A guide to riding public transportation in London, the London Underground, also known as the London Tube. I tell you everything you need to know to ride the underground trains in London including how to buy tickets, how to plan your trip, and how to find your train.
The London Underground, also called “The Tube” -- but never “subway” is generally the quickest mode of transport for journeys to another neighborhood or across town.
Might not be the best for going a short distance though. Locals laugh at tourists who take the tube one stop.
270 stations on 12 lines which are named and colored. Red is the central line.
Trains run 5:30am until Midnight Mon-Thurs, 1am on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday is 6:30am to 11:30pm
Rush hour is 8-10am and 5-7pm
Planning your journey:
Every station has a map, but it’s not to scale, or even geographically correct.
Handy to carry a map with you.
Google Maps is OK. Doesn’t really account for transfer time.
But the citymapper app is way better. Includes walking time, and what part of the train to ride.
Buying a ticket:
Yes you can get a paper ticket, but its 5GBP for one ride. Hardly worth it.
First things first -- Get an Oyster Card -- 5 GBP deposit, then load it up.
Stored value, or a travel pass. (travel pass can be paper)
You can buy it from any tube station, vending machines take bills, coins, and credit card. But it might not take YOUR credit card. Use machines to top up card too.
Every station has ticket gates, find the ones that have an arrow that indicates it is for entry. EIther insert your paper ticket in the slot, or tap your oyster card. Will show the oyster balance. You can also use a contactless credit card, but maybe not YOUR card.
Finding the platform:
Since you planned your route, you’ll know what line you’re taking. Look for the overhead sign, and find the direction (Northbound, Eastbound, etc)
The platforms are well marked and signs indicate the way to the platforms and the destinations served by the various platforms.
Not all trains on a "line" travel to all stops. Be sure that the train you take travels to your destination by reading the overhead signs or the illuminated sign on the front of the train.
Also make sure you take train on the correct branch.
Riding the train:
Mind the gap getting on.
Sit or stand.
Mind the priority seats, and mind your head. The doors are curved.
Maps inside the train
Stops are well announced and you can see outside the window the stops too.
I usually find it best just to count.
Once you get off the train, you’ll either be connecting or exiting.
If you’re connecting look for the overhead signs for your transfer line
If you’re exiting -- look for the “Way Out” signs.
Make sure you are going out the correct exit
And then just “tap” your way out.
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