London’s Oyster Cards

You know what? I’ve been wanting to post about London’s Oyster Cards for a while because I see a lot of tourists or foreigners and even the British getting confused with them or don’t know how to use their basic travelling tool.
Adult Oyster Cards in use since 2003

It’s a geek post, so bear with it.

I’m sure there are loads of posts about Oyster Cards, and this is just one to add to it!
As you may know now, London buses DO NOT accept cash any longer. It’s a bit unfair but it initiates people to travel cheaper using their Oyster Card (you’re going to see a lot of usage of these two words in this post >_<"").
Types of Oyster Card

So here’s a list of all the basic information you need to know about Oyster Cards… boring I know…

1. Children under the age of 11 travel free on most transport in London but must have adult supervision or will need a photocard if they look older than 10 or won’t travel with adult supervision.
2. Children over the age of 11 up to 15 must get a photocard, so you will hear on the bus a different sound when they touch in on the bus. They also travel for free. Humph.
3. Teenagers who are 16+ and also college students who are 18+ get a discounted pass but obviously they will need to get a photocard. They can travel for free on buses and trams. Lucky sods.
4. Adults must have a normal Oyster Card – there are several types of payments that one must opt for (or you can get a couple of Oyster cards and chose one for top up and one for passes) and you must pay a £5 refundable deposit for one.
a. Top up – you can top up in Newsagents, Underground, train stations, tram stations or online. You can set up an auto-topup online so you don’t have to constantly remember to top up as soon as your money runs out.
b. Bus passes (weekly, monthly or annually)
c. Travelcards (daily, weekly, monthly or annually)
5. 60+ Oyster Cards are for those who are at the age of 60 or over and don’t qualify for a Freedom Pass – seniors can apply online via the TFL website. You will need your passport and bank account with the 16-digit on your bank card or you can pay at the post office once you’ve downloaded the letter, but you must have proof of your name and address e.g. bank statement. (MummyGeek is over the age of 60, so that’s how I know).
6. The Freedom Pass are those who are of or near to pension age. Seniors will need to check online or on the application form to see if they’re at that age to get one. If you’re a senior you will need to fill the form and pay a £10 fee. It gets sent to your local council to process and it will be sent to you in the post to your address. You will need two passport pictures for this too! (DaddyChef has one XD).

Yeah my parents are over 60!

7. There are other types of discounted Oyster Cards like those who are on benefits, with disabilitues, studying or are war veterans… check the website.
8. And finally tourists can get a visitor Oyster Card. I think it’s a lot cheaper but the deposit is £3 and non-refundable. 
Your London Oyster Card can be used on the train, bus, underground, tram, river bus, DLR and overground. Unlike in Hong Kong (they are called Octopus Cards) you can’t use it to pay bills at stations or use them for vending machines… that’s where your bank Connect card comes into place. If you’re not willing to fork out for an Oyster Card you can still purchase paper tickets at any train station or underground for daily, weekly, monthly or annual travelcards, single and return fares! Travelcards can be used on buses depending on which zone you have bought for… The more zones you purchase for, the more you will have to pay. T_T (I generally HATE the annual fee rises – it kills the January fun).
Remember the original “Oyster Card” originated from Asia! I think it was South Korea who first used it but Hong Kong have more uses for it! 
Two of my Oyster Cards that need returning

How to use your Oyster Card

Once you have the correct Oyster card, to use it is very simple…
– On the bus – touch on the yellow pad once
– On the train/underground/tram/DLR – touch once going in at the gate, and then once during your exit… You DO NOT need to touch in or out if you are interlinking with another London train or underground route. Only touch out on your last stop
– On the river bus – at the ticket machine / window or on the boat – touch in/out is only once
– If you’re using a paper ticket, you just need to show the bus driver or slot the paper into the gate machine

Returning your Oyster Card
If you have had many Oyster Cards over the many years because they were once free, or because you found it on the streets or the fact that every year you buy an annual card and they post you another one… or for whatever reason, you can return the ones that you don’t use.
You just need the following (this was only a recent change, well since January / February, so this might not be on the TFL website):
1. Proof of ID e.g. passport or drivers license AND (not any or’s here)
2. Proof of address with your name on it e.g. bank statement, utility bill
You will get any money leftover on your Oyster card and you will get your deposit back.
I’ve returned a few so that’s how I know! I have a couple of more to return too.
Lost or Stolen Oyster Card
I’ve been unlucky twice because I have lost mine twice. 😦 If your card is registered and you have an account on the TFL website then you can easily cancel your card you have lost and re-order another one. It is sent straight away and you’ll get it within a week or so… Unfortunately you’ll just have to use a Top Up Oyster Card in the meantime or buy a paper ticket.
Hope this has been a long and useful post for those who don’t take public transport or for those travelling to London for the first time and also for seniors who need a bit of advice!!!

It helps to have experience in all of this. ^___^

2 thoughts on “London’s Oyster Cards

  1. Great geeky post! Lots of interesting information even for a fellow Londoner like me. I'm sure it will be very useful for visitors and tourists. I always get confused by the local travel cards when I go abroad lol


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