Home Travel Guides A complete guide to London public transport

A complete guide to London public transport

by Parastoo Sahebi
9 minutes read

The public transport system in London, England is one of the most advanced ones you can find in Europe. It offers a variety of means of public transport for the convenience of citizens and tourists who travel to this beautiful city.

London Buses

London’s iconic double-decker buses are a fast, comfortable, and cheap way to travel around the city, with plenty of opportunities to take in the sights of London along the way. The London bus network covers the entire city with a 24-hour service. Children under 11 years of age can take the buses and trams in London for free. Free travel tickets are provided for people in wheelchairs, as well as the elderly and disabled.

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Best way to pay

London buses cannot be paid with cash. You can pay with an Oyster Tourist Card, Oyster Card, or Travelcard.

Night Buses in London

Many bus routes in London operate 24 hours a day. If you are not familiar with the routes, go to Trafalgar Square (Night bus stop) or check the bus information desks. Night buses will only stop if you ask. In the time between the closing of the subway and the start of daily bus services, night buses are busy providing services.

Night Buses in London

London public transport: London Bus Tours

London bus tours provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the exquisite architectural beauty of London’s famous streets and buildings. Tour guides provide historical background information and interesting facts along with further explanations in several languages. Some of the regular bus routes are also suitable for seeing the sights of London; Routes 9, 14, 15, and 22 are of this type.

London public transport: London Underground

London’s underground network is a great way to get around central London and is an integral part of the lives of most residents of this metropolis.

The London Underground public transport network, also called the Tube, is divided into 9 transfer zones. Zone 1 covers central London and zones 6 to 9 cover the suburbs. There are various discounts for children, students, and elderly passengers on the London Underground.

The London subway or “Tube” or “Underground” as Londoners call it, is one of the best subways in the world and is considered one of the best means of public transportation in London. In London, if you want to travel between different areas, one of the best options is the subway. The London Underground is the oldest underground transportation network in the world, as the use of the subway in London dates back to 1863.

London Underground is quite extensive and covers most parts of the city. It is around 200 miles long, and the entire subway includes approximately 200 stations. Keep in mind that on Mondays to Fridays between the hours of 7 to 9 am and 3 to 6 pm there is a lot of congestion on the Tube and it is better to avoid traveling by subway during those hours if there is another option available.

Best way to Pay

Oyster travel card, Oyster card, and Travelcard can be used to pay.

London Underground Transport Times

The working hours of the subway in London depend on the day; On Saturdays to Mondays, the first train usually starts at 5:00 a.m., and on Sundays, working hours are reduced. The London Underground train continues to operate until midnight.

London public transport: London Underground

Docklands Light Railway

Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London’s innovative and unmanned light rail system covers East and South East London.

  • DLR connects to IFS Cloud Cable Cars and London Airport.
  • DLR offers good access to East London and the Docklands area.

The DLR also connects to Victoria Palace with the London IFS Cloud Cable Car system. DLR operates from Mondays to Saturdays from 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM and on Sundays from 7 AM to 11:30 AM. DLR fares are similar to the Tube.

Best Way to Pay

You can pay for DLR fares with an Oyster Travel Card, Oyster Card, or Travelcard.

London public transport: Thames River Bus Service

Traveling on the Thames is a great way to get around London. This way, you will bypass the traffic and enjoy the wonderful views of London along the way. The Thames River is a beautiful river in London, which is usually considered a popular attraction for travelers and visitors of this city alike.

Taking the River Thames bus river is a fast and common way of transportation in London. River buses are in fact a great choice for commuters and visitors due to their fast and efficient connections to major London locations.

River buses are great value and run five different routes. Before boarding the boat, you can buy tickets from the vendor or from the ticket machines located on the pier. Travelcard holders can get up to a third discount on many routes. Fares vary based on river areas and discounts. Travel is free for children under five years old.

Best Way to Pay

Oyster cards are accepted on ferries and offer discounts on most single journeys. You can also pay for your trip with credit from Oyster Travel Cards. Simply swipe your card on the yellow disc on the pier before boarding.

Local Trains in London

London’s Overground network is used to travel across the city and further afield. Railway services cover the city and the surrounding areas and have expanded more than the Tube.

Unlike the Underground, which has been in operation for over 100 years, the Overground is rather recent and has been operating since 2007. The price, tickets, and rules of the subway are also valid for the Overground. Travel by train and other public transport can be planned online.

Best Way to Pay

Most local train lines are effectively connected to the Underground system and fares are paid by Oyster Travel Card, Oyster Card, and Travelcard.

London Tram

Trams serve parts of South London between Wimbledon and New Addington. London’s tram network, TramLink, was launched in South London in 2000.  All trams are free for wheelchair users. Trams in these areas run every 10 minutes to Wimbledon, and every 7 minutes to New Addington Mondays to Saturdays.

Transfers are free for elderly and disabled passengers in London. Tram travel is free for wheelchair users regardless of whether they hold a pass or not.

Best Way to Pay

When purchasing a ticket, the tram is considered part of the bus network. There is a fixed ticket for the bus and tram network in London. Oyster card and Travelcard can be used in the trams. Bus passes are valid for the entire bus and tram network and do not depend on regions.

Other Means of Public Transport in London

Cycling in London

London’s public bike system is a great way to get around the city and the first half hour is free! Pick up your bike and go for a ride any day! You can get a standard bike using London’s public bike hire system. There are over 70 interconnected stations and 11,000 bikes for hire around London. The public bike hire plan, called Santander Cycles, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.

London Taxi

From iconic London cabs to local mini cabs, you can find it all in London. Only black taxis can be hired on the street. If the yellow TAXI sign is on, it means that the taxi is ready to accept passengers. Black taxis meter the distance and the price. London’s official taxis, the black cabs, can be hired on the street or in designated areas including the mainline railway, the Tube, and bus stations. You can also book a taxi by phone.

If a mini-taxi is available, it can be used as a cheaper alternative. Set prices in advance, because their standards are not the same. Make sure you hire an authorized minicab with a London Transport License badge as there are also illegal, unsafe and uninsured minicabs.

IFS Cloud Cable Car

Travel with IFS Cloud Cable Car and enjoy the beautiful views of London. The journey by cable car takes about 10 minutes. After 77 pm watching the city after dark in IFS Cloud Cable Cars is a heartwarming experience.

Final Word

Those who plan to travel to London should learn a thing or two about London in advance. One of these is the public transport in London. Like other big and advanced cities of the world, London boasts an effective public transportation system. The means of public transport, travel across the city of London and cover the whole city.



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