Find answers to questions about using KeyGo and other Key Smartcard FAQs when you travel in and out of London with Thameslink.
Once you have a Key Smartcard, you can set up keyGo through your online account.
When you register for keyGo a ‘pre-authorisation’ process takes place which will see £0.01 (one penny) ringfenced in your payment account, this lasts 3-5 working days. No money is debited when a card pre-authorisation takes place, it is simply used to check the card is active/valid.
The pre-authorisation will link your payment card to your keyGo account for automatic payments to be taken via a Continuous Payment Authority when journeys are made.
If you have a smart phone, you can load keyGo to your Key Smartcard within 15 minutes of registration using our mobile app.
Once loaded, just touch your Key Smartcard on the card reader at a station and touch out at any station in the keyGo area.
Alternatively, you can load keyGo on the card 2 hours after registration by touching in at your chosen station before you make your first journey. After your first journey, you can start travelling from any of the stations where KeyGo is accepted as shown on the map.
- To activate keyGo, you must make your first journey within 30 days of registration
- You are not able to start your first journey on a bus
- Add your Railcard to your online account and we will discount your keyGo journeys
- You should set up keyGo using your primary email address or at least one that you check regularly, it is important that we are able to contact you in relation to your account
- Once you sign up for keyGo you must touch in and out for every journey you make - even if you have a season ticket so we know where you travelled to and from and if applicable how much to charge you
- If you do not touch in or out, this will generate an incomplete journey which we will notify you by email. If you do not then complete your journey, through your online account we will charge a £50 incomplete journey charge per incomplete journey
- If you are aware, you have been unable to touch out for any reason you can proactively complete your journey via your online account (no need to wait for an email prompt)
- KeyGo cannot be used on TfL (Transport for London) or other train company’s services with one small exception. KeyGo can be used on Great Western Railway services between Redhill and Dorking Deepdene. This is in place to allow onward keyGo journeys on Southern services from Dorking station where you can touch in/touch out
- KeyGo and Flexi Seasons cannot be used on the same Key smartcard. If you want to use both products, you will need to register for a second Key smartcard (which will require a second email address)
- First Class fares do not currently apply to keyGo
- You must keep your payment card details up to date
- If you have added a Railcard to your account, you must always have it available for inspection purposes
If you have one of the below Railcards, you can have your keyGo journeys discounted.
- 16-17 Saver
- 16-25 Railcard
- 25-30 Railcard
- Senior Railcard
- HM Forces Railcard
- Annual Gold card
- Network Railcard
- Disabled Persons Railcard*
- Jobcentre Plus Discount Card
(*Disabled Persons Railcard discount is only applicable to the Railcard holder. An accompanying passenger would be required to purchase a ticket separately covering the same journey as that of the card holder).
Once registered for keyGo, add the details of your Railcard, and an image of your Railcard, under the Railcard section of your account. The Railcard must belong to the keyGo account holder.
We will verify the information and approve or reject the application within 5 days. Your keyGo journeys will then be discounted from the date of approval. Please remember to carry your Railcard with you.
Once you have keyGo on your Key Smartcard, all your entry and exit taps across the network will be reviewed to calculate the best day fare for your journeys based upon the tickets you could have purchased that day, including any Railcard discounts if applicable.
keyGo will then charge the most appropriate ticket(s) for the journeys you made against your nominated payment card.
If you hold a Season ticket or other ticket on your Key Smartcard, keyGo will only charge you for the journeys you make beyond the ticket's validity.
Check the keyGo Network map to see where you can travel
At the end of the day, we review all your entry and exit taps and apply the most appropriate fare for the journeys you made. The fare will be based upon the ticket types available that day and the time you travelled, we will then charge you for the best available fare for your journey(s).
Ticket types include:
|One Day Travelcard
||One Day Travelcard
||One Day Travelcard
Plus, for journeys wholly within the London Zones 1-6 area, you will be charged the appropriate Pay As You Go fare, subject to the relevant Daily Cap charge.
- If you have a Railcard added to your online account, the Railcard discount will be applied to relevant journeys
- If you have a child key card, child fares will be charged
- Fares will be standard class only
You will receive an email advising that we have been unable to take payment from the payment card registered to your keyGo account, and that your payment details require updating. Once your payment details are updated and we have been able to take payment, you can continue to use keyGo.
We will attempt to take payment three times after which your keyGo account will be blocked preventing further use. To clear the outstanding balance, please contact Customer Services. Once your balance is cleared you may re-register for keyGo.
KeyGo is valid on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services within the keyGo area.
Touch your Key Smartcard in and out on the card reader as you travel to ensure your journeys are calculated correctly.
keyGo can also be used on Great Western Railway services between Redhill and Dorking Deepdene. This is in place to allow onward keyGo journeys on Southern services from Dorking station where you can touch in/touch out.
It is not possible to start or end your keyGo journey from Dorking Deepdene as there are no card readers at this station. Please touch in/touch out at Dorking station where the fare is the same to avoid an Incomplete Journey Charge.
If you travel on another train service, Transport for London services (e.g., tube), or beyond the keyGo area, and do not have hold a valid Smart ticket (i.e., Season Ticket) on your Key Smartcard, you will incur an Incomplete Journey Charge or a Penalty Fare.
Important: KeyGo is only valid for travel on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern services in the KeyGo area. You are also allowed to use Great Western services between Redhill - Dorking Deepdene.
