Oyster Card Questions for London

Old May 11th, 2009, 04:57 AM
  #21  
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I said earlier that I remember no lines at all there when we bought our Oyster cards, but I was thinking. That was on a flight that arrived from JFK at 8:30 PM -- quite different from all those early morning arrivals. I had forgotten than little fact. I'll be sure to top mine up this time before leaving (allowing for a fare increase as well). I was just glad I had a few 20 pound notes.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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BTW, although you can't top up your Oyster unless you're a UK resident, you can check your balance online. Just input the number off the back.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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thursdaysd, that sounds good, but how? I returned yesterday and was going to mark my oyster with how much is left on it, but I just spent an hour trying to find out how much is on it on the website and you seem to have to fully register to do that -- just typing in the card number doesn't work -- and to register you have to use a UK post code. So I was unable to get a balance.

Am I missing something?

Incidentally, I'm curious of my balance because I specifically topped up two days ago to cover a trip to Heathrow yesterday and one from Heathrow to Central next time I come, plus a little extra. But since the Picadilly Line suspended services yesterday morning (Hyde Park Corner to Acton) I had to get off at Hyde Park Corner with everyone else and get a taxi. When I tapped my oyster to get out of Hyde Park I kept getting a "seek assistance" and an assistant sent me through the open gate. I'm curious what ends up being deducted from my card when that happens?
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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NeoPatrick on May 11, 09 at 08:57 AM

I'll be sure to top mine up this time before leaving (allowing for a fare increase as well).


Please explain how having money tied up in an Oyster card is a hedge against fare increases.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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Gee, I thought that was a pretty simple idea. If the current fare is 3.90 and I topped up to a total of exactly 7.80 on my card and left using up 3.90 of that but returned in 6 months to find the current fare would be 4.20, then my Oyster wouldn't have enough on it to get me into London. But if I added a pound or two to the total, and the fare went up, I'd be covered on my next trip to bypass the queue at Heathrow. Get it?
I don't really worry about one pound or so "tied up" being any great inconvenience. Certainly less inconvenience than possible arriving next time to a fare increase and having to stand in queue for half an hour to add more value to the card on my next arrival.

Or were you suggesting it doesn't make sense to do that, and just take your chances that the fares won't go up, and it would be better to stand in queue next arrival rather than "tie up" an entire pound or two?
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:31 AM
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NeoPatrick - just use any postcode - the one from your last hotel, maybe?

Hmm, part of the Piccadilly line (Hyde Park to Hammersmith) was out Apr 28 when I was in London, too. I was glad I wasn't trying to make it to Heathrow for a flight!
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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Neo..

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret....if when you touch out, your oyster card is put into a negative condition on PAYG, in general they let you go out and you carry the small negative balance until the next time you try to touch in in which case ythe message to seek assistance.

So don't sweat it.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:13 AM
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xyz, that wasn't my worry, since I had just added 10 pounds the day before. Just curious if when you try to exit and it doesn't let you, does it still deduct the appropriate amount from your balance from when you entered?

I lucked out with the closed Piccadily line yesterday -- sort of. There were no replacement buses and no one seemed to know if there were going to be or when. But as I headed up to the street, a businessman asked if I was going to Heathrow, I said yes, and we shared a taxi. At least it cut my cost in half -- my cost (30 pounds including tip) is pretty much what my usual car service would have been.
But so much for the idea of saving money by taking the tube.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:45 AM
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Patrick, I've not been following US boards and I almost never frequent the lounge so this is the first I've learned of your loss. So sorry. I rechecked the long long NY thread on Broadway shows and noted that you lost Lee in January. I hope you are recovering and the fact that you are on the road again sounds like you're doing your best. Please add my belated condolences to the many you received earlier.

We have all learned so much from you as you've provided not only info on things like oyster cards but dealing with difficult personal issues of care giving and continuing when things get tough. While travel is always fun, travel under different circumstances than you were so lucky to have had for so many years must also pose its difficulties. Perhaps you'll be able/willing to share some of the coping mechanisms you've found since many of us may eventually need to learn how to handle the issue as well.

Best wishes to you as you continue your journeys. I hope we can meet again at another GTG, if not in Florida, perhaps in Paris, or Rome, or NYC, or, or, or. Julie
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Old May 15th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Thank you Julie for your kind thoughts. And I also promise that the next time we are eating at Babbo only a couple tables apart at the same time -- that I WILL recognize you! Still can't believe that happened!

I'll be doing a London trip report in the next couple days when I get caught up here at home. It was a bittersweet trip without Lee at all the "old" haunts and in "our" usual flat, but alone.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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I can only imagine the sadness but brave of you to get back into the travel game by yourself.

I couldn't help noticing that your profile lists Lupa among your favorite restaurants rather than Babbo. We've not yet been to Lupa but with your recommendation we'll now be going. How do you compare the two and why are you partial to Lupa over Babbo? (Hope you don't mind answering on this thread, admittedly a bit off the oyster card subject.)
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Yes, I do like Lupa better. I guess it's because I've gradually grown to like more casual places more than those with more formal service. While Babbo was fine, the relaxed casual atmosphere of Lupa is something I enjoy more -- more vibe and buzz (yes, and noise, admittedly). Not to mention that the food is equally good in my book at Lupa (I can't NOT order some bucatini every time) and is considerably less expensive.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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I share your feeling about more casual places. I find myself more and more opting for the one star or the cozy, local trattoria, or similar than the 3 star that requires more advance notice, more prep, more of everything. We still do a 3 star now and again (I'm agonizing over whether to take a day from Venice to go to Le Calandre outside of Padua) but I'm far more likely to look for a slowfood place or a Chowhound rec. from someone who talks of the wonderful family vibe, etc. Our current favorite her in Pompano is Kosta's Greek eatery where they had free Greek Easter celebration and where Kosta's always in the kitchen and the liters of white Greek wine are so cheap you can't not drink them--and they crash real plates rather than toss namby pamby napkins when the Opa really gets going.

Next time we're in NYC, Lupa it is.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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patrick...welcome home!!! i head out next friday the 22nd...did you leave your theatre rec's in the flat for me??
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Old May 15th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Shoot. I forgot all about doing that. But I'll be posting the full report in the next day or two. I only got to see 11 shows in the 7 days!
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