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London public transportation - best way to pay

London public transportation - best way to pay

Jan 15th, 2009, 03:40 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 64
London public transportation - best way to pay

I've heard about Oyster cards and Travelcards, daily, weekly etc., but I'm still not sure what will be the best say for us to pay for traveling on the tube and buses in London. We'll be there for 6 days, will need to get to and from Heathrow, and will be walking as much as riding (we hope). Can you advise me on the best options - or is there a good website that outlines them?
lybern is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 03:43 AM
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I would suggest if you are planning to walk a bit and so on, to get daily travel cards as and when you need them. I forget how much they are (I think about £5 pp) but a lot of places are walkable. If you were to arrive in Covent garden one day, you can easily stroll to Leicester square etc, you dont need to get the tube each time. They are pretty awful anyway (always packed at rush hour!)
DanT99 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 03:55 AM
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An oyster card is just a way of carrying pre-paid travel credit.

You can buy a weekly travel card (about 25 I think) which will take you pretty much everywhere you want to go.

Alternatively you can load some money on the card and it will deduct the cheapest fare each time you use it - and will cut off once you have hit a dily maximum.

What is certain though is the absolute worst way to do things is to pay in cash for ech trip - this is ludicrously expensive.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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The Transport for London site shows the various travelcard prices and has further information about oyster cards. You can also download tube and bus maps from the site: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/

Another useful site is Walkit.com which may help suggest routes and distances from/to various London locations: http://www.walkit.com/london/


andy_franks is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 04:14 AM
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Thanks for all the good info - I LOVE WalkIT! It helped me choose the area to stay in - Mayfair - because, despite its lack of cheap restaurants and shops, we will be only about 30 min. walk from just about everyplace in London that we want to visit, and the walk itself will be a wonderful part of the experience. I whole-heartedly endorse that site!
lybern is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 04:32 AM
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A PAPER travelcard that is bought at a TRAIN rather than Tube station booking office means you can use the 2-4-1 offers on www.dasyoutguide.com

Currently you'll save over £13 for 2 people to go to the Tower of London - so in one go you've save 25% of the cost of 2 weekly travelcard or more than the cost of 2 one day travelcards

If you want to be really clever - and this would be my option - you get Oystercards at Heathrow, put £20 on them, use them on most days EXCEPT the days you want to use 2-4-1 offers when you buy a one day Travelcard from a TRAIN station
alanRow is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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Paper travelcards, for one or three days, can be bought from tube stations as well as national rail stations.
Paper travelcards for a week or more can only be bought from National Rail stations.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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You did not mention what your plans are once in London. If you are there to see the sights you might to check out www.londonpass.com

They have a 6 day pass which includes travel within the city zones 1-6, buses and some trains. You also get entry into the major tourist spots. The Tower, Buckinham Palace, The Royal Mews, St. Paul's, The Globe, Kensington, the list goes on. Plus at the museums that are free anyway, you get discounts/free things. Quite a few restaurants are also included. As well as the Zoo and the hop on-hop off Thames River cruise.

If you order on line, have the card sent to you and you can use it as soon as you land, taking the tube from LHR to the city.

The six day adult pass with the travel is 128 pounds.
shangrila is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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The website for the two-for-one offers available with tickets from national rail stations is
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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What is certain though is the absolute worst way to do things is to pay in cash for ech trip - this is ludicrously expensive.

Agreed. For example, a one-time cash trip on the tube is, I think, 4 pounds. Using the Oyster card, 1.60 pounds. If you're not interested in the 2-for-1 offers, and don't think you'll use the tube or bus "enough", then the Pay as You Go Oyster card is a better bet than the travel card. A travel card is for unlimited travel, but if you're not going to use it that much, you're paying for nothing. With the Oyster card, you get a discounted fare on every trip, and never pay more than the 1-day travel card amount (the cap is applied daily, and electronically). I like Alan's suggestion, if you do need/want the 2-for-1 offers....that is, just for the day you want to use the offer, buy a paper travel card for ONE PERSON. The other person continues to use the PAYG Oyster on that day and all other days.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Are the 2 for 1 offers are coupled only with train travel, not London Transport. We will be staying in London except for 1 day-trip to Oxford. I'm not sure we will use the trains any other time. Maybe the Oyster or the London Pass would be the most useful since we hope to be able to walk a lot. I guess I have to figure out exactly what we will be doing to see which plans are the most economical.... Thanks very much.
lybern is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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DO NOT get a London Pass!!! It is very expensive, and the transport option is way overkill and costs more than just getting an Oyster (or paper travel cards) after you are in London.

The London Pass is a total rip off of probably 85% or more of visitors. Sure - it covers a lot of sites. But that long list isn't really useful since the pass is for consecutive days and it is next to impossible to get to enough of the big/expensive sites to recoup the Pass' cost.

As for the 2 -or-1 offers - you don't need a ticket for "train" travel. You simply need to have a paper ticket purchased at a train station -- which are attached to tube stations. So for you one day paper travel card, buy it at at train station.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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lybern - please read what alanRow had posted earlier. If you have a paper travelcard (bought at a Rail Station w/the Rail logo), that can qualify you for the 2-for-1 offers within London. You DO NOT want the London Pass, which is a rip-off pass targeted to tourists.

