each day. The computer keeps track of all the journeys you make and as soon as the accumulated total reaches the price cap it will stop charging you. Any journeys you make after that will be completely free!
If your child is aged between 11 and 15 and you can’t be bothered of going through the hassle of getting a Zip Oyster photocard then you can take advantage of the Young Visitor Discount instead. This entitles them to get 50% off the adult train fare for a maximum of fourteen days.
All you have to do is buy your child a normal blue Oyster card (not a travelcard), load some credit on to it, and then ask a member of staff to apply the ‘Young Visitor Discount’ to it. You can do this at a London Underground station, a National Rail station (within London, obviously!), or at a London Travel Information Centre.
Be aware that your child must be with you when you do it (up to a maximum of four children per adult), and the staff member might ask for proof of age if they look over 15.
Once the fourteen days are over the card will revert back to charging adult fares again.
Photocards must be ordered from the TFL website at least four weeks before you travel. They can either be posted to your home address or picked up from a Travel Information Centre when you arrive in London.
Bear in mind that photocards cost £10 or more, which will probably wipe out any savings you’ll make. You might find it better to buy an Oyster card and apply the Young Visitor Discount to it instead.
5-10 Zip Oyster photocard: Unaccompanied children aged between 5-10 will need a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard to get free travel on the train. If they’re accompanied by an adult then they don’t need one.
11-15 Zip Oyster photocard: 11-15 year olds pay a reduced rate on the train if they have an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. They also get cheaper travelcards. If they don’t have a photocard then they will have to pay an adult train fare instead.
16+ Zip Oyster photocard: 16-17 year olds get cheaper Oyster fares if they have a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard. They also get cheaper travelcards.
You use Zip Oyster photocards in exactly the same way as normal Oyster cards. You load them up with credit and touch them against the big yellow Oyster readers. When they start running low on credit you can top them up at a ticket machine or an ‘Oyster stop’. (How to top up Oyster cards.)
Oyster fares are either Peak or Off-peak. Peak time is between the hours of 6.30-9.30 AM and 4-7 PM (Monday to Friday). Outside of those hours is Off-peak. Weekends and public holidays are always off-peak.
Travelcards can be Anytime or Off-peak. Anytime means exactly what it says: you can travel at any time, plus up to 4.30 AM the following day (you always get a bonus journey home after midnight with a travelcard). Off-peak is any time after 9.30 AM (Monday to Friday). Weekends and public holidays are still classed as off-peak.
Note: fares are based on what time your journey starts. It doesn’t matter what time your journey finishes. So an Oyster journey between 6 AM and 8 AM on a Monday is off-peak. Between 8 AM and 10 AM it’s peak. For a travelcard they’re both peak time.
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