Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   London Transportation passes (

scrb Jun 23rd, 2006 08:58 AM

London Transportation passes
OK so you can get a Travel Card for 1, 3, 7 or more days. The TC is good for the Tube but not the buses?

And you need a passport picture for the TC?

In addition you can load TC and bus passes on the Oyster Card?

It also seems, for a first-time visitor staying a week, that Zones 1-2 should cover most of the sites they are likely to visi?

alanRow Jun 23rd, 2006 09:08 AM

Tube AND Bus

scrb Jun 23rd, 2006 09:37 AM

OK, the TFL site is a bit confusing.

A 7-day TC for Zones 1-2 is 22.20 pounds.

There is a separate link for a 7-day Bus Pass good for bus and tram for 13.50.

The TC would cover Tube, DLR, Bus and Tram then where as the Bus Pass is only for the last two?

I understand the Oyster gives you discounts or caps on single tickets but not on passes? How much additional is the Oyster combined with a TC?

Also, my hotel is Hilton Olympia, which appears to be on the edge of Zone 2. Anything of interest in Zone 3?

Robespierre Jun 23rd, 2006 09:40 AM

Yes - any bus pass or TC is good for bus and tram in <i>all of greater London</i>.

Passes are intrinsically capped, because once you've bought one, you can travel as much as you like without paying more.

There is a 3&pound; deposit for an Oyster card (which is typically waived if you load a 7-day TC). Oyster pay-as-you-go fares are capped at 50p less than the cost of a 1-day TC.

The sights/zones table is here: (hit the Zone Guide) link.

PalQ Jun 23rd, 2006 09:53 AM

Remember that a central zone (zones 1 and 2) Travel Card also allows you to use buses all over great London - thus if heading for something in say zone 3 or 4 you could tube it to that last tube station in the zone and then hop the very frequent buses to your destination, all on TC good in zones 1 and 2.
I more and more eschew the tube in central London in favor of the bus - great views from top deck and after figuring in time getting down into the tube and out and often overcrowded over heated tube cars, buses may be just as quick and more comfy.
A one day bus pass good for all of greater London costs just 3 pounds - cheaper by the week i suspect. Get a London Bus map free at any tube station - buy bus passes in machines at most bus stops.

Robespierre Jun 23rd, 2006 10:22 AM

At &pound;13.50 for 7 days, a TfL Bus Season Ticket might be the best transportation deal on the planet. Here are two maps that you might find useful (you can get them free at any Tube station):

scrb Jun 23rd, 2006 10:49 AM

OK, thanks everyone for the info. The posts clear up a lot.

I hope the bus maps are easy to follow. With more bus lines and more bus stops, you have to pay attention to find where to board and get off.

I'm also thinking of the Original London Sightseeing Tour for about $30 for a 24-hour period. It goes to all the usual sites so you don't have to think as much about which stops to look for. It includes a ticket to a boat ride on the river.

Only thing is the hours are only 9 to 5 PM?

Robespierre Jun 23rd, 2006 10:55 AM

There are <b>Spider Maps</b> in every bus shelter that show where to board which bus and where its route goes. These are on line (the alphabetical list is the easiest for out-of-towners):

Dejais Jun 24th, 2006 06:24 AM

Great tips. Thank you.

nho9504 Jun 24th, 2006 10:33 PM

You can also email TFL to request a Bus Map and an Underground Map to be sent to you so you can familiarize yourself before the trip. I just did that and some staff emailed back in 20 minutes!

OK, now comes to my own question:

We would be in London for 4 full days.
On the day of arrival we would take the Piccadilly Line to our hotel Marriott Grosvenor House on Park Lane. On the morning of our 5th day, we need to take the tube from St.James Park station to Kings Cross station to catch the GNER train to Edinburgh.

We also favor Bus in central London than tube.

Should we buy our Oyster on our arrival?

Or we should just get the Bus pass and pay as we go on the Tube?

nho9504 Jun 24th, 2006 10:34 PM


Forgot to say, on the 4th day we have to change hotel to Crown Plaza at St.James Park - so there is a need for taking the tube for the hotel switch.

(I wish the forum has edit function.)

PatrickLondon Jun 25th, 2006 08:16 AM

The difference between one-day bus passes alone and a Travelcard that covers bus and tube, or the capped rate if you prepay on Oyster, isn't likely to be more than &pound;5 or so.

Your call as to whether that's all that significant, by comparison with Grosvenor House prices....

What would really rack up costs is to take more than one or two tube journeys paid for in cash.

Robespierre Jun 25th, 2006 09:33 AM

First and foremost, get an Oyster card if you're going to be in town longer than a day or so. The payback on the deposit is almost immediate.

If the total fares you will use while you're traveling in Zones 1 &amp; 2 exceed &pound;22.20 (accounting for Oyster caps and zones) regardless of how many days you're using TfL, then load a 7-day Travelcard on your Oyster. If not, just load it with the single Oyster fares and pay as you go.

crazy4Hawaii Jun 25th, 2006 10:18 AM

You know I've been reading about this issue for days. (I live where there's virtually no public transportation.) How do you load an Oyster Card? Is there a machine that you use along with a credit card at the bus and tube stations?

PatrickLondon Jun 25th, 2006 11:27 AM

Yes: you touch the Oyster on to a reader on the machine, which looks like the readers on the barriers, and follow the touch-screen instructions. You tell it what sort of ticket you want to load on it, then make your payment, and then touch the reader again (this is most important).

Remember (as TFL keep telling us), always touch in and touch out.

You can make up your own jokes....

scrb Jun 25th, 2006 06:36 PM

Presumably, all transactions can take credit cards?

nho9504 Jun 25th, 2006 08:37 PM


The stay at Grosvenor House is on points - pay 0.


I read your piece on Oyster - thanks a lot for doing that - It seems to work the same way as the Octopus card in Hong Kong, except it has a smarter feature - the daily cap.

We plan to get the Oyster cards at LHR on arrival but not sure if the Travel Center is open at 6:30am?! (I gather you can only get it at the Travel Center next to the Tube station at LHR terminals, or I am wrong?)

We plan to load the Oyster with may be 10 pound each and then top up as necessary.

I have to commend the TFL staff who are responsible for answering e-mail requests. I got a reply 20 minutes after I sent my request for Transit Maps. That compares to the @%$#&amp;* robot reply from the French people basically telling me due to tremendous requests they received everyday, they will ignore all of them.... The Brits are far more civilized than the French in my book!

nho9504 Jun 25th, 2006 08:45 PM

I forgot to mention one more thing.

On our last morning in London (the 5th day), we need to take the Tube from either St.James Park or Victoria to Kings Cross to catch GNER 0900 train to Edinburgh. I can still use the Oyster to pay for this trip, right?

How much is the single fare on Oyster for this travel since it is the peak hour?

I dont think we would use up the daily cap, given the central location(s) of our hotels. There could day(s) we wont use any transportation at all.

I agree, the first 2 rides would pay back the 3 BP deposit already.

P.S. to PatrickLondon - the Crown Plaza St.James Park stay is also on pt - pay 0.

All 14 days of the whole trip, London/Scotland/Paris are on points, FWIW.

Robespierre Jun 26th, 2006 05:22 AM

St. James's Park and Victoria are both in Zone 1, so, the Oyster fare to King's X will be &pound;1.50, peak or off-peak.

All the fares are at

GeoffHamer Jun 26th, 2006 06:51 AM

A Travelcard (on paper or on an Oystercard), covers not only tubes, buses and trams, but trains. It also gives a one-third discount on most boat services in London on the Thames.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:13 AM.