please empty your brain below

Eek, reminds me of the almighty row I had with the ticket clerk at West Hampstead to load my young persons railcard onto my Oyster. He maintained (rudely) that it couldn't be done, despite a poster on the wall opposite him encouraging people to do so.

I don't currently live in London or need to use the services of TFL apart from visits, but I feel your pain. F**kwads.


At least on behalf of Miss Ham who has a 16-25.

Your experience is completely typical. The best thing to do is refuse to leave until they do it. Surprising how they can suddenly remember how to do it, even though they just said it was impossible.

The only place I've ever known one of these discounts applied without question was a National Rail ticket office that does Oyster, but it was probably just luck rather than superior training.

I got my 16-25 discount added fairly simply by my local newsagent. She had no idea about the discount, but was willing to bash some buttons on her terminal to find out. Maybe this route is more likely to be successful.

My experience echos yours. I have become very frustrated with ticket office staff about this (South West Trains rather than TfL, although my girlfriend has had similar problems with TfL. Even with a printout of the relevant web-page they refused to add it or said it wasn't required.

"You already have a gold card" - no, I have an annual season ticket.
"Why do you need that?" - So I explain and am told "it's only for Young Persons Railcard".

So I go along to Waterloo, and the really nice man there did it straight away without any further questions. I thank him profusely and tell him of the trouble I had getting it added at other ticket offices. He responds "Well they've not bothered to read their newsletter, have they?"

With the new changes there will be scope for a lot of scamming.

e.g. Student has a student oyster card which they use to get 1/3 off their weekly travelcard.

Student also has a 16-25 railcard. Student loads 16-25 railcard on their boyfriend/girlfriend/father/mother's oyster card.

Bingo - 2 people are getting 1/3 off the price of their tube travel. (And even if a ticket inspector stopped them then they wouldn't be challenged, as it would be a valid ticket.

As I understand it, the Oyster card stores the discount information inside it, along side the prepay balance, so that it can be used to display the value of the trip when you pass through the barriers.

I would "presume" that the oyster reader used by ticket inspectors will flag up that a ticket is carrying a young person discount - and if that oyster card is being waved by an adult, that would raise a few questions.

I am confused, please try to answer this for me:
I have a Freedom Pass which entitles me to Free Travel throughout the London system as far as Zone Six.
I have a Senior Rail Card which entitles me to a third off Rail Fares - so for me that is any journey beyond the boundary of Zone Six.
I have an old Oyster Card with a few pounds on it - not used since I got me Freedom Pass.
My Question is How does this news affect me. What benefit do I receive when I Register my Senior on my Oyster Card...

tankard - You can probably now travel off-peak to Watford, Chesham or Amersham for a third-off. If you never go there, I wouldn't bother adding your railcard.

DG... you need to tell us which stations you went to! please!

a blacklist/whitelist of station ticket offices that know about this, would be very useful.

and it is VERY bad, that it is not mentioned on the website more prominently.

I'm off to buy an Isle of Wight Gold Card...

The man at Bond Street station did it for me, no questions asked: "Ah yes I've heard about this..." tap tap tap, scanned card, done.

Similar experience on Friday. At the 3rd station that denied any knowledge I had had enough. I put my foot down and refused to leave the window until they had phoned a manager/supervisor. The best they could suggest was that I rang the Oyster helpline from my mobile, which I did with a queue of people behind me. The helpline then phoned the ticket office back and told them how to do it.

@Dicky Good for you. They rely on British politeness at being fobbed off too easily.

Hi there! I've been reading about this a lot but there is something I can't figure out. Do you get a Gold Card if you have an annual travelcard (zones 1-2) or is for railway annual travelcards only?


Mari - If you've any sort of annual travelcard, be that tube or rail, a Gold Card should arrive in the post a few days after you buy it.

Thank you for the quick reply! Well, I bought mine in December. Can I still claim it? And do I have to go back to the original station where I bought it or can I do it anywhere?

Thanks ever so much for all this info. Hopefully TFL and the train companies will wake up and give passengers what they're entitled to without us having to beg for it.

