Eurostar and Oyster Card

Jan 21st, 2010, 03:44 AM
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Eurostar and Oyster Card

Hello friends. We are staying at the Thistle Marble Arch and need to know how long it will take to get to St. Pancras to catch our connection to Paris. We want to leave London around 10:00 AM. on a Thursday. Should we take a taxi or can we take public transportation? Also, while in London, should we purchase Oyster Cards for public transportation or is there other suggestions to travel around town.
kamaoleman is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 04:08 AM
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If you have lots of luggage I'd take a taxi. And definitely get an Oyster Paygo. If you want to use any of the 2 for 1 train offers you will nned a paper travelcard for that day.

You can check the transport options at
avalon is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 04:35 AM
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Depends on the luggage.

It's a number 30 bus. They stop a lot, so assume half an hour's journey (which is about what it'd take to walk) plus a 5 min wait (they're every 5-10 mins).

Quickest ways's tube to Oxford Circus, then change to a tube to St P. Max that way: about 20 mins or so. Someone'll go on about the rush hour. But millions of us do rush hour tubes twice a day, and while moaning's a national passtime, we're all still here.

Cab, even in rush hour, will be about 15-20 mins, but allow an extra 15 in case something goes wrong.

If you want to use 2 for 1, there's rarely any point in having an Oyster. Price the paper Travelcard you need then see.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 04:41 AM
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Up to a point, avalon. Mild obsessives like me are no longer able to do the actual maths on different TfL fare options because some jobsworth at TfL has decided not to publish them in a single booklet any more.

However, for the OP, the choice depends on how long you're staying and what sort of use you might make on public transport. If a lot, get a travelcard (a 7day travelcard pays for itself after about 10 journeys by tube); if only a little bit, get Oyster pay-as-you-go. NEVER pay single cash fares, they are set exorbitantly high to discourage cash payment.

To get to St Pancras for a 10am departure, I'd aim to be there around 0915 (I hate rushing at the last minute), which would mean you'd be travelling in the rush-hour. This certainly argues against tube or bus if you've any luggage (but if you're only taking a small bag each, you could take the 30 bus; the 10,39 and 73 also go there, but via Oxford St, which could be a crawl at the best of times; by tube you would have to change at Oxford Circus, again best avoided in the rush hour with large luggage).

On a good day a taxi could make it in at most 20 minutes, but I'd add on some wriggle room just in case, and aim to leave around 0845.

By tube, say, 15 minutes, by bus, say, 25+.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 04:57 AM
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Patrick, thanks for the great info- I've read some of your other threads about travelcard vs. Oyster.

Do I understand it correctly that with the Oyster, if you've take the tube x trips/day, you won't be charged over what you would have paid for the travelcard ?

Also, we're heading to St. Pancras from Waterloo (or Westminster... staying at Marriott County Hall). We'll be heading out in the am also... with 3 little people. I assume a cab is better than dealing with rush hour on the tube with kids and luggage ? (luggage will be generally light, probably 3 carry on duffels for all + carry on backpacks).

Finally, does it help me at all to have it in advance ? Can I just buy it when I arrive ? Do I need a photo ?

(oh yeah, last thing. really.)
My kids are in the 5-10 range. They travel free with me, correct ? Do they need anything or are they waved through with me ?
surfmom is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:01 AM
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I don't know what OP or TFL means. Please explain. Also well be in London for just 4 nights.
kamaoleman is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:07 AM
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oooh, final question for the experts.... leaving in about 10 days. would order it online, but may not get it in time. Should I just wait and get it there ? Or should I try my luck to order it online ?

I guess the travelcard can be put on the Oyster, but I think the payg (pay as you go) can't be more than the corresponding travelcard would be. I think I've that right ?
surfmom is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:13 AM
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I am confused surfmom. Anyway, on my last posting I meant to write "we'll" not "well". DUH!
kamaoleman is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:21 AM
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kam, I've read about 3 sources and I think I finally understand it.

An Oyster is the pre-paid card. You can

1) put a travelcard on it. This allows for unlimited use of {tube, bus, ??} during the specified number of days.

