London is vast. The public transport system is expensive and somewhat run down (one of the oldest subway systems in the world), but the service provided is generally good. Accurate maps are available on the Transport for London website. Good advice: buy when you arrive an Oyster Card (£ 5, refundable), which offers much better rates than paper tickets. Moreover, 98% of Londoners use it! Tourist passes and other packages sold locally or abroad are usually difficult to make profitable. One could describe them as “tourist jokes”.
Please note, all prices given here are valid at 1 January 2007 and change every year.
There are many lines of suburban trains serving London and Greater London, performed by different companies. You will surely have to take the train to and from airports (only Heathrow is served by metro) to reach some outlying or simply poorly sites served by metro or to the next access to London where you are staying (hotels are expensive in London, careful though, as well as transport). Train and subway are very interconnected and the entire network is divided into tariff zone (London Fare Zones) for which the Oyster card applies. The rates depending on the areas apply systematically to subway, not to train. A zonal ticket (indicating clearly the tariff authorized areas) will allow metro/train connections while you can buy tickets valid for a specific journey on the train without possible match, it can be cheaper than the local rate . It can also have a concept of road: only the lines of a specified operator may be used. Note that a single line pass through London and all airports are off (except for Heathrow but only with the metro). To locate, use the train destinations.
The oldest subway in the world, and it shows! The London Underground is probably one of the largest in the world. There are many lines that serve most of the city. Metro is divided into 6 zones, zone 1 occupying the center. It is easy to find your way through the color that identifies every line and good signage. Waiting times are often indicated in real time. As is often the case in Anglo-Saxon countries, directions are given in geographic terms (north, south …) and not on the terminal. If you do not want to miss the last train, show up at the dock at midnight at the latest.
Schematic plans of metro in reduced size are available from the ticket offices.
Metro stations are monitored by an efficient security service. You will need your ticket out of the arrival station, do not lose it on the way!
The London Underground is in regular work. Do not be fooled, consult Transport For London before departure.
New lines are commissioned in the south of the capital called “Tramlink”. Including a great bonding between Wimbledon and Beckenham Junction to the east. This service is especially dedicated to residents of this area, so not much to see along this line.
The cost of a subway passage is high. Avoid buying paper tickets, they are about 2 times more expensive than the tickets purchased with the Oyster card. With an Oyster card, a journey in zone 1 will cost you £ 1.50 for zone 1, £ 2.00 for zone 1-2 (£ 1.50 in the evening and on weekends). The total price for all your passes in a 24 hour period is capped automatically. Thus, the maximum amount for a day for journeys made after 9 h 30 in the morning will be GBP 4.60 if you limit yourself to zones 1 and 2 (accurate February 2007).
You can get this card at all metro stations of London, in the tobacconist member of Oyster Ticket Stops network or in the Transport for London information offices found in the main stations of the British capital ( the ID‘s photo is not required). You will pay £ 5 (refundable when you return the card) plus an amount to be contained in the electronic wallet card. You can also load the card with a pass (minimum 7 days) valid in areas of your choice.
It is important to touch the turnstile reader both at entry and exit from the network. At the time of the exit, you will see the balance on your card.
- Transport for London has published a brochure called Get The Most out of your Oyster Card.
Unlike the metro, buses are used to move around the city but more slowly. However, they provide access to areas unserved by metro like the south-east London (less touristy, it is true). Tickets are 30% to 50% cheaper than the subway. With an Oyster card you will pay £ 0.90 each way (£ 2 without Oyster card), capped at £ 3 per day if you do not take the bus. From the 4th trip in the day so you pay nothing. If you combine metro and bus and you reach the daily maximum for the metro, you will not have to pay more to take the bus.
Buses are picturesque, often red and two floors (double-decker buses). As elsewhere, there have to queue to stop and show his ticket or buy one when aboard (but you will anyway bought an Oyster card if you followed our advice!). That’s a good way to see the city when it rains, comfortably ahead upstairs. “Tourist” lines: RV1, 9, 11, 15, 38. 15 is, with 9, the only one to have kept its old double decker bus, the Routemaster. A famous line, however, to explore the banks of the Thames: the RV1 (Covent Garden – Tower Bridge).
Bus lines maps are published by geographical fractions, the most useful is that of the center area. Unlike the maps of other countries, no distinctive color but the numbers of each covered line are enrolled within plots.
Notice to fraudsters: take the bus without paying is strictly forbidden, and how much! If you get on the vehicle without a ticket, you would inevitably challenged by the driver and he will not reconcile if you try to jump the queue. You have been warned!
Most of the time, they are very comfortable and can carry up to five people, which may be advantageous to go several to soiree. The “for hire” light is on when available. There are also mini-cab, taxi private companies that transport you to a sum fixed in advance. Avoid hailing taxis that swarm wild at the exit of nightlife, they are not always safe. It is customary to tip taxi (about 10%).
You have to pay a fee for access to central London (£ 8/day). The charging zone was extended west in February 2007 to include particular neighborhoods of Chelsea and Kensington. On the other hand, driving on the left is not always easy without copilot. If you are far away from central London, prefer suburban trains. Attention to the price of parking, astronomical peak hours (4 £/h in the center), but almost everywhere free night (after 18: 30 pm) and Sunday. It is also possible to park for free on Saturday in some streets of downtown. There is a booking site parking in and around London. It’s very effective, safe and cheap.
Bicycle use and the adequate infrastructure are beginning to spread in London; In addition, the city has little uneven. Do not forget to drive on the left, including bike paths!
Probably the best way to discover the city. And, unlike other major cities, most of the main attractions are close to each other. Beware of the traffic! Look around you before crossing, automobiles can sometimes surprise you. On Tower Bridge Road, there are inscriptions on ground that prevent, but some passages by Thames parks and banks, for example, are safer; some ballads selected and approved by theme: romantic, historical, city and even country: new routes are added regularly. some places are great and it is surprising to think that one is in Central London.