Please sign in to post.

7 Day Travelcard/Oyster card questions

So after much research, I just want someone to confirm a few things, please...

1) If we are not going to be taking advantage of any of the 2FOR1 deals, getting a 7 Day Travelcard on a paper Travelcard (as opposed to an Oyster card) is unnecessary, right? I'd rather buy an Oyster card at Heathrow when we arrive instead of having to go out of our way to go to a National Rail station.
2) We will be there for 9 days. My thought was to load the Oyster card with enough for day 1 and 9 (at the beginning when we get the Oyster card at Heathrow) and then load the Travelcard to cover days 2-8 on day 2. (Does the 7 day Travelcard automatically start the day you load it on there? Otherwise I should wait to load the money for day 9 until day 9?)
3) Should I load 18.80£ on to my card? 12.80£ for day one (from Heathrow to Earl's Court plus a few other Tube rides that day -- the daily cap for all six zones is 12.80£) + 6£ for return trip to Heathrow on the last day?
4) When we get back to Heathrow, we can get our 5£ back if we return the Oyster card? (We don't plan on a return any time in the near future, so I don't see the point of keeping them...)

I hope what I've written makes sense. :D

Posted by
3477 posts

The travel card loaded to an Oyster may save you a few pounds over all. But maybe not. I only use an Oyster without any additions and have been happy with the daily expense cap.

As long as you have enough funds on your Pay As You Go Oyster when you use it for the trip you are taking, it doesn't matter when the money is loaded to the card. Loading it take effect on the available balance immediately. I just add £5 - £10 when I see it is getting low (actually, if I end up with a pocket full of too much change I will add that at an Oyster ticket machine just to empty my pocket). The Oyster funds do not conflict with the Travel card if you have one loaded. "Loading" a travel card onto an Oyster means purchasing one at a ticket machine or at a manned Tube station. It takes effect at that point in time when it is loaded.

You should keep a few pounds on the card over what you expect to spend. That way if you do happen to go outside the zones the Travelcard covers, the Oyster will pay the upcharge without you having to do anything. If you don't have enough funds on the Oyster and you go beyond the covered zones you will have to pay before you are allowed to exit the Tube. So leave few pounds on the Oyster even if you have a Travel card to cover the majority of your journey.

Yes, when you turn in your Oyster at the end of the trip you receive back all remaining funds as well as the £5 deposit.

Posted by
4566 posts
  • 6£ for return trip to Heathrow on the last day?

If you are traveling from Earls Court to Heathrow and using pay-as-you-go on Oyster, it will not cost you 6 GBP. Earl’s Court is in both zone 1 and 2. It will cost 2.80 peak or 1.50 off-peak. Also, your first day won’t necessarily cost you 12.80. You can choose which day you want to start the travelcard.

Assuming you are staying by Earl’s Court tube station, I would load a zone 1-2 travelcard and add some pay-as-you-go money to cover your 2 extra days plus any travels beyond zone 2. I’d probably start with 15 GBP PAYG. You can check the remaining balance at a ticket machine and add more money if you find you need it. You basically break even on a zone 1-2 travelcard if you hit the cap on five days. You only need 3 trips in zone 1 to hit the cap. I pretty much hit the cap everyday that I am in London on vacation, so I find the weekly card saves me money.

Posted by
19427 posts

I'm a big-time walker and tend to spend a long time inside each museum I enter, so I am certain I use public transportation less than the average tourist in London, but on my last trip I realized I would have saved a bit of money if I had used a weekly travel card rather than going pay-as-you-go. I was staying at Notting Hill Gate.

Posted by
608 posts

Does an Oyster card save money over using a contactless credit card? An Oyster card gives you a daily cap, right? From what I read on the website, contactless credit cards do not have daily caps, right?

Oh, and this is currently on the TFL website: We are currently fixing an issue where some contactless cards are not working on our services. For now, please try using a different contactless card, or your Oyster card to pay for your journey.

Posted by
3477 posts

Oysters and contactless work exactly the same (when contactless is working). Same cost per ride, same daily cap. Your contactless card will be charged only once per day for the appropriate total for your travels. Just like an Oyster, each person will have to have their own unique contactless card, you can't share rides on the same card and you have to use the exact same card for every trip or you could end up paying multiple caps. Difference is you can't add Travel Cards to a contactless.

Posted by
4538 posts

Contactless caps on a weekly as well as a daily level, with the week fixed as Monday-Sunday.

Oyster only caps bus and tram fares weekly presently.

Posted by
11275 posts

Another difference is that weekly capping on contactless cards is Monday through Sunday, and Pay As You Go (PAYG) Oyster cards don't do weekly capping at all. So, if you'll be there a week and the week is not a Monday through Sunday week, you'll save a bit using a 7 Day Travelcard over either PAYG Oyster or contactless card.

Edit: cross posting with Marco.

My understanding is that if you've loaded both a Travelcard and some PAYG cash, the system will use the Travelcard first, and only apply the PAYG credit to make up shortfalls (for instance, if you go outside the zone of your Travelcard). So, you don't want to load a Travelcard until you're going to use it.

Your plan to use PAYG on your first and last days (since you'll probably be taking less transit on those days), and a 7 day Travelcard on the other days (since it's cheaper than 7 one-day caps) is sound. On arrival, buy an Oyster, and just load enough for your round trip to and from LHR (to and from Earl's Court station, that's currently £2.80 peak, £1.50 off peak, each way, using your Oyster), plus a bit extra for other rides on days 1 and 9. So, say £10-15. Then, on day 2, load a 7 day two zone Travelcard, and you're set. If you're taking a lot of trips outside zones 1 and 2, you'll need some more PAYG credit (say, to Hampton Court Palace or Kew Gardens).

You can indeed get the £5 cost of the Oyster refunded, but I've read that to do this, you must make sure all purchases on the Oyster are from the same source (cash or the same credit card).

Posted by
4566 posts

.Then, on day 2, load a 7 day two zone Travelcard

I just want to clarify that you can load the zone 1-2 travel card the day that you arrive and specify that you want it to begin on day 2.

Posted by
11275 posts

"I just want to clarify that you can load the zone 1-2 travel card the day that you arrive and specify that you want it to begin on day 2."

I did not know that. Of course, I was buying and refilling my Oyster jet-lagged, and I threw myself on the mercy of the helpers at Heathrow; I just told them what I wanted, and they helped me get it. For instance, I didn't know how much extra I needed to add to my 2 zone Travelcard for the part from Heathrow into the center, but they did. I then couldn't get the machine to add it with cash, but they could.

Amy, you can do the same! There are lots of uniformed personnel at the ticket machines at Heathrow's tube station, and they are used to helping those of us unfamiliar with the system. Just tell them what you want to do and they'll make it happen.