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Oyster Card - best idea for London travel?

(15 Posts)
ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 11:57:23

My sister is going to spend a few months in London. Is the Oyster card the best financial deal for her. She will be using public transport about 4 times a week.


Igglybuff Sun 14-Nov-10 12:01:47

Yes. Fares are cheaper with an oyster card.

ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 12:05:15


ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 12:07:52

One more thing, does it matter how much it is topped up by? Is there 'free' credit if it is topped up by a certain amount in one go?

Mummyisamonster Sun 14-Nov-10 12:09:16

You can order them online too...much easier. Jsut check peak time fares - I ended up paying more using my pay-as-you-go Oyster that way. A travelcard (still on Oyster) will work out much cheaper.

Mummyisamonster Sun 14-Nov-10 12:09:43

PS: No, no free credit!

ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 12:13:09

what is the difference between oyster and travel card? Do not know London transport AT ALL, and thanks for link to website. I want to contribute to her transport costs, so wondering how best to do that

Mummyisamonster Sun 14-Nov-10 12:25:33

Good question....I have a weekly travelcard which I buy online and 'add' it to my oyster card.

Oyster is just another method of paying. A smart card. Pre-paid. I used to have a paper travelcard/ticket, now I have it on a plastic oystercard which I swipe instead.So, no difference really. Does that make sense?? I'm not very good at explaining this.

If you're buyng it for someone you can buy her the oyster card (the card cost £3 on its' own but it lasts forever) and then buy a travelcard to add to it online. Are you near an underground ststaion? If you order it online they will post you the oyster crad. The you can give it to your friend.

YOu can buy the card here

Click on 'Travelcard' and then follow the instructions.

If you don't know where your friend will be going etc you can just 'top up'(ie: add money) though you'll save money by buying a travelcard. You cna buy weekly cards. Where are you based (which zone) and where will she be travelling to?

ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 12:31:58

She is staying in Harringay (and what is the difference between Haringey - are they the same place? Just googled zone and think it is 2.
Am I reading it right that it is not possible to put an amount on and it can then be used up as and when required? Does the amount have to be topped up, either daily, weekly or monthly etc - whether or not the credit has all been used?

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 14-Nov-10 12:42:42

No you just top it up as you need to.

We have oyster cards for our trips to London - go about 4 times a year - and just put credit on when it's running out. When you touch the card on the reader at the gates on the Tube it tells you how much credit you have left on the card.

Mummyisamonster Sun 14-Nov-10 12:42:52

No, you are reading incorrectly. You can top up (say £10) and use it as you wish.

When I drove everywhere I had an oyster with a tenner on it for ages, just in case I ever needed to use the tube as it was cheaper than buying single tickets. When it ran out,I topped it up. You can set up an automatic top up (from your bank account/debit card) but you don't have to.

Ther are several 'systems' on Oyster. I, for exmaple, have a top up reserve of £10 (for if I go out of my zones) as well as a zone 1-3 weekly travelcard. If I go out to zone 4 for example, my top cash is used.

Hope this helps

ilovedplaydays Sun 14-Nov-10 12:48:16

Thanks for all your help. I understand now - almost! If I put a weekly travelcard on it, does that need to be used up each week then? Sorry about this; I probably sound dim to you all but I cannot quite work it out

Mummyisamonster Sun 14-Nov-10 12:51:44

Yes, you do - it will expire after a week. But you can buy them in advance.

You're not dim at all! I'd been buying 'top up' for ages til someone told me I could put a travelcard on it!

Good luck

MrsVincentPrice Sun 14-Nov-10 13:00:20

When you have an oyster you can either put a travel card on it (which gives you unlimited travel within certain zones for a week/ month/ year) or just some cash which will be taken off your balance each time you make a journey (but much cheaper than if you made a cash journey).
If you go the cash route then the amount you pay in any one day is capped, so you don't have to worry about whether to get a one day travel card or not.
If you are planning to commute somewhere and back 5 days a week and maybe do a few trips evenings and weekends then a travel card for the period is the way to go.
You can also get a busses only travel card I think (no zone limitations on that).
You can also combine a travel card for a couple of zones with a cash sum to cover occasional trips outside those zones.

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 14-Nov-10 15:06:55

Oh, so I'd be better putting a travelcard on it then if we go down for a few days? Good to know! We did seem to eat up credit quite fast on our last trip although that did include a trip out on a regular train too.

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