Top Tube Ticket Tips!



  • Savvy_Sue wrote:
    Just to warn people, a few years ago I bought a ticket that was supposed to cover all zones, but it said something like 12-5 because there wasn't room to print 12345. When I tried to use it on a bus in zone 3 or 4 the driver told me it wasn't valid. I think I probably just got an ignorant driver, because I checked later and it should have been valid. And this was a few years ago, possibly not long after the zones were introduced. But just because it doesn't say 12345 doesn't mean it isn't valid for all zones!

    Saffie, a great post for those of us who don't come to London very often. Just to clarify, do you have to be a London resident to have an Oyster or can anyone buy one?

    Just to clarify, the zone system has not existed on the bus for about two years! So you shouldn't have this problem any more, but it does have to be a service run by London Transport.

    As for the oyster, anyone can get one, you don't have to be a London resident.
  • bbruce wrote:
    It's always a good idea buying season tickets just before the prices go up, but what about charging up your Oyster Card? Do you get the old rates until you need to recharge it again? After all they banked your money when the old rates were in force!

    The Oyster Pre Pay fares are either staying the same or going down from the 2nd, so it's not all bad news!! The "capping" system will also cap at 50p less then the price of the same paper travelcard, so it's worth it if you normally buy single, return tickets or day travelcards.
  • If you plan on using oyster pre pay in order to get a cheaper travelcard, there are two things you need to know...

    Firstly, the system will only work if you ALWAYS read the card. If you don't read it then the system does not know that you are still traveling within the correct zones, therefore you will find that you have been charged for those journeys you make where you only read once. So by not reading the card you are actually causing yourself to be charged more then the price of the more expensive paper travelcard! If you get to your station and the gates are open, the readers will still be on so you can still read your card.

    Secondly, the system seems to have been having a few problems just lately, although this is not widely known. If you have nothing on your card to begin with and you add exactly the amount to cover your travelcard price you may encounter a few problems... What i have noticed happening is that people who have added the exact amount of their travelcard have not been allowed to enter the system on their third journey because their card does not have the minimum fare left on the balance. It sounds more complicated then it is!! The bottom line is keep slightly more credit on your oyster then you actually need, this will avoid this problem altogether.

    E.g. Your starting balance is £0. You need a zone 1 & 2 travelcard so you add £4.70, which is the curent correct price. You travel from zone 2 into zone 1 and your card is charged £2.10, which is correct. You then travel back from zone 1 into zone 2 and you are charged £2.10 again, which is correct. You have spent £4.20 so far, which leaves the remaining balance on your card as 50p. When you try to enter again in zone 2 the minimum requirement for you card balance is £1.10, which is the correct minimum fare. Because you only have 50p you will find that you will have to add another 60p to get you up to the minimum to enter. Your card will still be capped at £4.70 when you complete the journey and you will have 60p remianing, it's just a pain in the behind!! Make sure also that you do not owe any money on the card before you start, because this will mess up the system too. This example is using 2005 fares, but the priciple is the same.

  • Renewed my Z2 Annual Travelcard today. That's a saving of £112 compared with buying it tomorrow as single zone travelcards are being scrapped. :)
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,014 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    And another word of warning - you really do need to speak transportese and know what you want before you set out, which is one thing if you have easy web access but we didn't last week, and did our very best to ask for the right thing, but failed miserably! I don't know if it ended up costing us more than it need have done, but we wanted to go from SE London to Camden Town, which is (maybe was now but we were still in 2005 then!) Zone 2 on the tube. We needed to get a bus to the station, so bought travelcards at the local bus shop, and that was complicated enough with a 13 yo (who counts as a child), a 16 yo (who counts as an adult), a student (with a student card so he counts as a child) and two adults.

    But then we got to the station and the travelcards were no good on the train because we were in Zone 4 on the train and the travelcards were for zones 1 and 2. :confused: And it wasn't some train official not knowing his job, it was the machines that wouldn't let us through. I supposed if we'd been getting the bus up to central London we'd have been OK, but with no routemasters any more, what's the attraction?

    So off to join the queue at the ticket office ...

    Just how are visitors to London supposed to know what they need? Or is the big idea that we don't, so we don't get the best deals?
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • babybe11
    babybe11 Posts: 146 Forumite
    hi thanks for the tips. i live in london but only use the underground occasionally. i took my 4 yr old to the nat history museum. when i got my ticket i did ask for the cheapest fare, and also for a family travel card. they wouldnt give me one as my son doesnt pay, so i ended up paying the £5.20 just for me. also could you give me more info on oyster. i've heard of it but dont know anything about it
    :A Official Boots Tart :A

    Too many loopholes, my brain hurts !!!!!!!!!

    Tesco babe in training...:o
  • Hi.

    As of 2nd January 2006, the Family Travelcard has been discontinued. However if you buy a Travelcard for yourself you can purchase a Child Travelcard for £1, but as under 5s travel free anyway it is of no benefit (yet!).

    In simple terms, an Oyster card can do two things. It can act as a Pay As You Go card, where you add credit to the card and your fare is automatically deducted as you travel around. The fares are also MUCH cheaper on Oyster than cash fares, and the maximum amount deducted within one day is capped at at least 50p less than the equivavent Day Travelcard rate. However note that the Pay As You Go option is not available on most National Rail services.

    You can also load a season ticket on to an Oyster card e.g. weekly/monthly/annual Travelcard or Bus Pass, and it is also useful to have some credit on the card in case you travel out of zone, the extension is automatically deducted. There are of course no zones on the Bus network anymore.

    You can get an Oyster card from any Tube station or Ticket Stop newsagent. There is a £3 refundable deposit for the card. Also more information available at and you can also order a card online.

    Hope that help!
  • :money:Enough is enough now i think guys, its too much. So what ive done now is made a website where we can sell our old books and things we dont need on the tube/train so we can justify/get more for our tube fares. Its the only way
    Please visit the site and if you like it enough tell martin about it so he can broadcast it. Its going to revolutionise the way we think about our tube!

    Hope we can all make this work and get our own back... its the only way
  • Snapelover
    Snapelover Posts: 435 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Could someone help me out?

    I am visiting London from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June with my daughter, 15 and her boyfriend,18. I am the holder of a disabled persons railcard.

    I think we will just be visiting the usual tourist attractions around and about so not sure if that is just zones 1 - 2.

    What will be the cheapest way for us all to travel around London?

    I believe we can book them in advance too?
  • Hi Saffie,
    I found your message on the internet, you still working at the London Underground, I would like to know which is the best option if Im starting to work 4 days a week (zone 1 - 5) thanks a lot! Maria
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.1K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.2K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards