Passengers' ticket purchasing and journey experiences

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, technology - ticketing systems


London, National Rail, Underground, Docklands Light Rail, Oyster, ticketing


In recent years there have been significant changes to the way in which passengers purchase their tickets and use products such as Oyster. This, combined with increases in fares and proposals to change or reduce the hours of ticket offices at stations, has formed a significant proportion of London TravelWatch’s casework in this period. There has also been public concern that fares and ticketing is not as transparent a process as it could be, and, as a result, passengers feel that they are getting poor value for money. Further changes to fares and ticketing are being proposed as part of a Government review of policy and practice in this area. To inform this debate, London TravelWatch wanted to find evidence of passengers’ understanding of the current ticket purchasing channels available to them, and how they used them in practice, in addition to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system and potential improvements that could be made. We were also interested in finding out to what extent there were still ‘knowledge and information’ gaps about how to use Oyster Pay As You Go (PAYG), two years on from our previous research into Incomplete Oyster PAYG journeys. We commissioned AECOM to conduct qualitative research, comprising focus groups and in depth interviews during accompanied journeys, among passengers with regular experience of purchasing tickets and Oyster products for journeys. These journeys included those made on a selection of different modes that accept Oyster PAYG (National Rail, London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, buses and London Tramlink services).


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by London TravelWatch, copyright remains with them.