Often, I have to travel to stations just outside the oyster card zone (literally one or two stops beyond the limit). The difference in fare between the final oyster card station and the next non-oyster station from central London can be huge. Is there any way I can travel the bulk of my journey on the oyster fare up to the final oyster station and then just the remainder on a regular ticket?

If the oyster card reader is on the platform, and I position myself in the right part of the train, I could dart out and tap out on my oyster card. However, I then do not have time to buy a ticket for the remainder of my journey. It's also risky (might not get back on the train in time), looks dodgy and requires preplanning. I guess I could somehow buy a ticket ahead of time for just the tiny stretch I need? Is it possible to do that from a ticket machine in central London?

Or, is there someway to get a discounted ticket to the final station due to the fact I have an oyster card and therefore could travel the bulk of the journey on oyster card?

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    Buying a ticket that starts at another station is not usually possible from a ticket machine but a ticket office with an actual person in central London would be able to sell you one
    – etmuse
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 9:23
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    Do you have a season ticket on your oyster card? At least one form of paper ticket would discount the zones it covers if you do.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 9:29
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    Mike Whitaker's Oyster site will almost certainly include your answer.
    – AakashM
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 9:57
  • @etmuse This is no longer the case for alot of ticket machines. I don't know about the ones in central London but at my local station in Lancaster they all have a tickets from another station option. Anecdotally I have seen lots of other machines with the same option.
    – skifans
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 12:25
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    Even if a ticket machine doesn't have that option you can buy a ticket from your phone and choose the collect at station option and just select your London station. I have no idea though how you'd go about tapping out with your oyster once you have done this.
    – skifans
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


If you're using Oyster Pay as you Go, the terms and conditions require you to touch in and out at the ends of your journeys. While you might have luck getting Oyster's helpline to refund your journeys, this is by no means a guarantee, and so you shouldn't rely on getting this refund. A validated Oyster Pay as you Go ticket I suspect also won't be accepted by many guards or ticket inspectors on a train that doesn't stop at any Oyster stations.

If you can get off the train and touch out at the station, you can do that. You might also want to look at split ticketing - perhaps two paper tickets would be cheaper for you?

You can buy the ticket you need from some ticket vending machines (look for a "tickets from other stations" option - some have them, some don't), all ticket offices, or online from any train operating company's website (and pick it up from a machine at your origin station). I doubt most staff would bat an eyelid at a request to buy such a ticket. You don't need to buy it at the station you tap out at.

If, on the other hand, you have a Travelcard season ticket loaded onto your Oyster card, there is no need to tap out. Just stay on the train. For tickets for such circumstances, you can buy a ticket from "Boundary Zone N" (where N is the last zone of validity for your travelcard season ticket); you'll probably have to do this at a ticket office as few machines and few websites offer them. Note that none of this applies with pay as you go!


I do this quite often (I think approximately one return every three weeks) when I interchange between National Rail and London commuter trains because Clapham Junction doesn't have Oyster Readers on the platforms. (Although I am travelling one stop on Oyster and 150 miles on National Rail.)

I am charged the maximum fare, and I call up Oyster when I have a few minutes at the weekend and claim back the £13.00 or whatever it is. The telephone operator sees the incomplete journeys and I tell them the proper completion of it. They offer to put it back on my Oyster card or refund it back to my bank. It's a bit of a hassle, but the telephone is answered quickly and it is fairly painless. In principle they are entitled to refuse, but this has not happened yet.

I also tend to have a few incomplete journeys from tube barriers not properly registering my card or from when I've been advised by station staff to keep walking because of severe overcrowding. My last reclaim actually came to over £50, and this was dealt with quite efficiently with no hint of resistance.

In theory this is not the proper way to travel and London Transport is entitled to refuse to make the refund. I think if you did this on a daily basis it would not work so well. (Though, if you do this on a daily basis, you can buy a season ticket, which does not require you to touch in or out.)

  • Clapham Junction has Oyster readers on platform 17 for some reason.
    – Muzer
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 9:40
  • AIUI originally oyster only covered the tube, and a very limited selection of rail services. So standalone readers were provided in some locations to make interchange easier. I don't know what the rationale of the location of the one at Clapham junction was/is though. Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 15:10

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