London Tube Question

May 17th, 2007, 08:27 AM
  #1  
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London Tube Question

We will be in London from May 18-23, and would like to take advantage of some of the 2-for-1 discounts available when you purchase a travelcard. As we arrive on the evening of the 18th at Heathrow, I figured for that day, we would purchase a zone 1-6 single fare, and then on subsequent days, purchase single-day travel cards. I figure we'll buy peak/off-peak and whatever zones we need based on our plans for the day for maximum flexibility. So my questions: 1) Does this plan make sense? Based on what I've read about the Oyster system and travelcards, this seems to be the simplest way to go and is only minimally more expensive than getting a longer travelcard and using pay-as-you-go. 2) Will these travelcards be loaded onto an Oyster Card, or will they be paper, and will we have to pay the Oyster Card deposit? Thanks in advance!
mar_76 is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 08:49 AM
  #2  
 
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Since you want maximum flexibility, you could buy Oyster cards, pay the deposit, load the cards with a fair amount of cash, and let the Oyster computer do all your work for you. You will never pay more than 50 pence less than a one-day travelcard for the zones, times, and type of travel (eg. tube & bus or just bus) you do on any given day. Top up the cards as necessary and get your deposit back at the end of your stay.

Or you could buy Oyster cards and load them with seven-day travelcards for zones 1-2 plus cash for pay-as-you-go fares beyond zone 2. Again, let the Oyster computer give you the best deal each day.

You can do some pencil pushing to see which would cost less. Or you could simply ask the person at the ticket window at Heathrow to advise you. They are required to tell you what your cheapest option is.
TimS is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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If you buy one-day Travelcards, they are paper tickets.
A weekly Travelcard is issued on paper by national rail stations, or on an oystercard by tube stations and shops.
Oystercards cannot be used for pay-as-you-go on trains, and only save money if you confine your travels to tubes and buses.
GeoffHamer is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:12 AM
  #4  
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TimS -- the pay as you go Oyster cards don't get you the 2-for-1 deal that travelcards do, thus the desire to purchase travelcards.
mar_76 is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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On arrival get an Oystercard and load it up with £30 PAYG - it's a lot cheaper than single tickets or one day travelcards

Then on the days you want to use 2-for-1 buy a one day travelcard and use that instead of the Oystercard

Then when you leave return the Oystercard and get a refund of all unused monies
alanRow is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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You're in London for six days? I'd suggest a 7-day Travelcard loaded on Oyster.

First, the Oyster deposit is waived for a 7-day, saving you either £3 or the hassle of getting a refund.

Second, your fare from Heathrow to Zone 2 will be either £1.80 or £1 depending on whether or not you travel between 7AM and 7PM.

One-day Travelcards for the 19-23 will cost £25.50, plus your LHR ticket will cost £4, for a total of £29.50.

Five days of Oyster caps will cost £23, and your LHR Oyster single will be £2 or £3.50, total £25 or £26.50.

A 7-day Travelcard: £23.20 + £1.80 = £25
Robespierre is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Thanks alanRow -- for some reason, that solution hadn't occurred to me. But I thought the pay as you go on Oyster was at most only 50p cheaper than a single fare or travel card. Over the course of 4 days, that's what? 2 GBP? (or do I have my definition of 50p wrong?)
mar_76 is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Robespiere, what about three days? Arriving Heathrow Wednesday noonish. Staying near St. Paul's. Will see the usual sights then on Saturday will take the chunnel to Paris? 3 day pass or is there a better option?
MarieC is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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For three days, loading an Oyster for PAYG is certain to be cheaper than a Travelcard, because the latter is only sold in a "peak" flavor. If you use buses only, that day caps at £3 instead of £4.60.

Besides, you'll probably hardly use travel on your arrival and departure days. I wouldn't be surprised if you came away for less than £10.
Robespierre is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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I agree that arrival and departure days are likely to involve less tube use. Certainly Saturday won't involve anything except a trip to Waterloo. If the Oyster is purchased, would you recommend loading each (the travelers are my two daughters) with about 10 lbs each? Where do they obtain a refund of the unused balance? Logistically, can they buy the cards at Heathrow, let the seller know they want to travel to central London (whatever the tube stop is closest their hostel) plus add on whatever lbs they come up with and then just use it?Sorry. I really have tried to figure this all out, but so far the precise details of how it all works have escaped me.
MarieC is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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The answers will be different depending upon their ages. See: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/faresandtickets/1063.aspx

They can buy them at Heathrow and refund them at Waterloo. Have them just load £20 and forget about it until they leave.
Robespierre is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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bookmarking...
azzure is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Afterthought: if cheap is the goal, then Oyster and buses only is the answer. Caps at either £1.50 or £3 per day, depending on age.
Robespierre is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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They are 18 and 20 so I don't think their ages help. I like the idea of loading with 20 lbs at Heathrow, and then refunding whatever might remain at Waterloo.
MarieC is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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<<< was at most only 50p cheaper than a single fare or travel card >>>

Actually it's at the very least 50p cheaper than a Travelcard.

If, for example, you don't take many trips in a day or you use the bus a lot you won't reach the daily cap. And of course if you don't use them at all it costs nothing
alanRow is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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One last question please. If they have purchased their PAYG oyster with a debit card and funds remain on the card when they are ready to leave UK, can they balance be refunded to their debit cards? They would, at that point, have no use for British pounds.
MarieC is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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hi, y'all,

I'm a brit, who commuted in London for years, and i still don't get why our ken has made this all so complicated.

is it to keep tourists away - it certainly deters me!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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<<< They would, at that point, have no use for British pounds. >>>

Snacks, tea, coffee, newspapers, magazines, duty free...
alanRow is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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It's no more complicated than it always was if you tried to work out whether you would save more by buying a pass in advance or paying for single fares.

Oyster adds a different payment mechanism, but since the fares are deliberately set at levels to encourage people to use Oyster rather than cash, it's not an issue in itself. The only complication comes when people think of it as an alternative sort of ticket, which it isn't.
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 12:13 PM
  #20  
 
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"...which it isn't..."...except in some cases, such as a paper vs. plastic 7-day Travelcard.

Honestly, TfL's fare structure reminds me of French grammar: twelve inflexible rules - and 2,714 exceptions.
Robespierre is offline  

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