Do I need to touch out with my Oyster Card?

You probably already know this, but if you don’t please read, take it in, learn from it and then tell others. It might just help cut a little of the congestion in Central London.


So you have an Oyster Card right? Do you buy a weekly or a monthly travel card on it? Well, I’ve got news for you. Those announcements

Please remember to touch in and touch out at the start and end of your journey to ensure you’re charged the correct fare.

Well, they’ve got nothing to do with you. Remove it from your mind completely, pretend you never heard it. Your Oyster Card isn’t in pay-as-you-go mode so you’ve got nothing to worry about.

There are some occasions where the barriers are left open, such as Victoria Underground Station in the evening rush hour. It’s so busy the station staff try to ease congestion by speeding up the flow of commuters. If, however, you still insist on waiting in a line to touch out, even if you’re on a travel card, I must say, you are being a little silly. The barriers are already open!

At Finsbury Park instead of barriers they just have Oyster Card readers on the wall, or should I say “Pay as you Go” readers. Again, these are not for you travel-carders! Just walk on through.

Here’s how it works :

1. Pay as you go : Requires you to touch in & touch out. Then, based on the start and end point of your journey it calculates the correct fare to charge you and deducts it from your balance.

2. Daily, weekly or monthly rail card. You’ve paid up front! When you get to the barriers your Oyster Card just shouts out “Open the doors!” It doesn’t care where you’ve come from, where you’re going or whether you’ve touched in, touched out, touched yourself or anything.

Now, if this is all new to you I can imagine you’re a little skeptical. Here’s a few questions you might be asking :

If there are different types of modes why do the announcements tell everyone to touch in and touch out?
I suppose TFL assume we’re too stupid to understand the difference. It’s simpler for them to just put us all in the same boat and tell us all to do the same thing.

But what if I have a travel card but go beyond my zone?
In this case you need to touch in and out. You will be charged for how far beyond your zone you travel. This is the only situation where you need to touch in and out if you’re using a travel card.

I’m not convinced… what if I get a fine?
You won’t. I never bother touching out if I don’t need to and I’ve had my Oyster Card scanned by inspectors hundreds of times but I’ve never been fined. They merely look at the expiry date on the card and wave you through. They simply don’t care.

Why did you bother writing this?
It’s extremely frustrating when you just want to get some place and there are hundreds of people in front of you insisting on touching out, blocking your path. If we can make this common knowledge then maybe, just maybe, there will be a little less congestion in those busy spots in the mornings and the evenings.