The World is Your Oyster – How to get an Oyster card in London!

We asked our coffee bar monitor and student, Aitor, to tell us his advice on how to pick up an Oyster card when you arrive in London, how to top it up and protect it!

In Hong Kong the metro card is called the Octopus! In New York it’s the Metro card and in London it’s the Oyster! Did you know that “by June 2012, over 43 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on public transport in London were made using the card” (Transport of London)? According to Wikipedia, the name Oyster was chosen because of “the association of London and the River Thames with oysters, and the well-known travel-related idiom the world is your oyster.

If you come to London for the first time and you want to use its Public transport system you need to have an Oyster Card.

What is an Oyster Card?

Oyster is a contactless and plastic smartcard which can hold pay as you go credit, Travelcards and Bus & Tram season tickets. You can use your Oyster card to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London.


Where can I get my Oyster Card?

Remember that when you get your Oyster for the first time, a refundable fee of five pounds will be charged.

What kind of tickets can I buy with my Oyster Card?

You can see from the table below there is a big financial incentive not to buy individual tickets and use an Oyster card.

In addition, purchasing a Travelcard is the best way of saving money. The travelcard is a pass which give you inlimited travel ( Bus, Tube, overground and train ) for a set time period. The cost goes up with the coverage of zone required.


The London public transport system is divided up into zones that radiate from the centre. For the majority of visitors you will only travel in two most central zones 1 and 2.

Where can I top up my Oyster Card?

How can I pay my tickets?


How do I use my Oyster Card and what do I have to do at the station?

All National Rail and London Underground stations in the London area have Oyster card readers or validators. You must touch in and touch out with your Oyster card at the start and end of your journey. This will ensure you are charged the correct fare for your journey. Failure to touch in and out may mean that you pay more than the advertised fare and the daily price cap will not apply. You may also be subject to a Penalty Fare or prosecution.

When you touch in using pay as you go on National Rail an entry charge will be deducted from the balance on your card. This charge will be adjusted when you touch out at the end of your journey so that you pay the correct advertised fare and qualify for the appropriate daily price cap.

Protecting your Oyster card

Don’t forget registering your Oyster card. If you do this, any pay as you go credit or season tickets will be protected if the card is lost or stolen. You can register your card online at or by picking up a registration form from your local Oyster Ticket Shop, Tube or London Overground station.

How do I get to Tti School’s two centres in Camden Town and Kentish Town? 

You can reach Tti School’s Camden Centre by taking the Northern Line to Camden Town station. We are just a few minutes walk from this station ! Our Camden centre is also close to the Camden Road Overground! Our new centre in Kentish Town is a 5 minute walk from Kentish Town Underground or Kentish Town West on the Overground! There are also plenty of buses which stop close to our schools 24, 29, 134, 253 and 279 all stop near Camden Town and the 134, 214, 393, C2 stop near our Kentish Town location!

Huge thanks to Aitor for putting this blog together for us! If you have any other questions feel free to email us at

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