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Brianna

January 30th, 2020

Getting Around London

0 comments | 3 shares

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Brianna

January 30th, 2020

Getting Around London

0 comments | 3 shares

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

London busI love living in a city like London because it is so easy to get around and anything I need always seems to be at my fingertips. Although walking is my preferred method of transportation, London has a great public transportation system I use every day – but I wasn’t always so great as using it.

 

Before coming to London, I made good use of the New York City subway system, but rarely ever took the bus (never actually).  So, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how convenient and easy the buses were to use in London.

London UndergroundIt took a few bus trips for me to really feel like a seasoned bus-taker, especially because on my first ride I didn’t know you had to press the button when you wanted to get off, so I watched the bus driver speed right passed my stop.

I bought a paper ticket the first time I took the tube, and absent-mindedly ripped it in half while waiting for the tube to come.  Little did I know I needed to use that ticket to get out of the gates when I got off the tube. I was only a little embarrassed when I handed the TFL worker my shredded ticket and he had to tap me out with his card.

I’ve made all the mistakes there are to make when it comes to public transportation, and from that I put together some travel tips I wish had when arriving in London and trying to get around:

  1. Download a transportation app: I use City Mapper because it always gets me where I need to go. It comes up with a bunch of different routes to get me to my destination, and gives options that are just tubes, just the bus, or sometimes a combination of both. It’s updated in real time with delays and it works in other major cities outside of London as well!
  2. Utilize your student discount: As a student, you can get discounted rates on monthly Oyster and travel cards. It can be a little expensive but if you use the tube or buses a lot, it is definitely worth it!
  3. Leave yourself enough time: Even if you know exactly where you’re going, delays are tough to prepare for because let’s face it – they happen! If one tube line is late, you may need a few extra minutes to walk over to the bus or to another tube platform. And if you really want to try to account for unexpected delays, check City Mapper or your transportation app a few times before you leave.
  4. Mentally prepare for rush hour: There’s nothing like the Central Line at 5:00pm on a weeknight. It feels like all of London squeezed themselves into one car. And even though the tubes run every four or five minutes, every car will seem just as full until everyone makes it home from work!
  5. See if you can cycle: I can’t go anywhere in London without seeing a station for renting and returning bikes. If the weather is nice enough, definitely give it a try, it’s so nice to get fresh air and some exercise. Not to mention it’s a really fun thing to do with friends!
  6. So many airport options: Airport travelling is the most stressful of all travels, but London has so many trains, tubes, and coaches that go to London airports. If you’ve got the time, look into which train you can take next time you’ve got a trip. It’s stress free and better for the environment than driving!

 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and a bit lost when moving to a new city that has such an extensive (if not intimidating) public transportation system. It may take a few missed stops or ripped tickets, but you become an expert before you know it!

 

 

About the author

Brianna

My name is Brianna and I'm currently a master's student studying international social and public policy.

Posted In: London life

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