J and I have an Oyster card – a London Tube and bus stored value e-ticket card. Just like we have Singapore travel cards as well.
Anyway, we’ve a trip to London coming up so I thought I’d add some value to each of the cards online in advance – the last thing you want is to find you’re out of credit when you get the Underground from Paddington to our short stay apartment.
No way. London Transport will happily sell you a visitor’s Oyster card online, and even send it to you in Australia but won’t let you top up online.
They seem to have this really weird idea that if you want to top up the card you want to register, and you have a UK address, UK phone number and UK postcode, and that you only have one card.
Well we have one card each and we don’t mind who uses which – as we usually go most places together it doesn’t matter.
What we really want is an anonymous top up facility – here is my Oyster card, here is my Paypal account, or visa debit card number, please transfer GBP10 from my account to my Oyster card.
But no they don’t do that – and it can’t be paranoia over foreign credit cards given that they let you purchase cards over the internet. And it’s silly – if you lived in Paris or Brussels and came to meetings in London three or four times a year you’d probably want to get yourself a card and top it up from home as well