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Zip cards (Oyster cards for teenagers)

(16 Posts)
mckenzie Tue 25-Sep-12 21:01:06

I got DS a Zip card when turned 11. Can he use it on the train or is it only for use on the tube and buses? Is it just for free travel or do I put money on it like my Oyster card?
I have searched the TFL website for answers to these questions and tried calling their helpline but to no avail. I was left holding for 26 mins on the line and lost the will to live smile

OP’s posts: |
Shinyshoes1 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:03:22

It's free travel on buses . Not sure about tubes and trains , I think it's a small amount mine never really use theirs for travel in trains and tubes

shattereddreams Tue 25-Sep-12 21:05:31

Trains not free but there are some routes owned by tfl and these are free.
Search tfl on the oyster page

I think it's only free when accompanied by an adult.

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 21:06:28

They have a PAYG section for use on means of travel which charge child fares.

mckenzie Tue 25-Sep-12 21:58:38

Thank you all

OP’s posts: |
OwedToAutumn Tue 25-Sep-12 22:01:34

You can use it like an oyster (DD uses the train for school). The cost of train travel is the same as if you buy a season ticket (for a child) so we just top it up when it's running low.

Buses and tubes are free.

mckenzie Tue 25-Sep-12 22:05:02

thanks owedto. Can i top it up on line or only at the station? i seriously cannot find anything on the website to help me. Am I being completely daft?

OP’s posts: |
scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 22:08:01

Tube isn't free. I think you can top them up everywhere you can top up an adult Oyster.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 26-Sep-12 16:13:23

You can do it online - you put the money on then put the Oyster card on the reader at the station and it tops it up. All info here: but website down until 1st October.

mckenzie Wed 26-Sep-12 17:29:27

Thanks very much nimble. I couldn't find anything about it when I looked smile
I loaded it today at the local newsagents. Fingers crossed it works ok for tomorrow.

OP’s posts: |
greencrab Wed 26-Sep-12 17:33:44

info here on pricing and usage instructioons including this:

How much does my child save with a 11-15 Oyster photocard?

Bus and tram

Travel free at any time on London's buses and trams showing this symbol.

11-15 year-olds who do not have a valid Oyster photocard must pay the full adult cash fare on buses and trams until they get one.

Tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail
Pay child rates for 7 Day, monthly or longer period Travelcards and for pay as you go

Emirates Air Line
Pay child rate pay as you go fares on the Emirates Air Line
Show your 11-15 Oyster photocard to pay discounted child Boarding Pass fares

wateryeyes Mon 30-May-16 21:26:38

I know this is a Zombie thread but I'm going to post anyway because I've just spent an hour trying to do what the OP was asking about - topping up my DCs zipcard online - and finally figured out the answer despite zero information on the Oyster website. I came across this thread when I was searching for more help, so I expect other people will do the same and be grateful for the information.

To top up your DC's card you need to log in to the account you created when you applied for it in the first place - here: (This is a completely different login to your Oyster account if you have one of those too).

When you log in and view the details of your DC's card you'll see a link that allows you add a pay-as-you-go top-up.

(I haven't figured out how to do auto-top-up yet though, as that isn't an option on the above method. Ideally I'd like to be able to link the DC's card to my own so I could top it up from my own Oyster account, but suspect I would need to set them up with their own Oyster account instead. What a pain!)

Celeriacacaca Thu 02-Jun-16 09:42:17

My DCs Ripcords have auto top up - it isn't linked to my Oyster account but rather my debit card. I feel it is essential for them to have this as they're getting more independent and using public transport more widely in London, and I don't want them stranded anywhere with no money on their account. It is set up so that if the balance goes under £10 that it is auto topped up with another £20. It would have been ideal if it was just another £10 to minimise possible loss if the card gets lost and used by someone else but £20 was the minimum. It works well for us.

Celeriacacaca Thu 02-Jun-16 09:42:46

Zip cards, not ripcords!

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Thu 02-Jun-16 09:46:10

Plenty of newsagents are able to top up the card if not wanting to do it online.

wateryeyes Thu 02-Jun-16 16:45:31

I haven't figured out how to do auto-top-up yet though, as that isn't an option on the above method. Ideally I'd like to be able to link the DC's card to my own so I could top it up from my own Oyster account.

Just an update as I've managed to do this now - link the Zip cards to my own Oyster account that is.

When you log into your Oyster account there's an option to add other cards. It's not clear that your kids' zipcards are able to be added in this way - especially as it talks about being able to verify that you're the card holder (when actually you're not) - but I tried it and eventually got it to work. You have to use the security question answer that you set up when you first applied for the zip cards though, so you might have to go back to that account again to check what it is..

My elder son's 11+ card linked fine. My younger son's 5-10 card didn't, because the system didn't recognise the security answer. That was an error at their end, but when I complained about it they sorted it out pretty quick.

I haven't tried doing the auto-topup yet, but I'm pretty confident it will work now.

It's just a shame the Oyster help pages are so rubbish and none of this is explained. I spent quite a lot of time figuring it all out.

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