What is capping?

Pay as you go with capping means you don't need to decide in advance which ticket would be best for you. It allows you to be flexible with your travel throughout a day or week without needing to buy additional tickets or worrying that you have spent more than you need. Caps are applied automatically at the end of each day where appropriate.

You must touch in and out on every journey (touch in only on buses and trams) using the same contactless card, mobile phone or other contactless device to benefit from capping. Maximum fares charged for incomplete journeys do not count towards a cap.

How does it work?

For all the journeys you make, the system automatically keeps a running total of:

  • All the zones you travel through
  • The time you touch in on each journey (this determines both the fare and the daily cap)
  • All fares paid in a single day
  • All fares paid between each Monday and the following Sunday

When the total cost for all journeys reaches a pre-determined limit, a cap is applied. When you reach a cap, you won't be charged for further journeys in the same zones for the rest of the day/week.

Different caps apply depending on which transport services you use:

  • All services; if your journeys include travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail or National Rail services
  • Bus & Tram: if you only use buses and trams

Some rail journeys are defined as requiring travel via Zone 1 and are charged and capped accordingly, irrespective of the route you take.

Journeys on Southeastern high speed, Gatwick Express, Emirates Air Line and River Bus services do not count towards caps.

The caps are listed in our fares tables.

Daily capping

Daily anytime caps apply for rail journeys within Zones 1-6.

Daily off-peak caps apply for journeys outside Zones 1-6. You could reach an off-peak cap if you make several journeys on the same day during the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday: from 09:30 until 04:30 the following day
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: from 04:30 until 04:30 the following day

Off-peak capping refunds

Automatic refund payments are given to all customers who repeatedly reach a Zones 1-4 or Zones 1-6 daily cap, but only travel at off-peak times.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a payment if your day's travel means you reach a Zones 1-4 or Zones 1-6 daily cap on:

  • Two or more days in a single week (from Monday to Sunday), or
  • Four or more days in a fortnight, or
  • Eight or more days in four weeks

The off peak capping period is:

  • After 09:30 on Monday to Friday and
  • All day on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays

How much will you be refunded?

Adult rates

Zones 1-4 daily cap
Refund amount
Zones 1-6 daily cap
Refund amount
 £9.50£0.40
£12.00
£2.10

When will the payments be made?

We will check at the end of each week if you are eligible for a payment. If you are, we will send the payment to the account of the card you used to travel with. This will be done overnight on the Thursday the following week.

Off-peak caps at different times

Off-peak caps apply from different times on journeys that start at some stations north of Chorleywood and Headstone Lane.

If you travel from a station north of Chorleywood or Headstone Lane on a weekday after the times below, you'll be charged a peak pay as you go fare, but your journey will count towards an off-peak cap.

North of Headstone Lane

StationĀ Touch in times
BusheyAfter 09:20
Carpenders ParkAfter 09:20

Watford High Street

After 09:10

North of Chorleywood

StationĀ Touch in times
CheshamAfter 09:10
AmershamAfter 09:10
Chalfont & LatimerAfter 09:20

Benefits of daily capping

The adult-rate cap for bus and tram travel only is £4.50. So if you make three or more journeys in a day, your bus and tram fares will be capped.

If you make several rail journeys or a mixture of rail, bus and tram journeys in one day, capping is better value than buying a Day Travelcard.

Daily capping compared to Day Travelcards

Day Travelcards are only available across the following zonal combinations:

  • Zones 1-4
  • Zones 1-6
  • Zones 1-9
  • Zone 1 to Watford Junction
  • Zone 1 to Hertford East
  • Zone 1 to Shenfield

However, daily caps are available across more zonal combinations:

  • Zones 1-2
  • Zones 1-3
  • Zones 1-4
  • Zones 1-5
  • Zones 1-6
  • Zones 1-9
  • Zones 1 to Watford Junction/Grays
  • Zone 1 to Broxbourne/Hertford East
  • Zone 1 to Shenfield
  • Zone 1 to Horley
  • Zone 1 to Gatwick Airport (journeys on Gatwick Express don't count towards capping)

View the fares tables to find out daily capping rates.

Weekly capping

If you make multiple journeys in a single week ending on a Sunday using the same contactless card, mobile phone or other contactless device, your fares will be capped.

How does it work?

Weekly capping is calculated for all journeys you make in a week ending on a Sunday. If you travel for a single week starting from (for example) Thursday to the following Wednesday, you may be better off buying a 7 Day Travelcard.

Weekly capping is calculated by analysing the cumulative daily totals as the week progresses and applying a cap when appropriate.

To benefit from weekly capping, you must:

  • Use the same contactless payment card or other contactless device for every journey, all week
  • Make sure to touch in on the yellow card reader at the start of each journey and touch out at the end of all rail journeys
  • Start using your contactless card, mobile phone or other contactless device on a Monday for maximum benefit. Although you can buy a 7 Day Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass to start on any day of the week, weekly capping always calculates your week of travel ending on a Sunday

If you reach a weekly cap, you will not be charged for any subsequent journeys made with that card, within the zones of the cap, until 04:30 the next Monday, provided you continue to touch in and touch out as necessary.

View the fares tables to find out weekly capping rates.

Card expiry

If your card is due to expire, and you have been issued with a new card, do not start using the replacement card until a Monday if you want to benefit from weekly capping.  You cannot transfer journeys made from one card to a replacement to reach a cap.

If you have a contactless and Oyster account, we will send you an email reminding you that your card is due to expire soon. We will do this 14 and 3 days before the expiry date, with a final reminder on the day the card expires.

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