Top Tube Ticket Tips!

Saffie_2 Posts: 68 Forumite
edited 5 September 2023 at 12:09PM in England
I work for our lovely London Underground and i thought i'd show you guys how to save money by choosing your ticket wisely...

Firstly, let me say that this is not about discounts, this is about taking the time to consider your ticket and making the right choice. Thousands of Londoners waste money by rushing into the tube station and buying the first ticket that comes to mind. What you need to do is, pause, think about your travel and calculate the best fare for your needs. If this seems like too much hassle you can always go to the ticket clerk and ask them. With a few basic travel details they can advise you of the best value ticket. If you don't want to talk to us, just pay a visit to the leaflet rack at your local station. There is a leaflet called "Fares and Tickets" this will give you every possible fare and ticket for the tube, buses, DLR and the tram. You can then study this at your leisure.

For those of you that are interested, here are my top tube ticket tips...

Use an Oyster card for the odd journey

- If you do not use the tube that often and only make the odd journey, then an oyster card is your best bet. Single and return tickets on oyster card are ALWAYS cheaper then buying a normal single or return ticket, without exception. E.g. an adult single journey from zone 1 to zone 6 on a saturday will cost you £3.80 on oyster you'll pay £2. Your oyster card will ALWAYS charge you the CHEAPEST fare, so if you need a ticket for the whole day, just use your card as normal, you'll still get the best value.

Weekly tickets may be cheaper

- If you buy a daily travelcard every day, add up the cost over a week and see if it is cheaper to just buy the weekly ticket. E.g. zone 1 & 2 off peak travelcard five days a week will set you back £23.50. The weekly ticket is £21.40 with the added bonus that it can be used before 9:30am, unlike the daily off peak ticket.

Try a three day ticket instead of buying everyday

- If you are buying daily travelcards to travel during the peak but don't need a whole week, you could be better off with a three day ticket. E.g. zone 1 & 2 daily peak travelcard is £6 x 3 days = £18. A three day peak zone 1 & 2 is £15.

Monthlies can be cheaper than dailies

- If you buy a weekly ticket every week, add up the cost over a month
and see if it is cheaper to buy the monthly ticket. E.g. zone 1 - 6 weekly travelcard four times a month will cost £158.00. The monthly ticket is £151.70.

Annuals can be cheaper than monthlies

- If you buy a monthly ticket every month, add up the cost over a year
and see if it is cheaper to buy an annual ticket. E.g. zone 1 & 2 monthly is £82.20 x 12 months = £986.40. The annual travelcard will cost you £856.

Take the kids for cheaper travel

- If you're travelling just for the day, consider taking the kids. Family travelcards are ALWAYS cheaper then normal adult travelcards. The maximum number of adults is 2 and children is 4. You do not all have to be related to use this ticket, but the tickets are not valid separately, so make sure that you plan to stay together. If you have a toddler that is too young to have to pay, it sounds daft, but it is still cheaper to buy them a ticket as part of a family travelcard! E.g. zone 1 - 4 off peak travelcard is £5.20 for one adult. A family travelcard is £3.40 per adult and 80p per child, that's £4.20 for one adult and one child. These tickets are only valid off peak. On weekends it's even better, as kids go free on a family travelcard. So that's just £3.40 for one adult and one child.

The above examples are just that, so don't take all this at face value, although every price i give is correct. Just remember that the savings will vary depending on the zones you travel through, the day you travel on and the time of day that you travel. You will need to do your own calculations.

Anyway, my brain is turning to mush with all this fare calculating! So i'll leave it there. You get the general idea. It's worth thinking before you travel. If I come up with any other deals i'll add them in. If anyone has any questions i'll do my best to answer them.

Hope this makes a difference to someone at least...

Happy travelling!



  • Quasar
    Quasar Posts: 121,712
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Hi Saffie!

    Chances are that we have met. I do a lot of surveys for LUL, and I have been to every single station in the system, several times over! I know all about the various tickets, of course, but I think your post will be of great help to many other forum members, as it's so easy to get a ticket/travelcard which is more expensive than actually needed.
    Be careful who you open up to. Today it's ears, tomorrow it's mouth.
  • Those of you who do buy an annual ticket, don't forget about the fares revision! This normally comes into affect on the first sunday in January. If you renew your annual ticket just before this every year, your fare will always be a year behind the actual fare!

