Mind the gap!
When you arrive in London, you will quickly realize that the cost of transport is extremely high. To find out how much you are going to have to pay per month for you to move to the capital, we’ve put together a little summary for you:
- Visitor Oyster Card: This is the cheapest way for single trips. A so-called ‘smart’ plastic card, it works with the "Pay as you go” system, that is to say you can recharge it as many times as you want and will be charged automatically for each trip. The amount of journeys varies according to your destination, your zone. For more information, see the summary table
- The Travel Card: Unlimited transport in London depending on the zones you have chosen and during the selected period. A month, a week or 3 days. For example for a one-day subscription from zone 1 to 4, will cost £12.30. For a week prices start at £33. The further away you go from the centre, the higher the price. Finally, it is possible that this card is not in a paper format but as a "smart card". You will be asked to purchase an Oyster Card costing a £5 deposit. Do not forget to return it to get your deposit back.
- Pay as you go: If you have a contactless bank card, you can use it to pay for your bus and underground connections. Simply place your card on the yellow reader at the entrance doors to the underground or bus and your journey will be debited.
- Oyster Card: Smart card, you can do everything with, recharge it with the amount you want. If you want to pay for your journeys one by one, have a 1 week subscription like the Travel Card, or even 1 month. For the latter, prices still vary, depending on the zones. For a month, expect to pay around £130. Know that you can adjust your subscription, if you do not need to go to Zone 1 for example, you can get a card that will allow you to travel only in the zones you need.
How to get your Oyster Card?
As soon as you arrive, you can get your card at the ticket booths or at the station machines, such as those at King’s Cross St Pancras. You can also order it from France, expect one week for delivery.
What happens if I leave my zone?
Let’s say that your subscription allows you to move between zones 1 and 2 but you want to go to zone 3 by underground, from zone 1. Your card will allow you to access the underground and get out at the desired station (no you will not be stuck in front of the gates…). But you will not be able to get back on the underground as the balance on your card will be negative since the amount of your trip will have simply been debited. You will just have to put more money on it to take it positive again and it’ll be good. By bus it is different because you only present your card once on entering and not on leaving, however, you take the risk of being checked and exposed to a fine of £80.
There you have all of the necessary information to move around the capital. If you have any questions do not hesitate, and do not forget to consult our article about smartphone apps to complement this one.