Travel on TfL
Updated – 1 December 2020
This page sets out how and where you can use your national Rail Staff Travel facilities on the Transport for London (TfL) services, specifically London Underground (LU) and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).
Although operated under the TfL brand, London Overground and TfL Rail (and the soon-to-be introduced Elizabeth Line) are part of the National Rail network for the purposes of staff travel. Likewise TOC services on dual availability routes are also included as a part of the National Rail network. For the avoidance of doubt, however LU and DLR services operated on dual availability routes are not part of the National Rail network.Safeguarded staff that have a Staff Travel Card may be able to travel at a reduced rate on London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) services.
Travel by Non-Safeguarded Staff and their Dependants using a Rail Staff Leisure Card
The Rail Staff Leisure Card does not permit travel on any TfL services, including LU and DLR services other than the exceptions below:
- It can be used for free leisure travel on Tramlink services. You need to show your Rail Staff Leisure Card and, where appropriate, your photo ID card.
- It can be used for cross-London leisure journeys where the National Rail Privilege rate through ticket allows for the transfer on London Underground between London mainline terminals. The ticket will have a Cross London marker (+) printed on it. However, you may not exit the Underground system at any station in between those terminals.
Travel by Safeguarded Staff and their Dependants using a Staff Travel Card
Safeguarded staff who have a Staff Travel Card may be able to travel at a reduced rate on LU and DLR services, as follows:
- Free leisure travel on dual availability routes only, by dating a box
- Privilege rate leisure travel on LU/DLR services by using an Oyster card with the Privilege discount set on it
- Privilege rate leisure travel on LU singles and returns (available only from National Rail Ticket Offices using the Staff Travel Card)
Paper tickets are always more expensive than the pay as you go fare and cannot be bought at London Underground or DLR stations. Pay as you go fares are always cheaper than cash fares.
The benefit of an Oyster card is that you just touch in and out. You can even top up online or at TVMs at LUL stations - see www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster for more information.
You can also use your Staff Travel Card for free leisure travel on Tramlink services. There is no need to date a box, just show your Staff Travel Card and, where appropriate, your photo ID card.
If the Staff Travel Card has Endorsement 9, 10 or 11 on the front of the card, then you are not eligible for Free or Privilege rate travel on LU/DLR services.
Travel by Safeguarded Staff and their Dependants (aged over 18) using a Privilege Oyster card (Oyster card with the Privilege discount set on it)
To get the Privilege rate discount set on Oyster, you need to get an Oyster card and then complete a TfL Privilege Oyster Application (XX19) and submit it to RST.
Once authorised by RST, take the form together with your Staff Travel Card and Oyster card to a London Underground station, where a member of staff in the booking hall can set the Privilege rate discount on your Oyster card. You will need to ask the TfL staff to set the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount for staff and child dependants and ‘Priv All Rail N’ discount for spouses/partners.
The discount expiry date will match that on your Staff Travel Card. When you get a new Staff Travel Card you will need to update the Privilege discount on your Oyster card. Just take your new Staff Travel Card to a LU station and ask staff to update the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount. You do not need to contact Rail Staff Travel each year.
If you don’t update the discount each year, once the discount expires, you will be charged the full pay as you go fare instead of the Privilege rate fare.
You can still buy single Privilege rate cash fares for travel on LU services at National Rail stations, but these fares are more expensive than pay as you go fares. If you’re buying a ticket for travel between two stations across Zone 1, for example, you should ask for a London Terminals to Zone U1* London ticket.
You cannot buy paper tickets for travel on the DLR.
Travel by Safeguarded Dependants (aged under 18) using a Privilege Oysterard (Oyster card with the Privilege discount set on it)
The process is the same as for a Staff member or Dependant over 18 except that your child will need a Zip Oyster Photocard. Find out more information about a Zip Oyster photocard.
Children usually need a Zip Oyster Photocard, as follows:
- 0-4 years - Free travel, no card needed
- 5-10 years travelling with an adult - Free travel, no card needed
- 5-10 years travelling alone - Zip Oyster Photocard
- 11-15 years - Zip Oyster Photocard
- 16-17 years - Zip Oyster Photocard
- Young people aged 18 may be eligible for a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard. Check for eligibility.
Once your TfL Privilege Oyster Application has been authorised by RST, take it and your child’s existing Staff Travel Card and their Zip Oyster Photocard to a London Underground station. Ask staff to set the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount on the Zip Oyster photocard. Your child can travel at Privilege rate for educational purposes as well as leisure purposes, meaning you don’t need to buy a child Privilege rate season ticket.
If your child doesn’t have a Zip Oyster photocard then you can still get the discount set on a standard Oyster card.
How to use your Privilege Oyster card (Oyster card with the Privilege discount set on it)
Always touch in on the yellow card reader at the start and touch out at the end of your journey to pay the right fare. Readers are located at station ticket gates, platforms and entrances and exits. If the gates are already open, you must still touch in and out as normal. If you don't, then the maximum fare will be taken and you may be liable for a penalty fare or prosecution.
You can use your Oyster card to travel on TfL bus services - you only need to touch in when boarding the bus. However there is no Privilege rate available on buses – your journey will be charged at the standard pay as you go fare.
Remember always to carry your Staff Travel Card with you when using the Privilege Oyster card, as proof of eligibility.
How to get a Privilege Rate Season Ticket on your Oyster card
Employee holders of a Staff Travel Card valid for travel on LU and DLR services can apply for a residential Privilege season ticket for travelling to and from their place of work from their permanent home address. This season ticket will cover travel on National Rail and LU and DLR services.
Before you can buy a Privilege rate season ticket, you will need to get the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount set on your Oyster card. You must then complete a Season Ticket application form and send it to RST. Once approved, RST will send you the authorised Privilege Season Ticket form. You will then be able to buy your zonal Privilege Season Ticket from ticket machines at London Underground stations.
For you to be able to buy the Privilege Season ticket yourself, the expiry date of the All Rail discount must be after the expiry date of your Privilege Season ticket.
If it’s not and the Privilege Season ticket expires after the ‘Priv All Rail’ discount expires, then you will need a member of LU staff to extend the expiry date of your ‘Priv All Rail’ discount before you can buy the Privilege rate season ticket.