what's our best tube pass option?

Jan 27th, 2008, 04:48 PM
  #1  
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what's our best tube pass option?

In the past I've always just purchased a weekly pass. However, this trip we'll have the first day where I have things planned with no need for a tube, followed by 3 days in London, then 3 days out of London ( two in York and a day trip to Canterbury ), followed by another 3 days in London.

So, am I correct that we should just purchase a 3 day pass for the beginning of our trip and then another 3 day for the last 3 days?

Will these passes include transportation to Kew and Hampstead Heath? I can just wait and purchase passes once we're there, correct?

Thanks for clarification. Missy
missmissy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 05:37 PM
  #2  
 
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Just buy the Oyster card for the entire trip. Don't worry about all the little details.
Thomas is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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You get an oyster card loaded w/ what they call "pay-as-you-go".

And - IF you take the tube in from LHR like suggested on one of your other threads, you will need transport the first day.

Go up to the ticket window and explain how long you will be in London and the ticket seller will advise you how much to load on your Oyster. If you miscalculate - you just top up the card w/ more £ . . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jan 27th, 2008, 07:59 PM
  #4  
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Can you explain more about the Oyster card? Am I correct that we just "load" it with a set dollar amount and it decreases as we use it? How do we know how much is left on the card? Is it a bargain? Thanks Melissa
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Jan 27th, 2008, 08:18 PM
  #5  
 
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Well no, you don't fill it w/ $ - that would be £

Oyster cards are the new (since your last London visit) transit tickets in London. They are sort of like department store gift cards where you load a certain amount on it.

You can just load a certain amount of money on it - or you can load the cost of a weekly travel card, or other options. They are really very simple - but the TFL website manages to make them seem very complicated.

It is only important to know an oyster ensures you will pay the least possible since it puts a cap on how much is debited each day.

Instead of the old tickets where you inserted it in to the gate to get into the tube station and again when leaving -- you now just pass the oyster card over a pad on the gate. You don't even have to take it out of your handbag.

The tube station gate has a display that tells you how much balance is left on the card. The card are also good on the buses.
janisj is online now  
Jan 27th, 2008, 11:18 PM
  #6  
 
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What people have been talking about is Oyster PAYG - you put money on it and each time you use public transport some money is debited up to a fixed limit each day.

You can also load longer term (7 days or more) Travelcards onto an Oystercard

For you Oyster PAYG may be the best option UNLESS you intend to visit some of the major pay tourist sights in which case a look at www.2for1entry.co.uk is a good idea for which you'll need a valid Travelcard.

BTW how are you intending to get to the start points of your tours - I'm assuming trains in which case how are you getting to the stations?

alanRow is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 04:33 AM
  #7  
 
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Your choice is between a 7-day travelcard and pay-as-you-go (PAYG). A 7-day travelcard for zones 1&2 £24.20 (= 24 single bus-rides or 16 tube rides). But bear in mind that with PAYG you would never be charged more in one day than 50p less than the one-day travelcard rate for the modes of travel you have chosen (for zones 1&2, £5.80 per day, or £4.30 if you start after 9.30am). So you couldn't spend more on PAYG than £11.60 in your first spell in London or £17.40 in your second.

If there are two-for-one offers available with a 7-day travel-card on things that you would want to do anyway, and that would give you a saving of at least £7 per person, then it might be worth buying a 7-day travelcard even if you're only going to be around for three days.

Otherwise, PAYG on Oyster would probably be best, since the Great Computer In The Sky works things out to make it as advantageous as possible.

If you're using PAYG, then there's a display on the reader by each gate and on each bus which says how much you've got left, but don't hang around trying to read the one on the tube gates, in case they close before you go through. You might in the end get practised at spotting it at a glance, but you can also check on the reader machines that also sell tickets and allow you to top up PAYG.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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So, a couple of follow up questions about the oyster if you don't mind....

If you do miscalculate at the start of the visit is there just a point in the visit in which you'll be standing at the gate swiping your card and nothing happens? Or is there some warning that the card is about to run out?

If you plan on returning to London annually do you just keep the Oyster card and load up each visit?

And finally do you have to purchase the Oyster at a window or is there an option at of the "vending machine" type thingys?
laustic is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 07:06 AM
  #9  
 
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Wow, this site is being wierd today. Okay, so I read through Patrick's response more carefully and I see how you can read your balance. So, I think I get that. I just didn't want to be stuck in rush hour trying scan my card and have nothing happen!
laustic is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 07:24 AM
  #10  
 
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I visit London annually and just load my Oyster online.
It's right enough that the website makes the whole thing seem more complicated than it is.
MissPrism is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 07:33 AM
  #11  
 
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Don't sweat it...on day 1 just purchase an oyster card (they are sold in the machines too but it's easier for the initial purchase to see a clerki) with £20 for PAYG....there is also a refundable £3 deposit for the card (waived if your first purchase is a weekly or monthly travelcard)...and you can always get whatever is left on the card along with the deposit refunded at the end of the trip.

I don't remember balances being available near the gates or on buses but at every station, at least one of the machines will allow you to see your balance as well as your past transactions.

