Getting from A to B in London is a breeze thanks to the extensive transport choices people have. It is not only unnecessary to have a car and in some cases, it can be a disadvantage. Here are some of the best forms of transport in London:
The Brit’s often call the London Underground- The Tube and it covers the whole of London and the suburbs. It is in fact, the oldest metro system in the world and transports over a billion passengers annually! It is probably the easiest way to move around London.
If you want to find out all the information about transport in London and up to date timetables, look on www.tfl.gov.uk. You also find a map of the underground system. There are 11 lines and a total of 270 stations. The lines are:
- Hammersmith and City
- Waterloo and City
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) isn’t an underground service but it does connect to the underground system.
Generally trains run on Mondays to Saturdays from 5:30 to 00:30 and on Sunday with slightly shorter hours.
London Underground is separated into 9 zones, Zone 1 being the most central and Zone 9 being the furthest from the center. The zone will determine the price of a ticket. An Oyster Card is the cheapest way to use the tube and London buses if you live in London or if you are staying more than a few days. You can pass through the station by passing it over the scanner and top up using credit. You can get your Oyster card online or at a station. It’s free and you only pay for the credit you put on the card.
Other options are All Day Travelcards, which you can purchase for up to 7 days. The cost will depend on the zone you wish to travel in and whether you will be traveling in peak time or not. These cards will also cover London buses and you can buy them in a station.
The famous red double-decker buses of London are a must do and will allow you to see all the sights. You can pay with your Oyster card if you have one or your travelcard. If you choose to pay for a ticket on the bus you will have to use a contactless card (£1,40 for a single and £2.40 for a return). You can no longer pay in cash.
Just as famous as the red busses are the London Black Cabs. You are guaranteed top quality service as each driver has to study every road and area in London!
They also have to pass a test, known in the industry as ‘The Knowledge’. The British Cabbies (drivers) are some of the most resourceful in the world. If you wish to catch one just look for the orange ‘for hire’ light and then whistle, wave or shout and they will find a way to pick you up.
ONLY Black taxis in London are allowed to pick up passengers from the side of the road. If a minicab offers to take you while you are on the roadside it means they are not insured. If the taxi is not a Black cab it must be pre-booked. If you prefer a minicab, all the contact details can be found on Yell.com.
Taxis will have a meter, located where you can see it. There should also be a sticker where you can see the various tariffs. If you can see the meter running up in traffic then tell your driver you will get out and walk, you will save yourself a few pennies, or even pounds.
Alternative travel methods
Bikes are a modern system introduced to have reduced pollution. Officially known as Barclays Bicycles they have the nickname ‘Boris Bikes’ named after the mayor who introduced them.
The idea is that you can take one of the 8000 bikes from one of the 570 locations by using your credit or debit card. It is free for the first 30 minutes and can cost up to £50 for the day, the maximum you can hire it for. You can return it to the nearest bike bank. There is more information on the TFL website.
The cheapest and healthiest option is to walk! London is a rather compact city and You can get to the majority of places within 15 to 20 minutes. It will also give you the chance to see some places you wouldn’t from the road.