Tower Hill - didn't have a clue, seemed to think that it could only be done if your gold card included a travelcard (rather than just an NR Season ticket, like mine). Not just the guy at the ticket when I was there was wrong, so were two other colleagues who he asked.
So Tower Hill - FAIL.

Old Street, on the other hand - knew exactly the routine, did it promptly and without any confusion. GOOD.

Now how about advertising this deal a little more, TfL (and NR companies running into London that sell Gold Cards)? Still, no doubt if they advertised it, the discount would be less generous and would be slowly removed...

In the interests of calling out good practice, the staff at Willesden Green have always been able to add my 16 - 25 Railcard on since the system was introduced. I had to convince them the first time that it was possible by producing the relevant booklet and pointing at the right page, but it worked.

What's really silly is that the Oyster system remains petulantly unaware of the process, with no mention of it on (for example) my online account. It knows something's up, however, because when I stupidly lost my Oyster card it refused to send me a replacement because it 'wasn't an adult card'. Still, the person on the helpline sent me a cheque for the money instead, so all's well!


Possibly, although even if it does have this validity on the handheld readers, I have never seen DLR inspector wait for more than the beep, and never look at the reader in depth.

Even as another get out the 16-25 railcard is available to buy by all full time students, regardless of age.

I have also never been ticket inspected on underground services (or overground on my limited travels. Therefore on the underground, I would assume there would be complete freedom to defraud the system here. (Unless you were unlucky enough to have the oyster fail to register at the exit gates, and actually had anyone pay attention when they were swiping you out).

The people in the TfL goldfish bowl at Euston station know how to add the discounts.

@Messiah: I have had my 16-24-linked Oyster card checked on national rail before, and they did ask to see the railcard when it was flagged up on the handheld device.

I linked my first one a couple of years ago at Gloucester Road, although having to hop through the Oyster card registration hoops, they did it with no trouble.
I swapped between my old and new railcard at Earl's Court (rear ticket office) over the summer, in an interesting feat of being allowed through the barriers to the ticket office, registering the discount, then being let back through to properly touch out. Very nice staff!

Also, DG, "It means one-third off the normal fares whenever you travel outside the zones on your travelcard - daytimes, evenings and weekends."

Probably not evenings, they're peak fares then, but they contribute to the off-peak cap.

As you've experienced, LU Ticket Offices can be rather variable when it comes to their product knowledge, though they're not helped by TfL moving the goalposts every five minutes!

May I suggest a visit to the Chiltern Ticket Office at Marylebone for Oyster related purchases and discount application? (Though they can't do bus passes, replacements for failed/lost/stolen cards or give you a refund if you want to return your Oyster...yet)

@edgemaster - true, but that was on the normal railway where they are used to asking for railcards.

NB I still don't see where the potential danger of getting caught would come on the underground, with a complete lack of inspectors.

Thanks again DG - it's because of you that I started actually using my Gold Card to get discounts off rail tickets, and now I know how to get discounts on out of zone Underground travel too - you are a national (or at least London) treasure.

Goodness. I thought I understood how all this worked, and then you come along and tell me something about the system that I didn't know.

(It's fairly moot, as I don't have a gold card, but still..)

Messiah - the T&Cs say that if you've registered a railcard discount on your Oyster card, it makes your Oyster card non-transferable, and you must be able to produce the railcard if asked. That said, it never happened to me. Though I do sometimes see ticket inspectors at White City station, checking tickets mere paces before the gateline.

oh, and the man with dreadlocks at Shepherd's Bush (central line) station knows how to apply railcard discounts. I had a bit of a faff at other stations from agents who insisted that the discount wasn't available in conjunction with Barclaycard Onepulse cards.

Does Gold Card give you discount on National Rail all over the country? Or just in London?

Thanks for the tip! Woman at Marble Arch did it straight away, no questions or hesitation.

It's worth remembering the Network Railcard, which for £25 a year gives you a third off tickets in the south east. This is also not terribly well promoted anywhere.

Yes, but only off-peak, and subject to a £13 minimum fare on weekdays. See

Oh! Thank you! I had been wondering why I'm only charged 85p to get to work (I've got a 16-25 railcard. Yes, I'm a lucky young bastard.)

