London, Oyster card questions

Feb 12th, 2010, 03:55 AM
  #1  
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London, Oyster card questions

I haven't bought an Oyster card and I'm wondering if I should buy one for my upcoming visit to London. I will be staying in two different hotels and I need to travel between zone 1 and 2 for a few days, when I move hotels (long story, please don't get me started about why I need to move hotels), I will need to travel between zone 1 and zone 4. I will also take the Underground to LHR, so I'll need to top up hte Oyster card. Is the Oyster card the best transport card to buy? I know about the one week passes, but I can't buy one for zone 1 and 2 for a few days and zone 1 to 4 for the rest of the days unless I buy individual day passes. Any advice about Oyster cards and the basics of how they work will be appreciated. Thanls.
justshootme is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:19 AM
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The Oyster card is just a plastic card. It comes with no money attached you have to tell them what amount to put on it. I find a zone 1 and 2 7 day travel card the best bet for any trip over 4 days. You can also add additional pounds to the card to cover the LHR trip and trips into zones 3 and 4. It is not good for 2 for 1 offers, for that you need a paper travel card purchased at a rail station.
avalon is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:19 AM
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BTW, don't buy it until you get to London
avalon is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:35 AM
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I agree with avalon, the most sensible thing is likely to be to get a 7 day card for zones 1 and 2 (which is where you're most likely to be using public transport) on Oyster, and put some additional money on it to cover add-ons for the journeys beyond zone 2.

The only doubts about this would be if you were wanting to take advantage of the 2for1 offers available to people with tickets bought from the national rail companies (but it sounds as though it's only you, so that would be irrelevant).

it doesn't sound as though, in the time available, you would be making enough journeys in and out of the outer zones to make it worthwhile buying passes for those zones. Any differences are likely to be marginal.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:45 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I won't need any of the two for one offers. Regarding the Oyster card, would I need to pay a top up each day I travel beyond zone 1 and 2, or each time I travel beyond zone 1 and 2. The hotel I will move to for the second half of my stay is in zone 4, so I will travel from zone 1 to 4 each day once I move hotels. I also plan on visiting Kew Gardens and some other sights that are not in zone 1 and 2.
justshootme is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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I think an agent at the TFL counter where you buy the Oyster would be able to give you an estimate; we found them most helpful. You just add, on top of the 7-day-card fee, some pounds, estimating how much your out of zones 1-2 trips might cost, and then just check your balance now and then. So you just top up at any convenient site whenever balance gets too low, if it approaches that. You turn your card in as you leave and get a refund on what's left on the card, including the deposit. (Just don't have TOO much; the nice agent bent the rules for DH and refunded a more-than-normal amount. Now, what is the normally refunded amount?--don't know. We had about 15 on his card and about 7 on mine and his was the one that was over--but we got it all back.)
texasbookworm is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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I think a fiver is the maximum amount they are supposed to refund you there and then, anything over that, the send you a cheque (in GBP).
Hooameye is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 07:15 AM
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justshootme, the point about Oyster is to cut down the number of people processing cash. The last thing TfL want is for people to buy tickets every ride or every day!
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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If someone buys a Seven-Day Oyster card that is not the pay-as-you-go kind, do you need a separate ticket from Heathrow to downtown London?
jrjcolllins is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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"Load" the 7daycard onto an Oyster PLUS a few extra pounds and the Oyster card then is your "ticket" wherever you go.
texasbookworm is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:45 AM
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jrjcollins: "If someone buys a Seven-Day Oyster card that is not the pay-as-you-go kind, do you need a separate ticket from Heathrow to downtown London?"

No -- as has been explained, the oyster is just a plastic card. You only ever need one. You load whatever you want on it and then if you need more sometime during your visit just load some more on.

So if one needs a 7-day zone 1-2 travel card plus some more ££ pay-as-you-go for other journeys, that is how much you load on it.

There aren't separate "travel card" and "PAYG" Oysters - just oysters

justshootme: W/ your divided time/zones situation -- I'd just leave it to the ticket agent to advise me. s/he'll know exactly which travel card would be best and about how much PAYG £ money to add.
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