Newest Review: ... blindingly obvious so I'll put this as simply as I can: London transport's Oyster Card system is simply fantastic. It looks like a cre... more
Flexible, and capped so you always pay less than cash
Member Name: sficentre
Advantages: See headline!
Disadvantages: You CAN'T use Pay As You Go on trains!
Oyster cards are great for getting around London but have one majo disadvantage - you can't use them on most National Rail services, even within Greater London (Zones 1-6). Aparently this is something that you will be able to do in the future, but there are already problems with train operators charging too much compared to when you do the same route by tube, also using Oyster. However you can use it on a few services, if you're going from Clapham Junction to Watford Junction you can.
There are 2 options. First is pay as you go. This is for you if you just want to travel for the day, or make one-off journeys. You will be charged no more than the cost of a travelcard. For zone 1-4 this is £6.30. Use Oyster and you're capped at £5.90 - but remember with the travelcard you can use trains in the correct zones, with Oyster you can't. If you just use buses you pay £3.30 compared to £3.80 for a paper 1 day bus pass.
Secondly is storing a bus pass, or season ticket on your Oyster. So for a week bus pass this is £9.60. Or you can put a travelcard on it, say zone 1-4, this is just over £20 for a week - and you CAN use this on trains, as long as you stay in zone 1-4 (or whatever you purchased). Check maps or ask staff to see what zones you need for your journey if your not sure. Once you have a season ticket added you can use Oyster to Pay As You Go (see above) to cover any extra journeys - say you just bought a bus pass but want to use the tube.
Summary: Check the zones before you travel
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