London is one of the finest cities with the most fantastic public transport network. Being a first-time visitor, it can be difficult to choose the best service that suits your vibe. London public transport is operated by the government under TfL (Transport for London) which is responsible for all the aspects of transportation in London.
You can look at the array of choices available and get the hack to travel around without any worries.
Getting around London
London is divided into various zones, with zones 1 & 2 being central London, and the number increases as farther you get. Heathrow Airport, the busiest airport in London, is in Zone 6. These transport options will cover all the zones of London public transport.
Operating since 1863, the London Underground or the “Tube” as famously known, is the oldest underground metro in the world. It is one of the best ways to travel in London since there is an underground stop within easy distance across all zones.
- The Tube is divided into 9 zones with zone 1 covering Central London.
- Always stand on RIGHT when your riding escalators up & down in the Underground station.
- The Tube runs from early morning until midnight, with Night tube services working on Fridays and Saturday evenings.
- Have a Tube map handy which you can get at any station for free or you can even download it online.
Why people love it?
- Comparatively inexpensive (Oyster card are the cheapest methods for single journey travel)
- Climate controlled (cosy-warm feeling during winters)
- Flexible routes
- Faster than buses and many other means of transport
Bus public transport in London
London’s iconic double-decker bus is a very convenient and cheap way to travel. These hop-on-hop-off buses can be useful in getting an overview of the city or learning your way around town. Make sure to travel via bus transport in London.
Why people Love it?
- Easily accessible.
- Simple to understand the routes.
- Convenient stops at the most popular tourist destinations.
- Tickets often include night tours, boat cruises or free attractions.
Dockland Light Railway (DLR) London transport
If you are travelling around the east and south-east of Central London, DLR is the most convenient mode of transport. Covering the docklands area of London, it is a fully automated railway system which means- NO drivers!!!
- The DLR is a driver-less line connected to the London Tube Network.
- The DLR connects to the Emirates Air Line Cable Car and London City Airport.
- You can pay with Oyster Card.
- DLR fares are the same as the Tube.
Leaving the city traffic and hustle-bustle behind, Riverboat lets you enjoy a mesmerizing view while you travel from one end to the other end of the city. Thames Clippers operates the fastest & most frequent fleet of boats on the River Thames. You can also avail Water Taxis London to enjoy the spectacular site view.
- Thames Clippers operates river bus routes frequently.
- Oyster Cards and Visitor Oyster Cards are accepted on Thames Clippers.
- The service is fast and provides efficient links to popular London attractions.
- You can also opt for river cruises, speedboat tours and dinner cruises, which all provide commentary on board too.
One should never miss an opportunity to travel to London in its iconic ”Black” taxis. While it could be fairly more expensive than other transportation services, it is very convenient to travel around the city. The oyster cards or any other such services don’t work in taxis.
- You can avail the Black cabs when the yellow ‘TAXI’ sign is on.
- The cabs are metered and minicabs can be a cheaper alternative.
- All black cabs are wheelchair accessible and carry assistance dogs at no charge.
Emirates Air Line Cable Car
With only two stations at each end, it is one of the easiest ways to navigate in London. It also offers splendid panoramic views of the city. It’s the only urban cable car in the UK, and it’s there to get you across the River Thames, from Greenwich to the Royal Victoria Dock.
- The cable car leaves each terminal every few seconds and the journey time is up to ten minutes.
- You can pay with the Oyster Travel Card and get an additional discount.
- This is a turn-up-and-go service. Tickets can only be bought at the Terminals, they cannot be bought in advance or online.
Bicycles are the newest addition to the lot. There are public cycle points all around the city. It is the easiest way to get around the city. You can easily hire a cycle and take a stroll along the cycles lanes.
- Hire bikes using London’s public cycle hire scheme, Santander
- There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes to hire across London.
- You can hire bikes using a bank card at the docking station, or using the official app.
- It costs £2 to access Santander Cycles for 24 hours of which the first 30 minutes of each journey is free. For every additional 30 minutes, it costs an extra £2.
London Public Transport Hacks- Oyster Card & Travel Cards
- Oyster Card
The easiest and cheapest way to use any London public transport including National Railways is by purchasing an Oyster Card. Visitor Oyster Cards and Oyster Cards are electronic smart cards that come with contactless payment option.
You can use them as you travel on the Tube, Buses, DLR, Thames Clipper riverboat services, London Overground and most National Rail Services in London. Simply touch the card on the yellow card reader at the gates when you start and end your journey. You can buy the card at any station or even online.
You can pre-load the amount as per your need and you can anytime top-off the card too. It will never expire, so you can save any unused credit or have your money refunded.
If you buy a London Daily Pass and travel package, your electronic Oyster Card will be pre-loaded with credit to match your London Pass duration.
- Travel Card
Travel cards are the paper cards that gives unlimited access to any public transportation for a flat rate. You can buy them for one-day travel, 7-days, a month, three months and six months. You can purchase it online too. London one day travel card is a great option for tourists. Although unlike Oyster Card, Travel Card comes at a flat rate. Once you have your travel card, you can get unlimited travel for a day or seven days.