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How to Use a TFL Oyster Card

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When using public transport in London, the cheapest way to travel is most often using an Oyster Card. This uses contactless technology, eliminating the need for paper tickets, and is very similar to other systems used in other countries. They can be used on all buses, Underground, Overground, DLR and tram services, as well as most national rail journeys that begin and end within the London Transport zones.
What you'll need: 
A small deposit for a card (around £5 depending where you get it from)
1: 
You get an Oyster card either from an Oyster Ticket Stop (Typically a newsagent or similar estabilishment) or from a London Underground ticket office. They require a small cover charge for the card and case, and if bought face to face, you may be asked for some personal details.
2: 
Next, you want to top up your Oyster card using Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) or using it as a season ticket. Using PAYG means that you add a cash amount (up to £90) that is deducted every time you use your card. Your daily use is typically capped to an amount (from £7.50 to £12.90) depending on which zones you have travelled through (zones 1 & 2 are more expensive) or when your journey began (peak time, before 9.30AM, is more expensive).
3: 
Oyster travelcards are better for those who travel into or around London every day, although you should try different options to work out which will be cheaper. If you get one bus into work and one bus home again (currently £1.20 each way PAYG), then clearly it is not worth getting a travelcard or bus pass on your Oyster.
4: 
To top up your card, the easiest way is to use a machine at any Underground station, DLR stop, Overground station and most National Rail stations. This will typically involve touching your oyster card to the yellow reader, then choosing either to top up your card by a set amount or adding a travelcard to your Oyster card. If a machine is not available, seek out an Oyster Ticket stop, marked with the blue colours of the Oyster card, and ask for any of these options.
5: 
When using your oyster card for a journey other than a bus, you need to touch in when it is indicated, at either the ticket gate, or edge of the platform, as well as touching out when you reach your destination. This includes when changing from a national rail journey on a traditional paper ticket to a journey within London on your Oyster card and vice versa. It is important to touch in and out and the start and end of your journeys if you are on PAYG, as if you don't, you may be charged a penalty fare.
6: 
On buses, you need simply to touch your oyster card onto the yellow reader as you enter the bus at the start of your journey. This is because all bus journeys cost the same (currently £1.20).
7: 
If you overspend your PAYG amount on your Oyster card, you will typically be allowed to finish your journey, but your PAYG account will go into minus figures, and you will not be allowed to use it again until you top it up.
Conclusion: 
Oyster cards are the cheapest and easiest ways to get around London, and special deals and rates may be available to you if you are a visitor. Fares are always subject to change, and it is best to check before you travel to find the cheapest option at www.tfl.gov.uk.
Tips: 
If you are using your card over a long period of time, you can set it to top-up automatically when it goes below a certain amount.
Warnings: 
If you do not have a valid ticket for your entire journey, you may have to pay a penalty fare or fine.
References: 

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