Did you know the London Tube carries three million passengers every day? Soon, one of them will be you - squeezed tightly between a lady listening to her daily dose of techno and someone with coffee breath. But the tube and bus network also people to get to work (reasonably) quickly and usually without any major delays. Once you learn the specifics of the London transport network, the journeys are quite straightforward and easy to understand.
Since the trip to work tends to be the main source of apprehension among our students, we have put together a simple survival guide for new commuters.
1. The Oyster card
The Oyster card is an electronic travel card that can be used on all modes of London transport: the Tube, Overground, buses, trains, DLR, ferries, etc. You can either top up (ie. put money on) your card with however much money you would like to spend or buy your own weekly or monthly ticket for a set rate.
2. Touching in and out on the tube
Touch in and out of every Tube, Overground, train or DLR station, meaning pressing your Oyster card against the yellow card reader. If you touch in but don’t touch out, £8 will automatically be deducted from your card as a fine.
3. Bus travel
To make life more complicated, on buses you only have to touch in. If you touch out, you will pay for another journey of £1.50.
4. Tube zones
The London transport network is divided into different zones, ranging from 1 to 7. Different fares apply to journeys between different zones. ADC College is located in zone 5, central London is in zone 1. The zones only apply to tube travel.
5. The Transport For London website
www.tfl.gov.uk is a website every Londoner uses. You can plan your journey between your host family and work placement, receive updates about delays or check the Tube map. There’s also an app called City Mapper London, which swiftly finds your quickest way home (but you need to be connected to Wifi or 3G). Google maps also has a public transport option, which gives you a good overview of your journey.
6. What's the destination of your train?
Check the destination of your train before you board. If you don’t, you might end up in the wrong part of London as the same Tube line can have different end stations or branch into two separate train lines – such as the Bank and the Charing Cross branches on the Northern line.
7. Ask questions
The station staff are very helpful. If you’re unsure about how to get where you want to go, don’t hesitate to ask.
8. Let the passengers off the train before boarding
Don’t cause unnecessary stress or delays by rushing onto the train when people are trying to get off, let passengers get off the train first.
9. The last train home
Don’t miss your last train! Make sure you check the last departure time for your train home, as the night bus might be much slower and less frequent.