London Transport

London Underground Logo

London Underground Logo

Decoding the public transit system is fairly easy and there are two schools of thought on it.  You can either do your research or be thrown into the fire.  My preference is to do my research.  Bri’s preference is to be thrown into the fire.  Since she was an expert at London transit by the time I arrived, she threw me into the fire.  I dont play nice in the fire, and this proved to be a “memorable” point in our relationship.  That said, I will lay out the basics of what I have been able to decode of the system.  If you understand a few basic points, you can be thrown into the fire and feel as though you at least have a bucket of water to fight the flames.

Tube Map

Tube Map

 

1.) Know your options. There are 5 different forms of Transit (Bus, Tube, Overground, DLR, National Rail).  The busses are commonly those double decker staples of London.  It is broken out to routes, similarly to any other major city.  Use these for shorter distance trips where the other options don’t run.  The “Tube” system is a seemingly unending series of tunnels for trains to move under London. however, the Tube does pop its head above ground at points, you know, to say hello.  It is broken out into different lines, like other cities, but have an unbelievable amount of intersections and backup routing options in case of service outages.  If you miss your train, another will literally be minutes away.  Overground….think Tube, but always overground.  It is not nearly as prominent as the tube but serves the same purpose in places where underground access isn’t available.  DLR….think fancy Overground trains.  Lastly, National Rail.  National Rail…think fancier Overground Trains.

2.) Map your Journey.  Get a map of the Tube line, and keep it with you.  Have a brief view of it.  It will depict a birds eye, basic view of London.  There are 6 rings upon each other, denoting zones 1-6.  The further you go out from the center, the larger the zone and the higher the price to travel.  This will show all the different lines, at what stations they intersect for transferring from one line to another.  For all other transit, google map it and you will get the hang of it pretty quickly

curvy tube map

More Realistic Map

3.) It isn’t free. Each of the transit systems require you to check in and check out with a transit pass, called an oyster.  Busses only require you to check in.  Each station provides terminals and sometimes people to help you purchase a transit pass.  You can purchase by zone, by length of access, by “topping up” cash, etc.  Be sure to tap in and tap out, else you are subject to an 80 pound fine.

 

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