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phyllis_stein Sep 16th, 2008 08:38 AM

travelcards on Oyster ... on buses?
I'll be in London for an extended stay, and I'm trying to work out the public transportation options.

If I read the tfl information correctly, it seems that the 7-day travelcard will allow me to use buses -- rather than buying a bus pass as well -- so long as the bus I want to get onto displays a particular sign (the red and white tube logo).

Are these buses typical or unusual?

Cholmondley_Warner Sep 16th, 2008 08:43 AM

You can use any bus apart from the tourist hop on hop off ones.

If you get on the bus at he front swipe the card on the oyster reader by the driver.

If you get on one of Ken's horrid bendy buses there are swipe points half way down as well.

Do always swipe - it validates your ticket.

flanneruk Sep 16th, 2008 08:45 AM

In the parts of London a visitor will visit, buses with the red and white TFL (NOT tube) logo are the only ones plying locally you'll see.

A tiny proportion of bus stops (???0.01%) are shared with medium-distance buses (like the ones to Oxford, or the EasyBus and Terravision airport buses)) on which Oyster doesn't work

phyllis_stein Sep 16th, 2008 09:14 AM

Thanks so much for your replies. You have made it all sound much simpler than tfl has.

As an aside, I would like to say I have always enjoyed the posts you have both contributed. Thanks for helping me, and so many others.

PatrickLondon Sep 16th, 2008 09:57 AM

Your travelcard will also get you one-third off river boat trips.

simulation Feb 10th, 2009 05:45 AM


I am interested in purchasing a seven day travelcard. Do I have to buy this from the US before I arrive in the UK?

Cholmondley_Warner Feb 10th, 2009 05:57 AM

There's no need to pre purchase. These things are on sale just about everywhere - not just stations but most corner shops.

julia_t Feb 10th, 2009 09:54 AM

I am slightly confused about Oyster cards, despite or maybe because of all I have read here LOL!

I have 2 Oyster cards, both mostly used by my daughters on their frequent cisits to London, though I'm the one to top them up online. So far we have only used them on the underground system.

My question is...

Can they be used on the buses as well?

MissPrism Feb 10th, 2009 09:57 AM

Can they be used on the buses as well?


yk Feb 10th, 2009 10:19 AM

Hi julia_t-

Yes. When you get on a bus, there's the Yellow pad (just like on the tube) next to the driver. You just tap your Oyster against the pad to pay your fare. You don't need to tap out when you get off the bus though, unlike the tube.

julia_t Feb 10th, 2009 10:39 AM

Thanks Miss Prism and yk - I think what confused me is the talk of 7 day travelcards. I just stick on £10 or £15 every so often to top the card up. But for some reason I thought that was just for the tube.

simulation Feb 11th, 2009 03:58 AM


Thanks for the info about being able to purchase 7 day travelcards in the UK. It was only a few years ago that overseas purchase was a requirement. Guess the rules are changing all the time.


PatrickLondon Feb 11th, 2009 04:15 AM

I'm surprised at the number of buses where the Osyter readers aren't working. Not that I would dream of suggesting that as an advantage to PAYG on Oyster, of course.

xyz123 Feb 11th, 2009 04:23 AM


I've been travelling to London since 1996 two or three times a year. Not that it's important but it's never been a requirement that a 7 day travelcard be purchased before arrival in London. There was then and there remains today an opportunity not a requirement to purchase the card before arrival in London but frankly the price was always better to purchase it on arrival in London (unless in the interval between the time you would have bought it and the time you actually bought it, the USD depreciated significantly against the UK£).

The only 2 changes that have been made in that 13 year period were:

1. Purchasers of a 7 day zone 1 & 2 used to be required to have a photo card to purchase the pass (some under 18 passes still require this).

2. There used to be a 7 day zone 1 only pass which was significantly cheaper than zone 1 & 2.

3. Only paper 7 day travelcards were sold in tube stations. Now only oyster 7 day passes are available at tube stations.

WLS Feb 13th, 2009 12:50 PM

PLEASE tell me if I am totally confused or on the right track.
My daughter and I are flying into Heathrow for 6 days and plan to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. I have determined that the 2-4-1 deals on the paper travel card will save us money, so I would like to purchase the paper travel card (required for the 2-4-1 rather than putting the travel card on oyster). If I am understanding this thread, I can not buy a 7 day travel card at Heathrow (seems like an obvious place to sell it, if you ask me). Can I buy it at Paddington Station? My understanding is that I have to pay for the Express seperately, then buy a zone 1-2 seven day travel card somewhere in central London.

xyz123 Feb 13th, 2009 01:01 PM

You've basically got will have to go to the national rail section at Paddington to purchase the paper 7 day card.....

Where is your hotel? There is a myth the Heathrow Express saves a lot of time...that depends on your distance from will need either the tube or a cab to get from Paddington to your hotel.

The money saved might be better spent (of course it's up to you) by taking the tube into town...depends on where your hotel peak the fare for the tube on an Oyster PAYG is £2.20 with the capping etc.

