Reader's Rant: Oyster Cards For Kids

By Rob Last edited 159 months ago
Reader's Rant: Oyster Cards For Kids

A week or so ago we began asking for Londonist readers to start sending in their 'opinion pieces' to us for publication over the weekend. Really what we wanted were your rants and your moans about London life, the stuff that you really needed to vent.

Now somewhat unsurprisingly a few of the emails we received were about London's somewhat notorious transport system, so we thought we'd post two of those emails here today.

If you sympathise with our contributors then please let them know via the comments section (we're sure they'll appreciate the support); and if you've got a similar rant of your own lying, silently seething in the pit of your stomach then please feel free to unburden yourself via

Now on with the rant.

Being a law abiding citizen, and worrying about my 5 year old's uncanny ability to announce his age to anyone who will listen, I've been on the hunt for a child oyster card. Irrespective of the poster ads, the process has been far from easy.

Having queued on a Saturday morning at Ealing Broadway, I was told that no Oyster cards could be issued as it was a British Rail (does it still exist?) station and not a tube station - this irrespective of 2 separate tube lines terminating there.

When the queuing process was renewed at an actual, rather than fictional, tube station, I was informed that child Oyster cards can only be issued by the Post Office.

And it will cost £5 "administration charge".

And I had to fill in an entirely separate form, which is only available at the Post Office.

In my smog of confusion, I failed to ask the nice London Transport man the cost of a letter to Mongolia and the last posting date for Christmas post. Since Oyster cards for children are compulsory as from next year, why has a tax of £5 per child been introduced? And what will it be spent on?

With these questions still unanswered, I headed to the post office. They promptly gave me a form for 14-15 year olds, claiming they don't deal with any other age, only newsagents do that. A return trip to the station manager of another tube station revealed that London Transport know nothing about this question, having to resort to ringing 0207 222 1234.

The advice:

- Go to an other Post Office and insist to be given a form for 5-15 year olds. (done and unsuccessful. Post Office claim they don't have such forms and that the Underground regularly mislead customers as they don't know what they're talking about).

- Ring 0870 443 1044, the Oyster helpline.

Oyster helpline are helpful. There is only one form, so fill it in and stop all the fuss.

All I want to do now is to pay my £5 tax and get my son on the tube!

- Judit, EC3R.

Last Updated 26 November 2005