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Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone

Denver, CO
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Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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Going to be travelling to some towns/cities in Kent, Surrey, etc that are outside of the Oyster Zone. It won't be anything planned (I know some towns have their own Oyster like cards) and I may just want to jump on any bus from any stop along a road.

With that, do most buses still take cash/coins or are they now mostly only contactless cards (credit cards, Oyster like cards, etc)? I've just never paid in cash in the London area of course having an Oyster card and didn't know if cash was getting phased out for buses at all?

7 replies to this topic
London
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1. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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Virtually every service bus in the UK now encourages contactless payment. Unlike London, they are not flat fare, you'll need to tell the driver where you are going and you'll get a physical ticket.

Much as spontaneous trips are fun, I'd want to do planning and research. Bus services outside London vary from good to hopelessly infrequent, so research ahead of the trip could remove a lot of wasted time.

Beckenham, United...
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2. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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Local areas often have day tickets for a set fare that cover various areas but might be restricted to the same bus company and not transferable to a different bus company.

London, United...
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3. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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Depends where you are going. Many historic centres eg Canterbury are relatively small and once there could be walked. Brighton has a good bus network and worth a day ticket for the city and local area. For a short single journey have your credit card ready or the exact change -expect to pay about £2.50 for a short bus journey.

Google local towns + buses for further info. Google maps also useful for bus routes and stops.

Denver, CO
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4. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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Yeah I was thinking, especially during Covid that they were starting to go more contacless now and getting rid of actual cash. I do have a contactless credit card which I can use if needed (with a small % service fee in the UK).

It seems I just find that the towns, etc I was looking all seem to point to tickets at machines or the day passes, etc as mentioned. I am not expecting to take a bus, but I may find at some point I might opt to want to hop onto one to save sometime etc.

But yeah, I didn't think about the zone coverage as I'm just used to the Oyster Zone and just hoping on or off with only swiping a single time regardless how many zones I might go through.

It could be that maybe cash isn't an option anymore and that's why I was only finding tickets. I'll just try the credit card if I need to then.

Again, this not something I'm planning to do and why I don't need a day pass, etc. But just as a backup option incase I see a bus coming and realize I might just want to hop on for a few miles, etc.

Thanks for the input

London, United...
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5. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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It is mixed. Some of the big bus operators such as Arriva now have a no-cash policy, and most buses have facilities for contactless card payment even if they also accept cash. A few small operators (such as local coach hire firms who operate a few market day bus routes as well) may not be equipped for contactless.

Wolverhampton...
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6. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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National Express who is the main operator in the West Midlands is not really geared up for contactless. Cash is still very much the main way to pay and the money is deposited in the fare box. The driver has no contact with it and cannot give change. There is also the Swift card which is the local equivalent of Oyster and all buses now have a card reader. Daily capping is new and only applies to bus travel. Metro tickets are excluded from this as unlike in London there is no integrated fare structure. between different modes. This is long term effect of deregulation in the 1980s and the envisaged competition fizzled out over time. Generally public transport especially buses are seen as an expensive and usually inconvenient way to travel. Often it is hard to make a seamless journey and frequency in many areas outside of the core day is sparse or non existent.

Tring, United...
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7. Re: Local Bus Questions for Outside Oyster Zone
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I can only speak for my local area (Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire) but our buses all have contactless payment, and on a recent trip to Scotland, Lothian Buses had it too. You might find it expensive to use a non UK card outside London as you may be charged foreign use fees on every transaction due to the lack of a single transport authority like TfL, who total up your daily use and submit it as a single transaction.

Many Bus Companies have launched apps to get virtual tickets too.

Edited: 24 October 2021, 16:36
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