Hi everyone, I’m not a technical person, just a citizen of US trying to get an Oyster Card from this website. I have tried several times to get a card but each time I get an Error 500 message. Is there some secret to obtaining one, that I don’t know about? I’m visiting England in May and thought it would be a good idea to get an Oyster card for getting around London before I left the US. I know I will be arriving tired and cranky and didn’t want to deal with this upon arriving at Heathrow. Any help would be appreciated.
Hi @sharolene you need to purchase a visitor oyster card. You can do that here https://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/london-visitor-oyster-card/
Hope this helps!
Thank you Theo! Hopefully this link works. Do you think $35 is enough to begin? I would be using it to get to and from Heathrow and bopping around London for 3 days, to and from the Piccadilly area.
I’m not an expert on fares but Heathrow is in zone 6 so a one way pay as you go fare to Central London (Zone 1) is £12.80. There’s more fares info here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/adult-fares-2019.pdf but if you want advice from more knowledgeable people than me you can contact us by phone or by sending us a Facebook or Twitter message. Details here: https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/
I guess you will be needing the
If you have a contactless payment card, or Apple Pay or Google Pay, you can use your phone with gates too. This is always the same price (or cheaper) than Oyster.
You can also grab a Oyster card from the machines at the stations. At least one will dispense a blank card for a £5 deposit.
Thanks so much. I do not have a phone that will handle a contactless payment unfortunately. I have a Microsoft phone which, although it’s a great phone and great for getting onto the net, it’s limited on useable apps.
A few more bits of advice (whether you want them or not!).
The single fare from Heathrow to Piccadilly Circus is £5.10 in the peak (Mon-Fri 0630-0930) and £3.10 at other times, if you are paying via Oyster or contactless (cash is more expensive). The Heathrow Express is much more expensive but pointless if you want Piccadilly - just get the Piccadilly Line.
The figure of £12.80 that Theo quotes is the maximum you could pay in a single day on the network if you used all six zones. This capping is very useful; if you only use the Zone 1 the cap for a day is £7, however many tubes or buses you use.
Worth noting also that for buses you simply cannot pay by cash (on the tube you can, though it costs more). I find bus travel the best way of seeing a city, particulalry from the top deck, as you don’t just see the tourist sites but sometimes it can be excrutiatingly s-l-o-w in central London.
I’d recommend Oyster for the sheer convenience, as you don’t have to faff around with strange machines with a queue behind you. If you put more than you need on, the money is still on the Oyster card for a future visit and because it is not linked to an individual you can donate it to any other future visitor. Better that than realise you are a bit short when you are rushing to the airport.
Thank you all so much. I was able to get an Oyster card from the link above from theochapple. It’s on its way. I appreciate the help very much.
Wonderful advice! Very useful information. This out of towner, thanks you very much. I won’t take the Heathrow Express from the airport. I also do love those red buses too! I used the oyster card on a previous trip, as recommended to me by my daughter who lived there at the time. It was very convenient. I think the last time I was there was 2013. I’m so looking forward to returning.
Just to add to this very helpful post, you can also choose to get a refund of the balance of your Visitor Oyster card (the deposit for the card is non refundable). More info here: https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/refunds-and-replacements/visitor-oyster-credit-no-longer-needed
the deposit for the card is non refundable
I think you will find that it isn’t quite right. If you have an Oyster Card and you’ve registered it online you can even get a FREE replacement. If you can always get the deposit back it back (or give it to a Charity)
If you no longer need your Oyster card and don’t want to reclaim your deposit or any unused credit, you can donate it to charity.
TfL currently has 10 charity boxes in some Tube stations, including King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
Any unused credit and the card’s deposit will then be donated to the Railway Children charity, which helps runaway children on the streets of east Africa, India and the UK.
Bit late to this party, but …
Theo was talking about a visitor Oyster card which doesn’t have a deposit, just a non-refundable fee.