  • rdwarr
    rdwarr Posts: 6,159
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Photogenic
    I thought the idea of an Oyster card was that one always paid the lowest fare. Are you saying that this is not the case?
    Can I help?
  • black-saturn
    black-saturn Posts: 13,937
    Combo Breaker First Post
    My boyfriends daughter has an Oyster card which means she can travel for free on London transport. I think all under 16's living in London can get it.
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  • Saffie_2
    Saffie_2 Posts: 68 Forumite
    There's a lot of confusion about oyster card. Basically, any ticket that you can buy, you can buy on oyster and it remains the same ticket. You use that ticket in exactly the same way as you would a paper ticket. Oyster card DOES offer you the cheapest ticket, but you have to understand how. A travelcard is a travelcard and the price of that travelcard is the price, it makes no difference in this example whether you have a paper ticket of an oyster card. ALL travelcard prices remain the same regardless of what your ticket looks like.

    Oyster will save you money on single, return and extension tickets. So if that's what you normally buy, then oyster WILL save you money. But remember that an oyster card will "cap" at the price of a daily travelcard if you travel around all day, again the price of this daily travelcard is the price, so there's no saving. What oyster does do in this instance is make sure that the price you pay is the cheapest possible fare for that day, so you don't have to worry about which ticket to buy.

    Now there is one thing that i feel i should clear up at this moment, there is a lot of confusion about the "capping" of fares. Firstly let me state that this DOES work, but you do have to do your bit! If you do not read your card at the beginning AND the end of EVERY journey you WILL confuse the system and end up being over charged. Think of like this, if you ask me to calculate the cheapest fare for you, you will have to tell me what journeys you are making. If you don't tell me about every journey then i'm not going to be able to give you the correct price. Reading your card at the beginning and the end of every journey is basically telling the oyster card your journeys, so that when calculating the cheapest fare, it has all the facts. The oyster will charge you the cheapest fare, but remember, the cheapest fare may be a combination of tickets, not just a travelcard.

    I hope this helps...

    The trick to getting the cheapest ticket, is just as i stated in my original post, you have to take the time to work out your journeys and calculate YOUR cheapest fare.

  • Saffie_2
    Saffie_2 Posts: 68 Forumite
    My boyfriends daughter has an Oyster card which means she can travel for free on London transport. I think all under 16's living in London can get it.

    There is confusion with this one too!! The under 16s oyster card entitles the holder to free travel on all London Buses NOT London Underground.

    The child oyster card can be used as I.D. to buy child rate tickets for the tube. Be warned, you will have to get this child oyster card at some time, as this will eventually replace the old style child photo cards. So if you haven't yet got one, you are advised to do so before the change over date is announced. When this date is released there will be a huge backlog of these cards to be issued, so get in before the rush!

    Also, these cards are eventually to replace the child paper tube tickets. Many people don't realise that if you have this card for your child, then any tickets that you want to buy for them should be put onto the card and used in the same way as the adult oyster. You can also add pre pay to your child's card, which also works in the same way as normal pre pay.

  • alanrowell
    alanrowell Posts: 5,364
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    - If you buy a monthly ticket every month, add up the cost over a year
    and see if it is cheaper to buy an annual ticket. E.g. zone 1 & 2 monthly is £82.20 x 12 months = £986.40. The annual travelcard will cost you £856.
    When I had a season ticket, I did the maths & found that I only needed 10 monthly tickets plus a few daily tickets.

    This was because I rarely travelled using the season ticket on public holidays or when I was on holiday and I was able to defer buying the next month's ticket if I wasn't going to travel (eg, ticket finished on a Friday, new one bought on a Monday).

    Plus of course I then didn't have to pay for a year's travel in one lump sum.
    MUHAMID Posts: 657
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    thanks for your advise,saffie
  • Excellent post! Regarding Oyster, do all stations have a reader? I recall exiting at Seven Kings station the other day and didnt see any barriers of any kind, would the readers be stand-alone around the station foyer?
  • thanks for the info,
    could you clarify what kind of ticket i should get for a weekend away from friday to sunday, to include travel into london from windsor and around london sightseeing on the tube.
    just wondered if there was a combined ticket for this type of travel or any special offers.

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