London Transport's Oyster Card
ABOVE: Self-service terminals make it easy to
top up your Oyster Card. TOP INSET BELOW: In London Underground
stations, card readers are on the turnstiles.
In many cities, transit systems offer "tourist cards" or "day
tickets" that allow unlimited travel at flat daily, multi-day, or weekly rates.
Such cards can be a great deal or a waste of money, depending on how often you
end up using public transportation.
London Transport's Oyster Card is a new type of day card
that saves you from having to decide between buying single-trip tickets or
splurging on all-you-can-eat transportation. London
Transport's Lowest Daily Fare Promise states:
"During a 24 hour period, from 0430
and up to 0430 the following day, you will never pay more than the
equivalent One-Day Travelcard price for all your Oyster pay as you go
journeys in Zones 1 to 6."
How the Oyster Card works:
You buy a preloaded "smart card," which has a base price of
£10 when purchased in Britain. (The base price
in other countries may vary: e.g., US $15 when purchased online from Visitbritaindirect.com
in the United States.) If you wish, you can buy the card with a higher
time you begin travel or change from one mode of transport to another, you
touch the Oyster Card to the yellow card reader and wait for the green
confirmation light. (Card readers are on Underground turnstiles, bus entry
points, and platforms at tram stops.)
Your fare will
deducted automatically from the stored value in your card. When your daily
total reaches a pretermined limit or "cap," the card will register your
journeys, but you won't pay for those trips.
Important: Unused fare
won't expire, so you can keep your Oyster Card for future visits to London.
Also, by registering your card immediately after purchase, you won't lose
your balance if the card is lost or stolen.
Where to buy an Oyster Card:
In London, at most Tube stations, at the eight London
Travel Information Centres, and from more than 2,200
Oyster Ticket Stops.
Last updated July 29, 2007.
Photos copyright © Transport for London 2005.