London transportation card question

Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:26 AM
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London transportation card question

Is it easier or better to purchase the card for 7 days when you get to London or in advance?

Either one more convenient then the other?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:27 AM
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Buy it when you get there, and load it on an Oyster card. That entitles you to Oyster fares for extensions, which the paper card does not.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Easy to buy once there but currently RailEurope's prices on TravelCards (Visitor TravelCards with no time restrictions) are a bit cheaper than those sold at tube stations in London. But RailEurope has a $15 mailing fee for orders under $200 - so if you save $3-4 x 2 people or $6-8 this makes it more expensive. On the other hand some RE agents, like BETS (800-441-2387) only charge a $5 mailing fee. And you'll have the TC in hand when you arrive. London prices: www.tfl.com; RailEurope prices: www.raileurope.com.
Changing exchange rates could vary the difference - last time i checked was about a month ago.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the replies

These are the only places we plan on visiting outside of the zone 1 and 2 areas or outside of London

Heathrow airport - one way
Windsor Castle
Hampton Court

Would the Oyster card still be the best for this or just the plain old London Travel Card?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:48 AM
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Windsor and Hampton Court are train rides, not on the Transport for London system.

The cheapest way to get into town from Heathrow is on a Zone 1-2 Travelcard with an Oyster extension for Zones 2-6 (as little as £1 at certain times). Oyster and Travelcard aren't mutually exclusive. You can carry a paper TC, or you can load the equivalent on an Oyster. The LHR transfer with a paper one would cost £3.

I've never queued longer than about 3 minutes to buy transport at Heathrow.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Windsor is well outside the bounds of London TC - take a train from either Waterloo or Paddington and buy a day return ticket for that.
Hampton Court is in the last zone so that's where you'd buy a supplement ticket before boarding the Tube to cover you from where zone 2 ends out to Hampton Court and back. (Even though it's a train that runs out to Hampton the TC is good on trains as long as they are within the zones of the TC.
Oyster Cards and Travel Cards are two different creatures - you can use an Oyster Card to buy a TravelCard and get a slight price break i think and then just wave the Oyster Card to enter the Tube or you can buy a TC at the ticket window or machines and then run it through the automatic tunstiles. thus it's not a matter of one or the other.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:10 AM
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< I've never queued longer than about 3 minutes to buy transport at Heathrow. >

Last time I had to use the windows rather than the (one) working machine as it didn't give change, took 30 minutes to get a £4 ticket
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:22 AM
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Alas, YMMV.

The last few times, we've had enough on Oysters to get into town, so we can either top up at the airport or downtown, whichever presents itself conveniently.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:48 AM
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Windsor isn't w/i London Transport's system.

But Hampton Court most definitely is - it is in zone 6.

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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
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oops - hit post too soon. Meant to add - even though both LHR and Hampton Court are in zone 6, don't buy a zone 1-6 travel card. Just pay the supplements for traveling from zone 2 to 6.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 12:35 PM
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As I said - Windsor and Hampton Court are not on the Transport for London network. They are reached by train rather than on the Underground, as Heathrow is. All three require extensions, the price of which are discounted if your Travelcard is loaded on an Oyster but not if it's the paper one they sell by mail.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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Let me see if I have this straight

Buy a travel card for zone 1-2 for 2 adults, 1 child age 12 (my son would be free as he will be 10). No photo needed

We plan on purchasing the 7 day one as we will be there 7 days and because we are going in late March 2007 where the weather can affect how often we use the tube or the bus. Even if we use the tube 4 times it is better to have the travel card then the pay as you go oyster card with the daily cap. I figured that even if we use the tube 4 times a day at £1 each way times 7 days would be £28. The travel card is £22.20 for the adults for 7 days

Then purchase an extension on the day we go to Hampton court to cover up to zone 6 at £3 each adult

Windsor we would have to take a train so that will be a separate ticket entirely

To use the 2for1 coupons I would need the paper travel card anyway from what I have read

Is this correct?
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Sort of.

The numbers you want to compare are the £22.20 versus the total of all single tickets you would buy on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Some days you may never reach the daily average of a 7-day card, much less exceed the Oyster cap. For example, sometimes you'll only take a couple of bus rides to the British Museum, or a single round trip on the DLR to Greenwich. We typically have a one-week total in the £15 - £17 range.

So it's problematical to state any hard-and-fast rules for a transport strategy based on the length of your London sojourn, because there are way too many variables.

Your extensions to Hampton Court should cost £1.80 each way since you'll probably go there after 0700 and before 1900, during the Oyster peak period.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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If you have a Travelcard (on paper or on an oystercard), show it when you buy your train ticket to Windsor, because you only need a train ticket from the zone boundary to Windsor. If you have a travelcard for zones 1-2, and you are going from Waterloo to Windsor, you only need to pay from the zone boundary at Putney to Windsor, but you must get the ticket before you join the train.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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I think that I have read that you can use an Oyster for the 2for1, but you have to have your receipt showing that it is a travelcard that you loaded on the Oyster.
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