Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Oyster Card and Travel Card

oyster-pdOyster Card vs Travel Card

When making a trip to London, planning local transportation is important for all kinds of travelers. Oyster cards and travel cards are two good options available for travelers. Depending on needs and requirements, it is ideal to choose between an oyster card and a travel card.

For every point-to-point travel in London and underground travel between any two stations, separate tickets should be bought for the travel. Hence, every time you board the transportation you need to buy a ticket. For every type of public transport, the traveler should purchase tickets separately. In order to consolidate, and avoid multiple ticket purchases for the public transport system, the government introduced the Travelcard in 1981.

The Travelcard came as a relief, as it is an easy inter-transportation ticketing model for the unlimited usage of the public transportation in London. Travelcards are used for a desired travel period, from one day, one week or for a year. Travelcards are printed on paper embedded with magnetic strips. The cost is based on where it was purchased, or the validity period.

When the travel cost is encoded into a pre- paid reusable electronic card, it is called an oyster card. Launched in 2003, Oyster cards made traveling within greater London a pleasant hop. The Oyster card uses radio frequency identification for its use. Oyster cards are not new to the transport world; similar cards are available in Malaysia – the Touch n Go, as well as the Octopus card in Hong Kong.

Designed in this way, when the card is used for the public transport system, the reader takes the required information from the card. The card user can charge the total cost at any of several Oyster terminals available. This card is promoted for easy transportation, and can be used for various types of travel systems within London, including the Light railway system, over ground transportation, trams, river boat services, railway services, underground transportation and bus services.

When you purchase a card, the amount paid is loaded onto the Oyster Card. Only when the card is used for a travel, the card amount is utilized. This card is flexible for a day’s travel, and non-sequential travel days. In this way, single day journeys and single trips are more economical with the Oyster Card. Oyster cards are also given daily caps, and this is when you exhaust the amount loaded onto the card, but you do not have to pay for any further journey on that particular day. This daily cap is placed below one-day’s travel card.


· To avail an oyster card, you need to pay a deposit, while a travelcard can be bought without a deposit.
· The Oyster card can be used only in places where there are fixed reading machines. The Travel card has no restrictions.
· Even if you lose your oyster card, you can get your money back, while if you lose your paper travelcard ticket, you cannot get your money back.

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Sirs,

    I am planning to visit the UK July 2016, I shall be staying in Colchester for most of my trip (08Jul-22Jul) I may make two 1-day trips to London within that period. I shall move to London on the 22Jul and stay there until 26Jul when I shall be flying to Amsterdam through London City Airport.

    After reading your article, it was felt that I shall buy a TravelCard instead of an Oyster, the latter may cost me an extra £3.00 for activation.

    According to Adult Fare Rate 2016 published by London Transport, a 7-day AnyTime Zone 1-2 TravelCard is £32.00, which would cover me all means of travel within London, except my last trip to London City Airport, which is in Zone 3 and I need to pay excess fare on exit.

    My question is, if the excess fare is less than £6.00 for my last trip, it is worth getting only a 7-day AnyTime Zone 1-2 TravelCard.

    My second question is, can I get this TravelCard in advance specifying a date from which it is going to be effective? Looking forward to hearing from you. Many thanks and Best Regards

    José K Gabriel

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