Visiting UK

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by johnny_beme, 17 Aug 2015.

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  1. johnny_beme

    johnny_beme Member

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    Hello everyone

    I am visiting the UK in a few weeks :D and would like some transit advice.

    I will be staying in Bedford and want to travel to London on a daily basis, what is the best fare to get and where can I get it?

    Also should I get a oyster card as I do plan on doing a lot of bouncing around to different areas when I am in London.

    Finally I am going to visit a friend in York, any sites people recommend to get reasonable prices train tickets from Bedford to York? I have been looking at Go Euro for fares.

    Thanks for any help anyone can be.

    Cheers Jon
     
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  3. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    If you say which country you originate from, we may be able to advise whether a Britrail pass is feasible at all.
     
  4. ian959

    ian959 Member

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    I find the Oyster is very useful to have when travelling around London. I would recommend you buy one. If you are able to, buying a Britrail Pass is by far the best way to travel around especially if you are intending to do a couple of longer distance journeys
     
  5. johnny_beme

    johnny_beme Member

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    I am from Canada.

    I only plan to go to Stonehenge and York, otherwise its just commuting from Bedford to London.


    Thanks for the inputs :)
     
  6. ooo

    ooo Member

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    I would think Day Travelcards would work out cheaper than Oyster for you if you will be traveling around London lots

    A Off Peak Day Return from Bedford to St Pancras is £22.50
    A Off Peak Day Travelcard is £27.50.
    Both tickets are valid on trains timed to arrive in London after 10:00.

    For the extra £5 you get unlimited travel on the Underground, Buses,DLR and trains in London.

    These tickets could be purchased from Bedford ticket office or any website that sells UK train tickets ie. thameslinkrailway.com
     
    Last edited: 18 Aug 2015
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    How many weeks will you be travelling from Bedford to London for. At what times of day will you be travelling.

    Do you qualify for any railcards? if travelling at peak times a season ticket might be better value.
     
  8. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    I agree, a weekly or monthly season will prove better value. You will need s photo card for these.
     
  9. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    The cheapest walk-on fare from Bedford to York is £76.30 (return) via Sheffield.
    You would probably need to make two changes, at Leicester and Sheffield in each direction, with an hourly service taking 3.5 hours overall.
    (eg 0904 from Bedford, 0946/1001 at Leicester, 1100/1121 at Sheffield, 1230 into York, all on fast inter-city trains).
    The ticket is flexible and is valid on any train after 0900 (any time at weekends).
    You can buy it online or at the station on the day.
    No reservations necessary, but you can book one (free) if you wish.

    Stonehenge is outside my ken, but if you travel to Salisbury via London the off peak day return fare is £49.30.
    This includes cross-London travel between St Pancras and Waterloo stations.
    You can't travel in the morning or evening peaks on this ticket (Mon-Fri).

    I would agree that Off Peak Travelcards from Bedford to London are the best for casual travel around London.
    These are paper tickets and let you go anywhere in London Zones 1-6 on any mode of transport. Just ask for a Travelcard at Bedford. There are peak and off-peak versions.
    Oyster cards have to be issued and preloaded with funds, and if you forget to tap in/out at exactly the right place you will get charged a maximum fare.
    Have a good trip!
     
  10. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    A week's travel between Bedford and London including your travelcard is £149 any route.

    An off-peak return between Bedford and York is £76.30. To understand how to get best value from longer distance journeys though you need to understand that many lines are run by different companies. If you can use a single line/company for your journey there is a good chance of there being cheaper advance tickets available, whereas if you have to change lines and use multiple companies there is less chance. The above ticket is valid across all applicable companies and isn't restricted to a particular train.

    The main way to York is via the East Coast main line, which doesn't run through Bedford, so from Bedford your train has to travel for a long period of time on the Midland main line before it meets this East Cost line. However... the East Coast main line does run through Peterborough which isn't so far away. Advance tickets to York are available from nearby St Neots (14 miles from Bedford) which has a direct service to Peterborough, and if you book in advance you can get fares from just £16.30 each way from St Neots to York. Perhaps someone can give you a lift there, or you can get a bus (http://www.stagecoachx5.com/uploads/x5-timetable-apr2015.pdf) ?

    Clapham Junction to Salisbury (you already have your travelcard ticket to get to Clapham) is £42.70. I would spend that money on something else.

    If you can use them, I'd suggest just using the railway companies own website http://www.thameslinkrailway.com/ Note that you can pick tickets up from machines at the station, just be sure that it's within your timeframe.
     
    Last edited: 18 Aug 2015
  11. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    are TVMs picky about non-UK issued debit/credit cards?
     
  12. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Depending on how long you're staying, and how frequently you're travelling, a BritRail Pass may suit.

    From your description so far it may be that the BritRail England Pass is best value. This would cover all your travel between Bedford and London, and travel to York and Salisbury (for Stonehenge) at £192.35 for 8 days or £285.00 for 15 days. Significantly, it doesn't include travel across London, so you'd have to use an Oyster Card or daily Travelcard in addition. However if the timing of your Stonehenge and York trips are within 8 days, for example, you could get good value out of this.

    As the posts above imply, what's best value will depend on the frequency of your journeys, whether or not they're peak/off-peak, and how long you're travelling for!
     
  13. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    For collection of tickets booked online they'll take just about any card with a magnetic strip. For purchases it depends - you shouldn't have any problems with a Visa/Mastercard branded card, but it is possible to have problems, it just depends on your bank.

