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Oyster Info Please!


Jacqueline
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I will be attending the matinee this Saturday at the ROH. I haven't been to London since May and am wondering if anyone could advise me as to how the Oyster card operates. I have looked on the site but keep being asked if I want to set up an account. As I only visit London once in a blue moon, I just want to get the number 11 bus 'to and from' with the minimum of fuss. I gather buses are completely cash free now, so where/how do I get an oyster card and how much is it?

Also, are there any road closures or upcoming traffic shambles to be aware of, with it being Remembrance Sunday next day? Last May, there was some sort of event and Whitehall was closed. Buses were diverted along the Embankment and it was a complete and utter fiasco. Would have been quicker to walk. Anyway, I would be most grateful for any advice. Thanks in advance.

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You can buy a one day travel card when you buy your rail ticket and this usually works out cheaper. if you don't want to go to the expense of buying and topping up an Oyster card then you can buy a one day travel card from any Transporr of London ticket offices. They will be one at the station/underground/self service machines. The Oyster card does cost, I think it is £3, and then you load money onto it. If you are f a "certain age" and have a free bus pass you can use it in London.

 

Buses may be rerouted as Saturday is the Lord Mayors Show and it stops around Embankment/Aldwich at about 1pm. Check out the website for the actual route.

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You don't need to register your Oyster card really unless you live in London and use it every day.

 

You can buy an unregistered one at the station...... mine cost about £3 something about three years ago. This one you just top up as and when.

 

However for odd days in London the one day travel card is very good value and I would get this if I were you.

There has been no change on London buses since last July.

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The Transport for London website has status updates and diversions listed. If you look up "status updates", click "buses", and type in the bus number and date of travel, it will tell you about any diversions in place.

 

I agree that although you can buy Oyster cards online or at stations and newsagents, for the occasional journey it would be far easier to buy a one-day travel card from your local railway station (assuming you are getting into London by train) which you can use all day on tubes and buses.

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Are you getting the No. 11 from Victoria or Liverpool Street?  I imagine you'd have problems, because a lot of the route is directly along the Lord Mayor's Show route, so it might be cheaper to use the Tube - provided it's working.

 

Oyster cards now "cost" £5, I think.  It's a refundable deposit, but it's still an upfront expense, and then you have to add money to it on top of that, I think.  If you have a "Contactless" payment card, you can just touch that on the Oyster reader and pay that way, which would be cheaper for just 2 bus trips of £1.45 each.  I believe it should now cap at £4.40 per day just as an Oystercard does, but I haven't yet needed to try this.

 

Assuming you're coming from outside the Oyster area, you *can* get a one-day Travelcard added to your rail ticket, although I'm not sure this would prove cost-effective for two bus journeys.  If you're within the Oyster area (I suspect you aren't), on the other hand, I should point out that - double-check this with TfL's Fare Finder, although I think it works - a combined rail-and-tube journey should only cost you about £1.50 more than the single rail fare on Oyster.

 

From the point of view of practicalities, bus and tram journeys are a fixed price, so you just "touch in" when you get on.  Trains, tubes and DLR aren't, so you have to touch in at your departure station and touch out again at your arrival station so the card "knows" how much to charge you.  If you forget to touch out, you automatically get charged the maximum fare!

 

If there's anything else you need to know, just ask.  We're probably a lot more helpful than TfL's website, which is even more garbage than it used to be since they relaunched it :)

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You don't need to register your Oyster card really unless you live in London and use it every day.

 

And not even then, really, although you do get extra benefits from doing so.  I have to register mine so I can keep a record of travelling expenses, but it's not obligatory.

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I assume if you use it a lot by registering it you have some protection against losing it ......ie you may not get charged the cost of replacing the actual card but any monies on it presumably would be lost.

 

I must admit now Ive got used to it I like the Oyster card as it saves worrying about having change all,the time......some London bus drivers were not the most friendly if you didn't have the right change etc,

 

Now Ive a senior bus pass I use the buses much more and so for me the one day travel card would be more expensive to use but for most people it's great having the card because you can similarly jump on and off buses as well as tube etc.

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I assume if you use it a lot by registering it you have some protection against losing it ......ie you may not get charged the cost of replacing the actual card but any monies on it presumably would be lost.

Not necessarily. If it's registered, I believe you should be able to get the card disabled, so that nobody else can get at the money you have on it. (Plus of course you can set up auto-topup, which is incredibly useful).

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Well, as always many thanks for all these helpful replies. I think the travel card will be for me. I am travelling in by coach to Victoria. I assume I will be able to get one (travel card I mean, not coach!!) at the coach station? I was also thinking that as the coach stops at Marble Arch I could alight there and walk to C. Gdn. I will have plenty of time but I think it may be further than I remember. :wacko: I could also walk from Victoria of course. It rather depends on the weather and the coach journey going to plan. Can't see myself hiring one of BoJo's bicycles under any circumstances! Or along Park Lane and into Piccadilly? Probably much further on foot than it looks.

