Transportation in London is anything but easy to understand. There are several different ways to get around in the city. The most important one is without any doubt the London Underground, but taxis and buses play an important role as well. Moreover, there are different ferry and rail services which are of huge importance, too. Surely, the fare system is complicated. There’s definitely a need for an extensive transportation guide!
London has several train stations which are located in different areas of the city. The most important ones include Waterloo Station, Victoria Station, Paddington Station and many more. Due to the sheer size of London and the extensive transportation network, it needs some time until you understand the whole transportation network map. When it comes to trains, it is recommendable to check at which station it departs or arrives and then use public transportation from this station to reach the final destination. Nowadays, the metropolitan rail services consist of the London Underground, the London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway. There’s also a system called Tramlink which operates in Croydon in the South of London.
The backbone of transportation in London are London Underground and London Overground. There’s also the Docklands Light Railway, but as this one is only operating in a selected part of the city, it is left out in this guide. The London Overground has several stations in the city center, but mainly connects the city with its suburbs, while the London Underground is not only the most important means of transport to connect London with its suburbs, but also for all rides inside the city center.
Currently, there are six lines of the London Overground and eleven lines of the London Underground. Five of the London Underground lines got more than 200 million passengers a year and though operate extremely frequent. Due to the integrated Oyster Card fare system, the London Underground and all other means of transportation are quite easy to use. Yet, you should be aware that taking the tube in London is anything but cheap!
Overviews of the London Underground lines:
The well-known red double decker buses are one of the most important means of transport in London till today. When visiting the city, you’ll spot these in the city center as well as is in the suburbs. Especially in the city center, the lines operate extremely frequent. While the metro is rarely accessible due to being so old, most buses are accessible and so can be used by the disabled as well.
Due to the sheer number of buses in London, it’s always recommendable to use the journey planner by TfL (Transportation for London) which shows the fastest way to get from one point to another. Due to the integrated fare system, you won’t have any problems changing from buses to the London Underground, London Overground or any means of transportation.
Taxis in London
Besides the red double decker buses, there’s another popular means of transport in London which is known throughout the world. It’s the often old looking taxis which roam through the city. While all are very comfortable and extremely safe, the price is a real issue for many visitors of London.
The general fare (Monday to Friday from 6 am to 8 pm) for taxis in London is 5.60 to 8.80 GBP (~ 7.65 to 12 Euro / 8.20 to 12.90 US-Dollar) for just the first mile. The following miles get a little bit cheaper, but taking a taxi in London is extremely expensive regardless of the duration of your ride.
Other means of transport in London
Travelling to London, you’ll instantly spot several more than the mentioned means of transport. Not only are there private operators of train systems and buses, but also other means of public transportation like ferries on the river Themse.
Not to forget about all the touristic means of transportation which are including, but are not limited to sightseeing buses, horse carriages and rickshaws. Whatever means of transportation you’ll choose in the end, be sure to bring a lot of money as transportation in London is not only truly complicated, it is also extremely expensive.