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London Oyster Card

I will be visiting London later this month and need some information on the pay as you go Oyster Card. I understand in general how it works but I want to know the following:
Can I buy an Oyster card at the Heathrow tube station?
When I am leaving London can I get a refund for the unused funds?

Also, I would like to hear from anyone who has used the Oyster Card to see how they liked it and if they thought it was a good value.

Posted by
1829 posts

A transport pass of any sort is good value because a single cash fare in Zone 1 is £4, so a return (round trip) fare costs more than a pass that is good for all day travel!

Oyster Cards are sold at Terminals 1 2 & 3 at Heathrow.The largest cash refund you can get is £5, otherwise you get sent a cheque, no experience of this so can't comment.

The Transport for London site will tell you what you need to know.

Are you interested in 2 for 1 entance ticket offers? If so you will need to get another type of travelcard issued by the national rail companies

My head hurts just thinking about the pros and cons of each type of pass.

Posted by
525 posts

If I only knew how to tell you how to get to the other comments on this helpline regarding the Oyster Card.
My husband and I used it and it was great. Just pass it over the turnstile in and out and no worries about buying a ticket every time you wanted to go on the tube or bus. I think we got a 3 gbp refund which was the "deposit" or fee when we purchased the card. If you are going to be there several days it is worth it.
It is valid on one of the trains from the airport into London. Someone else here on the helpline will surely tell you because at the moment I can't remember. It is NOT valid on the express train into London.

Posted by
362 posts

I bought two oyster cards across from the Heathrow tube station at the visitors information center May 09. I was by the tube cash ticketing machines and one of the tube attendants asked me how I was going to pay and when I told her I wanted to buy an oyster card with my credit card she sent me across the hall to the visitors center. I avoided the line at the tube ticketing booth with attendants too. We arrived at 10am on a Friday morning, followed the signs to the tube and on the right was the tube entrance, info, tickets and to the left was the visitors center where I purchased the Oyster cards. I brought my cards back for a friend to use in July. I am also planning on returning in the next two years to keep my card active. Oyster cards are extremely easy to use and worth buying. The tube is easy to navigate and all the personnel are very helpful if you have questions. I did take one taxi ride which I would recommend at least once to get the feel of driving/riding on the left side.

Posted by
362 posts

Sorry; correction, the Heathrow tube was to the left and the visitors center to the right.

Posted by
1972 posts

We just came home 2 days ago, used the Oyster, and it was great. We loaded 30 pounds on each card. You just pass the card over the turnstile (no need to even remove it from the little plastic carrier) and move on through. We returned our cards with refund the morning we left Heathrow. Almost everyone we saw in the tube used this card. Nothing could be easier. And BTW, when I asked an attendant why it was called an Oyster card, he said it's because they couldn't spell lobster. :-)