If there are 2 of you going on this trip, here's what I would do:

1) Person A buys a 7-day, zones 1-2 travelcard at Heathrow tube station upon arrival. Person A will need to pay a small surcharge for Heathrow, but otherwise the travelcard will cover the rest of your travels, assuming you're staying within zones 1-2. This travelcard from Heathrow does NOT have the rail logo, hence it cannot be used for 2-for-1 offers.

2) Person B pays the cash fare (4 pounds) for the single trip from Heathrow to London. Upon arrival in London, seek out a rail station and buy a 7-day travelcard with the rail logo on it. This card will qualify for the 2-for-1 offers during your entire stay in London.
yk is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Thought I'd piggyback onto this thread, as I'm facing the same dilemna.
We are 3 adults (grandparents and granddaughter) who will be arriving at Heathrow on Feb. 26 for a 6 night stay. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington and will take the tube to the Gloucester Rd. station.
We plan to spend most of the trip in London, and GD would like to do some of the backstage tours, see a few plays, and do a tour of the Globe, so we thought the 2-4-1 might help us there.
Any economical way to do this for 3 people? When Hubby and I were there nearly 4 years ago, we just bought 7-day travelcards.
Thanks in advance.
Hagan is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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Person A should acquire an Oyster card and "load" a 7-day Travelcard on it. This will qualify that user for the Oyster Fare from Heathrow (in Zone 6) to Zone 2, where the Travelcard is valid. This fare is £1.80 during peak hours, and £1 other times.

Person B should acquire an Oyster card and load enough cash on it to get to London and back to Heathrow at Oyster rates, which is £3.80 peak, or £2.20 other times. There is a slight hassle overhead to this procedure, as a PAYG Oyster carries a £3 refundable deposit.

On our last few trips to London, we only used the Tube a couple of times, which made a PAYG Oyster very economical. This is because the Oyster caps at £3.30 for bus-only travel - and we didn't even hit the cap a couple of times.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Which area of London do you stay in to avoid the tubes so well?
My husband has a knee that's going bad (quickly!) and we'll have to use either the bus or tube for nearly all of our needs, I'm afraid. I'm hoping we won't hit too many steps in the tube stations - can't really remember from the last time. For me, the trouble with using buses is the traffic, which I thought was maddening.
Hagan is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Hagan - I think in your case, 2 of you should get the 7-day travelcard (which in these days, is electronically loaded onto the Oyster card). The third person should get a PAPER 7-day travelcard with the rail ticket logo so that you can use the 2-for-1 for 2 of you.

Buses go everywhere in London, it's just a matter of figuring out the bus maps and bus lines. Sometimes you may need to make a change. On my recent trip to London, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Kensington in Gloucester Rd. There are fewer bus lines that go direclty there, and in reality, the tube is much faster. But the Gloucester Rd station has stairs for both the Circle/District and the Piccadilly lines, so i hope your husband can manage 2 flights of stairs. If not, then go to TFL's website and study the bus map.

Your best friend from Gloucester Rd is Bus No.74. It goes along Brompton Rd to Hyde Park Corner, then to Marbel Arch, and ends at Baker Street. You can change for buses at Hyde Park Corner to head to Piccadilll; change at Marble Arch for buses along Oxford Circus; change at BAker St for buses toward Euston/British Library.

I use the buses a lot in London (my preference), and I have stayed at various parts in London. The area around Gloucester Rd is my least favorite due to the lack of useful bus lines. I've stayed near St James's which was fine. One time I stayed near Regents Park tube station and that was quite convenient. Of course, staying near Trafalgar Sq will be great as there are buses going in all directions from there.
yk is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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For beginners, an essential sightseeing tool is this map (which you can download and print on one sheet of paper), showing the major monuments and attractions in juxtaposition to bus lines: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloa...al_bus_map.pdf

A broader view of bus routes in a geographical format is this, which is free in paper form at any Tube station: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/centlond.pdf

Finally, once you know where you will be staying, you can use the "spider map" at the nearest stop to see what bus goes where you want to go. These used to be on line, but I can't seem to find them today.

We try to stay within a stop or two of Marble Arch, where 21 bus lines converge from all over London.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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Well, we're staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington. Last time we were there, we stayed at Milennium Bailey's, just around the corner, and found the area to be very convenient with such close access to the tube and so many food stores and places to eat. Hope I haven't shot myself in the foot (or my husband in the knee!)
We originally bookd the Royal Court Apartments near Paddington, but some recent horrible reviews changed our minds and the HI Kensington looked like a safe bet.

So, sounds like 2 travelcards and a single ticket from Heathrow, then pick up a paper travelcard at a train station. Is that correct?
Hagan is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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We'll be 3 people, too, but walking, taking the tube and/or buses as necessary and convenient. Does the advice to Hagan (above) apply to my family too?
lybern is offline  

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