National Oyster Day 2023 is on Saturday, August 5, 2023: Oyster Card, is it good?

Saturday, August 5, 2023 is National Oyster Day 2023. Celebrate National Oyster Day With $1 Oysters And Inventive ... National Oyster Day in the

Oyster Card, is it good?

The Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing used on Transport for London and National Rail services within the Greater London area of the United Kingdom. The card was first issued to the public in 2003 with a limited range of features and there continues to be a phased introduction of further functions. By March 2007 over 10 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on services run by Transport for London used the Oyster card. According to Nicole Carrol, then of EDS, the name reflects the way "the oyster protects a pearl in much the same way that the card protects the cardholder's money."[1]

Front and back of an early Oyster card. Newer cards have the roundel in white.

Larger versions: Front • Back An Under 16s Oyster card.


The Oyster card is a contactless smartcard, with a claimed proximity range of about 8 cm (3 inches). The scheme is operated by TranSys, and is based on Philips' MIFARE Standard 1k chips provided by G&D and SchlumbergerSema. [2] It is the same contactless smartcard as Touch 'n Go card in Malaysia which is mainly used for tollway fares.

Travellers touch the card on a distinctive yellow circular reader (a Cubic Tri-Reader) on the automated barriers at London Underground (also commonly known as the tube) stations to 'touch in' and 'touch out' at the start and end of a journey (contact is not necessary, but the range of the reader is only a couple of centimetres). Tram stops and buses also have readers, on the driver/conductor's ticket machine or, in the case of articulated buses, near the other entrance doors as well. Oyster cards can be used to store both period travelcards and bus passes (of one week or more), and a pay-as-you-go balance.

The system is asynchronous, with the current balance and ticket data held electronically on the card rather than in the central database. The main database is updated periodically with information received from the card by barriers and validators. Tickets purchased online or over the telephone are "loaded" at a preselected barrier or validator.

Non-Oyster tickets (referred to below as paper tickets) take various forms. Bus tickets issued at bus stops are usually thermally printed; tickets usable at tube, DLR, and rail stations are cards with a magnetic strip which activates barriers in the same way as Oyster cards.


Period travelcards

Main article: Travelcard

The card can hold up to three ticket products at the same time. These tickets may be Travelcards valid in specified zones or bus passes. Both Travelcard and bus passes may be issued for validity of one week or longer, up to one year. The Oyster card is designed to be multi-modal and works across London's Tube, DLR, tram and bus network. Users with period Travelcards can also travel on rail services within the Travelcard zones, roughly corresponding to the Greater London area in all the zones they have validity for on their card. Travelcards can be loaded onto the Oyster card up to a month in advance of their start date.

Pay as you go

On the Underground the Oyster card allows users to pass through the gateline.In addition to ticket products, Oyster cards can also be used for stored value travel. Oyster cards can be topped up with stored value of up to £90. The pay-as-you-go (initially known as "pre pay") balance is automatically debited by the correct fare at the end of each journey by Tube or DLR and each time a bus or tram is boarded. The balance is also debited by the relevant amount if the user travels by tube or DLR beyond the zonal validity of any travelcards stored on the card.

When using pay-as-you-go at stations with barriers, debiting is seamless, as users need to use the card to open the barriers. At stations without barriers, users have to remember to touch the card on a validator at the beginning and end of the journey in order to debit the card by the correct amount.

Pay as you go users can also use certain sections of National Rail (mainly between stations also served by London Underground). Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London is trying to persuade National Rail train operating companies to allow Oyster pay as you go on all of their services within London.


Pricing is fairly complex, and changes from time to time; it is best checked on the TfL website[1]. To encourage passengers to switch to Oyster, non-Oyster fares were substantially increased after the introduction of Oyster, and Oyster fares are generally much cheaper than non-Oyster.

As of 1 January 2007 a cash bus and tram fare costs £2, while the single Oyster fare is £1, but capped at £3 for any number of trips in a day. When using Oyster on the Underground, a single trip within Zone 1 costs £1.50 (£4 paper), or £1 (£3 paper) within any other single zone. When travelling on the Underground and DLR in addition to buses and tram the price of journeys is capped at 50p below the price of the relevant one-day Travelcard. London is the only city in the world that offers this daily price capping.

Single Oyster fares on the Tube and DLR start at £1.

Single ticket type

(Within the Greater London area, stations south of Moor Park) Paper

ticket Oyster


7am-7pm All other


Zone 1 only £4 £1.50

Zone 1 to 6 £3.50 £2

Zone 1 to A or B £5.50 £4.50 £3

Zone 1 to C or D £7 £5.50

Zone 2 to A or B £4 £3 £2

Zone 2 to C or D £5.50 £4

Zone 3 to A or B £4 £2.50 £1

Zone 3 to C or D £3.50

Zone 4 to A or B £3 £2

Zone 4 to C or D £4 £3

Zone 5 to A or B £3 £2

Zone 5 to C or D £2.50

Zone 6 to A or B £1.50

Zone 6 to C or D £2

Zone 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (any two adjacent zones but not zone 1) £1

Zone 2 to 6 £1.80

Single ticket type

(Stations north of Moor Park in zones A to D) Paper

ticket Oyster


7am-7pm All other


Within one or two adjacent zones (A, AB, B, BC, C, CD, D) £3 £1

Within three or four adjacent zones (ABC, ABCD, BCD) £1.50 £1

Oyster cards can be purchased at London Underground ticket windows, from cash-only vending machines at some stations, from about 2,300 Oyster Ticket Stop agents, from a select number of National Rail stations also served by London Underground, over the web at or by calling the Oyster helpline at 0845-330-9876. A refundable deposit of £3 is paid unless a weekly or longer period ticket is loaded to the card in the first instance. A registration form is provided at the time of purchase. If the form is not completed the Oyster card is restricted to pay-as-you-go and weekly tickets.

Is a one day oyster travelcard valid on National/British Rail?

Is a one day oyster travelcard valid on National/British Rail?

The Oyster card can be used on overground services within the zone 1 to 6 if they are pre paid, not touch and go, however if you travel outside of the permitted zone you will be charged the FULL fare from staring point to destination or a Penalty Fare.

If you turn up with a touch Oyster most overground stations do not have the facilities to tap your card and therefore will not register your payment, nor do you get any discount for travelling with an Oyster.

Hope this helps

7 Day london travel card?

7 Day london travel card?

The Dark Side said it well, but a 7 Day travelcard is valid for the tube, buses, Overground, tramlink and all National Rail services within the zones your card is for, I believe a travelcard will allow you on all buses as there are no zones.

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