    As the TVMs are set up for chip-and-pin authorisation, I'm not sure what the situation is with mag-stripe only cards.
     
  14. johnny_beme

    johnny_beme Member

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    Thank you everyone this is some great advise.

    I will be in Bedford for 10 days, on weekends will be with my friends however weekdays when they go to work I plan to head to London. They are teachers so don't know exactly what time they start.

    Does this help or are you looking for more info?

    Cheers and can't wait to visit.
     
  15. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    How old are you? Are you fussed about exactly what time you travel to and from London.
     
  16. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    Some further notes:

    - Since the OP is from Canada, they may have a contactless visa/mastercard credit card. You can use these on the Tube and Busses in London, instead of getting an Oyster card. The fares are the same or cheaper than using Oyster, and you don't have to worry about topping up and maintaining a balance on the card. Just beware of possible foreign transaction fees from your bank, but that's not usually a problem with credit cards.

    - If you stay within Zone 1-2 (most of the stuff of interest to tourists is within these zones), you can ride all day for a maximum fare of £6.40

    - If the weather is nice, consider using the Boris Bikes cycle hire scheme to get around central London, which costs as little as £2/day. https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/santander-cycles

    - If you are 25 or under, you can purchase a 16-25 Railcard for £30, which will give you 33% discount on all National Rail fares. http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/using-your-railcard/where-to-buy/

    - A Britrail pass is great value if you want the flexibility to take any train you want at any time you want. It's 20% cheaper if you're 25 or under, and they have some special offers on right now - an extra day free, plus a London day travelcard for free.
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
  17. johnny_beme

    johnny_beme Member

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    How bout any offers for those 30 and older?

    I do not mind an early train, as that is what I take currently where i live, but I dont want to interrupt my friends schedules by having someone up when they are used to a quite house for sleeping.

    I have a chip and tap card so that will be useful for the tube then.

    Thank you all for the advise its really helping me figure out my transit.
     
  18. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I wouldn't assume (without clarification) that a Canadian contactless card will be good for the tube/buses. Anyone?
     
  19. cool110

    cool110 Member

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    Considering that Canada's EMV liability shift occurred 2010-2012 all cards should be good over here (other than the card types TfL don't accept).
     
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    It's an international standard (well technically a payment card industry standard, rather than an intergovernmental one) so I don't see any reason why not. As long as it's Visa or MasterCard branded it should be fine.
     
  21. cool110

    cool110 Member

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    It's a little more complicated than that. The standard is EMV but the US have lagged behind in its implementation so most cards there only use the old standard which doesn't work with contactless equipment over here.
     
  22. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Yes, but my understanding is that Canadian banks use the EMV standard.
     
  23. MKD

    MKD Member

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    For looking for the cheapest Advance fares from St Neots to York it's best to use the Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) website at:
    http://tickets.virgintrainseastcoast.com/ec/en/JourneyPlanning/MixingDeck
    ie from £16.15 each way when you travel only on the specific pre-booked timed train(s) = what 'Advance' tickets are.
    [ie if the X5 bus/coach didn't get you to St Neots in time to get to the station in time for any reason you'd have an invalid ticket for a later train!]

    It's also possible that from Tuesday there may be further reduced Advance 'Sale' tickets in the VTEC sale that starts then with £10 fares from London-York. (I've no idea if intermediate stations get covered by these sales too - others here will know past practice.)
    http://www.railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=2272765&postcount=2159
     
    Last edited: 22 Aug 2015
  24. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    In my experience, Canadian cards issued in the last 2-3 years work fine.

    TfL says:

    Amex: All contactless cards accepted.
    Mastercard/Maestro: Almost all accepted, except a few older cards issued in USA, Canada, and Netherlands. In that case you should contact your card issuer and get a new card.
    Visa: Some non-UK cards may not be accepted, but Visa expects that all will be supported soon.

    https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/contactless/what-are-contactless-payment-cards
     
  25. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    Not really much input here but I just wanted to say I hope you have a brilliant visit. I would love to go to Canada. Oddly enough I have been to many countries across the world but I have never been to Stonehenge which is really not that far away. Ha ha.
     
  26. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    The caveat which 34D might have been alluding to is that even if the cards physically work, there may be per transaction foreign exchange charges which mean that lots of small daily charges isn't cost effective.
     
  27. Reason077

    Reason077 Member

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    Yes, worth watching out for if you use a Debit card. Credit cards, of course, usually do not have per-transaction fees.

    Also, I believe that Canadian debit cards (unlike UK ones) usually do not have per-transaction fees for foreign purchases.
     
  28. 67018

    67018 Member

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    For Stonehenge, there's a tour bus that departs from outside Salisbury station and includes the admission price. There are options to include Old Sarum as well. http://www.thestonehengetour.info/
     
  29. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    That wasn't my point, though is a good one.

    What i was thinking of was that some retailers (inc ones I have worked for) banned foreign cards (by bin range) in an attempt to avoid problems.

    Also, some banks would view sudden foreign transactions as unusual and possibly restrict cards.
     
  30. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    I tend to use my debit card in Europe as I seem to get a better exchange rate. Through my online banking I let Natwest know which countries I am going to and it works fine. I tend to draw out large amounts and spread the money out around my person. I always have a drop wallet in case of mugging (Which has never happened), it has a little bit of whatever currency and a dud cash card.
     
  31. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    But because everything goes through the TfL back office there aren't usually lots of transactions.

    I visited London on Friday, used my contactless card everywhere and have just one charge of £7.50 for the Z1-3 cap.
     
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