My feeling is just how many days will you use the 2 for 1's? On those days, one of you can buy an off peak one day travelcard and the other continue to use the PAYG oyster...with the capping and all, you might do better that way.

Please don[t take this as a criticism...I merely throw it out as a big money saver but if you feel the convenience of the HEX warrants the larger outlay, that is certainly your perogative.

WLS Feb 13th, 2009 01:22 PM

Thanks so much xyz123! I don't take your advice as criticsm at all! Our hotel is near the Marble Arch tube stop. One of my concerns is that we are arriving on Sunday, March 15 in the morning very close to parade time for the St. Patricks Day celebration. My daughter really wants to see the parade which starts at noon. Our plane gets into Heathrow at 9:30 and I had read that the Express takes 15 minutes compared to 1 hour on the tube. I realize that we could save a bundle just riding the tube, making changes where necessary but I was under the impression that the Express plus a cab would get us to the hotel (The Sumner) much faster. Am I incorrect?
What about time restrictions with PAYG Oyster rather than the paper travel card?
The advantage of the PAYG oyster purchased at Heathrow would be that we got a discouted fare on the Express ticket or tube ticket into town?
I really do appreciate your input. I am not counting pennies on this trip but I don't want to waste money either!

xyz123 Feb 13th, 2009 01:48 PM

You may have a valid point..Marble Arch is a royal pain in the you now what via tube from Heathrow..Picadilly line to Earls escalator and one stairway up to catch a district line train marked Edgeware Road two stops to Notting Hill Gate and then the Central line to Marble Arch...ugh two changes yes a pain (you could also stay on the Picadilly line train for another 20 minutes to Holborn and then take the Central line back but that's kind of silly although it's only 1 change) but let's look at the pounds and pence (as opposed to dollars and cents)...

I think the HEX fare is up to £14 (I can be corrected on that) and then it's another £5 for the cab toMarble Arch (it's a short ride)...taking the tube from Paddington will involve at least 1 change so the cab is best agreed...

Now let's just for argument's sake compare that with the tube, even with the two changes...

If you buy an oyster PAYG (deposit is £3 refundable) and put whatever you wish on it...

It's Sunday morning so fare on Oyster card PAYG will be £2.20 (multiply everything by 2 for you and your son - BTW how old is your son? There might be other discounts that you can read up on but let's leave it at this for the time being)..

Any further travel you do on public transportation that day would be £1.60 a pop on the tube or £1 on a bus but it will cap at £7 which is the zone 1-6 cap on an OYSTER PAYG off peak. Most likely you won't reach it.

Now on any days you're not doing a 2 for 1, you just continue to use the Oyster PAYG for both of you. I don't know if you understand how it works...forgive me if you know this already. Tube fares within central London are £1.60 each on Oyster PAYG, base fares are £1 each. Provided your first trip is after 0930 on a weekday, your fares for that day will cap at £5.20..if you only use buses you don't have to worry about the 0930...your fares for the day would cap at £3.30 (you don't put travelcards on the oyster PAYG, you put money) you can use the oyster PAYG before 0930 on a weekday...all that does is increase to capping amount to £6.70 but again if you don't reach that amount for the day, that's it.

On the day you're going to do a 2 for 1, simply buy 1 paper one day travelcard for one of you for that will cost 50p more than the appropriate cap so if it's after 0930 on a weekday, that works out to £5.70 for zones 1 & 2, the other continues to use the oyster PAGY...

That's it...of course on the day you leave, assuming time is not a factor, you might wish to take the tube back to Heathrow (it'll be a Saturday so off peak fares hold) or whatever...

It used to be my firm opinion that 6 days warranted a 7 day pass. Three weeks ago I was in London for a week and did purchase a 7 day oyster travelcard...2 for 1's are irrelevant for me, I travel solo...

But when I thought about it, there were several days (most days) that either I left the hotel at 0930 in the morning and didn't return till after 2230...two trips for the day, I did a good deal of walking and on some days I saw two plays a matinee and an evening so just hung out in the west end....another day I used a bunch of the end I would have saved a bit of money, nothing earth shaking mind you, by going with Oyster PAYG...and remember, the £3 deposit as well as any unused time on the oyster PAYG is fully refundable although its validity never ends and you can save it for your next trip to London too.

Now you have to decide just how much everything means to you. If I were you, I would probably go with the HEX and cab at least into London on day 1 as time might be important but would probably go with Oyster PAYG rather than 7 day travelcards...

Hope that helps and if you have any questions feel free.

WLS Feb 23rd, 2009 06:34 AM

A couple of final (I hope) oyster card questions:
1. Can I buy a 1 day travel card paper ticket at any tube station (Marble Arch specifically)?

2. Do you know if I can use the oyster card or only a paper card to get the 1/3 discount on Thames Clippers commuter service?


janisj Feb 23rd, 2009 06:41 AM

Can only answer #1 - have no idea about the clippers. What does it or the tfl websites say?

But you must buy paper travel cards at <u>train</u> stations. Not at exclusively tube stations. So yes, at stations like Victoria, Paddington - no at Marble Arch, Bond Street etc . . . . .

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