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Oyster vs travel cards

by kathymay1 Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I have read info on Oyster card vs travel card and I just can't sort it out. Two of us have one day of travel in London it is Islington to Paddington and then train to Moreton in Marsh. Three nights later we have return trip to Paddington and then two nights London with travel around city center and then third morning bus from Victoria to Heathrow. It seems like the oyster might be best IF there is a savings on rail to Moreton but I'm just not sure. If I wait and just talk to someone at a ticket office will they point me in the right way or is that unreasonable to ask.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Welcome to the most hotly debated London travel topic, whether to get a travelcard or an Oyster. You can actually do a combination of both depending on what your needs are for the day. The Oyster works best when you are only taking a journey or two during the day or if you are going outside of the zone 1-2 central area. For the days you are actually in London, if you are going to the Tower of London or the London Eye or Kensington Palace, you might look into the 2 for 1 offers that you can use if you get a paper travelcard issued by a rail station.

    I don't think the Oyster offers any discount on travel to Moreton by rail, sometimes I've gotten a discount by having a travel card (you get credit for the zones you've paid for) but I don't know that there is enough of a savings to worry about it.

    The Oyster, unless things have changed, has a deposit, you can get that back at the end of your trip.

    I have some pesky work I have to do but will check back later if you have any questions :-)

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Dabs, thanks so much for that answer. Not only did you give some good advice you did it in such a way that I don't feel like a complete idiot! Sounds like I/we should buy three day travel cards upon our arrival back at Paddington. I believe that my daughter would enjoy the London Eye and maybe Kensington Palace as I've never seen it as well.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by leics Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    As far as I'm aware, the Oyster does not work on 'ordinary' trains (other than those within a specific Greater London area):

    nationalrail.co.uk/times_far...

    so, as Dabs says, it;'s not worth factoring your trips to Moreton etc.

    A travelcard is probably the easiest option for your London stay but remember that the 2-for1 offers only apply if you buy it from a National Rail station, not a Tube station or anywhere else:

    http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/default

    As long as your travelcard has got the 'crows feet' logo of National Rail I believe you will be eligible for the offers (they may ask to see the travecard when you present the voucher).

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    London Eye is a seasonal discount I think, right now the deal runs sometime through April so you can check the website for later dates once it gets past that date. The Tower of London, KP and Hampton Court always seem to be on there. Paddington is one of the places you can get the paper travelcard, you must go to the rail station, not the tube station, to buy the proper one. See if you can buy all three days at once, say I need one for today, tomorrow and the day after, that will save you queing time later.

    Here's the website for the 2 for 1 so you can see if there is anything else you might be interested in

    daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-lon...

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Sorry, I'm typing in a rush because I'm supposed to be doing something else but I notice that you say that you are taking a bus from Victoria to Heathrow. If you are staying near Victoria for those nights, you might find it more convenient to take the tube, it runs right to heathrow from Victoria, you can use the Oyster (and get your deposit back) and I believe you'll find it to be quicker. If you are staying up near Paddington, I would spring for the slightly more expensive Heathrow Connect (not the Express which is at least double the cost). takes a 1/2 hour to get to Heathrow from Paddington and they run frequently

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  • planxty's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by planxty Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Kathy, first and foremost, never feel like an idiot here because you are not. You have already had some great advice from two very well-respected members who know what they are talking about. I know this as I have met both of them in London! I have lived there for over 25 years and, frankly, the Oyster v Card debate is one of the hottest potatoes on VT.

    I have only ever used an Oyster as that is what local poeple use, we don't tend to go to the attractions. I think it really depends on how many of you there are and what you want to see (lots of two for one deals which may obviosuly suit you). Regrettably, you will have to do some research regarding prices for admission to various places you may want to visit and then work out which is the best option for you. I really wish TfL (Transport for London) would make this a lot simpler, no doubt it is merely a money generating thingur city for them by confusing visitors which is hardly the best way of advertising our city.

    Sorry I cannot be of more assistance on this almost unfathomable subject but if you need any further advice on London please do get in touch, it is one of the better covered places on VT.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I thought TFL was just trying to keep our brains active ha ha The rules change fairly frequently as well, seems like every time I go (at least once a year), something else has changed! Just when you think you've mastered it, the evil geniuses at TFL go and change it up again! I think they would make good Bond villians :-)

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Man I was doing really well and even thought I had it figured out and then you (Dabs) said that I might buy all three days at once... I thought that I had read there was a one, three and seven day travel card! Sigh.. Okay, so I go to the Paddington train station ticket counter and buy travel passes, more than one day's worth if they will sell it to us. I have along printed vouchers from home for any 2 for 1 deal that we might want to use and show them with my crows foot (Thought those were only around my eyes and on crows!) travel cards and I save some money. If they won't sell me more than one day at a time and as we are staying near Victoria station we will need to go there to the TRAIN STATION ticket counter to buy travel cards for each day, as needed. My little brain is going to have to forget I saw that comment about the tube to Heathrow and the Oyster card. Just can't figure that one out.... Thanks to all.