Took me 3 goes to get the railcard loaded, with various bullshit excuses, all making me feel like I was somehow in the wrong. Very poor customer service.

The Gold Card discount applies even if have a point to point season (as I now do) instead of a travelcard. And as you get a Gold Card with any annual season in the old Network South East, out-of-towners can benefit from this too.

The cheapest available NSE annual season ticket used to be from Ryde Esplanade to St Johns Road. It is currently £140 - (is this still the cheapest available?) - good value if you are planning to spend more than £400 a year (less than £8 a week) on tube fares that attract the discount, even if you never go to the Isle of Wight!

I didn't try registering my Gold Card on my Oyster at my local SWT ticket office - they still refuse to have anything to do with Oyster.
St Pauls tube station knew how to apply the discount to my Oyster - even explaining to me that it had to be registered first (I thought it already was, as it used to have a travelcard loaded on it).

No - Gold Card gives travel discounts in the South-East only - but the area is quite wide: Weymouth, Exeter (from Waterloo) Banbury, Northampton, Huntingdon. The area is the same as for Network Railcard (check the brochure), BUT while Network Railcards have a minimum spend on Mon-Fri, Gold card has no minimum spend.

Well I thought I was ahead of the game. I asked if my discount was set when I renewed my annual gold card on oyster at the end of last year. "Yes" said the clerk at Liverpool St who did the transaction.
I've just done an off peak journey outside my zones this morning - and I see I've been charged the normal fare. Aaaargh - integrated ticketing my backside.

Mari (11.50 yesterday)

"Well, I bought mine in December. Can I still claim it? And do I have to go back to the original station where I bought it?"

Yes you can, and no you don't. I also bought my (NR-only) season ticket in December, at Kingston, but only added the Gold Card onto my Oyster at St Pauls last week, after reading the BBC article.

If your Travelcard is loaded on an Oyster, you should be issued with a separate Gold Card, but paper season tickets (point-to-point seasons, and travelcards issued by NR ticket offices that haven't yet embraced Oyster), double-up as Gold Cards.

On the matter of good and bad experiences of getting the card loaded, I bought my annual travelcard at North Greenwich (as I'm sure almost all south-east Londoners wanting to buy their first annual travelcard on Oyster do!).

The purchase went fine, and I was given a Gold Record Card there and then, but things deteriorated when I asked for the assistant to load the discount entitlement onto my Oyster. In her defence it had officially been available for less than a month at this stage, admittedly, but it had been loaded onto on my wife's Oyster somewhat prematurely a couple of months earlier in Oxford Circus tube without trouble.

At North Greenwich the assistant became downright rude and unpleasant about it - much like DG's 'station 1' - so I asked her to get a manager for me to speak to. He was more reasonable, but completely ignorant on the subjec too. I showed him the passage of the TfL web site where it included Gold Card in the list of Railcards, since both he and the assistant seemed aware of *those* discounts, but they were still having none of it. The manager tried to ring for assistance from a head office of some sort but got no response, so I was sent away without my discount.

At this point I realised that, having just cancelled a bus pass and bought a travelcard starting the next day, going home via Canary Wharf+DLR would only cost me 10p more than the 108 bus, so I went underground and thought I'd ask at Canary Wharf tube on my way to the DLR.

And at Canary Wharf, just one stop away, it was a completely different story. I'd barely finished asking for the discount to be enabled when the woman serving there had taken my card, clicked the option I'd suggested looked promising when at North Greenwich, and sent me on my way with my discount enabled.

So, yeah - training seems about as consistent as the fares in my recent blog post; on which subject, thanks DG for linking to that at the end of this post. I find it most amusing that the two words in what I think is currently my only incoming link are "bloody stupid" - reminds me of those 'Google bombs' that people used to do to make George W Bush be the top search result for "dangerous idiot" or whatever :)

so, should I register my Young Person's Railcard on my 16-25 Oystercard?

Wow! Many thanks for that DG. I'd never have found it otherwise!

Amy - yes, you can.

If my 16-year old hasn't registered his like I told him to, he'll be out of pocket - as I'll only give him the money for the discounted fare next time he has to go up to Town!

So although it's not listed on the Tfl website, can you add a Network Card to get the same discounts?

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