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touch in and out with kids on the Tube

Hey folks,
I've traveled on the Underground just using my phone to touch in and out while traveling, but I'll be in London for the next few days with my kids so I'm wondering how I pay for them? Can I touch in three times with my phone (or contactless card) and then touch out three times when we all get off at our destination? I have some oyster cards that I can load, but I'd prefer to avoid that if there is a simpler way.
Also of note, my kids are 11 and 13.


Posted by
344 posts

If you’re using a phone or card to tap in and out, you can only use it for one person, ie, you can’t tap in and out 3 times. Your kids are eligible for discounted travel in the Underground but they’ll each need photocards to use with an Oyster card. Go to to see the process of getting the card from outside the UK. It looks like a lengthy, time-dependent process, so I’m not sure I’d bother. As you have Oyster cards already, the simplest thing would to let each child have one and tap in and out for themselves.

Posted by
1010 posts

Your kids do NOT need photo cards - they are for residents. All you need to do is use your Oystercards and ask a member of staff to add the Young Visitor Discount to them. That will give them half price travel for up to two weeks. After that the card will return to normal adult rates but the YVD can be re-added at any time.

Posted by
237 posts

Does anyone know why tapping multiple times is not allowed? The agency still gets its money, right? That being said, if you have Oyster cards, it's very easy to load them with additional funds.

Posted by
1010 posts

It certainty is technically possible to use one card multiple times as that’s what TIB in Mallorca do, allowing them to make fares cheaper the more you tap. But that’s not what TFL have chosen to do. It shouldn’t really cause any problems as most people have more than one card and also many have access to phone and smart watch pay as well.

Posted by
7728 posts

*Does anyone know why tapping multiple times is not allowed? The agency still gets its money, right? *

The system uses the unique ID your device creates via the chip or contactless communication in the device. So they are looking for a "Tap In" and then a corresponding "Tap Out to be able to charge you appropriately. Multiple tap ins mess with that system. I suppose if you had only one credit card and multiple devices, separate people could use a phone tied to that card, a watch, or the physical card.

Posted by
5386 posts

The systems that have multiple tap entry in general had a multiple entry method established already, via a magnetic card, punched card etc, that needed to be replicated. London's fare system has never had such a feature.

Posted by
3824 posts

The Oyster cards for your kids will also allow them to tap in on the London buses. Tell them: Do not tap out on the buses. But do tap out on the tube.

They can use Oyster cards to tap in and out when riding the Uber/Thames Clipper riverboats.
Depending upon where you are starting from, and where you are going, this can be better transportation (well, more fun) than riding the tube.
River views of London can be quite interesting.

Posted by
719 posts

Thanks for all of the advice. Sounds like I'll just get a second oyster card for my younger (I thought that I had two...) and the girls can both use their own oysters. I believe that I can get the young person discount at Heathrow?

Posted by
6773 posts

You can get the Young Visitor Discount at Heathrow TUBE/UNDERGROUND station- not at Heathrow ELIZABETH LINE station- although it is valid on the Elizabeth Line.