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
London's Transport could be your Oyster
Member Name: DarkDunmer
Advantages: Can save you money, easy to top up, no payment times
Disadvantages: Travel cards can be cheaper
Oyster cards can be used in the Greater London area to pay for travel by bus and by train. Its use is encouraged by Transport for London and can save you a lot of money when travelling about London (at least if you go by bus). It was designed to alleviate the number of cash transactions at help desks and so this means you can top up your Oyster card online and even set it so that it automatically tops itself up from your bank account whenever its money goes below a certain limit.
If you are going to travel by bus in London having an Oyster Card can save you a lot of money as each time you change bus (and you will usually have to do this often if trying to get to a specific place) you have to pay about £2. With the Oyster card travelling by bus is still expensive but you will use a lot less money than you would have otherwise. Oyster cards are relatively easy to use for trains and buses- when you get on a bus you will simply have to touch the card to a yellow reader which will automatically take the money from your account. When taking the train all you have to do is scan the card when you depart from your initial destination and when you arrive at your target one. Also if you have an Oyster card and are under 16 or in full time education your travel on buses in London will be free.
However I do not believe that Oyster cards are the best method of payment for travel by train because travel cards are a lot cheaper and can be used anywhere within the (large) zones you have selected them to work in. With an Oyster card you must pay for every single train and tube you take and so these costs usually add up to a lot more than what a travel card would cost.
I would recommend owning (and having a small balance on) an Oyster card if you live anywhere near London and are planning to use public transport. However I would check if other forms of payment, like travel cards, are cheaper before using it.
Summary: At least own one of these if you live in or near London and use public transport
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