LONDON: GETTING AROUND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT
London is an expensive city at the best of times, so with one of the best public transport systems in the world, why pay more to get from point A to point B? Here’s how to take advantage of London’s public transport system.
1) Double Decker Buses: London’s double decker buses are the best way to get your bearings of the city, and view the iconic landmarks before picking out which ones you’d like to spend more time at. The best view is from the second floor, up the very front.
With hop on/ hop off options for 44 stops, you get 1 free walking tour for a 2 day pass, and 2 free walking tours for a 3 day pass. Prices start at £20.
Always check the weather forecast, and wear appropriate clothing before heading off for your double decker bus tour. Remember that you’ll be doing lots of walking and waiting for transit connections!
2) Oyster & London Travelcards: Oyster or London Travelcard are electronic smartcard tickets that don’t even need to be removed from your purse or wallet to work. You can simply touch your card on the yellow reader to get through the Tube gates or before boarding other London public transport services. They can be used on all buses, trams, Tube, DLR and London Overground services, and nearly all National Rail services.
You can use Oyster or Travelcards for National Rail services only within the London National Rail Pay As You Go area. This zone is outlined by the red 'dot-dash' line around the perimeter of the map of National Rail lines leading out of London. You will have to purchase a separate ticket for travel beyond this zone, and for the Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect Service.
3) London Buses: London Buses around Central London are efficient and have regular timetables. However, you must either have the exact coin fare prior to boarding the bus, or purchase your ticket from the vending machine at the bus stop. To save you the hassle of having exact change, purchase an Oystercard, or London Travelcard.
Be sure you are standing at the correct bus stop, and that the bus you are catching is going in the right direction. Ask the driver as soon as you get on to confirm the bus is going to your destination. Route numbers and names are always listed on the bus stop sign.
Indicate to the driver that you would like his or her bus by making eye contact and taking a step toward the bus stop sign. Although buses sometimes fill up at peak times, they also run more frequently.
Some bus routes are express, having limited stops through all, or a portion, of their route. This is good for getting you somewhere quickly, but not so good if the bus doesn't stop where you want to go. Once again, confirm with the driver or conductor that the bus stops at where you need to go.
4) Overground or Underground Trains: Commonly referred to as the “Tube”, the London Underground trains, as well as Overground Trains, have their route diagrams marked out in color both at the station, and over the train doors, so that you can monitor your progress towards your destination as you travel. There are plenty of uniformed staff at the Underground and Train stations, so don't hesitate to ask for help should you need it.
Never miss the last Underground Train, which generally ends at 12:30 am during weekdays and Saturdays, and 11:30 pm on Sundays. Should you miss the last “Tube”, you should be prepared to take a taxi back to your accommodation. For the times of the first and last Tube times, go to: www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/1129.aspx
5) London Journey Planner: Need to plan your day ahead? Not sure how to get to your destination? No sweat! The London Journey Planner will help you to plan your trip. Simply Click here: www.tfl.gov.uk/
6) Lost Property: Make sure that you check all your belongings before leaving your seat and exiting from your transportation. People leave wallets, purses, cellphones, umbrellas, and bags on the seats of buses and trains. Always make a mental note of the route that you are on, and the date that you were traveling. Although there are no guarantees that your belongings will be recovered, it is always worth a shot to report it to The Transport for London Lost Property Office: www.tfl.gov.uk/contact/871.aspx
Address: 200 Baker Street, London NW1 5RZ
Telephone: 0845 330 9882 (08:30-16:00, Monday-Friday except Bank Holidays)
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