Oyster Card London Pietro Place

Oyster Card

Oysters are amazing and I love them.

I even know how to shuck them pretty fast – something that I picked up from a mate of mine that works at Legal Seafood in Boston.  When I travel to London, I love the rock oysters.  They are not farmed, they are briny, super delicious, and quite deep.

Oysters are most famous in towns like Colchester and Whitstable so it is no surprise given the English obsession with oysters that they chose to name their metro card the “Oyster Card.”  Believe me, when you are travelling in London, your life depends upon this card.  It is your ticket to ride on the underground and the double decker buses.  Think of it like this – London is a huge city with over 8 million people and geographically it covers an area of 1,580 square kilometers.  The subway system in England is the oldest one in the world and reaches out way beyond the center of London and into the rural hinterland.  Nowadays, every bus accepts the Oyster Card which means that you can jump between the superfast subway network and a super cool Routemaster bus.  If the traffic is getting crazy, abandon ship and head down to the subway.  If the subway stop is too far or inconvenient, grab one of the many buses that fly by you on the street.  The stops are well marked and very civilized.  As for getting in from the airport, the subway system delivers you right into the center of town from Heathrow.

With the Oyster Card, the discounted fare will cost less than £6.

Essentially, the city becomes yours!

But here is the deal with the Oyster Card – you must put a deposit down of £5, but when you leave, you return the card and receive that money back.  Whatever you have left on your card is shown clearly whenever you put your card down on the yellow entry/exit pad.  They are easy to top off using cash or credit.  Given the high cost of the subway in London, if you are there for one day I would probably invest £25 in an Oyster Card and use it up the kazoo.  It is not cheap but it beats the alternative.  Happy travelling!

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