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  • How exactly do Oyster Cards work? I know that when I board a bus, the display flashes up the expiry date. I also know that the card can be recharged over the web. How is the expiry date validated? Is it something looked up on a central database (buses with radio links?) or stored on the card (in which case, how is it recharged)? --IvorW
    • IvorW:-- As far as I have been able to tell, the cards contain two components: A ticket component with an expiry date, and a prepay component with an amount of cash. If the card is unexpired, the card will permit free travel within the ticket zones. Travel outside the zones (or expiry date) will deduct from the prepay amount.
    • In terms of renewing, the safest way seems to be at a tube station ticket machine, or over the counter. This way, your details on the card (expiry and top-up) get updated immediately.
    • It also seems that the buses check the data that is held on the card's chip rather than linking to a central database.

Note: Q&As on photographic links moved to Wiki Discussion/Photography

  • Since Ken Livingstone introduced a flat 70p fare on the buses, do the routes still have a zone structure? In particular, I have a travelcard for zones 1 to 3; does this cover me for journeys outside zone 3? --IvorW
    • Any travelcard is valid across all zones for bus travel. The flat 70p fare is no longer applicable - as of January 2004 all single bus journeys within London are £1. This is to encourage you to get a travelcard, a bus pass, or a [bus saver]? ticket.
    • They have indeed removed the zones for busses and if you use Oyster you also get each bus ride for 70p and not a pound. My Zone 2 only tube pass now works for all busses from zone 1 to 6. Its worth knowing that a weekly Zone 2 (�9.80) is only 30p more expensive than a bus pass (�9.50) so you effectively get unlimited Zone 2 tube/DLR all week for 30p more than a bus pass. This is not well publicised.

  • Where can I get a decent cup of real hot chocolate in London? As in, comes in a small cup, isn't horribly sweet, and is made with real chocolate? --Kake
    • I think some of the Coffee importers and vendors will be able to help here. Try Monmouth or Drury listed under Category Coffee Shops. --IvorW
    • * Note: Answer on the Swiss Centre removed. The Swiss Centre no longer exists, apart from as a title on the front of a building. --IvorW
    • This is probably a blatant plug, but we sell old-fashioned drinking chocolate (as in, comes in a block and you chop bits off and melt it into milk) at the Natural History Museum... --Dave
    • This is not an answer, however: Pret seems average, Caffe Nero is ok, but a little 'floral', and the drink sold as hot chocolate at the Conran Kiosk on Butlers Wharf is without doubt the most awful stuff I have ever tasted. So I look forward to a proper answer to your question! --RobertBrook
    • Carluccio's do a sort of Italian hot chocolate, IIRC; not very much like English hot chocolate, but you might like it! The South American stall at Borough Market does a South American hot chocolate. -- Tom A
    • My favourite one is in a cafe called Apostrophe, just opposite Bond St tube, up a little alley way at the side of H&M. It's wickedly thick and chocolatey ... like chocolate custard. Also, if you go to the Harrods chocolate bar, you can get what they call a suckao - melted chocolate in a heated 'cup'. Just beware the crappy service. Costa coffee have a new one - called a Chocolissimo or something like that. A tall latte glass half filled with melted chocolate and half with hot milk, served with a chocolate spoon! Delicious! -- [Jaki]

Last edited 2004-12-11 12:43:30 (version 15; diff). List all versions.