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Your journey to success in the Great Britain

Public transportation in London

There are plenty of ways how to travel around London and get from A to B. The most common of them is the London Underground (or Tube), which is more than 150 years old. London is proudly having one of the oldest underground networks in the world (the first train departured in 1863).

The period of 150 years was marked by the expansion, reconstruction and increasing number of lines. Nowadays, there are 13 different lines all around the city. Each of them has its own name, colour and many crossings with other lines as well.

Except for that, there are more than 700 red double-decker buses that you can make use of. Moreover, there are also trams in the south of the city or ferries on the river Thames. However, there are also other alternatives, such as trains, cabs, bikes or walking around the city.

London is divided into 9 zones.

How to travel around London?

Not matter if you are travelling to London for a couple of days, or for long-term stay (to find a job), you need to have a travel card. In London, there are basically two options of the travel cards and each of them is suitable for a different purpose:

I am going to focus more on the Oyster Card, how to get it and use it.

Oyster card

Step by step

The Oyster Card might be either blue, or labelled by different pictures. You can buy it in almost all stations of the London Underground in the machines or desks of the local staff. The refundable deposit is £5.

Thanks to the Card, it is possible to travel all around London, making use of all means of transport – Underground, buses, trains, Overground etc. Of course, only in the zones that you will paid for.

The prices differ according to time you travel in:

  1. In rush hours: from 06:30 to 09:29 and from 16:00 to 18:59 (Monday to Friday)
  2. Outside of the rush hours: all the time except for the above stated periods, weekends and bank holidays.
Late in the night, usually after the last Underground train and before the first one departures in the morning, the machines are closed and you cannot buy the Oyster Card. You may buy it even before your arrival in the UK online and send it via mail to your home country.

Pay attention to the fact that there is the activation fee of £3 and the postage of £3,25. It takes between 10 and 14 working days or £9,75 to get the Card within 3 – 4 working days. Obviously, the fare credit must be bought as well (£10, £15, £20, £30, £40, £50).
  • Did you know that with one person older than 16, there is an opportunity to take up to 4 children of 5 to 10 years of age travelling for free?
  • Did you know that travelling with a child of 11 to 15 years, you might ask for up to 50 % discount for a period of 14 days?
  • Did you know that if you travel by two buses within one hour, the second ride is for free. However, this is possible only when you pay by credit, the so-called ‘pay as you go’.
If you want to save up to 50 % of the fees and still have the Card sent to your home address, do not hesitate to contact me.

How to pay for the travel allowances?

1. Travel credit

Pay as you go – this type of credit is charged for every journey you make.

In this case, you need to calculate how often, where and how you are going to travel. In contrast to the weekly or monthly tickets, the credit pays off, only if you came to London to:

  1. Spend a few days and you are only staying in certain zones.
  2. For the first day, you make only one or two journeys, as you don’t really know, where exactly you are going to live, if you are going to move, etc. In this situation, the weekly or monthly tickets would not pay off

Example of prices for the each zone

Note: Only the first type includes the example, as the others are based on the same principle.

Zones 1 and 2:
£2.90 in rush hours,
£2.40 outside of rush hours,
£4.90 single way ticket in cash,

£1.50 single way ticket by bus,
£6.50 all-day ticket, or the so-called unlimited ticket for travelling by Underground in the zones.
As soon as you reach the limit, you are not charged any more.

You arrive in London and realise that you live in the Zone 2 and you are going to stay mostly in the Zones 1 and 2. For the two first journeys, you are charged £2,90, each way. However, the third journey makes only £0,7 and then you reach the daily limit for the two zones. Any other journey by Underground is for free, in case you stay in the first and second zones.

Travelling by bus does not count in the daily limit, single way costs £1,50 and the daily limit for buses is £4,50. For example, you will travel by bus twice, the final price is £9,50 (£6,50 is the daily limit for the London Underground and £3 for two journeys by bus).

Seeing this, this it clear that it is not worth buying paper tickets at all. Even for a single journey, it is worth investing in the Oyster Card (£5) and put the minimum credit (£5) to get to the final destination (£2,9 in rush hour) and then to get back the deposit for the Oyster Card. Your deposit of £5 will be returned, together with the extra £2,1 on the card.

Zones 1, 2 and 3:
£3,30 in rush hours,
£2,80 outside of rush hours,
£4,90 single way ticket in cash,

£1,50 single way ticket by bus,
£7,60 all-day ticket, or the so-called unlimited ticket for travelling by Underground in the zones.

Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4:
£3,90 in rush hours,
£2,80 outside of rush hours,
£5,90 single way ticket in cash,

£1,50 single way ticket by bus,
£9,30 all-day ticket, or the so-called unlimited ticket for travelling by Underground in the zones.

Another alternative is to pay for the transportation with your contactless bank card up to £30. It is similar as with the regular Oyster Card and you use it the same way. The fare is automatically charged. Limit is the same as with Oyster Card.

If you are planning to arrive in London at night, when it is not possible to buy the Oyster Card, you might make use of this service. Just make sure that your card has this service available.

2. Weekly and monthly tickets

You might choose the ticket according to the zones you travel in. Then, you are entitled to use all means of transport there (Underground, Overground, buses, trams, etc.).

It pays off to have such a ticket, if you commute to work on daily basis or you visit London for more than 5 days and you are planning to travel by Underground, buses and other means of transport as well.

Prices for the zones:

Zones 1 and 2:
£32,4 – weekly ticket,
£124,5 – monthly ticket,
£1 296 – yearly ticket.

As you can read, it is worth buying the monthly ticket in comparison to the weekly one. Every month, you would pay circa £15,90 more.

Zones 1, 2 and 3:
£38 – weekly ticket,
£146 – monthly,
£1 520 – yearly ticket.

Again, the weekly tickets are circa £18,60 more expensive than the monthly one.

Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4:
£46,5 – weekly ticket,
£178,6 – monthly ticket,
£1 860 – yearly ticket.

£22,90 is the difference between four weekly tickets and a monthly one.

The plane of Mr Smith landed on Saturday July 16th, 2016 in the afternoon on the Luton airport. He would like to get to the city centre by bus. He gets off the bus at Baker Street (Zone 1) and he needs to get to Leyton Underground Station (Zone 3), where he has his accommodation. He realises that he only goes to the house today and he is going to travel only the day after.

  1. He buys the Oyster Card at the machine to travel around London.
    Price: £5.
  2. He puts the credit of £5 on the Card, which is enough to get from Baker Street (Zone 1) to Leyton Underground Station (Zone 3).
    Price: £5.
  3. He knows that he need to travel to the centre to have his interviews around the city. Therefore, concurrently he buys the monthly ticket from the following day, July 17th, 2016.
    Price: £146.
Altogether, he spent £156.
For the first journey back home, he spent £2,80 out of £5 credit (it is weekend, so he travels outside of the rush hours. In case he landed on the working day, he would be charged £3,30). Next day, his monthly ticket for Zones 1, 2 and 3 becomes valid and he can travel without any limitations by the London Underground, buses, Overground or trains etc.

Useful information while travelling around London

  1. There is an application to search for the best connection.
  2. Search engine for single way – simply, you put the start and final destination and find out how much is the fare.
  3. Price list of fares in London.

Is it possible to save more money on transportation?

Yes, in certain cases, you can decrease the costs and save dozens of pounds per week, hundreds per month and thousands per year. Do not hesitate to contact me.