I was thinking of combining the ballet trip with a visit to see the poppies at the T of L, but have been put off by the thought of all the crowding.

One final question, can I buy a travel card for buses/tubes at my local railway station even though I am not travelling by train or do I have to wait until I get to London? Also, are they 'zoned' as in you pay so much but you have to stay within a zone. That's two questions!

Now three! I meant to ask before if anyone has ever been on one of those rickshaw type things I have seen around Covent Garden. I wonder how far they will take you and how much they cost. I guess they are for tourists but I quite fancy being whisked down The Mall as long as it isn't outrageously Gondola style expensive!  

Edited by Jacqueline
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I can't do links at the moment but earlier today came across a website/app called walkit.com. Like Google maps etc but does give detailed instructions of walking route, landmarks passed etc.

Might give it a go tomorrow depending on weather in London, have an easy journey from Kings Cross to Victoria but may walk.

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http://www.afn.org/~alplatt/tube.html This gives you a London Underground map.

 

Marble Arch would be really far to walk from, because you'd have to go the length of Oxford Street and then down to Covent Garden. If the coach stops on the way at a Picadilly Line tube station then that would be ideal, Covent Garden station was closed for access when I was there in July, but Leicester Square is really only a few minutes walk. The 11 is a lovely route, but you need time for it. Victoria Line tube one stop from Victoria to Green Park and change to Picadilly Line would also work. We keep Oysters with some money on them, unregistered, and use them when we're in London. If they're unregistered anyone can use them, which has its pluses and its minuses! It's simply easier just to swipe everywhere you go. I travel into the outer zones to visit family, so it's worth it. You can buy a card at a machine too without having to queue.

 

Have fun at the "Garden"!

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I hope your trip to London goes well.

We have Oyster cards we purchased in 2007. We only use thm when we travel to the uk. But we keep topping them up and it's pretty easy to top them up. There may however be quite a queue.

Have a great time.

Thank you for your good wishes. I am looking forward to the performance, at least the one inside the theatre! As I said, I don't go to London very often now for reasons that are too tedious to mention, so when I do, I tend to make a day of it, not least because it is a long way and takes a day what with travel and all. I go by coach which is the cheapest option as well as the most convenient for where I live. That means  I can treat myself to a good seat - front row Grand Tier Left at the ROH does it for me!  

I take it you are in Australia? I have cousins in Brisbane who think my idea of a long journey is rather quaint! :)

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Well, it was the oyster card in the end. The crowds at Victoria were horrendous. I got in a queue for travel info/tickets and my jaw dropped when I saw how much a travel card cost. Way out of proportion to what the bus fare used to be but obviously good value if you really use it.The guy at the counter was very helpful but it was so noisy. He advised me to get an oyster card as I would be able to get the £5 cost refunded if I decided not to keep it. I topped it up with enough credit to get to the Strand and back and have since decided to keep the card, to avoid wasting so much time again. The buses only went as far as Horse Guard's anyway, so I had to walk the rest of the way - admittedly it is not that far and it wasn't raining then. 

After the theatre, I found the number 11 was terminating at Trafalger Square, so I had to walk down Whitehall to catch one there. This was when I got soaked in the downpour. I was told that the new cashless bus system is meant to cut down on the delays caused by people not having the right money for fares, offering the driver £50 notes or whatever. I don't know whether this is true or if so, it has made any difference. All that queuing was a massive waste of my time and didn't help my mood one bit. Weather permitting, it really would have been quicker to walk. 

At least the coach journeys went smoothly, apart from the driver to London getting rather antsy in the traffic. Every time somebody cut him up or failed to give way when he thought they should, he threw his hands up in the air calling out "Really?Really?I'll give way to you then, shall I?".

I thought this is London, if he can't hack the traffic perhaps he should get a different job. I imagine the job is stressful but a passenger doesn't really to want to witness the driver having a meltdown!

All in all, it was one of my less successful trips to London ( see my review for more bad tidings ). 

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Oh dear, Jacqueline.  What a pity.  Not sure where you live, but such a shame to come all that way, and then not even enjoy the ballet. 

Yes, it was a sort of perfect storm of disappointment, stress and saturation. :angry: I live in Derbyshire and travelling, with all its annoyances is just one of those things, even with the psycho coach driver! But as you say, to not enjoy the performance was too much. I had also called in to  the Covent Garden L'Occitane emporium on my way to the ROH, and treated myself to a few bits and pieces. These were wrapped in a paper carrier bag which just made it back to Victoria, before it fell apart. At least I didn't leave a trail of goodies somewhere along the route with only a soggy bag with a big hole in the bottom as a souvenir! That would have really been the last straw.

