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Tube and bus fares rise in London: from bh

Tube and bus fares rise in London: from bh

Dec 31st, 2006, 12:46 AM
  #1  
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Tube and bus fares rise in London: from bh


You may like a reminder that bus and tube journeys in London cost much more if you pay cash than if you have an oyster card. On 30 December the London daily newspaper, the Independent, wrote this.

Travel news: Fares hike for London

The best deals and the latest hot spots
Tourists to London who pay cash for Tube or bus rides already face the highest public-transport fares for any city - and from Tuesday prices for those without pre-paid cards will rise by a third.

From 2 January, the minimum fare for any Tube journey that touches central London increases from 3 pounds to 4 pounds. This fare applies equally to the one-sixth-of-a-mile hop from Leicester Square to Covent Garden and the 22-mile trip from one end of the Jubilee Line to the other.

The comparable fare for users of an Oyster pre-paid card is 1 pound 50 within central London (zone 1), rising to 3 pounds 50 for trips to Heathrow. Outside weekdays between 7am and 7pm, the highest Oyster fare falls to 2 pounds.

"The big differential between cash and Oyster-card fares is designed to speed up the system by getting people to switch from cash to Oyster," explained Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. "I want to see every Londoner paying the lowest possible fares."
At present only one in 16 Tube journeys is paid for with cash, and many of those trips are thought to be made by tourists who may be unaware of the sharp differential. On the buses, cash customers will see the flat fare rise from 1 pound 50 to 2 pounds; the comparable rate for Oyster card holders is a pound.

The capital's 4 pound minimum Underground fare is more than twice the rate any other large city in the world. Even in Tokyo, the cash fare for a short journey on the Metro costs just 160 Yen (70p), less than half the pre-paid rate in London.

Short-term visitors to London will benefit from obtaining a pay-as-you-go Oyster card. The card itself costs 3 pounds, plus pre-payment for fares of any sum up to a maximum of £0 pounds.

A full refund for the card and any unspent balance can be obtained at the end of the visit to London, though pre-paid Oyster cards can also be lent to other people or used at any time in the future.

The card is obtainable at Tube stations and many London newsagents; to plan in advance, call 00 44 1561 376081 or visit www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster.

So far the newspaper. I add that you can fill in a form and buy the oyster card at tube stations at Heathrow and Waterloo. You probably cannot buy it at Gatwick railway station, and in any case there is a line there, so in the concourse there you can draw English notes, buy a copy of Time Out magazine and the 3 pounds 95 pence AZ atlas guide to London, that way gain some English five pound banknotes, push your trolley on to the railway station, and buy from a machine (with no line) your ticket from Gatwick to London zones 1 and 2. This is valid for tubes and busses in London, so you can fill forms and buy your oyster card at leisure, with no baggage to guard beside you.

Please do not pay needlessly. Welcome to London

Ben Haines
[email protected]


ben_haines is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 01:16 AM
  #2  
 
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Has anyone else noticed the sneaky hike in off-peak oyster bus fare from 80p to one quid?
W9London is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 11:33 AM
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Ben, thank you for this very helpful information. My parents are visiting London later in 2007 and I have been trying to explain, in simple terms, how the Oyster card and transport costs work. It is quite complicated to people unused to public transport. I will forward your notes to them. Thanks.
Kay
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Jan 17th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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Dear Kay,

It is pleasant when somebody thanks me. Thank you.

Have your parents interests or professions that might let me advise them on what we have to show in London ? We have museums of the histories of nursing, banking, and much else, and shops for umbrellas, teapots, and other things. If you reply, would you please tell me when they are in town ?

Ben Haines
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Jan 17th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Dear Ben,

That's very thoughtful of you, thank you. My Mum's interests are varied, she was a manager before they retired but in her home life loves cooking, sewing, reading, golf etc. Dad hates old buildings so that could be a bit difficult in Europe! Dad is into golf, cars, and made a living for a long time hand-making guitars.

They both enjoy travelling, overseas and also in their caravan in Australia, with all the other "grey nomads".

They are in the UK in May/June for two short periods, going to Europe in between. Any suggestions for places they might enjoy would be gratefully received.

