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Travelcard vs. Oyster card

Rocky Mountains
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Travelcard vs. Oyster card

I am so glad to have discovered this forum as I have gotten a lot of information from all of you for our trip to London. Thanks, all!

I thought I was fairly intelligent, but trying to figure out the Travelcard as opposed to the Oyster card has me thoroughly confused. We arrive in London on Oct 13 and plan to take the tube from Heathrow to our hotel: Holiday Inn Kensington which is across the street from Gloucester tube stop. We leave on Oct 21 - a Saturday - and the only travel we will do that day will be the tube to Heathrow. I simply cannot figure out which is the better opriion. There are two of us. We plan to do a lot of travel on the tube. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

tired!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

TfL are not trying to make you go mad, I promise. And the website really is written in English.

A Travelcard can be bought as a paper ticket or as an Oyster card. Since you're flying in to LHR, you'll get your seven day Travelcard at the tube station there - and it will be an Oyster.

Now, to back track a bit. Travelcards are good for unlimited use on buses, tube, DLR and overground (National Rail) services in the zones for which you've paid. A plus is that with all Travelcards are good for bus trips in all six zones.

Most visitors find that paying for zones 1 and 2 is sufficient - a seven day Travelcard will cost £22.20. If you buy it when you arrive, it can be used from 13 October until 0430 on 20 October. If you plan to use the buses and tube on the 20th, buy a one day Travelcard (which will be a paper ticket) for just £4.90 (if purchased after 0930).

If you don't think you'll be doing much travelling on the 13th, then you can buy a one day Travelcard on that day, then a seven day card on the 14th, and you're good until the day you leave.

An Oyster card is a smart card, which will have your Travelcard information loaded on to it. All you need to do is touch the card to the yellow pad you'll see at tube gates and near the driver's seat on the buses, and the card will read, you'll pass through the gates or keep walking on to the bus, and all will be well. Your one day paper Travelcard will have a magnetic stripe on the back - you need to remove it from the wallet and pass it through the gates (you'll see) to activate it.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

To continue....

If you want to wait until the 14th to get your seven day Travelcard (it will be an Oyster, remember), then you should know that Gloucester Road tube station is tiny, and gets very crowded at times. You can go to the station on the evening of the 13th and ask for your card, and tell the station agent you want it to be valid from 14-20 October.

You'll pay a refundable £3 deposit for the card. If you think you'll travel outside zones 1 and 2, you can add Pay As You Go money to the Oyster card; let's say you want to travel to Walthamstow Central. You have your card, and have loaded on an extra £5 PAYG. When you touch your card on the way out at Walthamstow Central, the system knows you have a zones 1 and 2 card, and will deduct the excess fare from the PAYG money you have loaded. Very easy.

You can also use the PAYG option for your trip to LHR on the 21st - a cash fare from Gloucester Road to LHR is £4, but the Oyster single fare for that trip is just £2 on a Saturday.

To get from LHR to Gloucester Road, here's a few tips. Sit at the very front of the Piccadilly line train, as that's where the way out is. There are about 23 steps from the train platform to the lift (up the stairs then to your right, around a couple of pillars). Walk out of the lift and you'll see the gates on your right. There should be staff members there to open a wider gate for your luggage.

At which HI are you staying? The Forum or the Express? If the former, then when you leave the station (you'll be facing Gloucester Road), turn right. Courtfield Road is the first turning on the right - take it and walk for about a minute. Ashburn Place is the first cross street, and you'll see the entrance to the Forum on the right. If you're at the Express, then turn left out of the station (stay on the same side of the road as the station). Cromwell Road is the cross street - cross it, and turn left. You'll see the HI just a few steps west of Gloucester Road.

The number 49 bus that stops right in front of the tube station will take you to Kensington Gardens and High St Ken tube station, and the number 74 that stops in front of the HI Express will take you to the V&A, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner and on to Marble Arch. Just in case you wanted a change from the tube.

Upminster, United...
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3. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

Don't worry about it. I have been using one for 6 months and still don't understand them.

I learned something new last week.

When you touch in at a railway station, it takes £5 off your card. When you touch out, it puts back the extra amount it took off. Therefore if you fail to touch out and you started from a railway station you pay £5.

When you touch in at an underground station it takes £1. When you touch out, it takes the rest of the fare. Therefore, if you fail to touch out, you only pay £1 no matter how far you travel.

As I travel from an underground station to a railway station it confuses the hell out of me.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

TP says...

"A Travelcard can be bought as a paper ticket or as an Oyster card. Since you're flying in to LHR, you'll get your seven day Travelcard at the tube station there - and it will be an Oyster."

Will it definitely be an oyster??? Have they stopped issuing paper tickets at heathrow?

This is news to me but worth knowing if it's true - since if you don't have your oyster already presumably you'll have to queue?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

It's a case of do as Ken tells us - as of 25 September all Travelcards of seven days' duration or longer are to be on Oyster, according to TfL. I had a quick look at the ticket machines in July. when I went through LHR, and don't remember seeing the seven day card as an option to buy at the machines, but may be mistaken. Railway stations will still issue Oyster as paper tickets for the time being.

Watford
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6. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

Just to make it clear that all travelcards of 7 days or longer duration can now only be purchased from a tube station on Oyster.

In the particular case of the OP what you can do is to load three things onto your Oyster so when getting your card at Heathrow you could load a 7 day zones 1&2 travelcard to run from Oct 14 PLUS a one day all zones travelcard for your inward journey and the rest of that day (Oct 13) PLUS a single journey ticket for your return to Heathrow on Oct 21. The other good news is that you do not now need to pay the £3 deposit, this only applies for the 'Pay As You Go' option which it doesn't look as if you will need. If in any doubt the staff at Heathrow are excellent and will advise you of the best option.

Now does that make sense?!

adamhornets@yahoo.com

Watford
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7. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

Actually I am now not 100% sure about adding the one day all zones travelcard onto Oyster. It may be that what was meant when it was explained to me is that you can add some "Pay As You Go" to cover both (in your particular case) your first and last day. This will mean that you would end up paying less than it would if you purchased a paper ticket.

Honestly, it is a lot easier in practice than it is to explain.

Salem, Oregon
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8. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

Most recent, least confusing explanations.

xyz

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

What about those of us who have ordered 7 day cards in the States from the VisitBritian site? I know that they are issued out of New York, at least that is what I was told.

London, United...
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10. Re: Travelcard vs. Oyster card

redman,

They will be the paper travelcards that you will still have to feed through the slots in the ticket barriers or show to the driver on the buses. The Visitbritain website won't be offering Oyster cards versions until March next year.