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Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

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antioch
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1,786 posts
35 reviews
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Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

After reading a LONG detailed article Oyster Card versus Travelcard at Londontoolkit.com I'm even more confused than beforehand. As a solo traveler sticking around central London should I just buy a Oyster card and skip the confusion? and dare I ask how does this PAYG play in all this? I know this has been discussed endlessly but..

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,634 posts
75 reviews
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1. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

Just buy an oyster. Put money on it (pay as you go, PAYG). Its not worth sweating about.....

Delaware
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402 posts
30 reviews
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2. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

I'm with you on this. It is so confusing...the more I study, the mor confused I am. I think I'll just pay as I go.

County Dublin...
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24,711 posts
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3. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

Yup, time to pony up.

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,634 posts
75 reviews
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4. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

Start with the thought that the Oyster card is designed for commuters, not tourists.

Dont sweat the small stuff.

Buying a coffee will probably make more difference to your holiday finances.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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28,205 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

As a solo traveler sticking around central London should I just buy a Oyster card and skip the confusion?

======

Yes. For a solo traveler an Oyster card (bought when you arrive in London, not a visitor Oyster) is the way to go.

Now PAYG (pay as you go). Think of Oyster as a pre-paid debit card for transport within London. Each time you travel you're debited a fare.

But this "debit card" has added features. Once you spent a certain amount each day (the daily cap) you don't pay any more that day. And, with the regular Oyster you can also pre-purchase a week's worth of travel for less than 5 equivalent off peak daily caps** (that's loading the 7 day travelcard).

And, if you've loaded a 7 day travelcard for say zone 1-2, and you want to travel out of zone, no problems. Simply have both the travelcard and some PAYG on the card and you'll only be charged for the bit of the journeys you take out of zone (a zone 3 to X fare).

[** that's for zones 1&2, which is where you say you're staying].

Edited: 03 August 2014, 03:01
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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54,618 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

The downsides of using PAYG v Travelcards are that one needs to ensure that the pre-pay amount is topped up sufficiently for one's needs, and that peak or off peak travel is germane for PAYG use, whereas seven day and longer Travelcards have no time of day constraints.

Often the question of 'Oyster or Travelcard' is not truly the point. Keep in mind that Transport for London sell *all seven day and longer Travelcards loaded on Oyster*. Oyster is a payment method, not a ticket. Oyster can, as USBT said, hold PAYG pre-pay along with a Travelcard for out of zone journeys, another advantage if using the Underground from and to Heathrow.

Financially, a seven day Travelcard will become better value than PAYG after a four day stay. With the seven day card for zones 1 and 2 costing £31.40 v £7 for off peak travel in zones 1 and 2 one will pay more than one need do if using PAYG for five days or more.

The added enhancement of being able to use transport as much as one wishes without a second thought when one holds a Travelcard is a bonus as well. Tired? Hop on a bus and travel two or three stops. Want to try something new? Board the DLR and see where it will take you. Easy to do with Travelcard in hand.

London
Destination Expert
for London
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21,012 posts
74 reviews
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7. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

Basically get an Oyster card (£5 refundable deposit). The rest depends on:

how long you are here for

whether you plan on visiting any sites outside zones 1/2

which airports you land and depart from and where you are staying.

But essentially loading a travelcard and some PAYG should cover most eventualities.

St. Louis, Missouri
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269 posts
8 reviews
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8. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

I just wanted to say that I thought this was a very concise and clear explanation of what an oyster is and how to use it. Thank you.

Liverpool, United...
Destination Expert
for Liverpool
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14,201 posts
74 reviews
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9. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

When I was looking to get an Oyster card for the first time a few years ago I found the Tfl website confusing. I also watched the video clips of how to use Oyster and if still baffled me; and I'm someone who is used to travelling by public transport and using different ticketing methods!

So when I actually first got hold of a Oyster card and started using it I couldn't believe how straightforward and easy it is to use. After a couple of hours using it I was an "expert"!

And if you have any trouble topping up your Oyster, like I did on one occasion at Shepherds Bush underground station, there is always (or should always be) a member of staff to help you. ;-)

Loughton, United...
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329 reviews
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10. Re: Hate to say it, hate to ask it but....

I'd go for PAYG - much simpler - but make sure I didn't travel before 0931 Mon-Fri. If I HAD to travel before that, I'd go for a Travelcard