my Oyster card…

…is still fresh, two years after I last used it, during my February 2009 trip to London. It even still had nearly 14 quid left on it!

My favorite difference between the MTA’s MetroCard in New York and TFL’s Oyster card in London is that the Oyster card comes with a daily price cap: no matter how much you travel, you never pay more than a price of a Day Travelcard, which gives you a day of unlimited travel. The Oyster smartcard keeps track of your travels and spending and simply stops taking off more fares once you reach that cap. In New York, the MTA actually just discontinued the one-day unlimited MetroCard, but when it was still in effect, you had to decide before you began a day’s journeys whether it made more sense to buy a one-day unlimited card or to pay as you go.
Which seems really unfair in light of how London does it.

I’m still figuring out the best way to get around. There are so many options for fast trains from the East Croydon rail station — trains go from here into several different stations in Central London, including London Bridge, Waterloo, and Victoria — that it’ll take trying all of them out to see what’s best. These trains do seem to run so frequently that they’re almost like the tube, and less like the commuter rails I’m used to in NYC, which run slower and less often.

Ah, the joys of learning your way around a new city…

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