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Aishwarya

November 30th, 2022

How to apply for and use your 18+ Student Oyster Photocard

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Aishwarya

November 30th, 2022

How to apply for and use your 18+ Student Oyster Photocard

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

If you’re new to London, one of the first things you’ll notice is the convenient and efficient public transport system the city has. Transport for London (TfL) has impressive connectivity across the city that helps you get anywhere you’d like to go with great ease. As a student, the 18+ Student Oyster Photocard helps you cut down on travel costs and makes exploring the city fun and affordable. How, you ask? Read on.

What is it?

The 18+ Student Oyster Photocard is specifically designed for students living and studying in London. It’s a card that you tap-in and tap-out (for the tube) and tap-in only (for the bus) to pay for your ride. It’s different from the usual Oyster Card because it’s got your picture printed on it and offers you discounted rates.

How do I apply?

To apply for the student photocard, you have to first complete your campus enrolment and then apply online on the TfL website. The card costs £20 and remains valid until the end of your course. The application process is straightforward and requires basic information covering your student enrolment ID, London address and digital photograph. Be sure to check the instructions for your photograph before uploading.

After application submission, the university approves it and then TfL will post your card to your address. You will receive email/text updates on your application.

I received my card within two weeks of applying.

What are the benefits?

The student photocard helps you save 30% on adult-rate Travelcards as well as on Bus and Tram Passes. Once you receive your card, you can buy discounted travelcards and bus passes on the TfL website. You can also add pay as you go credit but there are no discounts for this.

The adult fare for a 7-day bus pass is £23.30 but with a 30% discount using the student photocard, the price drops to £16.30. For the tube, between Zone 1-2 the adult fare for the 7-day travelcard is £38.40 but the discounted travelcard using the student photocard costs £26.80.

Another benefit of the student photocard is that you can add your 16-25 Railcard to it. By doing this, you can save 34% on pay as you go fares during off-peak hours. You can apply for the 16-25 Railcard online and it costs £30 per year. If you’re between 16-25 years old or a mature student, you’re eligible to apply. Once you receive your card, you can link it to your student photocard at any tube station by asking a staff member.

How do I make my choice?

The choice between travelcards and pay as you go fares depends on how often you plan to take public transport. Compare the prices of the discounted travelcards and pay as you go fares for the number of journeys you will make. If you will take more than two rides each day for the whole week, the discounted travelcard on your student photocard will be economical. If not, you’re better off with pay as you go fares. It’s cost-effective to buy 7-day travelcards as opposed to the monthly ones because during some months you would not use public transport as frequently and so a 7-day travelcard helps you save money.

I usually take between 6 to 8 rides a week. So, pay as you go fares are economical for me.

Any tips for navigating public transport?

  • Getting around London becomes super easy with a transport app. Citymapper is a great one that gives you several route options with real-time updates on delays.
  • Check for updates from TfL when planning your journeys. This is especially useful when there are planned closures on the transport network.
  • Check for weather updates before planning your travel and always leave some buffer time to avoid running late.
  • If you can, do check out alternate modes of transport for a change. London is a very walkable city and it also has a great cycling network.

About the author

Aishwarya

I’m Aishwarya, an MPhil/PhD student in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE. I’m studying the impact that personality characteristics can have on performance at the workplace. When I’m not reviewing research literature, I spend my time cooking, shopping, and hula-hooping.

Posted In: London life

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