A quick guide on how to move around London.
There are many ways to travel across the city. But be prepared, London is top 3 in the list of most expensive cities for transport in the world! To help you save a penny, there is such a thing as an Oyster Card (not seafood related, so you will not get poisoned from it once it expired in your pocket). First thing you should do upon arrival in our capital is to get yourself one. It costs about £3 and the rest is “top up as you go”. The maximum you can be charged per day is £6.80, all other trips after that, you will not be charged.
The good thing about the Oyster Card is that it is now accepted in all London transports, not only the Underground, but also the National Rail Service, Thames Clipper boats and the rest. It is even accepted by a few Black Cab taxis in Central London (but it has to be topped up to the sky’s limit then). Another option is to buy a Travel Pass. There are daily, weekly, and monthly ones but be careful when choosing. There are 6 zones in London, but usually you might not need to travel further than zones 1 and 2. The weekly pass for these 2 zones would cost you £27.
Sometimes it’s the quickest way to get around, but I find it to be the most unpleasant one. It’s too crowded, lots of disruptions (you can get stuck in the tunnel due to the signal failure or something like that), especially on the Jubilee line, but by 2012 everything should be fixed. Amen!
My favorite thing! Especially since the new East London Line, aside from being new, is bright orange and air conditioned. You can admire views through the window and it costs cheaper than the Tube.
Docklands Light Railway is a miracle because it operates without a driver. Take a ride to Canary Wharf or West India Quay – train runs up high, between office skyscrapers, it’s very futuristic.
Buses are the best, but sometimes too slow due to traffic. There are day and night buses (marked with N). Never board them if you have no valid ticket or coins because drivers don’t give change, ever. Once I had a 4 stops ride for £5 (was really in a hurry). Also, if you want the bus to stop, you should give it a sign with your arm, otherwise it can just mission pass you without stopping. And if you are already inside and want it to stop, click the special red button. Be careful on the stairs! Many broken legs has happened during the stops.
Another of my favorite ways to travel. If you just want to enjoy a boat ride without any excursions, Thames Clipper is for you. Around £5.50 for a ride (you can get a discount for paying with your Oyster, but not a prawn.:)), it goes as far as Woolwich, which is after O2 Arena. The schedule changes in the evening (fewer stops, fewer boats). Tourist boats don’t go further than Greenwich and cost twice more.
Black Cabs are expensive. Pre-ordered taxis are much better. Try calling 02073878888, they will sort everything out quickly.
So-called Boris bikes are everywhere now. You can use them if you have a credit card. First 30 minutes are free, which is handy. Barclays Cycle Superhighways (blue cyclist routes) covers the whole town. But might be tricky to return the bike if you are traveling to some popular tourist destination, such as Soho or Covent Garden.
Everything you need to know about traveling, from time schedules to the routes and fares, can be found here:
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ Enjoy the ride!