The card is simply a smart card with a chip that upon entering the tube you touch to the yellow reader and upon exiting you touch to the yellow reader...that's it...on the bus you touch in when you enter.

Comparison...one way tube fares for cash are an unbelievable £4....with oyster £1.50 in zones 1 & 2...buses £2 for a single ride cash, 90p for a single ride with oyster.

The neat part is the capping system...no need to decide at the start of the day what travelcard you might want...

Assuming you are like most and use the tube off peak (after 0930 on weekdays but all weekend) since the cost of a one day travelcard for zones 1 & 2 is £5.30, it will cap at £4.80 (Patrick's figures are a bit outdated)....it means just that; once your usage for the day has reached £4.80 all further riding within zones 1 & 2 is free for that day...if you only use the buses, no need to worry about the 0930 restriction...each bus ride in zones 1 & 2costs 90p but it will cap at £3...again 50p below the cost of a one day bus pass....all this is done transparently to you and again before entering the tube, you can always check your remaining balance at one of the machines and top it up if necessary easily enough...

Heathrow is in zone 6....the cash fare from Heathrow is £4 on the tube; with oyster it is £3.50 between 0700 and 1900 weekdays and £2 at other times...also if you start out after 0930 on a weekday, the card will cap for that day at £6.50 no matter how much it is used after arrival in central London at your hotel (before 0930 on weekdays for zones 1-6 is much more expensive...you probably won't reach the cap but of course still do far better than paying cash).

The complication as noted is the 2 for 1 offers which require a 7 day pass on an oyster card...that is something you will have to check out yourself as to whether it is worth it...I believe the price for a 7 day zone 1 & 2 card is now £24.20...the extension in from Heathrow is £1.80 between 0700 and 1900 weekdays and £1 at other times and as noted you don't pay the £3 deposit.

The card is valid indefinitely and you can hold onto it and whatever value is tored on the card remains for your (or somebody else's if you give them the card) next trip to London...while as noted the capping may seem a big complicated, it really isn't and you can always keep track of your balance if you use PAYG at each station.....
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 08:02 AM
  #12  
 
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Wow, I actually get this now. Thanks! And supposedly you can purchase the oyster at Gatwick and on the Gatwick Express. Now, I'm ready to take on my day!
laustic is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 08:13 AM
  #13  
 
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laustic: you'll have to wait until you get to Victoria station to buy your oyster. Gatwick is outside of the TFL area and the train is not covered by oyster.
janisj is online now  
Jan 28th, 2008, 08:15 AM
  #14  
 
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janisj is incorrect. As of last March, Oyster IS sold on the Gatwick Express, but the price might be a bit inflated (convenience factor), so you might want to wait until you get to London to buy. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/medi...ntre/4583.aspx

It appears you will be in London on days 2-4 and 8-10. If you get around much on the 4 days you're sightseeing, this would justify the purchase of a 7-day Travelcard. If you need to get back and forth to trains on days 5 and 7, these trips will be covered as well. And when you load a Travelcard on a new Oyster, the £3 PAYG deposit is waived.

Did you know that Southern Trains will take you from LGW to Victoria or London Bridge stations for £10 (up to 4 for £20)? Read here: http://southernrailway.com/main.php?page_id=189
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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Yes, but the Gatwick EXpress DOES sell Oystercards.

Trouble is (apart from the fact that the cards don't work on the GEX), there's no point in getting the GEX if you're conscious of budgets. For the three minutes it saves over Southern to Victoria, it's rotten value, and you might want to go somewhere else in London than Victoria. First Capital Connect and Cross-Country Trains take you from Gatwick to other parts of town - also more cheaply than the GEDX
flanneruk is online now  
Jan 28th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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We just have to get to Sloane Sq (just one stop away from Victoria I believe) so I think the Gatwick Express is our best bet. But lemme know if I'm wrong. I just thought buying on the train could be worth it to avoid long lines at Victoria Station.
laustic is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 11:15 AM
  #17  
 
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I have not checked, but I think your cheapest option is to buy the OysterCard at Gatwick Airport, along with the Southern Train ticket that will take you to Victoria. If you explain what you are doing to the agent, he/she will set this up so you pay the correct amount. This will be somewhat cheaper than Gatwick Express + OysterCard, and as mentioned, the difference is only a few minutes and a slightly less luxurious train.

In any event, when you get to Victoria, you can then take the tube to Sloane Square.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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Oooookay, I didn't realize there was another option to Victoria from Gatwick beyond the Express. It's all starting to come together. Appreciate the input!
laustic is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 12:01 PM
  #19  
 
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Did you know that Southern Trains will take you from LGW to Victoria or London Bridge stations for £10 (up to 4 for £20)? Read here: http://southernrailway.com/main.php?page_id=189
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 12:18 PM
  #20  
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<If you need to get back and forth to trains on days 5 and 7, these trips will be covered as well>

Robespierre: could you please explain this a tad more? We're planning on taking a day trip from London to Canterbury and then another trip to York and we'll stay one night and return the next evening. Are you saying with a loaded Oyster card, we can use that for our train trips? I was getting ready to purchase our train to York as I was told by someone (you?) that we don't need to prepurchase for a day trip to Canterbury. Thanks for all your help! Missy
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