2) pay as you go (payg). From what I understand, your daily fare will never be larger than what you would have paid with a travelcard (see above). So it you take 10 trips on payg, you may only be charged for 4 trips, b/c you've maxed out the day.

You get a physical looking card (like a credit card) that you flash in front of the little yellow sign going in and out of the tube. This ensures you are charged correctly. From what I've read, make sure you flash on the way out or you can be charged an additional fee.

You can buy them online (which is the easiest if you aren't pulling a last minute trip together like me) and top them as needed. I'm not sure how you know if the balance is getting low if you don't have access to email ? (with ezpass, when you go through a toll, it will flash 'balance low'... is there any warning like that ?)

I **think** those are the basics.
surfmom is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 05:23 AM
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OP - original poster or posting
Tfl - Transport for London. The organisation that runs the buses and Underground.
stfc is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 06:04 AM
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surfmom has understood it correctly (gold star, tick v.g., you can clean the blackboard eraser today).

>>is there any warning like that ?)<< Yes, and anywhere that sells tickets or Oyster topups will have a reader that will tell you what your balance is. So you can go into any number of convenience stores and ask them to check the balance while you're buying a newspaper or some sweets or whatever, likewise on the ticket machines at any station. And, as you say, to make sure you're not over charged, there are posters and announcements to remind you to "Always touch in and touch out".

And yes, children under 11 travel free if accompanied by a ticket holder. If the 10-year old looks large for their age, you might want to carry some sort of ID (a photocopy of their passport, maybe?) to prove their age. At tube station barriers, ask the attendant to open the wide gates for you as a party - the normal gates may not hold open long enough to get all three of you through.

You can get Oyster in advance. It sounds like a bit of a palaver; on the other hand, you could find yourself stuck in yet another queue on arrival when the kids are desperate to get going! You don't need a photo for pay-as-you-go or short duration travelcards; 5-10 year olds only need a photocard if they're going to be using the tube unaccompanied.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 21st, 2010, 06:09 AM
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There are three options.

1. A paper travelcard, bought from a National Rail station. This lets you use the 2 for 1 deals (google or search). They come as £25.80 for an adult 7 dayer in Z 1& 2, £7.20 for 1 day, all day or £5.60 a day offpeak.

2. Same travelcard, embedded on an Oyster. Same costs: no 2 for 1 deal

3. A PAYG Oyster. Daily price cap is the same as a daily Travelcard. A single Z1/2 Tube fare is on Oyster are £1.80 Buses (anywhere) £1.20.

You have to do the maths for yourselves. For most tourists, though, a paper travelcard is what you want - and the 2 for 1 savings are such, a 7 dayer makes better sense even if you're here for5 or 6 days
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 03:09 AM
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thank you very much Patrick. I had an extra mint!

then flanner confused me with the 2 for 1 deals. And I was back to 'argh, what now?' I realized since I'm flying solo most of the time, 2 for 1 doesn't help if you are only 1.

I think your point is good about the travelcard being a good option... I just did the math and for 5 days, a peak daily (which would be the max price with the payg), would work out to L35+ for those five days if I'm charged the max and take the max trips. I may or may not do that, but I may just get the 7 day travelcard and not worry about it.
surfmom is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 07:31 AM
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If you are touring around mostly alone -- the 2 for 1's have absolutely no advantage. Just get an Oyster. I've usually found 5 days almost always makes a 7 day travel card the best deal.
janisj is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:09 PM
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Is there anything like a Oyster card for Paris? We'll be there after London.
kamaoleman is offline  
Jan 24th, 2010, 01:10 AM
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The Parisian transport authorities promote the Paris Visite card for visitors. I've never got one yet, just using carnets (10 tickets at a time), or latterly the Velib bike hire.

There's a slightly cheaper one-day pass on paper (Mobilis) and the Oyster equivalent is the Navigo Découverte. (you'll need to read French to find out about the Mobilis and Navigo).
PatrickLondon is offline  
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