Thanks!
Kay
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Jan 21st, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #6  
 
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Consider this: the price hike to £4 for a single journey now means that for more than 1 non-Oyster card holders travelling together, it's actually now cheaper (not to mention more comfortable) to take a black cab across central London. Recent examples: Tower of London to Waterloo: £7.80 in a taxi for 2, versus £8.00 on the tube, £6.60 from the British Museum to Waterloo etc... A marvelous piece of joined-up thinking on the part of the London authorities.
Gordon_R is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 02:44 PM
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OK, I've never bought or used an oyster as I really didn't understand it all, but it looks like it is now really necessary to save any money at all. Here's the situation. We will be arriving at Heathrow and taking the tube to Covent Garden station as our flat is practically right there (arriving in the evening). I assume we buy two oyster cards at Heathrow -- nothing to fill out in advance? I'm suspecting we should put about 30 pounds on each card initially. Although we'll be in London 10 days, normally we don't ride any transport most days. Other days we may take one or two rides. In a case or two we might take four or more, but I believe our card will stop being charged when we reach the cost of a one day travelcard -- right? I don't think there is any special travelcard to load onto our oysters as I'm not even sure we will ever get to that much travel in one day. So am I correct in thinking 30 pounds is a good start, and then we can add more if we get near running out?
Please tell me if my thinking is correct. I know you can buy them online, but I really don't get how that works -- so I'm thinking it's very simple to just buy them at Heathrow at the tube entrance on our arrival. Yes?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 02:52 PM
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That will work. If you can approximate how much you will spend for each of seven consecutive days and compare that to the cost of a Travelcard (£23.20 2-zone), you might save a few quid per person.

Otherwise, I think your strategy is sound.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:01 PM
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So far, we don't have to use the Oyster Card, the combo card from MH is still the old Travelcard.

NP, you need to remember to touch your Oyster card entering AND exiting to avoid being overcharged.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6161498.stm

On an unrelated note, if you get hungry for rotisserie chicken in London (I happened to glance at your postings on the roti chicken in Paris thread today), you might like to try Prezzo, a small chain that does a good free-range rotisserie chicken. Nice service, too. The last time we were at one (about two weeks ago), we ordered the chicken. The server came back a few minutes later and said if we were willing to wait about 30 minutes, a fresh chicken would be coming off the rotisserie. We'd ordered starters, so no problem. It was nice to be asked. The chicken is served with a little side portion of jus w sliced roast pepers and the house fries (yes, they do call them fries, not chips) are excellent.
www.prezzoplc.co.uk
BTilke is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:03 PM
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So you're saying we could load a 7 day travelcard on our oyster for 23.50, but that would only save money if the individual trips and maybe a one day off peak travel card added up to more than that during those same 7 days? That would be 15 to 16 individual trips within the central zone -- or averaging slightly more than 2 trips per day? No, I doubt very much we would.

Ben Haines directions about "filling forms" to buy an oyster still confuse me a bit. Can you download the forms in advance, or how long does it take to stand there and fill them out at Heathrow?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:19 PM
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It didn't take long to buy the oyster cards when we visited last March. We kept our cards and bring them back with us when we return.

We found it easy to add value without a line at the machines that are in the tube stations, so I don't think I'd load the full £30 on at once, in case you really don't use transport very much. You can get a refund of your unused balance, but that will involve standing in a queue (although if you want your £3 deposity, I suppose you'll be waiting in the queue anyway).
noe847 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:23 PM
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There are no forms to fill out either for a 7 day travelcard on oyster or a pay as you go on oyster or a combination of both.

The advantage of the 7 day card probably involves the ability to use the card before 0930 on weekdays but that should not kill the deal one way or the other.

Why put £30 on the card...start with £15 and see how it goes...you can always top it up very easily at any tube station using the machines which will give you a read out of just what you have used...if you buy the 7 day zone 1 & 2 you will still need a small amount in PAYG for the extension to and from Heathrow which is £1.80 between 0700 and 1900 on weekdays and £1 at other times...otherwise you factor in the amount for a zone 1-6 travelcard on the day you arrive...and perhaps on the day youleave the one way fare to Heathrow on PAYG is £3.50 peak hours as above and £2 otherwise...

There is nothing for you to do or remember whichever way you go...if you don't buy the 7 day travelcard at first, there is a 3 quid deposit refundable when the card is returned so you might take that into account too...daily use caps at 50p below a one day travelcard so if you only use the card off peak (after 0930 on a weekday) and stick to zones 1 & 2, the most you will pay will be £4.60....on oyster tube fares in zone 1 are £1.50 a pop so if on a day you only take a return tube trip, you're out 3 quid and that's it.

If you stick to the buses, it's £1 a pop but the card caps at £3 which is 50p below the cost of a one day bus ticket...I just got back from 6 days in London...day 1 and day 2 (Monday and Tuesday) I did enough tube and bus travelling to use up a one day travelcard less 50p so that was £9.20, Wednesday I used the bus to get to Leicester Square spent the whole day in that area (saw a matinee and an evening performance) took the tube back to the hotel..expenditure was £2.50, Thursday I was feeling real cheap so I took a round trip bus trip to the same general area and walked around a bit up Oxford St. to shop total outlay 2 quid...Friday I had a bunch of errands to run but decided to use bus exclusively..5 bus trips outlay £3...Saturday tubed back to Heathrow (non peak all day) cost £2..in the past I probably would have gone with a; 7 day card but let's see it came to £18.70...no hassling whatsoever...no decision to make each day what mode of transport I will be using...whatever happens happens....

