LONDON TUBE : Oyster Cards??

Old Jul 1st, 2011, 01:22 PM
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LONDON TUBE : Oyster Cards??

Can someone please explain what we need to purchase upon arrival in London next week to use the Tube, please?
We will be a couple with 2 kids aged 8 & 10.
Do kids travel free?
Do we need to play a specific kind of ticket for them to be free?
What is an Oyster Card? Where in Waterloo would we purchase, please?
Do we need to fill in form/have photos etc??
We will be in London Weds pm and all day Thurs, Fri, Sat, tourism.. looks like will stay in ZONE 1.
Many thanks! Don't want to waste precious visiting time working all this out upon arrival!
Julie
dendleju is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2011, 01:40 PM
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11 or under travel free when accompanied by an adult - That's the simple bit

How are you arriving in London (name of station / airport needed)? How are you leaving London? Are you interested in saving a LOT of money through the offers on daysoutguide.com?

Why Waterloo?
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 02:49 PM
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We take a car service LHR to county hall hotel, Waterloo seems like closest station
We leave by train for Devon from Paddington, again will use car service
Thanks
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 06:24 PM
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An Oyster card is a plastic credit-card-sized device that "holds" your travel credit, either cash (PAYG--pay as you go) or day-or week-travel-card-amounts. You use the Oyster card to travel on the Tube, buses and some trains (which you most likely won't use staying in Zone 1). You just "swipe" it on the stiles as you enter and exit the Tube stations. At stations, at least bigger ones and at least during busy times, there will be agents from which to purchase transportation tickets/cards.

I would just go to an agent at whatever station is nearest you and ask them to help you sort out what is best option for you. There are seemingly hundreds of different permutations/combinations when you read about it; it really is easier to do than to read about, and I have found the staff to be helpful in telling what sort of travel card/ticket you will need for your amount of time, the zones you'll be in, and the ages of the people in your group.

It doesn't hurt to get familiar with the TFL (Transport for London) website if you are going to have access to the internet while there, because this website gives good info about any planned or unexpected problems or closures on the lines.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 09:56 PM
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TBW may well be giving you fundamentally wrong information.

As a couple, the system outlined in alanRow's post is almost certainly right for you.

To take advantage of this, you and your husband each need a PAPER Travelcard bearing a National Rail, not TfL, logo. This can be bought at Waterloo, but ONLY at the surface RAILWAY ticket offices: it's not available from TfL ticket offices at Waterloo. It absolutely is not TfL employees' job to advise you about the National Rail offer.

TBW's advice would be 100% correct if you were travelling alone.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 10:46 PM
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No photos or forms needed.

1. If the 2for1 offers in the site alan mentions are good for you:
- print out the vouchers for the attractions you're interested in before you leave home
- when you arrive, walk round from County Hall to Waterloo mainline station (take the bridge over York Road above the tube station entrance) and go to the ticket office:
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/statio.../WAT/plan.html
- get 7-day paper travelcards for you and your husband (you might make some cost saving if you just bought them on the individual days you want to use the 2for1 vouchers, and for the other days had pay-as-you-go money on the electronic Oystercard, but you'd be spending more time in ticket offices). Your travelcards need to be for zones 1-2 (there isn't an option for zone 1 only).
- when using the tube, there's a slot in the barriers for paper travelcards, below the yellow readers for the Oystercard: but since the children will be travelling with you as a group, it would be a bit safer to use the wide gates at the side. On the bus (which the children might enjoy more), just show your cards to the driver:
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloa...al_bus_map.pdf

2. If you don't want any of the 2for1s, then the Oystercard would be the easiest way to go, as tbw says.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 11:34 PM
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For your stay 7 day zone 1-2 Travelcards aren't needed though they do simplify things for the cost of a few quid. Note they won't cover you for travel to places like Hampton Court or Kew Gardens without paying an additional fares.

For "best value" on a SHORT stay you can get Oystercards (from the Tube station ticket office), load them up with £5 per day for getting around London then on days you want to use the 2-4-1 offers you simply pop into Waterloo and buy the appropriate Travelcard (from the train ticket office) and leave the Oystercard at the hotel. You can buy the Travelcard the day before but check it's dated correctly. Then when you leave London - ie at Paddington - you hand the Oystercard in and get a refund of any unused money & deposit.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2011, 03:13 AM
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My other post was just addressing your question about what an Oyster card is and didn't include the info about 2for1 offers, since you didn't mention wanting info about that. IF you are planning trips to places covered by 2for1 vouchers, then what alanRow suggests will save you money. Look at daysout/2for1 offers and decide if there are some you want to use. It complicates things slightly. As flanner points out, TfL agents will not give you advice about the travelcards from RAILWAY stations which you would need for using the vouchers.
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