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by davidjo Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    I would go for the Oyster card which you can buy when you arrive and get your £5 deposit back when you leave. Also the Oyster card has no time limit buy offers good discounts on fares, especially off peak hours. Also if you use the Oyster card there and make several journeys that would normally total more than using a travel card, the journeys would be free once you reach the equivalent cost of a day using the travel card ....if you see what i mean. I was in London for 3 months recently and found the Oyster card ideal. and you can use it to get to Heathrow instead of the bus!!!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    3 day travelcards were phased out years ago, there is a 1 day and a 7 day. 7 day cards start making sense at day 4 or 5 consecutive days so that's not an option for you (and I don't have to explain peak vs. off peak-whew!). I'm sure I've bought travelcards the day before and I've read that you can buy them a couple of days in advance, just make sure to mention to the clerk what you are doing. Victoria is also a rail station so if you can't prepurchase, just buy them at the rail station in the morning if you need to use the 2 for 1s. If not, then you can buy at the tube station, same card, the crow's foot is only on the rail purchased tickets.

    If you aren't planning on getting an Oyster at all, you can always do a cash fare to get out to Heathrow, it's 5.50£. With the Oyster you save a couple of £ (and only .50p if you are traveling before 9:30am on the weekdays) , not worth the hassle if you aren't getting one for any other purpose.

    If you miss preprinting any of the discounts, they usually have some of the leaflets at the rail stations with blank coupons but I wouldn't bank on it

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Just to clarify Davidjo's post, you CANNOT use the 2 for 1 offers with an Oyster, no matter where you buy it. That's the whole advantage of getting the paper travelcards. If you use the tube/bus 3-4 times a day, the cost of the travelcard and Oyster will be precisely the same.

    And I should mention off peak and peak if you are traveling during the week, there's a 1.50£ difference in the daily cost, if you are traveling before 9:30am during the week on the tube, then you need to buy peak travelcards, if you are traveling after 9:30am or via bus, then you can get the off peak cards.

    Hope you don't have smoke coming out of your frazzled brain now :-)

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by davidjo Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Dabs , my use of the word 'offers' means 'allows' and i mispelt the word 'but' Meant to read - has no time limit BUT offers good discount on fares

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by gwened Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    yep some people do some don't on the card thingy. To add to the confusion lol!!! I have been coming to LOndon every year at least once for the last 10 years, anywhere from two days to 15 days, and still have my old reliable oyster card. Don't know any other.

    but you don't have to wait just read the official site in English... oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/ent...

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Davidjo, I understood what you meant, I just wanted to make sure the OP understood that the 2 for 1 discounts that we had been talking about are only good with a paper travelcard and not with the Oyster. The Oyster used to give a slight monetary advantage (and there used to be some discounted deals for things like the London Eye) but it is now the same cost as a one day travel card provided you use transport several times a day. And for a 4-5 day+ visit, it usually makes more sense to get a travelcard, whether paper or loaded onto an Oyster, as the travelcard gives you a big discount on using Oyster pay as you go once you get past the 4 or 5 day mark in any 7 day period.

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    by davidjo Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    okey dokey Dabs, understood

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by davidjo Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    The one thing you have to be careful about with the Oyster cards is to avoid the peak hours, so i guess you have your breakfast and reach the tube at 9.30 and then you make sure that you don't travel between 4pm and 7pm as it is peak travel time again. I recently spent 3 months in London, (Hounslow) and had to finish my day trips to London early to avoid the extra charge which is a round £2 central London to Hounslow.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by leics Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    And to further clarify for anyone happening upon this thread:

    >the 2 for 1 discounts that we had been talking about are only good with a paper travelcard and not with the Oyster.

    ....and *only* with travelcards purchased at railway stations and having the National Rail crowsfeet logo. The 2-for-1 offers only works for railway tickets...because it's part of National Rail. To quote the daysoutguide website :

    > Simply download your voucher, travel by train and present your printed voucher

    Clarity is rarely a forte of UK public transport ticketing systems. :-)
    

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    Clarity is rarely a forte of UK public transport ticketing systems. :-)
    Truer words have never been spoken :-)
     

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Peak and off peak, at least in zone 1-2 (central London) is a difference of £1.50 for the daily travelcard, if you are really pinching pennies, buses are not subject to the peak/off peak regulations and you can use your offpeak travelcard for them until 9:30am on the weekdays. For using Oyster PAYG, in zone 1 there's no difference in the cost of peak vs. off peak and only .70p for zone 1-2. All and all, not really enough to worry about in the scheme of things.

