London - Oyster Card Daily Caps

Old Jan 28th, 2011, 03:21 AM
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London - Oyster Card Daily Caps

Hello...

We are going back to London this year, and will naturally bring our Oyster cards. In the past, we have loaded 7-day travelcards onto them (because we usually stay about a week). However, this time, we will only be there 4 days.

We use both bus and tube, so we are trying to decide whether to still buy the travelcard (27.60 GBP or 6.90/day) or just load money onto the Oyster. I need some clarification about "Daily Price Cap" on the Oyster.

(1) Does that mean, no matter how many rides on a given day, they won't deduct more than that cap?

(2) There appear to be 3 different caps: tube peak (8.00), tube off-peak (6.60) and bus/tram (4.00). How does that work if you use buses and tube on the same day?

For instance, what would the deduction be if we did (in a single day, all zone 1, off-peak):

3 tubes = 5.70 (the daily cap is 6.60)
3 buses = 3.90 (the daily cap is 4.00)

Would the duduction be the total of 9.60, or would it be the 6.60 off-peak tube cap (the larger of the two caps)?

In other words, are the limits individually tallied, or is everything added up and they deduct the largest limit?

I hope I am not complicating this for everyone more than necessary -- maybe I should just get the 7-day travelcard and forget the math.

Thanks.
SS
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 03:27 AM
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Ah, many of us Londoners scratch our head over this on a regular basis! I would just load credit onto your Oyster. After all, if the weather is good you may prefer to walk than take public transport, and credit on your Oyster won't expire if you don't use it on this trip, whereas your Travelcard will. A good excuse to come back again!
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 03:31 AM
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Depends in which zones you travel - never more than a day travel card:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14837.aspx
and
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 03:54 AM
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It'll never be more than the day Travelcard for the zones you pass through.

However the computers are a lot more sophisticated than that and will calculate the lowest possible cost for your trips - so a trip out into Zone 4 from Zone 1 doesn't automatically mean you'll be judged on the Zone 4 cap.

BUT aren't you interested in the offers on daysoutguide.com?
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 04:22 AM
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"(1) Does that mean, no matter how many rides on a given day, they won't deduct more than that cap?"
Yes

"2) There appear to be 3 different caps: tube peak (8.00), tube off-peak (6.60) and bus/tram (4.00). How does that work if you use buses and tube on the same day?"
Then you're subject to the relevant tube cap only. THe bus cap applies ONLY if you take only buses (or is it buses and trams? Can't be arsed checking and you're not going to Croydon anyway)


"I hope I am not complicating this for everyone more than necessary"

You are.

No-one can ever predict every journey they're going to take today when they set out in the morning. Trying to do so in advance is God's way of teaching you how futile it is to think you can micromanage.

Decide a rough daily average. Then decide whether just putting the credit on the Oyster looks a beter bet than the 2 for 1 discounts you get with a PAPER Travelcard.

If you're talking about "we" there's a high likelihood the PAPER Travelcard will work out cheaper.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 05:05 AM
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They could use a mixture of Oystercard PAYG & 1 day Travelcards bought at a National Rail booking office on different days especially if

a) they need to travel to/from Heathrow
b) they don't use the Tube a lot

Buy the one day Travelcard the day before you need it when passing a train station so when you leave the hotel after breakfast all you need is the Travelcard.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 05:29 AM
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Good point.

There really has to be a way of making money out of some device that helps overseas visitors work out the "best" London travel option.
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 05:50 AM
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Flanner - maybe there's an app for that?
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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>>Flanner - maybe there's an app for that?
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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Or the battery would die just as it finished computing.....
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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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(If you were using 'shiny thing make it all better', that is).
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Old Jan 30th, 2011, 03:26 PM
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Hi all...thanks for the input. I'll think this over -- but try not to get too crazy.

AlanRow - yes we are old hands at the 2-for-1 coupons from Days Out -- we've used them extensively on our previous 3 trips. However, this brings up another question you all might help me with:

Our past three flights have been to Gatwick (from Philadelphia), and we've taken the Southern train to Victoria and used the 2-for-1 stuff. (Last time, 2008, we went with another couple and even piggy-backed those with the group save 4-for-2 train fares.)

However, USAir has switched to LHR.

What is recommended for using those coupons? Because we're taking the Eurostar to Paris (for 5 days) the very next morning, we're staying near St. Pancras that first night rather than our usual Victoria area hotel where we'll stay when we return from Paris). There does not seem to be a train from LHR to there (or King's Cross or Euston either).

