Incomplete journeys

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, 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 can be as much as £8.90 per journey and does not count towards a daily cap.

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 and River Bus services in London. 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 payment card and touching out with another. If you do this you will be charged two maximum fares for two incomplete journeys; one on each contactless payment card 

Touching in and out if the 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. 

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 of incomplete journeys

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 if you have 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 couldn't touch in or out, for reasons beyond your control.  

Alternatively you can phone us on 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges).


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