London: Oyster Card or Travelcard?

Jan 19th, 2014, 03:31 PM
  #21  
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jamikins, thanks--I'll scale back how much I load onto the card when I arrive. One more piece of info I read was that when using the Oyster card you have to scan it (touch it, they say) on the way in AND on the way out. Very important or they'll count the maximum for that trip if there's no check-out recorded.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:35 PM
  #22  
 
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Indeed you touch in and touch out on the tube but quite frankly it's hard to fail to touch out as there are turnstiles with barriers which open only when you touch the yellow card reader...with oyster. With a paper ticket, you insert it and it comes out and thenthe barrier opens. Station staff will help you but you'll quickly get used to it. On the buses, you only touch in you don't have to touch out.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:37 PM
  #23  
 
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Ok, looks like I got the green light: We arrive LHR Thursday, March 27, take the Oxford Bus to the town of Oxford. From the bus station in Oxford, we need to get to the Remont B&B on Banbury Rd. three nights (near Saint Clares College) where we will be until Sunday a.m. We will be taking public buses for most of our transportation needs, which, thankfully, runs up and down Banbury Rd. as I see it.

There is a possibility that we (2) and our GD may take one day to visit London (all of us have previously visited London). Train?

On our last day, which is Sunday, March 30, we leave Oxford back to Heathrow where we have a room at the Arora Hotel on Bath Rd. Fly back to the U.S. on Monday morning.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:43 PM
  #24  
 
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Don't worry -- at the tube station when you buy the Oyster card, simply tell the agent how many days you'll be there and 'in general' where you'll be traveling and s/he will advise you how much PAYG £ you'll probably need. If you underestimate - you can always load more later.

Also - the touch in/touch out won't be confusing at all - the gates won't open for you (in or out) til you 'touch' . When approaching the gates - look for ones that have green arrows instead of a red 'X'
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:47 PM
  #25  
 
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janisj, at what point will I be in a tube station? Is the card only for the one day in London?
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:47 PM
  #26  
 
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i_am_kane: If you do a day trip to London -- either the train or the bus works fine. There are two express bus services between Oxford and London.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:49 PM
  #27  
 
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i_am_kane: That info was for the OP -- you have entirely different questions.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 03:53 PM
  #28  
 
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janisj,

So, I didn't get a green light! I will post a new separate topic. Thanks. BTW, I just watched a video primer on youtube for purchasing an Oyster card...haven't been to London for 5 years, so I'm missing some details.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 04:06 PM
  #29  
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janisj, a big thank you. Glad I checked in here first. I'm traveling solo (meeting my daughter) and I like to know in advance what I'm doing/where I'm going so I don't look clueless, thus becoming a target! The older I get it seems, the less sure I am when traveling and so the need to be prepared. Thanks to you, jamikins and everyone else who weighed in for the help.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 04:24 PM
  #30  
 
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You'll be an expert by the time you leave for home!
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Jan 20th, 2014, 01:11 AM
  #31  
 
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<>

Touching in and out is virtually impossible to get wrong at central London tube stations or on a bus, but if you travel on the DLR at any point you need to be more proactive.

Unlike tube stations, DLR stations don't have barriers which will only open after touching your Oyster on the reader. Instead they are open access and the reader can be anywhere between the station entrance and the platforms, and can be easy to miss. If you touch in but fail to touch out at your destination, the full maximum single journey amount (£8.30) will be deducted from your cash balance in addition to any daily cap.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 01:45 AM
  #32  
 
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If that happens (maximum daily deduction), go to a tube station ticket office and get it refunded, explaining what has happened as soon as possible. They can complete an incomplete journey (when you failed to touch out) and refund the difference.
See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/26171.aspx
Alec is offline  
Jan 20th, 2014, 02:57 AM
  #33  
 
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I wouldn't worry about stations without barriers. You just have to look out for the big orange circle on a post somewhere on your way out.

It's that wretched 2 for 1 that confuses people.
If you are alone, just go to a ticket booth and ask for an Oyster card loaded with a seven day travel card for zones 1 and 2. As others have said, explain that you might want to go outside zone 2 once or twice and the ticket person will suggest a suitable top up. It's really simple.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 03:20 AM
  #34  
 
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At London City Airport the touch-in and out point for the Oyster is not that clear; it is on the wall a few yards before the escalators. Very easy to miss.

Agree that on the Tube it's almost impossible to miss.

For kids under 16 you can get an Oyster photo ID that gives them 50% discount on the tube, and free bus rides in London. You have to apply in advance, but this works very well.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 11:35 AM
  #35  
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Miss Prism, so loading an Oyster card for Zones 1 and 2 (with a Zone 6 for airport return trip) gets you what benefits versus just an Oyster card pay-as-you-go? I mean is the travelcard a better deal and the Oyster card then allows a pay-as-you-go if you travel outside zones 1 and 2?
GraceCO is offline  
Jan 20th, 2014, 11:43 AM
  #36  
 
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The main difference is number of days. For 5 or more days - the best deal is usually loading a 1 week zone 1 & 2 travelcard w/ a bit of PAYG ££ for any out of zone 2 trips you may take. It is usually calculated that after 4.5 days the 7-day travelcard is best (unless you don't use public transport very much)

For 4 or fewer days - then just PAYG is best.

For longer stays - say a stay of 10-ish days -- the 7-day travelcard +more PAYG . . .
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Jan 20th, 2014, 11:50 AM
  #37  
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janisj, thank you--makes perfect sense!!! I'll be using public transportation exclusively while I'm there, so getting a travelcard makes sense. I'm about to leave for the airport. I can't thank you all enough for the help over the past week. This forum is so wonderful.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 12:10 PM
  #38  
 
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Have a great time -- You'll love London . . . .
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Jan 31st, 2014, 10:08 PM
  #39  
 
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So, if I have this right, because there will be two of us on my trip, and we will be in London of 8 days, we should get 7 day paper travelcards, in order to get the benefit of the two for one offers. what is the recommendation about where and when to get them? We will be arriving at Heathrow, and leaving from there 8 days later. And how do we handle the 8th day, either at the beginning or the end, with travel to Heathrow? Add a single day travel pass?
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Jan 31st, 2014, 10:32 PM
  #40  
 
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1. You get the paper tickets from a national rail company ticket office at a national rail station.

2. Heathrow doesn't have such a thing, so if you're using the underground to get to and from Heathrow, you will also need to put some sort of value on separatw Oystercards for each of you, and you can use this for the travel on your extra day. Depending on whether you're more likely to use public transport a lot on your first or last days (in addition to getting to and from Heathrow), make one of those the day you just use the Oystercard: it won't charge you more than the cost of a one-day travelcard anyway. I'd put £10 on each card at Heathrow.

3. Then once you're in central London, go to one of the mainline terminal stations, and get 7-day paper travelcards for zones 1-2, from the national rail ticket office (NOT the ticket office for the underground), either to start immediately or the next day.

4. You will need to double-check that you will have enough value the Oystercards to cover your last day's travel, and top-up as necessary.
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