Use keyGo on Metrobus and Brighton and Hove bus company services in these zones:
- Brighton, Hove, Falmer, Shoreham and Southwick
- Burgess Hill
- Crawley, Gatwick Airport, Horley, Ifield and Three Bridges
- Haywards Heath
- Horsham and Littlehaven
- Redhill and Reigate
Find out more about using The Key on buses at:
Please allow two minutes between your exit tap at a train station and entry tap on the bus to ensure that your Key Smartcard is read correctly on the card reader.
Bus fares on keyGo will be charged considering if:
- you have used the train that day
- you have made any journeys within one or more keyGo bus zones
- you have made single or multiple bus journeys
- you have used the train and bus in more than one keyGo bus zone on the same day e.g., travelled by train between Brighton and Gatwick Airport having boarded buses either side of your train journey
- journeys have included train travel on the same day will be capped at the relevant Plus Bus zone fare, providing your keyGo is accepted within that bus zone. Read more information on PlusBus
- If you have travelled by bus in more than one keyGo bus zone, there will be a multiple zonal price cap which will never be more than the price of two bus zones added together
- journeys that have not included train travel will be capped at the relevant day ticket for that bus zone. For more details, visit Metrobus or Brighton & Hove bus
Travelling with KeyGo
At the end of the day, we review your entry and exit taps and apply the most appropriate fare for the journeys you made. For example, if you travelled from Brighton to Haywards Heath, then later in the day travelled to Gatwick Airport, you would be charged a Brighton to Gatwick Airport ticket.
If your journey with us is delayed by 15 minutes or more, you can claim compensation under our Delay Repay scheme. With the Key Smartcard you can benefit from Auto Delay Repay. We can in many cases, tell when you may have been delayed and let you know when you are due compensation.
Just select Automatic Delay Repay in your online account preferences.
For further details please visit:
If you are not getting off the train to touch in/ touch out this will register as an Incomplete Journey. You will need to buy a paper ticket for the whole journey
You will need to touch out at the end of the KeyGo area, and then re-enter the station using Oyster or contactless in order to continue your journey with another rail operator.
If you already hold a Smart Season or Smart Day ticket and you travel further within the keyGo area, you will only be charged for the additional part of your journey by keyGo. You must ensure you touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end of your journey so the correct keyGo journey fare can be charged, and to avoid an incomplete journey charge.
Please check the map for where you are able to travel with keyGo.
For all train journeys you should touch in and out, even if you hold other tickets on your Smartcard. When travelling on the bus, you will only need to touch in. If you do not, you will be liable to pay the Incomplete Journey Charge of £50 or a Penalty Fare. A Penalty Fare could be issued if you fail to touch in at the start of your journey. Please see the ‘Incomplete Journey Charge’ section for further information.
We reserve the right to cancel your keyGo account for repeated misuse.
If you have not touched in or out, go online and complete your journey through your keyGo account. If you do not complete your journey, we will email you within 48 hours to inform you of the missing journey information. You can then log into your account and amend the incomplete journey, otherwise a £50 Incomplete Journey Charge (per journey) will be applied to your account.
Where possible, we will auto-fill your journeys based upon your regular journey patterns. If the auto-fill is incorrect you can amend this through your online account.
We recommend that you do not sign up to keyGo if you regularly travel to St Pancras with East Midlands Trains. This is because we are unable to receive journey details from East Midlands Trains’ and the system will therefore always treat your journey as Incomplete. To avoid an Incomplete Journey Charge, we recommend you do not add keyGo to your Key Smartcard in this instance.
Incomplete journey charge
If you have not touched in or out, and have not proactively completed your journey online, we will email you an Incomplete Journey Charge notification. This will be sent to you within 48 hours of your journey.
An Incomplete Journey Charge notification is issued if we do not know where you touched in/out, as we cannot work out where you travelled to and from and what fare should have been charged. You must log into your account within 48 hours to amend the incomplete journey, otherwise a £50 Incomplete Journey Charge per journey will be applied to your account.
Always remember to touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end of your journey as this will enable us to apply the correct fare for the journey being made and avoid an Incomplete Journey Charge of £50, or a Penalty Fare.
A penalty Fare could be issued if you fail to touch in at the start of your journey.
If you have touched in at the start of your journey and touched out at the end, then you will not receive an Incomplete Journey Charge. We are confident the data we receive from recorded journey details will allow us to charge the correct fare for your journey, however there are times when things may go wrong. If this is the case, please contact customer services using the links below:
Southern Railway - Help and support
Your keyGo account has been blocked as we have been unable to take payment for the journey you have made. We will have attempted to take payment on three consecutive days from the payment card registered to your keyGo account (but we have been unsuccessful).
To clear the outstanding balance, please contact Customer Services. Once your balance is cleared you may re-register for keyGo.
Important: We will not be liable for any charges that you incur from your card issuer because of us making such requests.
Closing my keyGo account
- If there is money owing on your keyGo account, you will need to clear this by returning your balance to £0 before you can close your account
- If you have a positive balance, we recommend that you request a refund of this through your online account before closure
- If your keyGo balance is £0:
- Log into your online account
- Go to the Key Smartcard section from the main menu
- Select keyGo Account from the left-hand side
- Click 'cancel my account' at the bottom of the screen and follow the steps
My question isn't here...
If you can't find the answer to your question in these Key Smartcard FAQs, then use our online form