My sense is to just buy a couple of our usual LGW-Victoria tickets (even if we don't use them) in order to use the 2-for-1 coupons...maybe not as ethical as we could be...but it'll save a bunch of money.

I await your ideas.

SS
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Old Jan 30th, 2011, 10:54 PM
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"There does not seem to be a train from LHR to there (or King's Cross"

You're misunderstanding Alan R's suggestion. Get the tube to St Pancras (or a car if that's what you prefer).

Then when you're back in London, buy one day paper travelcards (or a seven day one) from any RAILWAY station (which the St Pancras area is awash with). A paper travelcard bought from a railway station carries the National Rail logo, and entitles you to 2 for 1 deals as long as it's valid.

Whether it's more worth your while buying a 7 day card, or topping up your Oyster and using one day cards on days you want the deal, is something you have to do the sums for.

But there is absolutely no point at all (or any ethical issue involved) in buying useless Gatwick tickets.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 01:29 AM
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flanneruk and AlanRow....

So a paper rail travel card qualifies for the 2-for-1 deals? I did not know that.

Does the rail travel card cover tube and bus? It seems to cover tube but not bus from what I can tell on the website.

Wow -- I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help. I thought I knew what I was doing -- it was so simple our other 3 trips when we always stayed a week and took the train from Gatwick.

SS
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 01:59 AM
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It covers the same transport options as for the Tube station issued ones at the same cost. I've never heard of it not being allowed for buses
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 02:47 AM
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"I've never heard of it not being allowed for buses"

There ARE tickets which may have sometimes not been valid on buses: within 100 miles or so of London, you can buy day returns to London with, for a small addition, a certain amount of tube travel. Or you might buy a ticket, from say Winchester to Norwich, that involves connecting across London. These have long been described as "including the tube".

Ten years or so back, when the bus system was nothing like as goodas it is now, few of us long-distance commuters would ever have thought of using buses anyway - and it's quite possible the tickets weren't valid either, since bus and tube ticketing were less integrated than now.

But even then, the possible restriction would have applied only on these relatively unusual tickets: one-day travelcards sold in London have always included buses.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 05:06 AM
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OK...I think I've got a plan that is a good combination of thrift, flexibility and convenience:

day 1 (arrival at LHR 10 a.m.) - off-peak paper rail day card zones 1-6 = £8.00

(5 days in Paris)

day 2-5 - off-peak paper rail day cards zones 1-2 @ £6.60 = £26.40

day 6 (return to LHR) - peak single fare (put on Oyster) to LHR = £6.50

The total is £40.90 per person and it qualifies for the 2-for-1 coupons every day.

We might save a little bit by not buying day passes on specific days and using PAYG -- but we like to not have to think about costs and tickets while we are traveling. We also really like the flexibility of being able to use the 2-for-1's any day we want, so it's good to have the paper train passes every day.

We can buy them at LHR I presume. The tube sales office in T1 is easy to spot, but I'm not sure where the rail ticket office is...but it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Thanks again.
SS
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 06:12 AM
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Ah. No, I don't think you get paper travelcards at Heathrow - none of the regular national rail companies serve it. I'd just put some cash on the Oyster cards to cover that day and your last day. Would you really be likely to visit a 2for1 attraction on your first day? You could concentrate the free ones on that day, perhaps.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 06:30 AM
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"day 2-5 - off-peak paper rail day cards zones 1-2 @ £6.60 = £26.40"

Or buy a 7 day card for £27.60 which includes peak time travel or use Oystercard PAYG for all days except when you need the 2-4-1 offers - but buy the Travelcard the day before so you don't have to make a special journey on your Oystercard to get it.
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Old Jan 31st, 2011, 07:10 AM
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And can I just repeat for those who have just joined us why the whole business of buying a travelcard at a National Rail station is important.

The 2 for 1 offers are aimed at people who live outside London. One way of encouraging them to travel to London to visit the sights is to offer them a discount on the admission charges provided they travel to London by train. There has to be some definition of what "travel to London by train" means, so it is taken to be buying a ticket at a National Rail station rather than a London Transport one. A travelcard counts as a National Rail ticket, so it qualifies the purchaser for the 2 for 1 offers.

There are also 2 for 1 offers for people travelling by train from London to Bath, and other places.
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