Oyster cards are an absolute necessity for any London student, allowing you to travel anywhere within London zones 1-6 with just a tap! I find it incredibly beneficial to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Orpington, London Borough of Bromley (Zone 6). However, as a student who might have never needed to use an Oyster card before, you need to know a few things.
Firstly, there is such a thing as a student Oyster photocard, which is for 18+ students enrolled at London universities, giving you a 30% off London travel. I’ve attached a link to the TFL (Transport For London) page so you can look at the requirements and how you can get the card.
However, a lot of my friends who had ordered the card prior to starting at QM didn’t receive their cards until halfway through the semester, some not even at all! Obviously, as you can imagine, this meant my friends had spent a fortune on their touristy antics during their initial weeks at university travelling from tube stop to tube stop. So, I am going to advise you what a third year advised me during Freshers’ fortnight of last year:
“Just go to your nearest tube stop. Pick up an Oyster card from the machine. Get an Oyster registration form from the office and fill it in. Hand in your 16-25 railcard asking to have it ‘put on’ your Oyster. In a matter of moments you’ll get the student 30% discount instantly without having to spend a £10 registration fee like you do with the photocard.”
An added bonus of this alternative is that you won’t need to put a photo, that you’ll immediately regret, on your card! So, if you’re thinking of doing this instead of the photocard, I recommend that you purchase the 16-25 Railcard for three years, so it covers the whole of your degree programme and will mean you won’t have to renew your railcard registration on your Oyster in your second year. (Insider tip; if you take out a Santander student account, they give you a free railcard for joining up). The three year 16-25 Railcard costs £70 as opposed to paying £30 for a one year railcard. More information can be found on the link below:
Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us on the Springboards Project Facebook page and @QMspringboards on Twitter.
Photo source: Oyster card