please empty your brain below

This is not the box for comments about the bus daily cap.
I hope I've got this right.
It's surprisingly complicated.
And for those of us who have finally remembered (after about two months, including Christmas and New Year) to ask TfL to add their Gold Card rail season ticket discount added to their PAYG Oyster card?
DT as a pay as you go oyster user it is relatively easy to keep track on the costs, and the odd check of recent journey history online or at a machine clarifies when something cost more or less than I may naively have expected.
So complicated in fact, that did you know that the way Oysters Cap is calculated. is DIFFERENT to the way a Contactless card is calculated, and thus there are examples where it's NOT always the same... (despite TfL publicity saying so)
Geoffech - you can't leave us hanging with just that level of detail?!
You need to remember that in the outer zones it can be cheaper to use one card to stick to your £4.50 bus/tram cap and a second card if you are doing just one train journey on top.

It's made worse because while outer zone tube fares may be cheap, on the trains they are much more. Eg Kingston - Wimbledon is £1.50 by bus but £2.40 by train off peak. £3.40 peak.
And just to add to the complexity if you travel into zone 1 from another zone against the flow in the peak period (not sure if this applies to morning as well as evening peak) then that counts as a off-peak journey even though it isn't. I believe this can make Z6->Z2 journeys more expensive than Z6->Z1 journeys but am not sure.
National Rail fares are even more complicated: a train can be simultaneously peak and off peak !

Buy a day return from Sevenoaks to London and the weekday 0850 to London is a peak train. Buy a day return from Sevenoaks to Swindon and the same 0850 is off peak.

How the ticket inspectors can be expected to remember all this is a mystery !

But if you really want to see just how complicated rail travel can be, explore the weird and wonderful world of Positive and Negative Easements in the ATOC Routeing Guide...
And then there's those pink readers that you're encouraged to touch-on if you see one, so that the system can work out whether you passed through Zone 1 or not.
"Buy a day return from Sevenoaks to London and the weekday 0850 to London is a peak train. Buy a day return from Sevenoaks to Swindon and the same 0850 is off peak."

So the trick is to buy an off peak day return from Sevenoaks to e.g Finsbury Park on the 0850, (which is not only cheaper than the peak hour ticket to London Bridge but includes a Z1 tube journey) and somehow change your mind about using the Kings Cross to Finsbury Park leg!
And the other delight is that you can do lots of journeys by Oyster that do not have a permitted route but you are doing nothing wrong by doubling back e.g. Purley(Z6) to Elephant & Castle(Z2) via Blackfriars which can (or once could) at times be a sensible route which would not be permitted on a paper ticket.
@ timbo

Sadly there's no off-peak fare to Finsbury Park valid the 0850. Off-peak fares at peak times seem to be available only to relatively far-flung places.

@ Pedantic of Purley

Many circuitous routes are specifically banned, e.g. Negative Easement 700549 outlaws using a Gatwick to Elephant & Castle via Not Underground ticket via Victoria.

ATOC's fare rules are far more complicated than TfL's !
@Andrew Bowden

Oyster caps are calculated on the fly after every journey.

Contactless caps are calculated at the end of the day and will search for the cheapest combination of caps and single journeys.

I can't remember specific examples but there are several, especially now that you have Gatwick and the other special zones. One which would have existed if railcards on contactless was available in 2009, would be Z2-6 offpeak cap which was cheaper than bus cap. If you reached Z2-6 cap first then all buses would still be free, but you'd only have paid 2.5 bus fares. If you took 3 buses first, then you would pay the bus cap. I.e. the problem is that you can't get refunded on Oyster if you qualify for a lower cap afterwards.
Have the caps for one outer zone always been higher than zone 1?
For Gold Card holders, don't forget about the 'fun' of determining whether it's cheaper to use your oyster card to pay your journey versus buying a paper ticket with the gold card discount.

Depending on the time of travel, zones crossed, how many more journeys you expect to do that day, and..and..and.. you can save a fair amount of cash by buying the correct ticket.

Maybe. But consider this. You get on at Gatwick Airport. You use your Oystercard. You make a journey to Elephant & Castle by any plausible route you want so long as you don't need to intermediately tap your Oystercard. Who is going to argue that you are doing anything wrong and are trying to avoid paying the correct fare?

Even it it went to court, which I would consider very highly unlikely, I think the judge would have stern words about a fare structure that was impossible to understand and dismiss the case.
The trik of booking to just the other side of London (e.g Finsbury Park from south of the river) to take advantage of different off peak periods for cross London tickets may not work from Sevenoaks, but the fares Guru Barry Does has written in his column in RAIL that it does from further out - e.g Bounemouth.

Doubling back: I was quite surprised to find that a round trip from Zone 1 to Tottenham Hale (out from Moorgate via Highbury & Islington, back to St Pauls via Stratford) was charged as Moorgate to St Pauls - it treated my passing out through the Tube barriers at Tottenham Hale and in the NR barriers, as an "Out of Station interchange.
@ Pedantic of Purley

Curiously, if you are travelling from Brentwood to Liverpool Street, the National Rail Journey Planner actually recommends travelling in the 'wrong' direction out to Shenfield and then doubling back. The double-back journey costs less than the fare from Shenfield, whether it's a paper ticket or Oyster.
Another example of contactless being different to oyster. As well as the daily cap, contactless will also recalculate at the end of every week and (if your travel pattern qualifies) it will cap at the equivalent to a weekly travelcard. Oyster users don't benefit from that.
Answering my own question: no.

in 2006, the zone 1-2 cap (there was no specific zone 1 cap) was £5.70 peak, £4.40 off-peak; and zones 2-6 was £6.90 peak, £3.80 off-peak.

I think the fare structure's so complicated these days that it's hard to argue that they're trying to incentivise people's travel patterns by making some journeys cheaper than others.
@ dg

Sorry dg, I didn't see your KLAXON comment before I posted, hence your 'Can't take a hint' edit. But I honestly can't see why my comments are considered so way off topic, and why this is so frowned upon.

You've rightly pointed out that Oyster's charges are illogical, inconsistent and very hard to understand, even for for anoraks let alone the average passenger who only wants to get from A to B without wasting money. I thought I'd merely added comments showing further examples of the incredibly complex routeing and easement rules. Even ATOC warns passengers that they're almost impossible to understand and suggests they should just rely on the verdict of the Journey Planner !

Surely this makes a positive contribution to the debate and will be of interest to your readers? Of course, it's your blog and you're entitled to make the rules. But unless people are spamming, trolling or deliberately going off to really unrelated topics, I fear that over-use of the KLAXON may have the unintended consequence of 'Not Getting Any Comments' (7d) !

Please let me know what I'm doing wrong...
Here's something you might not know. An Oyster "touch in" for a tram is valid for 70 minutes.

If you touch in, go somewhere immediately on a tram for 20 minutes, you've still for 50 minutes left to travel on a tram somewhere else without having to touch in.

TfL don't make this widely known though, for obvious reasons.

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