    BTW, buses are a great way to see the city, you can go up on the 2nd level and try to get a front window seat, I particularly like route 15 which runs from Trafalgar Square to the Tower of London. Just remember that you have to pick the bus up on the opposite side of the street than you would in the US because they drive on the left side of the road :-) See the attached map, it's a really good resource if you are brave enough to try the buses

    tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/...

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    You guys are great! I always forget how much I miss VT when I am not traveling! So I'll buy travel cards at the train station, print my discounts at home and if we need to go anywhere early we will take the bus. I am assuming that whether it is Oyster or travel card it's one per person and sharing would not be allowed as there are daily max limits. I really love the bus to Heathrow since its seems like less luggage schleping and I am old and lazy but may end up on the tube....

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Yes, the oyster or travelcard is one per person, no sharing.

    I've taken both the National Express (when the tube was on strike) and the tube and I think the luggage schlepping is about the same, you still have to make your way to the bus stop. Seems to me that we had to make our way to the central bus station for National Express, when I checked T4 and T5 to Victoria Coach, it said you had to change buses once, T1 and 3 you walk to the bus station. No change of tube to get to Victoria, it's a straight shot to Victoria and you always get a seat since trains originate at Heathrow. Travel time is about the same although depending on time of day, the tube leaves more often

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Oops, it's not a straight shot to Victoria, don't know what I was thinking. I was just looking for my hotel at Westminster and realized that you had to change trains. If you decide to take the tube it is one change but it is extremely easy if you get off the blue line (Piccadilly) at Hammersmith and transfer to the green line (District) going towards Upminster or Barking. Those trains run on the same platform so you just stand and wait for the next District line train. Any local can help you to make sure you get on the right train.

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  • planxty's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by planxty Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Just a slight addition to Dabs excellent info above (I know she knows London like the back of her hand!) but I do that journey when I come from Heathrow i.e. Piccadilly to District Line although I do go further East than Victoria. I tend to change at Acton Town rather than Hammersmith. Again it is a no-steps adjacent platform switch but Acton Town platforms are generally a lot less crowded and you have a better chance of getting a seat as the train is nearer it's start point of Ealing Broadway (only two stops). As I say, merely a minor point of absolutely spot on info but it might just save you a bit of a long stand!

    Hope this assists,

    fergy.

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Dabs, thanks for coming back and clearing that up. I remember when I had a memory and it was wonderful. Enjoy it while you can!

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Dabs, thanks for coming back and clearing that up. I remember when I had a memory and it was wonderful. Enjoy it while you can!

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    On a somewhat unrelated topic - am I the only one that has issues with the new VT when I am on my iPad? I just posted something twice and have seen others do the same thing and im wondering if they are using an iPad that doesn't seem to like to let me POST when I'm done typing!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    The local London folks over on TA always suggest Hammersmith so that's the one I've always used but maybe next time (June) I'll try Acton Town :-) I've also done it at Baron's Court but that's one stop further than Hammersmith.

    If you are staying near Victoria, a couple of my favorite places are nearby to eat. The Regency Cafe, which was used as a filming location for "Layer Cake", for breakfast and the Laughing Halibut for fish and chips. I plan on hitting both when I come back in June since we'll be staying in Westminster.

    If you like Guy Ritchie movies or Daniel Craig you will love "Layer Cake"

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  • kathymay1's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by kathymay1 Online Now Mar 5, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Thanks again. I have made a note of the Regency Cafe. My daughter is traveling with me and she is a Daniel Craig fan

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 6, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Here's the information on the Regency Cafe, it says the closest tube is Pimlico but it's about the same distance from St. James' Park or Victoria so it's walkable from your hotel. Don't sit down until you've ordered your food, I think there's a sign somewhere saying that :-)

    yelp.com/biz/regency-caf%A9-...">yelp.com/biz/regency-caf%A9-...

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Oyster vs travel cards

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I was curious about changing at Acton Town so I asked on another board and this was the response I got. I don't think I've ever had a problem getting a seat at Hammersmith so I'm sticking with that :-)

    "While there is a cross platform change between Piccadilly and District lines at Acton Town, (a) the Piccadilly line is non stop Acton Town to Hammersmith while the District line trains make 4 stops, and (b) there are half as many DL trains at Acton Town as at Hammersmith."

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