When it comes to transit fares in London, like many other big cities, it seems that a group of planners sit down and try to figure out how complicated a fare structure they can create. Different fares for different zones, different times, different ages and different modes and always changing. Whew! Fortunately they also created a way out of this whole mess called the Oyster Card. The Oyster Card is both more convenient than using cash, and provides a significant discount.
Another advantage of the Oyster Card is that there is a daily price cap on how much you will pay regardless of how many trips you take in the day. You will automatically be charged the rate that works out the best; either the single trip pricing or the daily cap if your single trips add up to or exceed that amount. So, rather than spending a couple of days sifting through all the miniscule and boring details on the official Transport for London site we highly recommend that tourists purchase the Oyster Card. If appropriate you can also load it with a 7 Day Travelcard which provides unlimited travel within the Zones purchased on the Underground, Buses and National Rail services for 7 days.
The Oyster Card is simply a 'Smart Card' that can be reloaded and is automatically debited each time you board a transit vehicle or participating train. Simply touch the card flat onto the yellow card reader, which will emit a beep tone and display a green light as you board the bus or pass through the turnstile, both when you enter and exit the system, or, in the case of buses, just when you are boarding. It is accepted on the London Underground, Overground, Buses, National Rail (within the London National Rail Pay As You Go area), and Docklands Railway (DLR). Not only does it provide a convenient way to pay, but it also offers significant savings off all fares and, as already mentioned, a daily cap on the fares charged for each mode. The majority of attractions and things to do on this site are located within Zone one.
For your convenience the table below summarizes the maximum daily amount you will currently have to pay for travel on the London Underground, Overground, DLR and Bus provided you remain within Zones 1 and 2, and you pay by Oyster Card. This will cover of the majority of your transit needs while vacationing in London. Up to 4 children age 10 and under can travel for free with an adult possessing a valid fare. Children aged 11 - 15 require an Oyster photo ID card for discount fares which, for non-residents, must be ordered online at least three weeks in advance and require a fee of £10.00.
|Daily Fare Cap within Zones 1 & 2 with Oyster Card||Adult||10 and Under|
|Monday to Friday during Peak Hours (6:30 - 9:30am and 4 - 7pm)||£8.40||Free with Adult|
|All day on Saturday, Sunday, Holidays and during Non Peak Hours on Weekdays||£7.00||Free with Adult|
|7 Day Travel Card Fare within Zones 1 & 2||Adult||10 and Under|
|Monday to Sunday||£30,40||Free with Adult|
You can purchase an Oyster Card or a Travelcard from a vending machine at any Tube station with your credit card or by cash. You can also purchase them from a Ticket Agent at the same locations, where you can inquire about the best alternative for your plans. You can also "load' a Travelcard onto your Oyster Card. Another great option is to purchase your Oyster Card online at Transport for London - Visitor Tickets and get them delivered right to your door!
Central London Buses: If you are purchasing an individual fare for buses in Central London you must usually purchase them with the exact coin fare before you board the bus from the ticket machines located at the bus stop. This isn't necessary if you have the Oyster Card or Travelcard. Just "tap-in" with your Oyster Card when boarding a bus.
London River Services: If you are travelling on any of the London River Services you must purchase a separate ticket from operator of the service you are using, however if you present a Travelcard you will receive a discount of 33%. See London River Bus for more details.
National Rail: If you are travelling on any of the National Rail services you can use and Oyster Card for pay as you go or Travelcard trips, but only within the London National Rail Pay As You Go area. This area includes all of the area and stations shown on the map: National Rail lines leading out of London, except you must purchase a separate ticket for travel on the Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect or Southeatern High Speed Service (See map for details). You must also purchase a separate ticket for travel into any areas beyond this map. See National Rail for more information.
See Our Entire Selection of Exciting London Travel Adventures and Tours