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08 January 2009 @ 12:20 pm
UK (London) Friends: Oyster Card Question  
Can one person go onto the tube using an Oyster card and then hand it back to someone else to use, or do you need two cards?

I seem to remember having done this before, but I'm not so sure...

I actually have £23 left on my card from my last trip spending significant time in London (which would probably be the last GBBF I was able to get to, *snif*. And reminds me to finally thank highstone for his much appreciated mail of GBBF stuff this past summer).

Just wondering if it makes sense to get a separate card for ladyat or not.
Current Mood: nerdypreparing
Marionaunty_marion on January 8th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I think, technically speaking, it would be possible, but if the staff spotted you doing it they might object. Theoretically it's one person, one card...
Oreoukoreouk on January 8th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge it is one person one card. Once you've gone through for one person you can't do it again. The last time I got cards the cards were free, which is why I own 3 of them so I have spares when friends come to visit from out of town. I'd offer you one but the trick would be getting to me to get it! When are you hitting London?
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on January 8th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we get to Gatwick at probably 10 am or so on the 5th February, and to get to where you might be would take a tube journey anyway. We'll probably just train to Kings X (since we're going to Peterborough later in the evening) and get ladyat a card there.
Occam's Pyramidoccams_pyramid on January 8th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Are you likely to make the Tun that evening?
Occam's Pyramidoccams_pyramid on January 8th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
I very much doubt that this is allowed, although I cannot find *any* T&Cs on the web site.

There is one bit on a leaflet that says "You can let a friend or someone else use your card, if you only use Oyster to pay as you go at adult-rate." but I think this refers to them borrowing it for the day, not two people travelling together.

Thing is, to use it on the tube you have to use it at entrance and at exit, and it calculates the fare for that journey. Personally I would not like to write the code to handle that if you have multiple simultaneous journeys!

And if there are problems you could waste an awful lot of time arguing with the LT staff. They tend to have slightly more sense of humour than airport security.

It's very quick and easy to get a pay as you go card in all sorts of places such as newsagents, and they do say the deposit is returnable (I would have thought that remaining balance would be returnable, but it doesn't say specifically).
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on January 8th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
OK, sounds like I need to get a card for ladyat. The "deposit" is only £3, which is worth it for the convenience.

We'll load £20 on it and go from there.
The Magicianthe_magician on January 8th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure you need a card each if you are travelling at the same time. As Rafe says, it logs when you get on and when you get off and if you run it through the ticket barrier twice at the start station, how does it know you didn't actually just touch it down twice in quick succession but were a single person travelling?

In fact, as I recall, if you use it to go through a barrier, it won't work to open that barrier again unless you use it to exit ... you can see the problems that will lead to if you don't really exit ... as you won't be able to get out at the far end.

A Visitor Oyster Card is only £2+amount to store on it, and can be bought from

2 Hudson Place Suite 100
Hoboken 07030
New Jersey
Tel: +1 866 274 8724
Fax: +1 877 477 1066
Website: http://www.britrail.com/
Email: info@britrail.net

Visit Britain
551 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10176
Tel: +1 800 462 2748
Email: us@visitbritaindirect.com
Website: www.visitbritain.com/us
The Magicianthe_magician on January 8th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
You can't load a 7 day pass on a Visitor card, and the £2 is non-refundable (if I'm reading this correctly) but if there's less than £5 credit on it at the end of your trip, you can get that amount refunded at any tube station (including Heathrow!)
GreyLadygrey_lady on January 8th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Looks like by the time I read this you'd come to a decision, but I will contribute that the OysterCard will definitely not let you go through, then hand it to someone else to go through.
Susanlil_shepherd on January 8th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
There might be a problem because the fare is calculated by the zones in which you entered and left the tube system. Confuse the computer system and it charges you maximum fares each time. Just saying.