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I have to say I find it incredible that any city could have a policy of no cash payments on buses. It makes life so difficult for visitors - residents less so as most areas have bus passes available. I'm usually alright for London as I go in by train and so add the travelcard but I would hate to find cashless systems in towns visited abroad on holiday. It does make me wonder why the buses don't just have the 'correct change only' machines that I have seen on buses in Wales for example. When I was there all buses had large signs on them stating the fares - a flat rate in cash that you paid into a machine on the bus and got your ticket or you bought a daily /weekly/monthly pass from local newsagents etc

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The reason I ended up buying an Oyster card for London travel was one night about three/four years ago at about 11pm (I had been visiting a friend near Baker Street) I arrived to catch a no. 30 bus at the Baker Street stop and realised that I didn't have the exact change.......at that point in London they had ticket machines at the bus stops to buy tickets....which is what was the preferred option at the time ....but you could still in theory get a ticket on the bus then.

Anyway a no. 30 came and the driver said noway could he accept my £10 note!! To go off and get some change.......and off he went!!

 

I looked around for somewhere open but as it was after 11pm I couldn't see anywhere that nearby.

Another bus came along......not the one I wanted but it was going to Kings Cross and this driver was slightly more sympathetic as he said I could hop on till Euston and there would be plenty of places to get change!!

Well to cut a long story short I did get the change in the end but by the time another 30 came along it was getting on for midnight and I still had the walk from the bus stop near Highbury to do!! I wasn't exactly a happy bunny.

 

After that I thought I'm never going to be in that position again and so bought the Oyster.

 

I agree it must be difficult for tourists etc but I suppose once you've found about the system you can cope.

For example just in case people don't know you can buy travel tickets for travelling around Paris .....on the metro and buses etc ....on the Eurostar which makes it very easy.....usually more than enough for a stay of up to a week at any rate.

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I have to say I find it incredible that any city could have a policy of no cash payments on buses. It makes life so difficult for visitors - residents less so as most areas have bus passes available. I'm usually alright for London as I go in by train and so add the travelcard but I would hate to find cashless systems in towns visited abroad on holiday. It does make me wonder why the buses don't just have the 'correct change only' machines that I have seen on buses in Wales for example. When I was there all buses had large signs on them stating the fares - a flat rate in cash that you paid into a machine on the bus and got your ticket or you bought a daily /weekly/monthly pass from local newsagents etc

But EVERYBODY has a contactless card now, don't they? Apart from those who are too impecunious to have a bank account which gives you a debit card, Nationwide customers, and so on ...

 

And Oysters NEVER go wrong, do they? I just encountered a woman (Italian, I'd guess) this evening who'd just put a lot of money on her Oystercard only to find that it wasn't registering, and the bus driver wouldn't let her on the bus because she couldn't pay, and left her potentially stranded. Well, I'm sure she had money on her, but London buses don't take cash any more, do they? And this "one extra journey" thing where you're allowed to go up to one bus ride into debt if you haven't got enough money on your Oyster obviously doesn't work if the Oyster is malfunctioning.

 

 

And all of those of you who actually use paper Travelcards (like me, at weekends - it works out cheaper) watch out: Boris Johnson has come up with a scheme to cut the peak-rate travel cap on Oysters, but he's going to pay for it by bumping the paper Travelcards up to £12.00!!! I think they're currently £8.90 for Zones 1-6. So you may want to get yourself an Oyster.

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And all of those of you who actually use paper Travelcards (like me, at weekends - it works out cheaper) watch out: Boris Johnson has come up with a scheme to cut the peak-rate travel cap on Oysters, but he's going to pay for it by bumping the paper Travelcards up to £12.00!!! I think they're currently £8.90 for Zones 1-6. So you may want to get yourself an Oyster.

Actually, forget that. He's apparently dispensing with the post-9.30 am off-peak cap all together. That means it would effectively cost me £10 simply to get up to London and back from zone 4. I'm disgusted :(

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  • 7 months later...

Don't laugh but I am having dreadful problems topping up my Oyster Card PAYG.

 

When I was coming to London in May, I topped up on line but then discovered that I wasn't starting a tube journey at Euston (where I had elected to validate the payment).  I would have started a journey there but there was a queue to use the escalator into the station and I just didn't have time to hang around.  I knew there was enough money on my card for any journeys that day so I went for the bus instead.  I didn't end up passing through Euston on my way home either and the money was refunded to my account.

 

I was in London on Saturday and queued for 20 minutes in the tube station to top my card up at one of the automated machines (Euston is a total nightmare at the moment) using my non-contactless credit card to pay.  It all seemed to work.

 

I trundled off to get the bus but came back to Euston on the tube.

 

Yesterday I checked my Oyster card balance and the top-up has not appeared.  I thought if you topped up at a machine the money went on your card straight away so I can't understand what has happened.  Any ideas? 

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Janet has the money been taken from your bank account? My dd had issues on Saturday too, both with loading and getting PAYG Oyster to register passing through barrier. She had to speak to a TFL member of staff who said problems all day and she got journey for free! She had plenty of credit on card for journey and it registered at beginning of journey but wouldn't work at exit station.

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