I’ve now managed to get some official information about the various cards being issued to volunteers at the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Firstly, it appears that the Mayor’s ambassadors will be getting normal blue Oyster cards with an amount of PAYG credit to cover their expected travel needs. These cards should then function as any other adult Oyster afterwards.
The other volunteers called gamesmakers will be getting a special “2012 Ceremonies Volunteer” design. These cards will come pre-loaded with either a travelcard or an amount of PAYG credit to cover required travel. It will not be possible to add additional credit or travelcards to these special issue Oysters and they will be deactivated (hotlisted) once they are no longer required. They are also only valid when used alongside an official accreditation pass explaining what role the holder is performing. They are issued by LOCOG and any problems need to be reported back to LOCOG.
The type of card (PAYG or travelcard) should be detailed in the covering letter, although they can be interrogated at any Oyster enabled ticket machine. If they have PAYG credit then the remaining balance will also be confirmed at touch out on each journey unless it is at very old gates at some Underground stations. As with all PAYG Oyster cards, you must touch in and out at both ends of every rail journey. If coming from outside the Oyster area on a paper ticket you will need to change trains at the station where you switch from paper to Oyster.
If they have a travelcard stored on them then they can be used on through trains from outside the travelcard area as long as NRCoC 19 is satisfied. This states that two or more tickets can be used for one journey providing that (a) the train calls at the stations where travel switches from one ticket to another, or (b) one ticket is a season (which the travelcard is) and the other(s) are not, or (c) both tickets are zonal. The travelcard is zonal, so if a season is available to boundary zone 6 then both tickets are zonal and the fact that they are both seasons is immaterial. Within the zones covered by your travelcard there is no penalty for not touching in or out, so there is no need to get off the train just to touch your Oyster.
Remember also that a travelcard gives you free travel on any TfL operated bus, even those that run outside the travelcard zones.