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    • Nessun_Dorma
    • By Nessun_Dorma 2nd Sep 16, 12:53 PM
    • 6,072Posts
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    Nessun_Dorma
    Absurd Oyster Top-up Process
    • #1
    • 2nd Sep 16, 12:53 PM
    Absurd Oyster Top-up Process 2nd Sep 16 at 12:53 PM
    My son starts college next week, which is in London, Zone 5. In order to get there, he will need to take the bus, so we need top up his Oyster card.

    As we do not live in London, there are no tube stations near-by and certainly no shops that do top-ups. So, we decided to attempt to top-up on line. He will not be travelling passed, or near, any tube stations along the way.

    But, here is the absurdity; after having to wait twenty-four hours, the top-up has to be activated at a pre-nominated tube station. There is apparently no way around it. I spent half an hour on the phone this morning trying to establish some way of resolving this and all I got was, "that is the way it is."

    We put men on the moon over forty years ago, but today we still can't operate a public transport payment system.

    Has anyone else had this issue, if so, did you get around it and how?
    Last edited by Nessun_Dorma; 02-09-2016 at 12:55 PM.
Page 1
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 2nd Sep 16, 1:09 PM
    • 20,444 Posts
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    peachyprice
    • #2
    • 2nd Sep 16, 1:09 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Sep 16, 1:09 PM
    Are you sure there are no shops anywhere nearby the bus stop? Or a national rail station?
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • k3lvc
    • By k3lvc 2nd Sep 16, 1:10 PM
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    k3lvc
    • #3
    • 2nd Sep 16, 1:10 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Sep 16, 1:10 PM
    In my experience (as a non-Londoner but frequent visitor) it is the way it is.


    The alternative is to use a contactless debit/credit card which has no such restriction but may not be suitable for son depending on age
    • cookie365
    • By cookie365 2nd Sep 16, 2:59 PM
    • 1,778 Posts
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    cookie365
    • #4
    • 2nd Sep 16, 2:59 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Sep 16, 2:59 PM
    In my experience (as a non-Londoner but frequent visitor) it is the way it is.


    The alternative is to use a contactless debit/credit card which has no such restriction but may not be suitable for son depending on age
    Originally posted by k3lvc
    This. Use contactless instead.
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 2nd Sep 16, 3:10 PM
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    peachyprice
    • #5
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:10 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:10 PM
    Or at least use a contactless until you get to the zone 5 destination where you're more likely to find a station or shop.

    Perhaps OP, if you tell us your starting point, destination and route someone may know somewhere the oyster can be validated
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 2nd Sep 16, 3:22 PM
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    agrinnall
    • #6
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:22 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:22 PM
    Oyster cards are pretty much a dead duck (if that's not a mixed metaphor) now, the vast majority of people will have a contactless card or a phone that will make NFC payments. Why carry an extra piece of plastic around when you'll almost certainly have one or both of the other means to pay?
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 2nd Sep 16, 3:49 PM
    • 20,444 Posts
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    peachyprice
    • #7
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:49 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Sep 16, 3:49 PM
    Oyster cards are pretty much a dead duck (if that's not a mixed metaphor) now, the vast majority of people will have a contactless card or a phone that will make NFC payments. Why carry an extra piece of plastic around when you'll almost certainly have one or both of the other means to pay?
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    I'm assuming because the OP's son is 16-17 years old he's unlikely to have a contactless bedit card or fancy phone yet and OP wants a method of payment they can top up for him.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 2nd Sep 16, 4:48 PM
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    giraffe69
    • #8
    • 2nd Sep 16, 4:48 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Sep 16, 4:48 PM
    Can't you set the Oyster card to auto top up. I can remember the nonsense of having to update at a nominated station and agree it is absurd whether or not it is the "way that it is" but once autotop up was done end of problem.
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 2nd Sep 16, 5:00 PM
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    peachyprice
    • #9
    • 2nd Sep 16, 5:00 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Sep 16, 5:00 PM
    Can't you set the Oyster card to auto top up. I can remember the nonsense of having to update at a nominated station and agree it is absurd whether or not it is the "way that it is" but once autotop up was done end of problem.
    Originally posted by giraffe69
    OP can't set the auto-top up until they've been to a nominated station first, bit of a catch 22.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • Andy L
    • By Andy L 2nd Sep 16, 5:14 PM
    • 10,233 Posts
    • 9,454 Thanks
    Andy L
    Oyster cards are pretty much a dead duck (if that's not a mixed metaphor) now, the vast majority of people will have a contactless card or a phone that will make NFC payments. Why carry an extra piece of plastic around when you'll almost certainly have one or both of the other means to pay?
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    You can't (yet) get monthly/annual season tickets on contactless
    • Nessun_Dorma
    • By Nessun_Dorma 2nd Sep 16, 7:34 PM
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    Nessun_Dorma
    Thanks everyone for the replies and I would like to respond to the following points:

    1. He doesn't have a contactless card, he doesn't even have a bank account (he is only sixteen).

    2. There are no nearby shops selling Oyster top-ups, as we live outside London, there is little call for it.

    3. There are no National Rail stations near us that have an Oyster point.

    4. It's a bit late to set up an automatic top-up.

    We seriously cannot be the only people who have experienced these issues and TfL are oblivious to the problem.
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 2nd Sep 16, 8:03 PM
    • 18,662 Posts
    • 15,598 Thanks
    wealdroam
    My son starts college next week, which is in London, Zone 5. In order to get there, he will need to take the bus, so we need top up his Oyster card.

