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Best Way To Pay For the Tube

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Nov 16th, 2014, 02:57 PM
  #1
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Best Way To Pay For the Tube

Will be in London for five days. Will be staying in Zone 2 with all my travels either within that zone, or to Zone 1. Not sure how many trips each day, but there will be a minimum of one round trip, but probably more. Should I purchase single trip tickets (seems to be very expensive), or either a Oyster Card or a Travelcard?
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Nov 16th, 2014, 03:22 PM
  #2
 
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Never pay cash for each journey - most expensive way.
Your choice is either 7-day zone 1-2 travelcard for £31.40, daily travelcard for £8.90 or Oyster card pay-as-you go with a daily cap of £8.40 (if your first journey from Mon to Fri starts before 9.30 am or £7).
Advantage of travelcard is if you get one from a rail station in paper form, you can use 2-for-1 admission at many London sights.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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First question: Are you solo or traveling w/ someone?

If solo -- forget any discussion of the 2for1 discounts. That will really confuse things.

Now - assuming you are solo since you only say "my", "I" . . . A travelcard is merely one ticket option that you load on an Oyster. So it is either a 7-day zone 1 and 2 travelcard loaded on an oystercard, . . . OR . . . PAYG £ loaded on an Oyster

In general after 4.5 days, a 7-day travelcard is the best option. For 5 days a 7 day travel card will probably be you best choice.

(a third option is the 7 day travelcard + a little PAYG if you'll have any journeys outside zones 1/2)

Never buy single tickets if you can avoid it.

But if you are really "we" . . . then we can give you more details re paper travelcards and 2for1's
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Nov 16th, 2014, 03:57 PM
  #4
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Sorry that I didn't mention it, but I will be traveling with my wife.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Then definitely get paper travel card at rail (not tube) station, probably 7-day zone 1-2. You can use 2-for-1 at many popular sights, such as The Tower of London (saving £22) and St Paul's Cathedral (£16.50).
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Nov 16th, 2014, 04:31 PM
  #6
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Will be staying in the Swiss Cottage/ St Johns Wood section. Where would the closet rail station be?
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Nov 16th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Probably South Hampstead, but it's a small station with limited ticket office opening - Mon to Fri 7:15 to 10:15. Just get them from main stations like Euston or Kings Cross.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 05:18 PM
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That makes ALL the difference.

Yes -- if you are sightseeing you will want to pre-print Days Out 2for1 vouchers and get the paper travelcards alec describes.

How are you getting to Swiss Cottage on arrival in London?

If flying in to LHR here is no place at the airport where you can get paper travelcards and you need to get into London somehow.

If you are taking a car service maybe you could get the driver to stop at Finchley Road station enroute -- it has a bit longer staffing hours. (big tip )

If you are taking the tube in from LHR -- it would be a slog and a bit convoluted but you could take the Piccadilly line to Kings Cross, exit the tube station go to the mainline part of the station, but=y your paper travelcards and then back down to the tube station and take the Metropolitan line to Swiss Cottage.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 07:49 PM
  #9
 
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We always get the pay as you go Oyster card and it works out fine.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 08:44 PM
  #10
 
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letsgeaux: PAYG oysters are useless if one want to take advantage of the 2for1 discounts (plus PAYG isn't always the best option if one is staying more than 4 days)
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Nov 19th, 2014, 05:50 AM
  #12
 
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Great information! Thank you!

But I want to make sure I understand one more thing. My husband and I plan to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington. Is Paddington both a Rail Station and a Tube Station? Does the Heathrow Express arrive at the Rail Station?

Assuming we want a 7 day Travel Card, we need to have a passport photo. Correct? Do they put the photo on the card? It can't just be a photocopy of our passport?

And with this 7-day card, we can travel on both the tube and the red buses any time of day?

We are actually staying 9 days, so I guess we will also have to buy a couple of single day cards as well.

Thanks again for all the great advice.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 06:16 AM
  #13
 
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You've done it now.

Never mention the Heathrow Express on this forum. It is an international crime. Janis and others will be down on you like a ton of bricks, and you could be taken off in chains. It is not what they would do.

The Heathrow Express is a fast, comfortable non-stop train with lots of space for luggage. But it has disadvantages.

Its terminus is at Padddington, which is seldom the final destination of visitors to London. You therefore have to travel onwards by taxi, tube or bus, and you might as well have used one of them for the whole journey. It's fine if you are being met at Paddington by your chauffeur.

It is more expensive than the Heathrow Connect, which travels the same route but is slower, less comfortable and more crowded because it stops several times and is used by ordinary commuters.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 07:05 AM
  #14
 
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" It's fine if you are being met at Paddington by your chauffeur."

It isn't any more. Paddington is now a nightmare for the chauffeured classes (I was part of them for a couple of years, and in those days Paddington was fantastic)

But refurbing the station's closed the road into the middle of the platforms.

So ordinary chauffered plebs have to walk for miles. Chauffered supertoffs (an absurd proportion of Britain's highest-ranking terrorist targets have country houses near a Paddington-served country station) have to walk for miles too - while half a battalion of machinegun-toting police more or less close the station.

In the good old days, the Friday 1550 to Worcester Shrub Hill could leave on time, even if half the Cabinet was getting on. Now the whole line slows down for half an hour.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #15
 
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Yes, you can get your paper 7-day travelcard at Paddington railway station at the ticket office. Yes, you need photocard but one will be made up quickly if you bring a passport-sized photo. They will scan your photo and put it electronically on the card.
Yes, both tube and buses can be used without time restriction.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 07:19 AM
  #16
 
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Thanks again for the info. I will look into alternative ways to get from Heathrow to our rental apartment and avoid the Heathrow Express. We have no chauffeur, that's for sure!

Alec, thanks for answering my other questions. I appreciate it.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 07:55 AM
  #17
 
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Modeen, we are going to London next week as well. I did the math and factored in Heathrow Express plus the hassle of then getting from Paddington to our hotel. For two people, the cost is pretty close.

Just Airports transfer service quoted me 53 pounds to get us from Heathrow to Belgravia, door to door. For two people and less hassle, that's worth it to me. I've booked with them.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 08:32 AM
  #18
 
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"we need to have a passport photo. Correct?"

As mentioned above, yes but it doesn't have to be passport quality.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 11:27 AM
  #19
 
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Modeen14: WHERE is your apartment? That makes all the difference in the world.

For the vast majority of visitors, the HEX makes no sense, but if you are staying near Paddington it might. But since you say you'r staying in zone 2 it probably won't make sense.

It is a very expensive train.

Before anyone can give you useful advice how to get to your flat, we need to know Where? How much luggage? Time of day? And whether you have any mobility issues.

There are LOTS of variables.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 02:17 PM
  #20
 
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janisj, I think it was the OP who is said he's staying in zone 2. We are staying in Notting Hill (close to Notting Hill Gate metro), which appears to be almost on the border between zones 1 and 2. We travel light with just a small rolling suitcase and a backpack. We will probably arrive in the early AM, and we have no mobility issues.

amyb, thanks for the info on the airport service. I'll check them and do some price comparisons.
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