What is an incomplete journey?

When you use pay as you go, you need to touch in at the start and touch out at the end of all Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus and National Rail journeys. If you don't, we don't know where you've travelled, so we can't charge the right fare. We call this an 'incomplete journey' and you could be charged a maximum fare.

If you don't touch in at the start of a journey, you're also liable to pay a Penalty fare or you could be prosecuted.

A maximum fare is £8.00 in Zones 1-9 (or up to £14.70 per journey for travel outside the London fare zones). Maximum fares do not count towards capping.

Why incomplete journeys happen

You can get an incomplete journey if you don't touch in at the start, or touch out at the end of your journey on rail, Emirates Air Line and River Bus services. You're more likely to do this if you're in an unfamiliar or busy station, or if your journey's been disrupted. Other common reasons for not touching in and out are:

  • Not seeing the yellow card reader
  • Walking through an open gate
  • Station evacuation
  • Crowding or congestion
  • Touching in with one contactless card or mobile phone and touching out with another. If you do this you will be charged two maximum fares for two incomplete journeys; one on each contactless card, mobile phone or other device

Touching in/out if gates are open

You should always touch in and out, even if the gates at stations are open. Where there are no gates you should use a freestanding yellow card reader; these are at station entrances, exits and platforms, and on River piers.

Changing trains

If you need to change trains during a journey, you should touch your contactless payment card on a pink card reader (if there is one). If you need to change stations in the middle of a journey, you may need to touch out and touch back in.

Automatic correction

We recognise that there are times when you can't touch out as you leave a station, such as during a major sporting or entertainment event. When this happens, we'll try to complete the journey automatically.  

We also know that people can sometimes forget to touch out. When this happens, we'll also attempt to complete your journey automatically for you, based on your recent journey history.

Check for an incomplete journey

If you think that you might have an incomplete journey on your contactless payment card, you can check your journey history in your contactless and Oyster account.

You can apply for a refund if you were charged a maximum fare because you didn't touch in or out for reasons beyond your control.