Extend Pay As You Go to help up to 227m passenger journeys a year says London TravelWatch

Extend Pay As You Go to help up to 227m passenger journeys a year says London TravelWatch

01 May 2019

Extending the Pay As You Go (PAYG) travel area could help millions of passengers making over 200m passenger journeys in London and the South East according to London’s independent transport watchdog.

In its response to the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on extending PAYG , London TravelWatch has highlighted the benefits of allowing more passengers in and around London to use Oyster or Contactless cards to pay for their travel rather than a paper ticket.

Currently around 60% of all journeys on National Rail in the existing PAYG travel area are made using Oyster or Contactless. Changes to the boundaries will enable another 227m journeys a year to be made by PAYG.*

Currently, around 40% of London TravelWatch’s appeal complaints each year are received from passengers raising fares and ticketing issues and these people and many others would benefit from an easier and more transparent ticketing system. Ticketing inconsistencies are particularly confusing for passengers travelling to London’s airports. Over the past two years, the number of Penalty Fares issued to passengers trying to travel to Stansted Airport using Oyster PAYG or Contactless has increased from a few hundred to 16,000 a year.

London TravelWatch Chair, Arthur Leathley commented: 'London TravelWatch has long argued that the PAYG travel area should be expanded to include the wider travel to work area around London. The current system is a recipe for confusion, with many passengers unclear about which stations on the edge of London are in the Oyster/Contactless zone, particularly London’s airports, where there are many inconsistencies in the current fares and ticketing system.  Heathrow, Gatwick and London City are in the Oyster/Contactless zone but Stansted, Luton and Southend outside, despite being badged as ‘London’ airports. Oyster and Contactless have already revolutionised the experience for millions of passengers. The Department for Transport’s proposals would tackle the many inconsistencies in fares and ticketing in outer London and the wider commuter area that we have previously highlighted and have the potential to benefit 227m passenger journeys a year.'

Although there would be winners and losers as fares inconsistencies are reduced, passengers have benefited from previous extensions to Oyster and Contactless** which have more than paid for themselves through greater use of the rail network as fares became more transparent and easier to understand.


Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • The DfT launched a consultation on a proposed extension to the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) travel area in London and the South East of England on 7 February 2019. The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pay-as-you-go-on-rail London TravelWatch submitted two responses: one response answering the questions posed by the DfT and another more general response.
  • *This figure is based on fresh research into new stations that would be included.
  • **This includes the implementation of zonal fares in London in 2007, the extension of Oyster PAYG to National Rail in London in 2010 and the introduction of contactless bank cards in 2014. 
  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and You Tube.
  • For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
View All News