Do Children Need an Oyster Card?

Children travel free, or at discounted fares, on London’s public transport system, making it a great option for families and students.

Very young children don’t need their own Oyster card if travelling with a fare-paying adult. Ask the station staff to open the wider luggage gate for your children to go through, or some can be opened automatically with a ticket or Oyster card.

In some instances, children can travel with a Zip Oyster card, which is a young person's Oyster photocard. The Zip Oyster card allows children and some students to travel free or at a discounted rate. Zip Oyster cards must be applied for in advance online.

Children Aged Under Five

Children under five can travel free at any time on the Tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), buses, trams and London Overground, as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket.

Children Aged Five to 10

Children aged five to 10 can travel free at any time by Tube, DLR and London Overground, as long as they travel with an adult who has a valid ticket (up to four children can travel free with one adult) or have a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard. They can travel unaccompanied and without a photocard on trams and buses. Find out more about 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard on the Transport for London website. 

On Thames Clippers river taxi services, kids under five travel free. Families may purchase a Family River Roamer ticket, which allows unlimited hop-on hop-off river travel for two adults and three children, after 9am.

Children Aged 11 to 15

Children aged 11 to 15 years can travel free on buses and trams and at child rate on Tube, DLR and London Overground services, provided they have an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. Find out more about the 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard on the Transport for London website.

Children Aged 16 and 17

16 and 17-year-olds can buy seven-day, monthly or longer period Travelcards, plus bus and tram passes, at child rate, and pay half the adult rate for pay-as-you-go on buses, Tube, DLR, London Overground and trams, provided they have a 16+ Oyster photocard. Find out more about the 16+ Zip Oyster photocard on the Transport for London website.


You may need to buy a ticket for children travelling on overland train services, but discounted rates are usually offered. It is usually cheaper to book trains in advance. Check for fare information.

Students Living in London

Students aged 18-years and older who live in a London borough and are in qualifying full-time education can also apply to get 30% off the price of adult-rate Travelcards and bus and tram passes

Information correct at time of writing, please check Transport for London for the latest fares before travelling.

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