Cheapest / Easiest / Quickest ways
It looks as though I'll be spending a week in London, and while I'm there, I'd be interested in spending as much time out and about, walking as much as possible. I'll probably be operating from a base well away from the centre, so I'll be travelling every day in and out of the city.
Now... for those folks who do this sort of thing all the time... what's the best way of doing this? From a quick online search it looks as though I have two options... the Oyster Card... and the Travelcard. From what I understand, the Oyster Card has to be topped up with money, and every time it gets used, the journey cost is debited from the card, and works out cheaper than buying a ticket for each journey made. The Travelcard, on the other hand, has an option offering unlimited travel across all zones for seven days.
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that I was based on one side of London, but travelled every day into the centre, and most of the way out the other side, then back again later in the day... then which of those cards will offer the best deal?
Incidentally, I reckon the bulk of my journeys will be on the Tube network.
I already figured that using buses would be a slow way of getting around, and I find the bus routes confusing... even more so if I'm going to have to work out different routes from wherever I start and finish, to wherever I'm going to be staying. On the other hand, I find the Tube network absolutely foolproof.
So... I can put a Travelcard on an Oyster Card... and basically get wherever I want for a week at less than £10 per day? That compares favourably with getting around the Lake District, where I can do pretty much the same thing for the same price, but only waiting for a few minutes, rather than hours, for connections.
as bedders says put the travel card on the oyster card. an oyster card makes travel immeasurably easier and cheaper.
you may decide pay as you go (payg) but ths depends upon one base decision. if you are travelling before 9:30 in the morning then you will need a weekly travelcard - which is the easiest option.
if you are traveling after 9:30 then the payg option mat be more attractive (but more caveats later) as your oyster is charged as you use it up to a maximum amount you will pay - which i think is 50p less than a paper daily travelcard.
more considerations. because london operates on zones and you are not travelling often outside your base zone (i live in zone 3) then, using me as an example, getting a zone 1-3 travelcard and using cash top up on your oyster card to pay the additional fare for travel outside of those zones - which is automatically deducted from your oystercard. the amount will also depend upon th etime of day i.e. before 9:30. naturally this option is more faff and is probably more faff than any cash difference is worth.
all of london's trains now operate the oyster card - surburban services and the excellent london overground.
london has a wide and excellent bus service which has been continually improved and combined with the oyster card are now fast and frequent.
your travelcard allows bus travel everywhere.
something to remember is to always have your oyster read by one of the readers. it soon becomes second nature.
how to use the barriers at stations - simple you'd think but stand watching the numpties and you'll realise that people have terrible trouble with them.
as you enter the barrier towards the gates you have your oyster card read on the yellow pad. just before the gates at about thigh level you will see two smallish squares. these are the gate sensors. if you stand in front of or obstruct them the gates will not work no matter how much you wave your oystercard about. on the other side after the gates are open are the same sensors which monitor the exit from the gates. if you are carrying a bag ensure it is carried right next to you with no gap between you and the bag or the sensor will think someone else is trying to sneak through and close trapping your bag.
always wait for the barrier light to say ENTER before proceeding through - the reason is too long for this time of night but please do it.
full info and maps can be found on the rather enigmatically named www.tfl.gov.uk site. however, if there are travel problems i've also found that, bizarrely, the bbc london website travel section is often rather better informed.
if you wish to travel to the south downs area - southampton to ashford only on southern railways you can buy a downlander all network self printed ticket for £12.50 which weekdays restricts travel to after 10 am but covers the whole network and buses about the brighton, eastbourne and lewes areas. available only online and two days notice is required. search google with "southern downlander" as you'll never find it on the southern railways web site.
hope this has been useful for you paddy. dinner now calls....(aka the Angel)
I'm sure that if I come completely unstuck using an Oyster Card, a small child or an old lady will rush to my aid! (I used an Ormer Card on the buses on Guernsey - named after a local oyster-like mollusc!)
I haven't sorted out a place to stay yet, but it definitely won't be any hostel or shared accommodation. Too many bad memories of London hostels! I'll probably go for some bland and cheerless option like a Travelodge, on the grounds that I won't be there during the hours of daylight, and at night I'll only go there to sleep.
I wouldn't mind a river trip if I find I have the time for it. The only proper walking I've ever done in London is to follow the Thames Path a couple of times.
Let us know when you're coming paddy, i'll put the kettle on
or we could have an OM London meet and all sit `round looking glum.
Addick wrote (see)
Let us know when you're coming paddy, i'll put the kettle onor we could have an OM London meet and all sit `round looking glum.
I'll be sure to make an announcement... and I'll expect hot thermos flasks to be placed at strategic intervals along the way! Sitting round looking glum might be all that's going to happen if this current spell of weather doesn't give way to something more cheery.
Some of the above makes it sound complicated, but basically if you get an Oyster card it will let you use buses and tubes and some overground trains within the 'Zones' area whenever you want. If you make a single short trip that's all you'll get charged for. If you travel all day it will add charges until you get to just under the cost of a travelcard (which is more expensive if any journeys are during morning peak hours), then everything else is free.
The main problem from your point of view is that you could end up with unused (and to you possibly useless) credit on the card at the end of your trip.
Depending where you end up staying, and where you need to be in London - cycling is also a realistic option - often quicker (and at rush hour more comfortable) than trying to travel on the tube - and cycling following an OS map may be an easier way of navigation than trying to work out tube/bus routes.
The canal network offers good traffic free cycle routes around the North side of the city, and there are lots of parks as well as the superhighways.
Either wayTravelineSouthEast is a very useful site for getting tube/bus routes and timings (there's a very big difference in speed between tube lines - district is particularly slow - so the obvious route isn't always best) or for cycle route/times.
As others have said, a 7day Travelcard is a good bet giving unlimited travel on trains, buses, the tube and DLR across all 6 zones for about £7.60 per day. But it is not necessary to have an oyster card as well.
The Thames Clipper also has a good service if you have the time and you can get a 1/3 off of their fares with a valid travelcard which is a better price than for an Oyster.
"Losing" the bike won't be a problem...... finding it again afterwards could be more difficult.
I guess a lot depends on roughly where you'll be staying and where you need to be in the centre.
And there's always Boris' Bikes to be had if you don't want to take your own (and don't want to look stylish).
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