As I said if you are an early riser, it might pay to get the 7 day card for the peak hour weekdays before 0930 but oyster is now the only way to go and like I said whoever told you that you need forms doesn't know what he or she is talking about for a 7 or 10 day tourist visit...there are other people on this board who give advice such as not to bother with oyster or that it is better to get the card before leaving for London...

NONSENSE...do the math, have some idea of what you're going to do and if you guess wrong, the worst that will happen is it will cost you a couple of quid one way or the other, certainly not enough to be a holiday bummer.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:26 PM
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One more issue: if you buy a 7-day Travelcard (not a paper one in train stations), it will be loaded on an Oyster with the deposit waived. So the card only actually costs £20.20 (because you don't have to pay the deposit) and the daily cost to amortize it becomes £2.89 (which is less than the cost of 2 Tube trips).

We usually ride the bus everywhere except Heathrow, so our daily cost is the Oyster cap for buses, which is £3 per day.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 04:11 PM
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Thank you for the information Ben Haines. I am visiting London for the first time and have not gotten to this part of my planning. Thanks to you and the other posters I will do some serious route planning to figure out best way to travel and buying an oyster card. Do they have similar discount cards for bus transport?
giggles36kd is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 04:18 PM
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There's no discount card for buses - you can either buy a paper card for £3.50 or ride all day on an Oyster for £3.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:15 PM
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So, did I get this right? If you get an Oyster Card outright, there is a 3 pound deposit, but if I get a travelcard on an oyster card, there is no deposit. Then, I could top up the travel card oyster card for travel outside the central zones or for days beyond the travel card limits without the 3 pound deposit.

Will the system distinguish between travel card travel and top up travel so it won't take the extra cash before the travel card is used up? Can the value on the oyster card be erased by magnetic fields, scanners, or other electronic fields one might encounter?

Thanks!

AJPeabody is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:19 PM
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I think it has to be a 7 day travelcard (not a 3 day) for the 3 pounds to be waived. I'm pretty sure the system only uses the extra cash when the travelcard is over or when you are out of the zones. Don't know about demagnetization
noe847 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:34 PM
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I'm being reminded why I've avoided the oyster in the past -- so much confusion.

So let's assume we arrive at Heathrow and buy an oyster with a 7 day travelcard for zones 1 & 2-- that will cost 20.20 each. But we need to add at least one pound to each of those for the extra charge from Heathrow on the first trip -- (Saturday evening). Or since that is the only trip we'd make that day, does it make more sense to load the travel card but not start it until the next day, but use the oyster for the full fare -- (3.50?) -- from Heathrow to Covent Garden. How does that work? How does the oyster reader know not to start and use up a day of the travelcard? Or do we buy an oyster with a minimum loaded and have to wait until the next day to add the travelcard? Is this making sense?
Or since the 7 day travelcard is 2.89 a day, that first trip from Heathrow with the added pound would be costing 3.89 instead of the 3.50 the single journey alone would cost, so it makes sense to just be starting the travel card anyway as it's only costing .39 extra?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Well, it will cost £23.20, but you won't have to pay the £3 deposit.

The Oyster fare from Heathrow to Covent Garden at that time is £3.50 between 0700 and 1900 M-F, £2 other times.

If you activate your Travelcard on the first day, that trip will cost you the "extension" between Zone 2 (London) and Zone 6 (Heathrow). This amounts to £1.80 peak or £1 off-peak.

The Oyster knows whether you have an active Travelcard, and (is supposed to) always figures out the cheapest fare for a given set of conditions. If it screws up, you can apply for a refund of the overpayment by documenting what happened.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 08:32 PM
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"Well, it will cost £23.20, but you won't have to pay the £3 deposit."

Then doesn't that mean it will cost 20.20?


So what you're saying is that on Saturday evening, the oyster will either be 2 pounds from Heathrow to Covent Garden or it will be one day's worth of the travelcard (2.89) plus 1 pound for the supplement or a total of 3.89? Since it does the cheaper, it will end up being 2 pounds. No? But sounds like I'm best not activating the travelcard that day at all since it would only cost me 2 pounds if I don't. Now my question remains -- how does the reader know I don't want to activate my 7 day travelcard on that first trip if I've already loaded it on the card? Or do I have to avoid loading it until the next day?
NeoPatrick is online now  

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