Oyster Card

A popular London travel card that will save you some serious money is the Oyster Card. This is a plastic smartcard that you can use instead of paper tickets for travel on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR (Docklands Light Railway), London Overground, and most National Rail services around London.

They are the size of a credit card and use contactless technology (radio-frequency identification for making secure payments). Passengers must touch the card onto a bright yellow, circular electronic reader when entering and leaving the transport system in order to validate it or deduct funds. This card will make your London Underground travel much quicker, as you will not have to line up to buy a regular ticket.

You can buy the card from London Travel Information Centers, Oyster Ticket Stops, Railway Stations, and if you are in the U.K. - Oyster online. Overseas visitors can buy them from Gatwick and Stansted airports, as well as from the TFL (Transport for London) website. You can add pay-as-you-go credit onto your Oyster Card. Please check with your hotel concierge if you need some guidance about where to buy them or need additional information.

To make matters more complicated, you can load your Travelcard onto your Oyster Card. Oyster Cards have the technology and capability to determine when it is cheaper to switch to the Travelcard option to pay. I told you it was confusing! Perhaps it will become less so after you read my Travelcard section.

If you are unsure of how much credit to put on your card, the TFL website suggests 30 British Pounds ($52) will be sufficient for a 3-4 day stay, but you can always add more credit if you need to. The maximum amount you are able to put on your card is 90 British Pounds ($155). You can top-up (fill-up) your card online, credit card terminals, Tube stations, ticket offices and some participating newsagents.

An Oyster Card is the cheapest way of paying for single trips on the bus and Tube, etc. London is split into 9 travel zones. Zones 1 and 2 will usually be the main ones that you will be traveling. This is central London. The Oyster tube fares for these zones will be 2 British Pounds ($3.50) for off-peak hours and 2 British Pounds and 70 pence ($4.70) for peak hours, and a single bus trip will be 1 British Pound and 35 pence ($2.30). Your card will automatically work out the cheapest way to pay if you have a Travelcard downloaded.

Visitors to London can pre-order their cards from the TFL website, but you must allow enough delivery time to your country. For example: the United States will be between 12-15 days, whereas Europe will be 8-12 days.

You will have to pay a deposit of 5 British Pounds ($7.35). This is to encourage passengers to use the same card, but will be refundable from an Underground ticket office. However, you should hold onto your card for the next trip to London as they do not expire. if you're feeling charitable, it can also be donated. Some stations have a box for unwanted cards, where the remaining balances go to good causes.

Top Tips -

  • It is also possible to use your Oyster Card for a 10% discount or a 33% discount with the Travelcard loaded on your card for some riverboat trips. This offer is not available for on-line booking. You will need to book at the boat or the pier for this particular discount.
  • It is possible to check your balance, last eight trips and last top-up (fill-up) amount by using the touch screen machines at stations, ticket offices, from buses by request and from newsagents that provide a top-up (fill-up) facility.
  • If you have under 11 year-olds with you, they can travel free on London transport. 11-15 year-olds can also travel free but will need an Oyster photo ID, and as you have to allow 4 weeks for these, you may find Travelcards more convenient in this instance.

Hopefully, you have gained more insight about the Oyster Card, and how it will work for you on your journey to London.

Select any language below for worldwide use of this website:

Visit London's Exciting New Message Board By Clicking Here

Like Us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter here!

Find information about the London Travel Card here!

Make sure to like us on Google+