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Oyster Card, Travelcard, Hopper fares

Just when I thought I was beginning to get my head around travelcards and oyster cards I read that London Transport was introducing unlimited travel on public transport within a one hour time period.
Will this make any difference to the capped daily rate if you use the Tube and/or buses frequently? Or is it
only relevant to London residents who may only be using public transport in peak periods travelling to and from work?
I am planning to purchase an ordinary oyster card which means I can monitor usage on an app and supposedly obtain a refund on unused credit. I will be in London for three days when I fly into LHR and then again for six days before I take the Eurostar to Paris. Buying a seven-day pass looks like it could be beneficial for the latter period. Typically when I have been to London on previous occasions I have walked a lot, used buses, and occasionally taken the tube when I have gotten myself lost. Sometimes I have used cabs.
What benefit would a travelcard offer? Apart from a day trip to Cambridge, if a suitably fine day presents itself, I will be in London the whole time.
I have looked up some earlier posts and have read bits and pieces on various websites but still remain a bit confused. I am a solo traveller and will be purchasing a senior railcard to benefit from cheaper rail fares for my trip to Scotland and back to London via York.
Somewhere I have read that a rail can be used for cheaper off-peak fares but would this make any difference if a capped fare price is deducted from my oyster card?

Posted by
661 posts

The 1hr hopper fare only applies to buses. Tap in as normal on each bus (don’t tap out on buses like you must on the Tube), but you are only charged £1.50 for the first bus, and no more if boarding other buses within a 1hr period. I won’t get into capping because it can be complicated, but just use a pay as you go Oyster card for everything within Zones 1-6 and whatever happens, you will get the cheapest travel available. Travelcards loaded onto Oyster cards could save you small amounts of money under certain conditions and if using transport a lot, but most likely not... they are more aimed at locals commuting daily for work.

Posted by
211 posts

I just returned from London last night and used the Oyster card for my underground travels. When you buy it, you get charged a refundable fee and then we would top it off each day. When I rode the tube back to Heathrow, I used the Kiosk to get my refund. Since I had 12 pounds left on my card, you have to use the app or on line to get your refund. But I was told by someone, with your refund, you have to deposit it in a British bank but don’t know if that is true.

I am saving my card to use on my next return trip.

The other 3 cards that had less than 10pounds, refunded the full amount using the Kiosk. Very easy and official staff are around helping you if needed! I always need it and everyone in London, were so nice and helpful.

Posted by
60 posts

I just came back from London and before I went I read all about how the Oyster card works and I tried to plan on how to save using it. The reality is that the directions I read were confusing, whereas the actual use of it couldn't be simpler. Buy the card when you arrive, don't go crazy putting money it (i.e., don't put more than 6 or 7 pounds per day you will be there and that is only if you really plan to use public transport quite a bit), and then just top it up once or twice as needed using cash, coin, or credit card. It's super easy, cheap, and convenient. I rode public transport exclusively (no taxis or ubers) for 5 days in London and I spent less than 40 pounds total (that included going to and back from Heathrow). I ended up keeping my Oyster card, too, in hopes of a future trip! It had less than 2 pounds left on it. Have fun and good luck!

Posted by
965 posts

I just got back from London for 8 nights and used the Oyster card. I did return it along with my husband's at the airport. It was super easy. The only drawback in returning it is that they gave us cash, so I had 20 pounds to spend. I bought breakfast at the airport with by Oyster card refund.