The city of London in the UK receives millions of tourists each year. Whilst the transport system may be one of the oldest in the world, it can also leave a lot to be desired, due to its age and restrictions. However, when travelling in London, you don’t always have to rely on the transport system put in place (although this is often more convenient) as there are many ways in which to travel about the city.
London buses cover every part of the city, and there are hundreds of routes covered. The traditional London red bus still exists, but it’s changed over the years. No longer will you see the old open door route master bus, instead, in its place you’ll find either long, single deck bendy buses, or red double decker buses, which are an update to the route master. As mentioned previously, these buses cover every part of the city, and you can either pay with cash once on the bus (£1.50 for adults, cheaper for children), or use an oyster card. If you are paying by cash, please pay with coins if possible, or a very small note, as the drivers don’t carry that much change, and are likely to get frustrated, or ask you to get off the bus if they don’t want to deal with the large note you have given them. Not to mention the frustrated passengers, who will be forced to wait because of you, as the driver counts the change. The best way to board the bus is to use an oyster card. The oyster card is London’s way of paying for travel via a debit card of sorts. This is a lot more convenient, as no longer will you have to physically count change each time you board the bus. You simply top up the oyster card with the amount you wish to place on it and then board the bus by placing the oyster card on the oyster card reader which deducts your travel journeys expense automatically. The oyster card can also be used on the London Underground, which is probably the most used method of transport in London. Again, you top up your oyster card with enough money to cover your travel, and then place your oyster card on the oyster card reader at the station when entering and exiting the station, and the oyster card system deducts the amount for your journey automatically. If you’re a tourist, the oyster card can be purchased from the Transport for London website. Once again, you can also use cash to pay for train travel. You’ll receive a ticket in exchange for your money, which will either cover you for your journey explicitly, so only from points A and B, or will cover you to travel within a certain zone over a specific period. The periods can either be a single day, 3 days, 5 days or a week.
Black cabs are also a popular way of travel, but can often work out quite expensive. You can normally find them outside most train stations, and can simply hop on board at the designated taxi rank, or by simply hailing one whilst walking on the street. Minicab companies also exist, but please don’t just jump into any car that claims to be a mini cab driver. You need to either go directly to the mini cab office in person, or ask for a cab, or call their number, and ask for a mini cab to be sent to your location. Over recent years there have been many incidents of people jumping into the back of cars, to be driven away by drivers who claim to be mini cab drivers, but who were acting under false pretences. Please don’t make this mistake. Even if the cab driver claims to be a mini cab driver, make sure you either go to the office in person or telephone the cab company yourself. ID cards can be forged, so it’s not enough to rely on this as a method of identifying whether the guy sat in his car is a mini cab driver or not.
Lastly, cycling is another popular mode of transportation. Cyclists in London are only allowed to cycle on the road, not on the pavement, so please ensure you have adequate head protection in the form of a bike helmet, and elbow and knee pads also if you prefer. Cycling in London is often seen as dangerous, due to the busy lifestyle of those who are in the city, so please be fully focused if you choose to travel via this method.