    As we do not live in London, there are no tube stations near-by and certainly no shops that do top-ups. So, we decided to attempt to top-up on line. He will not be travelling passed, or near, any tube stations along the way.

    But, here is the absurdity; after having to wait twenty-four hours, the top-up has to be activated at a pre-nominated tube station. There is apparently no way around it. I spent half an hour on the phone this morning trying to establish some way of resolving this and all I got was, "that is the way it is."

    We put men on the moon over forty years ago, but today we still can't operate a public transport payment system.

    Has anyone else had this issue, if so, did you get around it and how?
    Originally posted by Nessun_Dorma
    I can understand why it is an inconvenience for you, but 'absurd'... that is an exaggeration.

    Lend you son your contactless debit card for the first day of travel, during which he can top up his oyster at the nominated station.
    He won't need your PIN so there is no risk to your bank account.
    • Nessun_Dorma
    • By Nessun_Dorma 2nd Sep 16, 8:53 PM
    • 6,072 Posts
    • 4,879 Thanks
    Nessun_Dorma
    I can understand why it is an inconvenience for you, but 'absurd'... that is an exaggeration.

    Lend you son your contactless debit card for the first day of travel, during which he can top up his oyster at the nominated station.
    He won't need your PIN so there is no risk to your bank account.
    Originally posted by wealdroam
    Sorry, I have probably been to appear a little disingenuous here. I can drive him there by car for his first day, then drive around to a station, pay for parking and activate the card. But the point is that this situation shouldn't actually exist.

    Why on Earth can the data not update itself globally? Why does this multi-million pound system only work in half of the network? The very fact that the public cannot use cash to travel on a bus is just as absurd as the top-up process.

    And yes, it is absurd, there is no hyperbole, nor overreaction, it is an illogical and unreasonable process, the very definition of "absurd."
    • Kite2010
    • By Kite2010 2nd Sep 16, 9:04 PM
    • 4,170 Posts
    • 3,558 Thanks
    Kite2010
    Oyster cards are pretty much a dead duck (if that's not a mixed metaphor) now, the vast majority of people will have a contactless card or a phone that will make NFC payments. Why carry an extra piece of plastic around when you'll almost certainly have one or both of the other means to pay?
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Not for those passengers with railcards, which can be loaded onto Oyster to make some travelling cheaper.

    Can't do that when paying with contactless
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 2nd Sep 16, 9:12 PM
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    peachyprice

    2. There are no nearby shops selling Oyster top-ups, as we live outside London, there is little call for it.
    Originally posted by Nessun_Dorma
    But he's getting on a TfL bus? Surely everyone else who gets that bus needs to use an oyster.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • Nessun_Dorma
    • By Nessun_Dorma 2nd Sep 16, 9:22 PM
    • 6,072 Posts
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    Nessun_Dorma
    But he's getting on a TfL bus? Surely everyone else who gets that bus needs to use an oyster.
    Originally posted by peachyprice
    Yes, but they already will have topped up their cards.
    • Nessun_Dorma
    • By Nessun_Dorma 2nd Sep 16, 9:23 PM
    • 6,072 Posts
    • 4,879 Thanks
    Nessun_Dorma
    Not for those passengers with railcards, which can be loaded onto Oyster to make some travelling cheaper.

    Can't do that when paying with contactless
    Originally posted by Kite2010
    Which is something we will be doing later. He has a disabled persons railcard and he uses it quite often.
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 2nd Sep 16, 10:12 PM
    • 18,662 Posts
    • 15,598 Thanks
    wealdroam
    Why on Earth can the data not update itself globally? Why does this multi-million pound system only work in half of the network?
    Originally posted by Nessun_Dorma
    That would require two-way communication between the Oyster reader and the 'head office' computer.
    That communication would take far too long - think many seconds - for Oyster readers in stations. How many people would be queuing behind you in the rush hour?
    For Oyster readers on buses that two-way communication is not even possible.

    The very fact that the public cannot use cash to travel on a bus is just as absurd as the top-up process.
    Originally posted by Nessun_Dorma
    The whole of London, and indeed anyone else with an opinion, was consulted before TfL took the decision to stop accepting cash on buses.
    Yes, I know you are not in London so may not have even been aware of the proposal, but you are wishing to take advantage of London's transport facilities so must accept their rules.

    For more information on topping up an Oyster card, I can recommend this excellent independent site:
    • martindow
    • By martindow 3rd Sep 16, 10:10 AM
    • 8,354 Posts
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    martindow
    Your son could open an account - he'll need one at some point. This one offers a contactless card, for instance

    http://www.barclays.co.uk/Otheraccounts/Childrensaccounts/YoungPersonsAccount/P1242557963846

    He could continue using this or move to the Oyster card if he can link his rail card to it. You need to ask the staff at the station to do this - they hang around by the machines now that ticket offices are closed.
    • fabforty
    • By fabforty 3rd Sep 16, 10:25 AM
    • 760 Posts
    • 3,060 Thanks
    fabforty
    The first time may be a pain, but once you get the card and set up auto-top up (using your credit or debit card), it will top up the balance on the bus.
    Last edited by fabforty; 03-09-2016 at 10:27 AM.
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