Oyster Card Questions for London

Old May 5th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Oyster Card Questions for London

I have two Oyster cards. One was for me and one was for my partner, who has since passed away. I'm headed to London tomorrow. I have no idea whose is whose. Does it matter? Is the card registered to one of us in particular? There is a couple pounds credit on each card. Can't I turn one in for the balance and the deposit? Will they scan them and know which was whose? Or does it make any difference? I'm planning on putting more value on one card at Heathrow when I take the tube into the city. Can I get the refund on the other at that time at Heathrow?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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As you are apparently not a local and apparently the cards were PAYG (the only way they charge the deposit) it makes no difference whatsoever which card is which...they are not registered to an individual. You can check the balance on the machines in each station and by scanning the card on his or her termnal, the clerk will be able to tell whether there was a deposit and make the proper refund on the one card. No problem whatsoever.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Thanks. I know we bought them at Heathrow originally, but since it's been almost two years since we used them. . . I noted on them when we returned last time that there is 1.50 credit on each one.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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It's only registered if you chose to register it, as a security measure. If you didn't, I don't think they would have any way of knowing which is which. I can't see any reason why you couldn't do both operations at Heathrow, but obviously there will be queues of clueless first-timers clogging up the windows, so you might want to put on the extra value using a machine, and do the refund bit when you get to a less busy station. If they do query whether it's yours, you would presumably have both and could explain (I'm assuming you don't look like a stereotypical chancer who's picked one up off the ground, which is how someone got the tail-end of value on mine, not that I'm bitter or anything).
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Actually, back in the beginning they did charge a deposit even on the weekly travel cards - but quit not long after implementing the Oysters. The cards are most likely PAYG - but they could have been weekly cards w/ extensions or something. But as xyz says - they aren't attached to a person.

Hi NP - Have a good flight.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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"Have a good flight".

I'll try -- flying coach instead of business for the first time in years. At least I'm in the bulkhead exit row (and two seats instead of the usual three) at the front of the second part of coach. As I recall I have about 3 to 4 feet of legroom, so I think I'll manage flying "steerage"! Have my headsets and my Netflix of Mama Mia and the Opera Australia version of Pirates of Penzance for my laptop, so at least I'll be well entertained.

Patrick, an interesting comment about the crowds at Heathrow. I remember that we opted not to buy our Oyster cards in advance but got them on arrival (early morning) at Heathrow. We were shocked to walk right up to the booth and do it instantly. But you're right. I have pounds and can easily top up with cash or credit card in a machine, and do the other one later -- my only fear was that they were matched to names and I'd be topping the wrong one -- but no such problem. Thanks all.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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They are going to charge a deposit for all Oystercards whether Travelcard or PAYG
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Unless they've changed it recently, I have never been charged a deposit for an oyster card if I am purchasing a 7 day travelcard...I must have about 7 or 8 of them (rather than refill them, when I am eligible for a free card I get them deposit free for friends).....I was last in London in January and there was no deposit for the oyster card when I put a 7 day travelcard on it.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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I think it's currently £3 deposit for PAYG. Always refundeable.

Registering is said to guarantee your money back in the event of a loss/theft, though unless you keep an enormous balance on the card, it's perhaps not worth the bother.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:02 PM
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There are large posters up in the tube stations now saying the deposit (was £3, not sure if it will remain £3) will be on ALL Oyster cards as from May 2009.

You can get the deposit back by turning in the card on your departure. Or if you plan on returning to the UK, hang on to the Oyster card and top it up when you return. There is info on the Transport for London website about how long they last for etc.

If you are not sure how much money is on it, just go to one of the machines and hold your card over the reader. It will tell you the balance.

Kay
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:42 PM
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Damn...I was hoping to add to my collection...(I think I have about 8 of them deposit free) <g?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:47 PM
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BTW...here's an article about this

http://tinyurl.com/dfp46w

I guess I wasn't the only one....
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:32 AM
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Nice to know that when I turn in Lee's card and get my 3 pounds back I'll also be doing something "green".
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Old May 6th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Have a great time, Patrick. Looking forward to reading your adventures.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Hopefully NP and I will have a mini GTG. I missed out when he was just down the road in SF but we'll be in London at the same time. He gets in one day ahead of me . . . .
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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I topped my Oyster up at a ticket booth at Heathrow at the beginning of April, no queue whatsoever. I have tried (twice) to top up on the Internet, but you have to be a UK resident, which is really annoying. I've tried using my sister's postcode, but then I run into problems because I need my US address for my US credit card.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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I just remembered I still have an Oyster around here someplace. Have no idea how much is on it, but I'll try to dig it out and take it w/ me . . . . .

Yes I'm ready - I have £13 cash I found in a drawer and an Oyster w/ unknown balance. London here I come
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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Have a great time, janis! I look forward to reading your report too when you get back!
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Old May 10th, 2009, 10:49 PM
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Thought I'd report back. The queue at Heathrow to purchase tickets (or to turn in an old card) was huge. I went to a machine to add value to my card and my credit card wouldn't work. The attendant told me that "all morning it's been denying credit cards" and told me I'd probably have to get in queue to add the value. Then I realized I already had pounds so added 20 in cash and was on my way. The next day at Covent Garden Station I got the 3.50 back on Lee's card. (It had .50 value still on it only.)
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Old May 11th, 2009, 04:23 AM
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I hope you're enjoying yourself in London.

IME, the lines at Heathrow's tube station (T1/2/3) are always a mile long, that's why I always keep several pounds on the Oyster from my last trip so I don't have to wait in line.
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